Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas in New Orleans, Louisiana

Eat, drink and be merry. New Orleans certainly lives up to its joie de vivre reputation. It is like Beale Street (Memphis), 42nd Street (New York City) and South Beach (Miami) all rolled into one. As you drive (or are stuck in traffic rather) from Bourbon St to Decatur St, music wafts from every corner. And the food, oh the food, from French to Cajun to Creole, they are to die for!

Visiting New Orleans without much cash on hand is a big problem. Many establishments, both small and large, DO NOT take credit cards, much to our surprise. So we didn't get to taste those yummy beignets at Cafe du Monde. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguse. Instead of being cramped into a tiny table with hordes of tourists, we found a much nicer alternative - Cafe Beignet on Bourbon Street. Its signature is spacious outdoor seating in a cozy little courtyard with a band playing traditional New Orleans jazz and Christmas songs. We savored some delicious gumbo, followed by mouth watering beignets with cafe au lait. We toasted to our luck in discovering this lovely place.

Christmas time is definitely a wonderful time to visit New Orleans. The weather is pleasant, the city dazzles with festive Christmas lights and decorations. There are Christmas concerts and carols in various parts of the city. This trip will go down in our family history book as one of the best places to spend an unforgettable Christmas holiday season. And we wish you were here too!
Bourbon St at night

A home in the garden district
The bustling Jackson Square
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, y'all!

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Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Chinese New Year! Christmas lights at Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday Boat Parades

We have been very fortunate to have several opportunities to see some awesome boat parades and festivals over the years. From the magnificent Tall Ships that visit Boston every decade to the famous Winterfest Boat Parade in Fort Lauderdale, these boat parades and festivals are truly one of a kind. Hopefully, our videos here will impress you enough to attend or participate in one somewhere. Check out this link to see the upcoming boat parades in Florida.

One December Saturday in 2005, we found ourselves in the center of a boat parade. We were anchored at Bimini Basin in Cape Coral, off of the Caloosahatchee River. Overlooking a lovely park and gorgeous homes, Bimini Basin is one of our favorite anchorages. It has a free dinghy dock, and is a short walking distance to supermarkets, restaurants and a laundromat, all things cruisers love. On this particular day, we were expecting two sets of friends on their Endeavor catamarans to come in for the night. After they set their anchor, we dinghied over to socialize with them. We saw the crowd in the park growing bigger and the music wafting through the anchorage getting louder. Something was definitely up. As more and more illuminated vessels drifted in, we realized we were smack in the middle of some festive boat parade. How lucky were we? We had a blast!

Boat Parade in Bimini Basin, Cape Coral, Florida


Now, fast forward to last night. Our marina (Hales Bar) had a chili cookout, followed by a mini-boat parade. A small fleet of five boats went out, two of which were all decked out with impressive lights and holiday decorations. We went all the way to the U.S. Hwy 41 Bridge (and heard some honking on the bridge) before turning around. It got windy when we returned to our slip, but oh what fun!

The Awfiss (Steve and Glenda's boat)
Kevin and Connie's boat, which also participated at Chattanooga's Boat Parade on 11/26

Holiday Lights from Hales Bar Marina, near Chattanooga, TN

Wishing you warmth and cheer for a fun holiday season!

The Tall Ships return to Boston
Fourth of July on the Charles River in Boston
Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa, Florida