Nolen Family Vacation 2017: Day 3

Monday, April 17th


We drove just a few hours South to Natchitoches (Nack-it-osh) to drive the Cane River Valley. We stopped in at the Visitor's Center in town. It was such a charming area.

A map in hand, we set off to drive through the Cane River Valley. I hadn't planned for the fact that some things would be closed because of Easter weekend. Oops. We started off and were a bit disappointed by the drive. It was long and not as picturesque as promised online. We ended up missing the first plantation entirely.

Finally, we arrived at the Magnolia Plantation. No rangers were present, but we were allowed to roam the grounds on our own. It was a beautiful day.

First stop was the Slave Hospital. We were able to walk around the interior of the house. The kitchen was updated in the 50s/60s, but the rest of the house looked pretty old.

[caption id="attachment_3599" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Sitting in the Overseer's House/Slave Hospital[/caption]


Next, we walked over the the blacksmith shop.

There was a beautiful lawn with several large trees. The boys spent at least 20 minutes climbing before we could persuade them to move on.

The slave quarters were next.

Of course, here it looks quaint and cozy, but I'm sure it was anything but.

The Barn was next. I couldn't tell one part from another, but the huge cotton gin was really impressive.

Since the main house is privately owned and we were much too early for the daily tour, this ended up being a pretty quick stop for us. Maybe an hour was spent here and most of that time was spent walking the grounds and climbing trees.

Still, I'm glad we had the chance to stop by. According to the ladies in the Visitor's Center, this is the oldest open intact plantation in the country.

Also, I finally got a chance to look at these beautiful flowers that are growing everywhere in Louisiana.

[caption id="attachment_3584" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Primrose[/caption]

In the next town over we stopped for lunch and I was in hippie heaven. They served healthy, locally-grown foods. Everything was healthy and fresh and didn't cost an arm and a leg. Plenty of gluten-free and dairy-free options, too, which was awesome!

We headed still further South. It started to rain a bit and we hit some traffic. Several of us needed to use the restroom and the situation was getting desperate. Ben finally decided to pull over on the highway and we all just walked to the nearest gas station. I was appalled, at first, but it was the right call. There were NO other exits for miles and traffic just crawled.

Despite the traffic, we made it to NOLA at a good time. After a quick stop at a Trader Joe's to pick up more snacks and breakfast items, we headed to our Airbnb.

It was super cute and obviously completely restored, BUT the neighborhood had us a bit nervous. Within 20 minutes of being loaded in we had a very dazed and confused lady knock on the door and ask Ben if the guy she'd bought stuff from was there. After he told her that, no, that guy was long gone, she asked for bus fare. Yeaaaaah.

But the interior had us oohing and aahing. So well done.

We settled in for the night and rested up a bit. We knew we'd have a lot of walking ahead of us as we explored NOLA the following day!



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