Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

All About The Oaks

Today, it's all about the oaks. More specifically all about Oak Alley Plantation near Vacherie, Louisiana. This plantation is famous for an alley of live oaks that lead from the big house to the Mississippi River.

Here's a shot of the big house up the oak alley. But getting there
is half the fun...

One of the things you notice about Louisiana
is that there's a lot of water everywhere. Large
portions of the Interstates are built on causeways.

 In order to get to Oak Alley from LaPlace, LA
you have to cross over to the western bank 
of the Mississippi River. They have these huge
bridges to allow large freighters to pass 
underneath. Driving over these almost requires
an act of faith. They big and they high. Right off
of the ramp was a small but elaborate cemetery
of low mausoleums nudged into a corn field. Raised
tombs are common in the southern part of Louisiana
because the water table is so high.

This is a view of the big house from the back. The famous Oak
Alley is on the other side.

 They don't allow any photography inside the
mansion, probably because they sell photo-books
inside the gift shop. This house is surrounded by
colonnades on all sides and has first
and second story wrap-around porches. One
thing that struck us is how small the living spaces
seem. Part of it is that the average height of men (5'4")
and women (4'9") was a lot shorter than people today.
Also, the outer walls are 16" thick. Still, the inside
seems smaller than a typical American McMansion.

 Is there a bustle in your hedgerow? Don't
be alarmed now!

 It was pretty cold today (59F) but at
least the bottle-brushes were in bloom.

 Let's get back to the oaks. These oaks
are almost 300 hundred years old and 
can live to be 800 years old.  Tree-hugger
Astral Wendy was in her glory. All right, I
hugged a tree too, I just wouldn't allow any
photographic evidence.

 Mmmm...that's good tree.

 I don't think this guy is going to make the
whole life-span. That big hole might be
harboring a raccoon.  

These trees are an eco-system unto themselves.

 This one oak had such a huge trunk
that Astral Wendy could perch like
a chipmunk.

 Some of the roots were covered in moss.

 This is the other side of the main alley,
an equally impressive canopy.

 Model A pick-up truck. Not sure why
this was there since it's not exactly a period
piece. Still in great shape though.

 They also had an example CSA army tent. This
looks a tad more formal than an Astral Nomads

Of course we had lunch but with the wind
chill today, we started with hot tea instead
of the usual unsweetened iced tea. Oak Alley
has a little restaurant out back which turned
out to be surprisingly good.

I went for the chicken and andouille sausage gumbo. It was
better than it looks and it looks pretty damn good. I'm getting
delayed mouth-watering syndrome just looking at this picture.

Astral Wendy had the filet mignon special with roasted green beans
and mashed potatoes. I whimpered until she gave me a piece. Awesome!

Funny things are everywhere.

Look Otis, a girlie rabbit.

Right outside the entrance to Oak Alley, there's an access road up onto
to the levee. I just had to drive up and see the mighty Mississippi.

The west side of the Mississippi seems a lot drier than the east side
in this section of Louisiana. 

Tomorrow we taking some time off from touring around in order to Skype with some family back in NJ and to watch the Jets defeat the Steelers. Monday we're heading down to Galveston, Texas to see what that's all about. 


  1. Those oaks are insanely gorgeous.

    Wendy, your photos are so moving.

    I must hug one of those trees myself. One day.

    All the best,


  2. Thanks Megan... truly magical those oaks! So full of warmth and energy... and their beauty could just move you to tears.

    All the best to you and the family ass well! Big hugs!


  3. Love the mossy oaks! Enjoy the Big Game on Sunday.

  4. Thanks Debra! Football and laundry, that's all were doing today!

  5. Wendilea, I nominated you for a Stylish Blog Award. Please stop over to my blog to see what it's all about.
    Love the photos of the trees. Wow!

  6. Hi! Thanks for visiting my web site and I'm so glad I am on yours for the first time. Love the photos & the snippets of your trip. I have always wanted to see Oak Alley up close & personal but so far, hasn't happened. You bring it to life and the trivia is fascinating, especially the part about the avg person's height back then. Cannot believe women were THAT small. 16" thick walls kept it cool in the summer. I lived in VA for 8 years and that's as far south as I ever want to live. Yikes!

    I'll be back.

  7. @California Girl: Welcome to the Astral Nomads. Glad you found the blog an interesting read. Wendy's photos make the blog and I add the blathering. We like hot weather but aren't finding much this time of year.