Posts Tagged ‘St. Francisville’

Oakley Plantation

We spend two days in the area and learn that John Audobon spent four months across the street from our campground at Oakley Plantation, tutoring the young daughter of the owners.  For $60/month plus room and board he taught for half of the day, leaving the other half free for him to roam the woods and find specimens for his paintings.  Yes, he killed the birds and posed them in order to paint them.  And his 13 year old pupil/assistant, Joseph Mason drew the backgrounds. In his short time here, he added 32 bird paintings to the collection, which is pretty remarkable.  We tour the plantation house, visit the museum and walk the paths where he would have walked, with an eye out for the poisonous snakes we’ve been repeatedly warned about.

Gardens at Rosedown Plantation

The next day, at Rosedown Plantation, I get my first snake sighting, up close and personal.  As we’re cutting through some of the gardens on the way to our house tour, a huge dark snake goes into a writhing frenzy on the top of a hedge inches from me.  I don’t know which one of us was more surprised by our encounter, but I was afraid he was going to fall onto my legs and feet in his panic to slither away.  We later confirm, with a tour guide, that it was probably a bull snake, one of the good guys in the garden. They actually eat the poisonous ones, she says.  I’m looking at the tops of hedges from now on, not just the ground.

We had an absolutely delicious dinner (green-fried tomatoes with blue cheese and fresh crab,  crab and corn soup, shrimp, etc.) at the romantic Carriage Restaurant at The Myrtles, an historic and famously haunted plantation. We’re so enamored with it all, we return for lunch the next day and learn – yippee! – that ghost tours are conducted on weekends.  That clinches our entertainment plans for the evening -we sign up and come back for one more dinner so as to get in the right frame of mind before nightfall.

Myrtles Plantation

Myrtles Plantation, featured on Ghost Hunters, America’s Most Haunted, Unsolved Mysteries, etc. is known as one of America’s most haunted homes.  It’s now a B&B and most of the people in our tour are staying there for the night. The house is dimly lit, our tour guide speaks to us in hushed tones as we move from room to room.  She tells stories of things that have happened in the house, the most famous one involving Chloe, a black slave who had her ear cut off by the master as a punishment for eavesdropping.  She retaliated by putting poison oleander in a birthday cake for his daughter’s birthday party -and two of his children died.  Afraid of their master’s wrath, her fellow slaves purportedly dragged her from the house and hung her from a tree on the grounds.  She is supposed to be one of the most frequently seen ghosts, along with the children –  two waitresses at the restaurant told us they’ve seen them, and one said her own children said they’d played with them when they were young.  Our guide makes special mention of certain ghostly phenomena associated with particular rooms – some people are going to hear crying children, others a piano playing, there are issues with hot and cold, there’s pretty much something for everybody. “So, who’s staying in room  number __?” she’ll ask softly, and then dole out their anticipated ghostly treat.  We feel a little left out.  And I’m definitely fine with that.

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