The intriguing history of the plantation, once home to sugar magnate John Hampden Randolph and his 11 children
Walks on the levee, with views of the barges and other ships plying the Mississippi
The understated, updated elegance of the cottages, with porches and rocking chairs for reading books on local history
The austere White Ballroom, viewed on the guided tour of the main plantation house
What To Know
Nottoway has 40 guestrooms, seven in the main plantation house and the rest in cottages and outbuildings scattered about the grounds
Restaurant choice is limited; the restaurant on the estate is delightful but falls somewhat short of New Orleans standards
Nottaway’s grounds have a tidy, modern resort feel; fans of rustic patina and shabby chic may be disappointed
Nottoway hosts as many as 300 weddings a year, so be prepared for festiveness, especially on weekends
Parking on site
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Handsome 19th-century plantation house by the Mississippi River levee, just 90 minutes from New Orleans
Just 90 minutes from New Orleans, Nottoway Plantation is an enclave of Old South elegance nicely updated for travelers who want contemporary conveniences. The intimate resort clusters around an impressive 1859 plantation house designed by prominent New Orleans architect Henry Howard. It stands out not only for its grand scale but for its intricate Italianate style, 15-foot ceilings and cypress wood structure harvested from nearby swamps. The handsome, leafy grounds abut the Mississippi River levee, and unlike many former plantation houses in these parts, the property also comprises modern outbuildings, such as guest cottages, a small recreation/fitness building and function spaces for weddings, which are a specialty here.
Bed and Bath
There are just seven guestrooms in the main building, with the rest spread among cottages on the grounds. Duplex Cottages echo the traditional style of the antebellum mansion, with dark wood floors, antique-style furnishings and heavy drapes in gold and chocolate shades, but all have WiFi, flat-screen TVs and spacious modern bathrooms. Both the Carriage Houses and Cottages have that Southern essential: a porch with rockers overlooking a small pond.
The grounds — down to a handful of acres from the several thousand acres of sugar cane at the plantation’s 19th-century peak — invite exploring. There’s the family cemetery where John Randolph and his wife are buried, a small parterre-style garden and a pool within a bricked-in courtyard. Nottoway has the feel of a small cruise ship (there's even a salon offering manicures and hair styling), a sensibility that extends to the ground-floor Mansion restaurant, where the best seats for dinner are in the glassed-in area facing the towering oak trees.
In the Area
Take an early morning tour of the plantation house, when the light is soft and the sun slants in through the windows, then go for a drive along River Road, with stops to scramble up the levee to see what’s on the other side. While Nottoway is one of the South’s most impressive antebellum mansions, there are many more to explore in the area; check out Oak Valley, Laura Plantation and Madewood. Go farther afield on a daytrip to Baton Rouge, where you can take a tour of the state capitol, a de facto monument to populist governor Huey Long, or hunt for alligators among the cypress trees and Spanish moss during a swamp tour in the intricate, prehistoric Atchafalaya Basin.