Plan Your Escape to the Happiest City in America
Lafayette is at the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun & Creole Country, an area known as the Happiest City in America by the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.com and it’s no mystery why. Their distinctive blend of food, music and culture has people from all over are heading down south with a smile on their face.
The region’s history dates back to the 18th century, when Canada’s Acadians were expelled in the late 1700s and settled in Louisiana. More than two centuries later tourists come to Lafayette to get a rare taste of the genuine Acadian experience, from traditional food fixings and music to the warm hospitality that greets you at every turn.
For a taste of genuine history, visit Vermilionville, a historic and folklife village that demonstrates Acadian, Creole and Native American history form the time period 1765 – 1890. The park sits on a 23-acre site on the banks of the Bayou Vermilion with 19 attractions, including seven restored original homes with more than 13 local artisans that provide demonstrations on a variety of essential crafts performed by the early settlers. Inside or outside this historical village, it’s always easy to find locals who can switch effortlessly into French when the need arises.
No matter what time of year you visit Lafayette they will have something for you to celebrate. That’s in large part because the region is teeming with celebratory events year round, from the largest outdoor francophone festival in the world, Festival International, to the fall’s Festival Acadiens et Creoles and of course Mardi Gras.
Lafayette truly comes alive in the fall and spring with remarkable weather to compliment the multitude of events and festivals. One thing unique to Lafayette is the free concert series that take place in the fall and spring. Kick off your weekend early on Thursday with Rhythms on the River, a free evening concert held in River Ranch’s Town Square. Bach Lunch, a free popular lunchtime music series that takes place on Fridays in Downtown Lafayette, couples local food with music for all ages. The fun continues into the evening with Downtown Alive!, another local favorite concert series offering free music from regional artists of all genres.
Lafayette has the Cajun & Creole flavors you crave, along with the freshest in Louisiana seafood, and always a little something unexpected. Homegrown chefs are putting an inventive spin on time-honored recipes with the freshest local ingredients. But don’t take their word for it. Lafayette has received many awards for their cuisine including being named the Tastiest Town of the South by Southern Living magazine, Best Food Town by Rand McNally and a Top 10 Foodie City by Livability.com.
One staple to the area’s unique cuisine is the smoked pork and rice delicacy known as boudin. While the ingredients are basic, the variations of how to cook boudin are endless, which is why you need to take a trip down the Boudin Trail. Stretching across the metro area there are a dozen restaurants cooking boudin every which way you can imagine, and some you can’t.
For the less adventurous Cajun Food Tours takes you through the culinary mainstays of Cajun culture all the while sharing tidbits of history. Leave the driving and decision making to a local while you sit and soak in everything Lafayette has to offer.
Whether your passion is for their rich cultural history, the bustling culinary scene or distinctive blend of Cajun and Zydeco music, you can be sure you will leave beaming from ear to ear.
Anyone who has seen Gone With the Wind remembers the burning of Atlanta scene. But something big happened before the Union army got to the city: a major battle to the north at Kennesaw Mountain, near Marietta, that was key to the Atlanta Campaign in mid-1864. Today’s Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is the only National Park Service property that commemorates the Atlanta Campaign.
With forested hillsides and green pastures, it’s the definition of serenity. Imagine the mayhem of battle as you walk on one of the 18 miles of interpretive trails, examine the hastily built breastworks, and attend a ranger-led program. Dig a bit deeper and learn that this land was home to Cherokee Indians who had started farming the land before they were forced onto the Trail of Tears and relocated to Oklahoma. NPS.gov/kemo