Honeymoon Two Ways: New Orleans
By Shamaa Von Spindler
THE CLASSIC FRENCH QUARTER
New Orleans is a town of stories, old and older, and nowhere is it more apparent as in the charm of theFrench Quarter. Unlike cities with glistening facades, the French Quarter feels like an old book ? comfortable, honest and still holding strong. In the Quarter, music seems to permeate the air. It spills though the open doorways and winds its way though the ancient streets. In other words: pure romance.
Meander through its nooks and crannies and you?ll discover treasures both old and new. Among the rows of quaint antique shops and lively cafes lies Antiques De Provence, featuring an elegant collection of interior decor and accessories to begin creating your own family heirlooms. Just up the street you?ll find the Goorin Bros hat shop, a great stop for a bit of style to pull your look together for the night ahead.
As the sun begins to fade and the streets start to liven, head over toMuriel?s Jackson Square for your evening meal. This beautiful converted residence dating back to the 1800s is the quintessential essence of New Orleans both in its historic structure and award winning contemporary Creole cuisine. Share lingering glances and a pain perdu bread pudding with pecan rum sauce - it will haunt you! (Actually, skip sharing and order two.)
After dinner, walk the short distance toBourbon Street and take in the spectacle that the French Quarter is so well known for. The scene is vibrant and alive, lights and music seem to pour from every crevice and the mood is festive and infectious. Tell people you're newlyweds at your own risk; friendly locals are never shy on putting down for rounds, especially when there are occasions to celebrate at hand. With spots likeBourbon Pub Parade,Oz, andCafe Lafitte in Exile, your chances to dance the night away, and create a few stories of your own are there for the taking.
ART AND ADVENTURE
After a cozy night's "sleep" buried under thick down duvets, the view from the 32nd floor for theMarriott New Orleans is breathtaking. You awaken, pull the curtains back and take in the spectacular cityscape all around you as the sun casts its morning light over the Crescent City and shimmers across the Mississippi. Yes, this may be your honeymoon, but fight the urge to stay in all day. You've got your anniversary for that.
This city has history and history comes with tales of spirits and haunts. New Orleans isn?t a place that shies away from mystery; it is woven into the rich culture and tradition that keep it alive. Heck, maybe even you had a Voodoo Wedding here. Head out on a tour of one of the cities many haunted neighborhoods or take in the unique above-ground tombs at Cemetery Number One, one of the oldest in the area.
If culture and the arts are more your thing, you?ll love the changes that have taken place in theArt/Warehouse District. These tree-lined, cobblestone streets tout charm and sophistication. Take a stroll through the numerous galleries that lineJulia Street or visit some of the more unique small boutiques that have made their home here. Wander ontoSt. Joseph Street and you?ll findAvery Fine Perfumery, a beautifully appointed space filled with deliciously chic unisex scents for both you and your home. After feeling pampered in this indulgent spot, take a short walk through the neighborhood toLafayette Square and catch a free concert on the grass or simply sit and watch the city go by.
Built below sea level, New Orleans has its fair share of swampland. Just twenty minutes outside of the city, you can find yourself on a high-speed tour of the local waterways withAirboat Adventures (it?s best to leave the Prada loafers at home for this one)! You?ll race though the water in search of local wildlife, which you will see plenty of, then slow to a leisurely pace as you drift among the low hanging moss off the local cypress trees that line the edges of the Louisiana bayous. It?s an experience not to be missed! And a welcome jolt of adrenaline after all those wedding highs.
After a full day of taking in the sights, head back to theCanal Street New Orleans Marriott where you can relax to a long leisurely dinner at5 Fifty 5. This award-winning restaurant lead by Executive Chef Mark Quitney not only serves up some of the city?s finest dishes but also does it with a focus on local, sustainable food. Don?t miss his prized seafood gumbo or my personal favorite, the wood-grilled BBQ prawns.
As the day comes to a close, head back up to your room, high above the streets, and gaze over the lights of the Crescent City. It?s almost as beautiful as it was in the sunlight. Now's the time to test that luxurious mattress.