Tour St. Francisville plantations during the Audubon Pilgrimage
Of the Pilgrimage’s many attractions, the Homes Tours are a true treat.
The annual Audubon Pilgrimage, March 16 to 18, 2012, celebrates spring in St. Francisville. Each year, the West Feliciana Historical Society opens the doors of significant historic structures to commemorate the tenure there of artist-naturalist John James Audubon.
The weekend includes an antiques show, living history demonstrations and garden, cemetery and historic church tours. At night, the Historic District is lit by candlelight while visitors are invited to enjoy a Wine & Cheese Gala and Night Soiree with food, music and dance.
This year, St. Francisville will also be hosting the traveling Smithsonian Insitution exhibit Journey Stories during the Pilgrimage. The exhibition will highlight how our ancestors came to America, with a special focus on St. Francisville's heritage.
There's much to enjoy during the Pilgrimage, but no doubt the homes tours, showcasing diverse architecture and telling the stories of some of the earliest citizens, are the highlight. While the homes available for touring vary each year, here are a few of the plantations and private homes you may have an opportunity to view.
Oakley Plantation House
When Audubon arrived in the St. Francisville area in 1821, he recorded in his journal that the rich lushness of the landscape and flourishing birdlife “all excited my admiration.” Audubon would find the inspiration to paint dozens of his bird studies while residing at Oakley Plantation, a West Indies-style, three-story structure that is one of one of the featured tour homes.
Built in 1804 of cypress milled from trees on the property, Highland is a private home known for its elaborate, Federal-style trim work.
In 1834, Daniel Turnbull and his wife, Martha Barrow, constructed a house known as Rosedown. Mississippi-born writer Stark Young said of Rosedown: “Of all the houses in the world it seemed to be the beloved of its own trees and gardens.” That charm and appeal continues unabated today, the house folded in the embrace of 27 surrounding acres of 19th-century gardens and live oaks grown to immense size. The detailed gardening diaries of Martha Turnbull proved that she was one of the first to introduce azaleas and camellias to the South. A meticulous 10-year restoration salvaged the house and its unique collection of plantings, and today Rosedown is a much-visited state historic site.
An enchanting widow's walk with views of the Mississippi River is a halllmark of this Colonial Revival mansion.
This collumned antebellum home showcases Creole and Greek Revival architecture. It was moved to St. Francisville from St. Landry Parish.
For more information on St. Francisville’s Annual Audubon Pilgrimage, visit http://www.audubonpilgrimage.info or http://stfrancisville.us. You can also learn more about the region from the Friends in St. Francisville blog at http://stfrancisville.blogspot.com/.