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Family Travel Guide #ArlingtonVA | @StayArlington Where to Stay, Eat, Play

Arlington, Va has long been known mainly just for it’s proximity to the nation’s capital. Well I am here to share that Arlington is a awesome destination all on it’s own. With a population of 1/4 million people, Arlington is a gem well worth exploring because it packs a lot of excitement,charm accessibility and affordability into one small area. My family and I, aka #HeighPartyof3, went on a roadtrip to Arlington,VA and here is our weekend family travel guide! 

Where to Stay

Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza  

Savvy Tip: Arlington is home to more than 40 hotels offering rates up to 20 percent less than those in downtown Washington,D.C.

Arlington has many options when it comes to accomodations. At the suggestion of Stay Arlington, we stayed at the brand new Hyatt Place in the Courthouse district. In my opinion this eight-story hotel property is located in an awesome area for walking and exploring Arlington on foot or the metro 2 blocks away. Hyatt Place Arlington is perfect for families as well as business and leisure travelers as it has everything one needs for a comfortable stay. The guestrooms are spacious and allowed us to rest easy after driving up for 4 hrs from Raleigh.

With inviting spaces to connect, meet, socialize, eat and drink, this innovative hotel is truly designed around the modern traveler.Speaking of eats and drinks, this hotel offers a Grand and Go case in the lobby where you can get sandwiches and salads 24/7 as well as order from a gallery menu.So whether getting in late or early you will never go hungry here. Be sure to check out the drink menu if you are in the mood for ‘satisfying sips’ for a night cap.Since it was St.Patricks Day (well evening) when we arrived, I decided to drink green and ordered me an apple martini. CHEERS~It was great!

During our stay, we enjoyed their complimentary A.M.Skillet breakfast which has a build your own yogurt station and hot egg and waffle options presented in what else but a skillet ! My little girl enjoyed putting almonds and granola in her oatmeal. For some of our visit, #outandaboutAva got a lil stomach bug. Thanks to the kind and helpful staff at Hyatt Place Arlington for making some customized chamomile/mint tea to help her feel better! We all loved the Hyatt Place as our home away from home.

What to Do

Explore~  We stayed in the vibrant Courthouse district which is within walking distance to a variety of shopping, entertainment and restaurant options. Just across the river from nation’s Capital, Arlington boasts the neighborly, small-town community vibe with all the amenities and conveniences of major urban centers.In addition to its many historical attractions, Arlington is just minutes to the National Mall and other regional attractions. Here are some of the places we explored:

Arlington Farmers Market

Since 1979, residents and visitors alike have enjoyed the weekend Arlington Farmers Market. All things produce and much more can be found in this local gem of a market.

Rocky Run Park

We actually happened upon Rocky Run Park. Set in a quiet residential street, this park has something for everyone. Extensive kids jungle gym activities and basketball courts and multi use turf fields. Great spot for letting the little {and big} kids burn off some steam and have fun.

Arlington National Cemetery

We decided to visit the hollowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, our nation’s shrine to honor those who have served our country. Both beautiful and peaceful, the cemetery is a place to pay homage anf remember those who sacrificed. We enjoyed exploring the impressive landscape and saw many moving experiences like: the Eternal Flame, President Kennedy and Family and Medgar W.Evers grave. If you are looking for a particular place of interest, use the ANC Explorer app available on the cemetery’s website, on-site kiosks or through online app stores. To see more of my photos from our visit to Arlington National Cemetery, see here.

National Mall

One of the perks of staying in Arlington is that you can visit The National Mall, the Smithsonian museums and other places in our Nation’s Capital because they are all just minutes away on Metro. Since we drive up, we just crossed the Potomac River in less than 10 mins to see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Albert Einstein Memorial and the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. A must see!

#PhotoswithAlbert 

National Harbor Capital Wheel

If you happen to visit Arlington by car like we did, you will learn that its location ‘inside the Beltway’ (I-495 and I-95) makes it easily accessible from many routes. There is plenty of on-street and private parking options. About 20 mins away is the National Harbor , where we were invited to visit their family fun regional attraction, the Capital Wheel. If you have a sense of adventure, take this ride up to the sky to see the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) landscape for miles around!

Where to Eat

Bayou Bakery 

In the mood for Louisiana-style favorites, coffees and desserts? Stop by Bayou Bakery. Owned by New Orleans-born chef David Guas who hosts The Travel Channel’s “American Grilled”, Bayou has brought authentic cajun cuisine to Northern Virginia. 

We had some delicious beignets and coffee as a mid morning snack. The place was bustling with families and couples alike. Their living room atmosphere, full of casual charm and vintage Southern character, makes this place a welcoming eatery for breakfast or lunch.

Earl’s Sandwiches

I first learned about Earl’s when looking up what restaurants were close to the hotel. With great reviews on their Facebook page, I knew the location at 2605 Wilson Blvd would be a wonderful place to feature as a must go to lunch spot. There are 2 locations (Clarendon,Ballston) in Arlington where you can get you one of Earl’s delicious sandwiches.

Owner Stephen Dugan(as seen in photo above) was there making sandwiches and taking orders himself! He shared that after being in business for 11 years, his customers love their homemade sandwiches, salads and soups made without the hassle. Looking for a Gluten Free meal? No worries. Any sandwich can be made into a salad for no additional cost. Breakfast sandwiches are served all day and they offer a catering menu too. We ordered 2 items from their monthly Fab Four menu: lump crab cake sandwich (deliciously grilled and served on a sesame seed bun), fish and fries (all served together on one sandwich-yum!) and we all drooled over my daughter’s grilled chicken breast sandwich, shown here. My daughter said it was not good..it was FANTASTIC! Everything was delicious, fresh and tasty. 

Kona Grill

Located in Rosslyn, one of Arlington’s urban villages, Kona Grill is one of the 500 restaurant options available in Arlington that offers diverse cuisine and a delightful epicurean experience. Known for their variety of amazing appetizers, mouthwatering entrees, fresh sushi and creative cocktail creations, I knew Kona Grill would be the perfect dinner option for us as a family. They also offer a kids menu and there’s a beautiful aquarium in the center of the restaurant that my daughter loved. This place is popular so make reservations and go early if have a little one. I will be sharing my full review as my #FoodieFriday feature. Stay tuned!

With plenty of “National History.Local Flavor”, our stay in Arlington was indeed memorable. We look forward to returning when it’s warmer as there is some shopping I did not get to do at their infamous Fashion Centre at Pentagon City and more fun to be had!  

We did do some online shopping prior to our trip with SunglassWarehouse.com and partnered with them to show you how we travel in style.I’ll be sharing more about this brand that offers classic sunglass styles at affordable prices in a future Fashion Friday post. Since our roadtrip took us to Arlington, VA & Washington DC, I thought it would be fun to style their (from left to right) Canoe driving sunglasses for me, Arlington for Him (very apropo don’t ya think) and Lincoln (for my lil one and Mr. President himself..lol)

Until next time..Happy Travels!

#TravelTuesday Where to Go: @BaltimoreMD – My 5 Fave #InnerHarbor Spots #FamilyTravel

Baltimore is one of our favorite cities to visit as a family.

Why ?

It’s a great place that ends up pleasing almost everyone who has ever visited there. Waterfront fun, world class restaurants and attractions play a big part in it’s charm

Our recent visit centered around the Inner Harbor and all it has to offer.

Baltimore‘s Inner Harbor

Here are my 5 favorite places to stay~eat~play with my family while visiting downtown Baltimore: 

Hyatt Place Baltimore Inner Harbor East 

The Hyatt Place Hotel was our base camp for our stay. Located in the trendy Harbor East area, Hyatt Place is situated perfectly to access all the Inner Harbor has to offer. Superb bedding, modern and chic style are everywhere, but it is their superior customer service and local knowledge that sets them apart from other choices. Their breakfast is awesome and they have a great room service menu to boot!

To see a more in depth hotel review, read here.

National Aquarium

My little one LOVES fish and all things in the ocean so The National Aquarium was a easy choice.

Within walking distance from Hyatt Place you will find one of the world’s greatest aquariums. Opened in 1981, this structure houses an impressive array of fish, shark and coral reef species. It’s open design allowed us to view all sorts of sea animals while at different levels of the building. Rays and sharks. Jellyfish and giant groupers. My daughter just LOVED the Dolphin tank. They have many interactive kid sized exhbits. She even put on a puppet show ! Most of their viewing windows are low enough for her to see at eye level. The rain forest was simply amazing. I don’t want to give away too much, but let’s just say keep looking carefully in the trees and you will be surprised

Phillips Seafood

Blue Crabs are THE quintessential Baltimore summer food so what better place to go then Phillips Seafood Restaurant.

Walking distance from the Aquarium sits world renowned Phillips. They have an over water crab deck open for diners in the summer, so we indulged in crabs and shrimp right over the water. My daughter loved seeing the ducks swim by to say hello. Their kids menu is much more varied than most places. They had everything from grilled salmon to clam strips. Stellar service matched the laid back cuisine.It lived up to it’s iconic reputation.

We recently did a “Tasty Thursday” feature of this restaurant , as seen here. Check out this photo slideshow of some of the deliciousness we enjoyed on the crab deck at Phillips Seafood Baltimore!

Baltimore Water Taxi

We also wanted to get ON the water and there’s no better way than to buy a daily ticket on The Water Taxi. For just $14 you have on and off rights all day long. The Water Taxi stops at various popular destinations throughout the Inner Harbor area. We embarked at Fells Point and went on a short cruise to Fort Mchenry.

*Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine 

Fort Mchenry was the decisive battle that decided the War Of 1812. That battle inspired our national anthem. We toured the grounds and the cannons. You could still feel the weight of history here. We also witnessed some folks in historic dress telling visitors about the rich history of the Fort.

We caught the Water Taxi back to Fells Point to transfer on another boat. The warm breeze on the ride was a welcome relief from the summer heat ! Next stop was for Harborplace on the west side of the harbor. Besides being a major restaurant and shopping destination, Harborplace also has some entertaining attractions.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Baltimore

Located in the HarborPlace, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium Baltimore was a fun and fascinating entertainment spot. It is Filled with artifacts and interactive exhibits. My little one spent extra time in their kaleidescope dancing mirror area ! Hubby tried to measure up to tthe world’s tallest man !

After some window shopping off we went again on the Water Taxi back to Fells Point. An easy walk back from there back to the Hyatt Place for some well needed rest. Baltimore is a great place with so much to do. Until next time

Go to Baltimore.org and discover more about the exciting things you can only see and experience in “Charm City”. We love the Inner Harbor and hope you get a chance to visit some of our faves !

BTW…Baltimore has had a rough last year and seems to be bouncing back . This T-Shirt just exemplifies how I feel about this port City. Hope you feel the same way too https://www.amazon.com/Idakoos-Baltimore-Cities-Sleeve-T-Shirt/dp/B01KOUL45U/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1471824436&sr=8-2&keywords=keep+calm+and+love+baltimore

#TastyThursday spotlight on @PhillipsSeafood #HappyHour + #BloodyMaryMeals = OMG ,so good!

Summer for Baltimoreans means two things. Humidity and steamed crabs. Both were in abundance last week when we visited Phillips at the world famous Inner Harbor. We dined alfresco on their pier “Crab” deck adjacent with their regular restaurant.

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We started off by enjoying a few of their happy hour specially prices drinks, like white Sangria! We also enjoyed a half dozen of oysters that they harvest themselves. Their Happy Hour $4 cocktails and specially priced apps run Mon-Fri between 4pm and7pm.

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Some friends and family joined us for what can only be described as the worlds most incredible Bloody Mary. It was delicious and came in a HUGE Quart sized glass container.

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While that by itself was amazing, it was what the bloody mary was topped with. Steamed crabs, steamed shrimp, chicken wings and potatoes !! You read that correctly. Phillips calls this their “Crab Feast Bloody” !! Enough for the whole table !!

It is quite a production and comes balanced like a tightrope walker in fish netting and all !! The waiter assured me it would not fall over , just be careful taking it all apart ! All heads on the deck turned once folk saw this gargantuan meal of a bloody mary making it’s way to our paper topped picnic table !!

My 5 year old didn’t know what in the world to make of this “meal”.
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It was amazing. The crabs, shrimp and chicken soon began to dissappear as did the perfectly boiled potatoes. Slowly the bloody mary level starting to drop also !! My mom simply LOVES Bloody Mary’s and she was a big part in assisting in it’s demise !!

Hot weather, Hot Crabs and Ice cold Bloody Mary. THAT ,my friends is what summer is all about.

Next trip to Phillips, try something new, something big, something HUGE . Try the Crab Feast Bloody !

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Follow this link and you can buy a small can of their famous seafood seasoning at a great price https://www.amazon.com/Phillips-Natural-Famous-Seafood-Seasoning/dp/B00H3TE19W/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1473261349&sr=8-2&keywords=phillips+seafood

#FoodieFriday spotlight on #Brunch in #Baltimore at @Bar_Clavel ! #CLAVEL #mezcaleria #taqueria

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As food days goes, some days during the week are for happy hour, others call for a long dinner but Sunday is THE day for brunch. When we got the brunch itch last Sunday in Baltimore we wanted to try something different, something new. We opted for a mexican brunch. Mexican brunch you say ? Si, Mexico has a very rich Desayuno {breakfast} tradition. Most Americans are not familiar with TRUE Mexican breakfast. I now know where to send them ..Go to Clavel mezcaleria and taqueria . They are located in the Remington neighborhood in Baltimore.

Every Sunday between 10am -2:30pm they offer their special brunch menu.

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This restaurant is set in a simple space with outdoor communal seating available for those wanting to eat al fresco.

The star here is the food and the people who create and serve it. Awesome vibe of friendliness and warmth permeated our entire experience there. We opted to sit outside on such a beautiful morning and tried a few dishes and drinks.

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Executive chef and Clavel partner Carlos Raba grew up in capital of Sinaloa, Culiacan. He is passionate about serving up these classic dishes. He told us these recipes have their foundation in recipes passed down by his great-grandmother and grandmother. Simple and fresh.

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We started with a Mimosa and a Sangre De Kahlo. The word “Clavel” means carnation in Spanish ,so naturally the Sangre De Kahlo is topped with one !!

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This is the Buenas Dias, which is a trifecta of fresh fruit, housemade Conchita Bread and a small carafe of juice. The bread disappeared in a few minutes courtesy of my daughter !! It had a semi sweetened crust on the outside but soft on the inside. Usually good bread bodes well for the rest of a meal and I am happy to report this was accurate in this case.

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Next, we enjoyed ‘Volcan De Cochinita’, which is served warm in a cast iron skillet. The picked onion was a great touch to a tasty dish !

Clavel prides itself on using local sources for their food when available. Their eggs are from Little Gunpowder Farms http://littlegunpowderfarm.civicworks.com/, which is a local farm that according to their website ,”providing high-quality vegetables at an affordable price, while prioritizing environmental stewardship of the land.

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The Huevos Rancheros were a delicious dish. Two eggs over Fresh Tostadas W/Salsa Ranchero Crèma and queso fresca. It was mouth watering good with subtle flavors.

This was a fantastic and different take on brunch that we won’t soon forget. We can’t wait to do it all over again next time !

My Fit+ Fitness Festival Recap @harboreast #fitplus #harboreast #zumba #baltimore

Get Out. Work Out. At the 4th Annual Fit+ Outdoor Fitness Festival.

FIT+ is a free festival that brings your workout to the streets of Harbor East. What better way to start a morning than with free fitness instruction from lululemon athletica, Maryland Athletic Club and Under Armour Brand House! 

So I registered via eventbrite and joined my sister and friend last Saturday for a day of fitness and fun . Each session showcased a unique fitness offering – from yoga to boot camp and beyond – perfectly timed so guests can sample multiple disciplines. We all discovered our favorite way to sweat! Take a look at the variety of classes offered :

Schedule:

9AM-9:30AM – THE MAC RUN GROUP

FIT+ kicks off with a run along our beautiful waterfront. Tom Casper and Stephen Penwell from The MAC’s Run Group will be leading an easy 30-minute run to warm everyone up! 

9:40AM-10:10AM – MAC ATTACK

Focus on boot camp-style drills and strength challenges with one of MAC’s top personal trainers, Wayne McFadden. This high-energy session has been a FIT+ favorite year after year!

10:20AM-10:50AM – VINYASA FLOW WITH LULULEMON ATHLETICA

Inspired vinyasa yoga with lululemon athletica – If you’re looking to add a little spice to your typical vinyasa flow, this 30 minute mindful vinyasa yoga practice with Ciara Desmond will leave you feeling strong and open for the summer! Please note this class is BYOM – bring your own mat.  

11:00AM-11:30AM – THE MAC HOSTS ZUMBA

Enjoy this Latin-inspired dance and exercise class that fuses fitness and dance into a fun and exhilarating workout with The MAC’s Tisha Guthrie.

11:40AM-12:10PM – LULULEMON ATHLETICA HOSTS BOOT CAMP

November Project may just be the most social workout you’ve ever experienced. This 30 minute workout combines cardio and body weight exercises with a good amount of what we call “that Recess vibe” (remember when you were 12 and class let out for recess…yeah, that feeling). At November Project we’re all about using community to help us push our limits and having as much fun as possible while doing it. We promise, the workout won’t be easy but you’re going to feel great about it when you’re done. It’s not a boot camp, it’s November Project.

12:20PM-12:50PM – “I WILL” BOXING WITH UNDER ARMOUR BRAND HOUSE

Have fun learning boxing basics with Team USA boxer and 2015 National Champion Franchon Crews. Use your will & skill while bobbing & weaving with an awesome “old school” classic boxing workout.

This was not your average health expo, FIT+ took our exercise routine to the next level with a DJ, health food & drinks from Whole Foods Harbor East, a photo booth, giveaways, and so much more! Proudly supporting the American Heart Association. 

Check out some of my photos from this year’s FIT+ Festival! 

*no more free socks or swag bag but we scored free selfies sticks courtesy of Harbor East !

*w/MAC Zumba Instructor, Tisha Guthrie

#Baltimore ,Feast Your Eyes on FEASTIVAL~Photos of #Feastival4CF @FSBaltimore @CFF_Maryland

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On Saturday, June 11, 2016, SobeSavvy.com joined fellow foodies for an afternoon filled with food and fun at an event called FEASTIVAL – A Food Adventure for a Cure benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation – Maryland Chapter.

The Waterfront Promenade at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore was the perfect setting for this unique culinary experience. Guests had the chance to feast on delectable bites by Baltimore’s hottest culinary talent, including Harbor East’s newest restaurant, Loch Bar, as well as Wit & Wisdom, Azumi, Colette, Encantada, and many more. Sunshine, blue skies and beautiful waterfront views were also on the menu while sipping stylish cocktails and craft brews! This epicurean adventure was held for a great cause allowing foodies, chefs, mixologists and philanthropists to join in the fight to finding a cure for CF.
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AMBASSADOR KATHARINE SCRIVENER says “Advances continue to be made in finding a cure, but your help is needed now – more than ever – to help keep up the momentum.” The public’s continuing support are needed to help accelerate efforts to pursue a lifelong cure for this fatal disease, develop lifesaving new therapies and help all people with CF live full, productive lives.

See here to make a donation and be sure to follow on Facebook
and Instagram @Feastivalbaltimore @cff_Maryland to stay up to date.

Feast your eyes on these photos taken at Feastival ..as seen on the scene by SobeSavvy.com !

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Recap #SpringTravel to @BaltimoreMD for @LightCityBmore

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In February, we visited Charm City to explore the “Romantic Side of Baltimore” (read more here) and learned about the upcoming Light City Baltimore and immediately made family travel plans to return in the Spring. Since we enjoyed our stay at the Hyatt Place Baltimore Inner Harbor East during our last visit, we knew that it would be the perfect location to walk to shops, restaurants and also most of the BGE Light Art Walk during the festival. When we arrived early Friday, we were thankful that staff was able to expedite check in and allow us to lounge in the cafe area until our room was ready. My 4 yr old immediately relaxed on the bed and tuned into her favorite TV show on the flat screen TV.
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After we settled a bit, we visited the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture to learn how to start a Family Tree. Read our interview here with the Resource Center Manager, Lisa Crawley. We then parked our car and decided to explore this walkable city and head over to the HarborPlace, located in the heart of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Along the way we saw some of the Light Walk attractions and other installations by day. My daughter really enjoyed playing music on the oversized instruments and playing in the sound garden found in the Kiddie Light City area.
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We had lunch at Phillips Seafood Baltimore because you can’t visit Baltimore without having some Maryland style seafood! See (here) why this is one of my favorite places to dine. Speaking of favorites, the LUSH Cosmetics store which was also walking distance from our hotel,  has natural skin care and bath & body products great for the entire family. Our room at the Hyatt Place Baltimore Inner Harbor East had a bathtub, so my daughter and I made it a point to go on a little Bath Bombs shopping spree at the LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics store, Harbor East location. Manager Mandee and her staff were very knowledgeable of the products and made it a very pleasant shopping experience. If you have any questions, like/follow them and ask via Facebook page . They are very responsive and provided great customer service both on and offline.
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The Light City Baltimore Festival each night started at 7pm. It was a unique event featuring art, music, and culture -combined to showcase the city of Baltimore via light! On the first night it rained a bit but we were able to enjoy some of it Friday/Saturday. This free, family-friendly event was the nation’s first large-scale, light, music and innovation festival. Be sure to mark your calendars for Light City round two in March 2017! Check out this Visit Baltimore video clip of what to expect : https://youtu.be/K66hToPGvVI

Here are a few pics of what we saw during the evening:
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Another attraction we enjoyed during our stay was the National Aquarium . You can arrange for tickets prior to going with the hotel concierge. Skip the line and just redeem voucher at Will Call…how convenient! If you are looking for family fun during your Baltimore stay, this is a must see place. Check out this video of their stunning jelly fish exhibit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BDtKlqkCXJl/

We ended our short but sweet weekend on a high note by dining at Wit & Wisdom for their Sunday Brunch. It is located in Harbor East as well at the Four Seasons Hotel. We had a wonderful view of the water and it was a delicious experience ! Read our full brunch review here and see why you should treat your tastebuds to a visit to this restaurant your next visit to Baltimore!

All in all, great family memories made during our Spring Break to the Charm City!