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Old World Gardens in the Heart of Cajun Country

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Positioned atop a salt dome and overlooking Lake Peigneur, the Rip Van Winkle Gardens feature majestic live oaks, century-old camellias and meandering peacocks. Elaborate pathways lead to three outdoor spaces: a Japanese garden, a modern rose garden and a subtropical garden. Plants and flowers fill the 20-acre estate, and daily guided tours reveal details about the intricate landscapes and indigenous plant life.

Visitors can view a documentary of the history of the gardens in the welcome center, stroll the grounds, have lunch at the café and tour the Joseph Jefferson Mansion.

Built in 1870 and listed on the National Register of Historical Places, the Joseph Jefferson Mansion was the summer home of a New York theater actor famous for his role as Rip Van Winkle. Tours through the 22-room manor house reveal American and French Empire furniture, architectural treasures and period paintings, and a mixture of classic interior styles. The mansion's on-site garden, Rip Van Winkle Gardens, also offers facilities for special events and Acadian cottages for overnight stays.