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Weekday Ramblings
by Dot and John Dickinson
 

In retirement, we enjoy short-destination middle of the week trips. We began to schedule these "Weekday Ramblings" because of the ease of preparation (packing), avoiding traffic and congestion, and easier (often less expensive) availability to attractions, lodging and restaurants. Our planning time is now, often, a discussion over morning coffee, a few phone calls or internet "surfing," and stopping for gas on the way out.

Our latest "Weekday Rambling" was to Covington, Louisiana and The Blue Willow Bed and Breakfast. On this one we made a reservation a week in advance via the internet and some telephone calls. We discovered the Blue Willow by perusing its rather extensive website and it proved to be as charming and inviting as the internet pictures had shown.
We arrived on a Tuesday. The Blue Willow is located in old downtown Covington one block south of the main drag of Business 190 a.k.a. E. Boston Street. Nearby are other "be & bees," quaint shops, art galleries, and restaurants.
The gardens and ambience of the historic district of downtown Covington give it the feel of times past. Maureen and Tom Chambless are the proprietors of the Blue Willow and their personal touches were evident in the design and décor. It was apparent that much hard work and love went into creating this special place.
We were assigned to the Orleans suite and upon entering were greeted with soft and romantic Rod Stewart music playing on a CD player. Our lodging included a king sized four poster bed, a kitchenette, a sitting area, a porch balcony and a bathroom complete with a whirlpool tub and separate shower.

 

Upon getting settled, one thing that stood out was the fact that the entire suite was well lit. Ceiling fans and wall sconces added to the charm of the spaces. There was enough lighting in the bathroom so that you could actually see your face when getting dressed in the morning!
The remote control fireplace was a surprise and added to the romance of the sitting area. Above the fireplace were shutters that when opened revealed a television/DVD. There was even a selection of old movies to watch if one so desired. Who wouldn't enjoy Hepburn/Grant in "Charades" again!
The Chamblesses thought of lots of extras to make us feel welcome. Maureen is an accomplished baker and the coffee cakes and muffins were delicious. We think they were supposed to be eaten for breakfast, but we made some coffee, sat on the porch and enjoyed pound cake and croissants in the afternoon. In addition there was fresh fruit, juices, milk, cereal, coffee, chocolate and popcorn. There is no reason to go hungry at the Blue Willow. There was a small placard that warned that "diets are for home" and that guests should enjoy the food that was placed there.
As mentioned, within walking distance of the Blue Willow are numerous shops and restaurants. Some of the restaurants have been opened within the last year by chefs who made their reputations in preKatrina New Orleans. Being able to walk to a restaurant is a treat, since parking is not an issue.
We enjoyed Another Broken Egg (in nearby Mandeville) for breakfast, Coffee Rani for lunch (salad and sandwich), and Del Porto (northern Italian cuisine) for dinner. Grocery/spirits shopping is nearby for dine-in supplies or a late afternoon Chardonnay enjoyed on the porch.
The shops ranged from boutiques, antiques and art galleries. The "old tyme" hardware store, guns and knives and wood carving shops are appealing to the guys. People watching is fun with the mixture of friendly locals and transplanted "Y'ats."
To stretch the enjoyment of the area, a map with a walking tour of the downtown district can be picked up from the Chamber of Commerce just off Highway 190 as you exit the interstate. There are signs pointing the way.
Covington is only a few miles from Mandeville, Madisonville and Abita Springs. Each of these destinations has its own unique history and selections of good food, scenery, boating and fishing and golf courses. But, that's another story.
If you are looking for a enjoyable "Weekday Rambling," try Covington and The Blue Willow Bed and Breakfast.

Tom & Maureen Chambless, Innkeeper / Owners
Blue Willow B & B
505 East Rutland Street
Covington, LA 70433
http://www.bluewillowbandb.com/
(985)892-0011- bluewillowbandb@earthlink.net 

"Come enjoy life as it was meant to be."
 
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