If you missed me last week, my lack of blog post can be blamed on the fact that we just got back in town on Sunday from a whirlwind roadtrip from Chicago all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. It was our first vacation since before Henry was born, and we wanted to go somewhere neither of us had ever been. After some thought, we decided on New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. And though there were definitely Griswald-esque moments, overall it was a wonderful getaway. As Ben said when we finally pulled back onto our street at the end, “You know it was a good vacation when you’re as happy to get back as you were to get out.” Amen to that!
Here are some of the highlights from Mississippi, Louisiana and places in between–
From the first photo above you can see that we were all smiles setting out from Chicago. The one next to it shows me (and Henry) getting a little punchy around mile 870. We split the drive to Mississippi into an 8 hour and 5 hour day, though traveling with a tiny person and a whiny dog meant that both days were significantly longer in the end. That said, we tried to make the most of our travel days, including all of our first times seeing a cotton field in person and a stop in Metropolis, IL so Henry could meet “Supe’man.”
This was Henry’s first visit to the ocean, so we spent a good amount of time at the beach. We rented a house in Gulfport, MS, a cute little harbor town with miles and miles of gorgeous white sand beaches. We literally had the entire stretch of beach to ourselves both days that we went, though the weather was gorgeous and warm.
One of our sightseeing days was spent around Slidell, where we took a swamp tour. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect, but it ended up being one of the highlights of the trip. The bayous and waterways were gorgeous, and our tour was the perfect mix of information and tourist spectacle. Sure, they feed the alligators hot dogs and marshmallows to attract them to the boat, but what’s a swamp without an alligator sighting! Later that afternoon we checked out the Abita Mystery House/UCM Museum (“You-See-Em”), the kind of kitschy roadside attraction that I’ve always been a sucker for. Rooms upon rooms of weird collections, folk art, antique and salvage ephemera all pasted, nailed and glued together into a total spectacle. Highly recommended.
Finally, for the main attraction of the trip, we spent two days bumming around New Orleans, taking in the overwhelming number of sights, sounds, colors and layers upon layers of life to be seen in the city. Highlights for me were the great street band we kept running into around Jackson Square on the day we spent in the French Quarter, Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, and the St. Roch Chapel, full of notes of thanks, ex voto offerings in the shape of body parts and items like crutches and prosthetics offered in gratitude for healing.
Though the laundry is still to be done, the car is full of snack crumbs and sand, our feet hurt, we’re sunburned and still a little cranky, give me a day or so and I’ll be ready to do it all over again ; )
P.S. In case this deluge of photos wasn’t enough for you, a whole bunch more pictures are on my Flickr and Instagram.