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New Orleans Avenue Plaza mini review

Discussion in 'US - Central States Timesharing' started by DaveNW, May 20, 2019.

  1. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    @amycurl: Mini review of Avenue Plaza, for you and others who may be interested: (I'll write a more detailed review once things here are completed.) We've only been here two days, and things so far have been very pleasant.

    We flew in on Saturday late afternoon, rented a car at the airport for two days, and drove to the resort with no issues. The in-car Navigation made it a piece of cake. (Justification for a rental car: We needed a ride from the airport to the Avenue Plaza, and I've been told it's about a $40 cab ride. We also knew we wanted to drive ourselves out to see a few of the Plantations, and the formal tours were expensive, and took all day. They share the bus ride with guests from other hotels, so they spend a long time collecting and dropping off those other people while you wait on the bus. Friends did it, and said they'd never do it again like that. So we rented a car.)

    With two days of Valet parking at Avenue Plaza, it only cost us about $85 total. Factor in the money saved on the cab ride to the resort, and the convenience of driving to the Plantations on our own terms, and it was an easy choice to make. We dropped off the Budget Rental Car at their location at 1317 Canal Street, and walked the ~four easy blocks down Canal Street to catch the St. Charles Streetcar back to the resort. Simple, easy, and worth doing again. (Budget through Costco Travel was a great deal for us - get Fastbreak. we skipped a HUGE line at the regular counter, and we were second in line to collect our keys. We were in the car and driving away in about five minutes.)

    The Resort has Street View (Front of the building, facing St. Charles Avenue), and City View (the back of the building, away from the street.) I asked which was better, and was told the City View rooms are quieter, but they didn't have any available. We were assigned Room 804, a 1bedroom Street View unit on the eighth floor. Three elevators, and they move pretty fast. There is a certain amount of street noise, but it's an urban location in a very busy city, so some noise is to be expected. It's not bad, just something to consider. By bedtime, it's pretty quiet.

    Accommodations are classic WorldMark. Clean, tasteful, and no surprises. (See pictures below.) The king bed we have is excellent. Very comfortable, and a great night's sleep. Small closet, (seven hangers), in-room safe, dresser with several large drawers. Tiny bathroom with tiled shower, no tub. The Living Room furniture is comfortable, if a bit industrial, but works fine, for the intended purpose. (Pull-out sofa, side chair, table with four chairs, TV cabinet with extra bedding in it.) The kitchen has only a cooktop, no oven. Small dishwasher, full size fridge. No ice maker, just ice trays. But there are ice machines on (I think) four floors of the 12-floor building. No balcony.

    There is a complimentary laundry room on the second floor, with three washers and three dryers. They ask you to tend to your laundry, so you're not inconveniencing anyone else. When I checked out the laundry room, there was a woman sitting there with her child, who was watching TV while Mom read. A workout room on the 1st floor is open 24/7, and has assorted weight machines and aerobics equipment, (treadmills and such.) There was one person working out when I went through there.

    On the roof is a sundeck that gives panoramic views of the City. (Take the elevator to the12th floor, follow the signs, then go out into a stairwell and climb another three flights to get to the rooftop. There are chairs and tables there to sit out, if you're so inclined. Between the two sides of the building is a courtyard with a small swimming pool and jacuzzi. When I checked it out one evening, there were two people in the pool and about eight in the jacuzzi. A number of other people were hanging out in the area, sitting at tables, and having a good time. Looks like it'd be a fun place to relax. Not sure how well small kids would do with it.

    We're still exploring restaurants, (Thanks, everyone, for all the recommendations!) One find I specifically wanted to share with @amycurl was a basic breakfast joint about a block west of the Resort, called The Trolley Stop. Classic breakfast fare, (bacon and eggs, pancakes, French toast, omelettes - that sort of thing.) Prices are cheap, (maybe $10 or less), and they are very busy on weekends. I'm a quick breakfast guy, and we've eaten there both mornings we've been here. My "1 pancake, two eggs, three slices of bacon" breakfast this morning was $7.00. The total for the two of us, with coffee, was $19.00. Hard to beat that. Food is good, coffee is okay, service is efficient. Sunday morning it was packed . The waiter said it's like that on weekends. Today (Monday) there was only about four tables in use when we ate there at 7:00AM. We'll eat there again.

    There is a 24-hour Walgreens about three blocks west of the resort on St. Charles (two blocks past the Trolley Stop restaurant.) Easy to pick up last-minute things there. Bring your Walgreens saver card for better discounts. At the other end of the block from the Resort is a convenience store that was more about alcohol and snacks than anything else.

    We drove out the River Road today to see two Plantations. (I'll talk about those in my full review later on.) We went to Oak Alley and Houmas House. Both were very picturesque, and the tours very worthwhile. It was a bucket list thing for me to see Oak Alley, and I'm very glad we went. It was really nice. We toured Oak Alley first, arriving just about when they opened (9:00), then Houmas House, and we had lunch at Houmas House restaurant after the tour. Great food. Then we hightailed it back to New Orleans (about a fifty-mile drive) to turn in the rental car. It was an easy drive back on I-10.

    Weather today was warm, bordering on hot, and humid. About what you'd expect from New Orleans in late Spring. There were tremendous thunderstorms most of yesterday, so I'm glad we had the rental car for two full days. The Guide at Oak Alley today said it was torrential downpours there all day yesterday, and we'd have had a miserable time trying to see the place. Today it was sunny and dry. By arriving so early, we had the place basically to ourselves. Beautiful place, and those trees are spectacular.

    Tomorrow starts three casual days of Hop On Hop Off bus touring of the city, during which we'll hop off to explore the Mardi Gras Museum, take a Riverboat brunch cruise, and do a couple of walking tours of the French Quarter and the Garden District. We've already spent time in the French Quarter and on Magazine Street, and we know there's a lot more to see.

    If anyone has questions while we're here, ask away. I'm happy to try and help. More to come after our trip.

    Dave

    King in 1BR.JPG
    King in 1BR a.JPG
    Bath.JPG
    LR.JPG
    Kitchen.JPG
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  2. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    A little teaser picture. I took this at Oak Alley this morning. It's not the main view from the front of the Plantation, but a side view, over a large metal water fountain. The fountain was about eight feet across. I liked this one quite a bit. :)

    Dave

    Oak Alley Fountain.JPG
     
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  3. dsmrp

    dsmrp TUG Member

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    Wow Dave that Oak Alley pix is just beautiful, so peaceful looking.
     
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  4. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Here's a few more images from this week:

    Houmas House.jpg
    This is Houmas House. Beautiful grounds and gardens and a very interesting home.

    Yard Art.JPG
    This is yard art at Houmas House. Somebody has a wicked sense of humor. :)

    Oak Alley.JPG
    The classic view of Oak Alley. The 24 Live Oak trees that create the "allee" have their own gardening attendants.

    More later.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  5. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    More pictures from our week in New Orleans:

    Lafayette 1.JPG
    Lafayette Cemetery. Fascinating historical place, with burials from nearly 200 years ago, up to present time.

    Names1.JPG
    At Oak Alley, this wall of names commemorates the 220 slaves who were kept there. No other records exist for these people, other than a few mentions in Last Wills and such, where some were bequeathed as property. This wall is an attempt to make sure their names are not forgotten. Sad tribute.

    Turkeys.png
    Very patient turkeys greeted us as we left the tour of Houmas House. I decided their names are "Hunt" and Peck." :)

    Dave
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  6. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Don't you have a boat to catch one of these days? Oh, Thanks for the plantation pix.
     
  7. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Riverboat ride tomorrow morning. Really Big Boat ride starts Saturday. Still soaking up the culture here in New Orleans.

    We went to the Mardi Gras World museum today. What an interesting place! Fascinating to see how they make the floats and "props," then re-make them for next year's parades. They are highly creative and re-use as much as they can. Quite a business!

    Mardi Gras Museum.JPG

    Mardi Gras World 2.JPG

    Mardi Gras World 3.JPG

    Mardi Gras World 4.JPG

    Mardi Gras World 5.JPG
    This sunburst is about ten feet high and fifteen feet wide. It's HUGE! :)

    The Hop On/Hop Off bus has worked well. The tour guide on board is very informative, and has given us a great insight into the history of the city. We're using the St. Charles streetcar even more than the bus. It's more convenient and runs 24 hours. The bus stops at 5:00 PM. For those of you "of a certain age," the streetcar fare for Seniors aged 65 and older is 40 cents one way. For the youngsters among us who aren't yet 65, the fare is $1.25 one way. There are fare cards you can buy, but I can't see any discount reason to buy them. About the only advantage is not having to have the exact fare in hand.

    St. Charles Streetcar.JPG
    St. Charles Streetcar

    Hop On Off Bus.JPG
    The Hop On / Hop Off bus. A Double Decker with a tour guide providing nonstop patter. Very informative!

    Dave
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  8. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Looks like you are having a real good time. N.O. is not a favorite of ours, but it definitely has it's allure. Glad you're enjoying it. FWIW, we are experiencing NW 'sunshine'. Hasn't stopped raining for a week! Obviously the weather didn't get the memo that we live in a desert!

    Jim
     
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  9. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    And then there has been the food. We've tried to be creative, and sample some of the local fare whenever we can. It's been very good so far, and we still have a few more days to go. (Thanks again to everyone who made recommendations of where to eat. There is just no way to do them all, either financially or dietarily.) I have pictures of most of the dishes we had this week, if anyone wants to see them. Just ask.

    We ate dinner on Saturday at Deanie's on Magazine Street at Jackson Street. Great food, but pricey. https://deanies.com

    Dinner Sunday was at Court of Two Sisters, in the French Quarter. Extraordinary meal. The fresh catfish dinner was perfect. https://www.courtoftwosisters.com

    Dinner Monday was local easy fare, at Raising Cane's Chicken, about a dozen blocks down St. Charles Ave. Better than KFC or Popeye's, by a mile. Quite tasty, and $15 worth filled us both. http://www.raisingcanes.com

    Dinner Tuesday was also a few blocks down St. Charles from Avenue Plaza, at Lula Distillery. Great food, interesting adult beverages. http://www.lulanola.com

    Dinner Wednesday was a combination of leftovers from the last several night's dinners. Too good to waste. :)

    Breakfast's so far have been at:

    The Trolley Stop, mentioned up above. Cheap eats, and pretty good. Very casual. https://www.thetrolleystopcafe.com (Coincidentally, on Gordon Ramsey's "24 Hours to Hell and Back" TV show on as I type this is doing an intervention at The Trolley Stop cafe. Small world!)

    Silver Whistle Cafe, next door to the Avenue Plaza in The Pontchartrain hotel. Casual atmosphere, food was good, but lacked imagination. http://silverwhistlecafe.com

    Another Broken Egg Cafe on Magazine Street at Sixth(?) Really good food, HUGE portions, and worth the walk from the resort to get there. https://anotherbrokenegg.com/location/new-orleans-la-magazine-street

    We've been to the French Quarter only one time so far. We stopped at Pat O'Brien's and had a Hurricane, so my brother would lay off his teasing. (He does know his way around a mixed drink, my brother...) Actually, the Hurricane was pretty good. I may have another - or two. ;) We're going to the French Quarter again tomorrow after the Riverboat cruise. That cruise is supposed to feed us lunch. Plans are to explore the French Quarter afterwards, and have dinner someplace. Cafe du Monde is on the list, because I'll be disowned by coworkers if we don't have a beignet there. (What is the big deal about beignets???)

    I think @Passepartout Jim had it right - bring pants with stretchy waistbands. I'm sure I've gained about ten pounds so far. But it's vacation, so it doesn't count. I'll lose it when I get home. :D

    Dave
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  10. amycurl

    amycurl TUG Member

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    I feel so honored to at the beginning of someone else's thread, LOL! :D This is great, Dave, I really appreciate it! Hard to believe that my daughter will be out of school and we will be on our way to NOLA in just a little under two weeks! :D
     
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  11. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    It's a great place, Amy. I know you'll be comfortable here. Be sure to ask if you have any questions. :)

    Dave
     
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  12. dsmrp

    dsmrp TUG Member

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    Dave, glad you're having a good time. My suggestion about Cafe du Monde and beignets is to go to the Riverfront shopping mall to their secondary location. You will forego the ambiance of the French quarter & square, but you also don't have to stand & wait in a ridiculously long line.

    New Orleans was wasted on my mother and brother last year. Mom can't/won't eat anything spicy, and brother doesn't eat shellfish or much seafood. That cuts out about 75-80% of restaurants. Both can't walk very far and we couldn't take the streetcar cause the step up is too steep for Mom. Dad was a WWII veteran, but Mom wasn't interested at all in going to WWII museum. Oh well, they were just there to catch their cruise ship, and I was there to ensure they could get to N.O.
     
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  13. slip

    slip TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Sounds like a great trip. We didn’t make it to any of the plantations. I guess that just means we have to go back. Gotta love the food. Get a Muffuletta! I think I had three the week we were there. :)
     
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  14. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Funny you should mention that. We were at the Riverwalk mall yesterday afternoon, and I saw their location you mentioned. I considered eating there, but decided to wait for the real one in the French Quarter. I'm hoping if we hit it mid-afternoon the lines won't be too long. We'll see. :)

    Dave
     
  15. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I'll watch for a muffuletta. Never heard of it. I'm intrigued!

    We're headed out to have breakfast locally, then down to the river to catch a riverboat. :)

    Dave
     
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  16. presley

    presley TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Is the haunted house on property open? It was closed for refurb when I stayed there and I didn't get to go inside.
     
  17. slip

    slip TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Central grocery, you can buy a whole or half. They are all wrapped up and you can grab one and go.

    https://centralgrocery.com/
     
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  18. rhonda

    rhonda TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    MUST make it to Court of Two Sisters in some future visit. It was my Mom's favorite. We did, however, get to visit Tujagues on the last visit which was fabulous. (My parents often mentioned it as a favorite spot while they were dating.) All my roots go back to New Orleans and we love visiting to find/see family homes, family story locations, family grave markers, etc. I'm always on the hunt for "gumbo like my Grandmother's" ... an ambition that requires many taste tests! :D

    Great report, Dave! Thank you!
     
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  19. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I just looked it up. Holey cow! It'd take me a week to eat one of those! :D

    Dave
     
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  20. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Thanks, Rhonda. I appreciate the kind words! It's been fun this week. I've only been here once before, thirty-some years ago, for part of one day. Never stayed overnight here. This week has allowed me the time to enjoy things at my own pace, without undue pressure to do and see everything. My intent by posting this thread was to provide "show and tell" for others who may come after me, or perhaps to bring up something new for those who are coming to visit again, but who haven't seen what I did. It's all about sharing, right? :)

    Dave
     
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  21. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    So today we started with an early breakfast at The Trolley Stop again, then took the St. Charles Streetcar to Canal St. We walked down Canal to Spanish Landing, and boarded the Creole Queen paddlewheeler for a brunch cruise downriver to Chalmette Battlefield, site of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. There was a narrator who provided ongoing descriptions of sites we were seeing along the route, and a very detailed historical description of the Battle of New Orleans, the major players, and the outcome of it all. Quite worthwhile.

    The Creole Queen stopped at Chalmette Battlefield for about thirty minutes, long enough to take a Ranger-led walk, or go into the Visitor's Center for a quick history lesson, and do a bit of souvenir shopping. We opted for the Visitor's Center, because we knew time was short. Very informative, and worth exploring again by a different means of transportation, so there would be time enough to more fully explore things.

    On the boat ride back they served a nice buffet of several southern dishes, including a traditional gumbo, and a seafood pasta. I think the chocolate bread pudding for dessert was the best part. :)

    CreoleQueen.JPG
    Creole Queen paddlewheeler

    Chalmette Battlefield.JPG
    Chalmette Battlefield Officer's Quarters building, added after the battle, based on drawings of buildings on the location at the time.

    Beignets.JPG
    And then, of course, we HAD to walk over to Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter for coffee and beignets. They were tasty, and the iced cafe au lait was nice, but frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is about. It's just a fried square doughnut sprinkled (in some cases, SMOTHERED) with powdered sugar. What am I missing? :shrug:

    As for the huge lines I've heard about: No line at all at 1:00PM on a Thursday afternoon. We walked right in and sat at a vacant table. So I guess we got lucky?

    We decided we'd had enough of the heat in the middle of the day, so we jumped on the Hop On Hop Off bus for a ride back to Avenue Plaza. On the way I snapped this picture of amazing ferns growing on the balcony of a business along Magazine street. For those of you in southern climates, growing ferns like this is probably easy. Where I'm from, ferns tend to be houseplants. These are pretty amazing:

    Ferns.JPG
    Magazine Street ferns.

    We're back in our room at Avenue Plaza for now, resting up and recharging cell phones. Thinking about trying Mr. John's steakhouse here at the resort for dinner. But first I think I need a nap. :)

    Dave
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
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  22. geist1223

    geist1223 Guest

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    As you are walking around the Garden District look at all the Fernsmgrowing inn the trees. Locally they are referred to as Resurrection Ferns. When it is dry they will die back. Then with a rain the come back to life.

    For me fried dough with sugar is fried dough with sugar no matter what fancy name you give it. Though it is always good.
     
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  23. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    In forests in Western Washington, ferns grow well. But they're a lesser variety of fern, and nowhere near as full as these hanging ferns on that balcony. :)

    I've seen a lot of small ferns growing around the Garden District. Lots of great plants, actually. At Houmas House they had a huge oak tree covered with small ferns, all the way to the end of the branches. It was mighty impressive.

    Houmas ferns.JPG
    Houmas House ferns covering an oak tree limb

    As to the fried dough, maybe that's the thing - I'm not into deep fried things. It seems greasy to me. I'm not a big doughnut eater.

    The Concierge here at Avenue Plaza said she likes "savory beignets," rather than sweet ones. She named a place where she gets them, but I can't remember what she said. (Edited to add: I saw her, so asked. She said The Vintage on Magazine Street is "the" place for savory beignets.)

    Dave
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    easyrider and slip like this.
  24. geist1223

    geist1223 Guest

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    When we were in NOLA last October they had a Beignet Festival at City Park. Every kind of Beignet imaginable - standard sugar, various sweet ones, savory ones, etc, etc. There is at least one Festival in NOLA every week. The next week was Blues and Barbecue at Lafayette Square, etc.
     
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  25. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    This town does know how to party, eh?

    Dave
     

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