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Tag: ‘New Orleans’

No Matter Where Your Travels Take You . . . .

Posted: February 8th, 2012 by

Who would have thought that February, which many do not consider the ideal month to travel in to also be one of the most popular months of the year for tourism.

Certainly you have to list the sunny shores of Florida and the Daytona 500, which happens to be February 26th this year, as one of the key reasons to travel south, especially if you live in the frigid northern climes.  Just being able to shed all those extra layers of clothing and drink in the sea air is enough reason to trek down I-75 or I-95.

If Florida is not on your mind, then head to New York?  Sure, the weather may not be ideal, but if a little romance is on your agenda, then Niagara Falls, the honeymoon capital of the world (or at least in the U.S. of A) or New York City with its bright lights, Broadway shows and mega shopping opportunities would be a perfect alternative.

Why not Pennsylvania, you ask?  Well, why not?  Even where the grass has been greener can be serene, when heading to the Amish countryside as you travel along the back roads and by-ways.  

A little further south, there is always Virginia, the state which touts “Virginia is for Lovers”  . . . where you can watch the sun rise over the ocean near the seaside and heading further east see the shadows fall over the lush (verdant green in the spring, summer and fall months) rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley as the sun goes down.  Now if that isn’t romantic, I’m just not sure what is.

Romance it seems has no season, just a reason for traveling to that special place.  And if you’re unsure where to stop for a good night’s sleep, click here for some suggestions.

By the way, we haven’t forgotten New Orleans; after all, one of the most popular tourism events of the year happens in the big easy . . . Mardi Gras will kick off before Lent, which occurs on the 22nd of February this year, so if watching colorful parades and being involved in all the gala is something you enjoy, then head to Louisiana!

A Weekend in New Orleans:Family Fun in the Big Easy

Posted: April 21st, 2010 by

Vintage Postcard Blue Room Roosevelt Hotel, Flickr Photo by howieluvzus

I recently visited New Orleans with my 9 year old son. My Mother who was attending a conference there invited us to join her and we gladly accepted. We were three generations, each viewing this landmark city from a different perspective. My mother, who grew up in rural Mississippi has memories of a post war era boom when the Fairmont Hotel was host to the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. For her, a trip to New Orleans represented glamour and glitz, shopping at the big department stores on Canal Street and shows at the Saengar Theater. We stayed in the newly renovated Roosevelt Hotel, formerly the Fairmont Hotel. After an extensive renovation, the hotel re-opened last year. The ubiquitous Sazerac Bar, restored to its former grandeur still boasts the bullet hole from a failed assassination attempt on famed Louisiana Politician, Huey P. Long. 

My memories of this great city are somewhat different. As a young woman, I remember the 1984 World’s fair and the revitalization that came with it. New luxury hotels were constructed alongside the former Grand Dames and the Riverwalk became a new center for tourism. Of course the famous Vieux Carre remains constant, with its mysterious courtyards and secret alleyways, world-class restaurants and street performers; it remains an ever-changing panorama. Having lived for several years, later in my life, in the Riverbend district of New Orleans, I wanted to share my memories of walks in Audubon Park, rides on the St. Charles Streetcar and breakfast at the Camellia Grill with my son. 

St. Charles Streetcar, Flickr Photo by Mr. Littlehand

He had opposing ideas. New Orleans from a child’s perspective is a little different. As a product of the technology era, he sulked the entire streetcar ride from Canal Street to Audubon Park because I wouldn’t let him bring his Nintendo DS. Even though the Spring weather was as perfect as it gets in sultry New Orleans, he complained about the noise and having the windows down. “Why we can’t we have air conditioning?” he lamented.We persevered to the Audubon Zoo and Botanical Gardens which, despite a few of the exhibits being closed for renovation, seems to have rebounded quite nicely post-Katrina. 

Later as we enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the French Quarter the allure of the Big Easy began to gradually creep in. As the noise and inconvenience of public transportation receded, the ambiance of New Orleans began to take over. From the freshly baked French bread to the alligator sausage gumbo, to the jazz music humming in the background, my son began to feel the unmistakable magic. Although, the secret alleyways sometimes seemed more frightening than mysterious, and he had to avert his gaze from some of the more risqué establishments on Bourbon Street, a new generation discovered the overwhelming allure of the Big Easy. On our last day he pleaded for just one more night, and another chance to ride the St. Charles Streetcar! 

Beignets at Cafe Du Monde, Flickr Photo by chuckyeager

Here are some tips for traveling with children. It you are on a budget there are affordable options for lodging. Be sure to include a streetcar ride, you can take the Greenline down St. Charles Avenue to Audubon Park and catch the free Zoo Shuttle to the Zoo. Also, not to be missed are the Aquarium of the Americas and the IMAX theatre located near the Riverwalk. There is a new Insectarium in this complex as well. Tickets are available which cover all four attractions. Just a few blocks from Canal Street, accessible from the Greenline, is the new Children’s Museum which provides hands on exploration and interesting exhibits for the kids. Dining out need not be difficult, there are so many options in all price ranges and  I found most restaurants offer children’s menus to please even the pickiest eaters. Don’t miss the Cafe DuMonde for beignets, a delicious fried doughnut drenched in powdered sugar. With all this activity remember to include plenty of down time for swimming and relaxing by the pool.