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Pink Traveler: Happy Trail

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Time is running out if you’re still not in the holiday spirit. That means it’s time for some drastic measures.

Formerly only known by the codename, Operation Jolly Jingles, we now have clearance to share the now-declassified details of a secret mission to make people smile so big you’ll see all 32 of their teeth at once.

It’s called the Holiday Trail of Lights, an extravaganza of merriment and an addiction to things that twinkle, spanning five different stops around the northern part of Louisiana. Best of all, it’s an easy drive from Dallas so you can cover a lot of it over a single weekend, but we did it over three days and left wanting more.

In Shreveport-Bossier, the closest destination to Dallas, highlights include Christmas in Roseland at the Gardens of the American Rose Center and, of course, plenty of casino action. Plus, the most Christmassy bed-and-breakfast ever.

Nearby in charming Minden and Monroe-West Monroe, there are fantastic antiques shopping opportunities during the day and wonderfully decorated historic districts to explore after sunset. Parades, fireworks and Santa are often on the schedule, too.

Alexandria-Pineville is home to some remarkable performing arts and galleries throughout the two cities. One non-holiday diversion and must-stop is the historic Kent House Plantation, where you’ll get a memorable glimpse of the area’s history.

Finally, Natchitoches is where the magic reaches a fever pitch. Made famous in the original Steel Magnolias film, this is where the Cane River comes alive with larger-than-life displays and more than 300,000 lights (pictured above) and a fireworks extravaganza every Saturday night that can’t be missed.

It’s not a road trip. It’s a ho-ho-ho’d trip.

Holiday Trail of Lights
Through January 6, 2013
holidaytrailoflights.com

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