There will be more photographs in this post than normal.....they will speak thousands of words about this property and its natural inhabitants.
Now...on with the tour. I didn't actually take the house tour...it's an "add on" fee. There was something else here I wanted to spend my money on. But, as you can see, it is a beautiful home! The setting and landscaping are wonderful!
There is a small area of the property where the "help" and former slave cabins are located. As I was talking to local fellow who knows all about the plantation, a maintenance man drove by on a golf cart. He told me his name is Isaac and he is about 70 years old. Isaac was born on the property and has been working there his entire life...same as his father who is now 93 and just stopped his mowing job last year. Isaac's grandfather was also a lifetime resident and employee of the plantation. I was really wishing I could interview Isaac! I also came upon the "Historic African American Cemetery" on the property. There were probably about 15 old headstones of all shapes and sizes.
I took a quicker tour through the gardens and conservatory than I normally would because I wanted to get to the next area before other tourists. But, needless to say, the gardens are beautiful!
Now on to the ultimate destination on the property...the Audubon Swamp Garden! All three words sound intriguing -- how could it not be good???
First of all, this is WAY more than a "garden"! It encompasses acres...swamp channels, forest and a very large swamp-ish pond...almost a lake, I would say. Immediately I start seeing waterfowl. I won't go into every twist and turn of the walk. Just let me say, it wasn't hard to see and photograph these birds. They are everywhere! It was really difficult to narrow down the photos to just these. This is NOT a contrived garden...it's a completely natural setting and habitat for these aquatic birds. The fellow I met earlier said this isn't near what you see in other months of the year as many birds are still fledglings and not fully grown. The blue herons, for example, will be at least 5 feet tall as adults.
Enough talk...let's look! (Don't forget...you can click on photos for a larger view.)
These are probably my favorite two photographs. Squawking over territory. Note, in the first one, the large bird in the background....couldn't care less about the squabble! Just another nice day up here for him...gazing at the view. The second photo shows the disgruntled loser getting ready to find a new spot that's much less hassle!
Last but not least, the lowly cardinal that no one probably photographs....among all these "exotics", he has found a spot, too!
On part of my walk, a snake slithered through the leaves and up into a tree. Too fast to get a picture of his head.... anyone know what this is?
Oh...did I mention, a small alligator ran across my path at one point on the perimeter of the pond? That was fun! But not as fun as seeing this one crawling up onto the sun ramp right as I was about the leave the area! So, I saw my gator after all! That same fellow told me they put these ramps in the pond to deter the alligators from coming onto the pathways like they used to....seems visitors didn't respond to them very well! LOL! Then I saw two menacing eyes poking out of the middle of the pond...