Monday, February 15, 2010

We Visit the Oakley Plantation with Perry and Lep, cycling superhosts.

Us at the Oakley Plantation Visitor's center. Just look at those cheesy smiles.
Behind us are some original Audubon Birds of North America prints .

Here is one of those prints of the now extinct Carolina Parakeet.

Here are Lep and Perry. Louisiana's cycling superhosts. If you are bike touring through the area, you should look them up!

Oakley Plantation house where Audubon actually created 40 of the prints. Notice the louvered walls that help keep the upstairs porch cool.
Quiz: What 2 requirements differentiate a plantation from a farm? Don't use wiki! If you know leave us a comment.

Check out these plates! They are the original 200 year old plates from the time this house was built.

A turkey randomly dropped off at the plantation is now a Visitor's center mainstay.

Perry was brave enough to pet the turkey

Jackson Rest Day Two
Day 103

After we stayed up too late last night watching the Olympics after Perry and Lep went to bed, we slept in even more. Today we had more good hot coffee waiting for us on the counter. We ate breakfast with Perry and Lep and then they headed off to work out at the gym. While they were at the gym, Dani and I worked on the blog and on washing clothes. Here, they have a cool little washing machine that doubles as a drier. I never never seen a two in one, but Perry said it is a European thing, and this one was made in Italy. We couldn't be happier that we had a nice comfortable place to do laundry, work on the computer, and even watch a little TV.

We are so glad we got to stay with these folks for another day. When they got back from the gym, Perry heated up some great left overs and also made a great egg plant and ginger dish to go along with it all. This dish was amazing, the ginger added a good kick and the egg plant was delicious. After lunch, Perry and Lep took us down the highway a few miles to the Oakley Plantation. The Oakley Plantation is where John James Audubon painted 40 of the famous Birds of America Prints, and where he tutored a daughter of the plantation. This place was one of the better museums we have visited on the whole trip. We were able to get a guided tour of the original plantation house. This thing is over 200 years old, and is still mostly original framing. The guide told us a brief history of what the importance of each room was. It was amazing to be in a house this old and see the way Southern homes are built to cope with the high heat and humidity. There was actually a covered deck used as a Summer sleeping area with louvers for walls that were designed to keep a constant flow of air moving around the deck. One of the interesting things about the tour was a fact about Audubon himself. Apparently he was to be paid each tutoring session, but one month he only taught half as many sessions as the month before. He asked for the same amount of pay despite this fact, but the woman of the house only gave him half pay according to the agreement. Audubon was not happy with this so he took his half wage and went and asked the man of the house for half pay also. The father obliged and Audubon thought he had gotten away with double dipping. At supper that night, however, the father and mother were talking and realized they both had paid Audubon. They both asked him to leave immediately.

After we finished the tour of the house, we walked around the existing plantation. We checked out the Slave quarters and also the barn. The barn, beside being a neat old building, had very old plows and and some other neat old tools. We also checked out the chicken coup and the asked about how the managers kept the chickens safe from predators because they are allowed to roam completely freely all day. Apparently, they lose quite a few birds to raccoons.

After we finished up outside we went in the visitor's center and looked around. The information was great, but one of the newest things to us was that instead of the information being in English and Spanish like most places we have been, all of the interpretive text was in English and French. Guess it makes sense in Louisiana. Outside of the visitor's center, a tom turkey was standing right by the door strutting his stuff for everyone. Perry went right up and petted him like it was no big deal. I was surprised the turkey stood for this because I am used to seeing wild turkeys in South Dakota, and they can be quite vicious.

After our visit to the Oakley Plantation, Perry and Lep drove us around some of their favorite biking roads in the area on the way back to their house. This area of Louisiana is actually hilly which was quite a surprise to us. Perry told us that the hills are actually Glacial Loess.
When we got back home, Perry fed us some more great food, a filling and delicious lasagne. We are amazed at how fast our time has gone by here. Lep and Perry have set up a cyclists paradise here with the good food, very nice shower and beds, and the fact that they are both so fun to hang out with.


1 comment:

Robert Matthews said...

Hi Dani and Greg, found your blog when searching for "Oakley Plantation". My name is Robert Bowman Matthews, living in County Cork, Ireland, and my father's father grew up in Oakley Plantation and took messages on horseback between the Confederate troops during the Civil War. He moved to Washington DC where my father was born, later joining the US Navy and settling in County Cork, Ireland, after he met his first wife there in 1915. My father sold a third of the 2,000 acres of the so-called "Spanish Lands", part of the Oakley Plantation, in the 1950's before I was born for $2 per acre as he didn't have the money to buy out his two cousins who also received a third of the Lands, what a pity although I believe many of the acres are marshy and not suitable for anything. Land was much cheaper in those days !! I have never visited Oakley House & Plantation but will one day soon. If you look at the history of Oakley Plantation you'll find that a Bowman married a Matthews in the later 19th century, I guess I need to inform the site owners of some of the later history. Just thought this info might interest you. Robert.