Louisiana Posts

Spooky Places to Visit for Halloween

This spooky season there are so many fascinating haunted locations to visit, from a popular film set to a suspected haunted hotel, here are some spooky places to visit on this creepy Halloween weekend. 

Halloween Movie House

Did you know you can visit the real house that was from the Halloween movies? We saw in the Halloween Kills filming locations the house had an interior re-vamp, but the external face remained the same. Take a trip to 1000 Mission Street, North Carolina and you can find the replica of the original house. Just make sure not to disturb the businesses that currently run out of the building!

A creepy abandoned house, looking similar to the one featured in the Halloween movies.

Hotel La Fonda (Santa Fe, New Mexico)

This haunted hotel embodies its complicated past, due to it being built way back in the Old West days. In this spooky place, it’s common for both guests and workers of Hotel La Fonda to witness gunfights between convicts who regularly hung around the gallows at the rear.

The sleeping post is where most ghostly activity occurs, and guests have claimed most spirits are the western gunslingers who occupied the area.

Roller King Skating Rink (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Sticking in the Southwest, the Roller King Albuquerque Rink was famously used as a set for the 4th season of Stranger Things. This roller rink is a great activity to participate in for Halloween, so why not dress up and get your skates on?

Stylised as Rink-O-Mania in the show, bring back the 80’s flare and give it a try. They have a daily schedule through October to fit into your own spooky plans. Make sure to keep an eye out on their website for other festive events this month.

An 80’s Roller Rink inspired the set for Stranger Things Season 4.

The Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, Colorado)

As soon as you arrive at the idyllic driveway of this hotel, you will realise it inspired the hotel from Steven King’s The Shining. This extravagant building plays host to both the Stanley hotel ghost tour and ‘spirited rooms’, meaning you can have a real paranormal experience during your stay! Availability is limited in these rooms, so it’s best to pre-book these as early as you can to get a glimpse of the Stanley hotel ghost.

If you can’t make it to stay overnight at the hotel, we highly recommend the Spirited Tour. This experience lasts around 60 minutes, and the night-time ambience adds to the spooky atmosphere. The knowledgeable storyteller takes you around the hotel itself and through the dark edges, leaving it the perfect place for a few scares this Halloween.

Estes Park, Colorado, USA – October 5, 2019 – Exterior of the Stanley Hotel, inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining, at dusk.

Hotel Retlaw  – Formerly Ramada Plaza Hotel (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin)

The underground tunnels once used by the gangsters of Chicago lead straight into the exit point for this hotel, which was more often than not, used as an escape route from authorities.

The hotel’s gruesome past is further enhanced, as the brutal murder of the hotel’s former owner, Walter Schroeder, happened on the premises. Hotel guests have told tales of regularly hearing the former owner yelling, banging against the walls, and causing lighting and faucets to turn on and off.

The RMS Queen Mary Hotel – (Long Beach, CA)

After the success of the Halloween Festival last year, the Queen Mary has officially re-opened post renovations for 2023. Visitors can once again experience the strange goings on at the RMS Queen Mary.

This massive ocean liner crossed the Atlantic thousands of times, but it has been permanently docked in Long Beach since 1967…where paranormal activity has become the norm. There are many Queen Mary hotel ghosts, and strange rapping noises can be heard onboard, ghostly apparitions are often seen walking the halls, and stairs have been seen on the side of the docked ship. Let’s hope the renovations haven’t scared off any ghoulish guests!

The famous ghost ship located in Long Beach, with the full moon in the background makes for a spooky setting.

Provincial Hotel (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Haunted hotels in New Orleans are quite the norm due to its rich history. The Big Easy is infamous for being inhabited by spirits, and the Provincial Hotel is no exception. Once a hospital for the fallen, the ghosts of soldiers and doctors roam freely, opening and closing doors, whispering in the halls, and some guests have even reported seeing soldiers in their rooms. Building No. 5 is believed to be the most haunted, so stay and sleep…if you dare.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (Los Angeles, California)

Known for being the haunted Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the late Marilyn Monroe has often been perceived at this establishment, alongside Errol Flynn and Montgomery Clift. This Hollywood Boulevard hotel has gained quite a reputation for scares since its opening in 1927. It’s sure to be spooky fun this Halloween, so why not book a room and see if you can sleep through the night and see if there are any Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel ghost stories that prick up your ears!

Tourists surrounding the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles.

Enjoy a spooky stay in an airport hotel this Halloween! Pre-book now with ParkSleepFly, if you dare.

Romantic Valentine’s Day Destinations

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Are you looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day trip? We all know that a trip to Paris or Napa Valley can be romantic, but there are lots of other cities in the world that can ignite the spark.  Whether you want to embrace the winter weather or travel to somewhere a little warmer, below are five romantic places to take your Valentine for a special getaway.

Cupid’s favorite holiday technically falls at the end of winter, so embrace the season.  Jackson Hole is remote, so it’s one of the least crowded places to choose if you’re looking for a winter wonderland.  Hit the slopes at one of the five ski resorts, take a sleigh ride through the Elk Refuge, or take a Dog Sled Ride to Granite Hot Springs. After your day out in the snow, cuddle up together at one of Jackson Hole’s many B&Bs or Resorts.  Can’t wait to plan a trip?  All the information you will ever need about this snowy city can be found on the dedicated Jackson Hole website.

Hotel Kakslauttanen offers many different accommodations, one of the more exciting being its glass igloos.  Cuddle up together in bed and gaze up into the Northern Sky.  These igloos provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to view the Northern Lights.  From the resort, you can go ice fishing, or take a Husky or Reindeer winter safari.

Looking to kick-start your Lapland trip? Dont forget to pre-book your hotel + parking package with ParkSleepFly before your trip!

Temperatures here rarely get below 55 °F even in the winter months, so it’s a great destination if you just can’t take the cold winter weather anymore.  The island has an abundance of protected reserves.  Hike up to breathtaking mountain views or explore the many manicured gardens.  Adventure seekers can scuba dive under the crystal-clear waters, and culture connoisseurs can explore churches and convents that date back to the 15th century.  Of course, you’re never too far from the beach, so relaxing in the sand is always an option.  Their official tourism site has an English option, so check it out.

Savannah, GA is the go-to romantic getaway in the South-eastern United States, but why not try something a little different?  New Orleans can be just as romantic.  The charm of the French Quarter can make you feel like you’re on the streets of Europe.  No other American city has such a distinct and unique cuisine, from beignets to crawfish to gumbo, you’ll find you don’t have enough time to taste all that New Orleans has to offer.  Hit up a jazz club for a romantic night of dancing or enjoy the ambience at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar.  Right at the end of busy Bourbon Street, it is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States.

You’ll have to pack for cooler weather, February temperatures are generally in the 40s and 50s, but this 60-acre resort promotes wellness as a lifestyle.  Stay in one of their cozy earth huts and restore your balance and spiritual and physical well-being.  Connect with nature and each other by taking one of many hikes, bike riding tours, or horseback riding tours that they offer.  You can also learn something new together; the resort offers calligraphy and tea-picking classes as well as yoga workshops, kite flying, and archery.

Prepare for your trip to China by pre-booking your parking lot space and hotel room the night before you fly. ParkSleepFly can help save your dollars and guarantee your lot space at your chosen airport!

The Academy Awards are tomorrow, and whether you’re Team Lincoln or Team Argo,  it sure would impress your friends if you could say not only say, “seen it” but also, “been there!” Inspired by some of the Best Picture nominees, here are a few choice locations to explore.

If you want to see the exact locations of some of the key scenes from Les Miserables, you may be frustrated to learn that in the mid 19th century the French urban planner Baron Haussmann razed much of the old city, destroying the narrow streets and hidden neighborhoods in favor of broad avenues that define modern Paris. (This was, in part, an attempt to prevent erecting the very types of barricades used by French revolutionaries.)

Fortunately, there are a variety of tour companies that will lead you through the Marais, the historic district in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements where Victor Hugo lived – or you can take a self guided tour thanks to sites such as Smithsonian.com. Following their advice, you can visit not only Victor Hugo’s apartment in the Hotel de Rohan-Guemenee, but also tour the Church of St. Paul where characters Cosette and Marius were married, the park Jardin du Luxembourg where Marius first saw Cosette walking with Valjean, and perhaps most fun, the Musee des Egouts de Paris (Paris Sewer Museum,) the best chance to glimpse remnants of the 100 miles of underground sewers where Valjean carries the wounded Marius.

Big Hugo nerds might prefer the work of this Harvard Grad who found a digitized map of Paris from 1832 and then projected it onto a map of modern Paris to find exact locations from the novel. This extensive guide will lead you to Valjean’s first apartment in the Gorbeau tenement, the bridge Pont d’Austerlitz where Valjean escapes from Javert, the location of Courfeyrac’s apartment where Marius lived with his revolutionary pals, and most excitingly, the location of Javert’s suicide, which is situated along the Seine River between the Notre Dame Catherdral and the Palais de Justice, symbolizing the conflict of Grace vs. Law.

It might seem a complete contrast to jump from the city of lights to the swamps of Louisiana, but in the case of Les Miserables and another Best Picture nominee The Beasts of the Southern Wild, the stories concentrate on the downtrodden, and the locations where they take place are as much a character as the actors who travel through them. Call forth your inner Hushpuppy and start with a boat tour of the swamps, where you can see a Cajun fishing village and scan the water for gators, yet enjoy the comforts of on-board restrooms. If you are in the mood for a bit more adventure why not explore the vast bayou system on your own?

Make sure to bring some snacks for the trip. Fans of the film will inevitably make the bakery where lead actor Dwight Henry was discovered a must-visit destination. Previously famous in the local community for their mouthwatering buttermilk drops, the café may now be known as the reason why this celebrated first time actor turned down the role of Wink several times before finally being persuaded by the director that he was the only man for the job.

History buffs are probably putting their Oscar money on Lincoln. If it’s the man you admire, plan a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. If it’s the actual locations where battles were fought and lives were lost in the struggle for emancipation, prepare for your visit to Gettysburg by checking out the National Park Service website to brush up on the history of the place.

As the case with modern Paris, the Washington DC of today bears little resemblance to that of the 1860s, so much of the filming took place in and around Richmond, Virginia. ( ) If you want to know more about the locations used in the film, check out  Virginia is for Lovers, which provides photos of buildings that were stand ins for the White House of old, and other fun details about the filming.

Feeling adventurous? Really adventurous? Why not hop a plane and check out the places where events occurred in the movie Argo? Yes, that’s right, we’re talkin’ Tehran, Iran. While there is no longer a functional American Embassy in Tehran, the building still stands and has housed a revolutionary guard training center and a museum, not generally open to visitors. Anti American murals commissioned by the Iranian government can be viewed by brave passersby.

Not feeling so adventurous after all? Apparently, neither were the filmmakers. Due to budget and other more delicate restrictions, much of the film was actually shot in sunny Southern California, including Zsa Zsa Gabor’s mansion which was used as producer Lester Siegel’s home in the film, as well as an old terminal at the Ontario Airport which stood in for the real thing in Tehran. The US Embassy depicted in Argo was actually a Veterans Affairs building in the far end of the San Fernando Valley, but the restaurant where they plan the hostage rescue plot is in fact a real place, the Burbank fixture The Smokehouse, operating near Warner Brothers studio since 1946.

If the greater Los Angeles area is not your idea of exotic, consider visiting Istanbul, Turkey, where two weeks of filming turned the Grand Bazaar and the Hagia Sophia mosque into key scenes in the movie.

Finally, we would like to thank the Academy for leading us to the discovery of the Indian coastal town of Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry), where the first act of Best Picture nominee Life of Pi was filmed. Hosting a colorful blend of French colonial and Indian cultures, this area is unique in Southern India.  Here you can visit the Botanical Gardens where the zoo scenes were filmed, get blessed by an elephant, gaze longingly out at the sea along coastal avenues, and visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, where Pi’s uncle swam 30 laps every morning. As a guest of the Ashram, you can have a more relaxing stay enjoying yoga and mediation for less than $8.00 a day!

The Zen of Music

We’re all looking for zen these days.  Between the rising cost, pressures at work, chauffeuring kids back and forth between basketball practice and piano lessons, even the most organized, put-together-like-a-million-bucks person can get frazzled.  After all, “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” William CongreveWritten in 1697, these words still ring true today. (Congreve also coined the phrase “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned. Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”  But that is for another post.)

Humans often sing softly to babies to lull them to sleep.  They sing when happy because it feels good.  In fact, there have been studies to document that music and singing really do make people happier.  Music can stimulate the body to produce serotonin which is a happiness hormone; therefore, your mood is elevated.

If you are feeling a little blue, have I got the cure for you!  Later this month is the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest. The festival which runs from April 27 through May 6, 2012, is a music lover’s dream.  The festival celebrates the indigenous music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana. Every type of music played in the state will be represented.  From jazz, blues, cajun, R&B, Zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, folk, Latin, rap, rock, country, bluegrass, and beyond is represented in the yearly festival.

Started in the 1970 by the New Orleans Hotel Motel Association, the festival finally became an annual event. In previous years, several organizations held similar jazz festivals, but The New Orleans Jazz Fest gathered a following and backing and became a huge draw for tourists rivaled only by Mardi Gras.   A spontaneous jam session with Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington, and the Eureka Brass Band sparked the “symbol of authenticity of the celebration that was destined to become a cultural force.” This spontaneous concert began years of discussion and planning for what would eventually become the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest.

The concept was pure New Orleans/Louisiana.  A festival with many stages to showcase the indigenous music styles and, of course, Louisiana cuisine, along with an arts and crafts festival, and an evening concert series.  The first headliners of the festival were Mahalia Jackson and Duke Ellington.  Other performers included Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, Clifton Chenier, Fats Domino, and The Meters  The Preservation Hall Band, parades every day with The Olympia Brass Band and Mardi Gras Indians, and many others.  New Orleans was decided to host the event since it had the richest musical heritage in America, and was the only choice.

From a humble 350 attendees (half which were the performers), the festival has grown to entertain thousands of music enthusiasts.  The festival now has 12 stages of music, arts and crafts booths, as well as many food booths for attendees.  The festival was described by the Wall Street Journal  “showcases a wider, deeper lineup of essential American musical styles than any festival in the nation.”

This year proves to be the best ever, with such performers as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, The Eagles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion, Zac Brown Band, The Neville Brothers, Al Green,Herbie Hancock, Dr. John and the Lower 911, and many, many other great performers.  You can see the entire list here.

While you are visiting New Orleans, you should also take part in other Louisiana celebrations.  April 28-29, 2012 marks Louisiana’s Bicentennial.  You can view some celebrations on the Baton Rouge website.

Whether you are looking for a short weekend trip to New Orleans, or to spend a week or so in Louisiana, start your trip off refreshed and relaxed.  Stay at a ParkSleepFly.com hotel the night before you fly.  You will receive a night’s stay, parking for the duration of your trip, and shuttle service to and from the airport terminal.  I always use ParkSleepFly.com before I travel to New Orleans.  I don’t’ want to miss a beat of the music by missing my flight or feeling tired.  I’ll be in the front row of the Springsteen concert. See you there!