"It's another beautiful day at The Bluffs."
That's what you hear when telephoning the charming resort on the outskirts of St. Francisville, Louisiana. And it's not just a good public relations ploy. The whole world seems to shine brighter when you visit this blooming spot.
Base your explorations at The Lodge at The Bluffs, with its 29 suites. One-bedroom suites come complete with tastefully appointed living rooms, comfy beds, and wireless Internet access. One of the two-bedroom suites includes a full kitchen, perfect for a couples' or girls' getaway. Lodge guests also enjoy the use of the recreational facilities, Arnold Palmer golf course, and fitness center. Rocking chairs on the veranda lure folks outdoors.
Stroll on the paved walking trail, or amble down to The Chapel. The nondenominational space features an outdoor bell tower and a bell hailing from Ponchatoula, Louisiana. The European stained glass was fashioned into a window by a local artisan, as were the front doors. Blooming azaleas add dashes of color to the walnut, cypress, and knotty pine woods used in the building.
Wander down to the golf course, and you'll get an idea of why famed artist John James Audubon sketched drafts of some of his most-well known works in this area. Azaleas line the greens with splashes of pink, while birds dart from shrub to tree.
In the evening, head toward The Bluffs House, where you'll find two fabulous restaurants. At Eighteen, the resort's fine dining establishment, sample the Poisson De Haley, which consists of panko-crusted fresh Gulf fish, pan-fried and served over purple Peruvian potatoes. Creekside Grille features a more casual menu of burgers and fried seafood.
Sit on the veranda before dinner to watch the sun set over Thompson Creek. It's been another beautiful day at The Bluffs.
The Lodge at the Bluffs: www.thebluffs.com, (225) 634-5222, or 1-888-634-3410. Rates: start at $159 per night.
Birds, Flowers, and More
Audubon Pilgrimage takes place March 14, 15, and 16 in St. Francisville. Visit Oakley Plantation House, where the great artist lived. Also tour Rosedown Plantation's 28 acres of formal gardens. Another don't miss--Afton Villa Gardens--has a grand avenue canopied by live oaks and azaleas. The annual Antique Show and Sale also occurs during these dates. www.audubonpilgrimage.info or (225) 635-6330.
The best time to find azaleas in full bloom is in late March. You can see them peeking out in places you might not expect. Check out the beautiful Grace Church downtown.
"A Louisiana Getaway " is from the March 2008 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.