Thursday, March 6, 2014

NOLA and Bay St. Louis with my Girls!

My college girlfriends and I had an amazing four day vacation together in New Orleans and Bay St. Louis, MS, which is a charming beach town where my dad and Ning loaned us their darling vacation cottage!

Erin took the train up to Milwaukee and we flew to New Orleans together, so vacation began before we even left! An hour after we landed, Jamie was in the rental car and we were on our way! We were sorry that our dear friend Tara wasn't able to make the trip. We all were sorority sisters, college roommates and bridesmaids -- it was heavenly to be together and catch up on our families and lives. I adore these girls.

New Orleans
With eight children between us, it was luxurious to start and finish a conversation, eat the food on our plates, sleep in and talk for hours. New Orleans was incredible -- we ate beignets at Cafe du Monde, admired Sandra Bullock's house in the Garden District, listened to the live music on the street, and each picked out an Alex and Ani anchor charm bracelet (the Delta Gamma symbol) to remember the trip by (we sent one to Tara too). We bought a children's book and had it signed by the author to bring back to our kids. An absolute highlight was our elegant lunch at the fine Commander's Palace, where men wear jackets and we had the most perfect table. We were grateful to have missed Mardi Gras by a few days (we were looking for a little relaxation, after all) but we still took in Bourbon street with some walking "Hand Grenades."

Commander's Palace!
The view from our French Quarter hotel balcony
St. Louis Cathedral
Bay St. Louis, MS
On Friday morning, we drove 45 minutes to Bay St. Louis, which truly may be the most charming place I have ever visited. Coastal Living called it Top Ten Small Beaches in the country, so I guess I'm not alone. We had a stylishly late dinner at the Sycamore House, thanks to my Dad and Ning for a generous gift certificate, and to Nora, Ning's interior designer cousin, for arranging our reservation! And speaking of Nora, she surprised us with darling pajamas, margarita mix, and a lovely afternoon in her home the next day. The cottage was darling -- stylish and modern, but cozy and comfortable, and oozing with family history. We admired every last detail.

On Saturday, we ate breakfast al fresco at the Buttercup Cafe, then rented bikes at the Bay Breeze and rode up and down the beach for hours. The warm air and sunshine felt incredible -- Milwaukee was still in a deep freeze. Then we stopped for a fresh seafood lunch and Rumrunners at the Blind Tiger. We casually strolled up and down Main street boutique shopping. All the businesses stayed open late for special Second Saturday with music in the street, which we took full advantage of. What a treat! I can't wait to go back with Rob and the kids!

Mmm. Jamie and I split Red Royal Shrimp at the Blind Tiger
Someone made this out of clovers

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