Tag Archive for turtle

The Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort

Click twice for a view of the hotel and cabanas.

Click twice for a view of the hotel and cabanas.

This is Part 2 of my blog posts on our Amelia Island vacation last May. In Part 1, we cruised down the Amelia River, but we’ll stay closer to the hotel this time, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. Spacious rooms, a welcoming lobby and bar, and this each morning:

Omni_Resort_01

Sunrise is not something I normally do, but I didn’t mind when that was what dragged me out of bed. Besides, I promptly went back to bed after snapping a few pictures. My husband was the one doing things on normal-people hours, not I. He was speaking at JS Conf.

Conference center grounds. Click twice for the large view.

Conference center grounds. Click twice for the large view.

I was living the life of someone who gets a free hotel room because her husband is speaking at JS Conf. It’s a good life. Even if I never left the hotel grounds, it would have been enough. The grounds are so huge, I’m giving you only the top 5 areas of it to visit.

#5 The Sunken Forest

View from the top. Click twice for the largest image.

View from the top. Click twice for the largest image.

These pathways may or may not have been closed for renovations when I explored the Sunken Forest, (closed, shh!), but it would have been a short, sweet adventure regardless. I’m not going to lie; rickety old stairs added to the appeal.

Omni_Resort_66

Omni_Resort_69

The Sunken Forest is a small thatch of forest hidden behind a sand dune. There are multiple paths to the top, and while I’ve seen more amazing views, it’s fun to feel like you’ve lost track of the hotel for a little while. Or maybe that’s just the thrill of sneaking past caution tape speaking.

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New Orleans’ Adventures: Honey Island Swamp Touring

The Gourmez happy in the swamp.

The Gourmez happy in the swamp.

This is the fourth entry in a series on my December New Orleans vacation. Lest you think this many entries is a few too many, just know New Orleans has always been high on my list of cities to visit, so I was pretty excited to finally do so! Blog #1 was on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, Blog #2 was on dining at night in New Orleans, and Blog #3 was on drinking at night in New Orleans—and no, drinking need not be limited to the dark hours in this town.

The dock at Cajun Encounters.

The dock at Cajun Encounters.

For our next New Orleans adventure, we went 40 minutes east of the city to Slidell. Honey Island Swamp is 20 miles long, and a good portion of it is protected for wildlife conservation. A large number of boat tour companies operate within the protected section of the swamp, and we chose Cajun Encounters on a recommendation. It’s $25 for a day tour of the swamp, and with a tour that takes about 90 minutes, it’s well worth it. I thought it a deal in all honesty. They offer transportation from New Orleans for an extra $20 if you don’t have a car.

First view of the river. Click twice for the largest picture.

First view of the river. Click twice for the largest picture.

Who doesn’t love Spanish moss?

Who doesn’t love Spanish moss?

Our tour guide was super nice and pretty entertaining for a man with only a few months under his belt. Questions were always welcome. We went through three distinct areas of swamp. The first was similar to a standard riverbank but with plenty of Spanish moss, reddish leaves, and cypress outcroppings called knees.

Knees in the water.

Knees in the water.

This was December, which means winter and the least active time for the swamp’s wildlife, so we were cautioned we wouldn’t see a lot of it. We didn’t, but there were some creatures to encounter!

Turtles on the left.

Turtles on the left.

Plenty of snapping turtles lined the banks, and they’d dive into the water when we got close.

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