You long for adventure and yearn to travel. You need and deserve a vacation. When was the last time you used your suitcase? Where is your suitcase – permanently wedged under your bed? You could paper train a kennel full of dogs with the stacks of newspaper articles saved from the Travel/Leisure section. But it’s Monday, and your laundry bag lies on the floor looking and smelling like some dead thing the cat dragged in. And trust me, your cat isn’t gonna do your laundry for you, and somewhere in that bag, surrounded by moldy wet towels, are your work clothes for tomorrow.
Your momma would be proud—without any assistance from your cat, you washed, dried and even folded your laundry. And in between cycles you ran all your errands, and now your cat is napping upon your dryer-warmed, clean clothes. Now, back away from the laundry basket, grab your sunglasses, some pocket money and go to the river—it’s time for that vacation!
Every half-hour at the foot of Canal Street, a respite from the city is being offered and it is only $2. The sense of escape actually begins while waiting to board. All you need do is close your eyes, listen and imagine. For me, the breaking wake from passing boats, the mew-like squawking of seagulls and the watery smells put me in mind of San Francisco Bay one minute and the Florida Keys the next. But don’t linger in this dreamy state too long lest you be mistaken for someone napping (and risk the ire of our president-elect who prefers erect posture and bright-eyed behavior). Besides, it’s time to board and set a course for adventure, your heart on a new romance … Sorry, too much Nick at Night.
Be sure to ride on the first deck, which is open-air and level with the river. Not only does this afford you a great view under the docks where you just know a body is wedged between the pilings from some Mafia hit (sorry, too many B-movies), but it also puts you eye-to-eye with brown pelicans. These magnificent birds toss caution to the wind and body surf water rushing from the ferry’s propelled wake. It seems these creatures are unaware of Old Man River’s EPA rating.
Once the ferry pulls away from its berth, the panoramic view of the Quarter and CBD is undeniably the best. The Algiers Ferry ride is a mere 15 minutes, but suddenly you are light years away from the routine of dodging traffic, sidestepping trash and threading through tourists. From this vantage point, New Orleans can rightfully compete with the great cities of the world while our river takes on the attributes given it by literature and lore. Midway across to Algiers Point you might even get a whiff of salty Gulf air traveling the wind currents of the river. At about this point, you are thinking how good a cold beer might taste, but don’t worry. You know me; I will lead you to that watering hole as soon as we dock.
Algiers Point, founded in 1719, is a quiet juxtaposition to metro New Orleans banking across the water, and if you blur your eyes and think big it is much like New Jersey looking across the Hudson to Manhattan. Just moments ago was the hustle and bustle of downtown, and now you enter a peaceful little neighborhood that may look like Mobile, but is still in New Orleans, so of course a bar is nearby.
As you walk from the terminal, look to your right and down a sloping street, and you will see on the corner the Dry Dock Café at 133 Delaronde Street (361-8240). This is a great neighborhood bar also offering sustenance for the appetite you gathered on you seafaring journey. Their down-home New Orleans-style menu has rounded up the usual suspects: yummy po-boys, seafood, gumbo, shrimp bisque, salads and, I have it on good authority, “The best hamburger in town.”
Refreshed and replenished, you are now ready to travel to England. Not to worry, you have time. It’s just down the street at 200 Pelican Avenue. The Crown and Anchor is an English style pub featuring ales, lagers and plenty of atmosphere, Tuesday through Sunday beginning at 4:00 in the afternoon. After sitting a spell in this cozy pub with its nicely displayed paintings, books, bric-a-brac, soft lighting and exposed wooden beams adorned with antique water jugs (traditionally used to chase shots of whiskey), you start to feel that you are visiting someone’s grandmother—a granny who likes to drink a lot.
Be sure to enjoy such greats as Fuller’s London Pride, Boddington’s or Guinness. To compliment this European style of draughting and pulling back beers you will note colorful bar towels boasting logos of various brews positioned along the bar much like placemats—a paper bev nap would be an insult to a hearty stout.
By now, it’s nearing sunset and you simply must see how beautiful the skyline looks reflecting all those fiery hues—a wonderful distraction from the litter beached along the shores. Before I forget, there is another Algiers Point bar worth the travel. The Old Point Bar at 545 Patterson Street is about a four-block walk from the ferry landing. Call them at 364-0950 to query entertainment schedules. I know, I know, ya wanna go over right now, but you still have laundry to put away and a cat to feed. But if you play your cards right, she’ll never have to know that you went on vacation without her.