I teased my girlfriends the other night that I had to come to town for them to figure out all the cool things to do in Baton Rouge. They actually said I was right. They had been sticking with their old routines and hadn’t ventured out to see what’s new. That’s how it is when you live somewhere. When I lived in Seattle, I never did go see all the hot spots. Sure, I went to Pike Place Market and did the downtown thing, but I had to go back on vacation after I moved away to do all of the really fun things that take time. My life gets too busy to get out and explore.
So, I’m new to Baton Rouge. I want to explore the area and see what there is to do. There are two magazines here that have been guiding me. One magazine is called 225, and it’s a slick publication that highlights all things Baton Rouge. I fell in love with Memphis after discovering Memphis magazine with its articles about art, trends and history of the Bluff City. 225 is a similar magazine about Baton Rouge. But, I’ve fallen in love with a little monthly rag called Country Roads… Adventures Close to Home. I love adventures, and this magazine is full of them. Plus, they are the kinds of adventures I like. I love small towns, unique areas and natural places. I enjoy the people in a place as much as the place itself. And I like to go and live like a local for a few hours or a few days.
I hit the mother lode with the September issue. It is their 30 Year Anniversary Issue, and they have a list of 30 of their favorite things to do in Louisiana. I think I’ve found my bucket list! I’ve never made one because I usually do the things I really want to do, but this particular list will allow me to explore my home state, and I guarantee it’ll be great blog fodder. As luck would have it, a few of them are already on my calendar. This Sunday, I’m headed to Clark Creek Natural Area for a hike. It’s number 8 on their list. Apparently, it’s an area that is the southwestern-most tip of the Appalachian mountain range called Tunica Hills. I lived in Knoxville for 10 years and explored Appalachia on foot, in the car and by bike. I had no idea there was a bit of it near Louisiana. It’s actually in Mississippi, but it’s not too far. Apparently, there are hills and lots of waterfalls. Who would’ve thunk it?
The Zydeco Breakfast at Cafe’ Des Amis in Breaux Bridge is on my calendar for November. It’s number 24 on their list. My friend Jean Ann and I are going to enjoy the festivities and blog about it. She’s a photographer, and we’ve talked about doing a joint project. She had the great idea that this should be our first outing. The only one I’ve sort of done are the Christmas Eve bonfires. Last year I went on Christmas Eve afternoon, but I didn’t actually see them lit. If you missed that blog, here’s the link. This may be the year that I actually go down there for the big party. I’ve seen them from the riverboats, but I’d love to walk around the fires and have the real experience.
I can tell Country Roads has a heart just like mine. There are outdoor adventures – paddling through virgin cypress at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park – , food adventures – eat a muffuletta from Central Grocery in New Orleans -, and overnight stays – sleep in a four-poster bed at a real plantation. I can’t wait to try all of these adventures on for size. I wonder who I’ll meet. I wonder which one will be my favorite. I wonder which one will be a big disappointment. I wonder which one will haunt my dreams and intrigue my curious mind. I wonder which one will become a regular part of my life. I know there will be all of these.
See the list below for my Bucket List Louisianne:
- Take a swamp tour
- Drive Highway 1 to Grand Isle
- Tour Laura Plantation
- Teddy’s Juke Joint for Blues
- Chase a CHicken (the real Cajun Mardi Gras)
- Paddle to the Queen Bess Island Rookery
- Tailgate at LSU on a Saturday night
- Discover the Tunica Hills/Clark Creek (Sunday)
- Dance at the Magnolia Cafe in St. Francisville
- Discover my roots at the Rural Life Museum & Burden Center in Baton Rouge
- Catch my own fish and cook it (Deep sea fishing)
- Sleep in a four-poster bed in a plantation
- Wander Windsor Ruins on a fall day (Port Gibson MS)
- Ride the St. Tammany Trace by bicycle
- Take an early morning walk in the French Quarter (done it, but I’ll do it again)
- Take a sunset cruise on a Biloxi Schooner
- Friday lunch at Galatoire’s in New Orleans
- Drive your own Boudin Trail – Sampling boudin all over the state
- Visit Afton Villa when the azaleas are in bloom
- Abita Springs Opry
- View photographs from Natchez chronicling the years 1850-1950 at the Stratton Chapel in Natchez
- Watch the sun set on the Mississippi River
- Take a cemetery tour
- Zydeco breakfast at Cafe’ Des Amis in Breaux Bridge
- Visit the Huey Long statue at the State Capitol (I’m going to tour it again like a newcomer)
- Find a Conrad Albrizio Mural
- Eat an original muffuletta at Central Grocery in New Orleans
- Christmas Eve Bonfires
- Paddle Virgin Cypress at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park
- Take a ferry ride West to Algiers
Pick one and join me! We’ll have fun. Night y’all.