April 13 - 17: Louisiana

4/17 - St. Francisvlle (0 miles 2087 total)
0 energy spent doing anything on our layover day at the butler greenwood plantation & b&b near st. francisville, la
it's so quiet here, & the weather was beautiful all day...warmish this afternoon. all we could hear upon awaking after 6 a.m. was the serene sound of the little fountain out in the middle of the pond off our front porch....well, & the geese. roma got up & went out on the porch to read. i followed shortly thereafter with my camera to find out what the 2 large resident geese were upset about this time. they stroll--& patrol--the plantation making sure everything is to their liking. i got the feeling that us sitting on our front porch early in the morning wasn't. & we found out yesterday that the gander can become very aggressive if any of us makes a misstep in his direction. they're very particular about the activities of the ducks, too.
as you can see from this photo, they had their eye(s) on us every minute as roma & i sat on the porch early this morning!
a bit later, sari, roma, & i--who share the b&b cottage named "chase's cottage"--fixed breakfast with the makings left for us in our cottage (cereal, juice, milk, bananas, coffee (for roma)). at 9, we went over to the main house for a very informative & interesting tour led by anne butler, the plantation's owner. before the tour started, several of our group were doing imitations of various classic statues out amongst the urns on the front lawn.
in the photo, from left, are rita, marilyn boger (behind the urn), laura, elaine, roma, & donna. vicky is watching on the right. the live oak trees that adorn the property were planted from acorns in 1799.
here's a view looking the other direction....at the main plantation house, built in the late 1790's. it represents the basic kind of plantation house that was built before later influences, in the mid 1800's, that led to the more ornate, greek revival-style plantation homes.
you'll want to learn more about the butler greenwood plantation at www.butlergreenwood.com.
since this home has been in the same family since it was built, it still contains many of the original furnishings. it features the area's finest original victorian parlor; the room's 12-piece set of carved rosewood furniture is still in the original scarlet upholstery. many of the fireplace mantels are the original cypress wood, cut from here on the plantation. i hope you'll have a chance to come here yourself sometime & take the tour. this spot provides a wonderful break from a visit in new orleans (about 2 hours away), & also a good locale from which to visit cajun country to the west. plus st. francisville itself is a treasure of a town. several of our group biked or walked into town today to explore it further.
there are several historic homes & plantations in the area. one is oakley, where artist-naturalist john james audubon did many of his famous paintings. many come to this area for bird-watching. the town of st. francisville is designated a bird sanctuary.
here's a photo of anne butler. she lives in the main plantation house & is the 7th generation of the original owners. the smaller buildings on the property are b&b cottages. besides giving tours of the plantation & managing the b&b, anne is also an author. a recent book is "weep for the living."
on the tree near her perhaps you can see a few camelia blossoms. anne said the trees are laden with camelias in early spring----which around here is mid-march. & i'm sure you can see the spanish moss hanging from the branches.
2 of the cottages on the property are buildings that are original to the plantation....the old kitchen & the cook's cottage. here are mary (from boston) & becky relaxing on the canopied bed in the old kitchen. those are the building's original brick walls.
anne told us earlier that mosquito netting was a fixture on all beds 'til the 60's, since buildings don't have screens & are left open as much as possible during warm weather. we've easily noticed that there are mosquitoes here in louisiana.
the cottage that roma, sari, & i share is the newest one. it has a nice living area with high ceilings, a fireplace, kitchenette, nice bedroom, & a bathroom with a double-sized jacuzzi tub, up&down washer/dryer unit, & a walk-in closet. 3 double doors open out onto the porch that spans the front of the cottage. (i took yesterday's photo of the peacock from our porch.) this afternoon, roma, an avid reader, made good use of the chaise lounge in the bedroom.
in this photo, she's nibbling some fresh strawberries that one of the plantation's help had just dropped off at our cottage....fresh louisiana berries picked nearby.
around 6:15 this evening, michelle & catherine pulled up in the subaru, & out jumped kathy groen. she flew from her home in california to new orleans today.
here's a photo of kathy being greeted by laura. kathy has rejoined our tour & will ride with us the rest of the way to st. augustine. we're all so happy to have her back!
michelle brought pizza for supper, which we heated in the ovens in some of our cottages. after supper at the map meeting, she said she doesn't remember much of anything about the 103 miles we'll ride tomorrow....which is a good thing, since difficult rides are often the most memorable ones.
then marilyn boger presented the BITCH socks to kathy grubb, on the left in this photo. the new acronym label is: Boyfriend Inspires Toughness, Courage, & Heart....referring to kathy's boyfriend, whose picture she carries in her bike's map case. (behind them is the pool outside the "pool house" cottage.)
If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, feel free to e-mail me with your request, and I'll save your note and get back to you after the ride. Stay tuned....

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