Thursday, July 30, 2015

Experience Lincoln Parish Summer Fun!

Provided by Living Well

With students still remaining out of school and families planning vacations or “staycations,” there are plenty of options of things to do in Lincoln Parish to finish out the summer strong.

Marketing Director of the Ruston-Lincoln Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau Amanda Quimby said Lincoln Parish is one of the top spots to visit in the state.

“Ruston and Lincoln Parish are unique in that we offer an experience for everyone,” she said. “We’re lucky to have such diverse groups here. They all come together to make Lincoln Parish one of the most charming places in the state.”

The Lake at Lincoln Parish Park 
There are several things to do in Lincoln Parish, whether it is outdoors, at night or educational, Quimby said.“You can slow down and take in nature at any of the parks, or walk downtown and spend the day shopping,” she said. “If you enjoy nightlife and live music, there are several restaurants and venues to suit. The arts community is a very active part of the city and offer events for families or individuals.”

One highlight includes The Dog Days of Summer a collaboration between Louisiana Tech University’s Orientation and downtown Ruston, which is set for July 22, Quimby said.

“Dog Days of Summer teams up the university’s orientation and business in the downtown area to welcome incoming freshman to Ruston,” she said. “It’s also a great event for locals to have extended shopping hours and live music in Railroad Park.”

Mitcham Farms Peach Store 
Visiting the Mitcham Farms Orchard is also a must, Quimby said. “Go early and get fresh, hand-picked peaches, tour the orchard and visit the store,” she said. “Do not leave without getting a cup of peach ice cream.” 

For the outdoors type, Lincoln Parish Park is a hidden gem, Quimby said.“Go this summer for the biking and walking trails, beach and fishing,” she said. “James Lake is also beautiful this time of year.”

In Dubach, visitors can pick blueberries, Quimby said. “Pop’s Blueberry Patch in Dubach is quickly growing popular with locals and visitors,” she said. “Go and pick your our blueberries — or purchase some already picked. It’s an fun outing for families, especially with small children.”

Eddie G. Robinson Museum 
For people looking to get educational, Lincoln Parish has several museums to visit, Quimby said. “The Eddie G. Robinson Museum on GSU’s campus will walk you through Coach Robinson’s life and contributions to football,” she said. “The Louisiana Military Museum is the perfect place for history buffs. They have a large collection of weapons, uniforms and artifacts. The IDEA Place and Planetarium is great for children and adults, and gives everyone a chance to explore science and the wonders of the world.” 

Louisiana Military Museum 
Quimby’s personal favorite place to go and relax is Lincoln Parish Park.“I go there several time a week to walk, job or just to read,” she said.  “My niece and nephew love to join me so they can swim in the lake and run around the playground. We pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it. In the evenings I like to go downtown for dinner and live music. There is always a band playing at Ponchatoula’s or Sundown.”

Quimby said there are endless possibilities for visitors and citizens to do when visiting Lincoln Parish, and that the citizens make the parish a thrill to visit.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tori’s Travels: When in Ruston

Written By Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant

Hello all! I’ve had yet another busy week in Ruston exploring the town and all it has to offer. After living here for about three weeks, I’ve quickly learned that when in Ruston, there are just some things you MUST do. I’ve recently visited a few places that are totally unique to Ruston and I just can’t help but share about my experiences.

Taking a trip to Lincoln Parish Park is one of those things that will make visiting Ruston/Lincoln Parish a complete experience. After hearing friends talk up the park and getting a quick look at it during my tour of Ruston, I knew it would be a spot I would visit frequently. However, I had no idea just how much Lincoln Parish Park has to offer until I went to visit last week. Not only is the park absolutely gorgeous and super well kept, but it offers so many options for outdoor activities. In the summer time, you can relax on the park’s beach and cool off with a swim in the lake. Or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can bring your bike and take a shot at their killer mountain bike trail that is rated one of the top in the country. As someone who despises treadmills, I loved the park’s 1.25 mile walking path around the lake for my outdoor run. I plan on taking a picnic lunch and a good book out to the park soon and making a day out of it. Seriously Ruston, this city girl is impressed.

The lake at Lincoln Parish Park 
enjoying the walking trail 

Naturally, I was starving after all that physical activity, so I decided to treat myself, and what better place to go than a bakery with the slogan “Treat Yo Self.”  Enter the new love of my life: Social Bites. Social Bites is an adorable cupcake shop/bakery located in downtown Ruston that serves the most delicious sweets! I went in just to check out their cupcakes and left the bakery with a red velvet cupcake AND a chocolate chip cookie sandwich. All I can say is YUM. Don’t worry Social Bites, we’ll be BFFs in no time.

Social Bites 
Red Velvet Cupcake and Cookie Sandwich 
As July is winding down, I realized that it will be football season in no time here in Bulldog Country. Game days call for fun Tech gear and cute red and blue outfits, so I hit downtown Ruston knowing that I could find all the red and blue my heart desired in the local shops and boutiques. Sure enough, I snagged some of the cutest blue shorts from Rodéo Boutique, which is this glamorous little shop on Park Ave. The atmosphere is so fun, the clothes are adorable and the staff was unbelievably kind and helpful. If you’re looking for a go-to store where you’re sure to find a fashionable outfit, look no further.

Rodéo Boutique 
Rodéo Boutique 

I was in such a good mood after my experience at Rodéo that I decided to wander down Park Ave a bit and continue shopping. About two stores down I found Penny Perfect. This store is awesome. They have every little gift and knick-knack you can imagine, and it all has a touch of southern charm which makes it that much better. I was thrilled to see so much Tech gear and so many locally-influenced items! If you need to pick up a fun gift for someone or just want to add to your Bulldog spirit, Penny Perfect is an ideal place to shop. Seeing as that I’m absolutely loving my time here in Ruston, I bought a cute little Ruston sign to put in my house, and I love it! 

LA Tech merchandise at Penny Perfect
Display at Penny Perfect 

I ended my week with hands down my favorite dining experience so far in Ruston. I heard time and time again from a dozen different people how amazing Rosemary’s Kitchen was and that I absolutely had to eat there. I went for lunch on Friday and was completely charmed by the homey, quaint atmosphere of the restaurant. This place is so unique, and the food is to die for. I had the shrimp and grits and I’m afraid that now all other shrimp and grits will be ruined for me because this meal was THAT good. The ingredients are all super fresh and you can tell that some serious love goes into every dish. The hours are a little limited, so you have to be able to go from 11 am - 1:30 pm on Monday- Friday if you want lunch, but I promise it’s worth it!

Rosemary's Kitchen
Shrimp and Grits at Rosemary's Kitchen 

Well folks, that wraps up my third week of life in Ruston! Keep checking back for more of my adventures and let me know if I’ve missed one of your favorite Ruston spots so I can travel there soon! Have a great week!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tori's Travels: A Charming Experience at Mitcham Farms

Written by Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant

Hey y'all! Today's spotlight is one of my favorite places that I've visited in Ruston so far. If you're in the Ruston/Lincoln area during peach season (May - August), then you absolutely must stop by Mitcham Farms and The Peach Store. If you think that a visit to the peach orchard entails just seeing peach trees, then think again! Check out all the fun details about my visit to Mitcham Farms and The Peach Store below!

Mitcham Farms/The Peach Store | 1007 Woods Rd. Ruston, LA 71270
Summer Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm, Saturday 8 am - 4 pm

The Mitcham Processing Shed
Attraction Overview: Ruston, La. is known for its locally-grown peaches, and Mitcham Farms is where the magic happens! The first peach orchard was planted in 1946 and the peach trees have been blooming ever since. Mitcham Farms is a unique place to visit at any time of the year. Take a walk through the peach trees when they’re in bloom or plan a tour of the facility. Want to try a delicious Ruston peach? You can buy fresh peaches during the months of May through August at the processing shed of Mitcham Farms. While you can only buy fresh peaches when they are in season, you can visit The Peach Store all year round!

The Peach Store
The Store at a Glance: The Peach Store is a quaint country store tucked away in Mitcham’s Peach Orchard.  This rustic wooden building carries a great variety of dry goods and gifts. In the summer months, you can get a big serving of their famous peach ice cream to keep you cool. Year round they carry various peach products including peachy peach halves, peach dessert and drink mixes and peach-themed gifts. However, The Peach Store doesn’t just limit themselves to peaches. They carry a huge assortment of sauces, relishes, syrups, jams, jellies, preserves, salsas and more.  The Peach Store even makes homemade fudge in several different flavors (peach included)! The store has also become a gallery of sorts, housing local arts and crafts, which are sold on consignment. If you’re looking for a gourmet food item or homemade gift, then The Peach Store is a great go-to location!

display in The Peach Store 
Peach Store goodies
Tori’s Pick: Three words: Peach. Ice. Cream. I’m not one to like peach-flavored things, but this ice cream is incredible! It has small little bits of fresh peaches in it, so the peach flavor is definitely a natural one, and it’s creamy and delicious. I am also obsessed with the candles they carry! They smell amazing and come in a few different scents including peach, no surprise there. The store is adorable and definitely deserves a visit if you’re in the area!

Peach Ice Cream
Me enjoying this tasty treat
Make sure you stop by the Mitcham processing shed to get fresh picked peaches while they're still in season and visit The Peach Store to get some of their amazing peach ice cream. Follow Mitcham Farms on Facebook for updates on all things peachy! Check back next week for more of Tori's Travels and spotlights on local attractions. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tori’s Travels: Loving Life in Ruston

Written by Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant

Hi y’all! I’m so glad you’ve decided to catch up with me and my Ruston adventures on this lovely summer day. I’ve been in Ruston now for two weeks, and to be very honest, there hasn’t been a dull moment. I’ve met a ton of wonderful people, I’ve seen great local music and performances, I’ve visited some really cool attractions and, of course, I’ve eaten some absolutely delicious food. I never imaged that I would have so much fun in this little Louisiana town. Curious as to what I’ve been up to around Ruston this past week? Let me fill ya in!  

RCT performing "Bye Bye Birdie" at The Dixie
I luckily snagged a ticket to see the Ruston Community Theatre’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie” at the Dixie Center for the Arts when it was playing last weekend. I was quite impressed with the talent displayed in this musical and the turnout by the community. While Ruston may not be a town centered around music and the arts, in no way does that mean they can’t be found and experienced weekly. Definitely check out what’s happening at The Dixie next time you plan on coming to Ruston, you won’t be disappointed!

Last Monday was possibly one of my favorite days so far in Ruston. I had lunch at Brister’s Smokehouse, which is this awesome, little BBQ place right off I-20. Locals rave about the BBQ sauce and pulled rib sandwich. Yes, you read that right, PULLED RIB. I had the BBQ nachos and they were heavenly. I could have probably done without the jalapenos (which seems to be a recurring thing with me), but the brisket was crazy tender and the BBQ sauce was out of this world. It’s seriously making me hungry just thinking about it.

BBQ Nachos at Brister's Smokehouse

I followed lunch up with a trip to The Peach Store at Mitcham Farms. Ruston, La. is probably most widely recognized for its locally-grown peaches, and Mitcham Farms is the source of all things peachy in Ruston. I heard from just about everyone here how amazing The Peach Store’s peach ice cream is, so I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about. Y’all, this peach ice cream is insane. I don’t usually like things that are peach flavored, but their ice cream doesn’t even fall into that category because it doesn’t have that funky, artificial peach flavor. This peach ice cream is smooth and creamy and has real pieces of peach in there, which makes it super refreshing. I could probably write a poem to this ice cream, but I’ll refrain. A word to the wise: don’t try to eat the ice cream in your hot car because it turns into a melty mess REAL QUICK. Aside from the ice cream, The Peach Store is just a cool place to visit. They have all sorts of specialty food items and neat, homemade gifts. Make sure you go get your fresh peaches and peach ice cream in the next few weeks while peaches are still in season!

The Peach Store
Me and my one true love (peach ice cream)
What would my week be like without a little bit of retail therapy? I stumbled upon two of the cutest shops in Ruston last week. The Fashion of Ruston and Chartreuse Pear are located right next to each other in downtown Ruston and both have entrances off a whimsical, rustic breezeway where I could have sat and relaxed all day long. The Fashion carries clothes, jewelry, shoes, beauty products and other accessories. Their merchandise is very classy and chic, and the staff is extremely helpful. The Chartreuse Pear is an elegant and unique store tucked away in downtown. They carry a wide variety of items including home décor, antiques, small gifts, jewelry, beauty products and tons of other great things! I definitely know where a large chunk of my free time/money is going to be spent now.

The Fashion of Ruston
products at Chartreuse Pear

After visiting a few local restaurants, I quickly realized that people around here love playing darts. Am I any good at darts? Absolutely not. Did that stop me from entering a co-ed dart tournament at Ponchatoula’s last Thursday night? Nah. I actually had a blast failing miserably at darts (apologies to my very patient partner), and everyone I met was extremely nice and friendly. I’m telling you, this town epitomizes southern charm and hospitality.   

I started my Friday morning at my new favorite spot in Ruston: Parish Press. If you’re looking for a local coffee shop, this is your place. They have all the classic coffee drinks and even serve a few breakfast items. The atmosphere at Parish Press is perfect for working, reading or having a coffee date. I foresee a Central Perk relationship between me and this perfect, little coffee shop.

Parish Press 

I finished my week off with Sunday Brunch at Beau Vines Steakhouse. I plan on writing about every delectable detail a little later, but for right now I will tell you one thing: GO TO BRUNCH. It’s beyond delicious and very reasonably priced. I plan on making this a weekly tradition, so I’ll see you all there this Sunday!

Benedict Beau Vines from Beau Vines Sunday Brunch

Keep checking in for more of Tori’s Travels and spotlights on local attractions. Do you have a suggestion for my travels this week? Comment and let me know where to go. See y’all around town!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tori's Travels: A Tasty Trip to Log Cabin Grill and Market

Written by Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant

Hey y'all! This is my second week traveling around Ruston, La. and I have a spotlight on a great, local restaurant for you. My first meal in Ruston was at Log Cabin Grill and Market, which I mentioned briefly in my last post, and it was an experience that I will be definitely be reliving in the near future. Check out the recap of my visit below! 

Log Cabin Grill and Market | 906 Farmerville Hwy. Ruston, LA 71270

Atmosphere: The atmosphere of Log Cabin lives up to its name. With wood walls, accents of tin and décor consisting of mounted ducks, deer heads, and rustic farm tools, you’re sure to feel like you’re dining in a woodsy cabin. Log Cabin has a great family atmosphere and quick, friendly service.

Menu at a glance: Log Cabin is known for its classic home-cooked meals, but has an incredibly diverse menu. You can find Cajun dishes and Tex-Mex favorites, along with mouth-watering burgers, salads, sandwiches and grilled entrees. Locals love the BBQ dip and chips and the chicken-fried steak!

Log Cabin's signature BBQ Dip

Manager’s pick: The BBQ nachos, spinach and artichoke dip and anything off the grill all come highly recommended by Log Cabin’s manager.

A little something extra: Aside from being a restaurant, Log Cabin also has a great market inside! They have a wide selection of specialty meats, sauces and spices that you can purchase, as well as take-home entrees that are convenient and ready to go.

Tori tasted: I had the BBQ dip and chips as an appetizer, and it did not disappoint! The chopped beef was super tender and the layers of cheese, beans and bacon made for a perfect combination. I followed it up with the jumbo butterfly shrimp accompanied by Cajun roasted potatoes and a Caesar salad. The shrimp were grilled to perfection and covered in a BBQ sauce that I would happily drink through a straw. The Cajun roasted potatoes had just enough spice and were covered in bacon, cheese and sour cream, which will always rank high with me. Overall, the food was truly delicious! 

Jumbo Butterfly Shrimp with Cajun Roasted Potatoes 
Follow Log Cabin on Facebook, and stay tuned for more of Tori's Travels with spotlights on local attractions!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Tori’s Travels: My First Week of Exploring Ruston

Written by Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant

Hey y’all! So I’ve been traveling around Ruston for about a week now, and I can honestly say that I’ve loved every single place I’ve been and person I’ve met. I’ve gone shopping, eaten at local restaurants and even got to sneak into some LA Tech orientation events (shhhhh!). Let me give you the rundown of my week.

Seeing as that I just moved here, I’m still sprucing up the apartment. I was told by several locals that I needed to visit Beehive Outlet for cute home décor. And let me tell you, I could have stayed there all day long! Not only is the home décor selection amazing, but it’s also super reasonably priced. Everything in the store has a touch of southern charm that feels right at home in this sweet, southern town.

Display at Beehive Outlet

I also did some clothes shopping, because I just can’t help it, and found some of the cutest boutiques in downtown Ruston. All That Jazz has a very country-chic vibe and carries a mixture of nicer brands, along with some more affordable clothing as well. I fell in love with this precious romper there that I’m still thinking about going back to get. I also stopped into Patton’s Downtown, which is an adorable store that has a charming, southern atmosphere. They carry southern lifestyle and outdoor brands, along with cute clothes, bathing suits and jewelry. This is definitely the place to stop for a cute, summer outfit or if you need to pick up a little gift for someone!

All That Jazz 
Patton's Downtown

I don’t know about you, but shopping has a way of working up my appetite. Next stop: FOOD.

Ruston may be a small town, but it is definitely not lacking in restaurants or a variety of them. My first stop was at Log Cabin Grill and Market, and all I can say is you must get the BBQ dip and chips, you won’t regret it. I was also super impressed with their stocked market that had specialty meats and prepared dished ready to go.On Tuesday, I met up with some friends who came to visit from Shreveport, and we grabbed dinner and a movie. We had dinner at RAW, an amazing little sushi spot in downtown Ruston that feels as though it were uprooted from New York City and dropped in this little Louisiana town. The atmosphere was relaxing and the food was incredible! I mean, just look at this! YUM.

Inside Out Roll from RAW

On Wednesday, I got the chance to take a tour of Ruston while orientation was in full swing at LA Tech. I saw local attractions like the Mitcham Peach Farm and Lincoln Parish Park, and learned quirky little things about Ruston from the always-delightful Travis Napper. Later that day, I thoroughly enjoyed a muffaletta for dinner and listening to a live band at Sundown Tavern. If you go to Sundown, definitely sit on the patio! It has a nice, relaxing atmosphere and it’s just downright pleasant. After dinner I went out to Dog Days of Summer, where local shops stay open late and there’s free music downtown for new students, their parents and the community. I got to witness new Bulldogs learning gameday chants and exploring the city. The takeaway from this experience: the sense of community in Ruston is unreal.

muffaletta from Sundown Tavern 
Dog Days of Summer in Downtown Ruston 

After all that eating I needed to get a little exercise in, so I went for a run at Hideaway Park. Hideaway is a great little spot right by campus that’s perfect for walking, running, playing disc golf or having a picnic. It sits next to a pond, so there’s a nice view when you’re running, and it’s super family friendly. I’m reluctant to show you pictures, but here you go.

Me working up a sweat at Hideaway Park 

So, that pretty much sums up my first week in Ruston. I really find myself loving this town more and more every day. I still have a ton of places to explore in Ruston, so keep following along for more of Tori’s Travels and spotlights of local attractions. Have a peachy weekend! (Okay, that was maybe a little cheesy).

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Louisiana Peach Festival Highlights

Written by Amanda Quimby, CVB Marketing Director

This was another successful year for the Peach Festival! It's no wonder this is the longest running agricultural festival in our state when there is so much to love! Here's a quick rundown of the 65th Annual Louisiana Peach Festival.

W O R L D  R E C O R D S

We did it! Ruston, LA is now home to the World's Largest Peach Cobbler! Hampton Inn of Ruston crew plus many fearless volunteers pulled off quite a feat Saturday, June 26th: A cobbler weighing in at 2,251 pounds! Step aside, Georgia!

Pictured here is Ronnie Rawls and Brandon Sutherland of Hampton Inn with official adjudicator for Guinness World Records, Philip Robertson. 

L I V E  M U S I C

The performances this year were better than ever. Friday night featured Dash Rip Rock and JT Hodges rocking the downtown stage. Judge and the Jury, Hydrogen Child and Shayliff were all new to the festival this year, but were crowd favorites. The Molly Ringwalds drew in a huge audience Saturday night covering our favorite 80's jams. Does it get any better than watching parents, teens and children of all ages singing and dancing together in Railroad Park?!


Fresh peaches, peach tacos, peach funnel cakes, peach lemonade, peach daiquiris, peach ice cream, peach sno cones, deep fried peach cobbler, peach hush puppies, peach hot dogs and hamburgers and the list goes on. We hope you tried them ALL!


P H O T O  O P S 

We've seen the photos and it looks like you guys had fun with festival frames! We've enjoyed seeing your posts! If you haven't uploaded your pics yet, do it now! Tag us @RustonCVB and use #RustonLA!

What was your favorite part of the festival this year? What would you like to see next year? Comment to let us know! 

Amanda Quimby is a native of Franklin Parish, a University of Louisiana at Monroe alumna and now a proud Ruston resident. As the marketing director for the CVB, she has an love for travel and tourism, and the coolest job ever. Amanda’s favorite things: coffee, wine and swing jazz. When she’s not working, ...just kidding. She’s always working. Follow her on Instagam and Twitter.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Tori’s Travels: When a City Girl Moves to Ruston

Written by Tori Ward, CVB Marketing/PR Assistant

Hello all! I’m Tori Ward, a brand new inhabitant of Ruston, La. The very first time I visited Ruston, I experienced a bit of culture shock. A few friends of mine attended Louisiana Tech after high school and insisted that I come visit them for the weekend. I had absolutely no idea of what I was getting myself in to, but I had a general understanding that Ruston was a pretty small town.

Before I jump into my first impressions of Ruston, let me give you a little background about where I’m from. I was born and raised in Shreveport, La., just an hour west of Ruston. Shreveport is by no means a “big city,” but it’s a pretty decent size and has a lot of restaurants, shops and fun things to do around town. After I graduated high school, I attended LSU for my undergraduate degree. Baton Rouge was absolutely overwhelming, but I loved the campus and fast pace that surrounded it.

In December of 2012, I visited Ruston for the first time in my life. I was absolutely charmed by the entire town. I took a quick tour through the homey campus, went shopping with my friends at the adorable boutiques downtown and ate at a delicious, locally-owned restaurant. By the end of the weekend, I didn’t want to go back to Baton Rouge. I had no idea that I could have so much fun in such a quaint, little town.  I visited Ruston a few more times over the next few years and loved the town more and more with every visit. The people were so friendly, the food was super tasty and I was mesmerized by the stars that were perfectly visible at night.

I stayed in Baton Rouge for three years, and it didn’t take long for me to get burned out on the hustle and bustle of the capital city. The traffic was a headache, everyone was always in a rush and I longed to have a little peace and quiet. It was around the beginning of my third year at LSU that I decided I wanted to go somewhere smaller for graduate school. After looking at my options, choosing LA Tech seemed like a no-brainer. Not only is LA Tech an incredible school, but I had already very much fallen in love with Ruston and its undeniable small-town charm.

I’m unbelievably excited to explore Ruston more and learn all about this adorable, picturesque town. Stay tuned this summer to hear all about my adventures in Ruston, La.!

Tori Ward is a proud Louisiana native, born and raised in Shreveport, La. She is a Louisiana State University alumna and has a passion for all things PR. Tori is an avid movie watcher, coffee fanatic and lover of the outdoors. She is currently attending Louisiana Tech to pursue a master’s degree in business administration.  

Check back soon for more of Tori's Travels!