Summer 2020 Road Trip - Plan E...The One Where We Wore Masks and Distanced

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
July 23rd Continued-

The vibe inside the original Deanie's is quite different from the one in the quarter. It reminds me more of old seafood restaurants along the water we sometimes went to while growing up with a mix of New Orleans instead of preserved fish on the walls.


We got our paper menu, which has definitely been scaled back from the full menu.


There was still plenty on the menu of interest and while it gave our server a good laugh...yes...they had the potatoes!


I also made sure to ask for some Crystal. Lots of people have a favorite hot sauce. I didn't have one until my first trip to NOLA. We were eating lunch in the quarter and a bottle was on the table. So, I decided to try them on my fries. I was hooked and it's been my favorite every since. I put it on a lot of stuff (including those spicy potatoes), but I also keep a bottle handy at home.


I started out with a cup of crawfish bisque. I forgot that they would have made this like gumbo and started with a roux vs. a New England style that's cream based. It was the last night of vacation, so I went for it.


My tummy wasn't happy overnight, but oh...it was worth it! The only thing I didn't fully eat, but did have a small taste to figure out what they were...were the seafood stuffed crawfish shells that were in it. I wound up giving them to Kendall who loved them. Kendall and David got gumbo...I think it was the chicken and sausage variety (they have multiple). I didn't photograph it because it looks so similar.

Kendall had the hardest time picking, but she went with the stuffed fried shrimp.


David and I both had crab au gratin...and he took my bread. This stuff is heavenly and it's loaded with huge chunks of crab meat.


Sam got stuffed crab.


She didn't like it at first, but then we pushed her to add some lemon and some hot sauce, and maybe even consider dipping it in some tartar sauce or remoulade. Yeah, now we like it! Even getting messy with it!


They have excellent desserts and we looked at them on the way out, but we were full. Not nearly as convenient as walking to the FQ location, but it was worth the drive...which was less than 15 minutes. So, I really can't complain about it. I'm just happy we got more of our traditional New Orleans food.

On an unrelated note, the kids had some interest in seeing one of the famed local cemeteries, but many tours weren't running and having done one that included one in the past, I was mixed on the value of such tours. That being said, we passed a couple of interesting looking ones on this drive and the kids were floored to learn about above ground crypt style burials.

We got back to the hotel pretty early on and decided to explore. This first one was taken in between the hotel and the garage...hotel on the left and parking garage on the right. Pretty convenient.


We found some of the famous NOLA blue dogs prints as we started to explore.




This was looking up into an atrium section.


We headed to some of the conference and banquet facility areas.





 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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July 23rd cont-


I never made it back into the lobby for pictures, but I realized that I took one at check in. This doesn't really capture it, but it gives you an idea. It was quite pretty.


We also found that area we could see from our elevator bank back when Sam and I had come back to the hotel (the floral looking thing that may be some kind of fountain), but the doors were locked. It kind of looked like a zen relaxation garden out there. Much of the hotel was locked down, so no pictures outside with whatever it was.

Back up in the room, I snapped a couple of street car pics. It really did add to the vibe of this hotel. I was concerned it would feel to modern and not have enough classic New Orleans, but it was great.



We talked about breakfast for the next day. This place was a really easy walk from the hotel and gets great reviews. We decided to play it by ear, but in the meantime, I was getting a good laugh over how their menu doesn't adapt well for phone viewing...because I know what's NOT for breakfast!


We did the bulk of our preliminary packing, told Kendall she couldn't bring home the robe and slippers in the room, and tried to get some sleep. I was hoping my sleep mix would help because I was exhausted and I wasn't sure if I could take another night of snoring.


________________________________________________________________________________

July 24th-

We opted to skip breakfast. We didn't know how much rain we'd encounter from the tropical storm, so we didn't want to risk missing pick up for the dog. It's probably an omen we also opted to nix booking an air boat tour. David headed out to get my vehicle, and I checked out. I almost forgot to photograph the cool fish in the lobby...but I took care of that while checking out.


Then it was just us waiting outside for David. With all of the one way streets, making it back to us wasn't quite as convenient as the location of the garage itself.


Then it was time to hit the road. I do have to say that it much easier to get to the highway from this point. Driving around in the FQ is not fun, so another perk of staying in the CBD. We stopped at a light next to the Superdome before getting onto I-10 towards Baton Rouge.


We hit a TON of heavy rain and strong storms between NOLA and Baton Rouge. I'm thankful I stopped for gas right before we drove into it. After that, it was smooth sailing...well minus my vehicle A/C. Some of you know that my new vehicle has had A/C problems. Somewhere around Lafayette, LA, my front vents stopped blowing. This had never happened before. I also had a sensor for another system act up. I am thinking I drove into something that caused a temporary blockage. I turned it off for a bit and opened the windows. We felt the faint hint of cool air after a while and the sensor error went away. We turned everything back on and it was fine. Since we've been back, it's started acting up again like it had before the trip, so it may have to go in to the dealer again UGH!

We finally made it to the TX state line!



Even with the weather at the start, we made decent time and had plenty of time to pick up the dog. And then the unpacking and laundry started! FUN

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Wrap Up...

I'm in a strange mental place after this trip. First off...it's been 2 weeks since we got back and we're all still healthy. So, that's good. Obviously, not all was as I hoped it would be, but no trip goes 100% as planned. Part of me would like to give GSMNP another chance, because I can tell that it can be great and that renting a cabin and buying food to cook may be the answer, but I think we've got more parks to see before we double back on that one. Aside from NOLA, which will always be a favorite and may be a long weekend destination in December, I think the rest may be left at "Been there, seen that." I did post reviews about the issues at that Comfort Inn in Hot Springs as well as the restaurant in Pigeon Forge. I also reached out to the home office of said restaurant chain because based on what I read on the state's website, they were in violation of statewide orders and not operating safely. I know these are tough times and companies are trying to keep from going out of business, but the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. So I said something. I think it was the hostess and her tone and ignorance that stuck with me and pushed me to it. I hadn't previously shared the picture (at least I don't think I did), but in case you're curious...

I never took a pic of the outside area they refused to use, nor did I photograph the family initially directly next to us that was "getting ready to leave soon" ya know, so we can feel distanced...basic gist of the hostess. But you get the idea. I know some people would say that we shouldn't be traveling if this makes us uncomfortable, but I'd argue that what made us comfortable traveling was the notion that places would be following state orders.

I feel like we need another vacation. Maybe it's the pandemic? Maybe it's because this was short compared to our last couple of summer trips? Maybe it's because I was sick for our ski trip...and the rest of the month (still wonder if it was Covid)? Maybe it's that the runDisney trip was more stress than fun (took some time to come to this conclusion)? All I know is that we probably won't get to travel again until the holidays, and that will probably will just be long weekend. The next real trip should be Disney in February...unless that falls through again and we go back to our preCovid 2021 February plan and go to DC (or something else). I'm also plotting for next summer. I have this big northwest trip mapped out that involves Glacier NP, Olympic NP and maybe even Canada (Banff and Vancouver) if the borders are open. I just feel a bit guilty about it since David has a milestone bday next year and every time I talk about Alaska for my milestone (a couple years later), he brings up Hawaii. His bday present could be family scuba lessons at the place down the road so we can dive in Hawaii over the summer. I'm not a beach person, but I love the water. In fact, my only hangup with his Hawaii wishes is Kauai. He did a helicopter tour there as a kid and wants to go again. That kind of terrifies me! We'll also have to see what things are like for HI next summer as they've been pretty strict.

Well, that's it! Thanks for following along! Hope everyone is well :) Stay safe and stay sane!
 

epcotisbest

Well-Known Member
July 23rd Continued-

The vibe inside the original Deanie's is quite different from the one in the quarter. It reminds me more of old seafood restaurants along the water we sometimes went to while growing up with a mix of New Orleans instead of preserved fish on the walls.


We got our paper menu, which has definitely been scaled back from the full menu.


There was still plenty on the menu of interest and while it gave our server a good laugh...yes...they had the potatoes!


I also made sure to ask for some Crystal. Lots of people have a favorite hot sauce. I didn't have one until my first trip to NOLA. We were eating lunch in the quarter and a bottle was on the table. So, I decided to try them on my fries. I was hooked and it's been my favorite every since. I put it on a lot of stuff (including those spicy potatoes), but I also keep a bottle handy at home.


I started out with a cup of crawfish bisque. I forgot that they would have made this like gumbo and started with a roux vs. a New England style that's cream based. It was the last night of vacation, so I went for it.


My tummy wasn't happy overnight, but oh...it was worth it! The only thing I didn't fully eat, but did have a small taste to figure out what they were...were the seafood stuffed crawfish shells that were in it. I wound up giving them to Kendall who loved them. Kendall and David got gumbo...I think it was the chicken and sausage variety (they have multiple). I didn't photograph it because it looks so similar.

Kendall had the hardest time picking, but she went with the stuffed fried shrimp.


David and I both had crab au gratin...and he took my bread. This stuff is heavenly and it's loaded with huge chunks of crab meat.


Sam got stuffed crab.


She didn't like it at first, but then we pushed her to add some lemon and some hot sauce, and maybe even consider dipping it in some tartar sauce or remoulade. Yeah, now we like it! Even getting messy with it!


They have excellent desserts and we looked at them on the way out, but we were full. Not nearly as convenient as walking to the FQ location, but it was worth the drive...which was less than 15 minutes. So, I really can't complain about it. I'm just happy we got more of our traditional New Orleans food.

On an unrelated note, the kids had some interest in seeing one of the famed local cemeteries, but many tours weren't running and having done one that included one in the past, I was mixed on the value of such tours. That being said, we passed a couple of interesting looking ones on this drive and the kids were floored to learn about above ground crypt style burials.

We got back to the hotel pretty early on and decided to explore. This first one was taken in between the hotel and the garage...hotel on the left and parking garage on the right. Pretty convenient.


We found some of the famous NOLA blue dogs prints as we started to explore.




This was looking up into an atrium section.


We headed to some of the conference and banquet facility areas.






I love Blue Dog. Been a Rodrigue fan for many years.
Hanging in our house:

bluedog.jpg
 
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epcotisbest

Well-Known Member
Part of me would like to give GSMNP another chance, because I can tell that it can be great and that renting a cabin and buying food to cook may be the answer

There is so very much there you missed, and lots of good things down our way you drove right past too. In Gatlinburg we almost always take a picnic to the Chimneys picnic area. There are tons of waterfalls and hiking trails I can recommend if you ever get back.
I find Cades Cove mostly boring but there are lots of other places not so, such as Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
As for Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, it is mostly miles of tourist trap, t-shirt shops and outlet malls, but there are some interesting places if you have the time to seek them out. And with more time, you will most certainly see lions and tigers and bears. OK, bears and elk, deer etc...So much to see, so little time. Down our way are so nice Georgia State Parks including Tallulah Gorge State Park with a great hike along and into a 1000 feet deep gorge. Lots of other stuff to see and do as well. And, Clingman's Dome without the clouds is pretty spectacular.
I do hope you give it another chance when you can spend more time out this way. And there are some good restaurants too. Things are just weird right now. Here is a waterfall in Cherokee that is one of our favorites...but it is not well known and you have to seek it out as it is not on the main road.

waterfalls7.jpg
 
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epcotisbest

Well-Known Member
A quick note about George Rodrigue, we met him and his lovely wife Wendy several years before he died, at a book signing (I've got all the books, a couple of them signed) and painting demo. I tried to buy the painting of Blue Dog he was doing during the lecture, but it was already sold before he started painting, and would need finishing up in the studio anyway.
They were both quite interesting and very good presenters, seemingly very engaging and happy to be there and happy to answer questions. It was a fun, memorable evening.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
There is so very much there you missed, and lots of good things down our way you drove right past too. In Gatlinburg we almost always take a picnic to the Chimneys picnic area. There are tons of waterfalls and hiking trails I can recommend if you ever get back.
I find Cades Cove mostly boring but there are lots of other places not so, such as Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
As for Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, it is mostly miles of tourist trap, t-shirt shops and outlet malls, but there are some interesting places if you have the time to seek them out. And with more time, you will most certainly see lions and tigers and bears. OK, bears and elk, deer etc...So much to see, so little time. Down our way are so nice Georgia State Parks including Tallulah Gorge State Park with a great hike along and into a 1000 feet deep gorge. Lots of other stuff to see and do as well. And, Clingman's Dome without the clouds is pretty spectacular.
I do hope you give it another chance when you can spend more time out this way. And there are some good restaurants too. Things are just weird right now. Here is a waterfall in Cherokee that is one of our favorites...but it is not well known and you have to seek it out as it is not on the main road.

View attachment 489384
A quick note about George Rodrigue, we met him and his lovely wife Wendy several years before he died, at a book signing (I've got all the books, a couple of them signed) and painting demo. I tried to buy the painting of Blue Dog he was doing during the lecture, but it was already sold before he started painting, and would need finishing up in the studio anyway.
They were both quite interesting and very good presenters, seemingly very engaging and happy to be there and happy to answer questions. It was a fun, memorable evening.

There's no doubt that we missed a lot. A longer trip at a different time would have probably been better, but sometimes you just get out and do what you can. The waterfall is beautiful. Our national parks book has a checklist for each park and I know there was a waterfall on there. Not sure if this is the one, but the length of the hike and the time we had didn't allow for it. My lack of food that first day also created issues, but maybe some other time we'll get back.

That's awesome that you got to meet them. Not a clue about the pricing, but his website appears to have some works up for sale. https://georgerodrigue.com/art/paintings/ I read that the dog is based on a Cajun legend called Loup-garou, but the kids like it because they think they look like blue corgis. I remember them doing a local exhibit here for a while, but looking at the dates, I think we probably passed because the kids were of ages where they wouldn't appreciate it.
 

epcotisbest

Well-Known Member
There's no doubt that we missed a lot. A longer trip at a different time would have probably been better, but sometimes you just get out and do what you can. The waterfall is beautiful. Our national parks book has a checklist for each park and I know there was a waterfall on there. Not sure if this is the one, but the length of the hike and the time we had didn't allow for it. My lack of food that first day also created issues, but maybe some other time we'll get back.

That's awesome that you got to meet them. Not a clue about the pricing, but his website appears to have some works up for sale. https://georgerodrigue.com/art/paintings/ I read that the dog is based on a Cajun legend called Loup-garou, but the kids like it because they think they look like blue corgis. I remember them doing a local exhibit here for a while, but looking at the dates, I think we probably passed because the kids were of ages where they wouldn't appreciate it.

 
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