New Orleans is a fantastic, exciting city. For me, it makes for a wonderful, sightseeing vacation, yet I never envisioned living there. On all my trips to the Crescent City over the last 20 years, I had yet to discover what lies north beyond Lake Pontchartrain. I knew there had to be something on the other side, but I had no idea how special that something would be. So, one day I jumped in the car and headed off to explore.
I traveled along the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge, a 24-mile span that boasts being the longest bridge over water in the world. What I discovered on the north side is St. Tammany Parish, also referred to as the Louisiana Northshore. While it is under 30 minutes from New Orleans, it might as well be a world away. Of course there are similarities in the sense of culture, architecture and great food. However, St. Tammany Parish offers a welcoming calmness. The area originally grew as a weekend retreat and suburbs, and St. Tammany Parish is now home to charming small cities, incredible recreation, fabulous restaurants and beautiful homes.
I first came upon Mandeville, a picturesque place along the lake. Here, you can enjoy an entire day without leaving the shore! Spend the morning out on the lake, enjoy a picnic at your choice of several lakefront locations, and then enjoy dinner at one of Mandeville’s many spectacular restaurants. I met friends at Rip’s on the Lake, a fantastic dining option with wonderful food and an amazing setting for sunsets! Mandeville is also home to Fontainebleau State Park, a 2,800-acre park with cabins, campsites, playground, hike-and-bike trails, fishing and so much more.
If Mandeville is any indication of life in Southeast Louisiana, I now can see retreating there more often. On the Northshore, that is!
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