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Sip, Bike and Shop in the Northshore’s Quaint and Quirky Towns

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The small towns on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain are known for their arts and culture, live music, food, shopping and outdoor fun. Covington, the St. Tammany Parish seat, features a charming downtown with numerous beds & breakfasts, art galleries, trendy eateries and a weekly farmers market. One of the largest festivals in the area, Three Rivers Art Festival, is held in downtown Covington every winter since 1996. The two-day festival juries in hundreds of artists and spans across several blocks. Nearby Abita Springs is a former artists’ colony. The birthplace of Abita Beer is here, which visitors can experience at the Abita Brew Pub and in the brewery’s demonstration and tasting rooms.

The community is also home to the Abita Springs Opry, a live roots music venue, the offbeat UCM (“you see ‘em”) Museum and the Louisiana Bicycle Festival, a celebration of home-built, vintage and custom bikes.

These two towns, along with Mandeville, Lacombe and Slidell, are connected by the 31-mile Tammany Trace bike trail. The Trace’s eight trailheads are 1.7 to 7.1 miles apart and offer shade, water fountains and rest areas.