Sunday, September 27, 2009

Louisiana Vacation 2009

I got home yesterday afternoon, and what a shock to step off the plane into 105 degrees temp! Lordy, I want to go back to Louisiana!

I told Don and Gail that I wanted to see rain, lots and lots of rain. Well, be careful what you wish for!

We were on our way to Morgan City. It's been 15 years since I've seen blowing-sideways rain. Heck, it's been 15 years since I've seen this kind of rain no matter which way it was blowing! I think it rained every day I was there, but most days it rained a bit and then cleared up into a beautiful day. This day, though, it was constant. We sure could use some of that for the SoCal fires! Well, on second thought, if we had that much rain out here, California would slide off into the Pacific. I loved it, though. The humidity only "got" me one day where I couldn't get my hair dry. So it sort of did its own curly thing.

I lived in Louisiana 40 some odd years and never went to Avery Island, so that was on my request list this trip. It's very near Don and Gail's house. Avery Island is where Tabasco is made. It's absolutely gorgeous there. We toured the factory where something like 750,000 bottles of Tabasco are produced each day. I bought a book about the history of the island, the McIlhenny family, and the making of Tabasco, but it's being shipped home to me. I'll make another blog post about this when I have my facts straight.

There were quality control ladies all around the plant checking the product at various stages of production. The place had a very powerful smell of Tabasco, but it was not unpleasant. I love factories and machinery. This was fastinating to watch.

We drove around the gardens on Avery Island. The McIlhenny family owns (I guess they still do) the entire island. The grounds are absolutely breathtaking. It's a community unto itself with its own elementary school and post office. I said I would hate to be there in a hurricane, and Don said it gets real lonely there when one of those come ashore. I didn't take but a few pictures. I want to visit when the azaleas and camellias are in bloom. I can imagine it's stunning at those times. Here are a couple of pictures.

The trees -- oh my goodness! Although I don't seem to have any in these pictures, there are oak trees that are gigantic, with limbs that curve down to the ground.

There is also a lot of wildlife out there. We saw probably a hundred alligators ...

How many can you find in this picture?

Those things blend right into the shadows. Because I know where they are in the photo, I can tell you there are 10 or 12.

The deer were gorgeous. There are two in this photo.

Of course, I had to do some shopping. This was the cutest store. I loved the building. Looked like an old-time market inside complete with old wooden floors. Wouldn't this make an adorable quilting studio? The smell of those pine trees was fabulous!

If you ever get way down to the southernmost part of Louisiana, you must put Avery Island on your to-do list!

We took a brief drive over to Jefferson Island which is very close, but only drove around a bit. We decided to save that for next year. The grounds were gorgeous. I can't wait to get back there and do some exploring.

The food! What can I say?! Every single meal was so good. We had crawfish etouffee made by my brother, our second annual crab boil ...

Didn't get any pictures after they were cooked because, well, you know, I was too busy eating!

We had the most wonderful crunchy fried catfish from a little market called Bingo's, I think. That's on my list to do next year, too.

We had fresh-made boudin from another local market.

We had the most wonderful Cuban sandwich from the Cuban Corner in Morgan City. I didn't get a picture of the place because it was raining really hard, but it's on my visit-again list for next year.

We had red beans and rice cooked by Miss Diane and Mr. Mike, who are close friends of Don and Gail. I posted a ton of pictures of their home last year. I couldn't resist snapping a couple of more! Bayou Teche runs right behind the swimming pool.

This is the biggest handgun I've ever seen. Don and Mike said they were going doxie hunting! I.don'!! It was a 50 something. Millimeters, maybe? I don't know much about guns, but even I was impressed by this one! You know the old saying about men and their toys!

A couple of my nieces after a long day of eating and visiting and eating some more. Gail is going through pictures here.

I think the best times of the trip were sitting around and talking with family and friends. The Southern way of doing that is like no place else in the world!

Thank you, Don and Gail, for making this trip such a wonderful one. I can't wait until next year! I love you!


Anonymous said...

Welcome home, Vicky.

Thanks for the pictures.


Judy Laquidara said...

We went to the Tabasco factory when I was in high school. One of the first places I took Vince after we met was to the Tabasco factory. Love the smell in that place. Seeing the pictures makes me ready to go home! Glad you had fun and glad you're back "home". Was Penny happy to see you? I know the answer to that question!

Carol said...

Glad you had such a great vacation...I'll bet Penny was thrilled to see you.

Julia said...

Welcome Home! It sounds like you had a wonderful time. Nothing quite like spending time with loved ones to recharge our batteries!

Anonymous said...

great pix...thanks for sharing...

Laura said...

Thanks for the tips! My husband and I plan to go to Louisiana ... I hope in the next few years.

I'll bet you got quite a greeting from Penny!

jaybird said...

welcome back!!

Dianah said...

Looks like you had a wonderful trip. I missed your stash report yesterday but it looks like you had good reason.

I have been to the Tabasco factory 2 times. I love it! My husband wants me to take him on our next trip.

The gun is a 50 Caliber. It is also the largest handgun made, you are right that it is the biggest one you have seen. One bullet is about as long as your little finger to your wrist. It is mostly to say mine is bigger than yours. I know all of this because we have one in our safe and it got me a bigger than yours serger.

Sharon said...

Sounds like a great trip. Vacations are fabulous, but it's always nice to come home. I bet Penny is glad you're home!

Homesick Cajun said...

I love the pics you took of Avery Island! I grew up in New Iberia and go home at least once a year to see my family. One of the places that I go to everytime I go home is Avery Island.

My son went to the school on the Island from K-6. It's an amazing place for kids to go to school to...he loved growing up in Avery Island!