Friday, April 05, 2013

30 Days of Why I Love New Orleans - Day 11

The Myrtles  (Day trip 1 from NOLA!)

    While I’ll cover more plantations tomorrow, I’m going to start with the Myrtles; a
plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana, near and dear to my heart.

                We all know that authors do whacky things for promo and that book trailers are all the rage now. To introduce the Krewe of Hunters series, we decided to do a trailer at a plantation. A haunted plantation, of course. My friends, the Peace River Ghost Hunters, were also able to come up to do a “ghost expedition.”  All these things collided in a wonderful weekend at the plantation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
To film we had to have the crew, Bridget from the PR company, and family and friends who were willing to play ghosts, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

                So, I’m going to back track now. “Plantation” as a word really refers to a farm. We’ll get to more of that tomorrow when we do big, little, grand, and mostly work farm.

                The Myrtles is beautiful. It’s not the biggest or the grandest, but it’s on that scale.

                Building on the plantation was first begun in 1796. Judge David Bradford—a leader of the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania—fled south to this beautiful spot in Louisiana and built the north wing of the house. It the early 1800s,
his daughter and her husband added a “gallery”—a first level porch that runs 107 feet. When the sun is falling and dusk is coming, it’s an especially lovely place to sit and enjoy one of the rockers kept there. The house was sold again in 1834 and the south wing was added on.

                Needless to say, in the two centuries-plus since the house was built, there has been war and calamity and mayhem—and murder. The Myrtles oozes with ghost stories. Whether you decide to go and stay and just stop and explore, you can take a few tours. One, see the house. Two, wait until the daylight is gone and listen to all the tales about the ghosts.

                Staying here is an absolutely charming thing to do—whether you are or aren’t into ghosts. The house and the grounds are lovely. The house is filled with antique treasures from furniture to decoration and standing in the midst of it all, you can get a real feel for antebellum life in this gracious mansion.

There’s a full service restaurant right there, too, if you want to take a tour and stop for a bite to eat. The restaurant is the Carriage House, and everything I ate there was wonderful.

The Myrtles can be taken for weddings, receptions, and other parties—or rented by crazy authors to create book promo videos!

I started off with Dennis, my husband, in the Judge Clarke Woodruff Suite. It’s upstairs above the foyer in the main house and you reach it by a handsome staircase. That’s the only room that allows you access to the foyer after the tours are over for the day. There’s
an extra bed in a passage room there, and a private bath and it’s really nice.

It’s grand and sweeping, and really wonderful and I loved it. It’s truly a suite—and if you take it, that space is all yours! But—if you happen to be of the cowardly persuasion--it’s lonely, too. So, when dusk fell and darkness swept around, I really thought about that. Just the two of us . . . that whole upper floor. And Dennis is well aware that I’m afraid of anything that goes bump in the night.

I wound up spending most of my time on the ground floor, in with Connie and my daughter, Bryee-Annon, in the General David Bradford Suite. It has a sitting room and two of the verandahs adjoin the suite. It’s gorgeous. Hey, the costumes were all down there. And there’s safety in numbers, the way I see it!

There are four more rooms available in the main house, and then more rooms and cottages and even two bedroom facilities available, too. No matter where you stay, the view is beautiful. And the tour is charming and enlightening and really takes you back to a different era—even understanding that a lot of work with trying to appear so elegant and as if you didn’t work! The ghost stories we heard were both chilling and sad. I won’t give those
away—you’ll have to get to the Myrtles.

Of course, we were there to work. There was costuming, and filming, and lots of fun involved. And then Scott and Sprout and the Peace River Ghost Hunters went to work. Now I love them because they’re never out to prove something is haunted—they’re quick to tell you when you’re seeing a shadow or when a thump, thump, thump is just someone’s phone on vibrate. They take pictures; they record, and they leave cameras for when the house is quiet and all are sleeping to see what appears in the wee hours. All I know is that at one point, I’m sure I did hear something. Am I impressionable? Yes. But, writing books and doing the amount of things I do in pursuit of them, I am a skeptic. I want to know why a ghost would haunt a property.

Well, there are many reasons at the Myrtles!

The Myrtles is one of the Upper Mississippi River plantations. It’s at 7747 Highway 61, St. Francisville, Louisiana, about two hours from NOLA. Just hop I-10 to the 110 in Baton Rouge and then on to highway 61 and it’s not a bad drive—112 miles from the city.
There’s a gorgeous brick courtyard for sitting and reading, enjoying coffee, a soft drink, or a cocktail. A gazebo looks over a lake and there’s an absolutely charming bridge there—and ten acres to roam filled with towering oaks.

The owner and the management are friendly and helpful—it’s like a lovely past-life home away from home, a wonderful place to go to find history, peace, tranquility, beauty—and maybe a ghost or two! 
I'm very proud of the film we did during our stay at the Myrtles.  Let me present The Krewe of Hunter Series.  

No comments: