Sandy and her friend Marjory Kaplan joined Boston Fit Running Club in 2010. Sandy was training for her fifth marathon in Athens Greece and Marjory was training for her first half marathon in Newport Rhode Island. It was at Boston Fit that Sandy met Dana Weigel and Susan Myers and later Gayle Oulighan. After doing many training runs and road races they bonded together supporting one another in their running goals, thus the original Sole Sisters were born and have remained friends ever since. Dana moved to Washington state when her husband Jared accepted a professorship at a university there but she has always kept in touch. The Sole Sisters have grown to include Deb Camara, Donna Quirk and Jennifer Braverman.
Sandy was so excited that Dana and Jared were coming to visit us in NOLA. They have been here many times and love this city so they will be showing us around. They flew in from Seattle on the redeye so they took a quick nap before heading out.
They had never been to the Museum of Free People of Color which we have wanted to visit, so that was the first thing we did as it is only open and has two tours a week. Friday at 1pm and Saturdays at 11. They arrived Friday morning so we headed directly there after their nap.
We were unable to book online so we just went there 30 minutes before the tour and as luck would have it there were spots available. We were also able to explore this House while waiting for the tour to begin.
This tour was one of the highlights of our time here and we can’t spoil the special effects for anyone who may want to do it. Suffice it to say this tour guide was something else.
Our back up plan if the above museum tour was full would be to take a tour of this other Museum House where Degas lived while visiting relatives here.
After our tour we stopped at this Pub for snacks and drinks.
Next stop was the Spotted Cat on Frenchmen St. for musical entertainment that never seems to disappoint as you can see in the video above one patron got really into it or was too drunk to care about his dancing skills.
Our downstairs neighbor, Susan, recommended Irene’s Restaurant and the only reservation that we could get was at the end of our stay with Dana and Jared. We all thoroughly enjoyed this Italian Restaurant in the French Quarter.
They taught us a fun card game to play one night.
Dana reserved a rental car for us to visit some of the National Parks, fortunately we were not given this one which looks like it has a bullet hole in the windshield and a smashed passenger side window, probably from a carjacking.
First stop was Bayou Urban National Wildlife Preserve.
We did not see any alligators but it was a lovely walk.
Still hoping to see wildlife we went to another National Refuge Park in Lacombe.
The Azalea’s were in bloom and were spectacular.
There were beautiful camelia plants in bloom and you could pick a blossom and they would wax it for you.
After the park we had a great lunch in Mandeville .
Guess this waiter is tired of taking pictures for people.☹️
Jared got a classic New Orleans Po Boy Sandwich.
Our next stop was Fontainebleau State Park once the site of a sugar cane plantation and brickyard. This park has a multitude of habitats for birds but it was disappointing as we could hear them but not see them.
The chimneys are all that remain of this Fontainebleau Sugar Plantation and Mansion.
We wandered the grounds hoping to see some birds and alligators.
But mostly saw just swamp flora and lots of Spanish moss.
We went to the Lake Pontchartrain beach in this National Park and enjoyed watching people with kites. The wind was perfect for it.We did see some interesting ducks in the water which Dana identified for us, being an avid bird watcher.
On Sunday we had the experience of joining a Second Line Parade for only a mile as it was way too hot and humid.
It was a very festive walk with lots of jive dancing going on.
Jared is familiar with a friend of the owner of this Brewery in Bywater so we stopped in for a snack and cold brewskis which were outstanding and perfectly refreshed us after the walk in the hot sun.
It was the perfect night to enjoy a candle lit dinner on our patio.
We did a tour of the Old Ursuline Convent which was erected in 1745 and occupied by Ursuline nuns as a convent, orphanage and school for girls. It is now home to a great museum with both permanent and changing exhibits.
This is the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley,
It no longer serves as a parish church and masses are said here only on special occasions.
Of course we had to have beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde in Jackson Square.
Drinks on the patio of the Columns Hotel wrapped up our time here before we all departed. We all flew out of New Orleans on the same day but we left before they did.
Love these airport lounges.
A beautiful Boston sunset greeted us back home.
We only had a mere 10 days in Boston and Newport before leaving for Japan, so apologies to those we did not see but we know who you are and as they say absence makes the heart grow fonder.