In our final edition of Winter Jaunts, Z’Scoop helps you discover Americana throughout America with an exquisitely artful Audubon Pilgrimage in Louisiana, an amazing Jug Museum just north of Chicago, a Green Chili Shoot Out competition in the capital of West Virginia, and a surrender to the romance and sentiment of the sea in Mystic, Connecticut.

What an amazing and diverse country we live in, and how lucky we are that all of this is available to us — anytime, anywhere — all of us.

Baton Rouge/St. Francisville, LA
46th Annual Audubon Pilgrimage

The 46th Annual Audubon Pilgrimage will be held on March 17, 18 and 19 in 2017. This Pilgrimage celebrates a southern springtime in St. Francisville, the glorious garden spot of Louisiana’s English Plantation Country, and a full weekend of tours, plays, gardens, parties and real antebellum hospitalities await your arrival.

For over four decades the sponsoring West Feliciana Historical Society has thrown open the doors of significant historic structures to commemorate artist-naturalist John James Audubon’s stay as he painted a number of his famous bird studies and tutored the daughter of Oakley Plantation’s Pirrie family, beautiful young Eliza.

When the artist arrived in the St. Francisville area in 1821, he recorded in his journal that the rich lushness of the landscape and flourishing birdlife  “all excited my admiration.”

Having set for himself the staggering task of painting all the birds of this immense fledgling country, Audubon would find the inspiration to paint dozens of his bird studies while residing at Oakley.

Dates: Friday, March 17, 2017 through Sunday, March 19, 2017
Times: Friday 9:00 AM through Sunday 5:00 PM (CDT)
Location: West Feliciana Historical Society
Address: 11757 Ferdinand St., St. Francisville, LA 70775
Costs/Tickets: website

Evanston, IL
The American Toby Jug Museum

The Toby Jug is defined as a jug or pitcher in the form of a full-bodied character, while a Character Jug comprise(s) only the head or face, and often shoulders.

The American Toby Jug Museum is home to more than 8,000 Toby and Character jugs, and related derivatives from around the globe. The collection spans centuries and features characters representing the times in which they were made, from the oldest dating back to the 1760s to the most recent ones still in production. It is the largest collection in the world, and is on display and open to the public at The American Toby Jug Museum in Evanston, Ill.

Stephen Mullins, who began collecting more than 65 years ago when he was just 13 years old, founded the Museum. This was the beginning of a lifetime passion of learning about and collecting Toby and Character Jugs.

His collection resided in his home until 1985, when he moved 800 pieces to his office in downtown Chicago and eventually to the British Collectibles Shop in Evanston, Ill., when his pieces numbered 1,500. In the fall of 2005, British Collectibles moved and the American Toby Jug Museum opened its own space. It now features 100 cabinets in a 4,000 square-foot museum setting and is arranged and displayed according to time period, manufacturer and category, such as military, political, holiday and advertising mugs. It also hosts the world’s largest Toby Jug, which stands at 39″ high.

Dates: 10 AM until 5 PM Wednesday thru Saturday
Location: American Toby Jug Museum
Address: 910 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, IL 60202
Website: The American Toby Jug Museum
Phone: 877.862.9687
Admission: Free

Charleston, WV
Capital Market Green Chili Shoot Out

In the late 1800s, the Kanawha and Michigan Railroad built a rail yard on Smith Street. For several decades, it bustled with commerce important to the growth of Charleston, West Virginia. But by the late 1900s the rail yard had fallen into disrepair and needed a new vision. This vision included a renewal of the once-vital commerce, and an anchoring place for the people of Charleston; a tourist attraction, a premier shopping destination and a social hub for the community and this is where new Capitol Market traditions began in 1997.

Now, more than 100 years after the rail yard’s construction, Capitol Market is revitalized: the old transfer dock is now home to a year-round outdoor market and an eclectic collection of indoor shops featuring fresh fish, meat & produce; books, wines, chocolates, West Virginia Foods & Things and one of the city’s most popular restaurants — SOHO’s Italian.

Mark your calendars for Saturday March 18th, for that is when the Capital Market Green Chili Shoot Out takes place. This annual event draws crowds from around the area as the competition for the best Green Chili (with a tip of the hat to St. Paddy) ignites friendly rivalry between local citizens, restaurants and chili chefs from around the country. The Capitol Market Green Chili Shoot Out is a sanctioned cook-off with the International Chili Society and Chili chefs prepare their best offerings for the grand prize of $1,000 and advancement to the World Chili event.

The public purchases tickets to taste the delicious concoctions.

Dates: Saturday, March 18, 2017
Location: Capital Market, Address:
Address: Smith Street, Downtown, Charleston, WV
Website: Capital Market Green Chili Shoot Out
Admission: Free
Tickets for sampling: 2 for $1; 10 for $5; or 20 for $10
(Proceeds benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Capital Market)

Mystic, CT
Various Attractions to Fill a Weekend

First — there is Mystic Aquarium!

The Aquarium holds regular events like family overnights, Cocktails with the Whales, workshops and much more. See our events page to see what they’ve got planned next. Mystic Aquarium Info – phone: 860.572.5955; website:; Address: 55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, CT 06355

And then there’s Mystic Seaport!

The largest maritime museum — 40 acres — in New England, the Mystic Seaport attracts more than 400,000 visitors each year. It is home to the Charles W. Morgan, the oldest surviving wooden sailing whale ship, and over 60 original historical buildings. A visit to the historical maritime museum brings you back to life on the coast in the 19th century. Mystic Seaport Info: Phone: 860.572.0711 or 888.973.2767; Website:; Address: 75 Greenmanville Avenue, Mystic, CT 06355

Of course, there’s the Mystic Bridge Historic District!

This features excellent shopping, dining, and nightlife. Mystic’s Downtown is situated on both sides of the scenic Mystic River, connected by the bridge, where you can browse a unique selection of clothing, books, home decor and more than 80 independently-owned shops. Experience the diverse culinary landscape of the area’s best restaurants. Go kayaking along the Mystic River or catch a free summer concert at Mystic River Park. Eat, stay, shop & play! A great weekend is ahead. Contact: This is Mystic website; Phone: 860.572.9578

We’ve enjoyed introducing you to 32 of America’s unique cities with vastly different winter activities over the last eight weeks. We’ve gained an appreciation for our collective cultural diversity, our amazing people and some of the most awesome and interesting activities that America has to offer. We hope you did too! For other attractions or activities, visit all eight of Z’Scoop’s Winter Jaunts articles in our Travel section.

Please visit these websites for more information about the events and locations mentioned in this article.
St. Francisville, LA

Evanston, IL

Charleston, WV

Mystic, CT

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