Five Days in New Orleans (pt 1)

It seems like I say this with every post – but I honestly cannot believe that it has been months since I last published something. There are so many places I’ve explored in the last few months, that I hope to share with you all soon – including my time in Kansas City and back home in NYC.

Today, though, I’m excited to share my adventures in New Orleans over Spring Break, which are fresh in my mind. My week in the Big Easy felt like a dream. First – there was sunshine, which has become a rarity in Cleveland. Secondly, there was warmth. Thirdly, the food was amazing, and the people were generous and kind. While the streets of NoLa are famous for allowing open containers of alcohol, there is so much more to the city than just hurricanes and fishbowls. (But if that’s your thing – go for it!)

Since this post turned out to be so long, I’ve decided to split it up into multiple posts. This is part 1, chronicling what we did for Day 1-2. I’ve attached a little chart below that shows an overview of our whole trip! 🙂

NoLaItineraryFinal

Day 1
We landed in MSY airport at 10:30AM on a Monday, and got to our hotel at 11:30AM. We stayed at the Marriott at New Orleans. We were able to check in our bags with the concierge while they were finalizing our rooms. The hotel is in downtown NoLa, and 10 minutes away from French Quarter. My only complaint is that free WiFi in the rooms would have been nice. (It’s 2018! C’mon now, Marriott!).

For lunch, we went to Bon Ton Café for some authentic Cajun food. For dinner, we made a reservation at MayPop, a hip Asian-American-Cajun-Creole fusion restaurant. The food at both restaurants were delicious and worth every penny!

We did some light shopping at Canal Place and explored the French Quarter at night. While we were in the area, we couldn’t help stopping by the famous Café du Monde for some late-night beignets and café au lait. (Pro-tip: I’d recommend going at night to beat the lines. The café is 24 hours. We snagged a table for 5 in about 10 minutes at around 9:30PM.)

After filling our tummies with beignets, we decided to walk around Jackson Square and the surrounding French Quarter. We didn’t stay out too late, since we had been travelling since 6AM (EST) and were in need of some beauty sleep!

Day 2
Our objective for the trip was to blend both vacation and exploration. We typically woke up around 8-9AM, which I thought was a reasonable yet productive time for break.

We stumbled upon Palace Café for an early lunch. Just like all the other meals we’d had in New Orleans so far, it was delicious and were inspired to come back for a second time the next day.

After lunch, we spent our noon at the Audubon Aquarium. We purchased the Audubon Experience pass ($45), which gets you into the aquarium, zoo, and insectarium within 30-days of purchase. You even get to watch a documentary at the Entergy Giant Screen Theater the same day you visit the aquarium.

My favorites were the white alligator, the sea otters, and the Amazon Rainforest exhibit.

After the aquarium, we took a siesta at the hotel before heading back out to French Quarter. We had an afternoon snack at Café Beignet on Bourbon Street in Musical Legends Park. The beignets were too dense and a little bit undercooked, so it wasn’t my favorite. I did enjoy the café au lait and the live jazz band playing.

For dinner, we went to Luke. I’m still salivating over the magnificent stuffed p&j oysters! I think that is hands down my favorite dish of my NoLa stay, other than the beignets of course.

After dinner, we checked out the night life on Bourbon street and any quirky gift shops. Since we lived so close to FQ, we decided that we’d try to explore some part of it every night after dinner.

I’ve got so much more from my NoLa adventures that I can’t wait to share with you all! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little sneak peak of my five days in the Big Easy, and hope to see you back here soon. 🙂

Fin.

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A Day at the Villa

The story of a woman traveling to find herself is a literary cliché. It usually starts with the woman, successful but unfulfilled and in an emotionally unsatisfying relationship, who breaks off from everything to travel. In her exotic journey, she discovers true love and experiences spiritual (and gustatory) awakening.

I cannot say that my Miami travels have done that much. It was, however, incredibly refreshing to travel down South and experience the beautiful sunshine and clean water, especially having lived in cloudy Cleveland for so long.

Miami is an incredibly photogenic city; and I am very glad that I brought Marcus along to document it all. Because the large volume of photographs taken, I will be splitting the trip into multiple posts.

I was incredibly lucky to have traveled with some wonderful friends, who were super flexible to changes in our schedule, and adventurous enough to go to (sometimes shady) places with me.

On our first full day, we visited Villa Vizcaya – the home of industrialist James Deering – in the beautiful Coconut Grove. I took a few snaps of the interior, which is of a mix of Asian, European, and American furnishings. We spent most of our time outdoors, in the Italian Renaissance-styled Garden, where we had some mini-photoshoots.

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Fin.

Writer’s note:
(1) Check out this interesting article on privlit, specifically Eat, Pray, Love, here.

(2) We visited the Cuban later that day, as well, and was lucky enough to bask in the art of Luis Cruz Azaceta
(3) We also watched Cargo by Kareem J. Mortimer, which, in short, was an incredibly memorable film that takes place against the backdrop of a refugee crisis. 
(4) A full itinerary can be found below.

Continue reading “A Day at the Villa”