Louisiana Travel | Places to Visit: Rip Van Winkle Gardens


Rip Van Winkle Gardens

The 25-acre semi-tropical picturesque gardens of Rip Van Winkle come alive with thousands of colorful blooms –irises, magnolias, hibiscus, camellias, azaleas, thousands of springtime bulbs and a breathtaking array of annuals.  As if not to be outdone by the stunning scenery surrounding them, peacocks regally strut by proudly displaying their iridescent blue-green colored plumage.

The three connecting gardens each have their own persona:  a Japanese Garden, heavy with Oriental ambience; a modern Rose Garden; and a garden of seasonal plants enhanced by subtropical plantings of bamboo and banana plants, magnolia and sago palms.

On the grounds is the Jean Lafitte Tree where three buried treasure chests were found in 1928.  The treasure is believed to have been buried by the infamous Pirate Jean Lafitte.

Joseph Jefferson Mansion 

The centerpiece of the Rip Van Winkle Gardens and 350-year-old oaks is the Joseph Jefferson Mansion.  The mansion was built in the early 1870s as a winter home for the renowned stage actor who was famous for playing the character of Rip Van Winkle.  The grand mansion is an architectural treasure reflecting Moorish, Steamboat Gothic, French and Southern Plantation styles.

A tour of the 22-room mansion reveals memorabilia from Jefferson’s acting career and period antique furniture and paintings, including three paintings of the actor.

Café Jefferson

Enjoy lunch gazing upon the breathtaking view of the Rip Van Winkle Gardens and Lake Peigneur at Café Jefferson.  The menu includes sandwiches and poboys, a variety of salads, seafood and Louisiana dishes.  Finish lunch off with a decadent dessert such as Louisiana pecan pie or Crème Brulee Cheesecake.

Rip Van Winkle Gardens &
Joseph Jefferson Mansion
5505 Rip Van Winkle Road
Jefferson Island, Louisiana