A little trip to Natchitoches Louisiana
Mr. GDC and I recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. With COVID still active we chose to celebrate simply. We traveled to our cousin's home in Louisiana. Along the trip we stopped in the town of Natchitoches, it had long been a place of fantasy for me. As a small girl our family often traveled during the holiday season to visit our Louisiana family. Leaving Fort Worth after my Dad arrived home from work, we drove through Natchitoches at night. Each November through December Natchitoches transforms into a fantasy of childlike wonder with an unbelievable number of lights. Those distant memories called to me, I'd always wanted to see Natchitoches in the daylight -
We made a reservation at one of many gorgeous bed and breakfast Violet Hill , a stunning Victorian, nestled upon the banks of the Cane River and dressed in a pale shale of violet. Pointedly we arrived as darkness fell. We took our coffee upon the deck looking through the darkness at the Cane River, the frogs were singing, lightening bugs danced above the lawn it was magical.
The only guests of Violet Hill that evening we could wander around and take in the beauty of the home, decorated in a graceful Southern style. The next morning we took our coffee upon the bank of the river, the mist rose off the water while white cranes fished in the water. It was truly beautiful.
Ms. Laverne arrived to prepare the most amazing breakfast for us; Blueberry Muffin Bread Pudding, Sausage Crustless Quich, Au Gratin Mashed Potatoes, toasted English Muffins and fresh sliced tomato. I think we gained 5 lbs at breakfast! Ms. Laverne was as charming as her home. After breakfast we departed to wander about Natchitoches.
We learned historical details of Natchitoches, the oldest town in Louisiana, founded in 1714 by French Canadian explorer Louis Juchereau de St. Denis. Beginning as a trade post along the Red River, creating commerce with then Spanish ruled Mexico. After the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the post enjoyed an influx of French, English and Scotch-Irish immigrants who founded the town. Becoming a freight hub where cotton would be brought in by wagon then transferred to boats, floating down river eventually making a connection to the Mississippi and onward to the port of New Orleans. Eventually the Red River change direction cutting off Natchitoches, leaving what is now Cane River Lake. The small town became mostly agricultural. It wasn't until the 1970's when city planners began to build tourism based upon it's rich history that the small town began to grow.
We made our way downtown for a little shopping. We discovered a terrific kitchen store, Cane River Kitchenware, they have all sorts of gadgets to make any cook yearn for more drawer space! We also purchased some of their Almond Amaretto specialty coffee, its rich flavor has made it one of my favorites. The store not only has amazing finds they offer cooking courses. If you can't make it to Natchitoches, they ship anywhere, you can visit their website here.
While enjoying Downtown we found a fountain surrounded by a small garden and sitting area at a street intersection. We took a few moments to admire the bronze fountain featuring cranes -
Nearby we found the Beau Jardin garden with stairs that lead to the Cane River. Framing the stair a created water fall follows you down the stairs from the street height to the riverside below. The gentle bubbling sounds was intriguing, the sunshine danced upon the water, caladiums were tucked in crevices among the rocks.
Hugging the opposite of the stairs are gardens filled with begonias, caladiums and coleus under a canopy of crepe myrtles. The bright green, red and white color combination punctuated the soft shaded areas with brilliant color.
At the bottom of the stairs were walking paths, additional gardens and stunning Southern Oak trees with their outreaching branches creating canopies at least 50'. We were told the trees were likely 500 years old based upon their size.