After an enjoyable Thanksgiving vacation with friends in the Smokey Mountains, we knew it was time to depart from familiar landscapes and finally begin moving westward. Originally we had aimed for Austin, TX, but we realized the trip from Bryson City NC to Austin would take 17 hours, so we decided to stop near New Orleans. Neither of us had been there, and we found a state park with good reviews that had a campsite available for 2 weeks. Why not? Sure, the Big Easy isn’t known for its childrens’ activities, but we knew it would be a cultural experience we’d never forget.
Fontainebleau State Park is situated on Lake Pontchartrain. The lake was created 2,600 to 4,000 years ago as the evolving Mississippi River Delta formed its southern and eastern shorelines with alluvial deposits.
It has an average depth of 13 feet, so kayaking wasn’t easy as we kept getting stuck in the sandy bottom!
We ventured across the causeway to New Orleans twice, and both times enjoyed a meal at Seed. New Orleans is known for its flavorful cuisine, and since Scott and I are vegan and the kids are vegetarian, we couldn’t experience the famous restaurants we’d heard tell of. That’s why Seed was so awesome– they serve tasty vegan versions of NOLA classics. It was definitely a hit with our family.
A stroll around the French Quarter was a memorable experience to be sure. We loved viewing the elaborate ironwork balconies and seeing the artists on nearly every street. When we went it was a Monday afternoon, so we had no trouble with crowds.
To be honest, the weather during our stay at Fontainebleau was kind of a let down, so we didn’t do as much outside as we normally like to. The kids enjoyed the playgrounds and of course we rode our bikes and kayaked, but there didn’t seem to be much in the way of hiking. We had an idea it would be like that, and so we took this opportunity to visit a city and knew the outdoor experiences would be plentiful as we headed west.
We were lucky enough to get to the Christmas parade in downtown NOLA, and the kids couldn’t contain their excitement. I loved how vibrant and friendly the community was.
Another big thing that happened during this stay was that Finn got a haircut! He had been growing it out for some time, but I frankly got tired of brushing the knots out of it every morning (if he would let me) only to have it look like dreadlocks by the afternoon. I took him to a barber shop in Mandeville, which was the closest town to us. I couldn’t believe how well he did in the chair! And he looks like quite the little man now, too!
Even though we weren’t as active as we normally are, I’m really glad we spent some time in the bayou. The towering oak trees with Spanish moss were hauntingly beautiful. Scott and I definitely want to return to New Orleans sans kids one day to see more of the city and experience the robust nightlife there.
Next up, McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, TX for Christmastime. I have a lot to post about the weeks following NOLA so I will try to catch up and post more often! Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!