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Welcome to the Big Easy! New Orleans is a wonderful blend of southern hospitality, Anglo-French culture, incredible cuisine, and a lively music scene. Transfers from Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport take you to your city center hotel. Explore the heart of the city on your own or relax at your hotel before joining your Travel Director and new friends for a Welcome Dinner.(Dinner with Wine)
Delve deep into the heart of New Orleans on a sightseeing tour with a Local Expert. Discover the main landmarks, fascinating history and hidden treasures of this remarkably diverse city, from the treelined streets and plantation-style mansions of the Garden District to the musical Tremé neighborhood and well-preserved French Quarter. An immersive eco excursion shows you the rich tapestry of land, people and culture that thrives on the river. Discover the importance of the Mississippi River and the role it has played in the city’s economic and cultural legacy. Drop by a James Beard award-winning restaurant for lip-smacking snacks that will tempt you into a return visit. You have a free evening so you can dive into the foodie scene at your leisure.(Breakfast / Lunch)
A vestige of the Catholic influence of the early French and Spanish colonists, Louisiana is divided into 64 parishes in the way that many other states are divided into counties. Today you’ll depart the Parish of Orleans for the Parish of Lafayette. As you say good-bye to New Orleans, take in views of Lake Pontchartrain and the vast Mississippi River. Your scenic drive takes you to the one and only Tabasco Factory on Avery Island, where you’ll get to know the history and production of the famous condiment. If you’re a fan of spicy Cajun dishes, why not dive into the classic Southern comfort food served at their restaurant? After lunch on your own, your explorations continue, with a visit to Jefferson Island for a glimpse into the life of 19th century American actor Joseph Jefferson, who famously portrayed Rip Van Winkle on stage and in silent film. Tour his Victorian-style mansion and surrounding Rip Van Winkle gardens, including a 550-year-old oak tree that President Grover Cleveland once slept under. Afterwards, arrive in Lafayette and visit the Acadian Cultural Center. Your Local Expert, a park ranger from the National Park Service, will guide you through the fascinating history, culture, plight and prosperity of the Acadian people. This evening, enjoy a delicious dinner with traditional local food and music.(Breakfast / Dinner)
Today you’ll dive into two important building blocks of local culture – music and seafood. Start the day with a visit to the Acadian Cultural Center. Your Local Expert, a park ranger from the National Park Service, will guide you through the fascinating history, culture, plight and prosperity of the Acadian people. Visit Martin Accordions, where you’ll learn about the history and craftsmanship behind the instrument and its influence in Cajun and zydeco music. A private music performance will get your toes tapping. Your musical morning transcends into a special seafood experience with a visit to a crawfish farm. Join a Local Expert on a boat to experience firsthand how these crustaceans are caught. You’ll know why Louisiana is called the Crawfish Capital of the World when you lunch on a traditional Cajun crawfish boil here. Return to your hotel and explore the city on your own, with an evening at leisure.(Breakfast / Lunch)
After a hearty breakfast, depart Lafayette for an excursion into the vast, beautiful wetlands of the Atchafalaya Basin, composed of marshes and swamps. You’ll venture out on a swamp tour to explore a diverse ecosystem of moss-draped cypress trees, birds and perhaps even an alligator! After your swamp adventure, we’ll be callin’ Baton Rouge in the afternoon. Here in the state capital, enjoy lunch on your own and visit Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, a National Historic Landmark overlooking the Mississippi River in downtown. Learn about the state’s rich history and the impact people can have on the democracy. Your afternoon will bring you to your idyllic hotel, The Inn at Houmas. An ancient oak alley leads you to this beautiful estate, where quaint cottages lie in lush gardens bounded by the mighty Mississippi. The rest of your evening is at leisure.(Breakfast)
Embark on a trip back in time during your tour of Houmas House Plantation and Gardens. Alongside your Local Expert, gain insights into what life on a sugarcane plantation may have been like. After your tour, you have time to explore. Take a stroll down one of the many garden paths, visit the new Steamboat museum or check out their rarest artifact, a pre-Civil War submarine. Tonight, dine in casual elegance within the historic mansion itself during your Celebration Dinner. Toast to a wonderful journey with newfound friends as you taste traditional Louisiana cuisine and sip on delicious wine as the sun dips below the tremendous Mississippi.(Breakfast / Dinner with Wine)
It’s time to say ‘au revoir’ to this special part of America. After breakfast, airport transfers depart for Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport.(Breakfast)
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