Waking up on my final day in New Orleans was bittersweet. I was so thankful for the experiences I had throughout the weekend, but I was also wishing I had a few more days to pack in more hidden treasures of this city. I thought a great way to experience a lot of the city at once was by riding the famous street cars.
There are three different street car lines in New Orleans. The city takes credit as being the first city west of the Allegheny Mountains in the Appalachian Mountain Range to implement passenger rail service. I explored the area through the Canal Street line which runs from the booming business district through the heart of New Orleans. Along the way you see charming villages, historic cemeteries and buildings, endless monuments and the vivacious life of the city through restaurants, bars, shops, and parades. The Saint Charles Line (which was operating with buses in place of street cars when I was in the area so sadly I didn’t get to experience this), is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world. The street cars made me feel like I was in an Old Hollywood movie set - such a cool experience.
I then headed to The Country Club for lunch. This club is a hidden oasis located in the Bywater neighborhood and has been around for over 40 years, known for being welcoming and accepting of everyone who walks through their doors. It’s an LGBT staple in the city, but of course everyone is invited to enjoy the beautiful property (even dogs)! They have a serene pool and bar in the back where you can spend the entire day. Each room of the restaurant has its own theme - the one I dined in had hand painted birds resting on vines throughout the four walls. The decor alone is a reason to check out this spot!
The food was once again, unreal. I started with a fresh grilled tomato salad sourced from local ingredients. The Pan Roasted Louisiana White Shrimp with pecan and green onion popcorn rice, charred cherry tomatoes, red beans, sweet corn and pressed basil was savory and cooked to perfection. The chef surprised me afterwards with a lemon sorbet soaked in limoncello, which brought me right back to my trip in Italy - it was the perfect finishing touch to the meal. The staff afterwards gave me a tour of the property and couldn’t have been nicer. I wish I had time to jump into the pool, but I had to get back to the hotel to get ready for my trip back to New York City.
Working with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau to see this city in a completely different light was eye opening. I know the night life in New Orleans is exciting and you should absolutely go out and hear live music and enjoy some cocktails while you’re in town. But you also should experience the beautiful nature, the rich history, the award winning restaurants and the alive culture of New Orleans. The city has so much to offer and there was still so much I could have experienced. I left New Orleans with a new respect and deep appreciation for the people, the culture and the stories that I will forever keep with me.