Saturday, March 14, 2015

Three Neat Places to Make a St. Francisville Getaway Come True!

If you are looking for something to do on a long weekend or holiday that will provide great fun, while at the same time highlighting some great Louisiana history, consider visiting some of the neat locations in St. Francisville highlighted below.

Historic sites, including plantation homes, are abundant in the St. Francisville area but what many do not realize is that there are a few which are actually run by the Louisiana State Park System.  For this reason, I highly suggest purchasing a State Park Pass and visiting the sites featured below to capitalize on the savings.  A pass is $80 and allows ALL traveling in your vehicle admission to all state parks and state historic sites.   It will certainly pay for itself by visiting the sites suggested below.   The pass is good for a year which will give you time to explore other offerings in Louisiana (See our blog posts outlining other exciting Louisiana State Parks).  Our Frugal Family Travelers have certainly made memories while visiting these sites and yours are sure to do so as well.

Featured in the pictures below is the Audubon State Historic Site located at Oakley Plantation in the outskirts of St. Francisille, LA.  The famous wildlife artist, John James Audubon, lived here for over three months in 1821.  While hired as a tutor for the daughter of the Pirrie family, he painted over thirty of his famous bird paintings.  Oakley Plantation was built circa 1800 and is an excellent example of a Federal period plantation home.   After touring the home, take a leisurely stroll on the grounds to explore the garden, nature trail, outdoor kitchen, and slave cabins or rock on the porch while playing a game of checkers.  You might even run into a friendly peacock! 

The next place on our Frugal Family adventure was Centenary State Historic Site in the nearby town of Jackson, LA.   All that remains of the original buildings from the 1800's are the west wing and professor's cottage.   Both buildings contain period furnishings similar to the types used by students in attendance at the college in the 1800's. We were particularly fascinated by the well-preserved graffiti walls created by students (see picture below and note the date).   Due to low enrollment after the Civil War ended combined with a desperate need for repairs, Centenary College closed and was eventually relocated to Shreveport, LA.  Fortunately, the state was able to purchase the property and designate it as a historic site for all to enjoy!

The Porch on the Professor's Cottage

An Old Typewriter

The West Wing of Old Centenary College

Graffiti left by One of the Students! 

The Greater Baton Rouge Model Railroaders and Old Hickory Railroad are housed at the same location in Jackson, LA and are right down the road from the Old Centenary College site featured above.   Unfortunately, the passenger railroad which took riders on a journey around this historic town has not reopened.  However, according to the workers at the site, it set for a possible reopening in July.   Follow the updates on their web-site for a definite date.   If your Frugal Family Travelers enjoy model trains, be sure and stop by.   An extensive number of train displays, including steam and electric powered, are open and running on the second and forth Saturday of each month from 11-4:00 p.m.  Admission is free.   When the passenger train returns to service, a fare will be charged for riders.

Restored Passenger Train

One of the Many Train Displays!

One of the Steam Powered Model Trains!

TIPS:  Combine this with a visit to Clark Creek Natural/Nature Area  and Port Hudson State Historic Site for added fun and excitement!!

Don't Forget to purchase your State Park Pass!!

(Be sure to click on all highlighted text within the blog for additional information regarding activities, including websites, special instructions and travel directions!)

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