Wayne & Mary Alice (MA) Wendel's travel journal with daily updates, places seen, people we meet, photos and funny stories. We will also share some travel tips with you so you won't make the same mistakes we have. We hope you will follow us by signing up for an automatic email. We would love to hear from you with comments and questions.
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Thursday, January 5, 2012
On the Road Again: Houston to New Orleans
When we were in Paris last September with our friends Michel and Chantal, we talked about how fun it would be to do a cruise together.MA likes to take a vacation before tax season descends, so the decision was made: the Caribbean on Princess Cruises in January.We picked up our friends at Bush Intercontinental on January 1 and spent two days in Houston so they could adjust to Texas time and rest up for our travels.Yesterday, Wednesday, we took off heading for Ft. Lauderdale with stops planned in New Orleans and Jacksonville Florida along the way.
Our first stop was at the Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, LA.Oak Alley is one of the premier “River Plantations” on the Mississippi River and it is protected as a National Historic Landmark. Oak Alley is named after its distinguishing feature, an alley or canopied path created by a double row of live oaks about 800 feet (240 meters) long, which were planted in the early 18th century, long before the present house was built in 1837. The alley leads from the front door to the Mississippi River. The first owner there was a French farmer named Jacques Telesphore Roman and the main crop was sugar cane.The mansion and plantation was maintained by a large population of Creole and African slaves. The mansion has a square floor plan, organized around a central hall that runs from the front to the rear on both floors. The outside features a free-standing colonnade of 28 columns on all four sides, a common feature among the mansions in the Mississippi Valley at the time.
We had a Cajun lunch in the Plantation restaurant and everyone ordered “gumbo” and then we did the guided tour of the mansion.Afterward we checked out the gift shop and then continued east into New Orleans.Thanks to our GPS we arrived right in front door of our hotel, the Provincial in the French Quarter. The Provincial is definitely not a “cookie cutter” roadside hotel.The room has high ceilings, a ceiling fan and plantation shutters, along with a lovely courtyard and, of course, breakfast included! We spent the evening walking around the French Quarter and having dinner at the Grapevine Bistro. We are in New Orleans all day today (Thursday) and head towards Florida tomorrow early.