Catch a glimpse of extravagant U.S. history by visiting a Louisiana plantation. Each with its own unique history and architecture, these plantations offer an immersive learning experience that everyone should experience on their trip to Louisiana. Here are just a few you should check out, though there are plenty more to see if you’re interested.
One of the most photographed places in Louisiana lies in Vacherie. The Oak Alley Plantation is a Greek revival mansion situated at the end of a majestic alley of live oak trees.
The colorful and ornately decorated San Francisco Plantation is known as one of the most opulent plantation houses in North America. Head to Garyville to see this mansion.
Ormond Plantation is a West Indie’s style plantation originally used to farm indigo, later flourishing as a sugarcane plantation. It resides in Destrehan.
Destrehan Plantation, also located in Destrehan, hosts exhibits that capture the 1811 Slave Revolt – the largest slave revolt in U.S. history.
The Evergreen Plantation in Edgard is the most intact plantation complex in the South, hosting an astounding 37 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. This plantation was even granted landmark status – the nation’s highest historic designation – for its agricultural acreage.
Houmas House, or “The Sugar Palace,” got its nickname for once being the largest producer of sugar in the country – at one time producing 20 million pounds of sugar annually. Located in Darrow.
While journeying down the Great River Road, you’ll pass through ten different states, each with its own unique dining culture. Here are some restaurants located just off the GRR that you should definitely check out.
La Crosse, WI: The Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern
Dine on Waterfront Restaurant‘s contemporary versions of American classics, relax in the cushy lounge and enjoy the smooth sounds from the piano bar. And as the name hints, patrons can appreciate panoramic views of the Mississippi River, as the restaurant is situated along the waterfront.
Dubuque, IA: L. May Eatery L. May Eatery takes pride in its use of local ingredients, serving a rotating seasonal menu of “gourmet comfort food.” Whether you’re craving a sophisticated pizza, delectable seafood or a refreshing cocktail, L. May guarantees delicious cuisine.
Quincy, IL: Tiramisu’
Order the unique homemade pasta when you visit Tiramisu’. This Italian restaurant also offers a fine selection of wine, pizzas and more. A great place to unwind.
St. Louis, MO: Bogart’s Smokehouse
Strap on your bib for a BBQ excursion at Bogart’s Smokehouse. You’ll need an appetite for this one, as the smokehouse serves up mouthwatering meats like pulled pork, smoky brisket, apricot bruleed ribs, pastrami and prime rib.
Memphis, TN: Restaurant Iris
Specializing in French-Creole cuisine, Restaurant Iris has been named Memphis’ “Best Restaurant” for the past four years by a number of qualified reviews. Its charming atmosphere can be attributed to its presence inside a restored old home near the historic Overton Square.
New Orleans, LA: Commander’s Palace
Last stop on this culinary food tour of the Mississippi… New Orleans! Commander’s Palace is the perfect place to experience New Orleans culture. Serving award-winning Creole dishes since 1880, the restaurant holds vibrant history, and vast experience has driven their success throughout the years.
Vicksburg is a popular city among history buffs, a city rich in Civil War history and culture. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Siege of Vicksburg, making it an especially flavorful destination for history lovers. But aside from Vicksburg’s exciting history, visitors can also enjoy an abundance of art, entertainment, outdoor adventures and more. The city offers four world-class casinos and one-of-a-kind Mississippi River adventures. A visit to Vicksburg is an authentic Southern experience you don’t want to miss!
For more information on Vicksburg:
PO Box 110
Vicksburg, MS 39181
Blues history is alive and well along the Great River Road. And while the genre is most prominent in the Deep South, you’ll find blues highlights in other states along the Mississippi as well.
Born in the Mississippi Delta in the late 19th century, blues originated from African American spirituals, work songs and chants. It’s no wonder then that Mississippi is flourishing with blues history. The Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale honors Mississippi as the birthplace of the blues, and the Mississippi Blues Trail tells stories through words and images of historic bluesmen.
Memphis’ Beale Street District served as a music haven for African Americans at the turn of the 20th century and remains a legendary blues entertainment destination. Memphis also boasts the Mississippi River Museum, which features five galleries explaining the origins of the blues, including pieces such as vintage band equipment, radios and various records.
The Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas focuses on the history of the Arkansas Delta, presenting exhibits, educational programs, tours and more. Their current exhibit, called, “Helena: Main Street of the Blues,” gives a unique perspective of the delta’s rich blues history.
Finally, Chicago’s Blues Chicago club features some of the area’s best blues artists and is a popular blues hotspot for fans all over the world.
Experience rich blues history along the Great River Road.
The Columbus-Belmont State Park combines rich Civil War history with lush Kentucky beauty for an excellent family travel destination. The park is uniquely educational, standing as a National Trail of Tears Site, and featuring a museum highlighting Civil War history. Aside from receiving an intriguing history lesson, visitors can enjoy the natural wonders of Kentucky by camping out at one of the park’s 38 sites and hiking along picturesque bluffs of the Civil War Heritage Trail. There’s plenty to do and see at the Columbus-Belmont State Park.
Columbus-Belmont State Park
350 Park Road
Columbus, KY 42032
Fill up on Memphis BBQ during your Great River Road stop in Tennessee! This style of barbecue is all about pork ribs, usually marinated with a rub made of herbs and spices and basted during the cooking. Rubs can be wet, dry, mild, spicy or sweet, with or without mopping sauces applied periodically. Tennessee hosts a number of barbecue festivals throughout the year, and features excellent Memphis barbecue restaurants that you can dine at year-round.
Plan a fun and memorable road trip this September along the Great River Road! This 3,000-mile long byway is one of the oldest, longest and most unique in North America, and along the way you’ll find plenty to explore. Experience a variety of cultures as you travel down the river, from Midwestern Minnesota and Iowa down to Southern Mississippi and Louisiana and all of the cultural blend in between.
Your trip down the Mississippi should include stops in each of the bordering ten states. Plan to see popular attractions like the Mall of America in Bloomington, Navy Pier in Chicago, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, and more. Experience natural wonders, captivating historical sites and rich agriculture as well. There’s so much to see along the Great River Road! Plan your trip down the river this September.
Explore the rich blues music history of the Arkansas Delta at the Delta Cultural Center, located in historic downtown Helena, AK. Comprised of two locations, the Depot and the Visitors Center, guests can learn Delta history through the museum’s exhibits, programs, events and tours. Visit the Depot’s “A Heritage of Determination” exhibit to learn about Delta history from the time of its earliest inhabitants through the great Mississippi River floods. Then walk a block north to the Visitors Center and see the “Delta Sounds” music exhibit.
Delta Cultural Center
141 Cherry St.
Helena, AR 72342
Agritourism encourages travelers to learn about a region by exploring its diverse agricultural landscape. And the Great River Road offers an abundance of agriculture for you to see. Along the Mississippi, you’ll find orchards, cheese factories, gardens, nurseries, tree farms, farmers markets, museums and more. Make sure to pencil in a stop at one of these farm-related attractions when you visit the Great River Road.
Standing as the nation’s tallest monument, the 630-foot-tall Gateway Arch is one of the most impressive highlights along the Great River Road. A commemoration to Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis’ role in westward U.S. expansion, this attraction holds significance beyond its incredible structure. All visitors have free access to the arch entrance and can take the “Journey to the Top” for $10. From the top of the arch, you’ll see up to 30 miles into the distance, including breathtaking views of downtown St. Louis and the Mississippi River. For an even richer experience, take a riverboat cruise on a replica 19th-century paddle-wheel boat or visit the historic Old Courthouse.
707 North 1st St., MS 143 (mailing)
200 Washington Ave. (physical)
St. Louis, MO 63102
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