Wednesday, February 27, 2019

From Beale to Bourbon

One thing on my bucket list since high school has been to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. With my 35th birthday approaching, I decided it was high time to fulfill that! Between finding decent flight prices, days we could go that we didn't already have prior engagements, making sure the minis had people to stay with, the cats could be taken of, and everything else that goes with leaving town for a few days, I decided the best way to do this was a crazy road trip. 15 hours from Des Moines to New Orleans with so many fun stops in between.

Even though it was a long drive, it was an easy (straight) drive into NOLA. Our first stop was in St. Louis. We didn't do much as we arrived later in the evening, but our hotel was amazing for a good night of sleep with no interruptions. Something that rarely happens at home! We needed it since we woke up early the next morning so we could beat the winter weather that was headed their way. Our plan worked, plus it gave us an entire day in Memphis, TN!

The drive from St. Louis to Memphis, and Memphis to NOLA, was beautiful!

My parents gave me new walking shoes for my birthday (early, so I could have them for my trip). Now, I have plenty of running shoes. All of them are in bright, obnoxious colors. They suite me well. However, I really wanted a pair of walking shoes that were neutral colored so they would go well with my daily tourist clothes. These fit the bill and were amazingly comfortable! I wore them from Thursday to the next Tuesday with no issues of aching feet after a long day on them, no red marks from rubbing, no blisters. I hope these shoes hold up so I can wear them this summer for our big 18 day east coast road trip.

I survived on a lot of gas station coffee this whirlwind road trip. The best part was that I got to drink it hot and finish it all in one sitting. I didn't have to warm my coffee up once while I was away.

The drizzly, cold weather seemed to follow us into Memphis. I was hoping for sunshine and warmth, but instead we got humid and cold until we reached New Orleans. That didn't stop me from stuffing my winter coat in the trunk of the car (48 degrees was certainly warmer than I had felt in weeks) and enjoying Memphis. Our first stop was to Sun Studio. I knew as soon as we saw the outside of the building that we would have to come back with the kids. After touring Beale Street and skipping a few other tourist attractions I have on my list, I knew the minis would LOVE Memphis. I don't know when, but the five of us will definitely be back!

I love the history of Sun Studio sure, but browsing through the records and listening to the music coming from the old jukebox in the corner were my favorite thing. 

Beale Street was our next stop. We had fun listening to all of the blues music coming from the various stores, restaurants, and bars. I look forward to being back here on a warm night with everything open and the music pouring into the crowded street. 

This store was my favorite!

The wind got the best of my hair this day!

This was an outdoor bar, but they kept the front of the building (historical purposes).

When in Rome (or in this case, Memphis) you drop your vegetarian lifestyle for yummy local eats. I had fried chicken, the cheesiest mac and cheese I've ever had, and buttery vegetables. Hubs had the brisket, baked beans, and mashed potatoes. I've had dreams about this meal! It was hands down the best fried chicken I've ever had!

Hubs had originally wanted to eat at South of Beale restaurant, but the sounds and smells of BB Kings drew us right in. Next time we'll for sure do SOB, but everything about this meal was wonderful.

Six hours from Memphis, a big change in weather, and we were at our Airbnb in New Orleans (at a decent hour too)! To be honest, our Airbnb wasn't in the nicest or hippest part of NOLA, however it was perfect for us. We had our own little apartment (a separate building in the backyard of a house) that had the best patio ever! Patio beers were enjoyed in relaxation. 

Close to 10 p.m. Hubs and I decided that we were finally ready for something to eat after our lunch. Uber was incredibly cheap to and from the French Quarter so we didn't even bother driving and attempting the parking situation. Several minutes later we found ourselves diving into beignets at Cafe du Monde, enjoying jazz music in Jackson Square, and taking in the sights and sounds of the French Quarter. One of my favorite things to do on vacations is just simply walk around the streets, window shop, and enjoy the locals favorites. 

As soon as we stepped down Royal Street, I was in love. So many fun shops, antiques, galleries, and restaurants. We spent a good portion of our evenings on Royal.

Dinner has never been sweeter.

We couldn't leave the French Quarter without a stroll down Bourbon Street. We did it in style with Hurricanes and King Cake Rum drinks.

Our last stop for the evening was a voodoo shop. I thoroughly enjoyed browsing and picked up a voodoo doll (for creativity) to bring home to the minis. It now sits on our "travel shelf" (that holds all of our goodies from our road trips) and the minis keep making comments about how creepy it is.