Hello friends! Happy belated Halloween:) hoping everyone had a safe and fun time yesterday.
This was Kai’s 3rd Halloween. Since Kai’s first Halloween, we have taken family pictures.This year was the first one where we felt as though Kai has developed and has his own little personality.
He just turned 2 1/2. He’s really big into Power Rangers right now. Surely (hoping) it’s a phase. Praying it’s a short one (less than six months please).
You know what’s funny? We initially bought his red ranger costume from Target, but the store only carried Power Rangers Dino Charger costumes. He’s big into Power Rangers Ninja Steel right now; his favorite character being Brody, the red ranger.
Kai had a zoo field trip instead of doing our traditional “class” on Wednesday mornings. The weather was perfect. While a little chilly, it wasn’t freezing. I didn’t bring Kai’s stroller so he walked the whole way.
My husband, Michael, had work at the office.
After eating dinner, Michael took Kai to visit our parents’ places to show off Kai’s costume while I stayed home and gave out candy!
Overall, we had such a lovely and memorable Halloween and hope you did too!
After our action-packed first day and our first time boondocking at the Cabela’s in Maine, we drove up north to Medway, where we had booked three nights at Katahdin Shadows Campground.
The last ten minutes of the ride, Kai was not having it:( hence the crying toddler pictured above.
What made it worse was that Michael had to check into the campground and get all of our paperwork. So Kai wanted to see Daddy. Poor kid.
I did turn on an episode of Dino Dana on our Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet and that helped a lot! Kai loves watching Dino Dana. That and Curious George are two shows that definitely keep him entertained.
Initially, we had planned this route because Michael and his guy friends were planning on hiking Mt. Katahdin on Saturday. His friends were supposed to drive up on Friday, camp that night and get an early start on the hike on Saturday, camp that night and leave Sunday.
I had found a family-friendly campground. They were having a Halloween-themed weekend, so I could bond with Kai and Stanley while Michael was away.
The week before our trip, his friends all backed out from hiking.
Guess that meant more family time! As you can imagine, Michael was overjoyed to spend HALLOWEEN weekend with us in JULY!
Prior to our stay, we were fortunate enough to get a call back from the campground a few days before we arrived. We were on a waitlist for a 50 amp, pull-thru site with a sewer hookup. We ended up getting it. That was such wonderful news.
I did read a review about the check in area being fairly steep for a big rig to pull into. We had no problems. But it was nice to have a idea beforehand.
The sites were all fairly close together at this campground. The playground is such a wonderful area and since it was Halloween weekend, the campground was fully booked. That meant a lot of kids!
I would definitely recommend this campground to families with young kids with an RV. It gets loud, but it adds to the community and excitement of it all.
It surely isn’t for the older couple look for a nice relaxing and quite environment or the young couple looking for nature hiking and biking; unless you are simply going to Baxter State Park for the day.
The staff and people here were super friendly! There are a lot of seasonal campers here and what’s great is there are also cabin rentals and just regular tent sites. Those are more private and tucked away. So, if you are someone who doesn’t have an RV and enjoy tent camping, this campground offers a very different environment, away from the noise.
That first evening, we decided to get some essentials: food. We asked the staff and they informed us of a local market at the gas station right down the road from the campground. It was called the Big Apple Store. They had the essentials. So, we were very happy.
We decided to take the bikes with us! Before we had Kai, we had Stanley, our cairn terrier. When we got bicycles for us, we also invested in one of these InStep bicycle trailers so that our little pup, Stanley could ride with us:)
Now that we have Kai, he can ride in it while my husband pulls him. It’s so perfect when we have sort of a long distance to go but would rather take our bikes to get there a bit faster.
In this case, we needed to purchase a gallon of milk, drinkable water and some other groceries! And we just didn’t feel like driving because that’s all we had been doing for two whole days.
The bike trailer is able to seat two kids, so it was just enough space to fit Kai and all the groceries we purchased:)
It was definitely a small town festival, but it was nice to participate in a local community event. There was live music, and Kai had fun at the bounce houses!
Stanley gets to rest in the Airstream while we go out:)
That weekend was fun. On Friday evening, we did a hayride with Kai around the campground. He loved being pulled by a large tractor. He loved playing with the kids at the playground!
Then on Saturday morning we brought Kai to an exercise trail about a half an hour south of the campground. It was in Lincoln, ME. We chose that particular trail due to its close proximity to Walmart. We had pre-ordered these truck mirror attachments, because Michael informed me that each state has different laws about having towing mirrors while we towed our trailer. Kai had fun on the trail.
We then went to a park with a playground and a beach at Mattanawcook Lake. Kai wanted to play with the older girls who were swinging, so we brought our lunch there and had a picnic.
That afternoon, we took Kai trick-or-treating on the campground after his nap. Michael and I took turns taking Kai and giving out candy.
On Sunday morning, we just ate pop-tarts, packed up, and were off to our next stop.
Michael and I were very much looking forward to visiting New Orleans, Louisiana and since the beginning of the trip I had been bugging him to visit this city! I had heard lots of fun and exciting things about this city, and I was ready to take it on with my side-kick hand-in-hand.
We booked two nights, 10/30 & 10/31 at Hotel New Orleans Downtown, which was undergoing a $29 million renovation to become Le Meridien. The architects and construction was very much limited to one section so we did not feel bothered at all by this. This hotel was so nicely decorated and had that nice, refreshing hotel scent as soon as you walked into the lobby. Since this hotel only offered valet parking for about $45/night, we opted to park at Harrah’s Hotel & Casino, right across the street for $30/night. This saved us $30 for parking in total for the two nights. We did not want to gamble, but if we signed up for a Total Rewards Card and gambled for 30 minutes, we would have received one free night of parking. We’re not big on gambling anyways, so it was not worth the risk to us.
One of the main reasons we selected this hotel was the fact that it was right in the French Quarter, but it wasn’t too close to the main “party” area in city. It was just close enough to walk to and from, so we were happy with the location.
Cafe Du Monde
Cafe Du Monde
Cafe Du Monde
Cafe Du Monde
Cafe Du Monde
The first afternoon we checked in, we decided to walk down the Riverwalk all the way down the Mississippi River to Jackson Square to do a cache and also grab some famous beignets at Cafe du Monde. Along our stroll we saw so many painters, musicians, artists, performers, and homeless people wandering the streets. New Orleans has a very European atmosphere to it, and the buildings have such lovely balconies and architecture. Because it was the day before Halloween, it seemed as though everyone was gearing up for the occasion. It was neat to explore Jackson Square and stumble upon Pirates Alley where we did our cache. We were also instantly able to find a magnet with an over abundance of gift shops in this area, all along Decatur Street. We also got a chance to walk along Bourbon Street to be in the thick of things.
We stayed around the area until the Krewe of Boo Halloween Parade, which started at 6:30pm, securing a standing spot along the street across from the H&M. Crowds gathered in the area so we knew this was going to be a fun one. There were so many different people, groups, dancers, musicians, performers, speakers, trucks, tractors, and floats that went by. Some were throwing out freebies and we got some samples of some New Orleans Chewy Pralines from Aunt Sally’s, some ground coffee from PJ’s, a few different beads, plastic cups, a magnifying glass, assorted candies, and snacks.
For dinner, I was anticipating, craving and hoping there would be some spicy, cajun, and creole crawfish. Unfortunately, we soon realized they were not in season. They are, however, available in the wintertime, through February. I did manage to find some places with some crawfish in a few dishes. We decided to check out Huck Finn’s Cafe on Decatur Street for some southern grub. I ordered the Taste of New Orleans (Crawfish Etouffee, Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice) and Michael got the Shrimp BBQ Po-Boy. Our entrees were both delicious and very flavorful!
It was Halloween the next morning, and we kicked off the day with a trip to the fitness center, which was on the fourth floor of the hotel. We had to walk passed the outdoor pool to get to the area. It was a nice gym filled with all sorts of weight and cardio equipment, so we took advantage of everything there, and we sure are still feeling the pain of our workout now. It was about 1pm when we got ready to go out for some brunch, and we actually decided on some sushi because we hadn’t had it since Michael’s parents took us out before we left. It was so yummy and definitely hit the spot.
We made our way to the French Market, which is home to many vendors. There were a decent amount of people shopping around and there was so much going on. I made Michael get me a “faux” diamond ring, since mine was getting rhodium-dipped in preparation for the wedding, and we figured since we were in the French Market, we might as well go with the with the theme:) I also had their version of a snow cone, which was some of the best shaved ice ever!
Because NOLA is known for its beignets, we knew that we could not just limit our tasting to the really popular one in town. So…we made our way to two more cafes famed for these scrumptious donuts. Our first stop was New Orleans Famous Beignets and Coffee, where there were barely any people=no crowds whatsoever! We were a bit hesitant, but we were going for it! As soon as the order came out we knew we were in for a treat. These beignets were a lot thinner than the ones we had at Cafe du Monde. They were piping hot, and oh sooo flaky! These really reminded both of us of a pastry sheet. There was just enough powdered sugar on these mamas, and they were so delicious that we were really happy to get to try these. The coffee on the other hand was blah. Price: $3 for 3 beignets
Next on the list was Cafe Beignet. I mean it has Beignet in its name! We were surprised to see this place had the widest assortment of food and beverages compared to the other two, which was so not reflective and indicative in its name. Michael placed the order at the counter, and we had a seat. These beignets were the most expensive at just over $4 for 3. They also definitely seemed to take the longest to prepare. When they came out, the gentleman had three other plates of food for other guests, and he had them stacked right on top of our order…so it left some imprints on the powdered sugar. These resembled the ones we tried at the first place, because they were much thicker than the ones at New Orleans Famous. Michael and I agreed that these were actually way better than the first place as well!
So who took the lead in this challenge? Well, I know Michael was really a big fan of New Orleans Famous Beignets and Coffee, as was I. But, I was really torn on whether or not I enjoyed the larger ones at Cafe Beignet. Because there is so much hype with Cafe du Monde’s beignets, we were both really surprised these were the most difficult to eat and chew. These were really dense, and more consolidated/doughy compared to the other two. The thinner ones at Famous were really flavorful but overly oily. Yes, we really enjoyed the Famous ones, but I would vote Cafe Beignet as a close second.
New Orleans Famous Beignets & Coffee
New Orleans Famous Beignets & Coffee
New Orleans Famous Beignets & Coffee
After the beignets, we decided to head back to the hotel to freshen up for the parade and dinner. That evening, we were really not impressed with the parade. It was much shorter and the participants of this parade did not seem too enthusiastic about it, even though everyone was dressed up.
One huge revelation occurred when we were eating dinner on Halloween evening at New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co. was that mayonnaise typically does not need to be refrigerated!!! WHAAAT?? My first thought was “EW!” I saw the squeezable mayo bottle (pictured below) with a strong focus on “NO REFRIGERATION NEEDED”. I was aware that if the bottle was newly opened, it does not need to get refrigerated, but once the seal gets opened, I assumed it was necessary. I guess not. Well that was news to me. Apparently Michael had known this all along, but failed to mention that to me. I wanted to confirm this notion, and sure enough…it’s true! Even after knowing this, I will still most likely keep it in the fridge…it just creeps me out for some reason.
Overall, The Big Easy really had a lot to offer, and the best part of it all were its beignets: I mean how can you go wrong with fried dough sprinkled generously with powdered sugar?