The traveling Places In The Home duo is home sweet home, and as much as I love a good getaway, there is no place like home. Prior obligations and work schedules clipped our wings to a certain time extent, so our escape was of the closer to home statecation to North Louisiana variety. Making a vacation observation and sharing details of our summer getaway will be a two-parter with the first installment a celebration of the red, white and blue.
Vacation Observation #1
Don’t believe everything you read or hear about a decline in patriotism and the celebration of the American flag. Seeing is believing, and on our statecation getaway we treated ourselves to a self guided tour of the Historic South Highlands neighborhood.
Architecturally magnificent on all fronts, the homes of the Historic South Highlands neighborhood happened to be decked out not only in detail, but in 4th of July-proud to be an American style and colors. Here, let me show you.
I love the Southern comfort lives here ambiance and patriotic porch set for a red, white, and blue summer holiday.
Vacation Observation #2
North Louisiana mirrors the landscape of East Tennessee (another favorite vacation getaway destination). Tree-lined streets of the Historic South Highlands neighborhood wind and weave through a semi-hilly fashioned parkway. Mark this corner cottage in a dreamy creamy shade of yellow as a model of southern charm.
Several squeals of glee pierced Dave’s eardrums, more than a few oohs and aahs perhaps became a few too many, and an insane amount of unabashed architectural envy dominated the evening’s conversation.
What can I say?
Architecture is my thing.
Towering pines and oaks shade the yards and boulevards. Vintage street lights evoke nostalgia of days gone by.
Architectural juxtaposition promotes a dramatic effect and a desirable address.
Vacation Observation #4
An afternoon drive through a historic neighborhood between shopping destinations and dinner reservations inspired, confirmed and renewed. It’s not a day at the beach or one spent in the desert or the mountains, but it’s one of our favorite things to do at home or on vacation. The food, the landscape, the architecture, the terrain, the dialect-you can learn so much from your travels. Inspiration is everywhere.
Old Glory is once again displayed from the oak tree in the front yard of Places In The Home. The tree is cosmetically worse for wear since the tornado, but is still the optimum spot for the flag to be displayed. Patriotism with flying colors is alive and well at Places In The Home. Happy 4th of July to all of you. Celebrate in style and let freedom ring!
Social networking is an integral tool of the blogging trade. Those in the social media know advise selecting two to three social platforms to focus on to perfect your social media presence and contributions. I went with the big 3 in the blogging world conference- Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I usually am so good at following sage advice, but in the instance of Instagram an exception is being made. More viewer than posting participant, I must admit I am late to the Instagram photos party, but better late than never. Instagram photos take the eye on a visual journey one scroll at a time. Places In The Home is first and foremost a design show and tell, and I can tell you these beautiful scroll Instagram photos are show and share worthy.
Updating and refreshing blog posts is a necessary exercise in relevancy just as updating and refreshing our decor is. A recent discovery of original images of the Broadwater Beach Hotel and Resort by architectural photographer Ezra Stoller and the video Biloxi Memories and the Broadwater Beach Hotel highlighting the heyday of the Broadwater Beach Resort is an exciting development (the video is posted towards the end of the post) and the main reason for updating Souvenirs: The Architecture and Interior Design Of The Broadwater Beach Hotel. In compliance with licensing and copyright permission, the usage of the Ezra Stoller images was only approved for use in Pinterest board format. The link to the private Pinterest board is also towards the end of the post. If the story of the glamour days of a Mississippi Gulf Coast beach hotel, the architecture and interior design features that impressed and inspired, and the who, what, when, where and why that made it the pleasure dome on the Coast captures your imagination, then I’ve got a blog post for you.
The decorating wheels of my mind are always turning, especially while on vacation. Checking in and checking out the architectural, interior design and decorating features of the hotel we are staying at mixes business with pleasure. Inspiring design and decorating features of the lobby, dining room, swimming pool area and grounds of the hotel and of course, the well appointed hotel room, become impressive souvenirs.
Over the summers of the early and mid 1970s, my family attended American General Contractors conventions in Biloxi, Mississippi. I fell head over heels in love with the aesthetic of the buildings and interiors of our summer home away from home at 2110 Beach Boulevard on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Broadwater Beach Hotel and Resort aka the Broadwater. Through words, Biloxi memories, Ezra Stoller images and decor accessories and accents in the style of, I invite you along on this tour of the architecture and interior design of the Broadwater Beach Hotel.
The Broadwater Beach Hotel began as a modest hotel property in comparison to what the Broadwater would become under the ownership of its second owner, Mrs. Joe W. (Dorothy Dorsett) Brown. Pete Martin Sr., the original builder and owner, was known as a well-known gambler and rum runner along the coast. He opened the Art Deco style hotel in 1939, but the desire to invest in a Las Vegas hotel brought about the need to raise the funds to pursue this endeavor. Enter Texas oilman Joe Brown. Mr. Brown purchased the property from Pete Martin, Sr. in 1958, but unfortunately Mr. Brown passed away the next year.
Mrs. Joe W. (Dorothy Dorsett) Brown wholeheartedly embraced the task at hand of transforming the Broadwater into a travel destination contender. Mrs. Brown, with a keen vision and staunch attention to architectural detail, brought to fruition a premier flagship beach hotel and resort property.
Dorothy Dorsett Brown launched a new Sea·Sun-Food·Fun architectural and mid-century modern interior design renovation complete with architectural enhancements, renovations and additions to the property.
Stunning on all beach fronts, the newly completed and modernly improved Broadwater Beach Hotel and Resort raised the hospitality stakes as the foremost host on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I have diligently tried to locate fixtures, fabrics and finery original to the Broadwater to little or no avail. I’ve selected a few accents and accessories to illustrate the juxtaposition between yesteryear and today’s interior decorating tastes and trend.
Standing out among the other properties along Beach Boulevard Highway 90, a half circular exposed aggregate palm tree lined driveway and signature concrete canopy glamorously greeted guests. As coastal day turned to coastal night, exterior recessed, spotlight and pathway lighting illuminated the Broadwater in shades of yellow tinted white. As an extra-added “front of the house” visual treat, colored bulbs were added to the landscape spotlights in the front landscape beds. It’s all in the details!
The extensive grounds of the Broadwater included Lanai rooms, brick cottages, a resort triple play of swimming pools complete with waterfalls, diving board (remember when hotel pools had a diving board?) and postcard worthy panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, family friendly offerings such as a playground and train, elegant dining options featuring live musical entertainment, tennis courts, riding stables and premier Sun and Sea golf courses.
Terrazzo ~ Exposed Aggregate ~ Quartzite ~ Natural Stone
Regarded as a state of the art jewel of the Coast, the Broadwater Marina made its property debut to the boating public in 1965. Dorothy Dorsett Brown spent $3,000,000.00 to build the marina. That’s a lot of clams for 1965!
The Broadwater Marina could host up to 150 sail and powerboats. Hotel shore to ship services such as boat or yacht housekeeping and room service was offered to the marina occupants.
The staff of the Broadwater Hotel and Marina, with effortless precision, mastered the art of hotel and southern hospitality.
No pedometer was needed to record the number of steps taken or distance walked around the sprawling grounds of the Broadwater.
We clocked hours swimming under the waterfalls of the Lanai pool, holding court poolside from the swim up tables bedecked with fringed umbrellas in resort festive colors, and sipping Shirley Temples made to order with extra long stemmed cherries and crushed ice.
Room service delivered to the patio of Lanai room 127 was a daily treat enjoyed by the members of our future ladies who lunch club. The room key from Lanai room 127 is a forever souvenir from the Broadwater Beach Hotel.
The objective of a hotel or resort is to treat guests to a memorable vacation and hospitality experience. One of my most endearing memories of the Broadwater is the The Royal Terrace dining room. Opulent yet accessible, the interior design and decorating accent mark was fittingly placed over swank and service.
Elegant wall sconces dripping in crystal prisms illuminated ornamental panels. Crisp white linen tablecloths draped tables elegantly set for a summer night on the town dining experience. A distinctive curved wall to the left of the main dining area anchored the Trophy lounge.
A curved floor to ceiling wall of windows adorned in Austrian shades overlooking the pools and patio all done against the backdrop of deep pink and white color palette perfection- these will forever be a few of my favorite hotel interior design and decorating things.
Destruction and devastation is the calling card of a hurricane, and the states in the Gulf Coast region have had their fair share come to call. Dave the Builder’s sister, her husband who was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, their toddler daughter, and her in-laws rode out Hurricane Camille at The Broadwater Beach. Her mother-in-law worked at the Broadwater, and feeling the structure sound she suggested the young military family take refuge at the hotel. Evacuation confusion ensued along the Mississippi Gulf Coast as hurricane coverage of the category 5 hurricane was thought to be aimed at Florida. Hurricane warnings for the area were issued by 5:00 p.m. CST on Sunday, August 17, 1969. The window of opportunity for them to safely evacuate slammed shut sooner than later, forcing them to seek protection in the motel rooms on the back part of the property.
Hurricane Camille’s landfall presence was unforgiving. The storm surge was brutal, flooding and fires consumed and destroyed properties, and the death toll startling.
The Broadwater Hotel suffered storm surge flooding, and the Broadwater marina saw moderate damage. The Broadwater weathered the storm and survived the damage of Hurricane Camille, coming out on the other side of nature’s wrath repaired and renewed. This time.
I last visited the Broadwater Beach Hotel in 1998. Financial neglect, design and decor disrepair, and changing times were now guests with no intention of checking out. The bones of the main building were as I remembered, but an attempt at updating the once glorious interiors looked to be an epic fail.
Post Katrina Damage to Main Pools & Dining Room
Hurricane Katrina barreled through, and what parts of the Broadwater Hotel she didn’t destroy the wrecking ball did. On this side of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the economic downturn of 2008 comes hope for a Broadwater revival.
Broadwater Development, LLC hopes to once again create resort magic on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where exceptional hospitality leaves a lasting impression- one that invites you back time and time again. News of the revival of the Broadwater is exciting as is the discovery of Biloxi Memories and the Broadwater Beach Hotel highlighting the heyday of the Broadwater Beach Resort.
Biloxi Memories and the Broadwater Beach Hotel
Please find the link to the Pinterest board below:
Today’s A Most Fetching Friday is all about the summer vacation.
Tourism thrives on it, houses are built to entertain around it, school teachers wait all school year long for it to get here, kids of all ages celebrate it, and memories made on the summer holiday road stay with us for a lifetime.
Dave the Builder and I have been on a mini vacation for a little over a week. Reality will soon call us back to our normal routine, but for now the pace has slowed and the summer vacation life is good.
Making things pretty on a penny is always a subject of interest to me, clients, friends, family and judging from the emails I receive, most of my readers.
The summer retail season is heating up, and the stores, outlets and online sights we love to call favorites are rolling out seasonal finds much to the delight of decorators, designers and gotta have it guys and gals. Seasonal decorating is nothing new, but the items in which to accomplish this mission of home decor beautification are. Summer style spotting with pen, paper and bookmark icon ready to jot and save is proving to be successful on the summer finds front. Here is the first round of the Gotta Have It List summer 2015 edition.
H & M continues to impress with decorative accents big on visual quality and style at an affordable price. You just can’t go wrong with an accent piece in the decorating darling duo of black and white. A classic color combination paired with a trending pattern in pop of zebra detail places this ceramic jar accent at the top of the Gotta Have It list summer 2015 edition.
Named after English architect Charles L. Eastlake, the design of this late 19th century style of furniture is one of my least favorites. This mass produced style is actually more of a “in the style of” interpretation of what American professional cabinet makers serving as master furniture designers deemed an authentic replica of Eastlake’s design. Charles Eastlake was not impressed with the results. Mr. Eastlake and I are of the same school of thought. His words say it far better than mine.
“I find American tradesmen continually advertising what they are pleased to call Eastlake furniture, the production of which I have had nothing whatever to do, and for the taste of which I should be very sorry to be considered responsible.”
~ Charles L. Eastlake
That being said, the Eastlake style chair in the above image from Style Me Pretty demonstrates how a chic update can transform an otherwise dated piece into a hip and happening accent chair focal point. Not all antique furniture pieces are prime candidates for paint, but in the case of Eastlake furniture I say pick it out, shake it up and paint it pretty.
Late summer means treasure hunting days at one of my favorite haunts, Korner Shoppe Antiques. This gem of a joint is full to the gills with my kind of treasures, trinkets and trash. Inspiration struck as I perused the shoppe’s Facebook page so I did what all deal dreaming decoristas do- I sketched out plans for an upcoming project around copper pots and pans.
One very brilliant episode of Mad Men placed Howard Johnson’s back into the thoughts of a generation of hungry Americans who ordered up cups, plates and scoops of American fare under the iconic bright orange roof.
All good things and great vacations come to an end. Tripping Down Memory Lane Spring Break Trip Report Part III winds down our 2008 spring break trip to Las Vegas in getting back to Vegas basics style.
Filling In The Vegas Days and Nights: Hotels, Casinos & Restaurants
Spending the afternoon at Venetian surrounded by copies of and renditions of famous Italian works and decor was the plan for our Thursday afternoon. The machines, bonus rounds and green felt covered tables will take a backseat to sightseeing and lunch at Grand Lux Cafe at Venetian.
People often comment negatively in regards to Grand Lux as a dining choice while in Las Vegas. “It’s a chain. Why in the world are you eating at a chain restaurant?”
How do we love Grand Lux Cafe? Let us deliciously count the ways:
The food is always excellent. See images above.
The menu offers a wide variety of delicious something for everyone dishes.
The dining room design and decor is lovely.
The price is right.
If it ain’t broke…
I did not break with my dining at Grand Lux tradition ordering the seafood salad and a shared order of double-stuffed potato spring rolls. Dave ordered the fish and chips and gave it 4 forks out of a possible 5 review. The casino at Venetian was packed. I played $1 Top Dollar slots with no big wins. Dave didn’t fare too well at the tables so he was in hot pursuit of a $1 Double Top Dollar slot machine to play. We both love Top Dollar and Pinball. I did not receive an ounce of respect, love or pay from the numerous Top Dollar or Pinball machines I played during this session. I now fondly refer to them as “sucker machines” and Dave now fondly refers to me as a sore loser. If it was in the cards for me to be a loser, at least the rocking band playing at La Scena (casino floor lounge that sadly is no more) was churning out some fantastic music. Win, lose or draw I like to get my boogie on. We have boogied to really fantastic lounge acts playing the casino lounges. That part of old Vegas is slowly going away too. My parents tell of the now famous singers they saw years ago in Las Vegas when the entertainers were up and coming lounge acts.
I got it together earlier than usual so we could be on our way to lunch at the Paris Le Village buffet.
I knew I would want to play before lunch and also figured the line to be seated could be rather long on a Friday afternoon. I could not squeak out a win, but left the casino floor for the buffet line even. That’s always a win in my book! The lunch at Le Village was good, but this is a buffet that shines at breakfast. Dave pointed out the French onion soup and I informed him I had worked the French onion soup enough for a while. However, the crepe station did call out to me and I answered apple with raspberries, blueberries and crème fraîche, se il vous plaît. 5 forks out of 5 very French c’est si bon forks.
I packed the room up with a cup of in-room brewed strong Louisiana coffee in hand. Traveling with a coffee pot isn’t for everyone, but we do it for two reasons. In extremely short order after my eyes pop open in the morning and my feet hit the floor or carpet I need coffee- hot, fresh and Louisiana strong. I also like to have a cup or two in the afternoons or early evening when we are relaxing in the room before dinner or a show or just regrouping. The other reason is pure economics I swear we would go broke by the third day in town feeding our coffee fix. A fellow Vegas travel nut cued me in on a coffee pot travel tip.
There are several Walgreens and CVS locations up and down the Las Vegas Strip. Pop in a pick up a coffee maker and supplies and ignore the initial sticker shock investment. It will pay for itself within the first day. If you don’t want to contend with packing it up and carting it home, simply leave it in the room. Easy peasy. It is ridiculous what hotels charge for coffee ordered from room service or in the coffee shops, and speaking of coffee shops- coffee shops are quickly becoming an extinct dining option on the Strip. I am not the biggest fan of the buffet, but for breakfast dining the beverage selection and cost included reasons this to be a reasonable option. Dave went down to visit with the host with positive results. We checked out over the television and said goodbye to Treasure Island.
Our host at the Rio met us at VIP-Diamond check in and assigned us a room in the Ipanema Tower. The room reminded me of the suites at the Stardust we loved. These rooms impress me more in terms of size and layout vs decor. Various tell-tale signs give the age of the property away, but nothing we can’t live with for five nights. We got our gambling on for about an hour, and finally I declared victory with a $$$ win on a five-line .25 3X 4X 5X machine in front of the performing stage. Cocktail service at Rio was fast and frequent. My server took my Coke order. “Is Pepsi okay?” My “not in this lifetime” answer produced a chuckle on his part. I changed my order to a Shirley Temple (I was on the hard stuff this afternoon) and returned to my play. In a flash he returns with his own version of comedy with a “You had the ice-cold Pepsi?” I spun my seat around to find him standing there holding my ST with the biggest grin on his face. We both laughed and he became my cheering section for a big win. The time clock was ticking for me to be back to the room to get ready for Cher. Time clocks can be a good thing or a very bad thing when gambling. It was a good thing this go round and the $$$ win money made it to the room.
I covered the Cher experience in a previous installment. We hit The Cheesecake Factory in The Forum Shops for our post show dinner of a shared pepperoni pizza, strawberry shortcake and two glasses of Riesling. Very tasty.
Happy Birthday, Dave! Shopping for birthday gifts and perhaps something new for both of us to wear to the birthday celebration dinner this evening is the plan, and Vegas knows shopping. Dave was a sport and kept me company while I spent the afternoon shopping at the Fashion Show Mall. Starbucks supplied our very light lunch break of shared pastry and coffees- just a quick bite of something to keep a headache at bay. Our plan for the birthday celebration evening was for a quiet and relaxing dinner at the Range Steakhouse at Harrah’s (presently Ruth’s Chris). We enjoyed dinner at The Range so much on our last trip. We were seated by the window and with James as our waiter (requested). His personality and professionalism adds to the evening. Dave started with the lobster bisque and I selected the blue cheese and fresh apple salad. For our entrees we both ordered the 12 oz. center cut pork chop and shared Yukon gold mashed potatoes. The manager knew we were celebrating Dave’s birthday and sent over the most fantastic chocolate cake with strawberries and coffee for two. The food presentation and preparation was done very well. The service and the wait staff could not have been more professional or friendly, and it all equaled a memorable birthday meal in Vegas.
We were dressed and waiting in the Rio valet at 8:15 AM Wednesday. Trust me, I am not the up and dressed and ready to greet the day while on vacation kind of girl. By the time of day and level of enthusiasm, Dave realized I was serious about this slot tournament. I grabbed the keys, gave the valet a good morning hello and it was touchdown Flamingo events area.
The tournament was open to all Total Rewards card holders so Dave put down a few $20’s and we were registered for 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 12:30 PM, 1:00 PM, and finally 2:00 PM. Wow! That’s a lot of hope and fun packed into a late morning and early afternoon at the dirty bird, and you would think we had a snowball’s chance in the desert of winning. Goodness knows as many times as we entered we sure thought we did! We didn’t even come close to placing, but we had an absolute ball trying.
The last day in Vegas gives me a pit in my stomach no words can describe. Staying busy cures it. Gambling for this trip was officially over. I had not been able to win enough to make it accumulate over what I started with, and the wins were too far apart from each other to save me. I find it is easier to swallow if I quit without too much damage to the initial bankroll. The suggestion of In-N-Out Burger for lunch and a business mixed with pleasure venture was met with no complaints. We headed out to dine in style and visit a few design and antiques shops.
We saw parts of Vegas new to us, and I lucked up on a few items I could easily pack. We grabbed a couple of coffees, parked and watched the airplanes landing and taking off from McCarran International. I must admit after nine full days and nights in Vegas this was a nice change. We caught a couple of afternoon fountain shows at Bellagio and it was Monte Carlo time.
Dave and I discovered the Wizard of Oz penny slots complete with flying monkeys, the yellow brick road and the wizard himself. The graphics and sound effects are amazing, and Oz turned out to be a magical place. I put in a $5 voucher and cashed out with $$$ for a nice win. The beautiful Glenda appeared to me in bonus round goodness resulting in the big hit. I could become addicted to these machines with no problem. There’s no place like home and Vegas on a sunny winning afternoon.
The Friday going home wake up call came at 5:30 AM with coffee shortly after. We checked out of Rio and at the car rental return by 9:15 AM. We were through security and to Continental gate D 20 with fifty minutes to spare. I took in the final sights of the Strip from my window seat on the airplane. I settled in for the three-hour flight with good tunes, better memories and big plans for our next trip. Getting home to a full house of family and friends on Hurricane Gustav alert and all he dumped on Central Louisiana naturally put priorities where they should be. Normalcy is back in our reach and has allowed me to share with you my trip report. The overall casual tone was the right way to go for us this Vegas trip. It was easy on the schedule, expectations and the wallet. I wasted no time bringing to Dave’s attention with all the money saved this trip it would be stupid not to book another trip out to our desert oasis within the next six months. My logic has him thinking about it. Then again, my logic always has me thinking about Vegas.
Everybody loves going on vacation-kids love it, adults need it, and the travel and hospitality industry banks on it. Dave the Builder and I have had slowed our vacation roll over the past couple of years. New career paths, project deadlines and family responsibilities will do that. Short weekend getaways and reading back over trip reports from trips of vacations past keeps vacation hope alive. Our son is home this week for his spring break vacation which will find me pushing back from the keyboard for a couple of days. I thought I would share our Las Vegas for spring break trip report from our 2008 with you. You may be asking yourself, “Who wants to read about a Vegas vacation from several years ago?” Call me crazy, but I’ll read a trip report about any town, anywhere, anytime.
Although prices, airlines names, hotels, restaurants and the live and in person names on the marquee change, the allure of the Vegas vacation remains the same. Travel deals, hotels, shows, dining, shopping and gambling- they’re all present and accounted for. I’ll post the report in a couple of installments as not to take too much of your time, bore you or both. As for staying on topic, you will find personal opinions and comments on design, decorating and architectural elements peppered throughout.
Getting There, Staying There… Air and Hotel
We used Continental OnePass miles (now United) for the airline tickets with the extra added travel bonus of no charge for our first or second bags due to acquiring our tickets before April 2008. Flying on reward tickets has the drawback of limited departure times. We chose the crack of dawn departure time of 5:40 AM CST which is early, but we look at like this- you arrive in Vegas around 8:30 AM PST with an entire day of Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas in front of you.
We came to the decision to go back to basics in terms of taking the Bellagio and Wynn way of doing Vegas off the table for this trip. Our last two trips bordered on decadent, and although we loved every minute of it, we were ready to take it in a casual flow direction. We almost caved with the great offer we received from Wynn, but our last stay was so near perfect I decided to just savor the memories. This is a short comment and review of sorts given to a fellow hey baby, let’s go to Vegas travel friend.
“Great detailed report. Aren’t they the best?!
I am in the great pay vs. comp room debate. We stayed at Wynn in 2007 for our 25th wedding anniversary. My tastes do not tend to favor the “Californication” decor, but the room delivered a studio apartment feel perfect for relaxing. It wasn’t until we checked out that I realized how much I enjoyed the room. The interior design and room decor was neither overpowering nor understated. It achieved what good design and decor does, it made a lasting impression. I will give Wynn and Encore more play in the future in hopes of scoring a comped room.
Some of our best Vegas memories are from our stays at Venetian and Palazzo. Dave and I love the decor, customer service and attention to detail. I have read negative reviews regarding the “fakeness” of the architecture and the use of plastic and faux finishes.
Grand Colonnade ~ The Venetian Las Vegas
For the love of all things Vegas, give it a rest! I’m an interior decorator, and even I don’t look that close nor care. Do you know the cost involved in attempting an architectural replication with authentic materials?
The suites of Venetian, Venezia and Palazzo are some of the best the strip has to offer. Yes, the property makes a fine impression on us!
As soon as we got home from our last Vegas trip I went right into trip planning mode. Dave and I bounced plans and opinions around until we fined tuned the plan. Our hotel choices for this trip came in at everyone’s favorite Vegas vacation rate- comped.
Vegas Vacation Tip #1 (any other vacation destination applies here, too):
Experiencing sensory overload while in Vegas is to be expected. One tends to lose track of time, sleep and the ability to think straight. Over the years our trips have run the gamut from whirlwind in town for only 72 hours full tilt blowouts (younger days) to ten days and nights Vegas isn’t going anywhere themed trips. Regardless of the number of hours or days of the trip, I like to have a pre-trip pre-planned agenda to loosely follow as more of a daily guideline than a hard and fast schedule. Schedules and time commitments don’t really coincide with my idea of relaxing and recreating, but shows and dinner reservations wait for no one. Then there is the dreaded “what do you want to do today? I don’t know, what do you want to do today?” kiss of vacation death. If you’re not careful you will blow valuable vacation time suspended in decision mode. Besides, don’t we all do enough of that at home a la “what do you want for dinner? I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?” Yeah you do!
We try to put a new spin on Vegas each trip by staying at properties we have yet to stay at. I logged on to our MGM Mirage player club accounts and discovered a great offer from Treasure Island. We booked Treasure Island Tuesday- Saturday with $$$ in free play and two comped buffets included.
Taking aim at the Rio from our hotel room at TI. Note the reflection of my old Fuji Finepix Z camera in the photo. Great camera and a not so great photographer. I’ve come a long way, baby.
Caesars Entertainment came through with a Summerfest Slot Tournament offer of four comped nights at Rio with one night at $78. Our host from the Stardust is now at Rio, and with one well placed phone call we were set with all five nights now comped.
My, how the look of the Las Vegas Strip has changed over the years.
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!
We landed at 8:49 AM PST, and after the usual airport doing that thing you do we arrived at Planet Hollywood’s front door around 10:10 AM. We wanted to kill an hour or two before checking in at Treasure Island. Dave the Builder loves playing blackjack at Planet Hollywood, and I couldn’t wait to hit Sephora, ABC, and L’Occitane. Dave won therefore he was a happy Vegas camper. I, on the other hand, contributed funds to the Vegas retail economy and county sales tax office. With goodies in hand we headed the rental car North to TI. The check- in line was wild at 11:45 AM, but the lines moved quickly. Stephanie at check- in was a delight to deal with, and after a nice conversation we were assigned room 31036 with exactly the view we wanted. The room was on the corner with one window facing Venetian and Las Vegas Boulevard. The other window offered great views of the Strip from Mirage to CityCenter. The bellman was up to the room with the bags in short order, I checked my look in the mirror, and it was time for our favorite lunch destination, The Palm at The Forum Shops in Caesars Palace.
The Palm Business Lunch is one of the best wins of every trip for us. We both ordered the filet with salad and Dave had Lobster Bisque for an appetizer.
Our “we’re in Vegas” lunch was exactly what we needed. Well, almost. What we needed was to get our gambling on at Caesars.
On this our first day of gambling ~
Dave’s game of choice is blackjack, and my games of choice involve a comfortable seat, a button, a Shirley Temple, and some reel action. I was playing on a $1 WOF machine and just about to call it an evening when I got the bonus spin and the sweet cry of Wheel-of-Fortune sang out. The “wheel” landed on $500 for a nice ending to the Caesars afternoon. We dragged our tired bodies back to our home base of Treasure Island. I set the we’re in Vegas, baby mood by tuning the sound system to the smooth jazz station, turning the A/C thermostat to arctic blast, and pulling the drapes back for prime neon viewing. Sticking with our first night tradition, we ordered a light supper of French onion soup, chicken noodle soup, toast and milk for two and one of the best slices of cheesecake we have had in quite awhile from room service.
Blurred photo to match my blurred eyes. It’s been a long first day in Vegas
Our lovely evening ended at the embarrassing hour of 9:15 PM. I announced to Dave we are officially old as my head hit the pillow.
We Louisianians are a patient people. We are aware our neighbors to the North actually get to experience seasonal foliage and fall colors before mid to late November. Fall takes it time getting down to Louisiana, but when it does it stunningly shows its true colors along the bayou in perfect fall form. I’ve yet to find a better way to take it all in than to hit the road with camera in hand, Dave the Builder at the wheel, and the words from the song “Drive South” defining the moment.
Come on baby drive South With the one you love Come on baby drive South
You can be guaranteed if it’s late November the locals are asking, “Are the leaves in color on the bayou Ginkgo?” This famous landmark Ginkgo tree has served as the picture perfect photo backdrop for generations of local residents. This picture does not do justice to just how beautiful these colors along the bayou really are.
Decades old iron bridge railing has aged gracefully through the years. Brick-lined streets, decorative ironwork and historical homes make a drive though the garden district a trip through time.
Further South down the road we go to another small town favorite, Lea’s Lunch Room. Lea’ s is known throughout the United States as the place for pie. It’s a standing game day tradition to stop at Lea’s for one of their famous ham sandwiches and a piece of pie on the way to Tiger Stadium. Recently, Lea’s Lunchroom was listed in the USA TODAY Travel article “10 best: Delicious Pies around the South.” All that driving and photographing works up an appetite, and it is the best excuse I know of to order up a sandwich and a slice of coconut pie with sky high meringue to-go, of course. On the road again…
The Mary McCoy Big House stands steeped in history on the Solomon Northup Trail. The story of Solomon Northup was the subject of the film, 12 Years a Slave. The Bayou Boeuf community and the parishes of Central Louisiana historically factor into the life of Solomon Northup. When I was in college at LSU I used the Mary McCoy Big House as my thirty minutes to home mile marker. Lots of history and beauty associated with this local landmark.
Click on image to enlarge
Like the leaves, the colors of the season are changing from browns and oranges to brighter reds and traditional greens. This much needed road trip was all the detour needed to help me collect my thoughts and take a breather before the next phase begins. December 1st signals the official Christmas season kick off. Here we go!
‘Tis the weekend of the 127 Yard Sale aka The World’s Largest Yard Sale. The Places In The Home Gang hit the sale in Gadsden, Alabama many moons ago on our way back home from our annual trek to the hills and mountains of East Tennessee. The already overloaded Excursion and U-Haul ( it was very normal for us to pick, hunt and buy enough treasures, trinkets and trash to warrant renting a u-Haul). Have any of you ever been to The World’s Largest Yard Sale? Please share! I love this pic from Authentica Classics. More where that come from here.
Gone with the Wind is as famous for its lines as it is for the movie itself. If I had a nickle for every time “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” has been quoted well, you know. Good Housekeeping recently informed its readers the infamous ending almost wasn’t the famous ending as we know it. An alternate ending has been revealed through the recent findings of a script. Take a look at what words Scarlett may have spoken over at Good Housekeeping.