Travel Tuesday: NOLA
In March, Emily and I traveled with four of Emily's closest friends to New Orleans, LA for a bachelorette trip in preparation for Emily's May wedding. Considering we were both on essentially the same trip, we had very different experiences. Emily arrived a day before I did, and I stayed two days later than she did. She drove, and I flew. She's a night owl, and I'm not quite a morning bird... maybe more like a cat -- I like to go to bed early and take naps during the day.
In discussing the trip later, we were surprised by how much our personalities and unique differences shaped our perception of the trip, so for this travel summary, we're going to compare our individual highlights.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by what I found in NOLA. I expected to have an amazing time because I was with my best friends, but I didn't expect to like the city itself as much as I did. I thought New Orleans as an entire city would be like 2 AM on Bourbon Street all the time, but it was not. It was so laid back, so full of culture and history, and so absolutely beautiful that I fell head over heels in love with the city.
This is hard to narrow down, but I think I have to say brunch at Elizabeth's. I'm easily overwhelmed when I spend too much time around too many people, and this morning my good friend Liz and I wandered off to eat on our own. It was a much needed moment to recharge, and it didn't hurt that the food was INCREDIBLE. I've never really eaten chicken and waffles before, but now I feel like I am out of luck. Once you've had them in NOLA with the crunchy chicken and the sweet, honey taste and a cornbread waffle -- it's all downhill from there. We also had some fried grit cakes that changed my life. BONUS: very close second was Cavan. Get the corn fritters for a divine eating experience.
Must visit shop:
Century Girl Vintage. I found this shop while I was wandering the Garden District by myself, and it immediately enchanted me. It's like stepping into another decade. Everything inside is beautiful and delicate and ornate, and even the shop girl was styled like a flashback. This store sells vintage clothing -- from what I understand, the owner travels all over and finds these incredible pieces to then sell back in NOLA. My friend bought a pair of hand painted earrings that were created in France in the 1940s. Everything has a story, and I follow them on Instagram now and drool over every post.
On a whim, someone in our party suggested we go to Fifi Mahony's wig shop down the road after we had a drink, and we ended up all trying on different wigs and most of us bought at least one. Did I expect to find my sultry alter ego in NOLA? Nope. But I did. And I had the best time enjoying this experience with our whole group.
Most treasured souvenir:
I used to have a lot of anxiety that made travel difficult, so now, to remind myself of my strength and my adventures, I get an ornament and a postcard from every place I visit. I'm not sure yet what I want to do with the postcards -- but I want to somehow display them in my house so I can always feel inspired for another trip.
It can almost go without saying that I love New Orleans, and I was SO EXCITED to bring my friends with me for my bachelorette trip! New Orleans has basically everything I like in a place: tasty food, rich culture, and spooky witch energy.
Harbor Seafood & Oyster Bar Restaurant. Located near the airport, Harbor Seafood is an unassuming local restaurant off the beaten path, but it is AMAZING. It's definitely not an obvious dining choice for out-of-towners, but it's not necessarily a huge secret either; it's one of the top spots on Eater's 38 Essential NOLA Restaurants guide. ;)
Must visit shop:
Amongst the many, many shops lining the streets of the French Quarter is the coolest antique store ever. M.S. Rau Antiques is a magical store where you can interact with and purchase (if you're flush with cash) museum-quality items and relics. We stumbled upon the shop by accident, but it turned out to be one the highlights of my trip. Plus, for such a high-end shop, the employees were super friendly and made us feel really welcomed -- and they even let me touch a casting made from one of the original molds of Napoleon's death mask.
TRYING ON WIGS!!! It's definitely the most stereotypical bachelorette party activity we did, but for us it was actually totally spur-of-the-moment and unplanned. It was so much fun trying on new styles and for some, *coughTiffanycough* new personalities. Fifi Mahoney's is definitely a fun stop.
Most treasured souvenir:
It's definitely v. touristy, but I had to pick up a replica of the New Orleans water meter cover. With its moon and star design, the Ford Meter Box Co. meter covers perfectly capture the charm and witchy vibes that made me love the Crescent City so much to begin with.