Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Monday, March 31, 2014

Plantations and A Double Decker Bus Ride

We took River Road from New Orleans towards Baton Rouge to get a glimpse of the past.

Antebellum mansions are space throughout the road that runs right next to the Mississippi River.  You can't really see the river as you drive now since levees have been built to help prevent flooding.

This was the Evergreen Plantation.  I loved the double staircase in the front.

Just as we got to Oak Alley, we noticed a riverboat had arrived full of passengers to see the homes here.

Here is Oak Alley, majestic oak trees line each side of the driveway up to the house.

We also got a picture of the Bocage Plantation.

 Our destination was the Houmas House.  'This plantation is noted for the gardens throughout the property and being a beautiful, sunny day, we knew it would be a great sight to see.

Here's the spectacular house.

There was one large oak tree know as the Burnside tree, the branches are so massive they have reached back down to the ground.

Here's a fountain at the back of the house.

The azaleas are in full bloom here.

After visiting the Houmas House, we were hungry and headed to another piece of history, The Cabin for a late lunch.

Monday was also another beautiful day, so we went back into New Orleans to take a Double Decker Bus Tour through the city.

We basically saw the same things we saw on Friday, but it was nice to see everything in the sun.

The Superdome

and we ended up again at Cafe Du Monde

with more beignets.

We really enjoyed our time here in New Orleans and hope to come again.  Tuesday, we plan to be back in Texas.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Seeing New Orleans and Eating Crawfish

Thursday, we left Alabama to head to our destination Bayou Segnette State Park just outside of New Orleans.  With a few e-mails and texts we found out LuxeLand Yacht would be there when we arrived.  

We met Matt and Michelle this last summer while we were in Yosemite and then met up with them again in California and Oregon.

Here at Bayou Segnette, our sites are right next to each other.  They were only going to be here one more day so we decided to all head into New Orleans on Friday.  Of course, it had to rain, but we were not going to let that spoil our day.

We got parked and headed out to the Garden District.

We caught the St. Charles street car and were on our way.  The street cars were really neat, we admired the wooden benches and the rest of the workmanship in the car.

We reached our stop and headed out to explore.  The Garden District was where everyone who was not French lived, since all the French people lived in the French Quarter.  Houses here were built between 1832 and 1900 by mainly wealthy Americans.

Even in the rain, these houses were gorgeous!

We stepped into one of the cemeteries.  It was interesting to walk among the crypts, but a little creepy in the rain.

We continued on admiring more houses.

We were told Sandra Bullock has a house here, but we didn't know which one it was.  We did find Archie Manning's home, this is where Peyton and Eli grew up.

After our tour of the Garden District, we walked back to Mother's for lunch.

We had to wait outside for awhile, but soon we were ushered in to place our orders.

After lunch, we walked over to the French Quarter and Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee. After our snack, it was time to head back to the car.  We wandered through some of the shops on our way back.

The day wasn't over yet.   There were some seafood markets next door to the park where we stopped to get some shrimp and crawfish, or I should say Matt and Michelle got shrimp and crawfish.  

Jim and I had never eaten crawfish before (I'm not sure why), so Matt demonstrated to us how to crack the shell and eat it.
 We did and it was good!

Thanks Matt and Michelle for teaching us "older" folks how to eat crawfish! :)
We had a wonderful time.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blue Angels Flying High

We found out that Lambert's was in Foley, about 25 miles south of us.  We had read about this place along with their "throwed" rolls and decided on Tuesday to make the drive to try it out.

We arrived about 2:30 in the afternoon thinking it would be between crowds, WRONG!  It's Spring Break and the wait was 45 minutes.  We found a bench and probably didn't wait more than 25 minutes.  

We ordered and I got a picture of Jim's barbecued pork steak when it was brought to the table.  It's quite a bit of food, but then you add the sides that come around of potatoes, fried okra, apple butter, blackeyed peas, macaroni & tomatoes plus the people who come out throwing hot, gigantic fresh yeast rolls about every fifteen minutes.  We had lots of leftovers to take home for our dinners the next day. :)

Since we were about 35 miles from Pensacola, we went to the first Blue Angels practice on Wednesday at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.  The show started at 11:30, we had been told to get there early, so we were in the parking lot by 8:45.  It was a good thing, there were over 25,000 people there, the highest attendance in history for one of their practice sessions!

The Blue Angels did not perform most of last year because of budget cuts, so a lot of people wanted to be sure they got a chance to see them this year.  The Blue Angels is part of the Navy's flight demonstration squadron that was first organized in 1946.

We were all lined along the flight runway as we watched the F/A-18 Hornets taxi downed.  As they took off, they caught up with each other and flew over us.  What a feeling!  The sound of the planes flying over at full thrust was awesome.

They then began to dazzle us with their close formation flying.

Here's one that flew upside down just above the runway at full speed.

Two more crossed each other above the runway, one upside down, the other right side up.

They were higher up here, two upside down, two right side up.

There were volunteers stationed down through the audience that explained what was happening or pointing up in the air to show us where the planes were coming from next.

The Blue Angels flew up high in the sky together, then separated in different directions.

Their precision flying was so spectacular, there were times they were right on top of each other.

 Towards the end, all 6 flew together overhead in formation.

Then, they separated again to begin landing.

There was another treat in store for us, Fat Albert, a C-130 Hercules cargo plane, took off and flew over us several times.  We were told this did not happen very often during the practices.

It was an awesome day!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

We're In Alabama

Thursday, we left Fort Pickens to travel about 60 miles over the state line to Robertsdale, Alabama.  We're staying at a Coast to Coast park that is nestled in the pine trees halfway between Mobile and Pensacola.  The first thing we noticed was how quiet it was after we had been staying the hustle and bustle of spring break on the beach at Fort Pickens.

Friday was a beautiful sunny day and we decided to make the hour drive to visit Bellingrath Gardens.

Walter Bellingrath opened Mobile's first Coca Cola bottling plant.  He originally bought this land to use as a fishing camp.  His wife was an avid gardener and began taking cuttings and planting them at the property.

As the gardens grew, the Bellingraths opened their gardens for one day for people in the area to view.  So many people came the Bellingraths realized they could open their gardens to the public and charge a small admission price to help pay for the gardens upkeep.

Today, thousands of people still visit and with the changing flowers, the views are always different.

We were a little early, but the daffodils are in bloom.

Here is one of the reflection ponds in the gardens.

Lots of flowers were in bloom.

The tulips were also in full bloom.

Here is another pond outside the home on the grounds.

I loved this plantar full of tulips and that is parsley surrounding them.

This is the pathway leading to the water from the house.

We were hoping to see the Azaleas in full bloom, but because of the cold weather, they are later than usual.  These trees on the other side of the house were in bloom.

Here is the house overlooking Mirror Lake.

Walking back over the lake, turtles were lined up enjoying the nice, sunny day.

We spent several hours just wandering around the gardens and taking in the sunshine on this warm Spring day.

 Saturday, we drove back into Mobile to tour the USS Alabama.

This battleship was launched in 1942 and served throughout World War II.

 Jim and I thought this was one of the best tours through a military vessel.  There was an app to download on your phone, then the ship was divided into a yellow, green and red tour.  You followed the arrows and numbers and could read more about each exhibit with the information on the app.

Here is an exhibit for the kitchen and mess hall.

Jim was checking out the brig.

Here is another view on top of the ship.

The USS Alabama is part of Battleship Park where tanks, airplanes, and even a submarine can be viewed.  My battery went dead on my camera so I didn't get pictures of those.

We have really been enjoying the springlike days, but it looks like the weather will be changing again.