Many of you may have noticed that I end most posts with “Laissaz les bon temps rouler!” Many of you may have not…
It’s a Cajun French expression that translated literally as “Let the good times roll!” I first heard it in New Orleans, Louisiana during one of my trips there. Since Tuesday is “Fat Tuesday,” the traditional end of the festival season or Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent for many, I thought this might be a good time to talk about it.
There’s no question that Mardi Gras is a great huge party; it’s also expensive and difficult to navigate if you aren’t familiar with the particulars. There’s plenty of fun to be had in New Orleans the rest of the year with out the pressing crowds and jacked up prices. Bourbon Street is a must-see if you go, but be sure to check out some of the other attractions in the city. The cemetery tours are very informational and can be combined with historical tours as well. Here’s a cemetery website with a detailed list of cemeteries.
St. Louis Cemetery Number 2 New Orleans.
One of the more interesting things about going there is that no matter what folks may think about your habits where you come from, no one has a drinking problem in the Big Easy. It’s a land of drive-thru hurricane shops and no open- container laws, at least in parts of the city. They have made a booming business out of being a “go to” location for a good time.
There’s a museum devoted to the floats that are built for the parades during the festival. It’s actually a storage facility and shop for building, re-building and repairing the floats. It’s also a must-see if you not there for the “live” activities.
Mardi Gras floats at Mardi Gras World
Strange things can happen there, too. At one point we saw Batman get his car towed…
New Orlean’s tough on the Batman.
And of course New Orleans also has good beer. Abita’s brewery is just across Lake Pontchartrain from the city, and there are a couple of local brew pubs there as well. In an alcohol-soaked city you can be sure there are several multi-tap bars in all areas of the city. The trolleys are a good way to look for some of them. Like the tours, it will take you through some of the old neighborhoods. You will have to provide your own snappy banter, depending on who is on the trolley with you.
Beautiful traditional New Orleans architecture.
My fascination with the culture of the people of New Orleans and the way they embrace the concept of letting the good times roll leads me to close my posts with that as a toast to their enjoyment of life and ability to withstand adversity in the process.
Laissaz les bon temps rouler!
Here are some more pictures from our trip last year.
What is a “Festy” you may ask…it’s a great outdoor music festival at the foot of Wintergreen Mountain. There’s going to be fine music curated by the Infamous Stringdusters, but it’s not just a Bluegrass festival, so check out the artists here! There’s going to be a couple of races, both running and bicycling. How about camping, do you like that? It’s there too! Ok the big question…craft beer? Hell yeah! First-rate craft beer in one of the prettiest places in Virginia brought to you by the Devil’s Backbone and Starr Hill.
Devil's Backbone Brewpub!
Another focus of the Festy is sustainable local food. I hope I’ll have enough room in my stomach to try all the possibilities. Got to leave room for delicious beer as well.
Huck tries a taster at Devil's Backbone!
The festival runs Friday through Sunday with plenty of activities to keep everyone happy. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a few miles away just past Wintergreen Resort, not that you would want to leave…
We will be interviewing some of the artists and many of the celebrants while we are there. We plan to camp onsite so we can get the whole experience.
I lived near the location for several years back in the ’70s and ’80s and worked as a ski patroller for five years at Wintergreen and am looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new ones! I hope to see you there – it’s going to be a great time!
Since we were already in Baltimore working last week, I checked the calendar and noticed that the Flying Dog Birthday celebration was going to be in Westminster, MD at a place called Maggie’s Restaurant. It is a really nice local place with great beer, food and service.
The bar at Maggie's.
We got there really early and told Guy the bartender of our quest. He seemed surprised that someone would travel just to drink beer but was kind enough to tell us about other offerings in Westminster! There is no beer mentioned on the Internet about this town, but we were able to determine that there is craft beer in the neighborhood. He directed us to a couple of bars owned by the same people – an Irish bar with Irish beer and another bar called Johanssons.
Johanssons in Westminster, MD
Johanssons is really three bars in one. Upstairs there’s a fancy pants restaurant and bar with an amazing selection of beer. Downstairs a working person’s bar whose beer selection doesn’t slack but has more mainstream brands on draft. We ate downstairs and had a 4-pound basket of cheese fries we couldn’t finish as well as some other staple starter items all prepared by the bartender. The third bar of the three in one is that this place is a brew pub as well.They had several tanks in the basement bar and were serving three of their four beers – out of the IPA, of course. I’ll assume it was good; the pale ale was palatable, but after I heard about the upstairs bar, I headed that way – 90 minute Dogfish Head on draft and a Goose Island Kolsch and many more – even a couple of cask choices.
Back to Maggie’s for the birthday party. There was a large contingent from Pennsylvania there to partake in the free beer and promotional items. Met a couple of ladies who liked IPAs and other hoppy beers, Lois and Lana! Pretty sure they were Superman’s ex-wives as they had nothing good to say about him…
The Flying Dogmobile!
Turns out I had met the Flying dog rep, J R Woolsey, last year at the Beer Bloggers Conference. We reminisced a while and drank a couple of Raging Bitches, mmm mmm good! There was the beer manager there from College Square Liquors who has a pretty good selection from the sound of things.
We recently went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for a much need rest and relaxation trip. Mrs. Fin and I own a time share there that we had visited in several years. I invited my employees and family to come down and check it out and we spent most of a week there. The time share called the Outer Banks Beach Club and we will be happy to give it to you if you would like. Actually, it’s a pretty nice place and a quiet time of year there and a good time was had by all.
The time share is in Kill Devil Hills around milepost 9 on the beach. Interestingly the name derives from drinking so much it would “Kill the Devil” , how appropriate!
View of the condo from the beach.
We arrived on Saturday and decided to jump right into the beer scene. First stop, Outer Banks Brewing Station for some wind powered beer. When they say they serve green beer, they don’t mean the color.
Entrance to the Outer Banks Brewing Company.
Brittany points out the entrance sign. I had a sampler of the beers and Brittany had a stout. This one looks rich and chocolaty!
Mack Daddy Chocolate Stout at Outer Banks Brew Company.
Brittany liked the stout. It was rich and chocolaty.
Taster at Outer Banks Brewing.
The beer was pretty good but they need an IPA, summer or not! I did enjoy the Olsch which was of the Kolsch style. I’ve found that style to be pretty good even though I am a Pale ale and IPA kinda guy. We actually took a growler of it back to the condo with us. They had a pretty cool shaped growler, i bought one even though i have several already.
We didn’t eat there but the food looked pretty good. They had the usual beach fare, some seafood and burgers with fries covered in Old Bay seasoning.
Plenty of easy parking, a nice play area for the kids and of course, the windmill photo op! Definitely a must see if you go to the beach this year.
We visited Dogfish Head Brew Pub in Fairfax, Virginia the other night on our way to Baltimore, or beer-land as I like to call it! We have been to the mother ship pub in Rehoboth Beach, DE, so we wanted to check out one of the newer pubs. The restaurant is in a mall, but isn’t everything in NOVA? It looks like they tried to give it the kind of beach-town ambiance of the original one, but it just didn’t make the transfer very well. It was full of families, not that I have anything against families, and had the feel of any old mall restaurant during the Christmas season.