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Travel Treasures departments

May/June 2015 Issue

Savor amazing food and wine at New Orleans culinary event

Whether you fancy yourself a gourmand or a connoisseur of fine wine or just someone who enjoys good food and wine, the 23rd Annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is where you’ll want to be this May.

Considered one of the nation’s elite culinary events, the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) attracts more than 12,000 foodies and wine aficionados, as well as art and music lovers. This year’s event will be held May 20–23, featuring hundreds of wineries and restaurants.

The festival wonderfully spotlights the city’s legendary restaurants along with fine wines. Top chefs from the city create culinary experiences like no other, featuring local flavor and innovative new creations. The weekend also features more than 1,000 wines from around the world, as well as special tasting events and seminars.

The festival offers a myriad of events, but check ahead of time because most are ticketed. The keystone event is the Royal Street Stroll, a remarkable wine tasting event combined with great shopping. For this ticketed event, winemakers and food tents are positioned along an eight-block stretch of Royal Street.

Spectacularly designed pastries are paired with champagne and spirits at the Big Gateaux Show in the Grand Ballroom at the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street. And the Grand Tasting on Friday and Saturday in the New Orleans Convention Center will feature more wine than you have likely ever seen in one place, and more food from New Orleans’ finest chefs than you will ever experience again.

Also, more than 20 restaurants from all over New Orleans will be welcoming guests on Wednesday night for a fixed-price menu crafted in conjunction with specially selected wines.

For more details about ticket pricing and events, click on


Among the festival’s events are the Royal Street Stroll (above) and Grand Tasting. New Orleans Wine & Food Experience photos



Jackson museum exhibit celebrates canine companions

History has gone to the dogs in a new exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson that will leave visitors howling for more.

“Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs” explores the millennia-old relationship between humans and their canine companions in the largest and most comprehensive traveling exhibition ever created on the history, biology, and evolution of dogs. Opening May 30 and remaining through Jan. 3, 2016, the exhibit sniffs out the facts on the unique role of dogs in human societies and what makes the human/dog relationship so unique.

The exhibit has several themed sections that feature multi-media displays, hands-on components, photo murals, dioramas of wild canines, and sculpted modern breeds. Enter a “howling area” and guess what dogs are saying, test your nose against a dog’s great sense of smell, and climb into an avalanche scene to see what it’s like to be saved by a search-and-rescue dog.

Guests are even encouraged to bring photos of themselves with their dogs to become part of the exhibit.

The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is located at 2148 Riverside Drive in northeast Jackson within LeFleur’s Bluff State Park. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children 3–18. Hours are 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. on Saturday, 1–5 p.m. on Sunday.

Call (601) 576-6000 for more details or visit online.


One exhibit examines the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science photo



Discover the Delta at superb Arkansas museum

Part museum and part radio studio, the Delta Cultural Center this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary of capturing the rhythms of life, music, and river lore in east-central Arkansas.

Located in downtown Helena, the center preserves and interprets the heritage of the Arkansas Delta region, which is dominated by the Mississippi River and rich farmlands. From this area also grew the distinctive Delta blues.

The Delta Cultural Center is actually comprised of two museum locations–the depot and the visitors center. With a focus on music, the Visitors Center features exhibits and listening stations that tell the stories of the Delta’s musical heritage, including blues, gospel, country, and rockabilly.

The visitors center also is home to the longest-running daily blues radio show in the United States, King Biscuit Time. Fans can watch the show being broadcast by “Sunshine” Sonny Payne from 12:15–12:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The depot, located one block south of the Visitors Center, examines the landscape and history of the Delta from prehistoric times to the present, including a look at the Civil War and the inhabitants who have called the Delta home.

The visitors center is at 141 Cherry St., and the depot is at 95 Missouri. Hours for both are 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.

Call (800) 358-0972 for more details, or visit online at



Hear the call of the wild at elk festival

Once numbering in the millions across North America, elk were reduced to a few herds in the West because of shrinking habitat and overhunting, but after being reintroduced in northwest Arkansas in 1981, the majestic animal has made a comeback.

To celebrate the animals’ success–and Newton County’s title of “Elk Capital of Arkansas” because of that recovery–Jasper holds the Buffalo River Elk Festival each summer. In its 18th year, the festival will be held June 26–27 around the city’s Courthouse Square.

The festival features an arts and crafts show, live music, the Arkansas State Championship Elk Calling Contest, and children’s activities, including a fishing derby. There will also be seminars about elk.

Finally, foodies will love the pie competition and auction, as well as the Premier Dutch Oven Cook-off, samples of which will be available after the judging.

Located on Highway 7, Jasper is about 20 miles south of Harrison.

Call (870) 446-2455 for more details, or visit


An elk near the Buffalo National River. Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism photo


Louisiana’s Bayou Teche designated a national treasure

Southwest Louisiana’s Bayou Teche recently became the state’s first waterway to be added to the National Water Trails System, placing it in elite company with only 17 other waterways nationwide honored with the designation.

The Bayou Teche Paddle Trail wanders for 135 miles through four parishes and is easily accessed from Interstate 10 and several state highways. A central waterway within the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, Bayou Teche has a total of 13 established access points for paddle trips as short as seven miles and as long as 135.

Like most Louisiana bayous, Teche is a slow-moving body of water lined by magnolias, oaks, and cypress, and it teems with wildlife. The upper stretches from Port Barre to St. Martinville are ideal for families and inexperienced paddlers. Past St. Martinville, man-made structures, like dams and locks, require advance planning.

A network of “exemplary water trails,” the National Water Trails System was designed to protect the waterways and help people discover their beauty.

For more information, click on or


There are 13 access points along the bayou for paddling. Louisiana Office of Tourism photo

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