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    Hitting 44 of the 50 United States!

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Walking around the French Quarter in New Orleans, Morgan was drawn to his sign- Pick a subject, get a poem. Ok. Let’s do it! We gave David the subject of our family traveling around the USA in our motorhome. He asked us to give him 15 minutes to compose something and here’s what he came up with. Simply brilliant!

Life on the road in an RV

Running from one gas station

to the next smelling oil

and tire pressure across this

America landscape where the

plains meet the cities and

the cities run into mountains

from one coast to another.

Finding friends among

strangers and culture in this

frosty New Orleans air.

Living never felt so good

when you’re an explorer

and every destination is

a chance to learn something new.

America is your classroom and

experience your teacher.

-David Blanton

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David has been creating improv poems for tips along Royal Street in Jackson Square for 2 1/2 years now! Have you ever spotted him amongst the artists, performers and tarot card readers? Seek him out the next time you visit NOLA! Happy Friday everyone!

New Orleans, Louisiana is one place that has been on my bucket list for awhile. I was so excited to finally get here to check out the Crescent City! New Orleans isn’t necessarily known as a family spot, but I beg to differ. Here are a few ways to enjoy NOLA with kids in tow!

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1. Hang out in Jackson Square - This popular square is a perfect starting point! There is so much to see in just this little area. You can also take a carriage ride tour from here around the French Quarter. Be sure to go into the St. Louis Cathedral. Not only is the architecture gorgeous but this is the oldest cathedral in the United States still in use.

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Musicians, street performers and other local artists surround this beautiful square. Make sure to have plenty of low bills on hand to tip these fun entertainers!

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2. Beignets at Cafe Du Monde - You have no choice but to grab a table on the busy patio at this well known spot and indulge in the city’s infamous french donuts. They come in orders of 3 for under $3. Be sure to indulge in a Cafe au lait or Coffee and Chickory as well! Yes, we made our way here a couple of times.

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3. More beignets at Cafe Beignet- We decided to become beignet connoisseurs during our three days here.  Unfortunately, the day we were here was freezing and rainy, so we didn’t get the live music that normally would accompany your experience here but a few of us did rate these beignets higher than Cafe du Monde. You try them and let us know what you think!

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4. Debris Poboys, Gumbo and Jambalaya at Mother’s on Poydras - It does seem like all we did while visiting New Orleans was eat! There are so many great restaurants and new dishes to try here that you just can’t help yourself! We loved this local eatery for an authentic Creole lunch!

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5. Rock’n'Bowl - This was my favorite thing that we did while visiting New Orleans! We listened to some live Zydeco music as we bowled. Rock’n'Bowl was such a unique place and so much fun! We wanted to find a family friendly spot to listen to some local music and this was just perfect! Admission was $10 per person.

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The fun energy here helped my bowling for sure as I was victorious in our family’s game! It is $24 to rent the lane for up to 6 bowlers for the hour. Shoe rental is just $1.

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6. New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park - Who knew that this little National Park was tucked in the French Market? Be sure to visit it and have the kids earn a junior ranger badge while learning about the history of Jazz music in NOLA. Then you can continue on and shop at all the booths in the French Market.

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7. Louis Armstrong Park/Congo Square - While on the subject of Jazz music, make sure to take a stroll through this park which is on the edge of the French Quarter in the Tremé neighborhood. The beautiful park is dedicated to one of the City’s most celebrated native sons and to the tradition of jazz in the City. It is also very close to the Basin Street Station Visitor Center, which you will want to hit as well!

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This poor area suffered so much devastation at the hands of Hurricane Katrina that it’s no wonder they celebrate the end of hurricane season with concerts and other festivities. They were just setting up for this one in Armstrong Park as we were getting ready to leave.

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8. Ride a historic Streetcar - Riding one of the streetcars here is a fun, unique and inexpensive way to get around certain areas of New Orleans. We took the St. Charles green Streetcar out to see the Garden District, Uptown and the Tulane University campus. It is only $3 for an all day pass to hop on and off the cars.

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9. Good ‘ol Bourbon Street - We had been warned to stay off this famous street with the kids. There just isn’t any point in waltzing the kids along here to witness insanity! We did have to walk along here to go to Cafe Beignet but it was very tame in the morning rain, so there was no action that day thank goodness.

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BUT, we were walking from Armstrong Park to Jackson Square on our last morning and happened to cross Bourbon Street. This was our view at 9 am. At least it provided us with some last minute laughs. I guess it wouldn’t be New Orleans without a little crazy!

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OK good, because sometimes I feel guilty when we are taking beach days during this cross country trip. I always feel really good  when we are visiting National Parks, monuments and historical places because I know we’re giving our kids hands on lessons that they would never get sitting in a classroom. And then we come to the coast and sometimes there’s just not anything to do, but head to the beach. Or maybe we are just drawn to the salty air and sand beneath our feet…..

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We were definitely drawn to Gulf Shores, Alabama. I honestly had never even thought about what this area might be like for most of my life. Then I met a friend, in Arizona, who is from Alabama and she always talks about how nice it is here, so I was excited to visit myself. Boy was she right! From the fine white sand beach to the amazing sunset, this could be the prettiest beach that we’ve experienced along our journey.

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There are so many unique and fun family friendly restaurants/bars in this area. I’ve ever seen anything like these places. I have to admit that I expected the area to be a bit cheesy, like most of Florida (notice the italics Florida fans). But, it was far from it! The Hangout was right on the beach and only a 3 block bike ride from our RV Park!

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This place is amazing, just to walk around even. The property is huge and filled with all sorts of fun things to look at inside and out. This sand pile, with a tunnel running underneath, kept the kids loving life!

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Check out our table for dinner here at sunset! You can’t beat that open air view! As you can see, not many people frequent this area in November, which was all the better for us! The food was what you would expect from any beachside grill, but the service was great!

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When the kids started getting cold, the waiter pulled out these skeeters and let the kids ride wild around the place. They had a ball!

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Another spot that our friend Heather recommended was The Gulf. I loved this place right on the water in Orange Beach, which is just east of Gulf Shores.

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Look at this setting! What a beautiful spot to enjoy a sandwich for lunch.

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I hope to definitely come back and experience summer here! We will be back Alabama!