Redcliffe Pier

Friday, January 9, 2015

NOTTOWAY TO SPEND THANKSGIVING

The next stop on our Mississippi Cruise was supposed to be Baton Rouge the capital of Louisiana State. However, because it was Thanksgiving Day Holiday the cruise itinerary was changed because everything in the city was closed for the holiday and there was very little to do or see. So instead we sailed past Baton Rouge and moored outside Nottoway Plantation Mansion, where we would enjoy a tour and Thanksgiving celebrations.
Here is my diary entry for that day.

27/11/14
Thanksgiving Day. We looked out of the cabin door to see that we were moored right outside the huge Nottoway Plantation Mansion. It was a beautiful sight. Everyone greeted each other with Happy Thanksgiving Day. As usual a delicious breakfast of Florentine Eggs. Then we walked ashore and joined our 9:30 tour group for a guided tour of the mansion by a local guide dressed in traditional period costume. Her dress was beautiful but I don't know how the women of those days could possibly be comfortable. The house was amazing with it's many rooms on three floors. The story of the house and it's owners was very interesting. Best of all we were allowed to photograph. It has been recently restored and a resort developed on the surrounding property. Funnily enough it is owned by an Australian. There is a little museum and gift shop there as well besides a cafe and posh restaurant.
There has been a huge bonfire built on the levee in front of the big house. This is for the celebrations tonight.
 From the boat we could see the bonfire on top of the river levee, which was hiding half of the Nottoway Mansion.

 We climbed up the levee on a zigzag path and then we could see all of this magnificent house.

Nottoway was completed in 1859 for John and Emily Randolph and their eleven children. John Randolph was originally a cotton farmer but he turned to sugar cane and bought the first steam powered sugar mill. The Greek Revival and  Italianate mansion was designed by Henry Howard. The ceilings are 15 ft high and the doors 11 ft.There are 64 rooms and six internal staircases as well as 165 doors and 200 windows. 

 The tour was included in the cruise. Two guides dressed in beautiful period dresses organised us into groups. It was very crowded with 400 passengers to get through in a day. We had times allotted to us.

 The most impressive room is the semi-circular white ballroom. John Randolph wanted it all white so that his daughter's dresses would not have any distractions and all eyes would be on them. We heard lots of wonderful stories about the family.

The dining room was yellow with the most beautiful chandelier but all my photos were overcrowded with people so you get the table setting instead.

 One of the many rooms I think it was where the ladies retired to after dinner.

 The furniture was exquisite but may not all be originals.
After touring 3 floors and many rooms we finished in a ground floor room which has been converted into a museum where we watched a very interesting video of the history of the house told by Mr Randolph to his grandson.

 Bill didn't come on the tour but in the afternoon he came for a walk around the grounds. This is the view of the side of the house .Today there is a very nice restaurant on the bottom floor behind the huge glass walls. Nottoway is now owned by an Australian, Paul Ramsay, owner of Ramsey Health, with 72 hospitals and Prime TV with 12 stations. In 2008, $14 m was invested into upgrading Nottoway estate. There is now a resort with Villa style accommodation, together with, conference/ballroom, spa, swimming pool etc.

We walked back to the boat.  Soon it was time for dinner. We expected a much bigger celebration for Thanksgiving but it was a special menu including turkey of course. Our waiters were very good.

After tea we opted to stay on board and watch the bonfire rather than stand in the cold evening air on shore. We felt the Thanksgiving Celebrations were a bit of a disappointment especially as the cruise was called "The Thanksgiving Cruise".

19 comments:

  1. Not bad for a country shack, eh??
    Seriously - very impressive.
    Why is that knife in the table setting photo resting on that glass "thingy"??
    And what is the "thingy"????

    Pity you missed Baton Rouge. Plenty of history there.
    Cheers
    Colin

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    1. It what posh people use for their knives. Not sure what it is called. Ask Mr Google.

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  2. That mansion is huge, almost like the White House. There was no lack of money in those days.

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  3. Wow, the mansion is beautiful. I love the 2nd shot showing the columns, is this the front? The ballroom is lovely too. I can not imagine wearing dresses like that.. Sorry, the Thanksgiving dinner should have been a great celebration.. I love the photos, thanks for sharing... Have a happy weekend!

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    1. Yes this is the front, facing the road.

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  4. The bonfire makes my childhood bonfire memories rather modest. American large house architecture really is in a league of its own.

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  5. Snort, just got the headline pun.

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  6. that ball room is amazing. i do love a good bonfire.. ha ha on the Nottoaway to spend TG... love it and made me smile... it is nottoway i would want to spend TG but is beautiful

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  7. quite an impressive estate. hoity-toity, for sure. what an exhaustive job to be the tour guides!

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  8. Well Diane, this is one more place where our footsteps have crossed in Louisianna, years apart! Nottoway certainly looks like it has been spruced up in the meantime. That ballroom floor was not so shiny and pristine when I saw it. Sorry your Thanksgiving was anticlimatic. Really it's all about food and family here and I've never heard of a bonfire to mark the day before. I hope the dinner was good. Now I'm wondering if they do anything special for tourists up in New England where it all started . . . perhaps a play depicting the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Squanto and his friends . . .

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  9. This house would suit me very well, of course with enough servants !

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  10. Well I can't see how with the help of Mr. Google I am going to find out what a "posh" knife on a glass object in a mansion is, so I will ask the Maitre d'Hotel and the Chief Concierge at the Sofitel on Monday.
    One of these is the holder of that "5 something award" which puts them in the stratospheric level of hospitality excellence. Something to do with Michelin awards.
    Shocking to be such a curious person, eh????

    Gattina: I think at least 20 servants or house staff would suffice to maintain efficiency and cleanliness, as befitting this mansion of your wishes!!!

    Cheers
    Colin

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  11. Gave you a great title for your post though! I'm a sucker for puns! TG is usually celebrated with family here! I don't know of any place that does a big community celebration . So it's kind of a letdown time for us usually these days since were mostly away from them. This one was an exception .. We were at our daughters

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  12. You may have found Thanksgiving on the cruise to be somewhat disappointing, but I found your title for this post to be perfect. The mansion looks very impressive. I wouldn't mind visiting it myself.

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  13. The house looks lovely.
    Seems the Thanksgiving ado was a bit of a non event.
    I bet the chandelier was awesome.

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  14. I am so sorry your Thanksgiving celebration was a a disappointment. It has made me want to research where the best places are in US for great Thanksgiving Day celebrations. I may do a post on that closer toward next year's big day if I can come up with any great ideas. The house is MAGICAL! I kept sighing looking at the photos! :-)

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  15. Ha ha, love your title! I think Thanksgiving isn't a very spectacular holiday to show off to foreign visitors, just lots of food, family, and visiting.

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  16. What a mansion! And your steamboat looks right at home anchored outside. Shame about the celebrations. We should celebrate it together one year

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  17. Talk about lovely, I would love to visit such a country shack

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