One of my favorite adventures during our week in New Orleans was a day trip to Avery Island, the century-and-a-half home of Tabasco. Our fascination with its tasty history stems from a story we heard 17 years ago on NPR, and it’s been on our mental bucket list ever since. I mean, hot weather isn’t the only thing we southerners have a penchant for. The two-hour drive was enjoyable, and took us through several bayous and beautiful southern Louisiana landscape. We even stopped in Houma to check out the giant shrimping boots. Hello, Forrest Gump, right? Admission was only $5 per person, but we bumped it up to the $12 fee so we could also drive through the Jungle Gardens (totally worth it — we saw several alligators, and even came up on one eating a huge fish).
The North Carolina mountains are dotted with stunning vistas and beautiful little hamlets. Our trip to Asheville last summer to see the Chihuly exhibit at the Biltmore Estate was just part one of the weekend; the second part was meeting family and friends to celebrate a big birthday. We met in Mars Hill, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and fell in love with it.