Sunday, May 01, 2011

Fountainbleau State Park Update

Across Lake Ponchartrain from New Orleans lies St. Tammany Parish.

I have called the eastern part of the Parish home for over 30 years. While I adore all that New Orleans has to offer, I prefer the quiet of the northshore. A truely beautiful attraction in St. Tammany is Fontainebleau State Park .

Located about an hour from the city, Fontainebleau is a world apart from the music, food, unique individuals and wonderful ambiance of the Crescent City.

This past Friday hubby and I headed out to the park to check out the health of the area since Katrina and the BP Oil Spill. Good news: all is well at Fontainebleau. The following pictures should give you an idea how nicely things are going.

The Visitors' Center is newly completed and has some fascinating items from the park's past. It also offers picnic tables and bathrooms.

This sign used to be hung out on Highway 190. If you look closely you will see that where it says "Cold Beer" it looks a little scratched out. Our host told us that the sign originally said "sandwiches" until they realized that cold beer would bring more people into the park. :)

The Center is located right behind what used to be a sugar mill.

The Visitors' Center itself is fascinating. It gives one the opportunity to learn about the geology and ecology of our region

This display shows all of the different areas of activity at the park: from camping to swimming.

There are miles of hiking/biking trails.

On the far eastern edge of the park are about a dozen cabins ready to be rented for about $120/nite. In these days of high gas prices, we are considering renting one instead of taking a road trip for vacation this year.

We spent a week in a cabin in 2008 and loved it.

It was very peaceful and close enough to restaurants and stores AND home. The perfect spot. But I digress......

Leaving the Visitors' Center the road curves around. In the middle of the curve this is the first sight you see

This row of magnificent live oak trees marches towards the lake. There were many more oaks before Katrina, but these are all that survived the flooding.

I could still see the beauty in these oaks

As you get closer to the lake, there is a trailhead off to your left. This will lead you in three different directions. We were headed towards the boardwalk that brings you out into the wetlands.

It is out here that Katrina's destruction is still visible.

But nature is resilient. These wetlands hold so much life! While out here on the boardwalk, the only sound you hear is the wind and the very lovely call of the redwing blackbird.

This little crab was trying to bury himself in the mud.

There had to be a reason why this sign was put up. :)

The beachfront of the park has been expanded and is really very nice.

The fishing pier is alway busy.

This picture of New Orleans was taken from the pier.

This little weather vane sits atop the building that houses bathrooms and dates back to the 20's.

To the east of the beach is a trail that follows what used to be a line of cypress trees. It is inside this area where you can find a quiet piece of beach and a little shade to enjoy the day.

Here are some other things we captured during our visit

Here is a link to my album containing all my pictures from this wonderful place

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