One of the best keep secrets of Iberia Parish is Jefferson Island.
The island is home to the Joseph Jefferson Mansion and Rip Van Winkle Gardens. The place is open 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Tour of the island begins with a stroll through the 15-acre garden which features several different themed areas right on the shore of Lake Peigneur.
While wandering through the gardens you will also encounter numerous peacocks and other animals.
Mike Richard, the Stewart for Jefferson Island say, "I have a big collection of Blue Indian Peacocks and they have been nesting here for 30 years and they’re quite showy and they love to show off to everybody, especially now during the breeding season and they’re in full bloomage and the photographers love these spectacular birds."
Another part of the gardens is Rip’s Rookery. The Rookery is home to thousands of wading birds that now nest on the property and offers some amazing photography opportunities.
After touring the gardens you can go inside and see the Joseph Jefferson house. The house was built nearly 150 years ago as a winter retreat for Joseph Jefferson.
Jefferson was the renowned stage actor who portrayed Rip Van Winkle all around the world. The house is 3 stories and has 10 main rooms, including a couple bedrooms and a men’s and women’s parlor.
It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.