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Sunny Travels: We Hit New Orleans

by Will / April, 16 2014 01:30

Block Island Organics sunscreen bottle in New Orleans apartment
Apartment on St. Charles in New Orleans

From time to time we like to talk about something not related to sunscreen, this week is one of those times.  Instead, let's talk about The Big Easy.  Kelly and I were there this past week for a wedding.  I must admit it wasn't my first time in New Orleans as I went to college there but it's always great to go back!  Particularly when a bunch of old friends are in town.


Our trip started on St. Charles with a place to stay.  Four couples ended up renting out two floors of a house which turned out to be a great idea.  It allowed us more space to hang out it, made it easy to come and go and made catching up a cinch with the large kitchen and living area. The photo to the left was taken inside the apartment and as you can see, it was decorated nicely.


On the second day the bride and groom arranged a golf outing in Audubon Park.  Audubon is in the Uptown / Garden District area and we weren't too far away, or so we figured, and started hoofing it up St. Charles with another couple but as we got closer, we realized we might not make our tee time.  Checking my phone I saw I had a text and voicemail from the groom asking where we were.  I turned to Kelly and we both broke into a jog from what Google Maps says is about a mile away and made it just in time.  Golf itself was a lot of fun and I'd highly recommend both the course and the park itself.  It has a wonderful tree lined walking / running path that encircles the whole park, at one end is the zoo which is great for kids, the golf course is short yet long enough to present a challenge and all in all it's a great way to spend an afternoon.

Block Island Organics sunscreen bottle in New Orleans apartment
New Orleans Roman Candy Cart


Golf done, the group had lunch at the clubhouse restaurant in the park (open to everyone and surprisingly good food) and on our walk back to the apartment we encountered a New Orleans legend since 1915 - The Roman Candy cart.  You can find this horse drawn cart all around the city.  I recall often seeing it Uptown in my college days.  The candy is made and sold in the cart itself and consists of long strips of taffy rolled in wax paper one for a dollar.  We shared a stick of chocolate on the way home...well, I ate most of it.


The next day we hit the French Quarter Festival.  A four or five day event, they set up a number of music stages and food stalls around The Quarter.  We decided to walk our way down there which took a little longer than we expected, but the stroll down Magazine Street was nice.  If you do it, I advise stepping into one of the many Magazine Street cafes for a cup of coffee to go.  On the way down we passed the National WWII Museum which turns out is in New Orleans because somewhere over 80 or 90 percent of all the boats used in the war were made in the area.  We didn't have a chance to stop this day, but I'll get back to it in a bit.

New Orleans French Quarter Festival sage 2014
New Orleans French Quarter Festival


The real reason we went to The Quarter wasn't the festival, that was a great side benefit, but because Kelly wanted to experience a true New Orleans institution - Cafe Du Monde.  Beignets and coffee in an outdoor setting, I can't think of a better combination.  I highly advise dunking the beignets in your coffee.  This is a true treat and can't miss for any New Orleans trip.


After Cafe Du Monde we explored The French Market which has great food stalls, art and souvenirs.  I grabbed a chocolate macaroon for $1 and it was pretty darn tasty.


By then it was getting late and we had to make our way back to the apartment to get ready for the wedding but man did my feet hurt.  Instead of walking we took the much loved streetcar back up St. Charles.  It brought back a flood of memories.  It's unique sound, the way it trundles up the streets, the characters you'll find onboard, its beautiful construction and decor - with all that you really can't miss.  It's quite the pleasant ride and another staple of the city that any trip should include.  Plus, at $1.25 per ride or $3 for the day it's a good deal.  Try to bring exact change as the driver can't give you any but if you can't, often a fellow passenger will help out.

Beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans
Beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde

Inside a New Orleans streetcar
New Orleans streetcar


We did do one more thing before the evening's wedding, got snow balls!!!  Snow balls are shaved ice with flavored syrup.  I think they were actually invented in New Orleans but I'm not 100% sure.  There are a number of shops around the city where you can grab them and we went to Hansen's Sno-Bliz on Tchoupitoulas.  When we got there, there was a line out the door which I took as a good sign.  I wasn't disappointed with my half cream of blueberry and half cream of strawberry snow ball and would highly recommend Hansen's or another one of the many shops on a hot day.


The next day, after what was a beautiful wedding reception in an extremely charming venue, we had a little breakfast and spent most of the day walking Magazine Street.  Magazine is a long stretch that runs through the Garden District and Uptown.  It's known for it's shopping, coffee houses, restaurants and bars.  Kelly was particularly excited by the shopping although she decided to hold back, much to my delight - ha, on most purchases.  One spot I liked was District. Donuts. Sliders. Brew.  Their donuts are pretty darn good.


In the evening we hit up another classic New Orleans experience: Rebirth Brass Band at Tipitina's.  I don't know exactly how to describe Rebirth but they are awesome to see live.  The crowd really gets into it and often the whole band comes off stage and plays amongst the crowd.  If you can't catch them at Tip's, they have a weekly residence on Tuesday nights at the Maple Leaf.


Finally, the next day it was time to leave.  We did have a few extra hours and made our way back to Cafe Du Monde for another round of beignets and coffee.  On the way we stopped at the National WWII Museum and while we didn't have time to fully go in, we were able to explore the exhibits in the various lobbies. I definitely want to come back and see the whole museum.  Plus, if you are hungry the museum restaurant is pretty darn good.


So that was our trip. Anyone else out there want to share their New Orleans experience?

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