Tag Archives: New Orleans

the roadtrip

11 Apr

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As many of you already know one of my goals from last year was to drive across the country before I turned 30. I’ve always thought it sounded incredibly adventurous and the idea of roaming the country without a care in the world sounded beyond romantic. At heart I am a total free spirit; sometimes I think I forget that when I am busy writing to-do lists!

I am happiest going with the flow of life, without an agenda.

Leading up to the trip I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull it all off. Who was going to go with me? Mr. McClafferty would just die if I drove it by myself. How would I take all that time off from work? How would I afford the trip? How? How? How?

But as most things do when you trust the universe, it all fell into place perfectly. My wildly adventurous and free-spirited best girlfriend, Rachel of One Part Gypsy signed up to go on the trip with me. I got the time off from work and we somehow paid for most of the trip with the help of fabulous sponsors (thanks guys!). We got lucky, but we also worked our asses of to put this trip together.

We left on the roadtrip exactly one year ago and it ended up being the Best. Month. Of. My. Life.

Sure, there was some fighting…I mean, have you ever traveled in a car with a person for a month? Sure, we almost lost our lives in Mississippi when a big rig swerved into our lane and ran us off the road. Sure, we got lost more times than I’d care to admit (shhhh….sometimes we drove hours out-of-the-way). Sure, we woke up most mornings at 4am to start the drive. Sure, we probably both gained 10 (ok maybe 8) pounds eating our way across America…I mean, have you been to the South?? But, we survived it all with our senses of humor and an insane amount of red bulls, and we are better friends because if it.

There really isn’t another person I could imagine having accomplished this goal with. Traveling across the country with Rachel will forever be one of my favorite memories. I’m pretty sure when we are old and grey we will be telling our grandkids about the wild month in 2012 we conquered the USA.

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Read some of my favorite posts from that month!

– Marfa, Texas

– Getting chased by a dirt devil 

– Visiting Georgia O’ Keefe’s private residence

– Memphis! 

– Our night at a sweet little B&B in Alabama

–  Our day with wild horses 

– Santa Fe

– Struggs

–  Going to F. Scott Fitzgeralds home 

– We’re going to Graceland! 

Day 10, Part 1: New Orleans, Garden district, Lafayette Cemetery

4 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 10, Part 1

After a VERY fun night out on the town, I awoke in my comfy bed in our gorgeous room at Hotel Provincial (I was seriously thinking about moving in) to a light drizzle against the window pane. Rain? How unexpected after yesterday’s muggy heat.

I mistakenly thought it was going to ruin my last morning exploring the city but instead, it made it even more intoxicating.

New Orleans in the rain is terribly romantic and it made the city seem mysterious.

After packing our bags, we set off to the Garden District- an area I had yet to explore!

We drove around for a bit viewing the AMAZING historic southern mansions that lined the streets. My lord, are they breathtaking- each prettier and bigger than the next.

After our driving tour, we parked and walked over to Lafayette Cemetery, which happens to be one of New Orleans’ oldest surviving cemeteries. Established in 1833, Lafayette No. 1 was among the city’s earliest above-ground burial sites.

It couldn’t have been a more perfect morning to explore the cemetery- the dark and drizzly clouds that hung above our heads proved to be very dramatic.

I loved reading the inscriptions on the different tombs, most of them dating back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I could have spent all day getting lost in that cemetery.

Day 10, Part 2 up next…

Mississippi, a near-death experience, Motel 6 and Hal & Mal’s

…..

For Rachel’s take click here!

Day 9, Part 2 : New Orleans! Galatoires & Preservation Hall

3 May

ROAD TRIP

{photos by One Part Gypsy}

Day 9, Part 2

During our one and only full evening out on the town in New Orleans, Rachel and I wanted to make sure we experienced two things-

1. an authentic French Creole style meal

and

2. authentic New Orleans Jazz

After a bit of research, we decided that we would dine at Galatoires and see a show at Preservation Hall.

Between the surprise snow in New Mexico (when all we had were summer dresses) and the extreme heat in Texas (I really wanted to walk around naked which wasn’t an option), we hadn’t done much “dressing up” in the first 8 days of the trip. So we decided to get dressed up a bit for our night out on the town.

I was starting to resent the two large bags filled with dress clothes that I was lugging around America.

We left our hotel a little after 6 to walk to Galatoires which was located near our hotel on Bourbon Street. This was my first real look at the mayhem of New Orleans. Bourbon street was packed with people, most of whom were drinking booze from tall fluorescent colored glasses and in faaaabulous moods already.

The streets were filled with energy, laughter and music. It was quite the street party! I still can’t get over the fact that you can roam the streets drinking liquor- what a novelty!

After weeding our way through the crowds, we arrived at Galatoires just in time for our reservation. When we walked through the doors of the restaurant, I felt like I had been transported back in time. It was like a different world and we were suddenly in what I imagine old New Orleans felt like. The restaurant was founded in 1905 and not much has changed since then. It was so fancy!

We were brought to our table by a lovely gentleman who we ended up learning was a Galatoire-such a treat to meet him!

 I glanced around the restaurant taking in the scene. Suits everywhere- even the little kids were dressed in their very best attire. Champagne flutes lined the tables. Waitstaff moved gracefully across the room. The restaurant was abuzz and it smelled delicious.

Then there was this happy pink shirt wearing man and it was his birthday. If you can’t tell from the pic below, he highly enjoyed it when the restaurant sang Happy Birthday to him.

After singing to the pink shirt wearing man, we ordered dinner- I chose the avocado and crabmeat salad to start and the sautéed shrimp as my main course- it was delicious. I finally got my authentic creole style meal!

After dinner we entered back into the mayhem of Bourbon street in search of Preservation Hall and after a few wrong turns, we finally found it. The place was PACKED!! I guess everyone else was in on the fact that this was the place to hear New Orleans jazz when in town. Preservation Hall opened its doors in 1961 as a sanctuary  to protect and honor New Orleans Jazz and 50 years later it is still going strong. We were led into a tiny little room with a tiny little stage. I wasn’t expecting it to be so intimate. When the music started it filled the room.

 It was exactly what I wanted to hear in New Orleans…

New Orleans, you are a magical, soulful and delicious place.

I think I love you.

For Rachel’s take and more pictures click here!

Day 9, Part 1: New Orleans, Cafe Du Monde, Hotel Provincial

2 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 9, Part 1

New Orleans 

I have been dreaming about visiting New Orleans for a lonnnnnng time now. So when I started to plan the road trip I made sure New Orleans was on the list and that we stayed for 2 nights instead of our usual one night in other cities.

I wanted to make sure that I got adequate time to explore the city!

 I was a little concerned that maybe the city wouldn’t live up to my high expectations.

But the minute we drove in to the French Quarter, I fell in love- the cobblestone streets, the people walking and laughing, the colorful buildings, the worn doors, the musicians playing in the streets, the glow of the lights in the night, the smell of the air…the city felt alive and I was hooked.

I could barely sleep that first night because I was so excited to be there.

Our first stop in the morning was Cafe Du Monde to try the famous Beignets that I heard so much about before my trip! Everyone told me they were a must. I don’t really care for donuts so I didn’t expect much from this experience but I was game to give them a shot. When we walked up to the cafe there was a line around the block. A LINE AROUND THE BLOCK FOR DONUTS?! I wondered how bad I really wanted to try these famous beignets. I decided that I would tough it out because I couldn’t imagine coming all the way to New Orleans and not trying beignets.

An hour later we were seated and had a plate of beignets in front of us. For the record- I was not disappointed. Those little fried, powdered and doughy bits of heaven could change the world.  Best damn donut I have ever tried. I could have eaten 20.

This just in- I am officially eating my way across America.

I just can’t help myself!

 After eating my weight in beignets we set off to explore the city by foot. We wandered the streets taking pictures of colorful buildings, perused voodoo stores and sat by the Mississippi River listening to street music- its intoxicating.

 After an afternoon of fun I decided to go back to our hotel (conveniently located in the heart of the French Quarter) to do a bit of work before a night out on the town. It was such a pretty day that I decided to bring my computer out onto our patio and order a spicy bloody mary (Hey I am on vacation and all). It was a perfect place to spend some quiet time by myself, reflect on the day, my life and my joy and gratitude for this experience. I still can’t believe I am on a journey across the USA and sometimes I have to pinch myself that my dream came true.

Our evening out on the town coming next…

For Rachel’s take click here!

Day 8: Shipwrecked in Austin

1 May

ROAD TRIP

Day 8

The day we were shipwrecked in Austin, forced to go with the flow and stayed at a haunted hotel.

When I woke up in Austin, I rolled over to my new bed-mate (Rachel) and saw a very troubled look on her face. I knew in that moment our day was headed in a bad direction. She looked at me with fear in her yes and said, “Something is very wrong with my computer”. Considering all our photos from the first 7 days of the road trip lived on her hard drive, this was very very very bad news. I didn’t want to show my concern though, because I knew if both of us had a melt down we would get nowhere. So instead, I put on a happy face and assured her that everything was going to be just fine.

We made an appointment at the Austin Mac store to get it looked over. At this point the screen had gone blue and was unresponsive. Not good. She googled it and learned it was called the “blue screen of death”. Even after hearing this, I was managing a ridiculously positive attitude, even though our itinerary had us leaving Austin at noon to get to New Orleans by 7pm that day. We had to keep moving!

We arrived at the Austin Mac store, which was located in a horrible mall. I dropped Rachel off to look for parking and told her I would meet her inside.  After circling for a bit, I found a spot and went inside to locate Rachel. When I walked into the mac store I spotted Rachel from across the room- her head was on the counter and she was crying. No bueno. No bueno. No bueno. I knew where this afternoon was going and it was bad. I walked up (still smiling) to the kind man helping her (who seemed very confused about the woman crying on his counter) and asked him what was wrong with the computer. He explained that her hard drive had crashed and everything had been lost.

My mouth fell open. I glanced from his frightened face (I get it- women crying can be frightening) to Rachel sobbing on the counter and wondered what I should do next. Rachel excused herself to call her insurance company and I sat there making small talk about blue screens with everyone around me.

And then it happened! Her computer came alive and the Mac guy ran over to me and yelled..find her! I felt like I was in a scene from ER and it all felt so life and death! I took my job very seriously and went dashing through the store in search of Rachel.

When I found her I screamed, “It woke up!!!”

The Mac guy plugged in a million wires and started the process of pulling all her content off her computer and on to a new hard drive.

The estimated time for this…6 hours.

6 hours?!?

I started to feel very claustrophobic. We would be stuck in this store, in this mall, for 6 hours? But we are supposed to leave for New Orleans at noon! We have 8pm dinner reservations at Brennan’s!

But what else could we do but wait.

I would have to make the best of this situation. I would have to go with the flow. I would have to make peace with the fact I would not be making it to New Orleans by 7pm.

I decided to make the best of the next 6 hours and try to get some writing done. But I found it impossible to focus in the busy Mac store so I told Rachel that I was going to find another spot in the mall with WiFi and a plug for my computer. This spot ended up being located in the Nordstrom’s women’s lounge, located right off the bathroom and filled with kids and mothers (mostly nursing mothers) taking a break from shopping.

Hey, at least there was a comfy couch.

After a glorious afternoon spent at the Austin mall, Rachel and I finally set off for New Orleans…6 hours late but with all her footage and a new hard drive.

The 7 hour drive to NOLA was long and dark. We spent most of the time listening to loud rap music to keep ourselves awake and reading about Hotel Provincial, the next hotel we would be staying in New Orleans. Supposedly it is haunted- actually it’s considered the MOST haunted hotel in America. Scary right??

When we finally made it to our hotel at 1:30 in the morning, I was so ready for bed at that point, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the damn ghost stories! I wondered if I would be able to actually fall asleep. The bellman led us to our room and when he opened the door everything became immediately better because the room was gorgeous! Wood paneled walls, 2 big beds, velvet curtains, a huge bathroom and a fancy sitting area.

I was in love with the room and decided that I could make peace with a few ghosts if it meant staying in this room.

My first day in New Orleans next…

To read Rachel’s take go here!

103

27 Mar

ROAD TRIP

This road trip is shaping up to be the most insane adventure of my life! It’s becoming way more fabulous then I could have ever imagined it to be. I’m not going to lie, our itinerary is insanely ambitious and we may die from exhaustion trying to stay on schedule but that’s part of the adventure…right? Rachel and I will have to survive the driving and appointment booked days armed with laughter, cameras, our beloved computers, lots of red bull and the support of all our readers!!

New things added to the itinerary

{Living Desert Museum}

{Living Desert Museum}

AMAZING!

(Cup Cafe- Tucson}

I have a feeling that my Huevos Rancheros breakfast from the Cup Cafe is going to be pretty amazing!

{The Compound Restaurant}

I just LOVE this.

{The Compound Restaurant}

Is that not the prettiest dining room you have ever seen?? I hear the food is even prettier…

{Puye Cliff Dwellings- New Mexico}

Puye Cliffs was home to 1,500 Pueblo Indians who lived, farmed and hunted game there from the 900s to 1580 A.D.- I cannot wait to see it in person!

{El Cosmico- Marfa, Texas}

Sleeping in a teepee!! Yes Please!!

{Torchy’s Tacos- Austin, Texas}

I have been dreaming of eating a taco from Torchy’s Taco’s again ever since I tried one three years ago…so delish!

{Hotel Provincial- New Orleans}

This hotel is supposed to be haunted! I can’t tell if this excites me or terrifies me.

{Haunted Ghost Tour- New Orleans}

To really ensure we see a ghost while in New Orleans we have signed up for a ghost tour as well…

{Poogan’s Porch- Charleston}

The menu at this restaurant makes my mouth water- Rachel and I have decided that we MUST order the fried alligator salad because how often do you see that on a menu?

{Graceland- Memphis}

Elvis! Need I say more?!

{Smith-Byrd House, Alabama}

Is this not the sweetest Bed & Breakfast you have ever seen??

{Carriage Tour @ Middleton Place– Charleston}

The above picture is going to be re-created with Rachel and I inserted in to it.

Have any of you guys been to any of these places?? Do you have any tips? Thoughts?

104

26 Mar

11 things that have been making me happy recently…

1. Brian’s photography show was a huge success!! The room was packed! It was such a whirlwind evening (I feel like I barely talked to anybody for more than 30 seconds) but oh so much fun.

2. Cirque Du Soleil– I haven’t been to a cirque show in the longest time and I had forgotten how entertaining they are. Although there were some parts that had me thinking- this is what it must feel like to be on acid.

3. little kids in rain gear. Especially silly rain boots.

4. Rainy sundays…spent cozy in bed

5. The new shirt I wore to Brian’s show- I’m a sucker for sparkles!!

6. Finding the perfect restaurants to eat at while in New Orleans- Galatoires and Brennans...I’m coming for you.

7. Rachel and PJ for being our resident photographer and bartender at Brian’s show. Thank you guys…we love you.

8. emailing with restaurant and hotel owners in different cities- so many great personalities!! I can’t wait to meet everybody!

9. my family for always showing up to support me/us

10. our parents finally met each other and it went smoothly! Phew! (more on that in a later post)

11. this picture-