Saturday, May 26, 2018

Tammany Trace in Mandeville Louisiana

Tammany Trace at Fontainebleau State Park
One of the things we wanted to do while camping at Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, LA was to bike part of the Tammany Trace.  Tammany Trace is a rails to trails conversion that runs around 30 miles from Covington to Slidell.









We had previously biked the Tanglefoot Trail in Mississippi so were familiar with the rails to trails concept.  We didn't bike as much of this trail as we did the Tanglefoot, but I really liked the part of the trail we did use.  The Tammany
Mandeville Farmers Market trailhead
Trace goes through Fontainebleau State Park, so we started there and biked to the Farmer's Market trailhead in Mandeville. 

















Tammany Trace
One of the things I really liked about this section was that it was mostly shaded. I also liked seeing the colorful and eclectic housing in Mandeville that borders the Trace.  I was surprised to see how many bike trails there are in Mandeville.  I would have to say that Mandeville, LA is the most bike-friendly city I have ever visited.  There were trails all thoughout the older residential section that leads to the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.



One of the things I noticed on the section that we rode is the 4-way stops at almost all of the intersections with vehicle traffic.  I felt like this made for a safer ride across city streets.  The other thing was that in sections were there is not a cross street, there are markers painted on the asphalt of the tail to let you know what to tell 911 dispatch if you need help so that they can find you.

Tammany Trace 911 marker


I noticed, once we were on the trail with Sally Mae, that dogs are not supposed to be on the trail.  We made sure that she stayed in her "chariot" and nobody said anything to us about having a dog on the trail.
Tammany Trace


It appears that the Tammany Trace gets plenty of use and biking the part that I did makes me wish we had a bike trail closer to where we live.
Tammany Trace

Tammany Trace

Tammany Trace



Thursday, May 24, 2018

Fontainebleau State Park in Louisiana

Fontainebleau State Park sign
We had the opportunity to camp at Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, Louisiana on May 18 through May 21, 2018.  Fontainebleau State Park is on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.  This was the first time we could get away on a camping trip in 2018.  We had an unusually cold winter in north MS and then it rained and rained and rained.

Louisiana sign


.Living in Mississippi, we are used to high humidity levels, but the humidity we experienced in Louisiana was even more than we are accustomed to.  Once you get your mind wrapped around the fact that you are going to be in a perpetual state of wringing wet, you just get on with whatever you are doing.  One way I guess Louisianans deal with it is to consume "snowballs".  We saw shaved ice aka Snowball shops everywhere.
Snowball shop in Mandeville LA




Fontainebleau State Park has history, walking trails, biking trails, swimming, playgrounds and beautiful live oaks with "Spanish moss".  This state park is a very popular place for day use swimmers.  We also saw the large pavillions being used for parties.
Live oak with spanish moss

Fontainebleau State Park live oak tree

Leaning Tree Mandevile Lakefront Park


 We didn't have time to do everything we wanted to.  We were not able to explore many of the trails nor the nature areas close by; however, we did bike part of the Tammany Trace, visited the Mandeville Farmer's Market, the Mandeville Lakefront, rode across the Lake Pontchartrain Bridge, and picked up fresh shrimp from the Mandeville Seafood Market.


Mandeville Lakefront Park
The Mandeville Lakefront is a large public park right on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.  



Lake Pontchartrain
There is a paved trail throughout the park, large playground area, boat launch, and absolutely beautiful trees with Spanish moss.  Right across the street from the park are fantastic "southern" homes. 


Mandeville Lakefront house

Mandeville lakefront house



Mandeville lakefront house


Fontainebleau State Park
We stayed at campsite #85 in Campground A.  This site is a pull through with  30/50 amp electric and water.  There is a picnic table, grill, fire ring and plenty of room on the living side of the camper.  We were happy with this site but would have liked a little more shade.  I think site #1 would be better for a hot weather visit as it had quite a bit of shade.

Fontainebleau State Park

Fontainebleau State Park

Some of the sites also had sewer hookups.  We were in Campground A, which I thought had more space between the sites than Campground B.

Both my phone (Sprint) and hubby's phone (CSpire) had good service.  Our over-the-air TV picked up quite a few stations from New Orleans.

There were 3 bath houses and 2 had washer/dryers.  One of the bath houses was very old and not air conditioned but the other 2 were clean, well-lit and air conditioned.

This was a nice park to stay in and I would possibly come back to explore more of the area when the temps are cooler.
Mandeville LA lakefront park

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Way Home Back From Fall Creek Falls via Natchez Trace Parkway

On the way back home from our camping trip to Fall Creek Falls State Park, we decided to stray from the interstate and take the Natchez Trace Parkway home. 

Several years ago, we traveled the Natchez Trace Parkway from the north terminus to the south and stopped at campgrounds along the way.  


This trip, we just made a few stops to stretch our legs.  One of our stops was at Meriwether Lewis campground.  While we were there, we saw a caravan of antique cars.




If history interests you, I highly recommend the Natchez Trace Parkway.


Natchez Trace Parkway

Monday, October 2, 2017

Fall Creek Falls State Park Sept 2017 (part 2)

FALL CREEK FALLS
In Fall Creek Falls part 1, I reviewed the campground and gave some general information about the park and directions.  Part 2 will be about some of the things to do at the park.

Fall Creek Falls State Park is known for the falls for which they are named.  Depending on the season you go and the amount of rainfall during the year, the amount of water you see at the falls can be vastly different.  For instance, here is a picture of how the falls looked this year: 
FALL CREEK FALLS WATERFALL
and here is a picture of the falls when we went in 2010:
FALL CREEK FALLS 2010



FALL CREEK FALLS TRAIL
There are miles of hiking trails at Fall Creek Falls.  You can get a trail map at the Nature Center or camper check-in.  We hiked many of them on our trip here in 2010.  Most are quite rocky and can contain some steep sections.  I was glad that I picked this up
at the general store in the campground before we did any hiking.  My knees and ankles don't work quite as good as they used to.







Here are a few pictures of the trail that leads to the bottom of the Fall Creek Falls:
FALL CREEK FALLS TRAIL


FALL CREEK FALLS TRAIL


FALL CREEK FALLS TRAIL


FALL CREEK FALLS TRAIL

FALL CREEK FALLS TRAIL

FALL CREEK FALLS TRAIL



FALL CREEK FALLS TRAIL

In addition to the main Fall Creek Falls trail, there are trails to other waterfalls (both an overlook view and to the bottom) and cascades. 


GEORGE HOLE FALL CREEK FALLS









GEORGE HOLE FALL CREEK FALLS
GEORGE HOLE FALL CREEK FALLS

PINEY CREEK FALLS

CANE CREEK CASCADES
CANE CREEK CASCADES

CANE CREEK CASCADES

Sally Mae wasn't too sure about going across the swinging bridge on one of the trails.


FALL CREEK FALLS SWINGING BRIDGE

There are also miles of paved bike trails.  One morning, we biked the trail that goes from the hotel to the Fall Creek Falls overlook and back.  This is a very
FALL CREEK FALLS BIKE TRAIL
easy trail with just one short piece of steep incline.  Most of the trail follows the bank of the lake.
You can rent boats (jon, paddle, kayaks, canoes) at the boat dock or bring your own.  This is a small lake and no gas motors allowed.  There is also an 18-hole golf course, lots of picnic spots, campgrounds, cabins, and a hotel.

FALL CREEK FALLS HOTELRick and I joked that the hotel facade looked more like a prison or compound on the outside, but it is nice inside with friendly staff and a restaurant.  We ate there the night before we left and it was very popular.  They had a surf and turf buffet but we ordered from the menu.  It was good and a lot of food.

We had a great time at Fall Creek Falls State Park and will probably return for a 4th time.
FALL CREEK FALLS STATE PARK