Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Little Indiana

One of our favorite things to do is take day trips to small towns in Indiana. So imagine our delight when we stumbled across the blog Little Indiana, an awesome blog about fun and interesting places to visit across Indiana.

So to all those who say there's only corn in Indiana....well, just check out Little Indiana and let us know what you think!

Happy adventuring!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Home Again

We're glad to be home, but are missing our adventures! At least we have Michigan this summer!   And we'll be sure to keep our eyes open for local adventures too. Remember to dream big, and take the time to enjoy life!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Red Hot and Blue Memphis Music Scene

Today we headed out for a day of Memphis music. Our first stop? The Gibson guitar factory. Since it was Saturday the workers weren't in, but it was still cool to see the process of putting the guitars together. Lots of work! One guitar takes 3 weeks! Unfortunately they don't allow photos, so the only one we have is this one of our tickets.

We then quickly stopped by the historic Peabody Hotel to see the famous ducks. The Peabody ducks march in every day at 11am to hang out in the fountain, and march out at 5pm led by a duckmaster. To get the full story check out this link. We didn't get to see them march, but we got to see them hanging out. Very cool!

After our duck encounter, we headed to the famous Sun Studio, where now-famous artists like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison recorded in the 1950s. Sun Studio still gets action to this day from artists like U2, John Mellencamp, and Ringo Starr. Chunk even got a picture with the microphone that these great acts have used!


We then hopped the free trolley to Graceland . Important tip: Park at Sun Studio for free and their free trolley will drive you around to all the good spots. Just be sure to take the studio tour first! 

We were expecting something gaudy, but Graceland was a very understated home. For those who don't know, Graceland was Elvis's home in Memphis. We upgraded to the platinum package, and got to not only tour the house, but we got to see his cars, clothes, and the Lisa Marie plane. 


Below you can see some of the rooms of his house, including the living room, dining room, jungle room, pool room, and kitchen. The second floor is off limits to tourists out of respect to Elvis.

Out back is the meditation garden he used to use, but it now serves as a resting place for Elvis, his parents, and his grandmother.  

Did you know that Elvis bought Graceland at 22? And that he was a huge philanthropist? Learn something new every day!

So that was our second day here. Tomorrow we head home. Originally we had planned to go to St. Louis, but we'll have to save that for a trip out West!

Friday, May 27, 2011

From Mississippi to Tennessee

We left Natchez this morning and set off for Senatobia, MS. KJ's great aunt is buried there, along with a lot of other Latvians. It was quite nice to be able to visit. Bethesda Cemetery in Senatobia has a large number of Latvians interred, and actually makes note of it. 

The Latvian corner has a nice stone describing the lives of the Latvians that came to Mississippi. And the main description of the cemetery also makes note of the Latvians there. It's a very peaceful cemetery, and should be visited if you're ever in the area. 

Only 45 minutes away, we were excited to get to Memphis. Tons of Memorial Day traffic led to a bit of frustration, but we made it in one piece! Our hotel is a bit far from major attractions (15/20min), but we'll survive. At least it's quiet! Haha.

We had dinner at Blues City Cafe on Beale Street. And while it's been nationally acclaimed on Travel Channel and magazines, we found the food to be just okay. We then headed down Beale Street that had been overrun by their annual Zombie Walk. All ages were participating, and it was quite a spectacle. 

We were expecting a old school Beale Street- record stores, blues clubs, restaurants. However, we found a forced cross between Bourbon Street and Wrigleyville in Chicago. We liked the bands playing and the people enjoying a beer having a listen. And we even enjoyed the parents that split a bucket of booze between 6 of them. 

Everything else was a bit obnoxious and fake. You can drink in the street (as in NOLA), but you can only go three blocks on Beale Street with it, and your ID gets checked and bag gets searched at the police gates.

If it sounds like we're complaining, well, maybe we are. But we expected a bit more from the "Home of the Blues". Perhaps tomorrow will show us another side of Memphis? We're hitting Sun Studio, the Gibson factory, and Graceland. Wish us luck!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Heatin' Up

We were sad to leave balmy New Orleans today, but excited to check out Avery Island- home of Tabasco Sauce! It's also home to a bird refuge, mainly snowy egrets, and "jungle" gardens.

We got a quick walk through the process of making Tabasco, watched a video, and then saw them bottling it. Interesting fact: They use old barrels from distilleries such as Jack Daniels (see how we connect things?), and age the Tabasco 3 years. Neat!

We tried some Jalepeno ice cream and a Sweet and Spicy ice cream...both were interesting....

Afterwards we drove through the "jungle" gardens and checked out what they call bird city. Really neat and pretty. We even saw gators! However, on the way to the Buddah temple we were viciously attacked by all sorts of bugs. Guess we'll be prepared for summer up north! And have we mentioned how hot it is? It was 95 today! Whoo!

Now we're in Natchez for the night before heading to Memphis. And after waiting for 40 minutes for a carry out pizza at Pizza Hut we are tired. No joke, there were consistently 12 groups of people waiting for their orders, and half the employees were either flirting or walking around pretending nothing was wrong. We've written a note to Pizza Hut, and hey, maybe they'll learn something and we might even get some free pizza! 

Voodoo and Po'Boys

Today we took our time exploring New Orleans, and went to St. Louis Cemetery #1 where Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau  is buried. Legend has it that if you knock on her tomb, ask her for something, and leave her an offering, your wish will be granted. 

Of course there are other versions of this (marking it with three X's), but it's truly interesting to see all of this history. There are also those who know nothing about her, as was proven by a mom telling her teenage daughters that she was a porn star. Good job lady. 

Afterwards we walked by Brad and Angie's house again, and are 80% sure we saw Angelina Jolie. We were down the street a bit, but this woman was saying goodbye to someone at the house (not Brad), as she got into an SUV that had come out of their garage. She had a hat and sunglasses on, but her voice sounded like Angelina's....so, we'll just say that we saw her!

We had lunch at the Green Goddess (delicious!), and dinner at the Acme Oyster House (also delicious!). At lunch we made a dog friend named Pickles, and her owner had a basket for her on his bike. The picture of them doesn't give Pickles justice! You can barely see her! No oysters at dinner as we feared we wouldn't like them. Next time though!

Pickles and her owner (you can kind of see her)
Also, next time we plan on taking an entire city tour since most of our trip revolved around the French Quarter. 

Tomorrow we're off to Avery Island and the Tabasco Plant, and then overnighting it in Natchez, MS. The hotel says they aren't flooded, so wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Big Easy

Greetings from New Orleans! We arrived Monday and headed straight out to Bourbon Street for some dinner and drinks. We took the trolley from our hotel, Prytania Park Hotel, (in the Garden District), and it was a lot closer than we thought! 

We had dinner at Coop's and enjoyed duck quesadillas, rabbit and sausage jambalaya, and creole green beans. We also hit up Pat O'Brian's for a Hurricane (strong!), Tropical Isle for a hand grenade (sweet! we also got a shark attack!), and the Absinthe House for absinthe frappes (interesting). The nightlife on Bourbon Street is intense- and it was a Monday! Lights, bars, strip clubs, restaurants, and all sorts of people. Older couples, grandparents, young kids- it seemed like everyone was there.


Today we took it a bit easier and headed back to the French Quarter, did some shopping and eating before our ghost tour. Pretty interesting, and we even saw Nicholas Cage's old house that has a horrible past involving torture and murder in the 1800's by a woman named Delphine LaLaurie (ex. a hole was drilled into a man's head and a stick was put in and his brain was stirred). Disturbing. 

The LaLaurie House
We also got to stop at LaFitte's Balcksmith Shop (we went back later too), which has a ton of ghosts supposedly and the piano player said that he sees them all the time. Side note: LaFitte's claims that it's the oldest bar in the US, but it's not. That would be The Bell and Hand in Boston (where we visited last year!), but unlike The Bell and Hand, LaFitte's did not close during prohibition.

Jackson square is also very cool. Right in front of St. Louis Cathedral. At night groups of feral cats go there to relax and sleep (probably to get away from humans, since it's closed to people at night). And when we say groups we mean it....we saw at least 8, but people have reported seeing upwards of 20.

St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square

We also swung by Brand and Angelina's house (not too shabby!), and took stalker photos (see below).  Afterwards we had beignets (ben-yays) at Cafe du Monde, and Chunk had a Pimm's Cup at Napolean Cafe. Overall a great second day!

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's house


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