It’s that time again. Yes, that time when I solicit advice from our brilliant and resourceful readers.

This past weekend, I had a delightful conversation with a couple who moved to New Orleans more than 40 years ago. At one point we discussed the fact that the Northwest region of the country (Seattle, Portland, etc.) is a great place because there are so many interesting places to visit within driving distance (Vancouver, Washington State wine valleys, the Oregon Coast). Naturally this got me thinking about plans for Memorial Day weekend. Drew and I would like to take a weekend trip, but where should we go?  We usually drive to Houston to visit family, but this time we’d like to go someplace different and a little less familiar. Currently at the top of our list are St. Francisville and Lake Charles, La., and Vicksburg and Jackson, Miss.

Of course we’ve considered Gulf Coast areas (Bay St. Louis, Orange Beach, Destin), especially as the Deep Horizon oil spill continues to threaten the coast and the businesses that rely on white sandy beaches to attract customers.

Even so, we’d like to stay away from the beach, merely to avoid monstrous traffic and thousands of other Memorial Day vacationers.

We’ve spent time in St. Francisville before, and aside from its proximity to Angola Prison, it’s an enchanting place. We’ve never been to Vicksburg or Jackson and have only driven through Lake Charles (and now that I think of it, I have no desire to go there).

I hear Jackson is a charming, sleepy Southern city, which I’m sure it is. But “charming” isn’t exactly how I perceive most parts of Mississippi and Alabama. I’m more inclined to think of scenes from Mississippi Burning. Just sayin’.

Regardless, we are looking to get away and could use some pointers.

As always, thanks in advance. Y’all are the best!

Where are some interesting places to visit for couple of days…within (reasonable) driving distance of New Orleans?