Posts Tagged With: New Orleans

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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Time for Oysters!

We arrived late evening in New Orleans and we were hungry.  I had read several places that Acme and Felix’s were the place for oysters.  I had also read that Acme usually had a line down the street.  Since it was late Friday night we avoided the long Acme line down to the corner and had a short wait at Felix’s.

Felix's Oysters

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We were seated in the room on the far side and quickly given our drinks. I tried a Mississippi Honeybee and I could have sat and sipped those all weekend.  Yummy!

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Country Inn and Suites New Orleans

Country inn & suites NOLA

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We had a slight mishap when we were leaving the airport.  Life had been a little beyond crazy and I had forgotten to update the GPS.  I got in the car and started to type the hotel and it found nothing.  Nothing at all for Louisiana.  We are NOT stellar with maps, even less so in the dark on a very busy night on highway 10.  There was a football game Saturday and the highway was jammed.   It was not a great start to our time.  Daughter was able to get directions on my phone and was helping navigate us around.  Much easier when its not bumper to bumper traffic but we found the hotel a short time later in the business district.

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Our Annual December Getaway

This past December like the prior two we headed to a warmer climate for seafood and relaxation.  We tossed around going back to South Padre again, I swear we have the same conversation each August.  While it was a top contender it was not our winner for our December 2016 trip.

Canal street

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Wrap up on 2016

This is the crazy post where I try to dig back through my brain and figure out how many nights we spent in hotels.  I can safely say not near as many as 2015.   Our family needs are changing and we do more small weekend trips away now that our daughter is older.

2016 saw us take a spring break trip to check out three colleges for said daughter.  The Holiday Inn IHG mail in promotion points came in really handy for this trip to Pennsylvania.

Franklin & Marshall

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We also did a couple of single nights in hotels before a college visit to make sure we arrived on time and for a little family break.  Nothing wrong with relaxing in a hot tub and eating seafood on a weeknight.

Since our daughter was heading to South Africa for a few weeks in June we used a night in Radisson Kalamazoo for a family night.  Enjoying their great pool area and local food before we went our separate ways for most of the summer.

Kalamazoo Radisson

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August saw the girls having free time and Southwest airline credit to use so we went to Savannah and Charleston for a long weekend.  I did not want to lose $124 in credit from when I re-booked price changes. I let Daughter pick the destination and I was surprised by her choice.  She fell in love with the south and everything about Savannah.

Bonadventure Cemetary

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Labor day brought us to South Bend for a quick get away.  The work hard play hard Club Carlson promotion was offering triple weekend points so we took in the Celtic Festival.

Learning to throw an axe.

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Then we took our long December vacation to Louisiana and Mississippi.  This time we cleaned out my husbands IHG points account leveraging it for three nights.  I really wish IHG did more mail in promotions!

Creole Queen foggy ride

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Also new to us this year was staying a hotel night before a long race.  It is easier on the family if they can hang out at the room for a couple of hours after an early starting run.  No parking hassles, no freezing while they wait or looking for bathrooms. I like walking to the start and knowing they are comfortable.

Foreshore adventure run

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So this years math:

3,358 airline miles in 2016

19 nights in a hotel

2 nights in a Bed and Breakfast

Losing the second night free benefit with Club Carlson kept us lower on our stays this year and I am not really focusing on one chain at the moment.  Whomever has the best promotion gets my business for now.   We seem to be doing more driving than flying these days. And with my daughters schedule its really hard to get away for more than a couple of nights at a time.

For 2017 we start off with a bang, my daughter has an opportunity in D.C. so we will soon be headed there for a bit.  We are tossing around heading back to Florida for our winter getaway.  We were lucky with mostly nice and unusually warm weather in Louisiana but going further south should up our warm weather chances.

Creole Queen

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Who knows where this crazy hobby will take us this year!

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