Global Wildlife Center. Trouble was, Folsom, La., isn't exactly on the way to New Orleans, and I rarely find myself driving in Louisiana when that's not where I'm headed.
But, the final weekend of September, a dear friend was getting married in Lafayette on Saturday night. So I thought to myself, "Self, we could drive to Folsom, love on some wildlife, then putter over to Lafayette with plenty of time to make the wedding." Not only that, but I could brunch the next morning with another dear friend who happens to call Lafayette home.
One Comfort Suites reservation later, it was a date.
One thing to remember about the Global Wildlife Center: FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THEIR WEBSITE. Our GPS was sending us via what looked to be a shorter route. Wrong. We ended up taking a rather scenic drive through the Folsom area. It may LOOK like the directions on the website tack an additional 20 miles onto the trip. No matter. Just follow them, and you'll be all right.
Once we got there, we felt like our brief detour was worth it. The Center is about 1,000 acres, and they house between 4,500 and 5,000 gorgeous (non-predatory) animals. We saw the sweetest little Asian deer, camels, zebras, giraffes, llamas, and more. We bought a bucket of corn so we could feed them, and the llamas and the giraffes would eat right out of your hand! They were adorable and so soft!
After that, we drove over to Lafayette and checked into our hotel. After freshening up a bit (You never realize how desireable a shower can be until you smell like camel slobber!), we headed out for dinner at a place highly recommended by one of my friends. Marcello's is an Italian restaurant and wine bar, and we fell totally in love with it. We started with the macaroni and cheese appetizer (flavored with truffle butter). Then while Clay and I moved on to half orders of the spaghetti and meatballs and the pasta tritone, hubs got the veal marsala. Every single thing we ordered was absolutely delicious, and I was completely charmed by the half-orders. (What a great idea. You can have an appetizer and a meal and not feel like you are going to pop when you leave.) We washed it down with two glasses of pinot.
Then, I gussied up a bit and went to see my beautiful freind get married. Both the ceremony and the reception were hosted at Vermillionville, an attraction featuring historic houses and other buildings. It was a beautiful night, with a truly beautiful bride.
The next morning, the Bradshaw clan met up with another one of my sweet friends for brunch. Per her suggestion, we chose The French Press. It's an amazing little place, with a casual, neighborhood vibe and fantastic food. I had the stuffed french toast (strawberries and bananas - yum!), Clay had pancakes, and hubs got a giant breakfast sandwich with potatoes. We sipped our coffee, caught up, and filled our bellies!
As we were leaving, the fountains on the square began to play. Clay couldn't resist playing in them, and he ended up completely soaked! Luckily for him, I had a complete change of dry clothing in the car for him. (This is not my first rodeo, people.)
We had such a great time in Folsom and Lafayette! I can't wait for our next trip!