Okay, I really need to wind this up! LOL!
I would have pointed you guys to a blog, but I don't have one, and the only time I write "long winded" is every few years when we've come back from some awesome vacation! :)
Just as a note, we picked March to come to the area in part because I'm wary of travelling in intense heat and humidity. Not so much the comfort issues, (though it played a part) but mainly because Hubby and I are both asthmatic and heard it can get rough breathing in the summer time.
So at this point we're in Breaux Bridge enjoying some Cajun Country, eating "swamp" food, and relaxing in our sweet cottage at Cajun Country Cottages Bed and Breakfast.
During our trip in Houston and New Orleans, I've kept an eye on the weather reports, and now noticed there was a storm coming in with thunder and lightening and the possibility of tornadoes for the weekend. What??? Okay, that could actually be cool... (The rain and thunder parts) but I did call Stephanie the proprietor of the Cottages to see if we needed to worry about a tornado. She said it was very very rare and there'd be shelter if needed. Okee dokee..
We also called Cajun Country Swamp Tours to see if our 5pm tour would still be on the next day and they said it was still on for now as these weather reports can really change hour to hour. Alrighty...
The next morning was cool and a little drizzly, but no big storm... Chris, the other half of the married owners dropped off a picnic basket with our breakfast at our cottage around 8:30 and I made some coffee that was provided in our cottage's little kitchen.
As soon as the gentleman left we heard this really loud buzzing!!!
At the window was the largest and loudest bee I'd ever seen!!! Ack!! Yes, I'm a wimp and since I'd never been bitten by a bee, I had no idea if I was allergic so I was frozen staring at the thing. Hubby said he "thinks" he got stung by a bee once at a kid, but I didn't want him getting bit (asthma can make one a little bit paranoid I'm afraid) so I called the office and Chris came over caught it and let it loose outside. He called it a "Boudin Bee"... said they weren't the regular bee's but something else that don't actually "sting" but sometimes bite, are usually harmless and how when he was a kid he and his brothers would tie little threads to their legs and fly them around! He he… how cute in a "Livin' out in the country" way! :O
We had our simple breakfast provided, (Just a head's up, if you're looking for the gourmet breakfast often provided by B&B's this is not the place. We knew this going in from reading reviews here on TA so it was fine. You're more autonomous here at these Cottages.)
We had planned on driving to Lafayette to the Acadian Village for the afternoon before our Swamp Tour. We heard there would be local musicians doing a Cajun Music Jam, and we definitely wanted to check that out!
It was still pretty early though so we looked up a few things to do in the area and came across the Zydeco breakfast at Cafe Amis. We figured it would be winding down but we wanted to stop in and take a peek. Well, we did more than peek. There was a 5 dollar cover charge each to get in without buying breakfast, which was fine we wanted to hear the band, and OMG they were amazing! There were folks dancing up a storm and we jumped right in! That music... you can't help but move! It was sooooo much fun, absolutely another highlight of our trip for sure! :) If you're ever in Breaux Bridge, DO THIS!!!
The next stop was Lafayette for the afternoon, and this is where we encountered a few glitches... grrr...
(warning, kind of a rant!)
Before heading to Acadian Village, we stopped at the Cathedral of St John for a look, and noticed a little light on our car's dashboard. Well, we had actually noticed it the moment we rented the car, but being unfamiliar with the car, thought it had something to do with turning our headlights on right off the bat. (I often drive with headlights on especially in places I'm not familiar with) It wasn't the check engine light or anything, but noticed it was still on even though at that particular point the headlight had been turned off. Hubby found the manual in the glove compartment and the symbol was "check tire pressure"! (Apparently it's a universal symbol but neither of us had seen one before) We thought of just stopping by a gas station, but instead decided to find an Enterprise in Lafayette. We had to go to the airport and they sent us to a Firestone and we spent our afternoon at the frikken Firestone shop! Turned out there was a very slow leak from a screw, and since the light had been one from the time we picked up the car, he figured the last customer picked it up and it leaked overnight causing the light to go on. You would have thought someone would have noticed before handing us the car! I called the place where we originally rented it, and the guy was apologetic and gave us a discount. Later, I had other folks tell me the guy at the airport should have just put us in another car. Live and learn... should have demanded that one. Didn't think we'd be spending 3 hours doing their job for them!!! Grrrrr.
Oh well, it was annoying but on the up side we got to spend a little time chatting with a few friendly locals at the shop and that's always fun!
By the time we got to Acadian Village, the musicians were gone and the weather had turned a little nastier. Oh well... we stopped at Poche's Market and bought a couple of Boudin Balls, (I have GOT to learn how to make these!!) for a snack and brought them back to our cottage. I called the swamp tour guys and unfortunately our tour was cancelled. Boo… We had them pencil us in for a 9 am tour the next morning as we were planning on getting back to the city in the afternoon. On never mind, we had cajun food to eat and more dancing to do!! :)
We got a late start due to the cottage being way to cozy and indulging in that double whirlpool! So we hopped in the car with tentative plans to go to Pont Breaux's Cajun Restaurant for dinner and dancing. We called them about 8:30 and she warned us they were pretty busy, so we ended up driving back to Lafayette and went to another place we were interested in, Prejean's restaurant. They had some guys playing Cajun music and the food was really good! We had Catfish and more gumbo and some crab filled mushroom appetizer. Oh and just a note to say my hubby does NOT usually eat seafood, but he ate seafood on this trip! :)
I still wanted to see an old fashioned Cajun Country dance hall, where I aimed to learn the two step! I had already seen the GREAT reviews for La Poussiere for "nightlife" in Breaux Bridge so even though it was getting a little late, (10 pm is not usually "late" for "nightlife") we went to kick up our heels!
While we were not by any means expecting the kind of night life you'd get in a city, this place was... well... at least this night... hmmm... I'll say it was really sweet. :)
They only charged us 5 bucks each to get in, (normally 10) because it was getting late. The crowd there were mostly seniors sitting at rows of tables with folding chairs and they were watching one couple, (two ladies) dancing! LOL!
We could have been discouraged, but darn it, we wanted to dance! We asked someone if the ladies were doing the two step, and they said yes, so we copied them and got on the dance floor and we did the two step in an authentic Cajun dance hall in Breaux Bridge! Yay!
Actually, the band was quite good, and that little two-step gave us quite a work out! That means I can eat more beignets! YES!
We took a break and bought ourselves a drink at the "bar"... Hubby had a Bud, and I had a can of Diet Coke. Sweeeeeet!
The band then started playing a mellow waltz and suddenly the dance floor was full of seniors going around a circle doing a three step. We joined in for a while, and it was a hoot, but we cut out of there and went back to our romantic little cottage. :)
We ended up NOT doing the 9am swamp tour on Lake Martin unfortunately. I was skeptical about making it as we're not "morning people", and when we looked outside it was foggy, and really windy. But most of all my allergies were on fire and my eyes wouldn't stop watering! Besides, the bed was warm and comfy and so was hubs. :)
We had decided to pass on the B&B's breakfast and instead went back to Cafe Amis, for a leisurely brunch before heading back to NO, and we're so glad we did! Again, one of the things we just love when we travel anywhere is talking to the locals and we had a wonderful conversation with the couple sitting next to us and the waitress who (of course) went to school with that couple's daughter! :) I told my hubby “I want to move to Breaux Bridge!”
Oh and the food was delicious!! We shared some Cajun Cornmeal Mush with sugar cane syrup, and of course more Boudin (couldn't get enough of that!) in a patty form on an english muffin with eggs and sweet potato pancakes.... oh oh... better do some more dancing!
We drove back to the city and had to decide whether to try and catch the Stella yelling contest that was supposed to happen in Jackson Square or try to go for another swamp tour since the weather was clearing up.
We decided on the Honey Island Swamp Tour and although I would have preferred that the tour on Lake Martin would have worked out, it still ended up being really nice.
At first I was disappointed because the main river area literally ran behind a residential neighborhood complete with a Century 21 "for sale" sign on someone's property. Things took a positive turn though once we got inside some of those "sloughs" where the foliage got really interesting and beautiful; so otherworldly. And even though it wasn't the height of alligator season, we saw a pretty good sized one basking on a log, and a bunch of baby ones nestled in the weeds on the bank, so that was really cool!
Oh and we also saw a bunch of nasty snakes. Eek!
Our last night in NOLA... (noooooooo!!!!!) we stayed at Ashton's B&B. A gorgeous home and a room with another whirlpool tub! (Did I mention we're suckers for those things??)
When we checked in we were greeted by Patrick the owner and his two kitty's "Mooch" and "Boots". We meandered around the house a bit, and then went for a coffee in the dining room. Enter the twilight music...
In the dining room was a friendly old gentleman trying to figure out the single cup coffee maker machine. I helped him out, then we got chatting. "Where are you visiting from" etc. etc.
The gentleman said he was from New Orleans, but now lives in California...
Me: "Oh we live in California too. Southern California."
Old Guy: "Me too! Where do you live?"
Me: "Mission Viejo"I
Old Guy: "I live in Newport Beach"
Me: "Really? I work in Newport Beach at (blah blah" restaurant)"
Old Guy: "For heaven's sake, I'm in there a couple of mornings a week!"
Me: "OMG, I thought you looked familiar!"
I don't work the early mornings so he wasn't one of my regulars therefore I didn't recognize him right away, but still! What???
Turns out he's 92, and is a writer, had met Tennesee Williams a few times and he says he's now finally getting noticed! Now THAT's an optimist! :)
For our last meal in NOLA, we were craving a burger bad! We finally had to take a break from seafood and gumbo! Of course I didn't doubt we'd find a great one in the FQ and that we did over at Yo Mama's Bar and Grill! We didn't have big plans and it was getting late by then so we just walked around a little more then headed back to Ashton's.
The next morning was bittersweet. We packed up and checked out of the B&B after a scrumptious breakfast and decided to do some last minute shopping at French Market. We still had our rental car as we arranged to have it returned to the Louie Armstrong airport, so we drove down Esplanade and luckily found parking right near the waterfront behind the market.
We bought a few more trinkets and had one last beignet and chicory coffee at Cafe Du Monde and bid farewell to one of the most fun and interesting city's we've ever been to!
I know we've only scratched the surface.. and can't wait to return some day!
My uncle in Houston has hinted at us moving to Texas... he was tempting us with newspaper ads containing homes for sale and tech jobs for hubby. I'll tell ya, besides adoring my uncle and his wife, a big plus would be the relatively close proximaty to New Orleans! :)
Alas the heat and humidity... but one does acclimate right? ;)
Thanks for reading!