Categories
Travel

Bucket List Dreams- Bewitched in Salem

Salem, Massachusetts

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Salem has been on my bucket list for years, so it was a given when I made my fall bucket list that this year I had to visit finally. Salem is known as being the historic site of the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Salem is known as Witch City and the Halloween capital of the world. During October Salem comes alive. Salem is even sensationalized for it’s ties to Hocus Pocus. Hocus Pocus lovers flock to Salem every Halloween to visit sites from the cult-classic film.

“I was born on the night of Samhain, when the barrier between the worlds is whisper-thin and when magic, old magic, sings its heady and sweet song to anyone who cares to hear it.”

Downtown Salem

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“Salem houses present to you a serene and dignified front, gracious yet reserved, not thrusting forward their choicest treasures to the eyes of passing strangers; but behind the walls of the houses, enclosed from public view, lie cherished gardens, full of the beauty of life.”

Salem Visitors Center

The visitors center is a great starting point for your Salem trip. The visitors center has a great deal of information on the history of the witch trials and Salem as a seaport town. They feature some thought-provoking paintings depicting the evolution of witches and their ties to the greatest fallen angel, Lucifer.

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“I myself have seen this woman draw the stars from the sky; she diverts the course of a fast-flowing river with her incantations; her voice makes the earth gape, it lures the spirits from the tombs, send the bones tumbling from the dying pyre. At her behest, the sad clouds scatter; at her behest, snow falls from a summer’s sky.”

 

Salem Old Burying Point Cemetery

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 are known as the most infamous witch trials in history. The witch trials were a series of hearings, prosecutions, and executions. During the witch-hunt, Colonists accused 200 townspeople of communing with the devil and practicing witchcraft. 20 women, men, and children were taken to the Gallows and were hanged.

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“We see witchcraft, finally, as a deeply ambivalent but violent struggle /within/ women as well as an equally ambivalent but violent struggle /against/ women.”

Salem Witch Trial Memorial

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 will forever be remembered as a time of widespread panic and hysteria This, in turn, resulted in the executions of the 20 innocent townspeople in the quiet and sleepy village of Salem. Many of the accused were thrown into the dungeons of the jails awaiting their sorrowful fate.

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 “I was interested in what was really going on in Salem at that time, and I resolved to investigate this seemingly unorthodox treatment of the people and the period.”

Salem Witch Museum 

The Salem Witch Museum has tons of information on American and European witchcraft. We did the nighttime tour, and our guide was very informative and engaging. We also sat through the audio tour which has stages of reenacted scenes from the witch trials. This is an excellent tour for history lovers too. I learned so much more about the Salem Witch Trials.

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“Witch. The word drifted across his mind. We call such women so, because we have no other name.”

The Witch House

The Witch House, Corwin House, is one of the last remaining structures with direct ties to the Salem witch trials of 1692. The home belonged to Jonathan Corwin who was one of the judges during the infamous witch trials.

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“Perhaps I am the only person who, asked whether she were a witch or not, could truthfully say, “I do not know. I do know some very strange things have happened to me, or through me.”

Ropes Mansion

It’s all just a bunch of Hocus Pocus! The Ropes Mansion is a Colonial-style home and features a botanical backyard wonderland. This is every Hocus Pocus fangirl’s dream! It’s surreal to celebrate the 25th anniversary of my favorite Halloween Disney movie at this iconic place.

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“Words came to her from outside of memory; they fluttered against her heart like a rush of wings and soared from her voice in a song she’d never known. A song she’d always known. She hummed the incantation, and the force of magic behind it erupted in a crescendo through her blood. Every cell in her body vibrated with pure joy. I have lived this before. This is my destiny.”

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“When a small group of people come together to relive the Salem witch hunts, God cries. For if anything is sorrowful to God, it is evil done in his name. When you find out you were not given the truth, how will you live with yourself?”

Bewitched Statue

Fans of the beloved TV Land show Bewitched love to visit the site of the Elizabeth Montgomery, Bewitched Statue. The bronzed statue of Elizabeth sits atop a crescent moon. Several episodes of Bewitched were filmed in Salem.

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“We are quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant sound…our home has no boundaries beyond which we cannot pass. We live in music, in a flash of color…we live on the wind and in the sparkle of a star!”

Salem Common

It’s the 25th anniversary of Hocus Pocus, and I’m visiting where scenes from the movie were filmed. Tonight Hocus Pocus is playing out on the lawn, and I get to watch one of my favorite childhood movies in Salem! It’s just a bunch of ‪Hocus Pocus‬! I’ll Put a Spell on You. Run amok amok amok.

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Come, little children, I’ll take thee away, Into a land of enchantment. Come little children; the time’s come to play, Here in my garden of magic.

Hex Old World Witchery

I’ve visited the Hex sister store on numerous occasions in New Orleans, so I just had to visit the Hex store in Salem. This is the original Hex store and has all of the same witchy goodness and magick. Hex has many herbs and oils, tarot and oracle cards, spell and magic books, and more. The altar table is filled with photos, prayers, and offerings.

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“The sky grew orange and pink, a pale ghost of the full moon appeared above Salem, waiting to glow brilliant in the velvet black hiding just beyond the twilight.”

Essex Street Pedestrian Mall

Historic Essex Street is the life source of Salem. There are numerous new age shops, divey eateries and cafes, and specialty boutiques lined up alongside the brick and cobblestone streets. Essex Street is all things horror and Halloween from witches to vampires and beyond. I love all of the eclectic storefronts which feature unique gifts and merchandise. Essex Street is so lively and inviting.

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“You hold a lioness in your arms, little witch. Someone’s sky; another’s earth; and a third’s star. Blood, skin, and breath in one.”

Salem Haunted Happenings

 Visiting Salem, MA the site of the Salem Witch Trials has been on my bucket list for years. During our visit, many festivals were going on including Salem Haunted Happenings, The Psychic and Witch Fair, and the Bizarre Bazaar. October is a month-long celebration for #SalemHauntedHappenings 🔮🕯⚰️🦇🕷🕸✨🕯

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“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Salem Haunted Bizarre Bazaar

The Bizarre Bazaar is packed with locals, tourists, and vendors shopping, eating, and taking in all of the sights and sounds. This is the festival for entertaining all Halloween lovers. This is a family event, and there are games and activities, plus trick-or-treating for the kids.

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“They called her witch because she knew how to heal herself.”

Salem Psychic and Witch Fair

Calling all Halloween Lovers to the Psychic and Witch Fair, also known as The Festival of the Dead. There are celebrated mediums and psychics holding seminars and relaying messages from the spirit world through tarot cards, crystal balls, and palm readings. The fair features an emporium of magickal gifts.

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“I address you all tonight for who you truly are: wizards, mermaids, travelers, adventurers, and magicians. You are the true dreamers.”

Other things to do:

Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Peabody Essex Museum
Pickering Wharf
The Custom House
The House of Seven Gables
Salem Witch Village
Witch Dungeon Museum
Witch History Museum
New England Pirate Museum
Salem 1630: Pioneer Village
Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery
Salem Wax Museum of Witches & Seafarers


There’s just something about you, Salem. Happy Halloween, little witches! Happy All Hallows’ Day! Happy Hocus Pocus Day! Happy Haunting! Happy Samhain!🎃👻

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Sending all my love from Salem! xoxo

“When change cometh, she will bring peace at her back. She will not bend to your will; you must bend to hers.”

 

 

Categories
Photography Travel

Nottoway Plantation & Resort- The largest antebellum mansion in the South

 

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Nottoway Plantation and Resort is a 19th Century estate located in White Castle, La. and dates back to the 1850’s and The Civil War Era. Nottoway is the largest remaining antebellum plantation in the south and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nottoway is a three-story historical sugarcane estate and sits on 15 acres and measures 53,000 sq. Ft.

Nottoway mansion features both grand Greek Revival and Italianate architecture. The rich country estate has 200 windows, 165 doors, 64 rooms, 12 mantles, 7 staircases, and 5 galleries. Nottoway is an AAA Four Diamond inn and operates as a B&B, wedding venue, and museum. Nottoway offers guided and self-guided tours and is a favorite venue for romantic southern weddings.

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History of the Antebellum Plantation

-19th century

Nottoway was built in 1859 by the Randolph family and encompassed 6,200 acres. Mr. Randolph had the home built for 80,000 and paid in full in cash. Nottoway today is worth approximately 4 million dollars. The estate consisted of the mansion, slave quarters, schoolhouse, greenhouse, horse stables and more. Nottoway was once a cotton plantation, and John Randolph converted it to a sugarcane plantation.

John Randolph and his wife Emily had 11 children. Sometime in 1886, After Mr. Randolph’s passing, Mrs. Randolph moved from the mansion and sold most of the property, excluding the swamps. Landry & Dugas were the new owners and purchased the home for 50,000.

-20th Century

Nottoway was resold in 1899 for 100,00. The estate was sold again shortly in 1913 for 63,000. Nottoway was sold yet again in a partnership for 63,000 and sold back again in 1913 where it went for a few thousand at a sheriffs sale to Surgeon General, Dr. Whyte Owen. He tried to operate it as a sugarcane farm once again and decided to keep the mansion and surrounding areas and sell off the remaining of his 1193 acres.

Into the 20th century, the Owen family were the homeowners and Mr. Owen’s daughter-in-law, Mrs. Odessa Owen, decided to sell the home once again. She sold the house for 720,000 to Mr. Arlin Dease, with one contingency…

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The last surviving heir eventually struck a deal of a lifetime. She stated she wished to live in one of the house quarters until her death. He agreed, and she lived out the rest of her years in this very house as promised.

In 1985, Nottoway was sold to a wealthy Austrailian man, Sir Paul Ramsey who still owns the estate to this day. Mr. Ramsey is the chairman of Ramsey Health Care and operates 72 hospitals, elder care facilities, and psychiatric hospitals. He also is the largest stakeholder, and he also operates 13 stations with Prime television.

Life on the Plantation

The Randolph family owned many slaves who worked in the crops. During the tour, I learned that at one time the slaves were released during the emancipation signing and many left, but about 53 decided to stay and work for Mr. Randolph. Without the pay increases, they were promised more slaves left in search of better wages. Many slaves left for personal freedoms and others in search of other house families to serve like the Randolph’s.

Randolph owned 176 slaves and was one of the largest slaveholders in the south. Harvesting sugarcane is physically demanding, and many slaves worked double shifts in the fields. Many slaves were expected to cook, clean, plow the fields, plant sugar cane, cut stalks and more. It is disheartening to reflect with an open heart the working and living conditions of our past generations.

Tour

We purchased tickets online and headed out of the city towards the country. Nottoway is located somewhere between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. When you arrive, you enter through the gift shops to purchase tickets or present your advanced tickets. You then advise if you would like a guided tour or a self-guided tour.

Tours begin every hour on the hour. You then proceed out through the gift shop into the house grounds. Our guide was Brock, and he was entertaining and informative. The guides are dressed in period attire. In October, Nottoway begins it’s haunted nighttime tours.

I look forward to returning in the chilly fall weather for another ghostly tour of the property! They also hold Murder Mystery Dinner Theater shows. On with the tour…

One of my favorite stories about the Randolph family retold by our guide was one of Mrs. Randolph and the pineapples. Being as the Randolph’s were very wealthy and had a massive mansion, they would often host many visitors and guests for extended stays. Mrs. Randolph loved pineapples and was known to give her guests a fresh cut pineapple after supper. When guests have upset Mrs. Randolph, she will give her guests a whole pineapple and haughtily watch them try to cut it themselves. She would soon leave them to their struggle and retire for the evening. When a houseguest received an entire pineapple, they understood they would quickly be seen off and that they had upset the lady of the house.

House Exterior

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Nottoway operates as a Bed and Breakfast and wedding venue and features 64 rooms, guest cottages and carriage houses, and honeymoon suites on three floors and outdoor rooms. Guests can retire in The Mansion, The Boys Wing, The Garden House, The Suites, The Cottages, or The Carriage House. Furnishings include antique Victorian Queen beds, Mahogany four-poster beds, jacuzzis, and a parlor. Other amenities include a brides quarters, salon and spa, a crystal ballroom, a southern restaurant and cafe, outdoor pool and tennis court.

House Grounds

Nottoway has nestled about 200 ft. from the banks of the Mississippi River. Nottoway estate consists of 620 acres of land including Mississipi River-front land, highland, and swamplands. We crossed the grounds of the mansion and walked up the side of the levee. The splendid views from the back of the home are remarkable. From the top of the ridge, you can see panoramic views of the mighty Mississippi. From this side of the house, you can see the natural beauty of the property. There is a multitude of towering Oak and Spanish moss trees offering shade, and quiet moments of reflection.

The front entrance has a stunning circular fountain and angelic statues. The Iris pond behind the home features a beautiful white wooden bridge, fountain, and sculpture. The exterior of the mansion features a three-story Rotunda and 22 large white columns and posts. The balconies have outdoor furniture for rest and offer mesmerizing views of the antique home and large manicured property. I was able to leisurely tour the upper galleries and second story porches.

DSC_0013.jpgFountain Garden Courtyard

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House Interior

Nottoway mansion houses a multitude of vintage furniture and antiques. I admire the lavish details of the rooms such as the crown molding along the ceilings, Corinthian columns with hand-cast arches, velvet drapes, porcelain doorknobs, brass and ceramic furnishings, and Italian marble fireplaces. The ceilings are an astonishing 15.5 Ft. high and the doors are 11 ft. The music room features a gorgeous angelic harp and piano.

The dining room features hand-painted delicate China dishes and a large solid wood dining room table. The lady of the house had a tea room where dames of times past huddled around over delicate teacups and shared ladies stories. Mrs. Randolph was quite mistrusting of others and was known to stow her valuables in a stocking which she would hide away in the bedposts.

The man of the house had a grand gentleman’s study where he could leisurely read or perhaps smoke cigars and banter with his comrades. The children’s rooms displayed little beds such as the rooms in the house with simple furnishings in contrast to the rest of the house. The house also had all indoor plumbing which shows the affluence of the family at a time where many used outhouses.

My favorite room was the White room. The room has all white walls and even white floors! There were touches of gold and brass furniture and antiques spread throughout the room. An all-white room is so delicate and gorgeous.

DSC_0115.jpgThe White Ballroom

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House Gardens

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Mississippi River

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Weddings

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Other places to visit:

Gift Shop

Cinema Room

Museum

Le Cafe

The Mansion Resturant

Family Cemetery

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With All My Love,
The Vintage Gypsy

“…there ain’t no journey what don’t change you some.”

Categories
Travel vintage

Bucket List Dreams- Hemingbough

 

A Spiritual Retreat to Hemingbough

 

Hemingbough is a beloved sanctuary where I draw a source of inspiration for many of my musings. Hemingbough is a cultural arts center situated in the Felicianas within the quaint and charming town of Saint Francisville.  Hemingbough is located along the rolling hills of Louisiana’s Old South Hwy.

This rural retreat is beautiful and tranquil and promotes a meditative state and rest. Hemingbough is a safe haven for spiritual seekers of enlightenment and promotes inner peace and harmony between nature, self, and our fellow man. One can enjoy the quiet solitude of the great outdoors and bask in the warm Louisiana sun.

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Amphitheater

The Greek Revival amphitheater is where I am drawn to, and I get lost in the beauty of the elegant architecture. The Greek amphitheater features an open-air coliseum and towering white columns with an inspiring water backdrop. There are also many stunning Greek statues sprawled throughout the grounds. This is a gorgeous location to exchange vows.

Lake

Hemingbouhgh has beautiful natural areas overlooking the lake. Audubon Lake offers scenic views of Louisiana’s iconic lakes and woods. I enjoy sitting next to the water and taking in all of the natural beauty of nature. It’s the perfect place for solitude and self-reflection.

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Gazebo

I also love the gazebo overlooking Lake Audubon and the water show at the fountains. The peristyle gazebo is one of my favorite spots at Hemingbough. I take my hair down and spin around in my flowy dress and laugh at life and smile at god.

Maze

 I always find myself gravitating to the greenery and mystery of the labyrinth maze. I enjoy strolling through the formal gardens and garden hedge maze taking in all of the sights and wonders of nature. There are many angelic statues spread throughout the grounds. The Spanish Moss trees tower overhead, and it’s easy to get lost beneath their shade and beauty.

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Peacocks

Peacocks are one of my spirit animals because they are beautiful, regal and majestic. Their iridescent and colorful bright blue and green fans have tiny ornamental eyes. Greek mythology tells us the story of Zeus and Hera, the rulers of the heavens.

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Zeus was a lover of many women but took Hera as his wife. Mythology tells us that Zeus admired another woman, Lo, and so a vengeful Hera exacted revenge. Hera transformed the young girl into a heifer and gave her up to her servant, the monster Argus, who had a hundred eyes. Zeus and Hermes plotted to free Lo and have the monster killed. The plan was a success. Legend tells us that Hera placed the eyes onto her sacred animal, the peacock.

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Guesthouses

Hemingbough runs as a plantation-style bed and breakfast. Hemingbough offers 8 guesthouses, cottages, and two end suites. Hemingbough also operates as a wedding and event venue. The Audubon Room and Hempstead Hall can be rented out for rehearsal dinners and receptions, as well as birthday, engagement, or anniversary parties.

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Hemingbough artfully blends Old Southern architecture with Greek Revival architecture. I am an Old Hollywood vintage enthusiast and classic Greek mythology lover, so Hemingbough is the perfect place for me to find inspiration to curate art.

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Chapel

The Edward Dease Memorial chapel offers a moments peace to those seeking prayer and meditation. The chapel features a small porch, dressed alter and communion table, an old piano, Bibles and songbooks, and stained glass windows.

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With All My Love,
The VintageGypsy

“What if it’s the there
and not the here
that I long for?
The wander
and not the wait,
the magic
in the lost feet
stumbling down
the faraway street
and the way the moon
never hangs
quite the same.”

-Tyler Knott Gregson

Categories
Travel

Decaying Beauty- New Orleans Cemeteries

weeping angel

The decaying beauty of New Orleans cemeteries, or “Cities of the Dead,” is breathtaking and otherworldly. The massive marble and brick tombs draw in the masses. The gravesites date back hundreds of years and intrigue those far and wide. The massive decaying crypts feature crumbling brick and intricate artwork that has been inscribed on the tombs. New Orleans is built below sea level on floodwaters and swamps so while there are numerous underground grave plots, there are thousands of grave sites that tower above the ground. During past high rains and flooding caskets holding the dearly departed have floated unto the streets.

People from all over the world pour in daily to walk these haunted and holy grounds. The most famous New Orleans cemeteries include Metairie Lake Lawn Cemetery, Greenwood Cemetery, St. Louis 1, 2 and 3, and Lafayette Cemetery 1, 2, and 3. Many cemetery tours go into the rich detailing of the many fascinating tombs and artwork throughout the graveyards.

St. Louis Cemetery #1

Notably, the most famous and haunted cemetery in Nola is St. Louis Cemetery #1. St. Louis cemetery has laid to rest over 100,000 souls and dated back to 1789! St. Louis Cemetery is the oldest known cemetery in New Orleans and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places!

I’ve visited the Voodoo Queen of the South, Marie Laveau’s, gravesite on numerous occasions. Her tomb is always surrounded with offerings, and it is inscribed with multiples of xxx. The triple xxx’s symbolize the power of the voodoo queen from beyond the grave. You can walk to the cemetery from The French Quarter. To date, due to preservation efforts only guided tours are allowed through the Catholic Diocese Association.

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St. Louis Cemetery #3

St. Louis Cemetery #3 is located off of Esplanade Avenue dates back to 1854. St. Louis Cemetery #3 has laid to rest upwards of 10,000 souls. The cemetery is broken up into rows, and there are many multi-story crypts, marble tombs, and wall vaults. The Greek Orthodox tombs are entirely aesthetic and mystifying. It’s hard to explain the way in which cemeteries provide a few moments of respite from the noise of the city and one’s own life.

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Metairie Cemetery

Metairie Cemetery, or Lake Lawn, dates back to 1872 and has laid to rest over 9,000 souls. Lake Lawn is my probably my favorite graveyard to visit because it is so massive and grand. It is also so large that there are actually roads within it to help you navigate through it. You will see the most breathtaking tombs in the world, and you will stand in awe of what is before you.

I love The Weeping Angel tomb, and I visit her each time I visit the cemetery. She is elusive in the sense that everyone searches for her throughout the cemetery and not all can find her. I am always mesmerized when I reach her. The anguish speaks volumes.

I also love the great sphinx and pyramid tomb. This cemetery is so stunning, and it’s filled with decaying beauty all throughout the grounds. I have never seen such beautiful towering marble tombs like I have here. If you want a piece of local history and appreciate architecture, it’s a must see.

You’ll also want to check out Millionaire’s Rowe where you will see rows of decorative and extravagant burial chambers. I love all of the ruins and Classical, Gothic, Greek, and Italian architecture. You also may have a self-guided tour of the grounds. Metairie Cemetery is located off of Pontchartrain Blvd.

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Lafayette Cemetery #1

Lafayette Cemetery #1 lies within The Garden District of New Orleans and is one of the cities most beloved cemeteries. Lafayette Cemetery #1 dates back to at least 1833 and has laid to rest upwards of 7,000 souls. There are at least 1,000 gravesites here, and there are ongoing tomb restoration and preservation projects.

Author of the Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice, writes about this cemetery in her vampire chronicles where the famed Lestat’s tomb lies. I walked over to the graveyard after visiting Anne Rice’s home. Getting there by foot, car, or streetcar is easy. You may have a self-guided tour here. I saw many colorful above-ground tombs and rows and rows of wall vaults. The decaying statues in the cemetery are haunting.

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Greenwood

Greenwood cemetery dates back to 1852 and showcases ancient above-ground tombs and monuments. Greenwood is a large cemetery and is known for laying to rest over 20,000 souls! Greenwood features many old and beautiful brick and mortar tombs and cast-iron tombs. There are so many stunning vaults, statues, and monuments displayed here.

There are also numerous graves for unidentified Confederate soldiers and burials of British Commonwealth from World War 1. Greenwood Cemetery is located off of City Park Avenue, Metairie Road, and Canal St.

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With All My Love,
The Vintage Gypsy

“Deep in earth, my love is lying/And I must weep alone.” -Edgar Allen Poe

Categories
Travel

Baton Rouge City Guide

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Baton Rouge is a vibrant and cultural city which brings passionate locals together through our deep love of our town and rich historical roots. There are many famed landmarks and exciting attractions that draw in the masses. There are always numerous community events and festivities to look forward to. Baton Rouge is a port city that bridges us to the world and the world to us!

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The Louisiana State Capital reaches high into the sky welcoming all far and wide.

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Louisiana’s Old State Capital is our very own castle in the south.

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Downtown Baton Rouge is the place to be for activities, attractions, and festivities.

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The Mississippi River Bridge highlights the port city of Baton Rouge.

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 The Riverfront offers scenic views of the Mississippi River and Mississippi River Bridge. The Levee is loved by all ages and is the perfect location for biking and jogging.

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Arsenal Park is located in the Spanish town neighborhood of downtown Baton Rouge. Arsenal Park is warm and inviting, and a local favorite.

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City Park has several attractions. City Park encompasses the main park, golf course, tennis courts, dog park, art museum, and more.

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Baton Rouge has several historical antebellum plantation homes that are open to the public for educational tours. The plantation homes are accessible for photoshoots, weddings, and other parties and events.

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Famous plantations include Magnolia Mound, Mount Hope and neighboring The Myrtles, Nottoway, Houmas House, and more.

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Perkins Rowe offers a great selection of boutiques and restaurants. They often have live music on the weekends, and they have a great movie theater.

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Baton Rouge celebrates numerous Mardi Gras parades during parade season. The festivities are in full swing during Mardi Gras, and this really embodies the spirit of Louisiana.

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Baton Rouge has many festivals. Live After Five sponsors free outdoor concerts every spring and fall. I love seeing everyone smiling and coming together as one big family to enjoy music, dancing, and food.

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The Brec Baton Rouge Zoo is a favorite spot for family fun. Everyone loves the zoo!

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L.S.U. Hilltop Arboretum is the perfect place for enjoying a day outdoors in nature.

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Baton Rouge is known for being the home of Louisiana State University.  L.S.U. is tiger country. You can visit Tigerland on any given weekend during football season to see tons of tailgating fans, cook-outs, and get-togethers. Tigerland is relatively all inclusive with food spots, clothing stores, live venues, bars and more.

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Baton Rouge is quite the cultural experience. A short drive from here is our sister city, New Orleans. One thing is sure, Louisiana is a melting pot and being a Louisiana girl is a way of life.

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In Louisiana, our roots run deep. We have a strong sense of faith, family, and community. Our southern charm welcomes all.

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With All My Love,
The Vintage Gypsy

“Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land, grew especially strong in spring.” ––Vladimir Nabokov

Categories
Travel

Mississippi Adventures- Biloxi and Gulfport

I have always loved the picturesque views of beachscapes, cityscapes, desertscapes, and mountainscapes. I am always searching for beauty and adventure whether a local staycation, an out of town getaway, or a cross-country excursion. And I always follow wherever the pull on my own heart leads me.




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Discover and Explore Mississippi’s Gulf Coast

Mississippi is known for its great outdoors and is a vast playground for music aficionados, food lovers, nature enthusiasts and history buffs. In Mississippi, you can visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley, observe wildlife and marine life at Gulf Islands National Seashore, hike and chase waterfalls at Clark Creek Nature Area, or visit one of their 22 state parks.


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Biloxi and Gulfport are Mississippi’s namesakes drawing people in by the masses. Both Biloxi and Gulfport are famous for their Gulf Coast beaches and flashy upscale casinos. My time was splintered between Biloxi, Gulfport, and Ocean Springs.


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Front Beach, Ocean Springs is in nearby Biloxi. The beaches do not rival the crystal waters of Florida, but they are local favorites for southerners and other Mississippians.


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A visit to Mississippi is perfect for a mini vacation or weekend staycation with their numerous adult oriented and family-friendly attractions. The flashing lights of all of the casinos and animated billboards let you know you have arrived in Biloxi. Both locals and visitors flock to Biloxi beach and Gulfport beach year-round.

Biloxi is well-known for its many casinos. Popular casinos include Beau Rivage, Harrah’s, Hard Rock, and Golden Nugget. On any given night you can catch a musical act or theatrical show.


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Biloxi is well-known for its many casinos. Popular casinos include Beau Rivage, Harrah’s, Hard Rock, and Golden Nugget. On any given night you can catch a musical act or theatrical show.


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Hard Rock puts the rock in rock and roll. This casino features tons of slot machines and table games, a buffet and restaurants, a robotic bar, a wall of guitars, and funky interior plastered with music memorabilia.


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Big Fish Charters Marina offers inshore and barrier island fishing trips. There are tons of seabirds flying overhead and swooping below looking for small fish. The marina is kept in great condition and showcases many spectacular boats.


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On a hot day, an Iced Blonde Cold Foam Caramel Cappuccino is a sure-fire way to escape the heat. A few trips to several local Starbucks is always a part of my traveling. I love my fancy blended coffee drinks!


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The Hurricane Katrina Memorial commemorates the devastation that was wrought upon Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. The memorial consists of plaques and statues in remembrance of the unfathomable destruction and immeasurable loss that affected thousands upon thousands of lives.


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St. Michael’s Catholic Church is so unique and beautiful. The exterior of the church features a shell-like design with bronze flutes and intricate stained glass. St. Michael’s has a rich local history and is known as the church of the fisherman.


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Other things to do in Biloxi:

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art

Ship Island

GM Park

Beauvoir Home

Other things to do in Gulfport:

Gulfport Premium Outlets

Gulf Islands Water Park

Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

The Institute of Marine Mammal Studies


A visit to Biloxi, Gulfport, and Ocean Springs is the perfect way to make the most of the famous, scorching, southern heat. I love cool dips and beachside sips.

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With All My Love,
The Vintage Gypsy

“What is a Wanderess? Bound by no boundaries, contained by no countries, tamed by no time, she is the force of nature’s course.” ― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

Categories
Travel

Bucket List Dreams- Historic Saint Francisville

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Saint Francisville is an antique and quaint town which takes you back to a time of Southern Belles and antebellum plantations. Saint Francisville is in The Feliciana’s located along Louisiana’s Old Historic South off US-61. Saint Francisville is highly regarded for its historic plantations and countryside.

In Saint Francisville, you can visit one of America’s Most Haunted Houses, The Myrtles, explore one of their many beautiful plantation homes, such as Rosedown, and discover one of the oldest gothic architectural churches in the south, Grace Episcopal. You may also visit one of their many historical sites such as Audubon State, get lost in the timeless beauty of Hemingbough, or be at one with nature at Cat Island National Refuge.

Downtown Historic Saint Francisville is nationally recognized for its significance to history with numerous historic sites and points of interest. Downtown Saint Francisville is located on Main Street and is the perfect place to slow down and enjoy taking in all of the sights of times past. There are charming bed and breakfasts, quaint inns, darling cottages and bungalows, antique storefronts, vintage stores, art galleries, specialty boutique shops, southern dining, and more.

Saint Francisville is home to several beautiful antebellum plantations which date back to the Civil War era. Many of these mansions have been restored while still retaining that old southern charm weaved together with French and Spanish influence. The Myrtles Plantation, Rosedown Plantation, Greenwood Plantation, and Oakley House all date back to the 1800’s.

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The Myrtles Plantation is hailed as one of the most haunted places in America. The Myrtles is loved by paranormal enthusiasts and ghost hunters far and wide. The Myrtles is the perfect place for spinning history and mystery with a telling ghost story that will leave you both dazzled and haunted. The Myrtles is a famed local attraction and offers daily tours of the grounds and home. The property operates as a museum and B&B.

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Grace Episcopal Church dates back to 1827 and the Civil War era. This cemetery features an eerie Gothic architecture church, crumbling old tombs, and towering old Spanish Moss trees. Visitors are drawn to the decaying beauty of Grace Episcopal.

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The church survived battle shots from Union soldiers and gunboats, and the cemetery is the burial grounds for both Union and Confederate soldiers and masses of townspeople who fell under the flu epidemics and other illness. The Gothic architecture is unbelievable. The scenery is both haunting and breathtaking. Grace Episcopal exudes a quiet, still beauty that deeply resonates.

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Hemingbough serves as a place for personal spiritual retreats while enjoying the serenity basking in the warm Lousiana sun. Hemingbough highlights the natural beauty of Saint Francisville. Hemingbough features a Greek amphitheater, manicured gardens, a gazebo overlooking Lake Audubon, a Bed and Breakfast, and eight guest rooms all while majestic peacocks roam freely throughout grounds. Hemingbough is widely famous for weddings, receptions, and other celebrations. The landscaping is quite beautiful and is a lovely place for photoshoots.

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Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge features a collection of the most extensive assortment of trees on this side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Cat Island is perfect for nature walks, bird watching, fishing and more. There are numerous bird varieties including waterfowl such as blue herons and snowy egrets. There is an abundance of wildlife who call this conservation home including crawfish, snakes, turtles, fish and even alligators. Cat Island showcases the immense natural beauty of Louisiana’s wetlands and forestry.

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Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area, or Clark Creek, is overseen by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Tunica Hills offers hiking and biking paths, nature trails, stunning woodlands, and gorgeous waterfalls. Tunica Hills can be accessed through the St. Francisville side or the Mississippi side. There are various flora and fauna sprawled out throughout over 5,000 acres of natural and unrefined Louisiana landscapes. You may also see squirrels, birds, and deer while wandering through the vast natural habitat. The park uses an honor system and also has trail maps placed throughout the park.

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Other things to do:

Hiking and Biking Trails

Imahara’s Botanical Gardens

Angola Museum

Afton Villa Gardens

Audubon State Historic Site

 

Saint Francisville is the perfect destination for history lovers, antique enthusiasts, nature explorers, outdoor adventurers and more. Explore and discover the hidden gem of the south.

All my Love,
The Vintage Gypsy

“I keep going back
as if I’m looking for something I have lost
back to the motherland, sisterland, fatherland
back to the beacon, the breast
the smell and taste of the breeze,
and the singing of the rain.”

 

 

Categories
Travel

America’s Most Haunted Plantation- The Myrtles Plantation

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Saint Francisville is located along Louisiana’s historic south and is renowned for its gorgeous plantation-style houses, beloved historic district, local inns and B&B’s, and multitude of antique storefronts. Saint Francisville is deemed the jewel of the south. The Myrtle’s Plantation weaves a ghost haunting with old south history so perfectly. The story of The Myrtle’s Plantation is centered around the murder mystery of the homeowners, and the hanging of the infamous house maid, Chloe.

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The home dates back to 1796 and was once constructed by General David Bradford. The Myrtles offers self-guided and guided ghost tours where the history of the house is retold in depth. The retelling of the eerie distant past that is The Myrtles Plantation is notorious. The Myrtles has been called America’s Most Haunted House.

 

Legend tells us that Chloe, the ghost girl, in a jealous fit, began eavesdropping on private conversations in the home and the master ordered her ear to be cut off. Chloe started donning a turban and anger and jealousy later ensued. The lore tells us that a vengeful Chloe poisoned the children’s birthday cake with oleander flowers, and then sorrowfully she aided them and attempted to nurse them back to help. Without meaning to, she used to much poison resulting in the death of the master’s wife and two daughters. The master did not eat the birthday cake, and thus his life was spared. The murder of the family incited fear and outrage among the other slaves who drug Chloe outside and had her hanged.

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The Myrtles is fully operational and offers daily tours and doubles as a B&B. It is also a popular place for weddings and bridal parties. The Myrtles has 8 rooms and a set of cottages for guests far and wide to brave through the night. They also have a restaurant on the grounds.

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At first glance, the Myrtles is but a beautiful old plantation overflowing with southern charm. In actuality, The Myrtles tops the Smithsonian’s list of the most haunted places in the world and is listed on the National Historic Register.

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The Myrtles property has also been featured on many ghost adventure exploration and travel shows, and most notably on The National Geographic Channel, The Discovery Channel, and The Travel Channel. 

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The Myrtles is relatively untouched, and still has the old carriage house quarters, and the former slave quarters on the property. In keeping with Southern tradition and preservation, many remain primarily in their natural state.

 

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The south has an abundance of haunted homes, but the allure of The Myrtles entices folks far and wide. Ghost enthusiasts come hungry to the myrtles in the hopes of having a supernatural experience and catching a glimpse of the house ghosts and the ghost girl herself, Chloe. The level of mystery and intrigue the Myrtles elicits is paramount.

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I’ve been here several times and each time I’m still impressed. I always find amazing things to explore and photograph. I still see new things I hadn’t noticed before, and I again am drawn to the fascinating stories and history of The Myrtle’s. The grounds are always lovely and clean, and it is a superb place for visits, lunch, and relaxation.

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The views off the verandah and wraparound porch are quite exceptional. There is also beautiful moss trees, enchanting flower gardens, an oasis pond, arched gazebo, and sinister angelic statues.

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When planning your trip to Saint Francisville, I’d also recommend you visit the gorgeous gothic architectural marvel of Grace Episcopal Church. And if you enjoy the great outdoors check out Clark Creek Natural Waterfalls for hiking and viewing waterfalls. Also, Cat Island Natural Wildlife Refuge is a sportsman’s paradise.

In closing, the quaint and sleepy town of Saint Francisville is a must visit with their 7 stunning plantation homes, incredible antique storefronts, mouthwatering local Cajun eateries, charming bungalows and Beds and Breakfasts, and of course, the world-famous and insanely haunted, Myrtles Plantation!

And my bucket list dreams just keep coming true!

With All My Love,
The Vintage Gypsy

 

Time and Eternity
This world is not conclusion;
A sequel stands beyond,
Invisible, as music,
But positive, as sound.

-Emily Dickinson

 

 

 

 

Categories
Travel

Downtown Baton Rouge

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Downtown Baton Rouge is celebrated for its historical significance, lively arts and cultural scene, highly regarded festivals and parades, delicious southern dishes, incredible live music venues and more. Downtown Baton Rouge includes the historic neighborhoods of Beauregard Town and Spanish Town. We are a place of story-telling and preservation of our traditions and culture. In The Bayou State, we dance a little longer, laugh a little more, eat a little too much and attend way too many festivities. We are a city of good-times with family and friends. Baton Rouge, or The Red Stick state, offers a multitude of attractions for locals and out-of-towners alike.

Old South Baton Rouge

Downtown Baton Rouge includes the historic neighborhood of Spanish Town. This is the site where Native Americans settled. The site was later inhabited by French-European settlers and is celebrated today as the Spanish Town Historic District. Spanish Town is Baton Rouge’s oldest neighborhood.

Downtown Baton Rouge also includes the European-style neighborhood, Beauregard Town. The neighborhood known as Beauregard Town is also where the Spanish settled and is inhabited by the French as well. The Beauregard Town Historic District is the second-oldest community in Baton Rouge.

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Lousiana Old State Capital

The Louisiana Old State Capital is Baton Rouge’s very own castle! I’d definitely recommend everyone to come in and tour the old state capital at least once. The stained glass windows and the stained glass rotunda ceiling is breathtaking. The spiral stairs are beyond beautiful. The ghost story is so much fun to sit through because it’s informative and entertaining.

I learned a lot about the history of Baton Rouge and the old and new state capital. It was free to attend and I’m really glad we did. It was also interactive so it’s a great experience for all ages, but especially the younger kids. The Huey P exhibits are great as well as the other exhibits chronicling the trials and triumphs of Baton Rouge. Definitely check out the beauty and history of Baton Rouge’s very own castle because it is definitely worth seeing.

Louisiana State Capital

Louisiana’s new state capital is the tallest state capital in the nation! Each time I visit the state capital I am impressed with the tremendous beauty that is this magnificent skyscraper situated in downtown Baton Rouge. Adjacent to the state capital is Arsenal Park and the views of downtown and Spanish Town is truly beautiful and inspiring.

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The state capital is open to the public and you can enter it for free. Here you can take a leisurely walk around and absorb the history of this massive structure at your own pace. You can take the elevator all the way to the top of the capital where it feels at times like you are swaying slightly with the most gentle breeze.

The history you are retold in regards to the assassination of Huey P. Long is interesting as it is informative. Storytelling is a collective experience and also a personal one. You can visit the assassination room and see the bullet holes in the wall. Regardless of the past or the tumultuous history the state capital is a must see and must experience stop for tourists and locals alike.

 

Downtown Parks

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State Capitol Park encompasses the well-manicured lawns and floral gardens located at the state capital. Capitol Park Museum is located right down the road in the Spanish Town neighborhood.

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Capitol Lake is so pristine overlooking Spanish Town and downtown Baton Rouge. I love sitting lakeside just taking in the breathtaking views.

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Arsenal Park is located in Spanish Town, by the Louisiana State Capital, in downtown Baton Rouge. Arsenal Park is arguably the most beautiful park in the city. The walkways lead through the park to the state capital and Capitol Lake. The ducks and fish are always out and the landscapes are grand. Arsenal Park is the perfect place for picnics, portraits, yoga, dog walks and family days.

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This park is located centrally in the downtown and Spanish Town area. I love this park and I frequent it often. The parking is a little strange, so you gotta park off on the road and usually around a bend or curve. They have plenty of ducks and little duckie families out here as the other BREC parks such as City Park and LSU Lakes. The views are tremendous at this park. You can see the downtown developments, the lake houses, the state capital and so much more.

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Repentance Park is where Live After Five is located and other local festivals. Live After Five puts on a free outdoor concert out on the lawn every Friday during the spring and fall. The turnout is huge and it is good clean fun with live music, dancing and art vendors and food trucks.

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Repentance Park is perfect for spring and fall festivals in the area. Many popular community events are held here. Live After Five has made its home here with free concerts from 5 pm-7 pm every Friday throughout the spring and fall months.

I have attended many concerts and festivals here including Live After Five, Blues Fest, Ebb and Flow Fest and more. A lot of people attend the events at Repentance Park so there is usually food trucks and merchandise tables set up. There are paved walkways so it’s convenient to get around the park. There is also a fountain which the kids love to use as their own personal splash pad. The views are great being as the park is next to the Louisiana Old State Capital and the Mississippi Riverfront.

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Third Street

Third Street offers a host of Cajun-infused restaurants complete with Cajun music. There are Irish watering holes, Cajun restaurants and bars, the Blues Room, and local sports bars with the LSU football games on. On the weekends, especially when the sun goes down, Third Street really comes to life!

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Red Stick Farmers Market

Main Street Market is indoors with many local artisans offering handmade crafts, home goods and several storefronts serving breakfast and lunch. If you get hungry you can stop by the Main Street Market where they are always cooking up some fresh food and there are several stands to choose from. Our Daily Bread has a stand located here and the bread always smells yummy and they have a good selection of choices for the health conscious individuals. You can grab a smoothie or a coffee or breakfast at any of the many vendors.

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The Red Stick Farmers Market is located downtown on 5th and Main. The Farmers Market offers fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, plus farm-fresh dairy, seafood, and meats. The Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. When it rains they move the farmers market inside the Main Street Market/Galvez area. Parking can be pretty hectic so it’s good to get there early and park in the garage.

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I’ve been coming to the Red Stick Farmers Market for years now and I always enjoy my early morning stroll through the downtown area and taking in all the sights and scents coming from the farmers market. The produce is always fresh. The flowers are beautiful. They have a pretty large section of herbs and spices. Fresh is always best! There are always smiling faces here and the locals love supporting other local farmers and small business owners.

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The Arts Market is located the first weekend of the month at The Farmers Market. There are many booths selling arts and crafts, jewelry and native clothing, homemade soaps, and bath products and more.

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The Riverfront offers the most scenic views of Baton Rouge. The levee has many events including everything from fireworks to festivals. The views of the Mississippi River and the Mississippi River bridge are truly beautiful. Definitely get here for sunrise or sunset to see some beautiful views.

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The Levee is the place for gatherings, meetups, and hangouts. There are many people running, jogging, biking, dog walking and more. The views of the waters and tugboats are incredible overlooking the Mississippi River and Mississippi Bridge. At the levee, we meet for Flow Art Fridays where local flow artists share their love of movement with hooping and spinning fire and led poi.

Downtown B.R. Recap:

Here’s a bit of advice get yourself downtown! Go as often as you can. Seriously, downtown Baton Rouge is vibrant and bustling and beautiful. There are so many things to do as a family or if you’re single, even if you are just a cultured human being, or if you’re a tourist, and trust me there are numerous things going on all the time that still draw in and surprise the locals.

So you like museums? Do you like science? Great, check out Louisiana Arts and Science Museum, or LASM. You like history? Then check out the U.SS. Kid. Check out the Baton Rouge port to see the barges and steamboats operating in full swing. Don’t forget to check out the events going on at The SHAW Center and Broadway shows, symphonies, and concerts, dance, and ballet at The Raising Canes River Center.

You like to eat, don’t you? There’s a wide variety of restaurants whether you’re craving seafood, Cajun food, Mexican food, Greek food, pizza, any kind of food…you get my drift, eh?

If you’re into nightlife festivities Downtown B.R. has it going on. There are many clubs/bars/pubs in a localized central area for whatever your individual taste may be. Like Blues? They have a blues room. Like Cajun music, they got that at Boudreaux and Thibodeaux’s. Enjoy more modern tunes? Wonderful, they got places for you, too. See, something for everybody.

Downtown Baton Rouge is always kept nice and clean and police patrol the area and it is pretty safe to take the whole family out. They are always sponsoring events such as Krewe of Mutts dog parades, color run, The Red Stick Farmers Market, Live after 5, and The Blues Festival just to name a few. They have a nice library, nice historic hotels, beautiful views of the Mississippi bridge and riverfront.

The North Blvd. Town Square always has music playing and is the Central Park grounds for many events. Repentance park is right around the corner and they also have events going on. Check out neighboring Spanish Town and their massive amount of pink flamingo yard decor. You can see some of the most historic houses, colorful people, and even stop by the historic Spanish Town Market.

Feeling athletic or you just want to exercise? Like talking your dog out for a walk? Of course, you do because this is Baton Rouge and everyone loves and has at least one pampered pooch. So take Fido and the baby in the baby stroller for a run on the levee which has beautiful views and a running trail.

Oh, and please note, parking is atrocious. Make sure you use the parking garage or have some change to put in the meters, that is if you can find a parking spot. And on events, there is almost always paid parking lots, sigh.

All in all, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go explore Downtown Baton Rouge. So take your family out there this weekend, or treat yourself tonight. You will enjoy yourself..

 

Sending all my love from The Bayou State,
The Vintage Gypsy

 

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ― Marcel Proust