Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans’


Top 10 Haunted Hotels in the US

Halloween is approaching and spookiness is in the air, so we thought we’d bring you some of the country’s most notorious haunted hotels to consider for your next trip. Why settle for a plain old hotel stay when you could add apparitions, strange noises in the night, locking and unlocking doors, and more to the experience?

Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans - Image credit: Flickr

Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans - Image credit: Flickr

Check out these haunted spots from the Victorian seaport town of Port Townsend, WA to the land of voodoo and witchcraft itself, New Orleans, LA, and find the spot that’s right for your next journey!

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Travel + Leisure Names America’s Most Beautiful Neighborhoods

Travel + Leisure has released their list of America’s most historic, charming, and downright beautiful neighborhoods, and folks across the country are bound to have strong opinions about which towns were left off the list. I’m happy to say I’ve personally spent time in four of the ten neighborhoods selected, and the others are now on my short list. I was surprised to see parts of Baltimore, Oklahoma City and Houston on this list, and you may be surprised by some of the other selections.

Check out the article and let us know which ‘hoods you think should have made the list, and which ones you think were deservedly named “Most Beautiful.”

Photo credit: Travel + Leisure / Nik Wheeler/ Alamy

Photo credit: Travel + Leisure / Nik Wheeler/ Alamy

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College Visits – Atlanta and New Orleans

Visiting prospective colleges is similar to peering into a looking glass. Through exploring the college, as well as the respective city, prospective students and their families can catch a glimpse into their daily routine, what classes might be like, who their peers could be and much more. As I mentioned in “College Visits – San Francisco and South Bay,” I wanted to go to school in L.A. And to this day, I am so happy I went to visit the campuses: the L.A. I had dreamed of was nothing like the actual city. It is also important to consider that as students get further into their college years, their lives tend to be less centered around campus and more grounded in the surrounding areas.

Georgia Tech. Photo: hectorir

Georgia Tech. Photo: hectorir

Atlanta is a hotbed of higher education. With more than 30 institutions of higher learning, the city is teeming with students, culture and history. With so many colleges available to explore, it is advised that you narrow down your list of schools to a number that is manageable for you and your family. However, this guide should get you through the major players and allow you to explore the city in about three days.

Start with Georgia State University, which is located in the heart of Atlanta and is close to Underground Atlanta, an entertainment district where you can grab a snack and sneak in some shopping before your next stop. Drive northeast 6.5 miles to Emory University, located in the suburbs of Druid Hills.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the Top 10 public universities in the country. Located in on 400 acres in Midtown, just north of downtown. Only six miles away from Georgia Tech is the historically black Morehouse College for men and the historically black Spelman College for women.

Oglethrope University
is located 10 miles north of downtown and is a great way to round out your Atlanta college visits. If you have some spare time, be sure to visit Centennial Park, which was created for the ’96 Olympics.

Plan a trip to Atlanta on TravelMuse.

Loyola New Orleans. Photo: AuthenticEccentric

Loyola New Orleans. Photo: AuthenticEccentric

New Orleans
Believe it or not, the Big Easy is not just a hive of debauchery, drinking and hurricanes. Although its reputation proceeds itself, New Orleans is a fascinating, cultured city with more than 10 institutions of higher learning. So parents fear not, and hop on the nearest streetcar to easily explore the city.

Uptown Schools:
Located on St. Charles Avenue, Tulane University is the largest and most well-known university in the city. Right next door, often overlooked in the shadow of Tulane, is Loyola University, a Jesuit university with fewer than 3,000 students. The only historically black Catholic college in the United States, Xavier University is located close to the Carrollton streetcar line. Be sure to explore the and Audubon Park and the Audubon Zoo.

Lakefront: For a larger campus feel, the University of New Orleans is the place to go. The campus is located on the beautiful shores on Lake Pontchartrain and in one of the city’s nicest residential areas. Dillard University is another one of the city’s historically black private colleges. Dillard is home to the Institute of Jazz Culture, which promotes jazz culture and education.

Plan a trip to New Orleans on TravelMuse.

Post adapted from “College Visit Guide: Atlanta” by Aaron Butzen and “College Visit Guide: New Orleans” by Ashleigh Nushawg.

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Favorite Small New Orleans Eateries

While I’m a major fan of some of the swanky New Orleans restaurants, like Lüke, Bayona and Commander’s Palace, most often I eat at the small neighborhood joints. Some of my favorites include:

Port of Call. This is the place to go if you have a hankering for hamburgers. Award-winning, half-pound burgers are served along with fat, baked potatoes. Steak and pizza are also available. Wash it all down with a tropical cocktail, like the Neptune’s monsoon or the windjammer. 838 Esplanade Ave., tel. 504-523-0120.

Coop’s Place. One quick glance into this spot on Decatur Street, and you might just pass it by, thinking it’s merely a small watering hole. Venture in, however, and take a gander at the menu on the wall. Coop’s serves up delicious jambalaya, gumbo, pasta dishes and more. To top it off, the chef uses house-smoked tasso (a seasoned, smoked pork) in a few dishes (like the crawfish and tasso pasta), so start with those for sure. 1109 Decatur St., tel. 504-525-9053.

Domilise’s Po’boys. Hit this Uptown bar before the lunch rush to get a seat at the counter. And if you find yourself in line—wait. It’s worth it. Some folks prefer the shrimp po’boy, others dream of the fried oyster, hot smoked sausage or roast beef po’boy—they’re all great. Add a bag of Zapp’s chips to your order, and wash it down with an Abita beer. 5240 Annunciation St., tel. 504-899-9126.

Verti Marte. You’re seated in the perfect bar in the French Quarter or Faubourg Marigny. The only problem: It doesn’t serve food, and you’re hungry. Do you get up to find a meal, or wait a while and savor your great New Orleans moment? Here’s where Verti Marte comes in. With a full menu ranging from breakfast to sandwiches to entrées, they’ll deliver to your perfect bar. You can also walk in and order directly from the counter. My favorite dish? The grilled shrimp po’boy with “wow” sauce (a spicy, creamy sauce). No, it’s not on the menu. Order it anyway. 1201 Royal St., tel. 504-525-4767.

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Best Fourth of July Fireworks Shows in the United States

Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I really love fireworks. When I was a kid, I always looked forward to the Fourth of July with great anticipation. Sure the barbecues and pool time are great, but it’s the fireworks that really define the Fourth.

Big, small, ornate, booming, choreographed to music or just launched from the neighborhood cul-de-sac, nothing quite says Americana like Fourth of July pyrotechnics (and singed eyebrows).The sights, the sounds, the smells—all combine to create an exhilarating experience.

Following is a list of some of the best BIG shows in popular U.S. vacation destinations. So gather up the family, get the glow sticks ready for the kids, and head out for an evening of oohs and aahs.

10. Lights on the Lake—Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to watch fireworks over a picturesque mountain lake. The show is set to music and lasts more than 30 minutes.

9. Freedom Over Texas—Houston

An all day shindig with country performers and food and brew, culminating in a rockin’ aerial display.

8. Friendship Festival—Buffalo, New York

The Friendship Festival celebrates “nearly 200 years of peace” between the United States and Canada. It’s a week-long celebration that ends in a fireworks display on the Fourth, visible from both the U.S. and Ontario shores of Lake Erie.

7. Go Fourth on the River—New Orleans

Just when you thought New Orleans couldn’t get any better, it does. Live jazz and great food paired with “dueling fireworks barges” on the Mississippi. Yeah, that definitely sounds like fun.

6. Fourth of July Waterfront Celebration at Pier 39—San Francisco

A solid fireworks display to be sure, but what makes this one special is the music of Tainted Love—possibly the world’s greatest ‘80s cover band. Warning: potentially dangerous combination of hair spray and explosives.

5. WaMu Family Fourth at Lake Union—Seattle

Hailed by Time magazine as one of the “Top Five Fireworks Displays” in the country, this free admission, family-friendly celebration is in its 20th year of bringing together the local community for a unique day of commemoration.

4. Welcome America—Philadelphia

What better place to celebrate the Fourth of July than in Philly: the birthplace of our nation, Rocky Balboa and the cheese steak.

3. Central Pennsylvania Fourth Fest – State College, PA

This extravaganza bills itself as “the greatest volunteer fireworks show in the nation. ”Where do I sign up? Central Pennsylvania Fourth Fest combines live entertainment, the Firecracker 4K fun run, food and drink with thousands of pounds of high explosives launched by amateur pyros. Rock on!  []

2. Macy’s Fourth of July Fest—New York City

See one of theworld’s biggest fireworks displays in the greatest city in the world. ‘Nuf said.

1. Fireworks on the Mall—Washington D.C.

Yes, the crowd is insane, and you’ll want to claim your precious patch of real estate on the National Mall way early, but this is a show not to be missed. The fireworks are set against the backdrop of iconic U.S. landmarks and coupled with patriotic music performed by the National Symphony Orchestra. Having grown up in the D.C. suburbs, it’s one of those experiences I’ll always remember.

Happy Fourth of July!

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