angels, Archdiocese of Chicago, Bucktown, Chicago, dome, historic church, nave, pipe organ, Polish cathedral style, Polish church, prayer candles, Roman Catholic, Saint Mary of the Angels, stained glass
On our first full day in New Orleans we decided to explore the French Quarter. Being Easter weekend and having three parades on Easter Sunday (including the Big Gay Easter Parade which I kind of wanted to see, but would have had to drag my husband to kicking and screaming), we though it best to go on Saturday to avoid more crowds and difficulty getting around. We walked about half a mile from our hotel, which was totally doable even with two kids in tow. The weather was cloudy and cool which was a surprise given our impression of hot, humid NOLA, but really pleasant for walking around all day.
Breakfast at Pierre Maspero’s
Mid-City Carriage ride through the French Quarter and to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 (the cemetery will be my next post)
French Quarter scenes
One thing on our list that we did not get to experience was beignets at Cafe Du Monde. The line was insane and we would have waited all afternoon. But that gives us another reason to come back to New Orleans someday.
I just returned from New Orleans, and was totally entranced by the place. It is a city of contrasts in every sense. It was my first time there, and I left wishing we had more time.
The first person we saw downtown after we exited the expressway was an older man with boobs and a purse. My children took a while to process this and I think I heard some of their brain cells pop. But I am glad their sheltered suburban lives were rocked a little bit. This is why we travel, to see things we don’t normally see and expand our horizons. New Orleans is truly a town built by a cast of characters. As I told the kids, welcome to New Orleans!
I will post my New Orleans images in a series of installments. This first will be about The Roosevelt, a Waldorf Astoria hotel. We would stay there again in a heart beat. Built in 1893, it is historic and elegant. It also has a great roof top pool that changes colors at night! It is located just off Canal Street, which is pretty gritty, but we didn’t feel unsafe. I am a city girl at heart having grown up in Chicago, so maybe others may feel more uncomfortable, but my family and I did not. New Orleans is curious in that you have these amazing hotels like The Roosevelt and Ritz Carlton mixed in with some unsavory surroundings. But also with wonderful huge-hearted people. There is just something special about it. The city really was intoxicating, and not just because of the Sazerac cocktails!
My kids especially enjoyed elevator #1 in the second tower. The lights would go out every once in a while, which made for an exciting ride! From the Fountain Lounge in the lobby, the kids would watch the doors open and the elevator stand empty, just waiting for it’s next victim. Or so their active imaginations thought! It’s part of the fun of staying in a historic hotel. My favorite part were the flower arrangements and how the lobby smelled like lilies the moment we entered. Oh yes, and the Sazeracs, ohh the Sazeracs..
(recipe from The Roosevelt New Orleans)
1 sugar cube or simple syrup, 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters, 1.5 ounces of good 6-8 year rye whiskey, 1/4 ounce Herbsaint, lemon peel for garnish
Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice. In a second old-fashioned glass, place a sugar cube (or simple syrup) and add the whiskey and Peychaud’s Bitters. Empty the first glass of ice, and coat that glass with the Herbsaint. Discard the remaining Herbsaint. Empty the mixture from the second glass into the first glass (make sure to strain as you do it). Add the lemon peel garnish. Enjoy alone or with your favorite cast of characters~
1866, American history, Atlanta, bucket list, Confederates, Georgia, history, honor, Kennesaw Mountain, Marietta National Military Cemetery, Midwest, soldiers, South, United States, veterans, Wisconsin, Yankees
It may have been the cool spring breeze or the sanctity of where we were. Emotions welled up inside and I couldn’t decide if the tears springing to my eyes were from the wind, or my sentiments for those who were buried around me.
These men, and really boys, were killed on Kennesaw Mountain. There were boys who joined the army at 10 years old to play the bugle. I can’t imagine how terrifying it was, marching to their deaths, knowing what they were up against but following orders because that is what you did.
It was a very moving experience and even my son fought back tears.
My husband and I are from the Midwest. It was touching to see all the tombstones marked with Illionis, Wisconsin, Iowa, etc. Many tombs unmarked with no names. Yankee boys.
Living in the South is a juxtaposition of old and new, building a future while honoring the past. We are so fortunate to have such places right at our doorstep. Another item checked off our Atlanta bucket list. But this sacred place means so much more.
architecture, Asheville, Biltmore, Biltmore Estate, chateau, conservatory, Downton Abbey, farm, field, fountain, gardens, grass, horses, mountains, North Carolina, rooster, roses, sunflower, United States, Vanderbilt, walled garden, winery
I just spent a few days in Asheville, North Carolina. More specifically at the Biltmore Estate. I wish I had more than one day to explore this amazing place. It is the Downton Abbey of the United States, built by the Vanderbilt family in 1895 (it took six years to complete). Ohhh, I fell in love.. hard!
campus, Georgia, Georgia Southern University, hawks, historic homes, Labor Day weekend, old southern trees, road trip, rural South, small Southern town, South & Vine Public House, Southern architecture, Statesboro, Sugar Magnolia Bakery & Cafe
Statesboro is about one hour inland from Savannah, and 3 1/2 hours Southeast of Atlanta.
Founded in 1803, Statesboro was developed for large cotton plantations which were worked by slave labor. But now it is known primarily for Georgia Southern University, which has many accreditations to its name.
My mother-in-law is a professor at GSU. The university has a beautiful campus with many new modern buildings. But of course I was drawn to the landscape and historic elements most of all..
I especially loved seeing some of the residential areas with their grand Southern homes. If walls could talk..
We toured the downtown area of Statesboro and had dinner at a lovely restaurant, South & Vine Public House. It’s not a place you would typically think of in a small Southern town; very hip and trendy with awesome food. They even make their own ketchup! Their website doesn’t appear to be working but you can find them on Facebook for more info.
Unfortunately while we were dining, someone backed into our car in the parking lot. That’s what you get for parking next to a fraternity I guess! No fault of the restaurant of course. At least the person who hit us was nice enough to leave a note on our windshield. While reading said note, a “kindly gentleman” asked us if he could have some money for “diapers.” Diapers probably code for a few malt liquors. We politely declined. My husband had the pleasure of visiting the Statesboro Police Department later that night to file a report about the car. What a night!
Before leaving Statesboro the next morning, we had to stop at the Sugar Magnolia Bakery for some yummy lemon bars, cookies and homemade granola to round out our weekend and stock up for our ride home.
Our Southern road trips are always an adventure, and always full of new discoveries!
On my last trip to Chicago, my father took us to the cemetery where many of his relatives and ancestors are buried. It is a Polish Catholic cemetery, and most of the names on the headstones are of Polish origin. There is a huge Polish community in Chicago, second only to New York City in the United States. My ancestors erected a monument at their plot when the first family members were buried there in 1917. Our family monument looked very much like these. Each celestial angel is slightly different..
Unfortunately one Halloween several years ago, vandals disgraced and damaged many of the monuments, including that belonging to my family. My great-aunt was so dismayed at its new appearance, she commissioned a new monument to be erected in its place. There are other monuments in the cemetery, amazing works of art from a century ago. Some were untouched, and unfortunately others weren’t so lucky.
This one from 1908 especially caught my eye. It is a giant oak tree trunk carved of stone, a broken limb hanging down. It is complete with a squirrel and three baby birds in their nest, and roses and ferns at the base. I’m sure there is personal significance to all of these details. And I love that the angel on top is looking off to the sky with a peaceful expression, as opposed to down at the ground like the other angels in the cemetery. What a masterpiece, probably all completed by hand at the time. In looking at the photo, I just realized there is an actual oak tree behind the monument! I wonder which came first..
The vandals also put their mark on it..
I can’t imagine what would possess a person to actually scrape off the image of someone’s face that has stood the test of time, and whose loved ones may still come to pay their respects. Possess might be the operative word. Maybe they were possessed by an evil spirit that Halloween night! Who knows, I just hope they have seen the error of their ways since then.
I love genealogy research, and on this visit I was able to photograph the headstones of my family. My mother also found a headstone with one of our family surnames that we had never seen before, with a person completely unknown to us. So I have more research to do!
I wonder if my ancestors thought, almost one hundred years ago, that they would be visited by their great-great-great grandchildren after they were gone. I could almost feel them smiling down proudly on us all that day.
1935 garden, arbor, begonias, Buddha, cannas, Cape Cod, cherubs on planter, Chicago, Chinese stool, daylilies, dove, garden in the city, grapevine, hydrangeas, nest, North side of Chicago, O'Hare Airport, paradise in the city, pine trees, reflection garden, secret garden
My parents live in Chicago, on the North side of the city. They still live in the same house I grew up in, a stately white and black Cape Cod built in 1935, with a garden that is huge for city standards.
It feels like a secret garden to my children and me. There are so many different spaces to hide, so many things to see. In summer you can hear the drone of locusts and see the glowing neon flashes of fireflies at night. In winter the snow blankets the pine branches and arbor like frosting. Sure you can hear the occasional roar of planes from O’Hare Airport overhead, and an ambulance, police car or two. But it is those sounds I grew up with and actually miss at my quiet suburban Atlanta home.
The garden has elements from when the house was built, and my parents have been cultivating it since they moved in almost 40 years ago.
She also created what she likes to call a “reflection garden” in a shady spot next to the screened terrace. The Buddha statue must have attracted new life because birds dropped seedlings and different species of pines just grew around him. There is also a little monument in honor of Cleo, our family Dalmatian. My mother added the begonias for color, and they are thriving in the dappled light..
My parents’ garden is a little piece of paradise in the city. I feel so fortunate that we can still share it with my children, hopefully for years to come. When the day arrives that we will have to part ways with it, I will close my eyes, listen to the wind chimes and hear the doves cooing, and be right back there again.