Hey everyone! I’m back from my trip down to New Orleans + the Florida Panhandle and man was it good to relax and NOT work. I was pretty lazy when packing and decided not to bring my nice camera. Major regret on my end. At least I had my iphone with me to capture some beautiful things along the way, most of which I shared over on instagram! But since I didn’t take a ton photos ( sorry!! ), I thought I would cover our trip in one overview post. I promise that I’ll be better next time. ;)
As I’ve mentioned before, we decided to drive down to New Orleans, LA from Minneapolis, which in total was about a 19 hour drive after stops. I can’t even begin to describe how good it felt as we finally started seeing more green and less brown in the surrounding scenery. We actually only spent one entire day walking around NOLA. We stayed in the Central Business District, just two blocks from the French Quarter which ended up being a perfect location, especially with a few lingering safety concerns. Like Paris, it was fun to just get lost in all the streets and alleys there. We ate lunch at Cafe Pontalba on a whim, since we were hungry and happened to walk by just outside of the Saint Louis Cathedral, which is beautiful! Lunch was filled with traditional Po’ Boys and Hurricane drinks ( YUM ) before heading out to wander some more. We stepped inside many shops and made a point to grab some coffee + beignets ( you all were 100% right on that one ) at the famous Café Du Monde. We chatted with a nice local family there who told us to head over to Royal Street for some awesome street music! I can’t remember who exactly we listened to, but it was two ladies playing violin + guitar together in duet format. SO GOOD.
On our way out of NOLA on the second day, we drove through the Garden District, which is full of classic Southern mansions ( whoa ) and beautiful gardens. We parked at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, walked through, and enjoyed the surrounding neighborhoods, too. If I go back again, I would probably opt to stay in the Garden District, as I personally felt the French Quarter was more busy + loud than I typically prefer. But that’s just me! It was nice to enjoy both.
Next, we headed over to the Florida Panhandle for the rest of our stay. While we were hoping for warm weather + LOTS of sunshine, it only topped out around 68 degrees and was mostly windy and cloudy, which was a bit of a bummer. I actually wore a light leather coat the whole time ( don’t worry, my mom + aunt made fun of me ) because I’m a wuss. Woops. We stayed at the Hilton on Sandestin in Miramar Beach, which was more of a splurge for us to be right on the Ocean. Since the weather wasn’t great, we did a whole lot of walking around, shopping, and eating.
On the nicest day, we hopped in the car and drove down 30A to explore some insanely beautiful beach towns, including Seaside, Alys Beach, and Rosemary Beach. And all I have to say is WOW. These places are luxe and sweet and everything in between. In Seaside, everything is pastel and ideal. We enjoyed hitting up their local food trucks that lined the main square. Super tasty. We then moved on to Alys Beach, which is like putting my aesthetic into a box and transforming it into a neighborhood. Just ask my road trip buddies. I walked around like I was lost in some sort of white wonderland. We only spent a half hour walking around here, but I already decided that it’s the place I want to retire. It’ll most likely not happen, but a girl can dream, right? And last but not least, Rosemary Beach was our last stop. Another dreamy town with a totally different vibe. They had more shops to go into and I ended up buying a comfy blanket in one of them. While here, the temperature started rising quickly, so we decided to book it back to the hotel and enjoy what was left of the day oceanside!
Other than perusing beach towns, we did a whole lot of eating. Duh! While I try to be mindful of what I eat while on vacation, I also want to enjoy myself, so I don’t worry too much about it. Because hey … life is short. We had pasta at Travinia outside on their patio by the fire topped with a bottle of wine. That was a fun night! But my favorite, by far, was this tiny Italian Kitchen, Christiano’s, in a random strip mall along the highway. We found it after a random internet search with a huge craving for pizza. Of course. The food, the staff … everything was amazing. We even asked our waiter ( also a practicing chef ) if he would open up a branch in Minnesota. He was too scared of snow and said no, bummer. I have a feeling that I’ll dream about this place for years to come! Other than that, other favorites included a Mexican dinner at Cantina Laredo and gelato in Seaside at Heavenly’s. I could go for some of that right now! But alas, it’s time to get back to work. I have some exciting things coming up that I can’t wait to share with you all. Cheers to a fresh new week!