Waking up after a great night’s sleep, I opened the curtains to blue skies and sunshine in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Thinking about the day I had planned, I was sure it would be really good one, full of exploring and activities.
Jamming at La Maison de Begnaud
To backtrack for a moment, I have to tell you what I did last night after arriving in Lafayette: I had been told about a jam session that takes place every Friday night at La Maison de Begnaud. I went there with few expectations but left with the sense that I had experienced something special. The room was set up as if you were in someone’s home. At the front of the room were six or seven people ranging in age from early 20s to possibly 80. They played guitar, fiddle, accordion or triangle, and all could sing. The music was authentic Cajun, and the entertainers very talented. People danced and clapped along, and by the time I left, my cheeks ached from smiling.
Cajun music jam session in Lafayette
Market at the Horse Farm
After breakfast Saturday morning, I drove to the Market at the Horse Farm. The market, which draws a huge crowd of locals and visitors, is a great place to meet friends and have a picnic. I sampled local wines from Landry Vineyards in West Monroe, and bought some beautifully decorated jars of local jams from Grinning Jupiter Jammery based in Baton Rouge. The fruits and veggies looked perfect, and the food trucks that were there served gourmet choices that would rival a top-notch restaurant.
Browsing at the Market at the Horse Farm in Lafayette
After the market, I headed to the charming Acadian Village, a replica of what a 19th century Cajun settlement would look like, with many original homes included. The church is delightful, and the art gallery depicts the area beautifully. I thoroughly enjoyed wandering around for a few hours. Hungry again, I picked a place in town called The French Press, where I had a delicious shrimp-and-avocado salad and a bowl of flavourful gumbo.
Atchafalaya Basin Landing and Marina
After doing a little window shopping, I headed to the picturesque Atchafalaya Basin Landing and Marina, where I would take my first airboat swamp tour. Oh my goodness, what an experience! The alligators were up close, the tour guide was fabulous and the wetlands and swamps gorgeous. I would definitely do it again.
I knew the day would be a good one, and I was right. I ended my time in Lafayette by meeting some new friends at a local bar and restaurant called Artmosphere. There was a great crowd, several excellent bands were playing and a few really nice craft beers were on tap.
I really enjoyed my time in Lafayette!
Alligator swimming through the swamp in Lafayette