Sometimes during the summer you just want an excuse to getaway, but may not always have the time or budget to go anywhere extravagant. Luckily, there are a few hidden gems just a short drive away from New Orleans that make a fun-filled getaway as short as 24 hours possible.
To celebrate our third anniversary, we drove 45 minutes across Lake Pontchartrain to the charming Southern town of Covington, Louisiana last weekend. We stayed in the heart of the downtown historic district in a quaint Creole cottage, walking distance from most of the town’s attractions. The downtown with its historic homes, magnificent oak trees, and eclectic shops lining the streets, makes you feel like you’ve escaped the hustle and bustle of the city.
We packed all the essentials in the cutest tote bags from The Elizabeth Chronicles. We’re still obsessing over the bags and matching “Beignets over Boys” tanks. Of course we needed something to drink our mimosas in style, so we packed our fun Yeaux Leaux tumblers from Lionheart Prints. We even added a little extra kick to our morning coffee with Chila ‘Orchata minis 😜
You guessed it, our real mission on the Northshore was to conquer the food and beverage scene and discover all of the best eats. We were pleasantly surprised by the town’s incredible food scene. I guess it makes sense being so close to a city like Nola!
We started our tastebud adventure at contemporary lunch spot LOLA Restaurant. This restaurant is locally owned by a couple who formerly cooked at the original Brennan’s, and is located in the historic train depot. The actual kitchen is inside of a train caboose – so cute! They are currently renovating another train car to turn into a space where diners can sit.
We had some seriously delicious appetizers including a refreshing watermelon, beet and feta summer salad and homemade pimento cheese, followed by sandwiches, salads, and desserts.
There’s a reason LOLA’s Hummingbird Cake (a hybrid between carrot cake and banana bread) is their signature. The ooey gooey cake was also to die for.
LOLA is the only place in Covington that makes frosé so you already know we had to get one to geaux! Frosé in hand, we boarded our ride for the day, the Abita sprinter bus, with our driver Daniel and were off to our next Northshore stop!
We couldn’t go to the Northshore without paying a visit to the home of Louisiana’s very first craft beer, Abita Brewery, located just a ten minute drive from downtown Covington in the small town of Abita Springs. We learned all about the brewing process, beer and history of Abita on the guided tour.
After that, we hung at the Tap Room where we sampled so many tasty speciality beers we had never tried like their new sour beer with hints of key lime To-Gose, the Macchiato Espresso Milk Stout, and Barley Wine.
The Abita Brewery is such a great place even to just take just a day trip from NOLA. The Tap Room is open seven days a week, and they are always adding new brews that you can’t get anywhere else! We can’t wait to go back.
After the brewery, we boarded our bus and headed to our next destination for wine time! Who knew there was a winery right across the lake? Pontchartrain Vineyards is located in Bush, La., and made us feel like we were worlds away.
Of course, we had to try all the wines so we visited the tasting room and worked our way from the Le Trolly to the Voodoo Zinfandel, finishing with a 2009 Port of New Orleans.
We didn’t get to attend ourselves due to inclement weather, but heard the “Jazz’n the Vines” concert series are a great way to spend a Saturday evening with friends, live music, a picnic and of course all the vino.
Ox Lot 9
Located in the Northshore’s acclaimed Southern Hotel, we had to pay a visit to upscale bistro Ox Lot 9. The charming, yet lively atmosphere was perfect for a girls night out.
After a drink at the hotel’s beautiful Cypress Bar, we sampled everything from fried frog legs and crispy brussel sprouts to some of the main courses like pan fried stuffed rabbit with tasso, house mozzarella, sweet potato hash, and a mustard cane syrup. We left so full, and so happy.
So you’re probably thinking we couldn’t possibly eat another bite in 24 hours, but don’t think for a second we were going to skip out on the Sunday brunch we have heard all about at modern Italian restaurant Meribo. The chic white interior was full of natural light making it a gorgeous place to brunch in on a beautiful day. Every detail from the table set up, to the food (duh) was absolutely perfect.
We literally cannot stop thinking about the breakfast pizza and the best-looking chicken biscuit we have ever seen in our lives. With bottomless mimosas at only $12, this is the kind of hangover cure for when you want to keep the party going (or pass out in a food coma).
After stuffing ourselves to the brim, we headed back to our adorable casa to put our stretchy pants on, and cheers to a fab weekend with one last mimosa.
Since we were only there for literally 24 hours, we discovered lots we need to go back and try that we didn’t get a chance to like Covington Brewhouse, Seilar Bar, Barley Oak, and the Covington Farmer’s Market. We’d also like to check out some of the gorgeous art galleries, and go back to kayak on the picturesque rivers. We planned to kayak on Sunday, but the water was so high from the rain the previous week, that it would have been dangerous.
If you haven’t made your way over to this side of the lake yet, add it to your summer check list. Between the food scene, the Southern charm, and the short journey to get there – you’ll want to go back time and time again!
Thanks for welcoming us Northshore!
Photos by Juan Pablo Madrid