Saige recently had spring break, and it kinda snuck up on me. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware for awhile that she would get one, I mean, she goes to pre-k only a few hours a week really! BUT,, I’m glad she did because it gave us the opportunity to have an adventure! We decided last minute to take a road trip somewhere. New Orleans is only about 8 hours from us so we cashed in some Amex points (side note, if you don’t have the Amex Platinum card get it now! It’s the best card for points and perks I’ve ever used and their customer service always goes beyond), packed up our car, and hit the road!
I’ve never taken a long road trip alone with Saige, but it was actually very smooth and pleasant! Tips for road tripping with a kid: Disney storyteller series (find them on Apple Radio), books, snacks, an iPad, and fun stops!
We made 2 fun stops. First was Adventure Point which is on I10 and free. It has a really cute set up showcasing the Louisana swamps and the animals that live there, and a fun interactive music booth. There is also a trail you can hike, but we didn’t do that.
Our second stop was Gator Chateau (also on I10). The first sign I saw for it said, “hold a baby gator!” and it was the oldest looking billboard ever! I figured it would either be really sketchy or lots of fun so we gave it a shot. Luck was in our favor because it’s actually a very clean, beautiful, and new looking stop. The baby gators are in a cute little backwoodsy looking cabin and it’s free to hold them! They do accept donations though. I thought Saige would be a little scare, but she didn’t hesitate for a second! Mama on the other hand MAY have had momentary (internal) panic attack when the gator (aka baby DINOSAUR/killing machine) was passed to me!
We arrived at our hotel in New Orleans around 1pm. We stayed at The Roosevelt and it lives up to every bit of its grand reputation. The lobby is absolutely stunning with a long hallway filled with chandeliers, gold accents, dark wood and mirrors. The rooms are small and don’t have very many outlets, but the history and beauty of the building shine through. They have kept many of the original features and the decor is perfectly in line with the aesthetic.
That night we had dinner at one of The Roosevelts own restaurants, Fountain Lounge. They have a “Burgers & Bubbles” special on Tuesdays and live Jazz every night. Saige and I opted for the veggie burger and it was delish! (not everyone can make a decent veggie burger!) The Fountain Lounge and adjoining Sazerac bar are known for the Ramos Gin Fizz so being fan of gin fizz’s, I swapped out my bubbles to try it. It has a light citrus flavor and kind of reminded me of a (grown up) creamsicle. So good and I definitely recommend it! After dinner we walked into Teddy’s Cafe (also inside The Roosevelt) to end the night with macaroons.
The next morning we headed back down to Fountain Lounge for breakfast. (as American Express Platinum members, you get a breakfast credit for 2 at certain hotels in addition to a $100 credit. Have I mentioned that I LOVE my AMEX??) The breakfast was insanely delicious. I ordered the eggs benedict with crab and soon many veggies, Saige had her trusty oatmeal, and we shared a huge fruit and bread plate. The portions were so big, we ended up snacking on the fruit the rest of our trip!
After breakfast we walked down the Jackson square where pink flowers were blooming and a violinist was playing. The ambiance was incredible since it was still pretty early and not packed yet. It was really windy though so we ducked into the St Louise Cathedral for shelter. This was Saige’s first time in Nola and I wanted to make sure she experienced all the must-sees. The Cathedral is stunning and I love the feeling of reverence and calm it lends to the city.
Another must-see/must eat in New Orleans is obviously Cafe Du Monde. The line is long if you want a table, but it moves quickly and is completely worth it in my opinion. Saige didn’t agree at first, but quickly changed her tune after downing TWO beignets then attempting to sneak mine as well!
Our next stop was the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. This was highly recommended by many parent bloggers who had taken their children to New Orleans. I’m going to have to go against the grain and say it’s not really worth it though. It’s very expensive (though they do have a military discount which we were thankful for) and honestly MOSTLY insects with the butterfly garden being small and at the very end. It may be worth it if you have a child who is VERY into insects though and over the age of 6.
The night before we had received the sad news that the pool at The Roosevelt was being renovated (it looks like it’s going to be gorgeous so I look forward to visiting again to enjoy it!). If you have a child, you know a pool is essential in their minds; so we checked out early and headed to the Le Meridian. If you follow along on my Instagram, you know this is when the unfortunate incident involving my iPhone and an elevator shaft took place. Yikes. This was a pretty stressful hiccup in our trip, but the INCREDIBLE staff at Le Meridian were so kind and helpful and helped me retrieve my phone! Seriously I have never had hotel staff go as far above and beyond as they did and I have written reviews everywhere I can think to! If you’re considering a Nola trip, look into staying with them! Their hotel is new, modern, clean and just far enough away from Bourbon street to be relaxing, but close enough to walk anywhere you need to be.
Saige and I enjoyed the rest of our day in their heated rooftop pool and ended it with dinner at Mother’s which is just across the street from Le Meridean. Seriously the best gumbo I’ve everrrrrr had and we got a beef dish called The Debris that was to die for. NOT the healthiest meal of the trip probably but so worth it!
The next morning, fixing my damaged phone was priority so we Ubered over to one of those “U Break, I Fix” places on Magazine St. Honestly, I always thought those places were hokey but au contraire, they are LEGIT! My phone is (basically) as good as new. While we were waiting we popped into a cafe called Hivolt and I had the BEST almond vanilla latte ever. I never would have found this place if it weren’t for the unfortunate circumstances so I’m choosing to look on the bright side!
We then Ubered down to the French quarter and spent the afternoon exploring the French quarter’s art galleries, listening to street bands, and indulging (again) in sparkly macaroons at Sucre.
We returned to Le Meridian for another dip in the pool then dressed up for a fancy dinner at Arnaud’s Bistro. They have live jazz in the evening and since Saige is only 4, I thought it would be a great opportunity for her to experience the music in an age appropriate atmosphere. Our experience was very mixed though. The jazz was wonderful, but the food was only ok and service was horrible. I am a pretty patient person, but we once went 45 minutes without anyone checking on us… I would maybe give them another chance someday, because everyone is entitled to an off day and the ambiance was so great.
Our last day, we spent eating breakfast in the room before heading out on a quick food tour. We walked down to Cafe Du Monde Riverwalk which is actually inside a mall and so much more chill than the original location, but just as good. Saige devoured the beignets again then we headed to our last stop – one last bowl of gumbo at Mother’s!
All in all it was a wonderful Mama & Saige adventure, and I cannot WAIT until our next trip!