Holiday estates

The grounds turn into a winter wonderland and a slew of festivities fill the calendar when the holidays roll around at Nottoway Plantation (above) in White Castle. Take an intimate candlelit tour, complete with champagne; make plans to attend the popular tree lighting ceremony Dec. 6—fireworks included; or come dressed in your best to ring in the New Year at the plantation’s annual gala.

Decorated extensively inside and out, the Houmas House in Darrow offers guests a unique, jovial holiday experience. Owner Kevin Kelly says the holidays at the mansion reflect whimsical old-world Christmases of the past. Guests are first greeted with three towering evergreen trees adorned with antique glass ornaments, garlands and fruit. Seasonal specials include exquisite afternoon teas (reservations required) and an exclusive menu at the Carriage House restaurant.

The elves of Magnolia Mound, better known as the Friends of Magnolia Mound, were busy prepping this Nicholson Drive plantation home for the holidays right after Thanksgiving. The festive trimmings will remain up until Jan. 6—the last date of the traditional Christmas season in Creole culture. Though tours are available throughout the month, Dec. 8 is the plantation’s annual Creole Christmas celebration. Entertainment includes music, food, games and live demonstrations. The evening culminates with a bonfire.

The short drive north on U.S. 61 to historic St. Francisville will ready the whole family for a relaxing step back in time. Rosedown Plantation, circa the 1830s, has adorned its grounds, original buildings and inside furnishings in seasonal attire. This month the home will be dressed in 19th-century Christmas décor, including fresh garlands, fruit and nut displays, cypress and cedar wreaths, and potted poinsettias. A special event, Christmas at Rosedown, is scheduled for Dec. 21.