Avery Island is one of my favorite places to visit. It is a getaway that is just down the road from Lafayette and is a perfect place for family, friends, or just a small trip alone. The grounds are beautiful and the history is interesting. Located 140 miles West of New Orleans and surrounded by swamps and marshes, Avery Island is a natural paradise.

On the island, one can take a tour of the Tabasco factory, home of the world famous Tabasco Sauce.  As you walk through the factory you'll be greeted by workers, many who live nearby on the island.

Also, on Avery Island is Jungle Gardens.  Jungle Gardens is a 170-acre botanical garden and bird sanctuary located on the island, near New Iberia.  The gardens are open daily except for major holidays; an admission fee is charged.

The gardens are planted with azaleas, Japanese Camellias, hydrangeas, Louisiana irises, Papyrus Sedges, bamboo, and wisteria. A glass temple, set within a Chinese garden, houses a centuries-old statue of Buddha given to Edward Avery McIlhenny, in 1936. Four miles of gravel roads are lined with live oak trees and Spanish moss. There are also many walking paths.

With the Labor Day weekend coming up and the economy in a slump, maybe a visit to Avery Island might be the perfect get away this or any weekend.  I recently visited Jungle Gardens on one beautiful afternoon during the workweek.  It was one of those days where I just needed to get away and clear the mind.  Take a look at the beauty that surrounds all who visit.