The quaint town of Covington, Louisiana is part of the Greater New Orleans metropolitan area. I only visited for a day as I made my way back from Florida to Texas and wished I had scheduled more time to stay, as the city of 11,500 is quite charming.
The History of Covington
Covington, Louisiana was founded as the Town of Wharton in 1813. The name was changed to Covington in 1816 after General Leonard Covington, a hero in the War of 1812.
Covington relied heavily on commercial shipping across Lake Pontchartrain to New Orleans. Severely impacted by the low freight costs from the launch of the New Orleans, Jackson, and Great Northern Railroad, however, Covington developed into a tourist town.
With the onset of the Civil War, tourism died, but it eventually returned providing visitors with many things to do.
Where to Stay in Covington
If you are visiting for more than a day, consider staying at the historic Southern Hotel. The hotel opened in 1907 with 43 rooms and boasted hot water, electric lights and carpeting. In 1912 a physician converted it to a sanitarium and resort for people with respiratory issues. In 1960, it closed it doors to overnight guests. It served as a drug store and a courthouse and fell into disarray after hurricane Katrina.
In 2014, however, exactly 107 years to the day, it reopened. Today the hotel features lovely grounds, a tasty restaurant, and even a garden house which used to be the post office. When I stopped inside, a wedding party was enjoying the bar.
Bike the Tammany Trace Trail
After a good night’s rest, rent bikes at Brooks’ Bike Shop, and take ride along the Tammany Trace Trail. The 31-mile Tammany Trace Trail, which once was the Illinois Central Railroad, runs from Covington through Abita Springs, Mandeville, and Lacombe and ends in Slidell. Don’t miss the restrooms and small museums located at many of the trailheads.
Take a Hike
The trail is not pet friendly, consequently if you want to take rover along, I suggest going on a hike in Fountainbleau State Park. The park is only 13 miles southeast of Covington and features a handful of trails.
Annie and I took the Cane Bayou Track which was just lovely on this April spring day. We enjoyed the reflections from the boardwalk on the pond before continuing along the wide path. The highlight was seeing the plethora of butterflies flitting between the thistles.
Eat at LOLA
Whether its biking or hiking, you’ll likely work up an appetite. LOLA is one of the most popular restaurants in town. Located in Covington’s historic train depot, LOLA offers both lunch and dinner. The menu ranges from salads to sandwiches to savory entrees.
After lunch stroll the streets of Covington dotted with unique shops and galleries. Don’t miss HJ Smith & Sons. The family-owned general store has been operating since 1876 and has very cool museum. Some items on display include a cast iron casket, one of the first hot water heaters made, a dugout canoe, and even a petrified rat! Be sure to read about the murder in self-defense too.
Sip a Cold One
Cap off your afternoon with a cold one at the Abita Brewery. Bring your own food, sip a seasonal or try a flight at the bar or in the beer garden. They even offer root beer for non-drinkers.
It is really easy to spend a day or weekend enjoying Covington, a really cute New Orleans suburb. ETB