This past (and currently ongoing) winter was the harshest, snowiest winter Chris & I have been alive for. Windchills, negative temperatures, and impassible roads kept Henry and I cooped up inside our cozy farmhouse the majority of the time. Chris had to go out and brave the elements at least twice a day to tend to our cows and calves. So it's not a coincidence that we found ourselves sitting in front of the computer booking travel to somewhere, anywhere warmer. We chose New Orleans, Louisiana to be our destination. My Uncle Doug and Aunt Ann live about an hour and a half's drive southwest of New Orleans, and a trip to visit them had been on my must-do list for a while.
We left Chicago on Tuesday morning and landed in New Orleans right around lunchtime. We had nowhere to go and all day to get there, as they say. Our first order of business was to make the 50 mile journey to the Oak Alley Plantation outside of Vacherie, LA. The plantation home was built in 1839. The plantation itself pre-dates the home by about 100 years. We walked it's grounds at a leisurely pace all afternoon, taking time to sit in the shade of it's beautiful 300+ year old live oaks. The oaks created an archway that led straight to the Mississippi from the front door of the mansion. Being the history buffs that we are, this was the perfect way to start our little vacation. Henry was very excited that he could actually roam free in a space larger than our living room for the first time in months. Now that I think of it, this was his first experience with walking and playing on grass. By the end of the day, we couldn't get him to let us hold him. He'd tasted too much freedom! Below are a couple of my favorite iPhone shots of the day.
We spent the last hour or so of disappearing daylight in the French Quarter. We walked up and down the same street trying to decide on where to eat. When we couldn't make up our minds, we plopped down at a table under Cafe du Monde's canopy and ordered us up some beignets. 3 orders of beignets, to be exact. I enjoyed mine with a cup of cafe au lat. On our walk back to the car, we spotted a restaurant called the Gumbo Shop. After a quick and spicy dinner, we called it a day.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from our 1st day. I wish I'd taken more photos throughout the trip, but, honestly, its super hard to get your camera out of its case when you're already carrying a diaper bag, pushing a stroller, and trying to chase after a 1 year old. Next trip I'll be more diligent about it.
The next day was the 3rd and final day in New Orleans for our little family of 3. We were hopping a flight on Friday morning for Dallas so we could rent a car and drive north to Oklahoma. A few of our calves were selling on a sale there and we wanted to present for it. So.. Friday! Friday we went back to the Quarter and walked around the French Market. I fell in love with my soulmate of a hat and paid tourist price for it. And I don't even care.. I'm that in LOVE! Anyway.. we road the St. Charles street streetcar into the Garden District, which was fun and gorgeous. The streetcar had been restored to exactly how it looked in the 1920s. Disappointingly, the city was doing some work on the tracks so we had to turn around and head back downtown without seeing the more prominent mansions on the street and Tulane's campus. That afternoon, we drove towards Slidell for a swamp tour. Chris and his siblings had their hearts set on this tour and they were not disappointed. It was cold and breezy so the alligators weren't super active but we did manage to see one. The tour guide fed it a marshmallow 4 feet in front of my face! So ya, check that off the bucket list.
We really enjoyed our time in NOLA. We will be going back soon, if I have anything to say about it. Visits to my aunt and uncle are few and far between and that needs to change. Plus, I didn't get to go to any of the museums/landmarks I'd dreamt about visiting due to our short time there.