Swamp Tour at Lake Martin

Lake Martin

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We drove over to the Lafayette area specifically to be able to spend some time on Lake Martin.  I read several reports that I did not need to book ahead but to see how the weather was and then call that day to reserve a spot on a tour.  BAD ADVICE!  Do NOT do this!  It might be December but tours on Lake Martin are in high demand.  You can imagine my surprise when the first available tour was two days later when we were to be in Mississippi. This was not looking good!

I placed a couple of phone calls and left a couple of messages hoping we could somehow get on Lake Martin in the upcoming 36 hours.  While I took a shower Husband answered my phone to hear that the tours had no room.  Luckily a very nice lady from Acadiana Swamp Tours called back during breakfast and had room for the three of us later that afternoon. And she very graciously gave me excellent directions to the lake since we were having some GPS issues.  Saved!

Lake Martin

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We easily found where we were to meet Bryce and within a couple of minutes his boat pulled up.  Our tour was with another family of three and Bryce made sure to include everyone in conversation.

Lake Martin

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What a treasure they have in Lake Martin!  During our little over two hour tour we saw many alligators, turtles, birds and Cypress trees.

Tree swing Lake Martin

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Since the boat holds six people we had plenty of opportunities to take pictures of the wildlife.  Bryce even took several fun family pictures for us.

I also liked how the various tour guides on the lake worked together.  If someone saw a huge gator or a bunch of baby gators they called to make sure everyone saw it on their tour.  Like these two gators in the picture below.

Lake Martin Gators

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We pulled into a duck blind and he took a picture of us appearing to be stranded in the middle of the lake.

As we were finishing up the sun started to set for the evening.

Lake Martin

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What started out as a disappointing morning ended up being a blessing in disguise.  We had a tour guide that was perfect for our family.  And I will not even say who I had wanted to book with but instead encourage you to book with Bryce and Acadiana Swamp Tours.  It was an outstanding afternoon on Lake Martin and you could not find a better tour.

More information:  http://swamptoursofacadiana.com

For Reservations call: 337-342-3867

Daytime tours approximately 2 hours $20.00 per adult. $10.00 per child under 10 years old.

Night time tours approximately 2 hours $50.00 per person.

We also offer private tours, for just you and your guests by appointment $120.00

Our tours times are 8am, 10,am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, and 6pm. Night time tours generally start between 8:30-9pm

 

 

 

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Visiting Vermilionville in Lafayette

I had plans to spend around 24 hours in Lafayette on our trip.  We wanted to tour Lake Martin and then fill our time in around our swamp tour.  I gave the family the option to tour the Alexadre House, Vermilionville or the science museum.  They said they were house toured out and not up for thinking.  (Her words.) So we set off for Vermilionville.

Vermilionville is right near the Lafayette airport and situated along the river. The small village shows the life of Creole and Acadian historic life. They moved several original homes to this location and show life from the late 1700’s to 1890s.

Vermillionville

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Fair Trade Friday March 2017

I think I need to purchase a larger mailbox.  Took me a little wiggling to get my Fair Trade Friday package out of my box.

Fair Trade Friday March 2017

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This package felt very solid so I was curious what items I had this month.

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Wander the Garden District

Christmas morning saw us with no concrete plans.  Old me would have had something booked, new me polls the family now.  The vote was to ride the street car to the garden district and poke around until we were bored.  I knew we needed the St. Charles line and our Free Tours by Foot guide had recommended boarding at the corner of Canal and Carondelet street.  Boarding there gave us the best chance to get a seat and not have to stand for the ride.  $3  a person gives you a 24 hour pass or $1.25 exact change each ride.

Canal street

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We rode the streetcar down to Washington Avenue. This would also be where you would want to exit for Commander’s Palace Restaurant.   Right across the street is Lafayette Cemetery.  Since it was a holiday the cemetery was closed but normal hours are 7-3pm daily.

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Christmas Eve Dinner on the Creole Queen

Last Christmas we had a bit of a hard time finding decent Christmas Eve dining options.  Eating at the hotel as a last resort is expensive and not really what I had planned.  This year I made sure we had something booked that we would all enjoy.

New Orleans had several options.  Reveillon Dinner are very popular and many restaurants offer them even on Christmas Eve.  They usually offer three to four courses for a fixed price.  Unfortunately for me, they were pricey once I removed the seafood courses I would not want to eat.   If you are looking for a great resource I used this website to see who had plans to be open during Christmas.  https://holiday.neworleansonline.com/traditions/reveillon-dinners

The other interesting option was to take a river boat dinner cruise on the Mississippi river.  I cannot do that at home in December!  Both the Creole Queen and the Steamboat Natchez offer Christmas Eve dinner cruises.

Steamboat Natchez offers boarding beginning at 6:30pm, cruising from 7:30pm until 9:30pm. Tickets are $80 for adults, $45 for kids (6-12) and $26 for kids (2-5).

Creole Queen offers boarding: 6:00 p.m. at the Riverwalk/Canal Street dock with departure: 7:00 p.m. and returning at 9pm. Adult with dinner: $77 Child (ages 3-12): $39 Child (ages 0-3): FREE

Since I suddenly remembered to book this the second week of December the Steamboat was sold out.  Creole Queen was closer to our hotel and I quickly booked three tickets for our family. In the end it worked out perfectly!

Creole Queen

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Jackson Square in New Orleans

We found ourselves several times in Jackson Square.  Early morning, afternoon, late nights we kept passing through it.  It was also the meeting spot for our Free Tours by Foot tour so that is why we were there late at night.

You just never know what you are going to see here!

Jackson Square

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Fun Times at the French Market

I love a good artisan market and hunt them down when we travel.  New Orleans has one along the river on the edge of the French Quarter.  We visited twice during our trip.  The first time was Christmas Eve and then again on a Monday. Each time we found different items.

French Market New Orleans

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As usual, the market has t-shirts, souvenirs, art, music and food.

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When in NOLA…

We try to sample regional foods when we hit a new area on vacation.  I knew I had to find some beignets because I love them but the other items I was not so sure about.  A Po-boy and a Muffuletta are not offered in my neck of the woods.   And I can be a picky eater sometimes.

We were walking back from the French Market when we walked past Central Grocery.  I made the very reluctant family go inside.  Really, they were complaining about having to eat something.  Once they got a good whiff inside they were game to share a half of a Muffuletta with me.  The line moves pretty quickly so do not let it discourage you.

Central Grocery

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Instead of sharing tables in the back of the grocery we took ours to Jackson Square to share on a bench.

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Best Western $10 Gift Card Promotion

Here is another example of a deal that is really only worth anything IF you already have a Best Western stay planned.  I am not going to be swayed to stay at a hotel over a $10 hotel gift card even if it is unlimited stays. The only plus is that you can redeem more than one gift card on a future stay.

Best Western Rewards® Members
Get a $10 Gift Card with EVERY Stay!
Register now! Get a $10 Best Western® Gift Card with every stay between February 13, 2017 and April 30, 2017.
Best Western Rewards members must register prior to their first eligible stay.**

Register here: https://www.bestwestern.com/en_US/offers/hotel-discounts/special-offer/spring.html?ssob=EMBWR0034K&promoCode=bwrate&cid=EMBWR0034K:email:enews:spring17

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Hilton Honors 2K Everyday Bonus

Earn 2,000 Points every day at over 4,800 hotels when you sign up
and complete a stay from February 1 through April 30, 2017.
Just another way that we get you, more.

Register here: https://www.hiltonhonors.com/13799_01242017/?lang=EN&cid=OM,MB,CORE13799x_53ee0.3a47.3eb26de6.1d56fa4e_All,MULTIPR,Interact,Multipage,SingleLink

 

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