From the Trip Report Archives: Natchez, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi is a pack a bag, set the GPS, and let’s get out of town for a day or weekend destination that offers everything from festivals to shopping to art to dining to distinctive mixology to antiquing to gourmet cooking classes.

Jaunting over to this small Mississippi town for a quick getaway from it all is right up our alley.

With a few months still to go until vacation time, reaching back into the trip report archives is my tried and true cure for the are we there yet blues.


Impressive architecture, antiques shops, mint julep and tiny biscuit lunches at the Carriage House, refreshing cocktail hours, and laid back evenings seal the travel to Natchez deal.


Louisiana to Mississippi rural highways, byways, and parkways give credence to the travel credo always take the scenic route.

cows on levee

Cell phone images of interest along country roads less traveled capture the scene and the herd.


Lost is the actual count of times we traveled to Natchez for a festival, pilgrimage, celebration of a milestone, or just to getaway.

However, some trips do stand out more than others for one reason or another.

old river bridge

Photos from our past Natchez trips will not be appearing in this post due to the following:

It’s 98 degrees in the shade here in Central Louisiana.

Rooting around in a climate controlled storage unit to locate the box they may be in is not my idea of hot fun in the summertime, n’est-ce pas?

I’ll do my best to make this an easy follow with the help of borrowed, credited, courtesy of, and sourced photos rich in travel detail.


Natchez gifts the eye with stunning views of the swift and sprawling Mississippi River and contrasting elevation levels.

Natchez–Vidalia Mississippi River Bridge

Natchez–Vidalia Mississippi River Bridge

Crossing over the Natchez-Vidalia bridge is its own we’re not in Louisiana anymore moment.



Our self-guided driving, riding, and walking tours of Natchez have resulted in the discovery of impressive architecture, outstanding architectural details, off the beaten path and under-the-hill gems, and fascinating people.

Speaking of off the beaten path gems and fascinating people, let’s take a travel show and tell detour for a few paragraphs for the simple reason I like telling this story.

Friends of ours invited us to join them in Natchez for the 1984 Spring Pilgrimage.  We booked the guest house at Ravennaside for our party of four, packed our bags, and headed east.

Guest house options work best for us.  Included is the bed and breakfast experience with the extra added bonus of privacy.


Ravennaside at that time was owned by Mr. and Mrs. John Van Hook. Important to the Van Hooks was honoring the vision and intent of the original owners, Mr. and Mrs. James Fleming, for Ravennaside to be a home for entertaining.

Upon check- in Mr. Van Hook gave our group a tour of the house and a rundown of the schedule of events planned for that evening and the next morning.

Guests were invited to mix and mingle on the veranda over cocktails and appetizers beginning promptly at 5: 00 pm.

Everyone was encouraged to introduce themselves and indulge in lively conversation and strong libations.  My friend and I took a seat on the large rattan couch, exchanging hellos with our fellow seat mates.

Karen immediately struck up a conversation with the group sitting next to us.  I, on the other hand, was taking a moment to study the interiors, the architectural details of the space, and the cast of characters in attendance at this rather unique gathering.

Funny how a quick elbow nudge to the ribs from your seatmate can get your attention. Delivered to my ear almost as quick as the nudge was the scoop Karen discovered while engaged in casual cocktail chitchat.

Turns out our fellow day drinkers happened to be a group of senior editors from Southern Living magazine.

southern living magazine 1984

Thirty+ years later and a boatload of real life erases the recall of a single name of the three ladies and single gentleman in the group.

That late Saturday afternoon spent Southern sippin’ is by far one of the best travel memories in our Natchez, Mississippi travel repertoire.

Around Town



Longwood Rotunda

Longwood Rotunda – Flickr


The Parsonage

St. Mary Basilica

St. Mary Basilica


Front Parlor of Rosalie Mansion

streets in Natchez

Sights, Streets, and Sidewalks

Natchez Brewing Company

Natchez Brewing Company


Natchez Brewing CompanyPizza Lab–  Photo by G. Douglas Adams

Natchez claims a spirited aura when people, places, and things get to stirring after dark.

Natchez Ms sunset

Sunset in Natchez



King’s Tavern, circa 1789,  is the oldest standing building in Natchez.  The tavern is believed to be haunted after an expansion to the original building in 1930 revealed the skeletal remains of two men and one woman hidden in a wall behind the main fireplace.

King's Tavern

King’s Tavern

As the story goes, Richard King, the founder of the tavern, had a mistress named Madeline.

Madeline disappeared without a Natchez trace soon after Mrs. King learned of the illicit affair between Mr. King and Madeline.

King's Tavern historical marker

King’s Tavern Historical Marker

Storied is a finger of speculation pointed straight in the direction of Mrs. King when it was learned she had hired two men from the under-the-hill area of town to murder Madeline.


King’s Tavern 

Upon the discovery of a dagger in a fireplace located in another room of the tavern the plot began to thicken.

Post House Menu

Madeline’s true fate remains a mystery, and although based strictly on legend and folklore, it is widely believed the ghost of Madeline resides at 613 Jefferson Street.

Stanton Hall Entrance Natchez

Stanton Hall

My first trip to Natchez was in the summer of 1982, and I knew when I left I would be back for more sooner than later.

Fall’s crisp temps and seasonal colors on parade frame the scene for a made-to-order getaway, so back to Natchez we went in early November.


Photo courtesy of Peter W. Patel

When I learned you could tour and bed & breakfast in many of the historic antebellum homes throughout Natchez my curiosity was piqued. I booked a block of two night stays at Linden, Stanton Hall, and Twin Oaks, and we were off to the races.


Photo courtesy of Peter W. Patel

Linden and Stanton Hall hit the hospitality high note, but Twin Oaks, circa 1832, was the property we absolutely fell in love with all those years ago.

Homochitto Street

Photo courtesy of Peter W. Patel

To say the charm quotient overfloweth at 71 Homochitto Street is an understatement.

Our host for many visits over the years was Dr. Homer A. Whittington, a true Southern gentleman if there ever was one.

Ever the gracious host, Dr. Whittington had a distinct and memorable way of making you realize you were experiencing the very best of what Southern hospitality is all about.  We fell in love with the guest house at Twin Oaks.

What we would do or where we would dine when we were in Natchez may have been up for debate, but there was never any question as to where where we would stay.

Dr. Whittington joked he ought to just give us our own key to the guest house.

We always felt right at home and a part of the Twin Oaks family.

Unfortunately, the guest house did not age well through the years, and was torn down when Twin Oaks was sold.


Back in its B&B heyday, the guest house at Twin Oaks was located at the far end of the gardens just past the staircase to the left of the chapel.

Packed with period antiques and oodles of privacy, the guest house at Twin Oaks was our kind of bed & breakfast.  I’d say the square footage of the guest house came in around 1000 square feet under roof.


This is not an interior photo of the guest house master bedroom, but I wanted to use it to give you a visual idea of the period furnishings.

Light paint colors complemented the dark brown finishes of the period pieces.

Now remember decoristas, this was 1982.


Candlelight Yellow by Glidden

Couple that together with the Southern Antebellum theme, and a yellow and green color palette it is.

Tranquil Light Green Glidden

Tranquil Light Green by Glidden

Modern remodels of the bathroom suite and kitchen struck the right balance between old and new.

What’s for breakfast issue was addressed by the fully stocked fridge, and musical entertainment was delivered by the stereo system churning out the contemporary music of the day.

On top of all that, there was a large working fireplace and a private courtyard providing the comforts of home and them some.


On the last day of the trip, we stayed around the guest house for most of the afternoon.  The plan was to go to the Post House (currently King’s Tavern) for a farewell to Natchez dinner later in the evening.


Double Eagle Coffee

Coffee and chicory pairs well with a brisk fall afternoon, serving as the beverage of choice at the guest house coffee and cocktail hour.

Dave added a generous pour of Bailey’s to his coffee to spike up the flavor and warm the bones.


Celebrating the moments of our lives in fika fashion over several cups of strong coffee, we found ourselves slightly buzzing from the combination of caffeine, Bailey’s, and the pure excitement of being out of town.


Parking areas for visitors was at the opposite end of the courtyard.  The roosting of what seemed to be thousands of birds in the bamboo trees lining the entire back of the courtyard produced a loud and eerie soundtrack.

In our comings and goings neither one of us had noticed the large concrete garden statue standing at the far end of the courtyard.

With a brisk breeze kicking up and the gift of dipping fall temps, Dave thought moving the car closer to the guest house a good idea.  I told him when I was finished getting ready I would meet him at the top of the stairs.

The front door of the guest house was made of solid wood, and was as wide as it was tall.  A high pitch squeak at mid open (or close) let you know someone was coming in or going out.

Between the squeak and a strategically positioned full length mirror serving as my make-up mirror, I had both an audible and visual heads up of who was coming in and out of the guest house.

Call it a prehistoric version of the Ring doorbell.

All of a sudden the door swings open so fast it doesn’t even have time to squeak. Dave is a whiter shade of pale in color and frantic in his locking the door behind him maneuvers.

Immediately I ask, “What’s wrong?”

“There’s a headless something or someone standing in front of the car.”

Normally being the calm, cool, and collected (and sober) one in our party of two, my initial reaction was to diffuse the situation without discounting Dave’s fear.

“Okay.  Why don’t you share with me exactly what you think you saw.”

His recounting goes a little something like this:

Walking up the stairs to the driveway, David saw what he thought was Dr. Whittington sitting in his study.  He decided to walk by the study window and wave good evening to Dr. Whittington.

Turns out no one was in the study, so Dave continued on down the driveway to the parking area.

Proceeding with the details, he tells me the birds roosting in the bamboo trees is deafening loud this evening, and the aforementioned fall winds have begun to pick up.

Setting the scene is even more precise detail, Dave explains the closer he gets to the guest parking area the more he is 100% percent certain he sees a headless figure standing in front of the car

Now remember, neither one of us has noticed the garden statue prior to this sighting, so my look of sure you do, the look I’ve perfected over the years, stands accurate.

Louisiana Girl T shirt

“Do you think perhaps the Bailey’s infused coffees are having their way with your eyes, Dave?”

“I know what I saw, Darleen.”

Facing your fear is the only way to conquer it.

Taking these words into account, I decide to see what we’re working with here.

Much to Dave’s don’t open that door objections, I opened the front door to better assess the situation.

Upon opening the door, a strong gust of wind coupled with the sounds of  birds roosting in the bamboo trees played a sinister melody.

Doo-doo-doo-doo, Doo-doo-doo-doo

twilight zone

Looking down the courtyard through overly caffeinated eyes, I too believe that I see a headless figure standing in front of the car

Lightening bolt fast sums up the speed in which I shut and locked the front door.

Dave shot me a I told you so look; his perfected signature look.

Regardless of what or who is standing by the car, I was determined we were going to The Post House for dinner.

After a bit of deliberation, we jointly opened the door for a second look, and yep, he-she-it is still there.

Dave devises a game plan of how to both get to the car and defend ourselves from the forces of headless evil lurking in the night.

“Grab that pair of candlesticks off the mantle.  You take one, and I’ll take the other, and it’ll be two against one.”

silver plated candlesticks

Dave addressed my concerns over the post battle condition of the candlesticks.

They weren’t antiques, and being familiar with the brand and the retail store where a replacement pair could be purchased from offered the solution.

Dave concluded if the decorative accents fell victim to battle and replacement eluded us, we would throw a Ben Franklin Dr. Whittington’s way upon checkout.

With adrenaline at peak levels, a fierce craving for Post House Chicken Cordon Bleu present, and a battle defense consisting of liquid courage and decorative accents we were let’s do this ready.

Slow walking the inevitable was useless, so we picked up the pace and the candlesticks prepared to beat our way into the car.

Roosting birds, swirling winds, and building fear further set the scene. As we got closer to the car, reality offered a 20/20 view to what we were working with.

Oh, there was definitely a headless figure at the end of the driveway.

At least we got that part right.

There, standing in front of us in all its courtyard art glory, was the previously unnoticed life size concrete garden statue complete with missing head


Myddelton House Garden
A Dead Ringer!

Failure on our part in noticing the statue from the get-go resulted in two complete idiots spending the last hour plotting a defense that entailed beating the living daylights out of an inanimate objet d’art with a pair of decorative candlesticks.

Dave wasted no time looking around to see if anyone witnessed our pre-dinner show spectacle. The man does have his priorities.

Fortunately, no one had and our reputations remained intact.

Waiting until we pulled out of the main driveway to comment, I didn’t get an entire word out of my mouth before Dave shut it down with an overly emphasized three word reply.

You.  Did. Too.

Goodness knows I would have loved for this to have been kept just between the two of us, but that was not to be the case.

In record post-trip return time, Dave could not wait to turn our antics into an amateur stand-up comedy show and tell, complete with animated gestures and language, exposing our self-humiliation for all the world (well, our family and friends) to know.

One thing is for sure, there’s never been a dull moment in our Natchez, Mississippi travels.

Even when we opt to slow down the pace, enjoy the moment, and roll with the flow of the Mississippi River, the days and nights are never dull, and that’s why we consider Natchez a favorite getaway destination.


South Dakota, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Florida and Alabama Vacation Photos

Labor Day begins the winding down of summer.  I’ve come to think of Memorial Day and Labor Day as a set of spiffy bookends supporting the May to September romance we have with summer, the summer vacation, and vacation photos.


A summer vacation was not to be for me and Dave the Builder due to obligations, project deadlines, and ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (a tip of the hat to David Bowie) in our everyday life.

So it goes.

All good things come to those who wait to hit the holiday road in the fall.  Fall will be here soon as will cooler temps, seasonal colors on parade, festivals and gumbo good times.

Grab a to-go pumpkin latte and call me a happy traveler.


A simple solution to alleviate vacation withdrawals is to live the moment  vicariously through vacation photos delivered to my inbox from the merry band of traveling Millennials aka our son and his wife, nephew #1 and his darling family, and nephew #2 and his beloved.


Our son and daughter-in-law traveled to the United States for a twelve day trip to discover the sights, sounds, and highlights of the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore National Park, Badlands National Park,  Aspen, Denver, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.


Mt. Rushmore

Mount Rushmore National Memorial



They called one evening and while we were talking I heard the roar and rev of motorcycles.

Is that motorcycles I hear?

Yes it is.

Have you ever heard of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally?

Needless to say, it was quite a noisy conversation.


Our son on tap and taste duty at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado.


There would be more pictures, but the newest addition to their family, Dallas, chewed through both of their laptop charger cords.

Two observations:

Puppies gnaw and chew on cords, belts, purses, shoes, furniture.

A mother who bites her tongue and does not remind her son if the cords were not left on the floor for the puppy to get to in the first place you wouldn’t have this issue deserves a medal, or at the very least a vacation.

This weekend marks their first wedding anniversary.  To mark the celebration, they are traveling to Minneapolis to dine in style, see Taylor Swift in concert, and shop for new and replacement electronics, chargers, and devices.

Congressional Country Club

Speaking of weddings, the next round of vacation photos are from nephew #2 and his beloved’s trip to Bethesda, Maryland and Washington D.C. to attend a friend’s wedding and reception held at the Congressional Country Club.


tomb-unknown-soldierTomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

The Korean War Veterans Memorial

The Korean War Veterans Memorial 


Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History 


Nephew #1 and his darling family make a Florida vacation a yearly event.  Joined by our niece-in-law’s parents, sister, brother, their spouses, children, and a pair of aunts and uncles, the group travel by air and land to Perdido Key for a week of family fun in the sun.


Twelve adults and six kids (including two babies under one) require a lot of stuff.  With a two day start, our nephew drove his loaded to the gills SUV from Missouri to Florida to meet the crew.


Sun, beach, water, sand, rinse and repeat floated everyone’s boat.  The Places In The Home side of the family leans more towards the mountains and the west coast, but know well the appeal of the Florida Gulf Coast.


Nephew #2 and his beloved ended up having a two for the price of one vacation.  The second part of their vacation found them on beach time in Orange Beach, Alabama.



Toes in the sand without a vacation care in the world until company arrives.


vacation photos

Winter, spring, summer, or fall- vacation photos place you in the moment and serve as a wish you were here postcard.  As the sun sets on summer 2018, we hope you have a wonderful Labor Day holiday weekend.

love your style

Vacation Observations and Treasures Show and Tell

As promised, here is part two of what I did on my summer statecation otherwise titled Vacation Observations and Treasures Show and Tell.

My blogging routine is suffering from a case of the I’m ready for summer to be over and fall to get here slowdown blues.

Taking time to hunt and gather images, ideas and inspiring notes of design and decorating interest for fall and home for the holidays sharing benefits both author and reader.

It’s gonna be good!

Summer whispers into the ear of the normal day-to-day routine let’s blow this gig.

You’ve got places to go, people to see, ideas to develop.

 Summer didn’t have to tell me twice it was time to book a five day statecation to the Shreveport/Bossier City area.  

Antiquing and vintage shopping is a big part of the vacation equation, and traveling by car makes it super easy to load that baby up with finds, treasures and home goods.  

My must shop list includes Dillard’s, Belk, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx.  

For good while we’re here measure I threw in a let’s stop by the new Whole Foods Market Shreveport.

Try, try as I may to figure out what the whole Whole Foods hullabaloo is all about, I don’t get it.

Take it away, Josh Baskin.

Perusing the East 70th Street retail and restaurant offerings, I noticed a peppering of construction crews and roll offs.

Curiosity leads inquiring minds to need to know info.

Look what’s coming to Shreveport.



la-madeleineShreveport has hit the all things house that make a home jackpot.

I am decorating and dining happy.

Happy to


and beyond!

I do love a good game of wordplay.

architectural-detailsOur Home away from Home- Horseshoe Bossier City

One up way too early for a vacation day coffee call served up one what do you want to do today round table discussion.

Antiquing it is.

Wifi connected us to six shops of interest and roads to follow.


Treasures Show and Tell Observation #1

Change is the only constant in today’s antiques marketplace.

When Dave and I were actively “in the biz,” the proprietor of the antique mall we were in required dealer inventory consist of at least 80% antiques with an allowance for 20% vintage collectibles.

An antique by law is an item at least 100 years old.  Vintage collectible refers to an item at least 50 years old.

We advertised as an antiques shop, and the inventory reflected that.

Assuming (you know what they say about assuming) all antique shops adhere to the same truth in advertising rule, when the sign says antiques I brake for antiques.

On the other hand, if a shop’s name has the word or words curiosity, vintage, thrift, trading, collectibles, junque or consignment in it I know what’s in store.

Out of the six antiques shops visited, only three fit the bill.

Two featured vintage finds and curiosities, and one is nothing more but a shadow of its former antique mall glory.

ironstoneTreasures Show and Tell  Observation #2

It dawned on me after viewing booth after booth of painted pieces that I have an issue with the trend that in my opinion has stayed too long at the party.

It’s a disgrace when an item is touted as an authentic painted piece picked and plucked from an old farmhouse, feed, hardware or general store when in truth it is fresh off the chalk paint, font and Pinterest bandwagon.


Many an unsuspecting and trusting customer gets duped by this practice, and I think it is absolutely shameful.

Buyer beware.


Good advice and odd artwork caught my attention.

Treasures Show and Tell


Dave the Builder, always clever in his delivery, exclaimed for sale as in fore sale! upon the sighting of this Louis Vuitton golf bag.


Treasures Show and Tell Observation #3

I’m kicking myself for not buy this St Francis garden statue.

The best time to buy an antique, collectible, vintage treasure or in the case concrete garden statue is when you see it.


Restaurant china creamers and syrup pitchers are my collecting thing, and when priced under $5 call these sold!


A small print and a steamboat saucer rounded out my big haul.


Treasures Show and Tell Observation #4

Small finds can make big impacts in the grand decorating and color scheme of things.


Our summer statecation is in the rear view mirror, and I’m already checking rates and availability for a quick late fall getaway.

In the meantime it’s back to work, decorating ideas and the holidays are right around the corner plans.

In blog housekeeping news, I am currently in the middle of attempting to migrate my existing site to a new and improved cPanel hosting platform.

This, my friends, should be good.

Technical blah, blah, blah but necessary to keep things up to speed.

I’m about to lose my mind and my religion over this, but I’m determined to do this.

If I don’t break the site, Places In The Home will be back up running and loading lightening fast next week.

Have a lovely rest of the week.

love your style


It’s That Summer Vacation Time of Year Again

Summer vacation let’s hit the holiday road getaway, treasure hunting, taste testing delicious cuisine, unplugging if only for a few days, reconnecting with Dave the Builder.  It’s that summer vacation time of year again.

summer vacation time

Vacation ~ Go Go’s 

All I ever wanted
Had to get away

Talk (type) to you next week.

love your style



A Most Fetching Friday: The Summer Vacation

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.


Texas Hill Country


Lake Keowee Lake House Cabin, South Carolina

Palm Springs Hotel

Summer In Color at The Saguaro Palm Springs

the summer vacation

What story will your summer vacation tell?

sea shells

Sanibel Island, Florida

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.

luggage tag

Tagged for Travel


Get Your Kicks and Your Gas on Route 66


Sunny Days and Cool Waters

Summer Sounds

Have a lovely weekend.


Travels to Small Southern Towns

August was a busy month of celebrations, milestones, and travels to small Southern towns around Places In The Home.

Our son’s graduation from Louisiana State University, commencement ceremony and subsequent celebration(s) made for a busy first part of the month.

When Dave the Builder suggested a regroup and recovery getaway for two, I could not make reservations fast enough.

I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the not too far but far enough away from home travels to small Southern towns.

These travel gems brimming with history, old houses, antiques and townsfolk who invite you to take in and be a part of the local flavor make a great weekend getaway destination perfect for recharging one’s battery.

St.-John's-Episcopal-ChurchSt. John’s Episcopal Church – Washington, Louisiana

Our long and winding road travels placed us center stage among the small Southern towns of Washington, Scott and Lafayette, Louisiana.

I learned a long time ago not to categorize our close to home jaunts as a non-vacation.

Trust me, these  just roll with the flow discovery excursions can pass a good time and pass for a real vacation.

Travels to Small Southern Towns

Washington, Louisiana is as sleepy as it is Southern- a small town full of history from steamboat days gone by.

Narrow streets shaded by mature oaks, magnolia trees, historical architecture, quintessential Southern homes ranging from the wow to the weathered, and an old high school full to the gills with antiques and vintage goodies seasons the local flavor.

old-houseBeauty does not always strike a pristine pose. This abandoned abode on a shaded street in a small Southern town piqued my interest, struck an architectural chord and became the subject of a subjective experience.  

You know you love antiquing when the indoor temperature almost matches the oppressive outdoor temperature ( 95+ degrees).

Note to self: antiquing in old buildings, warehouses, outdoors and in old high schools is an activity best enjoyed in the fall.

On this particular Louisiana summer Saturday, the Old Antique School Mall was full of hot air and hot finds priced fairly and in shop or home ready condition.

I didn’t have a clue what I was looking for, but something told me I would know it when, and if, I saw it.


Our visit to the school was timed just right for a super sale.

I have been working on a kitchen gallery wall, and no respectable kitchen gallery wall is complete without the all important touch of copper.


I couldn’t resist the lidded copper pan and mold.

Grand total: $10 for both.


That ladies and gentlemen is a copper bargain of the very best kind.


The method to my retail madness is simple- pop into shops, boutiques, markets and retail outlets not available in the retail deficient corner of the world I call home.

The Haul:


A familiar sign became a beacon of biscuits and cornbread in the South Louisiana night.

Cracker-Barrel-signIt was a biscuit and cornbread kind of evening. 

I planned our next trip to Southern life fantastic on the drive home.

November can’t get here soon enough.

Love your style!

Tripping Down Memory Lane Spring Break Trip Report Part III

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.


I get into the theme of it all and appreciate it for what it is- a gorgeous imitation of inspired artistic works of architectural wonder.


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.

Paris-Las-Vegas-Dining-Buffet-Le-Village-Buffet-1.jpg.stdimg.hd.xlLe Village Buffet at Paris

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.

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.


Moving Day: From Treasure Island to Rio We Go

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.

 cokePop Sugar

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 $20s 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.


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.

4950783496_cff6e4382c_bIn-N-Out Burger

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 or 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.

Thanks to all who have stayed with the reading.


images: The Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux Cafe, Rio All-Suite Hotel

Tripping Down Memory Lane Spring Break Trip Report Part II

Spring Break Trip Report Part II is up and ready to read.

There is no match for seeing a production show, concert or headliner in Las Vegas.

There’s a reason why Las Vegas is known as the entertainment capital of the world.

Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to have seen some of the best entertainers in the world perform on the stages of the infamous Las Vegas showrooms.

Our entertainment selections for this trip fit the playbill, mixed the old with the new, paid tribute to a legendary group of lads, had us hearing voices, and rocked our Friday night in Vegas world.

Cher at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace

Cher-Caesars-PalaceCher at Caesars Palace~ then and now

The backstory:

My first time to see Cher live was in 1980.

It was my first trip to Las Vegas, Caesars Palace and the infamous Circus Maximus showroom.

Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world for a reason, and the best of the best performers and entertainers play Caesars for the same reason- it is the gold standard.

The stages of the Vegas showrooms invented the celebrity A game of which Cher is a master player.

This engagement at Caesars Palace was a production extravaganza of Cher’s Take Me Home tour.

I was a wide eyed kid in the Vegas candy store on a sugar high of glamour, glitz, feathers, sequins, female impersonators and Bob Mackie creations custom made for a Vegas state of mind.

It was gloriously flashy, dramatic with a capital D and exquisitely orchestrated by the incomparable entertaining brilliance that is Cher.


I saw Cher again at Caesars Palace in the Circus Maximus showroom the next year with the same enthusiasm and a new Cher convert, my brother.

Cher’s “surprise guests” Bette Midler and Diana Ross completely fooled my brother.

My mother and I knew the ladies were in fact female impersonators and informed my brother of it, but he was totally convinced we were out of our minds.

He was amazed at their physical and theatrical likeness, and when he thought about it for awhile he again wasn’t quite convinced.

Fast forward twenty seven years to a new entertainment venue at Caesars (my third time to The Colosseum aka the house of Celine, Dave’s first) and a curiosity to see if lightening would strike thrice.

Dave and I were through the security monitors (another new aspect of Vegas) and seated quickly in our seats on the first mezzanine.

Cher and company delivered like Domino’s!

When she performed a medley of her greatest hits from her 1970s discography, the ones that in 1980 and 1981 were relatively new hits, Cher turned back time.

Dave loved every minute of the show, lightening bolts and all.

This was a great way to spend an evening in Vegas.

Mama Mia at Mandalay Bay

¥ Kept the memories, lost the program.  Thank goodness for Pinterest!

We Saturday night in Vegas different from most.

The circus arena on steroids atmosphere of a Vegas Saturday night can be too much at times.

It’s become the norm for us to see the 6:00 p.m. performance of Mama Mia at Mandalay Bay and have a late gourmet supper at In-N-Out.

Stick with us, kids, and we’ll take you to the best burger joint in Vegas!

This is our ninth time to see Mama Mia, and while I like Mama Mia, Dave loves Mama Mia.

For this trip we had front row seats A 16 and A 17.

The lobby of the Mandalay Bay Theatre (presently the Michael Jackson ONE theatre) has an Art-Deco style reminiscent of vintage movie houses.

This photo of Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Before the show began we visited with two of the nicest ladies from Salt Lake City seated to our left and a local mom and her six year old daughter seated to our right.

Meeting new people continues to be a part of the Vegas experience that pleases.

Dave and I both agreed this particular performance was one of the best yet.

It doesn’t take but a tweak here and a small change there to step up a performance.

As it is with interior design and home decor, placing a new spin on an oldie but a goodie helps to keep things fresh and relevant.


We lip synced and kept time to the music throughout the entire show, and the Dancing Queens that we are surfaced during the finale.

Along with most of the audience we were up out of our seats and dancing with the cast members to the feel good gotta love it songs of ABBA.

If this is in fact our last time to see the show in Vegas it made for a great memory.

It was indeed our last time to see Mama Mia! in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay.

Danny Gans at Mirage


In all the time we have been going to Vegas this would be our first time seeing Danny Gans (October 25, 1956 – May 1, 2009).

I purchase discount entertainment vouchers and restaurant coupons to use on our trips, and one of the best outlets is the radio shopping show from local Las Vegas radio station, KSHP.

I stream the show via the internet, purchase the vouchers and have the show mail them out to me.

This particular trip the station was running a promo on one of their afternoon shows.  I answered a trivia question correctly and scored two tickets seventh row center section to Danny Gans at the Mirage.

The theatre was full to capacity, the vibe of the room and the audience was high energy and the laugh-o-meter was set to hilarious.

We loved the band and the live music, and Danny Gans’ impression of Johnny Carson and his The Twelve Days of Christmas skit was fantastic.

He performed Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open”, and while his performance was good his band’s performance was great.

I have to admit only a small percentage of the audience seemed to be familiar with Creed, but those that were gave him a standing ovation.


We left the theater thoroughly entertained and ready to put the hurt on the Mirage in the gambling department.

The Mirage was well armed for battle against us giving me the honor of being seven for seven in the “I can’t win a damn thing in this casino” category.

Amazing how the Vegas night air and a volcano eruption can make things all better.

Fab Four Live (presently B- A Tribute to the Beatles)


The Places In The Home gang loves this Beatles tribute show.

We’ve seen this late afternoon show nineteen times based on the following criteria: the price is right, the 5:30 PM showtime is perfect and the entire performance is live.

This is a fun show with lots of audience interaction. The four gentlemen who recreate musical magic bring the voices and songs of The Beatles to life with spot on accuracy, and did I mention the entire performance is live and very well done.

The set list covers the hits of the Beatlemania, the band’s US invasion, Sgt. Pepper (see photos) and the Abbey Road phenomenon.

Howard Arthur’s performance as John Lennon is amazing.


Sheryl Crow, James Blunt and Toots at Planet Hollywood: It Was Just One of Those Vegas Nights 


Toots is a Jamaican performer Sheryl Crow discovered and invited to tour with him.

We had never heard of him so going in we had no opinion one way or another.  Toots and band put on a great opening show incorporating the audience in the fun with sing-a-longs.

The sweet soulful reggae spin he put on John Denver’s classic hit, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” was worth the price of admission.

This sing-a-long finale ended his set on a high note, and the good mood kept concert goers happy as the crews were breaking down his set and getting James Blunt and Company in set up.

More concert goers started to trickle into the theater signaling the people watching part of my brain to get busy taking it all in. People, clothes, conversations, pairings- it all fascinates me.

We humans are an interesting people.

It was hard not to notice the large cameras, cranes, booms and cables being set up in and around the theatre.

I commented to Dave it appeared some type of filming would be taking place during the evening.

We learned the filming was for a feature showcase for A&E’S Private Sessions.

sc-share-newSheryl Crow ~ Feels Like Home Cover.  How’s that for staying on the all things that make a home topic?

I also noticed a couple to my left heavily making out.

A girl in what I guess to be her mid 20’s and her mother are seated to my immediate left, and suffice it to say we are privy to this up close and way too personal floor show.

The mind doesn’t kick in quick enough with the stop looking command when it is stunned.

About the time I am turning away, busted!

Make out man decides to strike up a conversation with me, the mom and her daughter.

He tells us they have been married twenty five years, are empty nesters, and just want to, how did he put it?

He and his lady love just want to “be all over a good time.”

Is that what they call it now?

Believe me, these two were all over something for sure.

Their show within the show picked up steam as the night went on, and by the end of the night it was a free for all with a few added cast members.

They were in ecstasy, if you get my drift.

To put the cherry on top of the cake, about every five minutes this guy would scream out Sheryl (Sh-air-real) in a sort of New York/New Orleans blended accent.

How many times do you think Dave had to hear me mimic this guy’s cry of Crow for the rest of our trip?

All in all an excellent evening that far exceeded my expectations in the very best way.

To date, this is the best time I have ever had at a concert in Vegas.

We entered the venue at 7:10 p.m and walked out at 11:15 p.m rocked and ready for a Vegas Friday night turning into Saturday morning.

More Only in Vegas to come.


images: Biography, Caesars, VTheater, Sheryl Crow, Wikipedia