Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Checking In: Parisian Courtyard Inn

When members of my family had a few days off at the same time,  we had to take advantage of that hard-to-come-by circumstance and do a road trip somewhere.  It was to New Orleans, hands down!

Most of us stayed at a Bed & Breakfast accommodation in the Garden District, and the rest stayed at a high-end hotel on the fringe of the French Quarter.  I chose the Parisian Courtyard Inn in the Lower Garden District, to be exact, as our home away from home. The mansion sits on a quiet street just one block away from St. Charles, where you can catch the Street Car up and down that famous street.  If you come at the right time of the year, you can also watch the Mardi Gras Parade on this famous route.

Depending on how you book yourself at the Parisian, it can be a luxury hotel, a beautiful Bed & Breakfast, a romantic getaway, or a 10-room guest house.  All I know is that I loved it at first sight.  

The entryway was filled with exquisite antiques.

The grand staircase.

While the property has the modern conveniences, the craftsmen put a lot of love and care in restoring the mansion to its original old world elegance.

Two sitting rooms on the ground floor combine to make one big room.  This is where guests come to enjoy their European-style continental breakfast in the morning, and socialize in the evening.  The pastries, fruit and sweet tea and juices remain available throughout the day, which is so nice if you'd been visiting the museums, eclectic shops, the casino or a plantation all morning, and need a bit of respite before heading out to the party places in the evening.  I can still see cheerful Jesse Wilds, the proprietor, pulling up his bike to the front door with boxes of fresh pastries and bread for the table every single morning.  He was so hospitable and always available for questions.
Each guest room has its own personality.  Gerry and I chose the least expensive room to stay in.  We had no idea how tiny it'd be.  We were literally walking over our suitcases to get from here to there.  We got over it after day two.  We then just saw the room as being very cozy.  The innkeeper offered to take us on a personal tour of the vacant rooms, and they were so beautiful with flowing drapery, elegant fireplaces, original brick walls and antique furniture.  I'm not going cheap the next time I stay at this inn.  I want one of those big rooms!    

The mansion is surrounded by lovely gardens, fountains and cozy sitting niches. 

Consider the Parisian Courtyard Inn for your home away from home.  "You're not just entering an historic mansion, you're experiencing a unique taste of 1846 New Orleans history."

The Parisian did not ask me to write this review.  It is my pleasure to share with you another great place to stay when you vacation.  

Happy Travels,

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Summer Solstice In Avebury, The Cotswolds

The summer solstice is celebrated with all sorts of traditions surrounding it.  It's a centuries-old celebration that occurs every 21st, 22nd or 23rd of June on the Gregorian calendar, while in the southern hemisphere it is celebrated on the 21st of December.  I didn't know anything about the summer solstice before our trip to England two years ago.  

Our goal for the day was to visit Stonehenge, but our coach driver thought it might be best to cancel due to the large gathering of revelers already there since sunrise.  Hippies, is what our guide called them.  Oh, cool, I thought, then I want to go!  How cool would it be to pray in the midst of those giant ancient stones.  I mean, right in the middle of the circle, mind you, and not outside of the normally roped-off area surrounding the stones.  I could only wish.  

Driving through the Cotswolds and enjoying the view from my coach window.

The police had closed the roads leading to Stonehenge, but not to worry, said our guide.  She had a very nice surprise for us.  We were headed to Avebury, in the Cotswolds, site of the largest stone circle in Britain.

The Cotswolds is an area in south central England containing the Cotswolds Hills, a range of rolling hills which rise from the meadows of the upper Thames to an escarpment, known as the Cotswolds Edge.  A very dreamy place.

Families were present, as were shamans, Druids, and lovers,  And the me. We had arrived towards the end of the day so most of the crowd had already left, or were at the pub having a brew or two, or three.

It was great fun people-watching inside the Avebury Circle of Stones.  For an aerial view of this area, go here.  I was famished, though, so we strolled to the village to see what we could find.

The Avebury Manor and Gardens is a must-see when you visit the village.

This wasn't the kind of food I was looking for, but I simply couldn't pass up a slice of cake and a spot of tea with cream.  Delicious!

The beauty of traveling is meeting people all over the world, and discovering different cultures and traditions.  That's Gerry holding his cup of tea and chatting up a local.  We had such a relaxing time in Avebury.  It was a great introduction to the Cotswold region.

Worshipers praying and meditating for a better world, good health, a green earth, a new beginning, anything that is good and for the best.

Does this inspire you to visit the Cotswolds, or to seek fulfillment?  Or if you've been there, which village should I visit next?

Happy Travels,

For additional information on Avebury, visit here and here.

For additional information on the stones, visit here, here & here.

For information on the Druids, visit here