On December 30th, Jon and I celebrated four years together. Some days, I can’t believe we’ve been together that long, and other days, it’s so obvious (like when we say the same thing three times in a row). We didn’t have a traditional celebration of a fancy dinner or anything like that. Instead, Jon planned the whole day, and he took me to do something that I had been wanting to do for a long time – explore Shreveport!
I know it’s strange that I wanted to explore the city that I’ve lived in for several years, but there are so many things that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time that I just haven’t had the time to do. Jon took advantage of our free day together, and he planned a day of things to do that have been on my list for awhile.
One thing that I must admit is that I don’t mind being a tourist. Of course, I love to go off the beaten path and discover new things and new places in untraditional ways, but at the same time, if I’ve never been somewhere before, I love to hit the highlights of the city with my camera around my neck. Even though I’ve been living in Shreveport for awhile, I still had my tourist shoes on and my camera out.
Being a tourist in your own town can be a lot of fun! There are always new restaurants and mom and pop shops that shuffle in and out of cities unnoticed. Instead of going to the same places over and over again, explore and discover places that you’ve never been before. I love going to hole-in-the-wall restaurants and shopping at stores that can’t be found in malls.
The first thing Jon did was feed me. He knows me. He loves me. He knows I have to eat before we do anything. He took me to eat lunch at Herby K’s, which is one of the oldest restaurants in Shreveport. It’s been around since 1936, and it’s the literal definition of a hole-in-the-wall. It’s in the middle of nowhere with nothing of substance around it, but apparently, back in the day, the area used to be pretty hoppin’.
I believe there are two different areas of the restaurant, but the area Jon and I went to was small with just a few booths and a bar area. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with the service we received. The girl who seated us and took our order wasn’t very friendly. Working in the hospitality industry, I guess I expect a little too much.
We ordered fried pickles for an appetizer, which came with fries. They were really good, albeit a bit salty, and I love salt, so I thought it was strange that I thought it was too salty.
Jon ordered a burger, and I got a fried oyster sandwich. My sandwich was so good, and Jon pretty much inhaled his burger. Another complaint about the service – I’m an indecisive person, and if I can’t decide between two dishes at a restaurant, I’ll ask the server for a suggestion. When I ordered my sandwich, she asked if I wanted any sauce. I asked her which one she’d recommend because I didn’t see any listed on the menu. All she said was, “It depends on what you like,” without giving me any options. It was my first time there, so I didn’t know what sauces were available.
With all that being said, the guy who picked up our plates was super nice, and both Jon and I really enjoyed our meals.
After lunch, we drove to Great Raft Brewing, because we had passed it on the drive to Herby K’s, and I had been wanting to take a brewery tour ever since it opened a few years back. While I’m not a beer drinker, I still wanted to take a tour of the brewery. Beer tours are free and are only done on Saturdays. It was interesting to learn about the process of making beer, and how so many different elements and techniques go into it. It was also neat to hear about why locally brewed beers taste completely different from beers made by larger beer manufacturers.
Another thing I love about Great Raft, is that they have a 5 oz. option. Like I said, I’m not a beer drinker, but it was neat to get a smaller size of beer to taste. They were only $2!
After our mini beer tasting, Jon decided we needed a little wine. We drove to the boonies to go to On Cloud Wine, which is this adorable little winery in Shreveport. I’ve had their wine before, because I bought some at the Farmers’ Market, but I had never been to the winery and had been wanting to go so much!
During regular business hours, On Cloud Wine offers tastings at their wine bar. For just $5, we got to sample eight different wines of our choosing. I love wine tasting, and this was so fun. Our wine connoisseur was so nice, and they even had some popcorn out for us to snack on during our tasting. We ended up going home with two bottles of wine.
The last thing on our Shreveport tourist agenda was to visit the Norsworthy Art Gallery. Too bad it was closed! It was regular business hours, but for some reason, the gate in the front of the building was closed and padlocked. We ended up going to the Norton Art Gallery, which is absolutely gorgeous. I had been to the gallery twice before, once with Jon, but it was still beautiful. They don’t allow any picture taking in the building or in the gardens, so I didn’t get to take any pictures, but just trust me when I say, it’s full of gorgeous paintings. There were many that made me want to go back to Europe (except I always want to go back to Europe). One thing that we got to do that I’ve never been able to do before is go in the library at the gallery. It was filled with old books that I wish I could’ve gotten my hands on. It was so neat.
Jon and I had a blast being tourists in our own town, and so can you! Here are some ways that you can be a tourist where you live:
// Try a restaurant you’ve never been to.
// Visit a museum or art gallery in your area.
// Stay at a local hotel. Sleeping in a bed that isn’t yours always feels like a vacation.
// Attend a local event or festival.
// Go out on the town and only visit places you’ve never been to before.
// Take a walk or hike at a park.
// Go to your local CVB’s or tourist bureau’s website, and visit some of the attractions listed there that you haven’t been to.
Get out of your routine of eating at the same restaurants, going to the same attractions, and visiting the same places. There is so much to explore in your little area of the world. Take advantage of it.
What’s something fun that you like (or would like) to do in the city you live in?