Today’s post is 1285 words, 21 photos, a 8 minute read. Enjoy!
Welcome back to Traveling With Tom. I’ve been traveling for the past few weeks so I wrote several blog posts before leaving on our trip. While I was away thanks for the comments and likes. If you missed my most recent posts on the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, click here and here.
This week I’m bringing you a potpourri of topics and photos from our late April and early May travels to Paducah, Kentucky and on to New Orleans.
After a cool spring in Wisconsin, traveling 500 miles south to the banks of the Ohio River, we met spring. The weather was mild, in the 70s during the day and 50s at night. Every morning, I took my Traveling Partner over the Ohio to Paducah so she could attend the American Quilter’s Society quilt show. It wasn’t only a show, there were vendors selling all things quilting, lectures, and classes. The city was filled with quilters, the parking lots around the venues were filled with cars from all over the country. After a few years of limited travel, the quilt ladies (and a few men) were on the move. So were we.
Paducah, population about 27,000, is the county seat of McCracken County. It was settled in 1821, laid out by explorer William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) in 1827, and took its name from a Native American tribe, the origin that is in dispute to this day. Early on, Paducah became the home to steamboats and towboats that plied the Ohio River. The river is still important in the economy with several barge companies located in the city. Paducah is also a railway hub and near the intersection of several highways making it a center of transportation with potential for expansion. A fun fact: Paducah is home to the ice cream snack, Dippin’ Dots.
National Quilt Museum
One of the main attractions in Paducah is the National Quilt Museum. This museum of quilts and fiber arts from around the world opened in 1991. It’s considered to have one of the finest quilt displays in the world. Since it’s opening, this museum has attracted over one million visitors to western Kentucky to view the rotating exhibits, the work of some of the most talented quilters. In 2008, the U.S. Congress designated it the National Quilt Museum of the United States and in 2013, UNESCO designated Paducah a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art to honor its cultural assets. If you find yourself in the area, it’s worth the stop. Click here for more information.
Wall to Wall
In the late 1990s, the city began a project to document the history of Paducah through a series of over 50 murals painted on the flood wall in downtown Paducah. These murals depict important people, industries, heritage, culture, and the diversity of the city. While we were in Paducah, I had the opportunity to walk along the wall and snapped a few photos. I wasn’t the only one, there were several people viewing the murals and reading the information plaques. It’s a popular stop especially in the later afternoon and evening when visitors stroll after having a nice meal at one of the nearby restaurants. For more information on the Wall to Wall project click here.
As I was walking along the wall, I photographed this mural of the historic Market.
About a block away, here’s what it looks like today. During Quilt Week, it’s filled with quilting fabric and notion vendors.
The Downtown Farmers’ Market offers locally grown products such as fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, eggs, baked goods, plants, and arts. It’s held every Saturday from mid-April thru October. We admired the many plants and check out the craft vendors. It was a little early in the season for produce.
After five fun days in Paducah, we headed south towards New Orleans with intervening stops in Pickwick Landing, Tennessee and Gulfport, Mississippi. During our time in the New Orleans area, we stayed on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain at Fontainebleau State Park. We’ve stayed here a number of times, it’s a lovely park with a well-appointed campground. We did have some stormy weather move through one evening, the next day the electricity and water were intermittent until equipment was repaired.
One evening, the full moon was shining brightly, I couldn’t resist a shot through the trees.
Near the state park are the towns of Mandeville and Covington.
Our friend Iris lives in lovely Covington with her dog, Rosie, an English Cream Golden Retriever. She’s less than a year old and has a lot of pup like energy. We found out that Rosie is celebrity when we stopped by the recently opened Covington Beer Garden for a drink and a bite to eat. Rosie has her picture with the manager posted behind the bar. The manager and servers stopped by to greet Rosie and so did some of the patrons. If you get a chance stop by this super nice bar with lots of room on the patio and inside if the weather is too hot or cold.
A few years ago, Iris introduced us to Just Chillin’ in Mandeville. They serve over 30 flavors of ice cream and nearly 100 flavors of snoballs, a very popular treat in Louisiana. There is nothing that beats a refreshing, cool treat on a hot summer day like a snoball. They are made with shaved ice with flavored syrup poured over the top. To make it even better, Just Chillin’ can add ice cream to give it extra flavor and texture, they call it a Stuffed Snoball. They are super delicious. On a hot day like today with temps near 90°F, I’m tempted to drive to Mandeville just for one of these treats.
In the photo below, Iris and my Traveling Partner show off their Stuff Snoballs before devouring them.
Even Rosie got in on the action. She had a pup whip and licked it clean!
The French Market
Every time we are in New Orleans, we stop by the French Market to check out the wares, buy a few gifts, and stock up on Killer Seasoning. We discovered this tasty seasoning several years ago when walking through the French Market. It was created for the French Market Creole Tomato Festival. People liked it so much, it soon became a big seller. During the pandemic when our supply ran low, we ordered it from Amazon. It’s great on tomatoes but can be added to most dishes. Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did.
Another benefit to stopping by the French Market is to buy a pin or two from Oscar. His work, handcrafted wearable art, is whimsical, colorful, and just right to pin on a hat or wear with on a suit. Each piece is unique and signed by Oscar. My JazzFest hat is filled with his pins. There’s a cow, a chicken, a couple of guitars, a saxophone, a cross, Who Dat, and many others. A keepsake from all the years I attended JazzFest. Just about every tourist ends up at the French Market, check out Oscar’s stand. He’s fun to talk with and always has a story to tell.
Last but not least. A trip to the French Quarter would be complete without a nod and photo of Jackson Square. The day we were there, it was on and off pouring rain. It stopped long enough from me to snap a quick photo. I hope to see New Orleans again sometime soon.
That does for this week. Stay tuned next week for the first of several blogs from our recent travels to eastern Canada and the U. S.
Until then, happy travels!