We slipped through a portal to the past in the magical New Orleans French Quarter

We were stumbling along on a stifling hot steamy day in the heart of the historic French Quarter in New Orleans. Despite the miserable conditions, the magical old place had us held tight in its grip and we just couldn’t get enough.

On this particular day, we were exploring near the corner of Conti (pronounced by locals Kontī) and Chartres when we discovered a little courtyard style alley. It was a shady brick space with shops and SHADE!

We meandered up a little ways and found some inviting open French doors on our right. There were two gentleman in a workshop that looked as if it were teleported from many years ago. They were crafting copper gas lanterns using some more traditional looking simple tool methods and some modern conveniences like a power drill.

a portal to the past

a portal to the past in the form of some french doors off a passageway in historic New Orleans

simple tool

simple tool

simple beauty

simple beauty

craftsman 2 bending the petals

craftsman 2 bending the petals

craftsman 1 drilling the frames

craftsman 1 drilling the frames

not finished yet but already beautiful It was so much fun to watch. The room could accommodate quite an audience but we were the only two there. When we’d seen enough, we walked deeper into the building and discovered their galleries displaying all of the various styles available. So very beautiful.

like a museum

like a museum

bevolo gas and electric lightsThis is a great free cultural activity with a real French Quarter flair.

 In my opinion, it’s likely to please most any age and makes a great travel tip for anyone coming to visit beautiful New Orleans where Southern Hospitality is alive and well.  

A California Coastal Gem called Carpenteria

Who hasn’t heard of Santa Barbara and Ventura California? But Carpenteria was new to me and I am so glad for the introduction.  It came as a recommendation of a seasoned nomadic adventurer who was considering settling down there.  We spent the night on the side of a downtown street near the Amtrak station and took a morning stroll down to the ocean.DSC_0829

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This is the little town of Carpenteria between Santa Barbara and Ventura just a short ways from LA

Here's the shady spot where we spent the night near a charming train station then strolled up a short way to the beach the next morning.

Here’s the shady spot where we spent the night near a charming train station then strolled up a short way to the beach the next morning.

This is the short photo safari I took while on our stroll.

DSC_0830 DSC_0831 DSC_0832 DSC_0833 DSC_0834 DSC_0835 DSC_0839 DSC_0840 DSC_0841I especially love the interpretive playground where kids can pretend they are Chumash Indians and/or sea dwelling creatures.  It is so well done.  A great little community asset.  The area was delightfully quiet and quaint with a very friendly feel.  For fun loving traveling families looking for simple pleasures this spot is a winner.

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Learning to be a bolder photographer at the Deer Lodge in Ojai

The Ojai Deer Lodge is quite iconic with the locals.  A bit farther out, for me it involves a ride on Trolley B, a trek down a neighborhood street then a short hike up Hwy 33 then there it is.

Day hours will often find bikers and hikers lounging in groups on the sunny patio equipped for brisk days with several towering heaters.  There seems to always be a night scene as well with diners eating everything from wild boar to steaks to lentil loaf for those of us going for the green.  The staff appears eager to please if not necessarily well trained in the details of the higher end experience.  They make up for it in friendliness.

It’s a bit spendy, as they say here, but not more than seems typical for the area.  The vouchers I received as pay for the photo shoot were worth $15 ea and I had no trouble finding something good both times that fit within that budget.  Once I had stuffed mushrooms and French onion soup and another a lentil loaf sandwich on marbled rye with a salad.  All tasty and fresh.  Well drinks were $5. Beer $4. There’s a wine list and you can buy California’s pride by the bottle or glass.

The place has a spacious, earthy rough and tumble feel to it.  The napkins are crisp and white.  The walls are stout supporting a heavy frame with beams and the like.  There’s a sense of lots of rough stone and wood.  The locals describe it as a road house.  A place that saw a lot rowdier scene “back in the day”.  A place where hunters and fisherman liked to come wet their whistle and let their hair down.  Some get almost teary eyed when they harken back to the wilder days.

But most of Ojai seems quite happy to have the Deer Lodge of today.  A place where they can get with friends and linger over a good meal, watch live entertainment several nights a week or sit outside with their pets and relax on the patio gazing at the mountains with the sounds of fun and music in the background.

Here are some of the people I met and things I saw at the Deer Lodge.  Some of the pics were part of the room and board trade I had worked out with the owner, Tom Doody.  A good photographer in his own right (there’s a large dramatic horse scene prominently displayed in the restaurant that’s his work), I was honored that he provided me this opportunity.  At one point the singer asked me if I was with the LA Times hahah  I’ve learned that I do have to be bold and assertive to get good candid or posed shots.  It’s given me a great excuse to meet people; like I really needed one!  haha

Hope you enjoy…

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