#BestNine of 2017 + Welcome to 2018 #SobeSavvy #LifestyleBlog

Happy New Year everyone! In my opinion, 2017 flew by which is why its so important to value time, cherish moments and  capture memories because before you know it a new year is here. I have enjoyed sharing the savvy of my life and inspiring others to be savvy via my lifestyle blog, SobeSavvy.com. In case you missed it, here are the BEST NINE 2017 (from left to right in photo above):

1. Family Travel Guide to Arlington,VA Read this #soTravelsavvy post about where to eat, stay, play for a weekend of fun in Arlington,VA

2. Jill Yoga Girls and Ladies Activewear  ~ Thru my #getLovelyfit fitness journey, my daughter and I had the opportunity to collaborate with a company that combines two of our interests: yoga + fashion. Check out our Mommy & Me moves and learn more about JillYoga.com  >>here.

3. Whispering Angel Rosé Wine       ~Hello, my name is Leslie and I love wine. Not only did I share how to host your own wine tasting at home tips on the blog, but started a #SobeSavvySips series where I share recipes and reviews for not only wine but spirits/beer too. In honor of National Rosé Day, I featured this wine on Instagram. It has been one of my favorite wines to introduce to others. Read wine review >>here.

4. ‘808 Converstion Starters for Couples‘ ~ This book featured on my Instagram and later reviewed on the blog sparked an interest amongst singles that were dating and couples who have been married for awhile. The art of conversation is a dying art with all the texting and ‘sexting’ going on, so I believe this book was refreshing and fun to explore. This book is available to buy >>here.

5. Polished Nail Bar’s Grand Opening      ~ I had a blast at this VIP event for media/bloggers here in Raleigh,NC and have since returned to get my nails ready for the holidays. I highly recommend you treat yourself and a loved one to a mani/pedi for Valentine’s Day (which is right around the corner). Read more about Polished Nail Bar >>here.

6. Our Visit to the North Carolina Zoo       ~My husband ,daughter and I planned a Sunday Funday to the North Carolina Zoo and shared a recap of the visit. Our daughter, fondly referred to on the blog as #outandaboutAva, loved the experience. I also shared some #SobeSavvyTips on why a visit to the zoo during the Fall season should not be missed!

7. Luxury Family Travel to Atlanta,GA    ~ We have enjoyed several family trips to Atlanta because there is so much family fun to be had there. In 2017, we road tripped to the ATL for our daughter’s Spring Break and stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta. That was a delightful (and relaxing) experience where we enjoyed making many family memories.

8. NC Farm Tour in Asheville,NC        ~This mom got a chance to getaway for a few days and joined other food and travel writers on an agritourism trip to Asheville,NC to get a true farm to table experience. We all left with a greater appeciation of our NC Farmers. That was my first visit to Asheville and staying at a bed and breakfast. I gave readers a #soNCsavvy full recap of the trip on the blog and also shared an inside look of the Sweet Biscuit Inn

9. byKikisol in store Fashion Event with Torrid + Groupon Promo                              ~if you ever had the pleasure of attending a byKikisol blogger event here in the Triangle, then you know it’s going to be a fun time for creatives, influencers , bloggers and fashionistas. I got my model on in the dressing room at their Torrid Fall Fashion event and shared a Groupon Promo encouraging readers to grab a deal!

For 2018, as always I do a detox ( which I have shared online in the past..you can read posts here). However, this year I will take the whole month of January to unplug, reset and prepare to bring you more Lifestyle|Food|Travel|Fun stories on the blog! 

Thank you for a wonderful 2017..here’s to all the best in 2018!

Travel | Top 3 Reasons to Stay at #HyattPlace Hotel in @BaltimoreMD #InnerHarbor #HarborEast 

The holidays are the perfect time to getaway and visit your relatives & friends and just gather together to give thanks. Me and my #HeighPartyof3 went back to our hometown Baltimore for Thanksgiving weekend and wanted a hotel that would be convenient to shopping, great restaurants and things to do for the three of us. We chose the Hyatt Place Baltimore/Inner Harbor because we had such a great experience our last visit, we hoped that it would be a comfortable stay again…and it truly was!

Located in the eastern section of the harbor near Fells Point, this property has everything a visitor to Baltimore would ever need. Super comfortable stylish room and modern and airy public spaces. They have 24/7 dining on site, a great workout room with state of the art equipment and a heated indoor pool.

Hyatt Place Baltimore/Inner Harbor has an incredible staff who were very welcoming upon check-in. Micah, a Front Desk rep, had local knowledge which was well appreciated since we left Baltimore in the late 90’s and so much had changed {for the better}. In their modernly designed lobby is where you can read a newspaper, collect pamplets of things to do (like holiday shopping at the Christmas Village in Baltimore), plan your day via a touch screen Concierge Center and print out any necessary info via the Business Center. Oh and while you are sitting in one of the comfy lounge chairs, don’t forget to grab a green apple. Yes, they are real and fresh I might add!

Our King bed suite was spacious with a beautiful L shaped sofa that converted into a bed for our little one. The room we had was shower only so keep that in mind. Also there were shampoo and conditioner provided but lotion was not. So be prepared to bring your own bath products or shop nearby CVS, Whole Foods or Lush stores which are within walking distance from the hotel. In fact all the magic of Harbor East is just a mere 2 blocks away. 

If you asked me my Top 3 Reasons to Stay at Hyatt Place in Baltimore with my family it would be : 1. Comfort 2. Convenience and 3. Complimentary Breakfast! We really enjoyed this hotel’s ever changing breakfast choices. Gourmet touches on traditional fare were a refreshing change from most hotels ho hum breakfast choices. Bananas foster on oatmeal? Avocado salsa on eggs? Yes, this is what breakfast possibilities look like at the Hyatt Place.

You can also satisfy any late night hunger or sweet tooth with their 24/7 dining options. Hot soup or salads can be had at 3AM! Also calling my name were some incredible cupcake selections in their glass display case. But we opted out of trying those because we had plenty of foodie adventures during our stay, along with a Thanksgiving Feast to enjoy. Stop back tomorrow in the blog for my #FoodieFriday series and read about the restaurants we checked out during our visit which were conveniently close to our hotel. Dining options on site include: Nando’s Peri Peri, Jimmy Johns and Cava Mezze.

If you have upcoming plans to travel to Baltimore for business or pleasure, with family or alone…make Hyatt Place Baltimore /Inner Harbor YOUR ‘where to stay’ on your next trip to Charm City. 

HYATT PLACE Baltimore/Inner Harbor

511 S Central Ave.

Baltimore, MD 21202

Where to Stay in #DowntownDurham your next #Staycation | @TheDurhamHotel #Durham #NC #Travel

The Durham Hotel located in Downtown Durham

Downtown Durham’s renaissance has been in full swing now for over 5 years. New businesses and restaurants seem to be opening on a weekly basis. A number of trendy boutique hotels now gives visitors and staycationers plenty of choices. One problem that I have noticed is that most only do one thing at a high level. Great bar but no vibe. Great vibe but the hotel lacks good service and room quality. Fun poolside scene but I don’t want that scene RIGHT outside my door. I have found the answer to this dilemma. That answer is found at The Durham Hotel. My husband and I spent the night there recently and experienced everything this wonderful hotel had to offer. SobeSavvy Tip: pack your camera and capture great views of the city from The Durham Hotel’s rooftop. 

Sunshine + Staycation Smiles at The Durham Hotel


ACCOMODATIONS

King Deluxe Room | The Durham Hotel

Per their website their 52 rooms ..”Feature modern interiors and local collaborations, the rooms at The Durham have been designed by Los Angeles-based firm Commune to be warm and residential, making guests feel right at home in our downtown Durham hotel.” Indeed our room was stylish, spacious and minimal in a comfortable sense not spartan. It had an airy west coast feel to it. 

 BATHROOM AMENITIES

Bathroom Amenities | The Durham Hotel

 

I can tell alot about a property based on the quality of their bath products. Here at The Durham Hotel, guests can expect bath robes & slippers along with red flower bath products. If you are unfamiliar with red flower, they use essential plant oils and is an all natural product. I really enjoyed how gentle and moisturizing the soaps and lotions were as well as the scent.

ROOFTOP

Rooftop Views of Bull City | The Durham Hotel

After check in we headed up to their rooftop area, which coincidentally is called what else, “The Roof” of course ! They explain this wonderful area as ..” The Roof at The Durham is a year-round gathering spot for guests and locals alike, offering one-of-a-kind panoramic views of the city. Here you will find original, handcrafted cocktails, extensive wine and beer offerings and a seasonal raw bar and small kitchen menu.

Rooftop Bar and Dining | The Durham Hotel

We enjoyed a ‘Sunday Funday’ sunset while sipping on cocktails such as the ‘Airmail’~made with rum, lime, honey and prosecco~served in a flute! The bartender was amicable and service overall was great. I am a seafoodie, so ordering from the raw bar was a must. I enjoyed freshly shucked oysters and even tried a speciality one called ‘The Durham Oyster’. If you love raw oysters, definitely make plans to enjoy some while dining on the rooftop.

Dine at The Rooftop Raw Bar | The Durham Hotel

Perfect for intimate gatherings and large groups, the breezy 3,000 sq ft. layout features an indoor bar, covered and open-air lounge seating, as well as a penthouse with its own patio for private parties. The hotel also hosts its own calendar of events, making the rooftop the perfect destination every night of the week.

The Durham Hotel’s Rooftop

HOTEL AMENITIES

There are many unique offerings this hotel offers which made it very appealing to book a stay here like complimentary Rooftop Yoga on the weekends to name a few. Here are some amenities that we were able to partake in:

  • 24 Hour Fitness Studio

24 hour Fitness Studio | The Durham Hotel

  • Business Center + Meeting Space 

24 Hr Business Center , Meeting Spaces, Conference Rooms | The Durham Hotel

  • In Room Coffee Service

In Room Coffee Service | The Durham Hotel

    Before we dozed off to sleep in the evening, we were sure to fill out our “coffee card” in the room and hang it on our door. The next morning, VOILA fresh ground coffer is delivered to your room. This is included with your stay at no extra charge. The in-room coffee features Durham’s Counter Culture Coffee freshly ground for guests to brew. This was by far our favorite of all the amenities! Both the ‘Apollo’ and ‘Big Trouble’ provided us with the coffee kick we needed to start our day. 

    BREAKFAST

    Continental Breakfast | The Durham Hotel

    Continental Breakfast is served daily in the restaurant featuring select complimentary offerings for hotel guests. Here is a list of the ‘made in house’ deliciousness they had available for us to eat:  

    • Durham Granola with yogurt 
    • Buckwheat Sugar Cake
    • Cheese Toast (Boulted Bread from Raleigh) 
    • Hard Boiled Eggs
    • Candied ginger scone
    • Date cakes with salted caramel 
    • Corn muffin preserved local fruit (gf)

    Breakfast as well as dinner is served in the restaurant on the 1st floor. They also serve Brunch on Sundays.

    The Durham Hotel Restaurant on the 1st Floor offers indoor and outside seating

    Overall, we enjoyed our stay at The Durham Hotel. From the customer service, to the cleanliness and comfort of the room, I would highly recommend this hotel to visitors and locals alike! It is in the heart of Bull City and convenient to hot spots like Pour Taproom (which I’ll be sharing more about later this week). We kept our car parked during our stay since we could easily walk to things to do in Downtown Durham. Before you check out, make sure to get a picture of the iconic Durham Bull, located across the street from The Durham Hotel. 

    Watch the video recap + room tour of our staycation at The Durham Hotel >>here. For more photos, take a look at this>>  Facebook album. I hope you enjoyed this post and if you are local will add The Durham Hotel to your Staycation Ideas list!

    THE DURHAM Hotel

    315 E. Chapel Hill St.

    Durham, NC 27701

    thedurham.com | 919-768-8830

    #TravelTuesday Review @BigBusDC #DC #BigBusTours #FamilyTravel 

    Have you ever been on an open top, double decker tour bus? They are so much fun when visiting a city and you want to see as many sites as you can in a short time! This Labor Day weekend, my family and I took one for the first time in Washington DC aboard the hop-on hop-off sightseeing BIG BUS.

    When we visited Arlington, VA earlier in the year, we didn’t get a chance to use our vouchers due to Mother Nature not being on our side. However, this weekend the weather was picture perfect for our visit to the nation’s capital. 

    BIG BUS Tours Washington DC

    No matter if you are a DC native or this is your first time (or you’re return visitor like me), BIG BUS Washington DC is a great way to take advantage of exploring attractions, museums and more at your own pace! Here are some of the reasons a ride on the BIG BUS should be on your ‘Things to do in DC‘ list: 

    • Unlimited Rides for 1 or 2 days.
    • Fantastic Photo Ops & Amazing Views
    • Hop Off and On at Any Stop
    • Live-guided or recorded Commentary (free headphones are provided)
    • Family-Friendly (kids under 5 yrs old travel free, age 5-15 yrs pay reduced fare)

      There are 3 Day Tour loops: Red, Blue, Yellow that will take you all around the District. You can even transfer between the routes, just be sure to know the last departure times. SobeSavvy Tip: Download the Free BIG BUS App for an interactive city guide map route planner and more >>>>here

      My #HeighPartyof3 chose the “Red Loop”, which has 22 stops and is the official tour of the National Mall including the National Memorials and Monuments. Take a look of some of what my husband, our daughter #outandaboutAva and I experienced during our tour : 

      BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 1- Union Station

      BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 2- US Capitol

      Inside Air & Space Museum | BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 4

      BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 5- Smithsonian Castle

      BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 6- Washington Monument West

      BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 7- Bureau of Engraving

      BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 8- Jefferson Memorial

      BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 10- Lincoln Memorial South

      BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 13- African American History & Culture Museum

      BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 19- Madame Tussauds

      There are options to complete your sightseeing experience by creating a combo and adding on extras such as top attractions like Madame Tussauds to further your Washington, DC experience. We enjoyed seeing not only seeing historical figures and celebrities in wax but also joining all 45 commanders in-cheifs in the U.S. Presidents Gallery. Check out my >>>Youtube video <<< recaping some of the fun at STOP 19 of the ‘Red Loop’, Madame Tussauds + see more photos via fun slideshow>> here.

      Where to Buy BIG BUS Tickets

      • From any uniformed BIG BUS staff
      • www.bigbustours.com
      • The BIG BUS mobile app
      • On the bus at any BIG BUS stop
      • Your hotel
      • By phone : 1-877-333-8689

      I hope to check out the other routes as well as try their night tour which offers an illuminated look at the Capital’s world-famous memorials and monuments. BIG BUS Tours are also in other US Cities like Miami, New York, Las Vegas and more. My family and I really enjoyed the BIG BUS Tour and hope you are inspired to take one soon!

      #HeighPartyof3 loves to explore & have fun ~ Thanks for the memories BIG BUS Tours !

      Looking for a #SundayFunday #Staycation in #Raleigh ? Visit #NorthHills + @RenRaleigh #renhotels

      Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel, however the opinions/photos 100% are my own.

      People like to ask the question: If you could pack up and go on a mini vacation, where would you go? For me, sometimes the fun can be found right in your own city! I shared in a previous post that North Hills is a great place to Stay, Eat, Play when looking for a staycation getaway. Well last Sunday, I revisted North Hills and checked into the newly renovated Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel.

      SUNDAY FUNDAY + Things to Do 

      If you follow my Instagram @SobeSavvy and checked out my Instastories, you may have seen the shopping and dining fun I had in North Hills. My family and I strolled along before picking up my birthday freebie at Sephora. We then made a lunch stop at one of our favorite pizza spots, Pielogy before checking in. There are just so many ways to spend the day in North Hills and Renaissance Raleigh is conveniently close to all of the exciting things to do!

      Renaissance Raleigh is just steps away from endless shopping, dining and exciting entertainment in the coveted North Hills

      In addition to family fun options, there are plenty of date nights spots and places to go with your girlfriends in North Hills.  I met 
      up with 2 friends to enjoy Level 7 Rooftop Bars latest cocktail, Frosé which is Frozen Rosé Wine. It left a great impression on us ladies which I shared on video>>here

      Say Frosé ! @Level 7 Rooftop Bar                                          

      I also met up with some fellow NC Bloggers for a “Bloggers and Bar Bites” sampling event at BoneFish Grill which I had the pleasure of hosting. They have new menu items on their hand-crafted Happy Hour (which is EVERYDAY) that you can read more about >>here. After all the Sunday Funday was had, it was nice to not have to drive home but to enjoy an overnight stay right there at Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel.

      STAY

      The Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel is a four star property with 229 rooms, meeting spaces and a new bar/restaurant/lounge named 41Hundred. In case you missed it, read about the Grand Opening >> here and the many reasons you should drink and dine there.
      The entire hotel recently went through a renovation, so I thought it would be great to feature and share with my local SobeSavvy readers who want to know where to go for staycation. I had a chance to experience their luxury hospitality with my husband and our daughter and it was such a wonderful stay!

      Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel Lobby | Photo Credit: Barry Heigh, SobeSavvy.com

      The bright and airy lobby had flowing ceiling artwork and this beautiful spiral staircase that was ideal for a fun mini-photo shoot before my night out with the girls!

      The lovely staircase at the Renaissance Raleigh is the perfect place to make a Grand Entrance

      Lobby Level of Renaissance Raleigh

      Check in was quick and friendly. Our room, a 2 Queen + sofabed type, was very spacious and our daughter, who is fondly referred to on the blog as #outandaboutAva, made herself right at home! 

      Our Princess, #outandaboutAva , enjoys a Queen size bed !

      Sofabed + 7th Floor Views at Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

      The room decor had a style that while modern was still classic. My husband realized that we did not have to tune into our daughtet’s tablet for her favorite shows because their state of the art flat smart TV screen allowed us to sign into our Netflix account just as if we were home! There was also plenty of connectivity throughout the room for all of our laptops, tablets and cellphones. 

      In room work space at Renaissance Raleigh

      So our daughter liked the beds, my husband was fond of the technology, as for me my favorite thing was the bathroom shower. It was A-MAZING! Besides the normal showerhead, it had two separate horizontal water jets which basically gives you a back massage while showering. Pure bliss.Their Aveda products were just the icing on the cake for me as far as amenities.

      WORK + PLAY 

      The second floor of the lobby is what I like to refer to as their ‘living lounge’. It’s part contemporary living room, part modern lounge with an open space which includes plenty of comfy couches, a ping pong table and a couple of connect five board games set up for anyone to use them while socializing and having a few drinks. Another reason this refined lounge area represents ‘living” to me is because of the use of outdoor elements for indoor decor. 

      Lounge Area | Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

      Family Fun Spaces at Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

      My daughter turned to Disney Channel and we played a few games of connect four +ping pong! This use of space is fun and creative. They also have various size boardroom and conference areas for you to book your corporate needs.

      Exterior of Pavane Boardroom at Renaissance Raleigh

      DINE

      After a restful night, we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast buffet in their unique lobby restaurant, 41Hundred

      Breakfast Buffet at 41Hundred Restaurant | Renaissance Raleigh Hotel

      There were plenty of choices on the buffet which includes the option of made to order omelettes, pancakes or french toast from the a la carte menu.  The variety of fresh fruit and pastries on the buffet caught our eyes as well. Everything was delicious! My husband who is a breakfast enthusiast, said their “Breakfast was fit for a King” ! Yep, my King’s breakfast stamp of approval means alot. Dining here was a great way to start the day prior to check out. 

      Rise & Dine ! Enjoying the Breakfast Buffet at 41Hundred Restaurant,Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

      My #HeighPartyof3 enjoyed our staycation here. Good Food ✔ Comfortable Beds✔ Great Service✔ Awesome Amenites✔ Convenient Location✔…they had all the bases covered and hit a home run in our minds! When seeking a local staycation hotel, make Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel one of your top choices.

      Exterior View Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

      Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

      4100 Main St at North Hills

      RALEIGH, NC 27609

      #TravelTuesday | Top 4 Reasons to Visit @WilmingtonNCoast for #FamilyTravel #WilmingtonNC

      Disclosure: Thank you to Wilmington and Beaches CVB for your assistance with itinerary and attractions to facilitate this review. 

      Leslie Heigh, Raleigh-based freelance lifetyle/travel writer/blogger at Wilmington and Beaches CVB Visitor Center’s main office~505 Nutt Street

      I planned to visit Wilmington, NC for my 44th birthday this year and met up with family & friends to enjoy my birthday themed weekend: #44bytheshore. Why Wilmington? It is an easy 2 hour drive from where I live in Raleigh, NC plus I love the city and all it has to offer. From the beautiful beaches and shores, variety of attractions, restaurants and tours, Wilmington, NC has alot to explore!

      Welcome Bag courtesy of Wilmington and Beaches CVB

      My family did a daycation here last year (see travel guide here) and we had so much fun! Now that our daughter is older, we looked forward to an extended stay and having her revisit some places we went to before while also discovering new family friendly activities to do. 

      STAY |The Hilton Wilmington Riverside, located on the Cape Fear River in historic downtown Wilmington, was our hotel for our two night stay. We loved how convenient it was to restaurants (such as The Basics, located in The Cotton Exchange across from the hotel) as well as attractions (like the Wilmington Railroad Museum). Stay there for enjoyable river views from their renovated rooms, the pool /tiki bar and access to the 1.75 mile Riverwalk! For more of a look inside the Hilton Wilmington Riverside, click here.

      Inside the Hilton Wilmington Riverside

      If you are planning a visit to Wilmington and not sure if it is a good fit for your family, I’d like to share with you my         Top 4 Reasons to Visit Wilmington,NC for Family Travel 

      1. BEACHES

        #outandaboutAva & her Mom at Kure Beach   

        Did you know that Wilmington, North Carolina has 31 miles of pristine shoreline with luminous sandy beaches? During our visit, we enjoyed 2 out of 3 island beaches: Carolina Beach Kure Beach. The sun played hide and seek during our 2 nt stay but we still found time to play in the area known as, Pleasure Island . 

        Carolina Beach Boardwalk                            

        Since we arrived on Thursday, we got to check out the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Blast concert with fireworks and also the seasonal amusement park. There’s plenty of sweet treats on the boardwalk but if you love donuts save room for Britt’s Donut Shop!

        Britts Donut Shop

        Kure Beach Pier                                                  

        Kure Beach, North Carolina is known for its Kure Beach Pier , oceanfront park and four miles of uninhabited beach. The award winning aquarium is there also so this beach is kid-friendly. To get here was an easy 20 minute drive from our downtown Wilmington hotel. Check out more photos from our visit to both of the beautiful beaches >>>> here.

        Enjoying a Mommy and Me moment

      2. FOOD 

        Visit Wilmington, NC aka ‘Foodie Paradise’

        See more food pics from this trip>>here. Wilmington, NC has alot of great restaurants and notable chefs making this city a foodie paradise. During our visit to Carolina Beach, we enjoyed Kate’s Pancake House for breakfast. This restaurant is popular because it serves some of the most original pancakes and waffles. It’s only open until 1pm but this is a great place to fuel up for the day on the way to the beach or Aquarium.

        Breakfast Time at Kate’s Pancake House

        Looking for a quick lunch in Downtown Wilmington ? Chop’s Deli: a Boar’s Head Delicatessen would be that destination. They offer made to order salads and classic deli sandwiches, as well as soups and spectacular paninis. Their walk up window serves the hungry masses from 11pm to 3am on summer weekends. We decided to sit outside for some sunshine and people watching as we enjoyed a salad, some soup and a sandwich. Don’t forget to wash it down with their homemade lemonade. Everything was fresh and delicious! 

        Chop’s Deli, Downtown Wilmington                    

        No trip to the coast would be complete without a visit to a quintessential seaside seafood restaurant. Michael’s Seafood, founded by it’s namesake, the late chef Michael Mcgowan and his wife Shelly in 1998, is that place. We had a bowl {2 bowls actually} of it’s international award winning seafood chowder. My 6 yr old basically inhaled the first bowl! This restaurant is not only family-friendly but a perfect dinner option if you are looking for amazing seafood and great service. 

        Michael’s Seafood Restaurant ~Seafood Chowder

        Since we were in Wilmington to celebrate my #44bytheShore birthday, we were delighted to dine at The Basics. They serve simple dishes made with basic ingredients, however, they still manage to elevate our tastesbuds with amazing flavors. Our server took good care of the table and we never felt rushed as we lingered over great food, wine and conversation. If you are staying at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside, this restaurant is conveniently located across the street in The Cotton Exchange. Take a look at this drool-worthy pic I shared on IG of the Filet Mignon w/goat cheese at The Basics : 

        The Basics, Filet Mignon Entree, IG@SobeSavvy

      3. Historic River District

        The majestic Battleship NORTH CAROLINA

        Travel to Wilmington, the biggest city on North Carolina’s coast, to learn about its unique history, which predates the civil war. There is no better way to learn about it than to take one of their myriad of tours. This visit we took a Wilmington Trolley Tour, which for over 19 years has been providing visitors with a colorful tour of the city. This 8 mile tour highlights architecture, civil war history and also speaks honestly about the racial strife that was a part of Wilmington’s history. Our driver was excellent. He was informative and entertaining at the same time. I highly recommend this family-friendly tour! 

        All smiles after the Wilmington Trolley Tour

        We also went on self-guided tours and walked along Riverwalk Downtown Wilmington and Cape Fear River. We made many discoveries on foot, like the City Market, a great Saturday morning Riverfront Farmers’ Market and many more shops and stores Downtown. See more photos of where our feet led us>>>here

        Taking a walk along the historic Riverwalk, Downtown Wilmington

      4. Family Fun Attractions

      #outandaboutAva gets ready for some family fun at the Fort Fisher/NC Aquarium

      When it comes to family fun, we let our daughter, #outandaboutAva lead the way to places where she can imagine, learn, explore and play! Wilmington, NC has some great options that everyone would love to visit such as the Fort Fisher NC Aquarium

      SobeSavvy.com at Fort Fisher NC Aquarium

      The Wilmington Railroad Museum , a great place to explore family-friendly activities in Wilmington’s River District. 

      SobeSavvy.com at the Wilmington Railroad Museum

      …and the Children’s Museum of Wilmington, which served as a perfect place to play indoors on a rainy day. 

      #outandaboutAva #CMoW #PlayToLearn at The Children’s Museum of Wilmington

      Visit & Follow my Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/soBEsavvy as I will continue to give you an inside look and share more details plus photos from these 3 family fun attractions. 
      Those are just some of the great reasons to visit Wilmington, NC’s Historic River District & Island Beaches. Check out www.gowilmingtonandbeaches.com before you go and see the many ways to explore and to get information for your next family getaway. My family & friends enjoyed our short but sweet 48 hours here and are already making plans to return next year. Hope you are inspired to make memories there soon!

      #44bytheShore Family & Friends Getaway to Wilmington, NC Historic River Distict & Island Beaches


         


        #TastyTuesday Spotlight on @OroRaleigh ~ Where to Eat #DowntownRaleigh #LunchDate #NC

        Downtown Raleigh has an amazing culinary scene with some great options being on Martin St. One of them being the stylish ORO Restaurant and Lounge. But let me tell you its not all just style, there is substance being served on those plates!

        Recently I met with fellow NC Blogger\Influencer, Jen Lawrence of JenOni.com. We made plans to enjoy lunch and feature ORO since we’ve both heard awesome things about the restaurant, menu, drinks and of course the food.

        The Restaurant

        As soon as you walk in, the sleek white decor will catch your eye. Opt to sit at the chef’s table for a closer look of the magic in the the kitchen, 

        in the main dining area or in the mezzanine, which has a fireplace.

        Although I was there for a casual business lunch, I can definitely see myself coming back for a date night or a fun girls night out. If you are looking for a casual yet chic place to dine in Downtown Raleigh, this is the place! Looking for a place to hold your Private Event and /or offers Catering? ORO provides those services as well.

        The Menu

        Serving fresh, local ingredients that is pleasing to all and designed to be shared among friends is the mission of ORO. Created by Hylton Hospitality, Christopher and Cara Zalcberg Hylton has done a fantastic job featuring a variety of small plates and signature dishes since Spring 2012.
        Executive Chef Chris Hylton has created lunch (served 11am-2p) and dinner (served 5-10pm) menus where all items  are identified with respect for dietary  restrictions. So if you are looking for Vegetarian, Vegan or Gluten-Free dishes that are flavorful and delicious, reservations at ORO are a must. The restaurant also offers some off the menu items that are chef’s selections using seasonal ingredients. 


        The Drinks

        Looking for an after work spot to enjoy cocktails and conversation? Step up to the full bar and order any of their exclusive wines or beer on tap and check out their specialty cocktail list. I recommend the Mimosarita.

         It’s made with peach infused 1800 reposado..mango infused moscato..lemon.. orange and a large ice cube made of orange juice and sparkling water. Once the ice starts to melt, you get a nice effervesent surprise! Also on the menu is 3 types of mules. Jen tried the classic Moscow Mule made with Tito’s Vodka. Both drinks were refreshing and memorable in a good a way.

        The Food

        Soups,Salads and Starters...Oh My! Everything on their lunch menu sounded so good, we could not wait to try. The Truffle Mac & Cheese is a staple on the menu. Since the restaurant has been open for the past 5 years, it has been a favorite of guests. So I had to order the vegan dish to try for myself. Made with yellow and white cheddar cheese and fine herbs, the truffle mac and cheese is served as a shareable plat , but you might hesitate and keep all that yummy goodness to yourself. Jen ordered the Chef’s feature soup which was green curry and chicken. I love a good soup because when all the flavors come together, it’s like a party in a bowl. Let me tell you, I had a sample of her soup and my tastebuds were dancing at the party.

        From the Sides menu, I tried the Wok Fried Brussels, which is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. The soy, ginger and chili flakes gave it a wonderful flavor. Not too salty or too spicy,  but just the right balance to make me happy with this side dish. 

        Everything looked so good under the Main Dishes portion of the menu that I was a bit undecided. Do I want seafood, or beef or chicken? Thankfully, Maresa was there to guide me thru and offer some of her personal favorites. I ultimately ordered the Fish Tacos. You get 4 tacos topped with mango salsa, cucumber, red onion and cilantro lime aioli. For me the aioli and salsa is what elevated the dish from being just a basic fish taco.

        Beef & Broccoli is what Jen opted to order. It was a nice portion of marinated filet served with chinese brocoli and water chestnuts. She enjoyed it and mentioned she would recommend this dish for those who enjoy the Chinese classic. 

        Be sure to save room to order something sweet from the Dessert menu. I had my eye on either the creme brulee or banana bread pudding, but an off menu featured dessert was described and we went with that. Ladies and Gents, feast your eyes on this celebration on a plate! 

        A housemade funnel cake ice cream sandwhich with birthday cake ice cream in the middle and confetti sprinkles. Since my birthday is on Thursday, it was apropo to go with this and make an early birthdy wish! This was heavenly indeed! Such an amazing sweet ending to a great lunch. 

        SobeSavvy Tip: Visit ororaleigh.com and subscribe to ORO’s Newsletter to receive updates and the latest news!

        ORO Restaurant & Lounge

        18 E Martin St

        Raleigh, NC 27601 

        Phn 919-239-4010