Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Will Pierre see his Shadeaux?

Note: We've heard that this year's event has been cancelled because it falls on a Sunday. Does that mean winter has been cancelled too?          

    You’ve heard of the groundhog emerging every Feb. 2 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to look for his shadow and proclaim whether or not we will have six more weeks of winter. How about New Iberia, Louisiana?
            Not to be outdone by northern rodents, Pierre C. Shadeaux, the Cajun groundhog, will emerge from wherever he is hiding at 7:30 a.m. Feb. 2 in Bouligny Plaza of New Iberia and gives us a meteorological forecast.
            The fact that Pierre is actually a nutria shouldn’t be reason to not believe if he sees his shadow, winter will continue and if he doesn’t, Mardi Gras should be warm and sunny.
            The Cajun Ground Hog Day celebration this year will include student essay contest winners presented with awards, performances by children’s choirs, proclamations and more. For more information, call (337) 365-6773 or visit http://iberiatravel.com/.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mardi Gras beads grow on trees

            Drive through most South Louisiana towns and look up. You’ll see a plethora of Mardi Gras beads hanging from tree boughs.
            They grow on our trees down here, which is where we get the beads to throw off Mardi Gras floats during Carnival season. You didn’t think we bought them from China, did you?           
            They’re particularly harvested off our massive live oak trees that spread out over the parade routes. We find all kinds, too, and not just those little cheapy beads we want to throw back at float riders. Those grow on shrubbery.
            What? You’re saying the beads get caught in the trees after being thrown off Mardi Gras floats and stay there all year long? I don’t think so.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Take plunge if you dare: Winterfest in Blowing Rock

Polar Plunge in Chetola Lake
            It’s fricking cold out there. I’m sitting here writing this blog with a cup of hot coffee and thick slippers on my feet. But if you’re like many people who embrace winter and all that it entails, check out Winterfest Jan. 23-26 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. (Even the name makes me shiver!)
            The town voted one of America’s Prettiest Winter Towns by Travel and Leisure Magazine (and I can second that accolade) offers a Chilly Chili Cook-Off, WinterFeast, bonfires, WinterPaws Dog Show, Winter Fashion Show, ice carving demonstrations, The King Bees in Concert and so much more. There’s even a Polar Plunge in Chetola Lake, which is just plum insane!
            Here’s some winter trivia for you — North Carolina owns the highest ski areas and the largest snow tubing on the East Coast, plenty of fun winter activities such as Winterfest and the French-Swiss Ski College at Appalachian Ski Mountain. There are several ski options around the Blowing Rock area, surrounded by a range of accommodations, from hotels to rustic cabins.
Chetola Lake in winter
            We’d suggest the quaint Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock with its hiking trails, pond (where insane people plunge into its icy waters), spa, heated indoor pool (for the more reasonable) and fine dining at Timberlake’s Restaurant in the Manor House Estate (named for North Carolina artist Bob Timberlake not Justin). Charming Blowing Rock with its quaint shops and restaurants is within walking distance.
            For more information on Winterfest and its list of fun activities, visit http://www.blowingrockwinterfest.com/. For more information on North Carolina skiing, visit the North Carolina Ski Areas Association at http://goskinc.com.