Spend the Day in @TheHeartofNC with these Fall/Winter Things To Do in #AsheboroNC #RandolphCounty ft. @NCZoo @SeagrovePotters @MillstoneCreek

On November 19, 2022, I joined others on a Day Trip Media Tour to Asheboro/Randolph County which lies in The Heart of North Carolina. It was a pleasure to learn more as about the destination and to have the opportunity to share the experience with you!

Visit the Heart of North Carolina ❤️ and discover more to LOVE in NC

North Carolina Zoo Tour

The morning started with a guided, two-hour tour at the North Carolina Zoo, which is the world’s largest natural habitat zoo, devoted to saving species and assisting with global efforts. Debbie Foster Fuchs of the North Carolina Zoo PR team was our host/guide providing us with information about NC Zoo which included a behind-the-scenes look. It was great to see how the animals connect with nature and the many ways this zoo is devoted to animal conservation. No wonder the North Carolina Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. It truly is a unique family-friendly experience that we enjoy coming to. To learn more about the NC Zoo, check out my last blog post (here) about our family visit and plan your next adventure at NCZoo.org!

LUNCH-Downtown Asheboro

With Downtown Asheboro being just five minutes from the zoo, we headed there to check out their selections for lunch. Although there were many nice options all in close proximity, we chose Taco Loco (located at 138 Sunset Ave) because of the recommendation of it’s “fresh, lively interior with fresh-Mex favorites”. My family enjoyed the authentic cuisine and fast/friendly service of the restaurant as well as the charming atmosphere that Downtown Asheboro has to offer.

After lunch, it was time to head to the Handmade Pottery Capital of the USA aka Seagrove, NC. The 15th Annual Celebration of Seagrove Potters Fall Festival show was happening and we took advantage of the opportunity to meet potters, see live demos and do some shopping! The sales event took place at the Thompson Arts and Event Hall at Historic Luck’s Cannery located on NC Pottery Highway. If you would like to get some exclusively Seagrove made pottery, here is a ➡️ media guide link for exploring potter studios, annual events and to do tips for discovering Seagrove, America’s largest community of working potters, any time of the year!

Visit Seagrove NC

SobeSavvy Tip: Please note that almost every day can be a studio tour in Seagrove. You don’t have to wait for an event like the Celebration of Seagrove Potters to stop and visit potters in their working spaces. Some of the potters take January off, so that’s not the BEST time to come, but if you do come in January, the Visitor Center team can guide you to someone who is open….or you can call for appointments. Wed-Sat are the best “potter-hopping” days of the week. Visit DiscoverSeagrove.com for more info!

Millstone Creek Orchards

On the way home to Raleigh,NC from Seagrove, we made a stop along the way at Millstone Creek Orchards. Located in Ramseur, NC , this u-pick family farm offers many varieties of in season produce as well as delicious bakery/ Cannery items for purchase at the Apple Barn Country Store. I highly recommend going for the hot cider and the made fresh to order Apple Cider Donuts! It was the perfect sweet ending to our visit to The Heart of North Carolina.

SobeSavvy Tip: Millstone Orchards Creek has some upcoming holiday events and and activities that you don’t want to miss. Visit https://www.millstonecreekorchards.com/christmas-at-mco for details!

Make plans to visit The Orchard this Christmas!

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, enjoy pottery or just some good ole family fun, visiting the Heart of North Carolina has something for everyone! Check out their event calendar here: https://www.heartofnorthcarolina.com/calendar/

Thanks for having SobeSavvy.com Visit the Heart of North Carolina ❤️

Travel | Savvy Tips for a DC Family Getaway

Read SobeSavvy.com for Savvy Tips for a
DC Family Getaway

My daughter loves the DMV area and for a Elementary School Graduation gift we packed her bags and surprised her with an instant road-trip to DC!

What makes DC an ideal destination for a family trip? With so many free museums and attractions, you can have fun while learning in our nation’s capital!

STAY | Archer Hotel Falls Church

Stay Above The Rest…..Archer Hotel Falls Church

When staying in the DC metro we made our base camp the Archer Hotel Falls Church in the Mosaic District of Fairfax. Located just 10 miles from Washington, DC, Archer Hotel was formerly a Hyatt House but is currently in its final renovation rebranding as The Archer Hotel. They are small boutique chain of hotels with 8 properties in the nation. Chic rooms and suites are the name of the game with thoughtful public spaces and fast WI Fi throughout the property. Our one bedroom had a great design and space with a full kitchen. We also had a great workout in their modern fitness center which also has a Peloton Bike for guest usage. Later this year a bar/lounge called “AKB” is slated to open adjacent to the lobby.

SobeSavvy Tip: Sign up with email & text and get 20% off your next stay plus news and exclusive offers>> http://www.archerhotel.com/falls-church

DISCOVER | The Mosaic District

The Mosaic District is a modern shopping and dining destination all in one compact area in Fairfax where everything is within walking distance of it all! National chains like Target and Sephora are present. Boutique stores, plus over a dozen restaurants are here also. Coffee and ice cream spots are also up and down the street. Lively public park areas and even free outdoor movies are shown every Thursday night in the Summer. The Mosaic area attracts folks from the entire area who want an all-in- one afternoon or evening. We love this area in Fairfax just 10 miles from the DC area.

SobeSavvy Tip: Be sure to check out there events calendar to see what cool things they have in store to enjoy outdoors. We went to the 1st annual Pride Parade during our visit!

EXPLORE | Historic DC Tours

All aboard the Old Town Trolley Tour…

My husband and I have lived in the metro area and are both from Baltimore so we have spent alot of time in DC. That leads unfortunately to takinbg for granted things you pass by every day during the hustle and bustle of life. Old Town Trolley Tours, brought to you by the Historic Tours of America, brings to life monuments, buildings and the political history of Washington DC. Our informative guide/driver managed to weave together facts and humor in a manner guests of all ages seemed to enjoy. Our stop at the Lincoln Memorial was a highlight. We hiked to the very top to get up and close to the most famous statue of our 16th President. It also afforded and breathtaking view of the National Mall. We even managed to get a good pic of the reflection of the Washington Monumnet in the reflecting pool {hence the name!}.

Next stop : Arlington Cemetery …….

With over 400K graves, the Arlington National Cemetery Tour is a solemn reminder of all those who not only gave their life in wars and conflicts, but it is also the resting place of numerous Americans who made a significant contribution to this nation and her history. John F Kennedy may be the most famous. His eternal flame signifies the hope he had for a better nation. We also paid our respects to the final resting place of Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Gingsberg.

SobeSavvy Tip: Make sure you check out the welcome center which goes into the cemetery’s history and origin.

Also, make reservations in advance and save with a package for both tours >> https://www.trolleytours.com/washington-dc/tickets

We had a blast visiting both the VA and DC area and hope you are inspired by these tips. Thanks for reading about our experiences and memories made in the District. Until next time….😘 Be sure to follow @sobesavvy

#HeighPartyof3 Takes DC | photo credit SobeSavvy.com

Spring Over To @WilmingtoNCoast and Follow This Family Friendly List Of Things To Do

Spring has sprung in Wilmington,NC and I thought it would be a great idea to hop over during Easter weekend for a chance to explore the many things to do with my Heigh Party of 3 crew. It’s an easy two hour drive from Raleigh,NC, so for us we truly enjoy the chance to visit the Wilmington River District & Island Beaches.

Get your Official Visitors Guide at WilmingtonNCVisitorGuide.com

If you are traveling to Wilmington soon, check out my list of family friendly things to do in the springtime or anytime!

1. Airlie Gardens

These expansive gardens are truly a jewel of this region. Acres upon acres of blooming flowers, ponds and wildlife are all here. Our daughter had fun using her ‘plant app’ to snap photos of flowers/plants and in return it would identify it. Make sure you check out The Bottle Chapel during your visit. It is a one of a kind structure designed with over 4,000 colorful glass bottles!

2. Fish House Grill

Located on the intracoastal, this seafood restaurant doesn’t disappoint. Their food pairs well with the view. Great drinks, mahi tacos and their soft shell crab sandwich was fresh and delicious!

Soft Shell Crab Sandwich at Fish House Grill

3. Practical Magic Store

With the full moon happening on the day of our arrival, I thought it would be cool to get some ritual tools. This store had more than I could ever imagine! From candles, clothing, teas,herbs, all types of gems, books, crystals and more. It is one of the most interesting stores to be found in Wilmington.

Crystals and Gemstones Galore can be found at the Practical Magic Store!

4. Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront

Embassy Suites By Hilton Wilmington Riverfront is a great base camp for families when visiting the area. It’s an all suite property with indoor pool and a mini Starbucks in the lobby! Besides great views of the Cape Fear River/ marina, this property provides spacious rooms and a comfortable sofa bed for our kid. For us parents, we enjoyed the manager’s reception,where we each received 2 complimentary cocktails!

Cheers to a wonderful stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront

5. Wilmington Riverwalk

One of our favorite reasons for staying on the riverfront means that we can enjoy scenic walks along the two- mile Riverwalk. We always take a leisurely morning stroll or jog on the river when we visit. You get a front row seat to history, Battleship North Carolina, leisure boats, bird wildlife and all the shops, restaurants and hotels that line this iconic waterway walk. There are informative markers and seats along the way if you want to take a break and watch the river flow by.

Let’s Stroll along The Wilmington Riverwalk

6. Carolina Candy Company & Gifts

Looking for a sweet local treat? Stop by Carolina Candy company where toffee rules the day. They make small batch toffee on the premise and only use all natural ingredients (no fructose here) Milk Chocolate , Caramel, Dark Chocolate Toffee and more are here to satisfy your sweet toffee tooth. Super friendly service and MAYBE if you ask nicely they may let you sample a few before deciding which one to purchase!

Pair it with wine, cheese or enjoy it on its own

7. The Veggie Wagon

Headed to the Carolina Beach and looking for a quick snack to eat? Make sure you stop by The Veggie Wagon for all sorts of grab n go goodness. Fresh sandwiches, salads and even locally made soaps can be found at The Veggie Wagon. Plus the hand spun milkshakes are a kid pleaser!

8. Fort Fisher State Recreation Park

We drove down to Fort Fisher State Recreation Park as dusk approached. The weather was not the best but the ocean breeze is always a welcome sensation. This beach is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike because it is separate from the busier beach areas. My husband is a history buff and he read all the historical
markers as this area was active during the Civil War. Whether you go for the sea, sand or history, there’s something for everyone at Fort Fisher State Recreation Park.

Get some Vitamin Sea at Fort Fisher State Recreation Park

9. STEAM Restaurant and Bar

Easter Brunch at STEAM, located inside the Embassy Suites )where we stayed), was not only convenient but it was very memorable in a great way. Their bright and airy atmosphere is always inviting and their food is always delicious. NC oysters, fresh local seafood and a juicy burger for our kid, left us all satisfied. But I am so happy we saved room for dessert because the bananas foster bread pudding was soooooo amazing! A sweet ending to a fantastic meal.

10. Cameron Art Museum

Support the Arts at Cameron Art Museum

Cameron Art Museum is another gem of the area. This museum always has some interesting art show/installations and this visit was no different. They have two new exhibits called “20 Years” , which features pieces of work by artists who have all had their work featured at the museum since it’s opening 20 years ago. Make sure you also check out “State Of The Art” which showcases artist either native or living in North Carolina. Watch my Cam Art Museum IG Reel to get a glimpse as to why you should at it to your trip itinerary the next time you and your family visit Wilmington.

All you need to know before you go can be found on this website : https://www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/

There is so much to see and do, that I am already planning to return for a girls trip in May. Be sure to follow me on IG/Twitter/Facebook @SobeSavvy as I’m always happy to share and inspire your next adventure!

FAMILY TRAVEL | 3 Day STAY•EAT•PLAY Guide to San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Family Travel Fun
By SobeSavvy.com

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in the USA. There is a song that goes 🎶 I left my heart in San Francisco 🎶 but I now say I found my heart there because I love visiting. Our fondness for San Fran started in 2010 when my husband and I were working there as consultants and discovered we were pregnant! Our daughter is the heart we found and it was with great pleasure to take her for her first time back to the city where she so amusingly says “was stirred in the pot” ! 😅 Our 3 day itinerary took place over the MLK JR. Weekend and we planned an itinerary based on places we have explored before along with some new places to discover. We flew non-stop from RDU to SFO on United Airlines and was ready to roll after getting a rental car from Avis.

#HeighPartyof3 has arrived in SFO and we are ready to roll!

STAY | Le Méridien San Francisco

Check In to Le Méridien San Francisco

My husband chose Le Méridien San Francisco hotel not only because he is a Marriott Gold member but because of its central location. It’s located in the Financial District, which is not too touristy or crowded, especially on the weekends. Our one bedroom ‘City By The Bay’ suite offered a spacious, modern room with floor to ceiling windows & balcony views of the Bay Bridge & TransAmerica building, a comfortable sofa bed for our child and a separate king size bedroom for us. We utilized room service and also enjoyed bar bites/ handrafted cocktails from their on-site lounge, Bar 333. We could walk to many shopping and dining options as well as places like Chinatown, SOMA, and the Ferry Building, which is where we started on Day 1 to get something to eat.

EAT | Harborview Restaurant & Bar + more!

Dinner at Harborview Restaurant and Bar was a fantastic choice for delicious Dim Sum, Cocktails and Cantonese Cuisine with a view!

San Francisco is a foodie paradise because of the vast variety of choices. There is truly something for everyone but if you don’t have dim sum while in San Francisco, were you really there? We decided to try a place that we could walk to from our hotel and came highly recommended for its service and authentic Chinese cuisine. Feast your eyes on our wonderful dining experience at Harborview Restaurant & Bar ⤵️

BRUNCH-LUNCH-DINNER-DESSERT

Dungeness Crab, Clam Chowder, inside the Ferry Building, Pork Bun, Boba Tea

San Francisco is a place where you can let your foodie flag fly high and our tastebuds were ready for take off! Since we love seafood, we couldn’t help ourselves to have lots of it during our stay. Here are some of the places we enjoyed during our visit:

  • Ferry Building
  • Imperial Tea Court
  • Hog Island Oyster Co.
  • Good Luck Cafe & Deli
  • Fog Harbor Fish House
  • Biscoff Coffee Corner
  • Ghirardelli Square
  • Brioche Bakery & Cafe
  • Réveille Coffee Co.
  • The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill ( Oakland )
  • House of NanKing
Dirty Chai Latte, Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bowl, Sweets in Ghirardelli Square, Sunday Brunch & Bread Pudding

PLAY | California Academy of Sciences & Madame Tussauds + more!

Welcome to the California Academy of Sciences

Adventure awaits at the California Academy of Sciences ! Here is where you and your family can experience 4 exhibits in one place. There’s an Aquarium, Rainforest, Natural History Museum, Planetarium as well as a cool Geology collection and Naturalist Center. No matter where you start, getting ready to learn, explore and leave like our kid did..with this smile!

#HeighPartyof3 at the Morrison Planetarium located in the California Academy of Sciences. We enjoyed this immersive experience!

Madame Tussauds San Francisco, located in Fisherman’s Wharf, is the place to go to see life like icons in wax. It’s remarkable to learn about the process and get information about the figures. My favorite thing to do is sing and dance with the musicians while my husband challenges us to a pose off with the celebrities. Our daughter loves taking selfies there and it’s a fun time for all! There are so many reasons why Madame Tussauds is the #worldsgreatestwaxmuseum, but you can get a glimpse here via my video.

Fun Times at Madame Tussauds San Francisco

Sightseeing Must Do’s

San Francisco is a vibe and a feast for the eyes! So scenic, so artsy, so eclectic and unique. You can get a taste of city and coastal life all in one visit. My husband loves the architecture of the city, while my daughter enjoyed seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time. We did so much on Day 2 & Day 3 of the trip but here are some of the sights we enjoyed during our visit: 

  • Ferry Building/Bay Bridge
  • Chinatown
  • Yerba Buena Gardens
  • No Ceilings Mural
  • Embarcadero Center #ArtofEC
  • TransAmerica Building
  • Golden Gate Park
  • Pier 39/Sea Lions
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Visit Sausalito
  • Japantown
  • Lombard St
  • Hayes St
  • Painted Ladies/Alamo Square
  • Visit Oakland
  • Ocean Beach/ Pacific Ocean

We had an amazing time during our 3 day stay. The weather was great and hugging family/friends was a bonus! San Francisco owes us nothing. Fond memories were mad and fun was had by all. Until next time, enjoy this recap video of our trip and I hope you are inspired San Francisco soon!

#FamilyTravel | 2 Day Itinerary of Kid-Friendly Family Fun In Key West, Florida

2 Day Itinerary of Kid-Friendly Family Fun In Key West, Florida | SobeSavvy.com

The Continental United States literally runs out of land at Key West. Mile Marker Zero. The End. Perhaps that kind of geographic location is why this tiny island paradise has an anything goes attitude in a good way. Pirates, rum runners and those seeking to disappear off the grid have always called this 4×2 mile spot of land home. Today however, Key West has become a special destination for those seeking flip flop casual luxury, watersport fun, bars, restaurants or nature lovers.

I was there with family and friends celebrating my birthday, which we kicked off in Miami. (ICYMI..check out my previous blog post featuring My Top 5 Miami Family Vacation Must Do’s.) Living in Miami for 18 years allowed me countless visits to Key West but it had been over 7 years since my last visit here. So much has changed and thankfully much has stayed the same. Before going, I highly recommend the following websites to help build your itinerary: https://fla-keys.com/key-west/ & https://keywestattractions.org/ & https://www.historictours.com/keywest/

If you didn’t take a photo of a rooster while in Key West, were you really there?!

Day One

The 3 to 4 hour drive down from mainland Miami is part of the fun. US1 South aka Overseas Highway is a gem. Shimmering Atlantic Ocean on one side and the famed Gulf Of Mexico opposite is amazing. Most of the drive is just one lane each way and that forces you to slow down and enjoy the simplicity of it all. The seven mile bridge is one of the most unique experiences anywhere in the world! Upon arrival at our hotel, we dropped of our bags, grabbed a drink by the pool and hit those iconic Key West Streets.

We enjoyed a comfortable 2 night stay at the Hampton Inn Key West on Roosevelt Blvd.

Since this day was my actual birthday, I thought why not do one of the signature Sunset Sails! My #HeighPartyof3 and 2 good friends took a 2 hour sunset sail with Sebago Watersports. Sebago offers a multitude of cruises, watersports and tours. Departing from The Historic Key West Seaport, this was truly a grand way to celebrate another trip around the sun! Open bar, delicious hors d’ouevres and live music set the festive atmosphere. The crew went out of their way to check on its passengers and we had a blast celebrating! We thanked Sebago Watersports for making a great memory for my family and friends.

Fantastic Sunset Sail Memories made while cruising with Sebago Watersports

SobeSavvy Tip: We enjoyed a great happy hour at Onlywood Grill prior to our sunset cruise. They are located right near the Historic Key West Harbor, so we simply walked over after happy hour in plenty of time to check in for the sunset cruise. If your kid loves pizza like ours, then definitely check out this spot!

Happy Hour deliciousness at Onlywood Grill

Day Two

We awoke to a brilliant sunrise and were ready to seize an entire Key West day. Aqua Yoga at the Southernmost Resort was a wonderful way to begin my day. I met up with my girlfriend and we enjoyed an hour of peace in their pool led by an awesome yoga instructor. How unique!

Namaste by the pool for Aqua Yoga in Key West!

While I enjoyed yoga, my husband and daughter went to The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory. They had an amazing time seeing dozens of varieties of butterflies, flamingos and birds. It has a education room and also a delightful gift shop. It is a must do for visitors looking to enjoy something different and beautiful!

A visit to The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is a Family Fun MUST!

Afterwards, it was time to eat breakfast. Our favorite is Blue Heaven in Bahama Village. This iconic spot has been everything from a bordello to hosting boxing matches refereed by Ernest Hemingway! Luckily since 1992, it has been a restaurant which serves a great breakfast. As always my husband ordered the banana pancakes, I went with a lobster benedict and my now 10 yr old enjoyed a simple but yummy pancake. Resident roosters just make the atmosphere a classic Key West experience. Be sure to save room for their infamous Key Lime Pie!

Who has Key Lime Pie for breakfast?! We do at Blue Heaven

Afterwards, we all made our way to Harry Truman’s Little White House. President Truman spent 11 working vacations here, starting in 1946. He loved the warm winter climate and outdoor activities he could do here. The home still has many of the original furnishings and floorings. It was spacious and airy. Although not yet air conditioned, the design and famous Key West shutters made it bearable indoors during that time. One of his fully restored Presidential Limo’s is also on the property. A great place to tour and so informative. No photos are allowed inside for security reasons but you can purchase some cool souvenirs in the gift shop to remember your visit!

Take a historic tour of Florida’s only Presidential Museum at Harry S. Truman Little White House

If you want an educational overview of Key West, I highly recommend The Old Town Trolley Tour. They offer a 13 stop, Hop on-Hop Off daily tour, which conveniently included a stop at our hotel! We could hop off at a particular stop to explore and once done, simply go back to the trolley stop. This is an awesome way to see the island while leaving your car parked. It is also fully narrated by one of their expert conductors.

Enjoy sightseeing via an Old Town Trolley Tour and learn more about Key West!

Opened in 1934, the Key West Aquarium is a small gem that should not be overlooked. Located adjacent to Mallory Square, this aquarium was one of the first and largest open air aquariums in the nation. Alligators, sharks and a hands on touch tank are all here. Make sure you go for their outdoor tank feeding time. They narrate as you watch HUGE fish battle it out for their lunch being tossed in the water. Great fun for adults and kids alike.

We enjoyed our visit to the Key West Aquarium, an interactive Key West family attraction!

I hope our itinerary gives you some aid in planning your next family vacation to Key West. We can’t wait to return and when we do we will be utilizing the complimentary hospitality support services of OurKeyWest! We had the opportunity to meet Sarah and learned how they provide free concierge services with a locals perspective. We can’t wait to return to see what fun ways we can enjoy more of Key West!

Get your questions answered and find out how to live like a local from OurKeyWest Conceirge

SobeSavvy Tip: Make sure you stop at Bahia Honda State Park on your way back to the mainland. It is a natural wonder. Literally a real life snorkel aquarium in flat crystal clear water. Our daughter LOVED this place. We laid out a blanket and umbrella and frolicked. Perfect way to end our Florida Keys stay.

Fun in the sun at Bahia Honda State Park

We left Key West with fun family memories of sunsets, cruises and food. As always, we will be back!

👀WATCH my YOUTUBE video recap for more highlights from our family visit to Key West!

2 Day Itinerary of Kid-Friendly Family Fun In Key West, Florida

Featuring Key West attractions that are fun for the whole family!

Experience Family Fun at Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit Charlotte #VangoghCLT @Blumenthalarts @goghCLT


Vincent Van Gogh is without question one of the top 5 most well known artists to ever have lived. A failure during his short lifetime, only to be celebrated the world over in death. That celebration has now culminated in a multi media experience called Immersive Van Gogh”. This exhibit is currently in numerous major cities in The U.S. and opening in even more this fall.

Per their website”, You will be immersed in Van Gogh’s works – from his sunny landscapes and night scenes to his portraits and still life paintings. The installation includes the Mangeurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Eaters, 1885), the Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1889), Les Tournesols (Sunflowers, 1888), and La Chambre à coucher (The Bedroom, 1889), and so much more.


https://www.instagram.com/p/CQ37bZPHt1c/?utm_medium=copy_link


We had the pleasure of experiencing this unique creation of a event at their Charlotte location in the Camp North End section of the city. This location, which is a fast growing creative artist hub was the perfect fit for Immersive Van Gogh.

The setting was actually a former Ford Model T factory! It was expansive with high ceilings and never seemed crowded.

It opened on June 17,2021 and is slated to run at least until September 12. Think giant digital installations projecting some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings. My soon to be 10 year old remembered some of his works from her art class in kindergarten and first grade. She was so excited to see of his works literally come to life and like all guests become “immersed” in the art.


Some folks sat on the floor, while others opted for a bench or chair seat. Since we had VIP tickets, a cute Van Gogh seat pad was included with our ticket. My daughter commented that Dad seems to be meditating on the floor while enjoying the experience. The music was curated with each scene/painting and went together perfectly.

What we loved is that the whole shows ran on a loop, since we came in mid-show we ended up not missing a thing. Guests can stay as long or as short as they please.

Afterwards we browsed their rather large gift shop area that had everything Van Gogh you could imagine. Selfie and picture opportunities were everywhere. So much though went into all the art pieces sprinkled throughout the venue. From giant sunflowers to an oversized faux paint bucket and brush!

They also have a coffee and snack shop on premise. From the moment we entered until we left, we were truly immersed in Van Gogh. Get your tickets now as they are timed and are filling up quickly.

Purchase Tickets  for Charlotte, NC exhibit >>>https://vangoghclt.com/

For more info Follow on Social Media @VanGoghCLT👀Watch my YOUTUBE video recap of our family fun experiencing at Immersive Van Gogh Exhbit Charlotte!

https://youtu.be/TO4BT6vC5mk


CONNECT WITH ME @SobeSavvy
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Family Travel | Fun Tips For Your Mountain Weekend Winter Vacay in Asheville, NC


In our home, we try to apply this rule Long Weekends = Family Vacay
..and since we all had MLK Day off Monday + our daughter had no school on Tuesday due to a teacher workday, 
it was the perfect reason to take a roadtrip and enjoy a change of scenery! This time we made plans to drive to Asheville, NC.

From Raleigh, NC it took us about 4 hours to arrive. Our 9 year old was so excited to have a mountain vacay and so were we! Although this is not our first time visiting AVL, it has been quite a few years and she doesn’t remember much. Our experience will be different, new memories will be made and a balance of fun and relaxtion is always on the agenda.
If you are planning a family trip to Asheville, NC this winter, take a look at our family vacay experience featuring some kid-friendly and family fun tips for you to enjoy!



Arrive | Saturday


SEE & SIP: We made a pit stop in Black Mountain, NC to see the Roberta Flack Mural located on the side of the Black Mountain Brewing building. I am a big fan of her music and was excited to see how they paid homage to this African American female artist! While there, make sure to have one of their unique beers that are brewed daily and see why this area is known for it’s craft beer culture and breweries. For the kids, they have chips and a food truck on the outside patio to grab snacks from. 

SobeSavvy Tip: If you are bringing the family pet along, no worries… friendly dogs in leashes are allowed!


EAT: We were ready to eat lunch when we arrived to Asheville and Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas fit the bill because the menu offers something for the whole family. We started with some tasty tapas (my kid loved the Itto gyoza dumplings and Itto Buns were perfect for my family of 3 because you get 3 to an order). If you enjoy sushi, the Yellowtail Jalapeno is a must try! Want something deliciously fried: order the Crab Rangoon or Takoyaki Balls!


Also on the menu are salads, cocktails/drink menu, wine, beer, sake, desserts as well as signature ramen. It was nice to warm up with a bowl of ramen that features broth that has been cooked for 7 to 9 hours!
They make 3 vats of broth daily that make 300 broth bowls. If your kid loves slurping up noodles like ours, then you must try their house-made ramen. I tried the Itto House Special Ramen, which is brothless but still full of amazing flavors! I am still dreaming about how good that dish is.
There are many gluten free and vegan options on the menu and they are proudly serving local fresh veggies, pork from Hickory Gap Farms and local beer also. My husband and I ordered from the Itto cocktails menu and made a toast to celebrate our safe arrival to Asheville and this amazing dining experience at Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas.





STAY: After hearing about our friends and their 2 kids stay at the Asheville Cottages, I knew it would have the right mix of rustic & luxury that my family would be satisfied with. Wifi for the hubby, a fire pit to make s’mores for the kid and a private hot tub for me! Our vacation rental cabin exceeded our expectations and we felt right at home. We stayed in The Chestnut, which is one of their 1 bedroom cottages. Overall, it was clean, cozy, and comfortable. We loved the location and surrounding views of the woods. Having a full kitchen along with a gas grill on the back deck allowed us to enjoy making meals together just like we would at home. A few things I don’t have at home that I wish I did now that I’ve experienced it here are the King -sized Select Comfort Sleep Number Bed and heated bathroom floors/toilet seat/towel rack. With so many extras, I most definitely would recommend Asheville Cottages for your next stay!


SobeSavvy Tip: Before you go, we shopped for a few hot tub accessories on Amazon to bring with us like this hot tub light that changes colors and some inflatable drink holders !

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKPeOOBgDQX/?igshid=9iynztbgzvna


Sunday Funday


SEE:  Located in Downtown Asheville, the Asheville Art Museum showcases 20th/21st century American Art along with a concentration on work with significance to the Southeast. After learning of it’s 24+ million expansion in 2019, this museum was on my must see list!  From the glass facade to The Oculus, which features a 15 foot viewing window and all the amazing art, photography, crafts and glass being housed here amongst the galleries, there is so much to see!  We spent our time looking at the various artworks in 10 different Exhibitions and learning about it’s Collection. Did you know that the Asheville Art Museum is a collecting institution and serves all 24 counties in Western NC? You can explore this museum both in person and virtually via their website!

SobeSavvy Tip: Families, make sure to take advantage of the programs and some of the fun activities available for kids while there. We printed their downloadable coloring sheets and note cards for the whole family to enjoy!



SobeSavvy Tip: Café access is free for Members or included with Museum admission. Members get a 10 percent discount with code AAMMember.

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DO: Add Hummingbird Candle Co. to your must do list when you visit Asheville for a unique candle-making experience. Shop and/or book an Interactive Candle Making Experience, with over 32 Scents to choose from using products that are earth-friendly. It’s the perfect Family (for kids age 7+) or Couples Date Night, Girls Night or Me Time fun anytime!
SobeSavvy Tip: Join the Insider Group for an Exclusive First Look at ALL of their NEW Items and Sales! You’ll receive 10% off your First Purchase TOO!

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Depart | Monday

READ: During our stay, I got to relax, relate and read! Here is a book recommendation to pick up before your next trip to Asheville: 📗EVEN AS WE BREATHE, the 1st novel published by a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, is partially set in Asheville,NC during WWII and tackles difficult social/cultural/ethnic divides.
Author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle has definitely written a fictional page- turner and is a wonderful writer! I started reading this book before plus  during our trip and it was the perfect vacation read.


SHOP: Ladies, (and all those who like to save & shop) I was happy to discover the Asheville Outlets were just minutes away from where we were staying. After we checked out of our cottage at 11am, we headed there to see what bargains we could find.   I got a belted puffer coat with faux fur hood on clearance at Banana Republic orig $189.99 for just $25‼️ Old Navy had something for the whole fam and our kid loved her new combat boots from Famous Footwear. There were so many quality brands to shop from but so little time (since we were departing from Asheville). However, it will be at the top of my list our next trip here!


SobeSavvy Tip: Make sure to check out these coupons from the Asheville Outlets for extra shopping savings!


Honor MLK: Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said ” We know that to bring justice, love and friendship, we must build strong communities that foster these things.”
We learned via Facebook that the Burton Street Peace Gardens, where they have an area of art dedicated to
Dr. King, would be a good place to visit to see how they honor his words and legacy, while supporting the community.

Before you go, check out ExploreAsheville.com for some insight ahead of your trip. You can find the latest roundups and newsy tidbits with updated information for the current world we live in here.


This winter family vacay was enjoyed by all! From the joy our daughter had just being in the mountains, to my husband spending so much time in the hot tub that I nicknamed him Jacuzzi Joe to me having fun remaking this ” Let It Snow ” video, we truly enjoyed our time in Asheville, NC.

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Want a change of scenery? Here’s where to STAY, EAT, EXPLORE in @WilmingtonNCoast! #travel #familytravel #WilmingtonNC #CarolinaBeachNC #SobeSavvy

2020 has been a unique year to say the least. Challenges that none of us could have guessed a year ago have filled all of our lives since March. Like many of you, home school and working from home has become a mainstay. My #HeighPartyof3 family were in need of a change of scenery, so we opted for a roadtrip to Wilmington, NC over this past Thanksgiving Day weekend. If you are not familiar with Wilmington, it’s an iconic coastal city that is both urban and beachy at the same time with a down home friendliness and great food and hospitality scene. We have visited this destination a few times (read about past visits: here) and our familiarity made the choice that much easier. If you are in need of a change of scenery, here’s where to STAY, EAT, EXPLORE in Wilmington, NC!

STAY

Social distancing is a invented term due to COVID-19 and picking a place that takes that seriously led us to Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront. They have instituted a industry leading room cleaning sanitation program called Clean Stay. They have partnered with Lysol to ensure the highest level of cleanliness at the property.

This hotel’s proximity to the riverwalk and historic downtown makes this a awesome choice for those wanting to explore this part of Wilmington on foot. Hubby took a jogging map the hotel has and went for a birthday morning 3 mile run! We had a spacious modern suite with a enviable Cape Fear River view. Great stay at a nice property!

STEAM Restaurant & Bar, located inside the Embassy Suites Wilmington Riverfront had a special Thanksgiving Brunch. The STEAM staff served the buffet with socially distanced tables and sanitized protocols in place. We had a table with no one in our immediate area so we got a chance to relax and enjoy a turkey dinner along with some locally sourced oysters and shrimp! Great service and wine/cocktail list made this a great choice.

EAT

In addition to STEAM , there are amazing family dining options in the area that offer takeout as well as dining in with Covid safety measures in place. Here are some places we enjoyed:

Hops Supply Co.: We had eaten a heavy “thanksgiving” at lunch time and didn’t quite think about the fact that almost NOTHING is open after 3 or 4 on Thanksgiving and needed a place to get something light. Enter Hops Supply Co. A restaurant that happens to be THE place in Wilmington for craft beer, wine on tap and food of course !We opted for curbside pickup of their Bistro Salad and a side order of asparagus. The.salad.was.everything !! Enough for two and incredibly good. The candied walnuts and blue cheese crumble combined with their incredible balsamic vinaigrette equaled perfection. When times get more back to normal I look forward to returning to try their beer and other food selections.

Slice of Life Pizzeria & Pub: Everyone likes pizza but my husband and daughter LOVE pizza. Lucky for them {and me} that one of the best pizza places ever at Slice Of Life. Voted Best Pizza and Best Late Nite Eatery in Wilmington for several years in a row, Slice Of Life got the unofficial stamp of approval from a 9 year old. You can customize a pizza with their myriad of toppings. We opted for half cheese and half Pineapple ham and mushroom. Simple perfection. We will definitely return!

The Basics: Located in the heart of everything downtown on Front street is The Basics. This mainstay has been a dining favorite for years. Everything from a casual breakfast to a dress up for dinner party can be had in this one restaurant. We had celebrated my birthday here a few years ago abd returned for breakfast this time. Shrimp and Grits, Chicken Biscuit and pancakes for the not so little one were ordered up this time. A few daytime cocktails included a Tequila Sunrise that was simply perfect.Yum Yum Yum. Just look at these pics and they say it all. There is nothing Basic about The Basics!

EXPLORE

Wilmington Riverwalk: Wilmington’s iconic riverwalk has been under construction for a few years now. It’s popularity had taken a toll and they are now renovating and expanding this wonderful walkway that doubles as a jogging route. We enjoyed taking walks during our stay here and made a fun IG reels video (that you can watch: here) to take you along the Riverwalk with us! Hugging the Cape Fear River this walkway gives visitors a great way to experience what I call the “backside” of downtown. Restaurants, shops and hotels line the riverwalk as well and you can see some of the most beautiful sunsets from here. You could also book a cruise tour aboard The Henrietta riverboat to learn more about Wilmington.

Carolina Beach: One of the best features of Wilmington is it’s proximity to many beach areas within a 30 min drive from downtown. Carolina Beach is one of them. We took a stroll along the boardwalk, enjoyed gelato while sitting in one of the swings and simply enjoyed being outside with nature. A walk on the beach is all that we needed to get some relaxing time together and a change of scenery.

Wilmington Tours: History is everywhere in Wilmington and sometimes it can be hard to figure out where to start when it comes to exploring historic Wilmington. Enter the Wilmington Tours App. Located in the Google Play store, this app features 5 full length city tours that include: African-American History, Pub Crawl Wilmington, Civil War Wilmington, 2nd Street to the River, and 3rd Street & East. We downloaded the African American Tour and since it was raining we drove to some of the historic sites that included the home of one of Wilmington’s most prominent black families, a rare intact urban slave quarters and different street corners of significance. This interactive tour is highly informative and literally made history come to life. I highly recommend this app for any visitor to learn about the history of Wilmington. Next time we will choose another tour from this amazing app!

Airlie Gardens: These public gardens are 67 acres of natural historic beauty. Airlie Gardens are a treasure not just of Wilmington or Hanover County but a treasure of all of North Carolina. While these gardens are beautiful any day of the year, we went for their annual “Enchanted Airlie” Holiday light spectacular. This is the hot ticket since 2005 and this year, while a little different still was as popular as ever. Timed tickets ensured it was not too crowded. Over a million lights adorned natural and man made things throughout. Different themes could be found everywhere. We all loved “Swan Lake” and the butterfly house exhbit. So many colors and with Holiday tunes playing, everyone was into kicking off the Christmas season! It even “snowed”. My daughter simply loved the whimsical atmosphere of it all and it will be a treasured memory.

👀Watch my full recap of opening night at Enchanted Airlie>> here.

We are thankful and grateful to be able to spend some quality time together and get a change of scenery in a neighboring city that we love to explore. This was our first time going to Wilmington,NC as a kick off to the holiday season and we may just make this a new family tradition! Before you go, be sure to check in with Wilmington and Beaches to plan your vacation. We hope that you are inspired to visit soon!

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4 Places to Enjoy #NationalTakeAHikeDay in #RaleighNC @RaleighParks @WakeGovParks

This year, National Take A Hike Day falls on November 17, 2020 and I am taking this opportunity to share with you some of our favorite places to take a hike! Why do we like to hike? The answer is simple, it’s a free, family-friendly activity that allows us to connect with nature in a fun way.We have always loved nature but 2020 has been a year that we have enjoyed this ideal social distancing activity so much more! Per Black People Who Hike, there is also health benefits to hiking. If you live in the Raleigh, NC area, here are 4 Places To Enjoy #NationalTakeAHikeDay !

Durant Nature Preserve

At 237 acres, Durant Nature Preserve is one of our favorite parks to enjoy the great outdoors. This massive, mostly undeveloped park has it all! A Butterfly garden, plentiful picnic areas and two lakes. We love taking a hike down to the fresh water stream to see all types of aquatic life in it’s original habitat. We have also spotted white tail deers! They have a multitude of mountain biking and hiking trails that are easy to moderate. If you like raw nature, then this park is for you.

Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd
Raleigh, NC 27614

Green Hills County Park

A park at a former landfill may sound weird but Wake County has made it work! Green Hills County Park is located off of Durant Rd near the recycle center. Wake County grassed over the mound and managed to have zero smelly emissions, so no worries for your senses. They built a 2 lane paved road that is 1 mile in diameter. One lane for walkers or bikers and the other lane (separated by a curb) for cars. The most unique aspect (besides building a park from a closed landfill) is visitors can hike up a steep gravel trail to THE top of the landfill, which also boasts the highest point in Wake County for a 360 degree view of ALL of Wake County. They have a few picnic tables and grassy area up there to spend some time. My husband likes to do some power jogs up and down the trail and so do others. This is indeed an awesome park to visit!

Green Hills County Park
9300 Deponie Drive

Raleigh, NC 27614

Falls Lake

Conviently located off of Falls Of Neuse Road, lies Falls Lake. This park is part of a 22 mile lake system that runs through northern Wake County. It is actually maintained by the state and US Army Corp Of Engineers, this man made lake is full of boaters, fisherman, paddle boarders and anything else you can do on the water. The Falls of Neuse entrance leads to the massive dam. You can hike various trails, paved and unpaved throughout this wonderful area. They have a great information center with maps that provide not only hiking but camping and boating information as well. We have hiked a portion of the famous NC “mountain to sea” trail which descends to the lake. Falls Lake is one of the most beautiful outdoor places to hike!

Falls Lake Visitor Assistance Center

11405 Falls of Neuse Rd

Raleigh, NC 27614

Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve Park

We love hiking and learning and there is no better place to do both than at Annie Louise Wilkerson,MD Nature Preserve. It’s namesak, Annie Louise Wilkerson was a pioneering doctor in the Raleigh area for 52 years who bequeathed the 157 acres to the city with the stipulation that the land remained undeveloped and be a place of learning. There is an education center, a whimsical “troll/fairy trail for kids (grown kids also) and a great perimeter pond trail that we love to hike around. Butterflies, grasshoppers, birds and ladybugs abound everywhere! The Pond Trail is mostly low cut grass so running while hiking is encouraged! This is just a special happy place for the whole family to enjoy.

Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preseve Park

5229 Awls Haven Dr.

Raleigh, NC 27614

For more informaton on the above listed parks or to discover somewhere new to explore nature, check out Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources | City of Raleigh and Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space. Thanks for reading and I hope you are inspired to enjoy the many ways to connect with nature on #NationalTakeAHikeDay (and everyday) in Raleigh,NC!

👀 Watch my YOUTUBE video which recaps some of our favorite moments/views at Durant Nature Preserve, Green County Hills Park, Falls Lake and Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve Park.

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Family Travel Tips for Visiting the @NCZoo in @TheHeartofNC during COVID-19

Disclaimer: Thanks to all at NC Zoo who work so hard to keep the visitors and animals safe. Media tickets & lunch were provided in exchange for review of our visit.

Family Travel Tips for Visiting the NC Zoo during COVID-19 | SobeSavvy.com

During these uncertain times, finding fun safe things to do with a child has been challenging to say the least. Lucky for us the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC comes in very high on the fun and safe things to do list. Most folks know this is not only one of the nations greatest zoos but it is THE largest natural habitat zoo in the world. Being only 90 minutes from the Triangle makes this day trip easy for well over a million residents here. Since a couple of years have passed since our prior family visit to the zoo, (which you can revisit that blog post >> here), me and my #HeighPartyof3 were very excited to return!

What To Know Before You Go

Due to COVID 19 the zoo has made some major changes in how they do business to ensure everyone has a safe time. Guest must now buy their tickets in advance on a timed basis. This helps to spread out any crowds during their operating hours so there is no overcrowding at any point of the day. Although they can accomadate up to 15,000 people daily they now limit only 2,000 guests per day. All guests have the room to social distance.

Guests are also strongly encouraged to wear mask coverings during their visit. Walkway paths are now designated one way only and they have added dozens of sanatizing stations and signage throughout the zoo. The majority of indoor exhibits are closed and all guests must enter through the “North American” section only.

NC Zoo is committed to the #NCZooCares & #StayStrongNC initiative and is reminding everyone to don’t forget your Ws! Wear. Wait. Wash.

WEAR a face covering.

WAIT 6 feet apart from other people.

WASH your hands often.

Learn more at nc.gov/covid19

KIDZONE

The Kidzone play area just reopened and my daughter was excited to check out that space. After being indoors nowadays for virtual homeschool, she enjoys any chance to play outside. They have many ways the kids can creatively explore the world of play by using their senses. Upon arrival, we were greeted at the entrance of the Kidzone with items such as hand sanitizer, disposable masks if needed and encouraged to grab chalk to write a message on the wall. They only allow a certain number of kids in at a time as a safety precaution.

Playing in the KIDZONE at NC Zoo | SobeSavvy.com

Lunch at NC Zoo

Located in the North America Plaza, The Iron Hen (while currently closed to the public) is an on-site restaurant where we met PR Officer, Moriah Angott (who filled us in on upcoming events, plans for Asia, and Covid -related initiatives they are taking.) We also met a representative from their food partner, SSA, to learn more about their nutritious and delicious options for providing visitors with food from local and sustainable ingredients.

We were treated to lunch which consisted of chicken quesadillas with a side salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing made in-house, and grilled chicken drizzled with Chipotle mayo, rice and grilled seasonal veggies. Our daughter had the chicken tenders (which are hand breaded and made with chicken breast from local farm, Joyce Farms) plus fries! She said it was really good and that you can tell the chicken tenders were better than processed chicken nuggets. For dessert we had their pumpkin parfait and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, which we devoured! Everything was flavorful, sustainable and made with care. I would definitely return just to eat there! For more info on dining options and catering for events, read >>here

Tune in for more NC Zoo

On October 31, 2020 get ready for the premiere of “Secrets of the Zoo: North Carolina”, which will be shown on the Nat Geo Wild Channel. The eight-part series features stories of every kind — from emergency and routine animal procedures and animal husbandry to rescue, rehabilitation and release.

Viewers will get an inside look at North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, home to the largest zoo in the world. Spread out over an enormous 2,600 acres, this AZA accredited zoo has thousands of individual animals, more than 212 species and a diverse range of landscapes, including swamps, prairies, rivers, forests and even a desert. It’s more of a wildlife reserve than a traditional zoo, and many species share habitats as they would in the wild. At a time when the traditional concept of a zoo seems out of sync with animal welfare, the North Carolina Zoo leads the way and has achieved global recognition for setting zoo standards.

SobeSavvy Tip- Shoutout to the always helpful and resourceful Susan Dosier (@SDosier) at DK Communications Group for providing me with the following tips that I’ll kindly pass on to you:

Make sure everyone is in comfortable shoes and clothes. (the zoo is huge, and you guys will walk a lot.)

• If it’s chilly or raining, the animals are actually more active. Be sure to put rain gear in your backpack in case of an unexpected shower!

Don’t miss the videos from the North Carolina Zoo. See their suite of options on Facebook like this video of the second baby rhino of 2020 learning to stand.

The North Carolina Zoo is also offering a Facebook Live EDVentures Online Series. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, children and adults will learn more about a species living at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.

👀Watch this recap video from our fun day at NC Zoo !

Overall, we were impressed with how well they are doing to ensure guests are safe, surprised by the crowds(and their willingness to follow rules and wear masks) and appreciated the technology of being able to scan out map via QR code which provided support for a better guest experience!We had an amazing time at the zoo and it was such a great way to spend a beautiful fall day! I would definitely recommend visiting for a safe family fun activity. Stay connected and follow @NCZoo and @TheHeartofNC on social! For driving directions and more information about the NC Zoo, visit www.nczoo.org

📍North Carolina Zoo

4401 Zoo Parkway Asheboro, NC 27205
1.800.488.0444

http://www.nczoo.org