Since graduating college I have developed a recurring sickness. It comes on quickly and tends to be triggered by jaw droppingly beautiful locations. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I have a severe case of real estate envy.
While in New Orleans last week for work my coworker and I decided to spend our only free day in town (our last day) doing all the touristy things we'd been longing to do all week. To kick off our day of fun we hopped abroad the St. Charles Street trolley car.
We heard about the trolley car during our first hour in New Orleans. The shuttle bus driver who picked us up at the airport recommended we ride the trolley car to see all of downtown NOLA. He said it costs $1.25 each way and it goes 8 miles in one direction and then turns around and comes back. He assured us it was the best way to see the city.
We walked to the stop closest to our hotel which was marked with a yellow sign. We paid our $1.25 and each took a window seat.
As we moved through downtown I started to notice that in addition to the tourists (who clearly got the same advice we did) there were plenty of locals using the trolley car like a public bus. I wouldn't mind commuting to work on one of these every day!
We were on the trolley car maybe 20 minutes we started to see the mansions. When we talked about this plan during dinner the night before my coworker said, "I just want to see where Benjamin Button lived!"
The sprawling homes continued on for miles. I noticed that white seems to be a very popular color for the exterior of these palaces.
These homes were so incredible. I don't think even ELLE Decor or Architectural Digest could dream up places this magnificent.
About half way through the trip we stopped at Louisiana Avenue. Like a true tourist, I had to get a photo. If I were doing "Flat Stanley" this would be the money shot.
As we made our way through town I couldn't help but notice the incredible number of churches and that was just on St. Charles Street! Who knows how many there are in the whole city.
After making our way past the houses and the churches, toward the end of the line you pass Tulane and Loyola, which both have stunning entrances. I could see how a 17 year old touring those schools would feel mesmerized just from the entrance gate!
At the end of the 8 miles the conductor asks you to get off the trolley car. He then flips a few switches to turn the steering wheel, the seats and the tracks in the other direction, then you hop back on.
While we were waiting for him to make the switch, I took a look down the tracks and saw that the trolley route is actually quite pretty.
On the second leg of the trip I couldn't help but notice all the beads hanging from the trees. Mardi Gras was the week before we arrived and apparently people throw beads up into the trees (or the beads get stuck there on the way down). Take a look at the beads in front of this one house:
How funny is that? Still there a week later!
Riding the trolley car was great for so many reasons. We got to enjoy the sunny weather, see all of downtown New Orleans without walking a single step and we fulfilled my coworkers dream of seeing the Benjamin Button houses. The only thing that could have made it better was if the driver served as tour guide. Here in Boston the Duck Tour and the trolley cars all have drivers that tell you the history of the city and that answer questions. There is no history lesson on the St. Charles Street trolley car.
Though I had a severe real estate envy flair up, I managed to go on to enjoy the rest of our day.