Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Break in New Orleans

For Spring Break this year, we decided to drive on down to New Orleans.  We wanted to go somewhere we'd never been and that was within reasonable driving distance.  We had a great time!  The weather was beautiful (except for that one time in the swamp), the food was delicious, the city was beautiful and interesting, and the kids were well-behaved!  And if you want to go somewhere where you can eat lots of great food and get in enough exercise to offset it, let me suggest NOLA.  I thought I'd share a screenshot of my Fitbit email with my weekly stats while we were gone.

We walked a marathon plus!  I was really dreading stepping on the scale when I got home, but I didn't gain a pound, and now I see why!  We did have a car, and they do have public transportation, but we didn't want to pay for parking, the streetcars were mostly full, and the buses were never on time, so we walked a lot.  It's a good way to see the city anyway.

We rented a charming shotgun house on vrbo.com that was located in the Arts/Warehouse district.  It was nice having 2 bedrooms and a kitchen and the house had a lot of character.  And there was a cute coffee shop and cafe/juice bar just a couple of blocks away.  Here are some of the things we did.
  • Audubon Zoo
  • Audubon Aquarium
  • Audubon Insectarium
  • Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour
  • Free Ferry ride across the Mississippi
  • Shopping in the French Quarter, Magazine Street, and the French Market
We bought an Audubon package to save money which included the Zoo, Aquarium, Insectarium, and IMAX theater (which we didn't end up using).  A couple of tips on the Insectarium.  It's located in a federal building, so no knives, sharp objects, or other weapons are allowed.  Well, I had Caroline's Epi-pen and pepper spray in my purse.  At first, they weren't even going to let me bring in the Epi-pen, then they changed their minds.  They wouldn't hold the pepper spray and thankfully we had driven that day, so Mike walked the pepper spray a few blocks back to the car.  Then he got back and realized he had a multi-tool in his pocket.  Back to the car.  Then halfway back, he discovered he'd left his ticket in the car!  So he got a few extra steps in that day.  The other thing about the Insectarium.  DON'T skip the little multi-sensory theater.  We almost did because it didn't look that interesting.  I laughed so much!  It's a cartoon about bugs, but that's not all.  I don't want to spoil the surprise, so I'll just say some of us were jumping out of our seats.  As for the swamp tour, I'd recommend doing that in warmer weather.  The alligators were hibernating (we saw one), and it got a little (ok a lot) chilly zipping down the river getting from one area of the swamp to another.  

Now, to the food.  Oh the food, the heavenly food.  I ate so much seafood, I was starting to worry I might have a reaction!  I was also feeling a little like Forrest Gump....Shrimp Creole, Shrimp and Grits, Shrimp Salad, Stuffed Shrimp, etc., etc. And lets just say I may have eaten one too many pralines.  Here are restaurants/cafes I recommend.

  • Desire Oyster bar for Desire Oysters and Shrimp and Grits
  • Central Grocery Store for the Muffaletta
  • Crabby Jack's for Shrimp Creole
  • The Rum House for the Rum House Salad (I've got to figure out how to recreate it)
  • The Corner Muse for breakfast, coffee, snoballs and snacks
  • Surrey Cafe and Juice Bar for breakfast and fresh squeezed juice
  • Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets
Here are some highlights of the trip in pictures.

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