Sunday, August 5, 2018

Journey to Lancaster


About seven years ago, I had a dream. A dream to go to Lancaster County and see the Amish Community. My mom and I cherished the novels that were set in the country side of the Amish community. After being on my bucket list for all these years, the opportunity presented itself to go and better still to serve there. We volunteered with an organization call GAIN or Global Aid Network. They ship supplies such as food, clothing, shoes, blankets, and school supplies over seas and then CRU distributes it and after meeting those needs, they have the opportunity to touch lives with the Gospel of Jesus.


We made quilts to give away! 

Pictures of Lancaster Countryside




In the distance is a teenage boy plowing the field the old fashioned way with horses.


Carriage tour going down the road.


The local Cemetery.





Tips for Eating Out:


The first big tourist place to stop would be the Central Market. You can walk through an entire indoor market of local farmers and artisans. There were Amish people selling quilted items and best of all the warm homemade pretzel I am holding below.


The second place I would highly recommend is the Bird-in-Hand restaurant and getting their buffet. I would suggest to go at lunch as the price is lower. What I really loved was that the local Amish had their food in the buffet along with little signs by the food telling you which farm produced the food. 

I hope you enjoyed this article and get the chance to go yourself!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

New Orleans Food Experiences Plus Tips!


A key component to a good traveling experience is the food. Experiences are comprised of the sounds, the sights, smells, and tastes we partake in. Tastes evoke in us memories and with that, they bring back joy and pleasure. I can say with absolute confidence that my favorite cultural food experience was in New Orleans. So I wanted to share some must try foods and some traveling tips as well which are especially practical for those that want to get the most out of their experience, but not break the bank because frankly, eating out in New Orleans is not cheap.


The first food picture above is the popular Muffaletta. I got the veggie one. Tip number one is call for a reservation when dining in New Orleans or get there really early to get your name on the list. We got in a whole 45 minute walk while waiting. Katie’s Restaurant and Bar did have parking, but it was limited as is most parking in New Orleans. I ended up getting the half which as you can tell was of ginormous proportions! That saved me money because as you can see the half was $12 and the whole $17. I even had enough left over for breakfast. Added bonus. 


For a mid-day treat, we made a stop at the Croissant D’or. A most delightful choice. I was thrilled with the almond croissant. It was sweet, buttery, and a melt in your mouth texture. It reminded me of a bear claw as far as taste goes. There is plenty to choose from though as you will see below! There is a whole other display case too that I didn’t show. 



You simply cannot go to New Orleans without trying their Beignets. The iconic and one of the most well know places to get one is at Cafe Du Monde, but be prepared to stand in a line that will take hours to get through if you go in the morning. No Joke. During a bus tour, they made a stop at the Morning Call cafe. It was still absolutely delicious, but a lot faster. It also is a 24-hour coffee shop. 


Another dish that New Orleans is famous for is Gumbo. I was told by a couple friends that it is a must to fully experience the culture of New Orleans. It is a Creole dish and I was very pleased with the experience, service, and price of the Gumbo Shop. Mine even had a crab leg which I felt made it even more authentic. You will also have plenty of opportunities to buy a Gumbo mix around the French Quarter.



Our final meal was at The Rum House. I went for the food, but for those that drink, there are plenty of options. I wanted something unique so I went for the Tiger Bait and Bison tacos. They had quite the spicy kick, but oh so good. Be sure your good with spicy foods before diving into some of these tacos. 


These are just a few of the delicious dining options in New Orleans. If you just do a little bit of googling and review reading, you are sure to have very pleasing experiences. So Bon Appetit!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Experiencing New Orleans on a Budget


It was a journey….. A journey across four states in 5 days. I’ve called it the Grand Road trip for it was precisely that. Day 1 my roommate and I spent the night in Georgia. Day 2 was Alabama (which is my last post), Day 3 was Mississipi and then we arrived in New Orleans later that afternoon. I’ve already posted about the Little River Canyon in Alabama and will eventually post a tidbit on Biloxi Mississipi, but I feel compelled to share our journey in New Orleans next.

We were very conscious when it came to our spending on the trip. First off, we split the cost of gas and rooms so in all (after souvenirs) it came to about $300 for a 5 day excursion. Tip number one would be to check out Air bnb. Our nightly stays, came to about $50 and then we split that in half even further reducing our price. We were quite pleased with our hosts and their overall friendliness. You can look over reviews from past visitors before making the final decision of your host home.


The other bit of advice would be use public trasit. We used an app that allowed us to to track where we needed to get off at and when we need to change trollies or buses to reach our final destiation. I would recommend getting a Jazzy pass if you plan on stay 2 or more days. It eliminates the need for carrying extra change and will save you some cash. Finding parking is a pain, so I highly recommend taking this route.


What I really loved about New Orleans was the architecture, the food, and the Jazz. Here is a snap shot from us entering the French Quarter.


There were plenty of carriage rides offered. In my personal opinion, one of the most fun parts, was taking a bus tour. We got to hear about the culture and history. We passed Sandra Bullock’s home and Robert Mannings home which was pretty thrilling. We heard about the houses that had their own horror stories. We listened to Jazz music on the bus. We then went and got New Orleans famous Beignets.

Beignet recipe: 


Here is a view from our entrance into the Jackson Square.


I really enjoyed getting to see a show taking place near the street.


In addition to the various sites, we got to learn first hand the story behind the canals that failed in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina.

I highly recommend visiting the Presbytere museum in Jackson Square. It explains and gives live footage of what was experienced during hurricane Katrina. Admission is $6 and worth every penny. When we went, the upstairs was dedicated to Marti Gras. 



We got to take a tour of a local cemetery and believe it or not cemeteries are a major attraction in New Orleans.



An additional attraction we came across was the Lou Armstrong park. It was dedicated to Lou Armstrong who was one of the most influential of men in the Jazz movement. 



I hope you enjoyed this tour of New Orleans! It so happened that they were celebrating their 300th anniversary while we were there. Next month, I will write up an entry on the food in New Orleans which I must say was one of my favorite parts.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Little River Canyon National Preserve in Alabama


One of my dreams and ambitions is to visit all 50 states and so this year, I’ve started chipping away at making my way across the United States. I’ve visited Illionois, Alabama, Mississipi, and Louisiana this year and in summer I’ll be going to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delware. And so, to begin the new quest, Christmas week, my roommate and I began our “Grand Road Trip” to the southern states. We traveled from North Carolina all the way to Louisana with Alabama and Mississippi as our main stops. The total time to travel from North Carolina to Louisana without stops is 13 hours.

One of our main stops was Little River Canyon National Preserve which is located on the top of Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne, Alabama. We took the scenic drive which has 9 different stops along the way. The first entry point is at the 45-foot waterfall. We were blessed to get to go at a time when the water flow was strong. Nature never ceases to amaze me as I witness the creativity and artistry of our great God.


Part of the joys of a road trip is being able to stop at the drop of a hat. Being able to pause to take it all the sights and sounds is part of the experience. We found this very prounced rock appropriately called “Mushroom Rock.” There were rocks on each side with a road between them. The mark of humanity was on the rocks as people had left their signatures and symbols.



Eberhart Point is the last overlook on the scenic drive and what a way to conclude such a journey. What depth this canyon has and how insufficient the picture is to capture the picturesque nature of this place. According to online records, the “Grand Canyon of the East” is 12 miles long and as much as 600 feet deep. the park protects a grand total of 14,000 acres.



This is a whitewater river at the park that ranges from a classs III to a Class V.



A far off view of the Little River Falls.


Before going, check out their visitor center and their gift shop. They have the parks history and more details.