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Tag: photography

Kid-Friendly Vacation Activities in New Orleans

Traveling to New Orleans doesn’t have to be all about Bourbon Street. I’ve got a few tips from our family trip.

New Orleans is actually a great place to take your family on a little vacation. We traveled there over spring break and really enjoyed exploring the city, learning about its history, listening to jazz, and of course eating all of that great food. It didn’t hurt that the French Quarter Festival happened to be going on during our last couple of days.

A key ingredient to our vacation’s success was doing a lot of our exploration on foot. That’s the way to really get a good sense of a city. As my sixth grader, wife and I all enjoy a good hike, it wasn’t a problem racking up some serious city-walking mileage.

If you’re considering a similar adventure and one that specifically avoids Bourbon Street, here are a few of our own highlights. A big shout out goes to my wife for doing the research to identify these peak experiences.

Spooky Family Ghost Tour by Unique NOLA Tours
We learned about the many ghosts haunting houses in the French Quarter. And along the way, we also got a nice New Orleans history lesson. It’s important to have a great storyteller as a guide, and we got really lucky with Dane Rhodes. He’s a local actor who’s been in a variety of movies in small roles. He told our tour group that his claim to fame was we’ve probably seen a movie on TV with his face exploding. Enough said.

Crescent Bike Tour by Buzz Nola
The only limitation to a good walking tour is you can only travel so far. The solution is to expand your reach on a bicycle. This three-hour bike tour took us to the amazing City Park and its live oak trees, the beautiful riverfront as well as Cemetery #3, where we learned about the complex process of managing generations of family members in above-ground tombs.

Audubon Park in the Garden District
To expand your view even further, you can jump on the St. Charles Streetcar and head out to the beautiful Garden District and Audubon Park near Tulane and Loyola universities. (The Audubon Zoo is also in the park, though we didn’t take the time to go there.)

A super lunch spot a few blocks outside the park is Tartine at 7217 Perrier Street.

Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour
If you really want to get out of town, then a swamp tour 45 minutes outside of the city is a worthwhile half-day excursion. (A bus picks you up in the French Quarter.) If you’re looking to see some alligators and other cool wildlife up close, this is the perfect boat tour.

HH Whitney House Bed and Breakfast
There are plenty of hotel options in New Orleans, but staying at a bed and breakfast really enhanced our experience. We loved our time at the HH Whitney House Bed and Breakfast just northwest of the French Quarter. (We had a two bedroom suite with a private bath.)

It’s located at 1923 Esplanade Avenue (about a 25 minute walk to the center of the French Quarter) and run by Glen Miller.

Beyond enjoying a fantastic home-cooked breakfast each morning, we really appreciated Glen’s hospitality and recommendations for where to go and what to do. Not that you can’t do your own research, but it was so great having a home base with someone looking out for you. By the end of our five days in New Orleans, it felt like we were staying with a close friend. Glen is simply fabulous.

Bring your Camera!
Finally, no vacation is complete without the opportunity to spend some time taking photos. And of course, New Orleans offered plenty of visuals for me to capture.





Time to Dust off your Luggage

After two years of relative isolation during the pandemic and really three years since our last family trip by plane, it felt so energizing jetting to Louisiana and exploring a different part of our country with my family.

Two final recommendations:
Praline Beignets from Loretta’s
Café au Lait from Café Du Monde

Yum.

The Story of our Two Pear Trees

Spring begins for me when I spot the little pear tree blossoms in our front yard.

Many years ago, before our son was born, my wife and I planted two little pear trees in front of our house in Connecticut. They’ve since grown large and quite bushy on top. In fact, we’ve had to cut them back a couple times to keep them from taking over our front yard.

They’ve never born fruit, but they’ve always put on a big show in spring. During the third week of April, hundreds of beautiful little white flowers bloom on the trees.

These blossoms last for barely two weeks and then blow away in the next April rain. The petals dust our driveway, and then they’re gone.

This year, the big event started a week early. (Global warming?)

I know our Lester trees are hardly unique. Spring is playing out everywhere right now. But as I look out our windows every morning, I see a stunning display of nature’s enduring power, and this luminance feeds me.

And so does snapping a few photos of this annual event in front of our little house.

Happy spring!

Spotting the First Colors of Early Spring

This barren tree from afar is ready to explode into spring. It’s amazing what else my camera sees by focusing in on early growth.

I always yearn for spring to arrive, but during these early weeks, nature seems to take it’s time waking up. The days are often wet and cold here in Connecticut.

We’re so eager to welcome the explosion of new life, but the colors have yet to fully pop. That said, if you take a few moments to really look around, the transformation is actually well under way.

You just need to look a little more closely.

I picked up my Panasonic Lumix LX-10, set it to macro focus and then went for a walk after a rain shower.

Here’s what I spotted…

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