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Turtles in the Oaks

Just a short drive upriver towards Baton Rouge brings you to what has become the premier plantation property in America know as Houmas House. Houmas House in its present form, is the creation of local entrepreneur Kevin Kelly who has transformed the single plantation home into what has been termed "Adult Disneyland." Kelly has not only stunningly remodeled the main plantation house but has added restaurants, a charming bar known as the Turtle Lounge, lush landscaping and fountains, new overnight cottages, and soon to come the steamboat museum and outdoor amphitheater.

I had a chance to join friends in the Cafe Burnsides Restaurant which is the main eating establishment during daytime hours. Burnsides has a buffet daily which is quite popular with the locals and you can even get good recommendations from the staff on their most popular a la carte menu items.

After eating, the Turtle Bar beckoned us and who would ever turn down an additional opportunity to day drink in Louisiana in the shadows of a grand plantation home. The Turtle Bar is a charming space inside one of the original garconnieres. A garconniere was the bachelor pad in plantation times providing a home for the men if there was a young lady in the main house. I know...way too much history on this little building. The Turtle Bar completely fills the garconniere now and has one of the largest collections of bourbon, gin and scotch we have ever seen. After chatting with the bartender, turns out this space also serves as Kelly's personal bar and thus the reason there are so many unique bottles within. Creative cocktails are available on a very generous cocktail menu so a Sazerac seemed appropriate. We were lucky to have a visit from one of the permanent residents when we sat at the bar as the white labrador Maggie came in to say hello. Apparently being a dog in Kellyworld is pretty much royalty and this was demonstrated as one of the groundsmen pulled up and Maggie jumped on the passenger seat on his cart and was driven away.

So take a day trip with friends or family and explore this little gem so close to NOLA. The best part is you can get go cups in the bar and wander about the beautiful grounds.

Houmas House

40136 LA 942

Darrow Louisiana


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