Easy Escapes

Easy Southern Escapes: Covington, Louisiana

by  Melanie Warner Spencer | Jan 4, 2016
Tammany Trace Bike Trail
Tammany Trace Bike Trail / Melanie Warner Spencer

Founded in 1813, Covington, Louisiana is a hidden Southern gem. Tree-lined streets give way to a downtown filled with boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and historic homes. Breweries and pubs offer plenty of places to imbibe and catch live music, and those who love to bike will be in heaven on the Tammany Trace Trail. This surprising Louisiana town will rise to the top of your list of favorite places for a quick getaway.

Activities: Antique stores, galleries, and boutiques line the picturesque streets of Historic downtown Covington. Wander in and out of shops and sip coffee or a glass of wine at one of the nearby bistros. The H.J. Smith & Sons General Store and Museum is worth a stop. Specializing in curiosities and items steeped in history, you can see or buy everything from animal skins to hardware. On the Tammany Trace Trail, rent bikes or head out on foot through the pine trees, creeks, and parks. The farmer’s market at the center of town is a delightful Saturday morning diversion, and the Second Saturday Evening Stroll (held January, February, March, May, June, August, September, and December) is the perfect way to experience the art and culture of the city.

Food & Drink: With positive nods from Zagat’s and the James Beard Foundation, David and Torre Solazzo’s Del Porto Ristorante is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The Antipasti menu includes Carpaccio, paté, pork belly confit, and fresh Gulf oysters. Get the Parmesan risotto with local mushrooms and white truffle oil and finish with braised lamb shank or seared sea scallops. The Chimes dishes up elevated Louisiana-style comfort food in a casual atmosphere on decks overlooking the Bogue Falaya River and a vast selection of craft beer. Be sure to hit The Covington Brewhouse (the tasting room is open Thursdays and Fridays 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.). If you miss the tasting room hours, walk to the nearby Columbia Street Tap Room and Grill for local, regional, and national beers.

Stay: The Camellia House Bed & Breakfast ($110 to $185 per night) offers comfort and convenience in a charming, raised Louisiana cottage in the middle of the historic district. Enjoy in-room continental breakfast, lush courtyard gardens, a swimming pool, a hot tub and fire pit, hammock, and bicycles. Each suite has a private entrance and is appointed with comfort in mind, featuring overstuffed furniture, porches, and fresh flowers.

Getting There: Fly into the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and drive 43 miles via I-10 East to N. Causeway Boulevard/Lake Pontchartrain Causeway to US-190.

Columbia Street Taproom / Melanie Warner Spencer
Center of town / Melanie Warner Spencer
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