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Top 5 Side trips from New Orleans

If you want the full Southern experience and have an extra day or two, here are a few side trips that you may want to include in your itinerary beyond the French Quarter, Garden District and New Orleans city sites.

1.  Plantations

There are 10 large historic homes west of New Orleans along the Mississippi River.  Each has something special to offer. You can take a leisurely drive and view all the lovely gardens, stopping to tour the ones that appeal to you.  You can also reserve a half day or whole day tour through one of the tour companies that will pick you up from our front door.

http://www.neworleansplantationcountry.com/

Plantation New Orleans

 

If you are really entranced by the plantations, add an extra day to your vacation and travel a few hours north of Baton Rouge to the town of St. Francisville, one-time home of John James Audubon.

 2.  Swamp

Southern Louisiana is swampland.  There are many places where you can touch a wild alligator and hear fantastic tales about life lived in the rugged swampland surrounding New Orleans.  There are several companies that will pick you up  and offer tours on covered pontoons or raucous air boats that skim the water.  If you have a car, you can drive yourself down to Jean Lafitte State Park (40 minutes) and walk the Bayou Coquille Trail into the watery wilderness.

http://www.louisianatravel.com/

 

Biloxi Lighthouse

Biloxi Lighthouse

3.  Mississippi Gulf Coast

Since all of Louisiana’s waterfront property is a swamp, if you need some beach, travel just two hours east of New Orleans and drop down to one of New Orleanian’s favorite spots for R&R – the Gulf Coast.  You’ll find miles of beautiful white beaches, casinos, great food, fishing, boating, history, art galleries, museums, shopping, and much more.

From the small artsy towns of Bay St. Louis and Ocean Springs to the larger destinations of Gulfport and Biloxi, you are sure to find wondrous views, and memories worth the trip.

 http://www.gulfcoast.org/

4.  The Northshore

Head across Lake Ponchartrain, north of New Orleans, for about 45 minutes, and you’ll find yourself in cooler country.  Rent bikes and travel on Louisiana’s only Rails to Trails conversion, the Tammany Trace. Visit the home of famous craft brewery, Abita Beer. Have some outdoor fun along the Tchefuncte River, go antiquing in  Ponchatoula or visit an alligator farm.  You can do all of this and still make it back in time for dinner at your favorite New Orleans restaurant.

http://www.louisiananorthshore.com/

5.  Cajun Country

New Orleans is not Cajun, despite what the rest of the world may think. You’ll need to tack on an extra day to see real Cajun food, music, dance, fun and hospitality a few hours west in the small towns around Lafayette.

Visit a live Cajun radio show at a roadside dancehall in Mamou on a Saturday morning. Take a pontoon boat ride into the Atchafalaya Basin to see nutria, egrets turtles, and alligator floating around the water hyacinths or basking under the cypress trees.  Follow the trail of the Acadians from Nova Scotia to St. Martinville.  Spice up your travels with a trip to Avery Island, the birthplace of Tabasco sauce.

Avery Island

Avery Island

Wherever your travels may take you in southern Louisiana, you’ll find a comfortable rest awaits you at the Grand Victorian B&B.  Schedule your stay with us today!

Should I Stay in a B&B or a Hotel?

You’re traveling to New Orleans, and you have heard about all the incredible architecture and beautiful historic homes.  You’ve never stayed in a bed and breakfast before and are wondering … should I?

Here is a simple break down between hotels and bed and breakfast inns to help you decide.

Grand Victorian B&B

Average hotel room in U.S.

Hotels

  • Often located near a major airport or roadway for convenient commuting.
  • Usually associated with a corporation for a consistent look.
  • Designed for large groups that may not require personal touches.
  • Large scale staff and round the clock service.
  • Most charge for using many of the amenities, such as parking, buying snacks, bottled water, certain television channels, etc.
  • Appeals more to the cautious traveler looking for a convenient location and a high level of services available at all times.

 

Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast

Evergreen Room at the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast:

  • Often located near a natural landmark or tourist destination and in an historic residential neighborhood.
  • Often have fewer rooms in a converted historic property with furnishings suggesting to the era of the building.
  • Usually independently owned and operated; each inn and each room within each inn is different.
  • Offers a more personal  “home away from home” experience, with comfortable spaces for family and friend conversations.
  • Smaller group of staff members who are generally “locals” who offer insider tips for activities.  They leave the inn periodically for supplies and appointments, so may not offer a 24 hour front desk.
  • Most offer free amenities such as breakfast, internet access, snacks, water, television, parking.
  • Appeals more to the adventurous traveler wanting the locals experience away from the busy part of the city.

 

If you still have questions, we shatter the Top 5 myths about staying at a bed and breakfast here.  

Hope this helps you decide which lodging option is the best for your needs.  And if you decide on a B&B, we think you should choose the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

Sleep Small with Us

November 30 is Small Business Saturday for American Express card owners. Small businesses are the building blocks of a neighborhood, and we have been a pillar Garden District lodging destination for 15 years.  Get $10 from American Express when you stay at the Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast.

garden district lodging near shopping

Shop small near our Garden District Lodging.

Make your reservation today for the November 30 weekend.  Then, starting November 24, you must register your American Express card  to take advantage of the offer.

Sleep small with the Grand Victorian, the best choice for Garden District Lodging. We help make the Garden District neighborhood your neighborhood.

 

 

Hallmark Channel Celebrates the Bed and Breakfast

Hallmark Channel Cedar Cove contest

The Grand Victorian is partnering with The Hallmark Channel in celebration of its first original series, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove.  It stars Andie MacDowell who plays a judge in a municipal court that is a social microcosm of issues the she will face in her own day-to-day life with family and friends.

The small town of Cedar Cove includes a local inn and the book represents the feeling of care, friendship and community that innkeepers give their guests on a daily basis.

From July 20 – October 20, guests who stay at the our historic Garden District bed and breakfast will receive a free voucher good at other inns participating in the Cedar Grove celebration.

So check in, put out your do not disturb sign, watch Cedar Cove on Hallmark Channel and get your free night’s stay for a lovely night at a bed and breakfast.

 

Sweet Deals for the New Orleans summer

The Gambit guide to “cool summer fun for small change” is out, with tips on where to go for inexpensive meals, music and festivals in the city of  New Orleans.  Here are some highlights that would go well paired with a stay at the Grand Victorian.

You can’t beat the 25 cent martinis at Commander’s Palace, a very short stumble from the Grand Victorian, this special is also available at sister restaurants SoBou and Cafe Adelaide.

Martini for lunch?

Martini for lunch?

Just a hop, skip and a streetcar ride down from the Grand Victorian, you can slurp oysters for 50 cents everyday from 4-6:30pm at Superior Seafood.

You can always find free music during the sultry summer nights:  Wednesdays on the Point is a ferry ride across the river from the French Quarter in Algiers, and kick off Friday nights uptown at Tipitinas Foundation Free Fridays.  Almost every night on Frenchman Street you can find music to tap your toes to as you stroll by or stop inside to dance.

Running of the Bulls (Brandon Robert photo)

Running of the Bulls
(Brandon Robert photo)

Take a last minute trip to New Orleans for all things Louis Armstrong at the annual Satchmo Summerfest and the Art’s District White Linen Night.  If you’re a runner (or a drinker) this weekend’s Running of the Bulls and the upcoming Red Dress Run can turn your spur of the moment getaway into a thrilling chase!

Check out the Grand Victorian summer specials to make your sweet trip to New Orleans even sweeter.

 

 

Wine and Dine Your Way Around New Orleans Memorial Day Weekend

By Bonnie Rabe. Come to New Orleans for Memorial Day and experience the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a nationally recognized festival that features over 175 wineries, 1000 wines, and has raised more than $1 million over the last 20 years for local charities.

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience - Royal Street Stroll

Except for the Vinter Dinners, most events are held in the French Quarter, a 10 minute historic streetcar ride from our New Orleans garden district bed and breakfast. The Vintner Dinners match restaurants with vineyards to plan menus and pairings at over 20 of the city’s best restaurants. See if your favorite restaurant is on the list, or fall in love with a new restaurant.

NOWFE logo

Highlights from this year’s events include:

  • Several “Grand Tastings” with offerings from New Orleans’ finest chefs and wines from around the world plus a Louisiana Seafood Cook-off competition.
  • The Royal Street stroll provides great architecture, shopping, live music, wine offerings in the art galleries, and a parade featuring Krewe of Cork.
  • Teams of architects will build magnificent structures entirely out of canned goods and non-perishable food items, with each structure providing 10,000 meals donated to charities.

 

Red_Wine_Glas aka

So, “Come to Your Senses” and spend a few days eating and drinking good wine in the French Quarter and retire to our peaceful garden district bed and breakfast for restoration.

 

New Orleans is the Number One City to Visit for New Year’s Eve

More National Travel Awards for our home town!

Holiday Oaks along historic St. Charles Avenue

Holiday Oaks on historic St. Charles Avenue

We are very excited to share that, in addition to the previous 21 awards presented to New Orleans from travelers in 2012, subscribers of Travel & Leisure magazine named us the number one city to visit for a New Year’s Eve vacation. Here in the historic Garden District, we couldn’t agree more.

It will also come as no surprise to anyone sitting in on our breakfast conversations, New Orleans was named as a top holiday getaway for foodies, citing our traditional Reveillon dinners and other Christmas in New Orleans events during the festive season.

CNN Travel listed New Orleans as one of the world’s eight most romantic cities in December; the only U.S. city listed along with other destinations such as Moscow, Barcelona, Havana and Amsterdam.

Yahoo! released their annual tally of top destination searches, and New Orleans was given a top ten spot on the list for 2012 alongside London, Hong Kong and Dubai.

Make New Orleans your destination vacation for 2013 at our award-winning bed and breakfast. Check out our new website and experience all the beauty and charm of this bed and breakfast in New Orleans for your next romantic or holiday getaway.

Thank you to our Vets!

It’s the third annual B&Bs for Vets! Inns and B&Bs throughout North America opened their doors to active and retired military and vets by offering a free room on November 11, 2012 to those who’ve served in the military.

The Grand Victorian welcomed Dan and Robin and Kevin and Nikki (shown below in our parlor) for a night out in the Garden District of New Orleans for Veterans Day.

Dan served a tour in Iraq with the U.S. Coast Guard training their navy to protect shipping rivers and also worked in West Africa on improving port security. He has currently been responding to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Kevin was deployed to Afghanistan with the Navy. We were pleased to offer Kevin and Nikki a night out to kick off their house hunting trip to their new location in North Carolina.

From the Grand Victorian and the entire B&B industry, thank you to all those who are presently serving or have served to protect our freedom.

October Festivals in New Orleans

Grave at St. Louis Cemetery

Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival
October 12-14
Downtown New Orleans, Central Business District
Lafayette Square (St. Charles Avenue at Poydras Street) is the home for this free blues festival.  Two stages plus food and craft booths, including some of the best barbecue in the South. Get your blues on with these performers: Keb Mo, Otis Clay, Latimore, Lil Buck Sinegal, Luther Kent and more.  Take the historic streetcar from our front door to Lafayette Square for the full New Orleans experience.

New Orleans Film Festival
October 11-18
Various venues

Voodoo Music Experience
October 26-28
City Park
You can also take the streetcar to City Park for the Voodoo Music Experience with headliners that include Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Green Day, Green Day, Marcia Ball, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irma Thomas, Grand Victorian favorite Paul Sanchez (formerly of Cowboy Mouth), and the burlesque dancers from Fleur de Tease

Halloween in New Orleans
October 2012
Haunted Tours and Spiritual Shops

You might want to start with one of the many haunted tours through the French Quarter or some other spooky part of the city. There are haunted houses Uptown, in the Garden District and elsewhere, if you know where to go or are with someone who does. And then, of course, there are the world-famous cemeteries where the dearly departed are buried in tombs aboveground. Hundreds of stories abound in which the ghosts of these “Cities of the Dead” make their presence known, some of which have actually been documented and visually captured.

While prowling around the French Quarter there are a number of Voodoo shops you can check out to learn a little more about the history behind these centuries-old spiritual practices. You might even learn a few spells and mystical incantations. There are even shops catering specifically to vampires, believe it or not. Some of the shops plan special events for Halloween, so make sure you stop by and get in on the action. You can read about them online byclicking here.

New Orleans Goes Back to School: Resources for Parents

New Orleans’ universities will be welcoming the influx of returning and new students to their doors and into our community. As our New Orleans Bed and Breakfast is just a short streetcar ride to Tulane and Loyola University campuses, we are always glad to greet returning parents and welcome new ones to New Orleans, LA.

Streetcar pick up just outside the Grand Victorian!

Bed, Bath and Beyond allows you to order dorm room or apartment supplies online and pick them up locally, instead of packing and moving all those boxes. Don’t forget sheets, a reading lamp, coffee maker, picture frames and some basic cooking supplies.
Nearest Store:  4410 Veterans Blvd, Metairie, LA 70006  504-454-6930

Whole Foods Market has a “survival” checklist for back-to-dorm basics such as healthy snack and wellness items.
Nearest Store: 600 Magazine Street, New Orleans LA 70115  504-899-9119

Project Green Dorm’s website gives you information on all the top eco-friendly products for college students.  You can also participate in a Dorm Makeover Contest and win prize packages that will set up your college student for the semester.

No car?  Help your incoming student learn to get around town with the New Orleans public transit map.  $1.25 gets you down to the French Quarter, and $3 day passes get you around town all day! Don’t forget our Garden District B&B has the New Orleans Streetcar pick up just right outside our front door!

Dutch Treat? Take them out for one last meal on the parents before you drop them off at the cafeteria.  Coolinary New Orleans during the month of August is offering pre-fix menus from some of the best New Orleans restaurants with these amazing specials: 3-course lunches for $20 or less and 3-course dinners for $35.00 or less!

If you’re packing and moving your progeny down to a university in New Orleans this month, we still have openings for most of the Orientation and Registration weekends.  Check our Reservation Book at Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast for details and dates.