Words by Paige Townley
St. Tammany Parish—known frequently as the Louisiana Northshore—is ideally situated less than an hour from New Orleans’ famed French Quarter, but the region is also home to charming communities that more than warrant their own special visit. Mandeville is an idyllic town nestled on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and it offers everything needed and more for enjoying a romantic weekend getaway.
Stay a While
Mandeville is home to a number of bed and breakfasts, each one as charming as the next. Guesthouse on Girod is a two-room guesthouse that offers anything needed for a restful weekend stay, from luxurious beds and baths to a beautiful courtyard. Blue Heron Bed & Breakfast is an award-winning establishment in the heart of the historic district that’s known for its delicious and breakfast that can be enjoyed in-room or out on the porch. De la Bleau B&B sits just steps away from the lake so guests can take in refreshing lake breezes and great lake views.
Start the Weekend Right
Kick off the weekend by waking up with a locally-roasted coffee of Flamjeaux Coffee Company, served in many Mandeville restaurants, B&Bs, and at The Book & The Bean. Inspired by the Flambeaux flame-wielding parade-walkers of Mardis Gras, Flamjeaux offers a variety of roasts and chicory coffee. At the charming The Book & The Bean, hot and cold brew coffees and teas, as well as pastries like muffins, biscotti, croissants, and scones make a great start to the morning. While enjoying a freshly roasted cup, be sure to check out the variety of books and gifts at The Book & The Bean, which teamed up with the coffee shop and is housed in the same building. The bookstore offers a wide range of books for readers of all ages, as well as unique gift items.
After a morning sipping coffee and perusing books, hop on a rented bike from Brooks’ Bike Co-Op and ride along the Mandeville Lakefront and Tammany Trace to Fontainebleau State Park. The Tammany Trace boasts 31 windy paved miles through the Northshore that connect five communities all interspersed with open green space.
Mealtime Must Visits
A picturesque bike ride is sure to work up an appetite, and Mandeville has the perfect spots for a delicious meal. Pyre BBQ is a local institution thanks to its mouthwatering barbecue—think smoked brisket, pulled pork, ribs and more—which of course come with classic sides like mac and cheese, greens, and grits. A carefully crafted cocktail beer and wine menu and location right across from the Mandeville Trailhead of the Tammany Trace make Pyre BBQ a great place for a pit stop.
Old Rail Brewing Company is a restaurant sure to please the palette of any diner. This craft brew pub has juicy burgers, pub pretzels, even blackened alligator and gumbo on the menu.
On a Saturday, there’s nothing better to follow a meal than a walk around the Mandeville Trailhead Community Market. Hosted each Saturday, the market is the go-to spot to find handmade crafts, prepared foods, locally made jellies, and even plants.
Throw some nautical adventure onto the itinerary with a sunset sail with Delaune Sailing Charters. There’s no better way to see the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, and Delaune Sailing Charters offer private charters and book trips seven days a week.
Lakeside Dining Done Right
Whether the afternoon included a bit of leisure or a lot of adventure, there’s no better way to wrap up the day than a lakeside dinner. Pat’s Rest Awhile is a stunning new waterfront restaurant from Northshore notable chef Pat Gallagher. Sample some oysters chargrilled or o the half shell and perfectly prepared seafood plucked fresh from the Gulf. Another popular choice that’s never wrong is Rips on the Lake, a longtime Northshore favorite that features classic Louisiana fare.
Wrap up the perfect Northshore day by satisfying your sweet tooth at the Candy Bank. This nostalgic candy store and ice cream parlor is located in a historic bank building just one block over from Lake Pontchartrain, and it has every type of candy, confection, and chocolate imaginable, along with mocha lattes and old-fashioned soda.
Start planning your romantic getaway to Mandeville in St. Tammany Parish at LouisianaNorthshore.com.