On July 9, Grandma turned 70. She invited the whole family to join her on a trip to Lafayette for a long weekend. We left on her actual birthday, and we didn’t drive. We took an Amtrak train. Over the Huey P. Long bridge. So cool.
The boys were so excited, as were the rest of us. Traveling on a train is so much more relaxing than being on a plane. It took us longer to get there, but the journey on the train was so enjoyable. We didn’t have to stay in our seats, we could move around whenever we wanted, and there were lots of sights to see along the way.
We actually passed by the Ringling Brothers Circus train on our way out of town! So neat. And very long.
Grandma was especially excited to go over the HPL bridge, which is located 135 feet above the Mississippi River.
The boys had a great time playing trucks and Legos and reading during our time on the train, while the rest of us took in the pretty scenery. We made a couple of stops in other cities and then finally arrived in Lafayette.
Grandpa and Grandma rented a house in New Iberia for all of us to stay in for three nights. Rory fell asleep on our way there from the train station and ended up getting a fairly decent nap in.
When he woke up, he explored the house and the grounds on the banks of Bayou Teche. He loved all of the hills in the backyard!
We stayed in that first night and worked together to cook Grandma’s birthday dinner of salmon, potatoes, and vegetables. Then we put candles in a red velvet cake and sang to the birthday girl before everyone crashed for the night. Day 1, done!
The next day, we drove to the Cypress Island Preserve between St. Martinville and Breaux Bridge to explore and learn more about Louisiana marshland. There were a few short boardwalks through the marsh, as well as a visitor center with a gorgeous mural, lots of information to read, and various artifacts to see. It was hot but it was pretty.
After about an hour, we left the preserve and drove back into Lafayette. We went to Walk On’s for lunch (where Rory put a sticker on his belly button) before heading downtown and to the Lafayette Science Museum. Grandma was especially excited to take the boys there. There were lots of cool skeletons, crystals and geodes, bugs, space exploration memorabilia, a planetarium, and much more. The planetarium show was extremely cool; Riley was riveted for much of it and the adults were thoroughly impressed.
On our way back to the house, we made a very special stop. We drove to Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where my Riley-bean was born almost 6 years ago, to visit his fish. Grandma and Grandpa bought Riley a commemorative fish when he was born as part of the “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, New Fish” exhibit. He’s certainly changed in six years, hasn’t he?
I had a little moment walking through those halls with him, seeing the waiting room where our family was all day long and looking into the windows where they first caught a glimpse of him. It was so very special.
We said goodbye to his fish and left the hospital. We had originally intended to go out to eat but decided we would rather chill at the house instead. We ate a great dinner of pork, sweet potatoes, and vegetables, the boys had some Lego time afterwards, and then they passed out. The adults, meanwhile stayed up to play a rousing game of Taboo and didn’t get to bed until after midnight. Day two, done!
The recap of the rest of our trip coming up next!