Over the years, Blogging, Babies and the Bayou has evolved and one thing that has not changed is my love for travel and Louisiana. Starting July 1st, readers can find additional Louisiana attractions not as well-known to travelers but beloved local landmarks.
These off the beaten path locations can be added to your upcoming Louisiana vacation and give visitors (and locals) a unique Louisiana experience.
When I started my blog 6 years ago I shared local events, concerts and various traveling experiences. I was also my daughter’s girl Scout troop leader. As a Girl Scout troop leader, our girls enjoyed experiencing hands on education through field trips throughout Louisiana and Mississippi.
I recently quit my full-time job in healthcare almost 2 months ago and decided to experience my own adult field trip with my mother while the kids were still in school. We visit the Otis House at Fairview Riverside State Park in Madisonville, Louisiana and had lunch before heading home. With several upcoming press trips, I thought it would be the perfect day to explore and enjoy a local area attraction with my mother.
The historic Otis House faces the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville, Louisiana which is only a short drive from the New Orleans area. Nestled at Fairview State Park, you can purchase tickets for the Otis House for only $4, children and seniors can tour at no charge. Tours are held on the hour and roughly takes about 1 hour to complete.
Once you arrive, visitors will enter through Fairview State Park. Upon admission, you notice the entrance station you can purchase your tickets. Fairview-Riverside is available for camping, water sports, fishing and the perfect location for a picnic with the kids. The park has over 100 campsites, a short nature trail and a large playground directly across from the Otis House.
Once we pulled up to the home, you can easily see why several movies have been filmed at the Otis House. Several large oak trees surround the large historic home which was built in the 1880s as the family home for sawmill owner William Theodore Jay. It was later purchased and renovated as a summer home in the 1930s by Frank Otis.
Upon his until death in 1962, Mr. Otis left the home and 99 acres to the State of Louisiana which was developed into a recreational site for visitors and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
My mother and I arrived eager to tour the inside of the Otis House. Like many Louisiana plantations or historic homes in the area, photography is not permitted inside the home. You can imagine my disappointment but the tour made up for the no photography rule!
Our tour consisted of me, my mother and another guest. Because we were a small group, we felt very comfortable asking questions and learning more about the original homeowners, William Theodore Jay and his family. I love historic homes! Before their passing, my grandparents owned a pre-century home in Pearl River, Louisiana which has many similarities to the Otis House.
Originally the home stood much large, but it is said that parts of the home was beyond repair and were removed by Mr. Otis. Our tour guide took us throughout the home which is separated by time periods including original furniture and photographs of the homeowners and their respected families.
In 2011, the home was closed for renovations but parts of the home including the heart pine flooring is original. A color specialist was brought in to determine the original color of the home and structural repairs were also completed. Pictured below is the outdoor pool which was sealed up for safety purposes.
As I was speaking with our tour guide, we came across an exterior building which was known as a U.S. post office. Mr. Jay, the original homeowner sold the property in 1906 to brothers, Charles and William Houlton. The area became known as Houltonville which included the Johnson & Houlton Store, a U.S. post office which is still located on the property and about 250 sawmill workers.
Our tour guide mentioned one day hoping to use the former post office building to educate local school groups. The Otis House offers educational field trips throughout the school year in local schools. As our tour ended, we saw a large group of students waiting to tour the historic home and laying in the large outdoor playground.
Our adult field trip offered a glimpse of life from 1885 to 1930 and was extremely educational to my mother and myself. I have visited many local area historic homes and plantation and no two are exactly alike. A special thanks to all those who take part in the restoration and daily upkeep of our local State Parks.
We will be add additional content to our Exploring Louisiana series. Until then, you can search #BayouTravel for local, U.S and international travel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Have you visited any historic homes in your area? Are you experiencing local favorites this summer?