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October 2017

October 2017

Get Your Crave On

I was in downtown Alexandria recently to experience A Very Merry Market, the first event of 2017 along the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights. It was a family friendly event that gave kids an opportunity to meet their favorite Disney characters. Afterwards, I decided to stop by Crave, a local coffee shop, to get a snack because it is so conveniently located near the Alexandria Riverfront Center, where A Very Merry Market happened.

Crave’s location makes it the best place to get a hot drink during Alexandria/Pineville’s largest holiday festival AlexWinterFete beginning on Thursday Nov. 30 to Saturday Dec. 2. The festival will be held in the downtown area, and Crave sits right in the middle of the fun. If you get a little cold while enjoying the ice-skating, Santa, snow, Indie Village, live music, food and shopping of AlexWinterFete, Crave is right around the corner with a cup of warmth.

Crave also serves breakfast and lunch, but it is a coffee shop first offering frappes, lattes and brewed coffee. It also sells tea and smoothies. For the holidays, Crave is offering pumpkin spice lattes. Its most popular drink is the caramel frappe for $3.50. You can also get the Crave Breakfast for $9. The meal consist of your choice of sausage or bacon, two eggs, cheese grits, and a bread product of your choice. For lunch, get the smoked chicken sandwich with Applewood smoked bacon for $8.

Crave is owned and operated by the Atwood family of Atwood’s Bakery, one of the most trusted bakeries by locals since 1977. About three years ago, Jennifer Atwood, the daughter, decided to follow her parents’ example and open her own establishment.

Crave is located at 908 3rd Street in Alexandria. It is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday – Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about Crave, find them on Facebook.

Alexandria/Pineville is one of eight festive cities located along the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights. Other partner cities include Shreveport-Bossier, Minden, Monroe-West Monroe and Natchitoches. For a complete list of holiday-related events or help planning a trip during the holidays visit www.HolidayTrailofLights.com

Antiques & Art on Main: Great One-Stop-Shop

Items that are 20- to- 99-years-old are considered vintage, and items more than 100- years old are deemed an antique. You can find both in bulk at Antiques & Art on Main in Minden located at 700 Main Street. The store was formerly operated as People’s Bank in the late 1990s, which adds to the overall experience of searching for historic keepsakes stashed on three floors from 14 different vendors.

Many of the rooms are themed. Some rooms feature an oriental ambiance, English and French styles, a ‘70s kitchen, a dated bar room, mid-century modern bedroom styles, and more. As you enter each room, you feel like you’ve experienced time travel to various eras.

Since the holidays are quickly approaching, this is the perfect one-stop shop for anyone looking to purchase bedroom and bathroom décor, cookware, dishes, books, bedding, wedding gowns, industrial pieces, crystal, paintings, records, magazines, mirrors and more.

“Some of the most popular pieces include Pyrex cookware, quilts, milk glass, iron stone dishes, chalk paint, fine china, and those timeless Coca-Cola pieces that everyone loves,” said Tess Kemp-Lee, part owner of Antiques & Art on Main. “Our vendors are so creative and produce their own pieces. One vendor produces motion-detected chandeliers from old bedsprings, mason jars, and window frames.”

After spending an hour or so in and out of the thematic rooms, I was impressed with the endless possibilities for gift giving. I started with myself. I kept eyeing this cupcake holder and I just couldn’t resist the urge to purchase it. It was white with a unique design, but worked perfectly with the 70’s kitchen table display. I had to make it mine! My personal kitchen is very modern, but this handmade cupcake holder would be just the flawless touch that my counter needed. I just had to have it!

You might find yourself with that same urge if you visit this quaint downtown Minden charm. If you are here during the holidays, which are quickly approaching, Antiques & Art on Main will be offering specialty Christmas teas, hot cocoa, Christmas records and other great gift ideas.

To learn more about the antique shop like them on Facebook or visit the website antiquesandartonmain.com or call 318-602-0278.

Minden is one of eight festive cities located along the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights. Other partner cities include Shreveport-Bossier, Monroe-West Monroe, Natchitoches and Alexandria/Pineville. For a complete list of holiday-related events or help planning a trip during the holidays visit www.HolidayTrailofLights.com.

Take a Road Trip along the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights

Do something different this holiday season and take a road trip! It doesn’t matter who you bring along. You can gather your extended family, rally together your coworkers or round up your old friends from school, when you visit one or more of the cities that make up the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights you are bound to have a great time! But remember, the more the merrier, so grab as many people as you can and let’s head down the Trail.

The Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights is made up of eight of the most popular cities in north Louisiana: Shreveport-Bossier, Minden, Monroe-West Monroe, Natchitoches and Alexandria/Pineville. Each city is within an hour’s drive of the next when traveling I-20 and I-49. If traveling from east to west, start your trip in Monroe-West Monroe, the city that has been made famous by A&E 's hit TV series Duck Dynasty. In downtown West Monroe you will find Antique Alley, a street lined with antique shops and boutiques that offer souvenirs and collectables. In the middle of Antique Alley is Miss Kay’s Sweets & Eats, founded by Miss Kay Robertson of Duck Dynasty.

After leaving Monroe-West Monroe travel to Minden. Main Street, located in downtown, is lined with a variety of shops and restaurants. It’s worth your time to visit the Dorcheat Museum, which has exhibits that celebrate this community’s German heritage and relaxed way of living.

Just a short 20 minute drive west of Minden is Shreveport-Bossier. The sister cities, connected by the Red River, offer six riverboat casinos, Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets, and more than two dozen Christmas related events. The Louisiana Boardwalk is a great one-stop-shop for shopping, dining, and overnighting with two hotels on the property. The Boardwalk overlooks the Red River and is a local backdrop for pictures because of its beauty and the neon glow of nearby casinos. During the holiday season, this beauty is decorated with lights, a 40-foot-tall Christmas tree, and “snow” to set the holiday mood.

After leaving Shreveport-Bossier, head south on I-49. Next stop: Natchitoches! Named by USA Today’s Readers’ Choice “Best Southern Small Town” in 2016. This city is known for its’ holiday spirit. It will be celebrating its’ 91st Christmas Celebration this year, and has just been named by Southern Living to be one of the “Best Small Towns for Christmas in the South.” I can truly say, they deserve this title. Natchitoches has it all: parades, lights, shopping, dining, history, fireworks, and culture.

Your final destination on the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights is Alexandria/Pineville, and it is a stop you don’t want to miss. Experience the Alexandria Zoo like you have never seen it before. Thousands of glistening Christmas lights turn this jungle into a Holiday Light Safari! Enjoy train rides, animal themed light displays, entertainment, photo ops and so much more.

To plan your road trip along the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights, visit www.holidaytrailoflights.com.

Let's Go to Eddie's

When I travel to Alexandria, I always stop at Eddie’s Smokehouse and Seafood. Eddie's offers delicious barbecue to keep you coming back. The first time I remember eating at Eddie’s was with my dad. I had to catch a flight from Alexandria International Airport. My dad was dropping me off. On our way there, we decided to stop for lunch. My dad knows my favorite meal is a slab of barbecue ribs. As soon as the doors open, the tasteful aroma of pit smoked meats escape. Eddie's serves barbecue, burgers, salads, po-boys, pasta, and dessert. Currently, they have a "Hot Off the Block" lunch special for $7.99. I got what I always get when ordering barbecue: a three meat plate with sausage, dark meat chicken, ribs, potato salad, and baked beans. The meat was well prepared and topped off with original barbecue sauce.

Eddie’s is hands-down one of my favorite barbecue restaurants. The staff works quickly when preparing the food and is extremely kind when serving customers. Aside from having great food, Eddie's also has a heart for the community. It is known to get involved in the community and with the local colleges.

Eddie's Smokehouse and Seafood has two locations in Alexandria: 6100 Calhoun Drive and 1024 MacArthur Drive. Both restaurants are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. A new store will be open in Pineville this November. For more information about Eddie's Smokehouse and Seafood, like the Facebook page.

Santa's Christmas Village Opens, Nov. 18

As parents, you want your children to have the best holiday experience possible. Christmas lights and parades are fun, but sometimes kids need to run around and burn a little energy. The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum of Monroe is perfect for just that! Beginning on Nov. 18, your child will be able to explore Santa’s Christmas Village, complete with music, snow and Santa.

One word describes Santa’s Christmas Village: wow! In the parking lot, there will be immediate fun with an ice skating rink. Inside the excitement continues! Your child will be able to write letters to Santa, decorate cookies, enjoy story time with Mrs. Claus, and play in the "snow" that falls every hour. You do not want to miss the “Tree Jays,” the talking Christmas tree talk show.

The exhibits at the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum are not only fun for kids, but they are also educational. And since the museum is a small building, you can keep your eyes on your child without constantly having to follow him or her around. There is never a dull moment when visiting Santa’s Christmas Village.

The Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum is located at 323 Walnut Street, Monroe, La. Santa's Christmas Village will be open from Nov. 18 to Dec. 23 from 5-8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1-6 p.m. on Sundays. Be sure to visit the website at www.nelcm.org for more information about holiday events.

Let's Trim the Tree and Hang the Lights

It’s almost time to start decorating your home with the trees and bells that help make Christmas so beautiful. This year, I decided to go to the Christmas Shop of Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile in Natchitoches to find décor for my home. Prior to my visit, I had heard a lot of good things about the store, but, between you and me, I had never thought about going to a general store to buy Christmas decorations.

You can imagine my surprise when I stepped onto the second floor of the general store. It had some of the most stunning Christmas decorations I had ever laid eyes on. There were flashing pictures that to hang on walls and these cute pair of elf legs that you hang from the fireplace. Imagine your kids’ reaction when they see elves climbing down the chimney!.

The Christmas Shop also had trains, Christmas trees and a wide variety of ornaments. Some of the ornaments were Louisiana inspired. One ornament was of tiny fishing waders and boots. That just screams “Sportsman’s Paradise”. My favorite ornaments were of the pets. The one of the terrier in the holiday sweater reminded me of my puppy when I dress him up. I just had to buy that one. The store also had a lot of spiritual ornaments and decorations, including baby Jesus in a manger and the Three Wise Men.

If you need to restock your Christmas decorations, the Christmas Shop at Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile is a great place to start. This store has been around for more than 150 years and is a trusted name in north Louisiana. It is located at 758 Front Street in Natchitoches. For more information, find them on Facebook or visit the website.