So close to New Orleans, and yet a world away in spirit, Louisiana Northshore is a little slice of something spectacular and a very refreshing soft adventure reprieve after our busy 3-day girl’s trip to New Orleans.
Across the Shore, a World Apart
Louisiana’s Northshore, St. Tammany Parish, is just a 45-minute drive from NOLA. With access to the same fresh seafood, cultural influences and chefs inspired by Acadian cuisine, Northshore Louisiana has a lot in common with The Big Easy, but without the hustle and the raucous streets of New Orleans. This makes the Northshore a charming spot for a soft adventure, romantic getaway or family vacation.
I recently took a 12-day girl’s getaway Gulf Coast hosted media fam trip. We started in New Orleans and then drove to Louisiana’s Northshore.
North of Your Expectations
Louisiana’s Northshore drapes across the coast of Lake Ponchartrian, less than an hour away from the New Orleans French Quarter. New Orleanians have been using the Northshore as a getaway since the 1880s, way back when steamboats were the common mode of transportation leading people across the lake to stay in stately resorts shrouded by tall trees. The air in Northshore Louisiana was cooler and cleaner than it was in New Orleans and the deep-spring water was reputed to cure ills and calm nerves.
Northshore Louisiana consists of: Madisonville, Old Mandeville, Lake Ponchartrain, La Combe, and Abiti Springs as well as Folsom, Pearl River, and Sun.
Where to Stay in Northshore Louisiana
As soon as we arrived in Louisiana Northshore, we checked into the stunning De La Bleau Bed and Breakfast in Old Mandeville. The decor in every room is themed according to colour. I stayed in the orange room which also had a bit of a safari feel with giraffe art on the wall. There was a small seating area, a large, private, well-appointed bathroom and reliable wifi. With a window seat that offered a view of the water from my room, and a very funky handmade headboard, the suites were all about the unique atmosphere.
A Bit About this Charming Louisiana Bed and Breakfast
De La Bleau was a passion project in retirement for husband and wife team Cindy and Clyde Touchstone. The bed and breakfast is spacious and clean and welcoming, with the sweetest personal touches. Located on Lafitte Street, you can easily walk to the boardwalk and water. Also, the Bed and Breakfast has bikes to borrow. De La Bleau can accommodate weddings and pets can stay in a lower level suite.
High ceilings and a gorgeous breakfast bar, with fresh coffee always on hand, makes De La Bleau Bed and Breakfast cheery and bright, even for those who are not morning people. It’s hard to choose just one favourite feature here because it’s clear Cindy, a retired school bus driver, and husband Clyde, who both did some property flipping in their spare time, are genuinely talented at renovations and decorating.
The space has character, but it also provides a lot of privacy for those who prefer that kind of stay. However, of all the endearing elements that make this such a great choice for a stay, the most memorable one is the food. The breakfast bacon here in this adorable Bed and Breakfast is worth the visit alone. It is the best bacon you will ever taste.
Take a stroll along the water every morning. Grab a bike and go for a ride.
A Sunset Pontoon Tour
After checking in, we headed out to meet up with Louisiana Tours and Adventures for a pontoon boat tour. While the night was a bit cool when we were there, that pontoon boat ride was a fantastic way to get a good look at some of the prettiest spots on the water.
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We took a pontoon boat out on the Ponchartrain and watched the 🌅sunset, then we spied this swamp bar on the way back and asked the Captain to make a stop. When I came out of the restroom, @downshiftingpro was dancing with a real character. #hosted #lanorthshore #travel #wanderlust #tammanytaste #northofyourexpectations #travelling #canadalovesgulfshores #canadalovesgulfcoast #water #food #fun
As the sun set, on the Tchefuncte River, the captain of the boat, Mike, showed us around and timed the ride perfectly so that we were right in front of the lighthouse as the sun lost its grip on the day. So glorious and appreciated! We spied a couple of our first tiny alligators of the trip out on the water. We had snacks and warm beverages on the boat and then a Northshore Louisiana swamp bar caught our eye. After circling around for a bit our amiable captain and PR guide Christina waltzed right in to T Rivers Bar and Grill with us. Because, when in Louisiana and you see a swamp bar, I mean, how can you resist?
I left the room for five minutes and returned to find Margarita Ibbott dancing with a total stranger in a swamp bar in Louisiana. That’s something you don’t see every day. Of course, we had to try the swamp punch too, which was green and, while worth trying, not my kind of drink. I saddled up to the bar, where football was playing on multiple smaller screen TVs fixed to the walls behind the bar and asked for a cocktail. But literally, after running through maybe three possible drinks, I realized that I was clearly at a swamp bar. So, local beer it was then.
Later that night, after returning to the shore and thanking Mike for an amazing pontoon ride, we drove to Duman Pizza. I had a wood oven fired pizza featuring shrimp and it was superb. In fact, I ate about four pieces, which for me, is unheard of, so but this point of our girl’s getaway I was all in on the gulf coast shrimp dishes. This would be a theme for me and I committed fully.
After I finished some work back at the quiet B and B, I called it a night and woke up in time to meet everyone for breakfast. Liz’s Where Y’AT Diner on Florida Street in Mandeville is a must visit and a winner. The walls are all covered with bright beach colours and the bar, counter area is set up to resemble a Tiki Hut. But the cutest part of the restaurant is all of the fun sayings, quotes and witty anecdotes painted on the walls.
One of my personal favourite things here was that there’s a breakfast dish where you can mix and match the Eggs Benedict or the Bennies. So I had one crabby Eggs Benedict with Nawlin’s Eggs Benedict on a fried green tomato. The crabby bennies were rich and moist and such a southern Gulf Coast treat.
Are you ever on a trip where the restroom wows you so much that you have to take photos? Liz’s Where Y’at Diner is that kind of place. It’s a neighbourhood diner featuring scratch New Orleans cuisine. The vibe is beach mixed with 60s Hippy Flower Child Surfer Girl Vibe. Service was exceptional.
Traveler Tip – > Try the Debris. Also the crabby Eggs Benedict was scrumptious.
Debris is beef ends that are scraped off the end of the pot and are extremely flavourful. Grits and scramblers are also popular dishes here.
Kayak with Alligators
The four of us split up after breakfast. Both Margarita Ibbott and I were keen to try kayaking in the bayou. Again, I felt like how often in life do I have the chance to kayak in a bayou in Louisiana? So, for me it was not even a question. Whenever you have a chance to kayak on the bayou with alligators, embrace that opportunity. The paddling was leisurely and we spied two small alligators as we headed all the way to the lake.
While you should always have a healthy fear of alligators, we heard repeatedly here that people and gators coexist. If you don’t feed them and leave them alone, they will leave you alone.
Check Out Bayou Adventures Kayaking
Bayou Adventures Kayaking, a family-owned business with bait shop and restaurant in the back, is a great place to rent what you need in order to do watersports in the area. They offer bike rentals, stand up paddle boards and kayaks as well as swamp tours. Bayou Adventures Kayaking delivers your kayaks and rental gear to the bayou, making your job the paddling and picture-taking.
Take a Tour – Historic Mandeville QR Tours
Explore the 31-mile Tammany Trace, on the Rail-to-Trail Hall of Fame project. You might also consider taking a fishing charter.
In walking distance of De La Bleau Bed and Breakfast, Nuvolari’s is Italian food in a casual fine dining atmosphere on Girod Street, moments away from Lake Ponchartrain. We had dinner here on our second night in Old Mandeville and service was flawless. The oysters appetizer was scrumptious, but the Genoa Shrimp with candied pecans and fettuccini was exceptional. Candied pecans added texture and a dash of something sweet, making the Genoa Shrimp one of the best shrimp dishes I have had ever.
Browse the Shops in Covington
There are dozens of adorable antique shops, a legendary hardware store, a cute shoe store and a few boutiques in downtown Covington. Founded in 1813, Covington is the seat of the parish of St. Tammany. It’s also quaint and walkable and it’s home to the Southern Hotel.
Traveler Tip – Shopping Here in Covington? You will find many of the galleries and shops on Lee Lane and Columbia Street.
The English Tea Room
WOWZA. From the second we set foot inside this adorable Covington tea room we were all charmed. Sit in the Churchill room, surrounded by gigantic cardboard cutouts of Downton Abbey, and be transported. Order the high tea and by all means ask for suggestions! The servers are incredibly well informed about all of the teas here.
It was insane how many different varieties of teas this restaurant had.
Crafty DIY Ideas
The day we left for Coastal Mississippi we drove over to Hammer and Stain Covington. The perfect Covington girl’s getaway activity for Northshore Louisiana and so affordable too! We spent a good three hours painting our Christmas snow globes. A similar activity costs about $35 each. Of course, there are dozens of projects to choose from at various price points.
Hammer and Stain Covington also offers private DIY paint parties and Mini Makers parties too for the younger set.
Louisiana Northshore Has A Quiet Southern Charm
The northshore is full of character and opportunities for soft adventures. Consider it a quieter alternative to New Orleans, or do New Orleans for a couple of exciting days and then retreat to Louisiana Northshore to relax and start planning your next vacation.