Friday, May 2, 2014

Whooping it up at Betty’s RV Park in Cajun Country


April 21-29, 2013
Betty’s RV Park
Abbeville, Louisiana

bettys rv park collage

This is our second stay at Miss Betty’s --known by many as one of the “most fun and friendliest RV parks in the country.” Judging from our experience as full-timers who have been here twice, we would have to concur. Miss Betty, owner and hostess extraordinaire, gets all the credit for making this such a friendly place to visit. Most people in the park attend the well-known nightly happy hours on her porch or deck where folks bring a snack and share stories of their life on the road. Betty makes a point to have everyone introduce themselves and instant connections are made as folks start making recommendations for places to go or things to see here or ideas for future adventures in other locales. Betty also likes to organize outings for the whole group which can range from shrimp buying trips to attending local museums or points of interest together. 



To make our time here even more of a delight, our good friends from Newton, Illinois (whom we have spent the past three winters with in Florida) have also joined us for their first experience of “getting caught in Betty’s web”—one of the park’s catch phrases. No pun intended. The first night Mike and BJ arrived, Miss Betty held a crawfish and shrimp boil. Each person or couple orders their own serving and the food is delivered from a local establishment during happy hour. 
 




 
Later that same night, we headed up the road about thirty miles to Lafayette to attend opening night of Festival International.  Two of our favorite bands from last year were playing: Geno Delafose and Keith Frank.


 
  The first show on Scene Lafayette was put on by a local favorite: Gena Delafose
 
video

 
After a short break with a lot of announcements in French, Keith Frank and his Zydeco band performed for about an hour and a half. He is another big favorite locally as the crowd about doubled in size and many of the festival-goers knew all the words to his big hits.




Mike and BJ were real troupers in coming along after a long day's drive, happy hour, and the crawfish boil. The music did not disappoint and judging by the look on their faces, they seemed to be having a good time.
 

 
The next day, I made a pot of jambalaya to celebrate Mike and BJs arrival, which we had for a late lunch on Betty's porch. That night we took it easy and played cards after happy hour knowing we had a big weekend ahead.



No trip to this area is complete with stopping in for a po'-boy or some turtle piquant stew at the historic Suire’s Grocery and Café. (And, yes, to those who are observant, Vic is sporting a beard!)
 

 
 


I had never tried the turtle stew as they only make it on Fridays, a 31-year-old tradition. so I went for this unique menu choice. Mike joined me in the adventure, but I think next time we will stick to their tried and true po'-boys.


Betty organized a trip for those interested to tour Martin Accordions in Lafayette for later that afternoon. About sixteen of us from the park went where we were joined by a Road Scholar group (formerly ElderHostel) for a memorable two hour presentation that was more of a private concert than a tour.
 

 
Junior Martin is one of the top accordion-makers in Louisiana. Not only did we learn about how he and his family make a diatonic accordion, the presentation included the history of Cajun music as well as distinctions between it and Zydeco. His daughter, Penny, presented most of the information about their finely crafted accordions.
 

 

 
To demonstrate the evolving styles to our group, Junior (fondly referred to by his daughter as Papa) played the steel and acoustic guitar, his daughter Penny played the bass guitar, steel triangle, and washboard, and his very talented grandson Joel sang in French and played several different accordions. What a treat!  Perhaps the best part was hearing about their family commitment to keeping Cajun music traditions alive. 
 

 


Since we were already in Lafayette when our two hour program at Martin Accordions was over, we headed to a popular Cajun food spot called the Blue Dog Café to listen to some jazz music and get a bite to eat. We ended the evening with a first for all of us--a drive-through daiquiri experience.

daquiri collage

The next day we had big plans with a 6:30 am departure to get in line at Café Des Amis in Breaux Bridge for their weekly Zydeco Breakfast. This event was one of our most memorable highlights from our visit here last year so we were really looking forward to sharing it with Mike and BJ, and another couple whom we had the pleasure of first meeting last year at Betty’s, Jim and Donnalyn.  This is a popular place, so you have to get there early if you want to be on the dance floor when the music starts at 8:30! Too fun.



You might recall a similar video of this dancer on our blog last year.  He seems to be at all the local Zydeco performances and is quite fun to watch (and dance with!).  I wanted to include a video of Vic and me dancing, but by the time I remembered, the dance floor was too crowded to get a good shot. I promise I will have one on the next post.

video


After a robust morning of dancing to Zydeco and eating a Cajun breakfast, we headed back to the park for a three-hour break before venturing out to our late afternoon and evening festivities. Next up was a stop at Touchet’s, a local bar in Maurice where they have a Cajun jam session every other Saturday afternoon. After the high energy sound of Zydeco, the Cajun jammers seemed a little slow but we enjoyed the local color and friendly atmosphere of Touchet’s.



The final plan for the night was to return to Festival International in Lafayette to walk around the festival grounds and see grammy award-winning Cajun music performed by Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet.

video



International Festival, supposedly the largest free music festival in the United States,  had six stages of musical performances going on that night. Aside from the fantastic music, we enjoyed the various sights and sounds of the festival. . .

Fest intl crowd




especially the people watching.













On Sunday, Mike made a pancake breakfast for us all to restore our energy before our next big event: a four-hour Zydeco dance at Angelle’s Whiskey River Landing. To add to the excitement, one of my closest friends and her husband, going back to high school days, came to join us on their way to the New Orleans Jazz Fest. Let the good times roll, indeed.

12 comments:

  1. What fun! It's a good thing there is so much dancing to offset all the eating! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I needed to dance for about three hours a day to offset all the good food.

      Delete
  2. Sounds like a perfect place for you and Vic...Betty's, music, dancing, great food, tours, and good friends:) Enjoy all the great times and friends new and old!! Can't wait to read more:)

    ReplyDelete
  3. You both sure have a lot of energy! What fun and yummy things to eat! Well, except for the turtle stew...you were quite brave!

    ReplyDelete
  4. No one can go wrong stopping at Betty's. You brought back lots of memories.

    I have turtle stew also. I loved it. Even bought a quart to have the next day.

    It was our anniversary when we were there. We went to Touchet’s to celebrate. Love the music...couldn't understand a word of what they were saying but loved the music.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Betty's would be a fun place to celebrate an anniversary. Glad I wasn't the only one to try the turtle stew. It tasted more like beef than I would expect.

      Touchet's is quite the classic Cajun bar.

      Delete
  5. Yup ... let the good times roll ... and you guys surely know how to make that happen. Funny that we should be talking about Cafe des Amis at dinner with friends last night ... and here it comes up again in your post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well I'm worn out just from reading about your busy busy days. From 6:30 in the morning all day long from one thing to another. WHEW! We were supposed to be there in early April but when David relapsed we had to change our plans. Betty was so kind, she refunded our deposit. I know she has no trouble filling the spots but still I thought it was a very kind thing for her to do. I wonder now if I could have kept up with all of this and all of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone seems to find his/her own pace at Betty's. We were a little overly ambitious when we first arrived. It was equally pleasant to read books on one of her patio swings and take a walk in the nearby state park.

      Delete
  7. Wow-it does look like everyone is having fun:)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Betty's RV Park seems to be a "Must" for our bucket list!

    Side Note: We are so glad to be spending the summer in Central Oregon. Everyone has been so nice to us. They do pick-up very quickly that we aren't from around here! The PGE park is a great park to work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you two would enjoy a stay at Betty's.

      So glad to hear you are loving your new campground. We will have to take a drive out there when we are visiting Bend.

      Delete

Don't be shy. We would love to hear your comments!