#FamilyTravel | Where to Play, Eat, Stay for the Holidays in Charlotte, NC #CLT

Thanksgiving Weekend 2018 has ended but not without making memories in Charlotte,NC. Me and my #HeighPartyof3 drove 2.5 hours to kick off our holiday season in the Queen City and had such a great time! I wanted to share some of the highlights from our visit to inspire other families who may be traveling there soon. Check out my Family Travel Guide|Where to Play,Eat,Stay for the Holidays in Charlotte,NC.

PLAY

Discovery Place & IMAX| website

Discovery Place, located in Charlotte’s Uptown area, is a wonderful hands on learning complex about technology, nature and science. Spread out over 3 floors, families can spend the day here exploring and having fun. Watch an IMAX feature, Touch a Starfish, Create Art with a hot glue gun, and Dance while learning how the muscles move in your body! There is plenty to see and do like looking at our skin cells under a microscope, crossing a rope bridge in the rainforest, playing the secret scents game and so much more! Discovery Place lets kids of all ages experience learning thru play. It is a great way to spend a fun day! To see more, watch youtube video>>here.

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Visiting #Charlotte #NC for the holidays? Take the whole family to @discoveryplace and discover something new! Swipe 🔙 and get inspired to learn more of the wonders of science, technology and nature. Plus, check out my #instastories as we explore three floors of fun for everyone from interactive displays, a rainforest, an @imax 3D theater and more! We ❤ science and had a blast! Have you ever been to Discovery Place? What did you discover? . . . #SobeSavvy #lifestyleblogger #NCblogger #familyblogger #fun #familyfun #family #clt #discoveryplacescience #Heighpartyof3 #museum #outandaboutAva #science #stem #stemlearning #travelblogger #play #thingstodoinCharlotte #learningisfun #Ilovescience #girlmom #dadanddaughter #nature #technology

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Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway | website

Charlotte Speedway is the annual home to “Speedway Christmas”. Every year thousands and thousands of lights takeover the infield and stands at this iconic racing venue. We got a chance to actually drive on the racetrack which my husband loved! Tune in to their own radio station and listen to Christmas tunes as you take a slow drive for a few miles. We enjoyed partaking in the tradition of seeing the unique sights and creativity used for the dozens of displays. Guests can stop at their Christmas Village for snacks, rides and shopping. Speedway Christmas is a seasonal, holiday event held at Charlotte Speedway. So pack the family up in the car and have your chance to drive on the speedway to see holiday lights! Pay one price per vehicle and sit back, sing Christmas Carols and Enjoy! Take a look at my youtube video and enjoy some of light displays at Speedway Christmas!

SobeSavvy Tip: It is recommended that visitors come in early in the season as the lines tend to get longer the closer they get to Christmas. Also going on a Thursday or Sunday night is best as the Village is open and movies are shown on the Speedway TV. On Dec.9 bring 5 Food Lion brand non-perishable food items and get $10 off admission!

EAT

Piedmont Social House | website

Looking for a place that has great food, a tap room, games and a 12 lane bowling alley? Then head to Piedmont Social House, located in the popular Ayrsley neighborhood of Charlotte. It is a one stop destination for an afternoon or evening of food,drinks and fun! The atmosphere here is energetic and lively. It is a great spot for groups or a fun date night. There is something for everyone in the family. The service was good and so were their Chicken and Waffles! Just feast your eyes on it here:

SobeSavvy Tip: Now through December 31 they have a special Gift Card Promotion. Buy a $50 Gift Card and receive a $10 Bonus Card! Just ake a look at my photos featuring good food and good vibes from our dining experience at Piedmont Social House >>here and you’ll want to give or get a gift card to this restaurant!

THE COWFISH Sushi•Burger•Bar | website

With so many restaurant choices around Southpark Mall in Charlotte, it can be hard to find something that is actually different. One in particular that stands out from the rest is The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar. Creative cocktails, innovative sushi rolls and awesome burgers is what ypu can find here. My daughter loves their kids menu choices, which comes with a Cowfish tattoo! Service is excellent and if you can, save room for dessert. See more drool worthy photos from our visit >>here and be sure to dine at The Cowfish when visiting Charlotte.

American Girl Bistro | website

SPECIAL..MAGICAL..MEMORABLE, Those are three words I would use to describe our visit to the American Girl Store/ Bistro. On Sunday, my #Heighpartyof3 enjoyed ‘Holiday Tea’ and each other during this event. Our #outandaboutAva and Luciana got all dolled up in their matching red velvet dresses for the special occasion! It was so darling! Girls got to visit the hot chocolate bar, play with a paper doll craft and we all had a chance to eat savory bites/sweet treats. Check out more photos from the Holiday Tea event>>here to see some of the holiday memories we made at this special in-store experience. With all the attention to the little details for girls and their dolls, it was a visit our daughter will never forget!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save 25% on matching dresses for girls and dolls thru 12/24/18! Find something special to make their season memorable and magical at americangirl.com

STAY


Hampton Inn & Suites Charlotte/SouthPark at Phillips Place| website

The Hampton Inn & Suites was a wonderful place to stay during our Charlotte visit. It is located at The Phillips Place Shops area and is within walking distance to many restaurants and even has a Whole Foods next door. The immense Southpark mall is right down the street. It has a stately lobby and public areas. Large modern and stylish suites awaits visitors. I loved the built in TV vanity mirror feature of our suite. There is complimentary Valet Parking and of course the Hampton Inn breakfast gets you ready for another day tackling the Queen City. Make this your property of choice on your next visit to Charlotte!

Here is an inside look at the Hampton Inn & Suites Charlotte/ SouthPark at Phillips Place:

As you can see, Charlotte is one of those cities in North Carolina that no matter the length or purpose of your visit, there are so many options for families. You can play, eat, stay and have fun along the way!

Planning to visit Charlotte this season? Which one of these places would be on your list?

4 #Books To Make Holiday #FamilyTravel Easier + #ChildrensBook Giveaway

*Disclosure: This content uses some affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy for more info: here

Do you pack books for yourself or family when you travel? I do. No matter if it’s by plane, train or automobile each member of my #HeighPartyof3 will have some type of reading material or activity book. We are heading up to Charlotte, NC for Thanksgiving weekend and I have already started packing up what books my daughter will read on the roadtrip and keep her entertained during our hotel stay. Sure she has a tablet and my husband has his kindle, but there is still something special about having and holding a book. Here are 4 Books To Make Holiday Family Travel Easier:
Football Freddie and Fumble Dog by Marnie Schneider, Goldie Grace, Illustrated by D.Moore

Description: Football Freddie and Gameday in the Carolinas is a book that follows Football Freddie, a football loving girl who also loves to learn, as she travels around the Carolinas taking in the sights, ending her trip at a Carolina Panthers game in Charlotte.

This book is beautifully illustratrated and includes dome fun facts about the Carolinas and even some Charlotte stops, which is right on time since we will be visiting there in a few days! Our daughter is including this book in her #outandaboutAvareads series to enjoy along the way.

*Available at Amazon.com >here
Color My Washington DC by Elina Diaz

Description: Color Washington, D.C., the way you want to see it… Color your journey through the capital of the United States. Color elaborately hand drawn pen and ink illustrations of some of the most iconic destinations in the District—from to the White House, down through the National Mall and across to the Washington Monument, enjoy all the treasures this city has to offer. Each page contains facts about the District of Columbia, so regardless if you’re a Democrat or a Republican or a first time visitor to Capitol Hill, you’ll have your own relaxing coloring experience for years to come.

I am from the DMV area and enjoy traveling back to DC to see family, friends and share our #soDMVsavvy highlights. With this book, I get to learn more about the city while coloring. When my daughter pulls out her coloring books in the hotel, this is the one I will use!

*Purchase at Amazon.com >here

48 hours in North American Cities

Description: 48 Hours In…North American Cities | How to Enjoy the Perfect Short Break in 20 Great Destinations By Simon Calder

Every Saturday in The Independent’s award-winning Traveller section, our “48 hours” stories explore new and exciting city-break itineraries. Now, 25 years after the series was first launched, we’ve produced this special, designed to help you get the most from a visit to a selection of 20 key North American cities. Among them, you can choose from New York’s dizzying nightlife, the rollercoaster thrills of Orlando, the Hollywood glitter of Los Angeles or Vancouver’s great outdoors. We’ve also included a range of accommodation options to suit your budget.

We love weekend getaways! While my husband and I both have a background in working in a Travel agency (it’s how we met actually), we still like referring to books on what to do in certain cities. Our family just came back from a 3 Day Vacation in Orlando and this book gave us some ideas outside of the Disney box!

*Get your copy on Amazon.com>here

BigFoot Fun Book!: Puzzles,Coloring Pages, Fun Facts! by D.L.Miller

Description: The idea of the book brainchild of Pennsylvania artist D.L. Miller, was to marry fun activities along with learning. “Children have the opportunity to have fun while learning about the world around them with BigFoot,” says Miller.

The activity book is a treasure trove of engaging activities such as mazes, word search games, dot-to-dot pictures, coloring, and of course his classic seek-and-find activities. As with his other BigFoot books, the activity book is intended to help children learn about the world in an engaging and exciting way. As an added bonus, the book also includes animal stickers.

This book, which is recommended for children ages 5-12 years old, grade level:4-6 , is 136 pages of fun for my 7 yr old 2nd grader. The variety of educational, fun and interactive activities is why we parents love this book for our daughter. It keeps her engaged and gives a good balance between playing with apps on the tablet doing an activity in a book. She enjoys the Bigfoot seek and find series, which you can find out more information at IFoundBigFoot.com

*Available at Amazon.com >here

SobeSavvy Tip: Enter my #SobeSavvyGiveaway to recieve a copy of the BigFoot Fun Book!: Puzzles, Coloring Pages, Fun Facts for a child in your life! Comment below in blog comments with ” I Found BigFoot” to enter. One winner will be selected randomnly. Contest ends Monday, Nov 26, 2018 at noon. Additional entry if you comment in this IG post also ⤵

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Orlando 3 Day Vacation-Day 3|Best Lunch in Disney Springs with a View @PaddlefishORL #Seafood

To celebrate our last and final day 3 in Orlando [in case you missed it, read Day 1 >here and Day 2 > here + here], we made plans to have a special lunch in Disney Springs at Paddlefish. We consider ourselves ‘seafoodies’ because it is our favorite cuisine and since Paddlefish was voted ‘Best Seafood Restaurant’ we had to check it out!

VIEWS ask for a window seat

Located directly on Lake Buena Vista, Paddlefish, takes the shape of a classic steam paddleboat and simply can’t be missed! It has huge windows which leads to wonderful natural light in every room.

This restaurant also has an expansive rooftop lounge/bar with great panoramic views of Disney Springs, which is the outdoor shopping, dining, entertainment area formerly known as Downtown Disney. After a few rain showers, I was able to go up on the rooftop and video the gorgeous views. Check it out!⤵️

DRINKStry a mocktail

Paddlefish has a wonderful cocktail and wine menu, however I wanted something with no alcohol. I was glad to see they have mocktails which allows me to have a craft cocktail minus the liquor and extra calories. I got the Cucumber Sipper and it was love at first sip! It was refreshing and very good. I loved the use of fresh ingredients like cucumber and rosemary in a drink!

KIDS MENUlooked as good as ours

I must admit after seeing what was on the kids menu, I could not wait to try my daughter’s food. Her menu had some great seafood choices! My girl chose the cup of soup/clam chowder, shrimp pasta and warm cookies +milk for dessert. I did manage to taste it all before she ate it all, which means she liked it!

LUNCH MENU..give me all the seafood

For starters, we split an order of crab fries. I have never had loaded fries with a seafood topping before. It was so yummy! The skin on fries come with lump crab on top and with Louie Dressing. I still added ketchup and enjoyed this dish nonetheless.

We also tried an order of their Fish Tacos. They used salmon and a whitefish in their tacos. It came with a papaya mango salsa which I loved and I enjoyed the flavors. Although my personal preference is for a fried fish taco, this was pretty good.

SobeSavvy Tip: Be sure to order one of Buzz Pop Cocktails and see what all the buzz is about! These popular adult beverage frozen treats are now available at Paddlefish.

After dining at Paddlefish, we enjoyed the rest of our day exploring Disney Springs. If you are there between now and Jan. 6, 2019, it’s the most wonderful time of the year to see the Christmas Tree Trail, which is what we did to walk off all that delicious food! Watch video: here.

Our dining experience at Paddlefish was the perfect way to end our awesome Orlando vacay. Being able to enjoy delicious seafood with great service made for a memorable lunch. Looking for the Best Place In Disney Springs To Enjoy Lunch (and brunch/dinner too) With A View? Make plans to dine at Paddlefish!

PADDLEFISH

1670 Buena Vista Drive

Orlando, FL 32830

paddlefishrestaurant.com

Orlando 3 Day Vacation- Day 2, part 2 | Food,Wine,Good Times at @CHWinery Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

Family and Good Times go together like Food & Wine. All of these things come together at a restaurant in Orlando named COOPER’S HAWK Winery and Restaurants. After a great start to our Day 2 at SEALIFE Orlando and Madame Tussauds, my #HeighPartyof3 met up with 2 friends to enjoy dinner at Cooper’s Hawk after hearing so many good things about this place, plus it was a convenient 5 min drive from our hotel on I-Drive. It was such a wonderful dining experience that we were there for 3 hours! I mean when was the last time you had a three hour dinner? Between the stories shared, chef-crafted food, and award winning wines, we simply lost track of time.

We had a 5:30p reservation on a Sunday night. I highly recommend that you make a reservation before you go because this place is popular! Described as a modern, casual dining experience with warm hospitality in an inviting upscale setting, Cooper’s Hawk felt welcoming. With a wine tasting room, gift shop, wine bar and even a place to purchase wine to go, theres was so much to take in and I was quite impressed at first sight!

KIDS MENU

As you know our family enjoys dining out and being introduced to new flavors as well as tasting foods we are familiar with. My young foodie was very happy to see lots of her favorites on their kids menu like flatbread cheese pizza, mac & cheese but for the first time on a kid’s menu we saw chicken potstickers amd that is what she ordered. While we waited some warm pretzel bread and butter came to the table. It was so good, my daughter really wanted it all to herself!

The Kid’s Menu, which is for kids 12 and under, shows what options are vegetarian or gluten free. Since the kitchen is a scratch kitchen, any menu items can be customized if any allergy or dietary restrictions. All entrees include a drink (they offer organic chocolate milk) and served with a side of fresh fruit plus one additional side from a list. My daughter ate everything on her plate and was entertained [and occupied] by the fun games/graphics to color on the menu. The cherry, or shall I say the strawberry on top of her whole dining experience came at the end of her meal. All kid’s menu entrees include a chocolate covered strawberry! Now that’s fancy!

WINE

There is a reason Cooper Hawk’s puts the word “winery” before restaurant in their name. Wine is such an integral part of their experience. You enter the restaurant through the wine store/sampling room, which features high ceilings, beautiful decor and wine gifts. Here you can stand at the bar and sample wines prior to purchase. You can buy by the bottle or the case right on the premises.

Not sure what wine will pair well with your meal? No worries. They have a no risk policy that allows you to ask for a taste before ordering a glass to challenge yourself to try something new! All items on the menu are paired with a wine that is labeled on the menu by bin number as suggested by the winemaker. This takes alot of the guess work out of the “what wine goes with this” scenario we all have faced!

The servers here also operate as your own personal sommelier. They are knowledgeable in recommending all sorts of wines depending on your likes and dislikes. What makes dining here even more special is the ability to have a wine tasting of up to 3 wines complimentary right at the table for you to try before you order. In addition to wine, they also serve beer, a variety of cocktails and other beverages.

DINNER MENU

The menu is described as contemporary American-fusion and contains dishes that incorporates peak of season ingredients and flavors from around the world. With 110 items on the menu, there is truly something for everyone on the menu.

Appetizers***

Just looking at these photos of Mexican Drunken Shrimp and Asian Ahi Tuna Sashimi is making my mouthwater. At the suggestion of our server, I got the Mexican Drunken Shrimp, which is bacon-wrapped shrimp with a tequila lime butter sauce and fresh guacomole. Need I say more? It was as good as described and I would get it again! Soups, salads, flatbreads and other amazing appetizer choices are on the menu as an option to share and enjoy before your meal.

Entrées***

No matter if you want Beef, Pork, Seafood, Pasta, Chicken, Vegetarian, or Vegan, Cooper’s Hawk has something on the menu for you! I appreciate when a restaurant cares about accomodating guests regardless of what type of food is desired. We all loved the taste and presentation of our food, plus the quality,fresh ingredients used. My husband was in the mood for seafood and got the Pan-Roasted Barramundi and my dish, Red Wine Braised Short Ribs was identified on the menu as a Cooper’s Hawk Favorites. As seen below, it comes with oven-roasted vegetables, mustard sauce, Mary’s Potatoes (which are mashed potatoes whipped to perfection)and topped with Crispy Onion Strings. My short ribs were tender and absolutely delicious!

Desserts***

We saved room for something sweet to end our amazing meal! After seeing on the menu that all desserts were vegetarian and made in-house daily, we just had to try something. My family ordered the Key Lime Pie and our friends got the S‘more Budino as seen below. It’s the perfect combination of caramel custard,chocolate mousse and brown butter toasted graham cracker.

SobeSavvy Tip: This is the perfect restaurant for celebrating special occasions, like birthdays or just life in general! When you sign up for the exclusive Wine Club , for one low price you get the wine of the month delivered and also 10% off case discounts, birthday specials and invites to special member only events.

If you follow my SobeSavvy.com Food and Wine experiences, you know that I enjoy dining out and having lots of foodie fun. This was my first experience at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants and I can’t stop thinking about how good everything was. The attention to detail, handcrafted wine selections, amazing dishes and their belief that food and wine hold the power to forge lasting connections is why this restaurant is one of the most memorable dining experiences we have had in awhile. Thanks Cooper’s Hawk for taking us on an unforgettable wine and food journey! For more info, go to chwinery.com

COOPER’S HAWK Winery & Restaurants
8005 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

Orlando 3 Day Vacation- Day 2|Enjoy #FamilyFun at @SEALIFEOrlando @TussaudsOrlando

After a fun filled DAY 1 in Orlando at LEGOLAND and a good dinner/rest at Embassy Suites, it was time to get my #HeighPartyof3 crew ready for DAY 2. When we travel as a family, we love attractions that are located all under one roof. Saves time and just makes traveling with a young child more manageable. Within walking distance from our hotel was the ICON Orlando 360, which has 3 awesome attractions in one complex! Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and the huge observation wheel, ICON Orlando are all located at this outdoor entertainment complex. We could actually see the 400 ft tall wheel from our hotel balcony!

Just seeing the ICON Orlando from our hotel room had us ready to explore!

Located on International Drive, ICON Orlando 360 is also home to numerous restaurants and shops in the immediate vicinity. Although we walked there, parking is free inside the garage. It was a great idea to spend our #SundayFunday there and check out the following attractions during our visit:

SEALIFE Orlando Aquarium

SEA LIFE is a unique aquatic attraction in Orlando, Fl. Their mission statement includes their goal to “Rescue, Breed and Protect“. They take in injured sea animals and nurse them back to health to be released if possible. If not, they care for them or find a suitable home at other facilities.

This aquarium is what I like to call “friendly size”. Not too large or two small. Most viewing areas are made into “immersive” experiences. For example, plexiglass is built INWARDS into the tanks where guests can literally almost feel like they are in the water with them. SEA LIFE also has periscope type viewing areas where you crawl under and pop your head up into the middle of the tanks. That was so much fun to do!

Seahorses, Sea Turtles, Sharks..oh my! There was so much to see, discover and learn. Did you know that turtles can live for 50 years or more and take an average of 30 years to reach maturity? Being able to see one up close was amazing! My daughter’s favorite thing was being able to touch a starfish.

I really appreciated reading the educational notes that were found throughout the aquarium. All the major oceans and the Florida Everglades had their own dedicated areas highlighting the sea life in those specific places. We learned about simple ways in which we all can get involved in protecting out oceans. SEA LIFE raises awareness and supports their partner charities in their efforts to protect marine wildlife and habitats across the world. For more info, visit sealifetrust.org.

Watch video of our visit to SEALIFE here:

WHERE TO EAT | We took a meal break between attractions. Lucky for us, both SEA LIFE and Madame Tussauds are just steps away from many restaurant choices. We decided to stroll across the lawn and dine outside on the patio at Uncle Julio’s Mexican.

My family loves mexican food and had our fingers crossed that this was a good decision. BOY WAS IT! Great service, great food and great atmosphere. They make their tortillas on the premise. You can order fresh guacamole tableside. The chips and salsa are homemade. We ordered fajitas and everything was so flavorful,fresh and tasty!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save room for their signature dessert..a chocolate lovers pinata! It is unique and so good. Check it out⤵️

MADAME TUSSAUDS Orlando

Madame Tussauds wax figures are known around the world. My family and I have been to quite a few of their museums. There is always something/someone new to see so we loved getting a chance to go to their location at ICON Orlando 360. Since we are in Florida, welcoming us was Mr. 305 himself, Pitbull!

The figures are so life like that you will want to take a #MTSelfie with these famous entertainers, politicians and heros in the flesh! My daughter got a kick out of posing with her favorite stars like Serena Williams, Taylor Swift, and Michael Jackson.

My husband enjoyed challenging sporting legends like Tiger Woods, Shaq and Ali.

Madame Tussauds Orlando has a new “Heroes Unite” section featuring some of the most popular Justice League characters. We loved Wonder Woman and Batman. All 3 of us had a chance to join Superman and actually “lift” a helicopter from crashing!

We accepted the fun challenge of taking the #BestSelfieEver with President Obama, MLK, Beyonce and even danced with Justin Beiber before exiting this wonderful museum. Adults love it, kids love it, EVERYONE loves Madame Tussauds! Here’s an inside look from our visit to this must see attraction⤵️

After a full day at ICON Orlando 360, we walked back to the hotel where our daughter enjoyed both the indoor/outdoor pool before going to our 5:30p dinner reservation. More about our Orlando Day 2, part 2 coming soon!

Thanks to SEA LIFE Orlando and Madame Tussauds Orlando for providing complimentary tickets to review both attractions and share my honest opinion with you.

Orlando 3 Day Vacation-Day 1 |Recap @LEGOLANDFlorida + @KidzBop #KBweekend #KBLegoland

Disclaimer: Thanks to LEGOLAND Florida for providing complimentary park passes to facilitate my recap and provide insight to my readers of a day at LEGOLAND Florida!

Long weekends are a great opportunity for families to travel. We decided to get out of town for Veteran’s Day weekend and explore Orlando “minus the Mouse”. That is what my husband called our non-Disney amusement park vacation, but seriously can you visit Orlando with a child and have fun without going to Disney? The answer is YES.

I knew just the theme park to visit to kick off our three day vacation. LEGOLAND Florida! Lucky for us our visit coincided with their “Kidz Bop Weekend”. The very popular tween music band sing and dance to popular hits and our daughter is a big fan!

#outandaboutAva at the Kidz Bop Meet & Greet at LEGOLAND Florida #KBWeekend #KBLegoland

During the Kidz Bop Weekend there were lots of awesome events like a scavenger hunt for music notes, a chance to meet/greet the band and attend their live concert all with the price of admission to Legoland! But before we got started on jamming out with the Kidz Bop Kids at their 5pm show, we got started on our LEGOLAND Florida adventure!

Upon arriving to LEGOLAND Florida, be sure to get a family photo at the entrance!

LEGOLAND ….What is it?

Believe it or not some people have never heard of LEGOLAND. It is a popular vacation destination with 145 acres dedicated to everything LEGO, which is derived from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well“. This amusement park is #BuiltForKids under age 12 and has over 50 rides, shows and attractions. With locations throughout Europe, the Middle East, Japan and in California, the theme park that is located west of Orlando in Lakeland, Florida is closest to us. Although we have visited the Legoland Discovery Center attraction in Atlanta, this was our first trip to the amusement park. We grabbed a map and was on our way to a fun -filled day!

SobeSavvy Tip: In addition to having a map, we downloaded the LEGOLAND FLORIDA official app which proved to be a helpful tool because it saved us time in trying to figure out where something was and when shows started!

LEGOLAND Eats

We came straight from the Orlando’s airport [about 45 mins to an hour drive] to the theme park, so needless to say we were hungry. We decided to fuel up for a fun day at LEGOLAND at Pepper and Roni’s Pizza Stop. You can’t miss it because the pizzamaker made of Lego’s invites you in for some pizza in a semi-authentic Italian accent. My daughter is always in the mood for pizza,but even if you weren’t this guy is so convincing!

#outandaboutAva ‘Say Cheese’ at Pepper and Roni’s Pizza Stop

As for me, I got a turkey and cheese panini kids meal from Panini Grill. The panini sandwiches are made fresh to order and was so yummy. For a sweet cool treat, I recommend Kingdom Cones. Both Panini Grill and Kingdom Cones are near play areas so that we parents can eat while the kids play!

Walking into the Imagination Zone ,where kids can enjoy creative play and families can eat at Panini Grill

LEGOLAND Explore

With so many fun things to do and places to explore like Duplo Valley,

The DUPLO Valley is where kids ages 2-5 yrs old can enjoy the DUPLO Farm,Tractor,Train and Tot Spot. My daughter said she enjoyed reliving her childhood 😂

LEGO Ninjago World,

Great place to hone your Ninja skills!

Miniland USA,

New York,New York, San Francisco,California, Washington DC, Miami Beach,Florida..visit your favorite cities all at once at MINILAND USA

STAR WARS Miniland,

If you are a STAR WARS fan, this is a must see! My hubby loved it!

Heartlake City,

#outandaboutAva loved posing with her favorite characters from Lego friends

Needless to say our 7 yr old daughter was elated to be at this unique amusement park and so were we!

LEGOLAND Events

For the second year in a row, The KIDZ BOP Kids brought their national concert tour to the place #BuiltForKids during KIDZ BOP Weekend, a music-filled event set for Nov. 10-12 at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort.“KIDZ BOP Live 2018” is the ultimate family concert experience, “sung by kids for kids.” The KIDZ BOP Kids – Billboard Magazine’s No. 1 Kids’ Artist for eight consecutive years (2010-2017) – will headline the new show, performing some of today’s biggest hit songs. After seeing the all-new North American Tour, KIDZ BOP Live 2018, in Raleigh,NC it was such a special treat to be here during the three-day KIDZ BOP Weekend! The KIDZ BOP Kids performed two live concerts each day at LEGOLAND Florida’s KIDZ BOP Stadium, an outdoor venue on the picturesque shore of Lake Eloise.

All activities during KIDZ BOP Weekend, including the concerts and exclusive meet-and-greets with the performers, were included with all forms of theme park admission. No extra ticket required!

Awesome Awaits at LEGOLAND! The Kidz Bop weekend is one she will never forget!

Watch more of our LEGOLAND Florida /Kidz Bop Weekend experience here⤵️

Sometimes we as parents rush along with our daily kids lives and don’t take enough time to just celebrate them being a kid. LEGOLAND is THE place to celebrate your kids and embrace your inner child too! Make plans to visit LEGOLAND Florida because the memories are priceless!

My #HeighPartyof3 at Legoland Florida

WHERE TO STAY |While LEGOLAND does have a resort/hotel accomodations as part of its amusement park, it was sold out for our travel dates. At the end of our long day of travel and play, it was great to check into Embassy Suites by Hilton International Drive-Convention Center. Reasons to stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando International Drive Convention Center /Convention Center when traveling to Orlando: ✔Two-Room Newly Renovated Suites ✔Complimentary Drinks/Snacks at Evening Reception ✔Free Made To Order Breakfast ✔Walking Distance to Dining, Shopping and Entertainment ✔Onsite Full Service Dining at Bar Meets Grill.

My family and I enjoyed the convenience of having a delicious dinner at Bar Meets Grill At Embassy Suites after a full day at the amusement park. This restaurant offers an extensive list of craft beers, cocktails, shareable plates and more! It was all very good and definitely a place I would recommend even if you were not staying at hotel! Just feast your eyes on these pics from our stay.

Thanks again to Legoland and Bar Meets Grill restaurant for hosting us!

Top 25 Ways to have Fall #FamilyFun at @HubbsCornMaze #VisitNCFarms

Disclaimer: Although I received complimentary admission tickets from Hubb’s Farm to share my review with you, the opinions are 100% my own.

Looking for some great family fun to enjoy this season? Check out Hubb’s Farm for the Largest Fall Festival in Eastern NC & 10-Acre Corn Maze! Now open thru Nov.10, a visit to Hubb’s Farm should be on your to do list for Fall traditions that is fun for the whole family!

Last year I went to the 2017 Media Day at Hubb’s Farm and got a taste of what they had to offer. This year, Hubb’s is celebrating 11 years of growing crops of fun! They have added some new attractions like Tin Roof Rally Ball Toss and Themed Character Traits Trail to their amazing list of fun things to enjoy.


Hubb’s Farm is open to the public on weekends but offers educational tours Tues-Fri. Fall tour options include: the Pumpkin Power Tour, Golden Harvest Tour, and Gem Dandy Tour. Fall Home School and Small Group Tours are also available. Parents, teachers and students can enjoy classroom lessons and hands-on learning activities at Hubb’s Farm.

I went during opening weekend and had a blast with my hubby and our 7 yr old daughter #outandaboutAva. Check out YouTube Video here⤵️

There are so many ways to spend a fun filled day there but here is my list!

Top 25 Ways to have Fall Family Fun at Hubb’s Farm

1. Feed the farm animals at Animal Acres (Sat. & Sun., Daytime Only)

2. Make your way thru the Giant “Corn” Maze

3. Enjoy Unlimited Hay Rides

4. Try your skills at Human Foosball

5. Be a sport star at Ball Toss (New)

6. Cool off with tasty Cider Slushies

7. Embrace your inner child at Luke’s House of Corn (Corn Crib)

8. Learn a new joke at the Singing Chicken Show

9. Fun Weekend Themes (like a chance to meet/thank First Responders!)

10. Go up high on the Hubb’s Mountain Rope Climb

11. Go Pumpkin Shopping at the Farm Store

12. Find your way thru the Straw Bale Maze

13. Got a child under age of 3? Head to Toddler Town

14. Play Corn Hole Games

-15. Pick your own pumpkin in the Field of Pumpkins

17. Crawl and Climb your way thru Tire Mountain (Sat. & Sun., Daytime)

18. Say Cheese for the Fun Photo Ops

19. Show off your Steer Roping skills

20. Jump for Joy on the Jump Pillow

21. So fun going down the Giant Slide

22. All aboard the Barrel Train

23. Fly thru the sky on the Mini Zip Lines (up to 100 lbs.)

24. Enjoy a game of Laser Tag

25. Enjoy a ride on Cranky Combine (Sat. and Sun., Daytime Only)

Fall Festival Fun awaits for everyone at Hubb’s Farm. It’s a great place to go and begin to check off everything on your Fall Bucket List! Make plans now to visit the Field of Dreams and see why they are the 2018 Top 25 Corn Mazes in the U.S. and so much more !!!For more info, visit www.hubbsfarmnc.com

Have you ever been to Hubb’s Farm? What’s on your 2018 Fall Bucket List?

#FamilyTravel – Plan to Visit DC? Here’s Where To Stay @EmbassySuites Old Town, Alexandria VA

For Labor Day Weekend my #HeighPartyof3 decided to make a last minute trip to the DMV [which I just shared with a Texas native that it stands for DC, MD, VA in case you did not know]. We have family and friends in this area but needed to decide where to stay for this long holiday weekend. Hmmm…Baltimore, DC proper or Northern VA? For this trip Northern VA would win out. Specifically Alexandria, Virgina at the Embassy Suites in Old Town Alexandria.

Alexandria, VA is a charming town known for its history, tree lined streets, restaurants and a bit of a small town feel in the middle of a booming cosmopolitan metro area. It is also just six miles from DC making it the perfect place to stay when you want to have a fun, family getaway near our nation’s capital.

Embassy Suites in Old Town Alexandria hosted us for one night of our trip this weekend which gave us an opportunity to explore a city we never been to before. Located near the old town section of Alexandria, this hotel is large but never feels overwhelming. Across the street from the King Street Metro station makes this property even more attractive to visitors who have easy access the to District and beyond. Embassy Suites brand is famous for it’s spacious 2 full room suites, it’s cooked to order breakfast and complimentary happy hour.

This hotel property does not disappoint in any of these areas. Newly renovated suites have plenty of room for couples and families alike. Our little one loves having a comfy sofa bed {and flat screen tv} all to herself as we wind down after a day of hitting those Alexandria and DC streets! Hubby and I love getting a handmade cocktail and snacks at the bar everyday during our stay between 5:30-7:30pm.

Each morning the first decision we had to make was cooked to order omelette or hand poured pancakes? Nothing better during a hotel stay than knowing breakfast is just waiting for you downstairs.

After breakfast, visitors can choose to spend their day enjoying the local area nearby or taking a short drive or metro ride into DC. So many places are within walking distance from the hotel. Whole Foods and Starbucks are nearby, dozens of restaurants and shopping choices await. You can even catch the free trolley across the street to drop you off at many of the wonderful destinations in Alexandria. Here is a look at our favorite features of this hotel that I shared in Instagram:

So the next time you are making plans to visit Washington, DC consider staying at Embassy Suites Old Town in Alexandria, VA and enjoy a 2-4-1 destination during your next trip!

EMBASSY SUITES

1900 DIAGONAL ROAD

ALEXANDRIA,VA 22314

A Family Guide to Happy Thrills at #Carowinds | #AmazingLooksLike @Carowinds #FamilyFun

Thanks to Carowinds for hosting SobeSavvy.com to a day of summer fun and “happy thrills”! Complimentary media passes were received in exchange for marketing purposes. Opinions and photos used in this review of my experience are 100% my own.

Recently my #HeighPartyof3 which consists of my husband, daughter and me, traveled from Raleigh,NC for a short 2.5 hour drive to Carowinds. This 400 acre amusement park, with 13 roller coasters, seven water rides and the new Camp Snoopy, was the perfect place to enjoy some end of summer fun and to celebrate #outandaboutAva turning 7 years old!

#outandaboutAva gets a birthday hug from Sally and Schroeder from Peanuts at Camp Snoopy in Carowinds

I asked my daughter to give me two words to describe our family fun day at Carowinds to which she replied: “Happy and Thrilling”. So from the mouth of babes, I present to you “A FAMILY GUIDE TO HAPPY THRILLS AT CAROWINDS”. While this was not our first visit as a family to the amusement park, this was our first time experiencing the Carolina Harbor Water Park, checking out the new County Fair rides and seeing what’s new at Camp Snoopy. I have some mom friends who have children 7 and under who have not visited Carowinds yet, so my hope is that they will read this and be inspired to go and learn from our family experience.

Arriving at CAROWINDS

Upon arrival the first decision to be made is where to park. One thing folks like to complain about is parking. Yes Carowinds is a huge park that has thousands of daily visitors. These visitors also need thousands of parking spots. Parking is plentiful and visitors have two parking choices , General and VIP. VIP sections tend to be closer to the entrance than general.

Entrance in the water park is also entrance into the main park. You can purchase all the same tickets and passes there that can be bought at the main entrance. It is also smart to start here if you want to purchase a cabana for the day because they usually sell out in the first hour or two also.
We started our day at the Water park first and then enjoyed the main park.
The order you choose needs to only make sense to you !

SobeSavvy Tip:

For this trip, we found that if you drive around to the Carolina Harbor Waterpark entrance in the first hour or two of opening parking spots can be found that do not require a long walk.

Waterpark Fun in the Sun at CAROLINA HARBOR

Nestled right between the two states of North and South Carolina is Carolina Harbor Waterpark at Carowinds. There are so many splash adventures to be had at this 27 acre waterpark, including Blackbeard’s Revenge, a six story water slide, two wave pools and a two-acre family area. We are water lovers and really enjoyed staying cool by the pool, soaking up sun and relaxing on the lazy river ride. It’s no wonder Carolina Harbor Waterpark was one of the top winners of USA TODAY “Best Outdoor Waterpark” because of it’s themed water rides and one of a kind attractions for all ages.

SobeSavvy Tip: Now that you know that Carolina Harbor is the coolest place to slide,splash,chill and dine (BTW…the pulled pork Carolina BBQ sandwich is so good!), you should definitely consider renting a cabana. Cabana Life is the way to go to have your own private shaded haven. It comes with a flat screen tv, a mini fridge with half of dozen cold waters waiting for you, a table with 4 chairs, 2 lounge chairs, and menu service. It fits up to six people. So if you come with another small family, you can split the costs!

Love, Peace and Water Tubes at Tidal Wave Bay | Carolina Harbor

Happy Days Are Here Again at the COUNTY FAIR

The all-new County Fair themed area features 3 acres of timeless fun for all ages. There are 4 retro rides like the Zephyr swing ride, go round in a circular motion while enjoying music and spectacular lighting on the Rock ‘N’ Roller, flip upside down 63 ft above the ground on the Electro-Spin and don’t miss the twists and turns of Do-Si-Do, which glides guests up, down and around on three giant arms!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save room for some traditional fair food to eat! Here is wherr you can find hot dogs, cotton candy and my favorite..funnel cake!

Go back in time to 1959 County Fair and ride the Do-Si-Do Ride

Enjoy Kid Sized Thrills at the New CAMP SNOOPY

The former kids’ area known as Planet Snoopy has been completely transformed to the newly expanded Camp Snoopy, which includes six new attractions, a new wilderness theme and parent-friendly enhancements. There were lots of fun photo ops especially for fans of The PEANUTS and you may even get a chance to see your favorite characters. There is so much for young children to see and do here and great memories to be made at Camp Snoopy!

SobeSavvy Tip: Ride the Woodstock Express rollercoaster and choose a FunPix souvenir photo to take home. FunPix is a way to capture and share your memories of Carowinds with unlimited digital photo downloads! Its just one of the many great amenities at Carowinds.

This photo magnet of my daughter with her Dad on her first roller coaster ride at Carowinds is priceless!

Be sure to download the Carowinds mobile app from the App Store or Google Play and Follow Carowinds on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or head to Carowinds.com for more information.

Check out more ‘happy and thrilling’ moments at #Carowinds, plus WATCH my video recap of our family fun experience here ⤵️

What “Happy Thrills” did you experience this summer? Have you ever been to Carowinds? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

#HeighPartyof3 at Carowinds Aug. ’18

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#NCFarmTour | Where NC Agriculture Meets Educational Fun ~Recap by SobeSavvy.com

On June 27-29, 2018, I joined a group of bloggers on a fantastic tour of northeast North Carolina. We were invited by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to experience the diversity of eastern North Carolina including cucumbers, white potatoes, wine, beer, brats and seafood. Here is a recap of what I learned, where we traveled, who we met and of course, what I ate along the way!

Day 1- Wednesday, 6/27

Stop 1 on the #NCFarmTour – Lunch at Nothing Fancy Café, Edenton

Locally owned, Nothing Fancy Café features made-from-scratch southern home cooking. The restaurant also features a variety of retail items including antiques and baked goods. I left with a beautiful $5 pineapple candle holder and an appreciation for this restaurant who serves field to fork food. The collard greens I enjoyed as a side came from a local NC farmer and tasted like my grandma made it! Nothing Fancy Café is also my new favorite place to enjoy a burger. When the beef comes from a local farmer, trust me you can taste the quality and the difference.
Facebook: @NothingFancyCafe

Stop 2- AJ Smith and Sons Farm, in Edenton, NC

Did you know that Edgecombe County is #1 in growing of cucumbers in NC? We visited a farm started by AJ Smith and is now run by his four sons + grandsons. The farm is extremely diversified. They grow clary sage, peanuts, soybeans, corn,watermelons, cucumbers, and snap beans. The farm also has cattle and hogs. We got to pick some cucumbers at AJ Smith and Sons Farm as well as learn about the process of preparing them for packaging. And just in case you were wondering..yes, they do get waxed for preservation purposes. All cucumbers are not created equal. However, curved or straight if they were grown in NC they will taste great!

SobeSavvy Tip: When selecting a cucumber, look for cucumbers that are very firm and rounded right to the ends.

Stop 3 on the #NCFarmTour is a tour of Historic Edenton

PLAY | Thanks to the Chowan County Chamber of Commerce, we took a horse and wagon tour of historic Edenton. We learned alot of history, enjoyed nature, and viewed beautiful architecture in the “South’s Prettiest Small Town”. WATCH my youtube video of highlights from this tour:

EAT | Ended Day 1 of #NCFarmTour at Cypress Creek Grill, a family-owned restaurant is in downtown Elizabeth City, one block from the Pasquotank River. Their meals feature
fresh seafood and local ingredients. Executive Chef Bradley Chambers created a special menu that showcased the best of what Northeast NC has to offer and combined an amazing array of flavors!

STAY | We stayed in nearby Elizabeth City overnight at Fairfield Inn, which offers guest FREE breakfast with stay plus this comfy, modern hotel has an indoor pool/jacuzzi and mini fridge+ microwave in the room.

Day 2- Thursday, 6/28

Day 2 of #NCFarmTour started off at TCOM, LP

Look up in the sky..it’s a bird, it’s a plane..no it’s a blimp that has been assembled and tested at TCOM,LP located in Elizabeth City,NC. It was so cool to tour the 225-acre facility that manufactures and test aerostats (airship or hot air balloon, especially one that is tethered). The hanger is 150 feet tall and 1,000 feet long and can hold six fully-inflated 71-meter aerostats. Their blimps are used for sporting events, by the US Military and for national security. TCOM,LP
is not a blimp manufacturing company however they do make the envelope and assemble them without the mechanics on it. It was so fascinating to see up close!

SobeSavvy Tip: Here’s an interesting connection to agriculture: The first aerial applicator was not a plane,
but a hot air balloon. It was used in 1906 to spread seed over a valley in New Zealand that had flooded.

Day 2,Stop 2 #NCFarmTour John E. Ferebee Farms

This seventh-generation family farm focuses on potatoes, each year growing and packing red, white and yellow flesh potatoes. John E.Ferebee Farms potatoes are shipped across the US. They’ve also worked with many of NCDA&CS marketing programs. We met both sisters but it was Martha took us on the tour around the facility, which have washed bulk capabilities/cold storage, and onto the potato fields. I learned that summer potatoes of eastern NC come from farms situated alongside well nourished soil beside saltwater sounds/freshwater river beds. Did you know that NC produces over 16,000 acres potatoes? This farm grows 350 acres of North Carolina Potatos.

Day 2 #NCfarmtour Lunch and Tour at Weeping Radish

If you are hungry for bratwurst, beer and knowledge just talk to Uli Bennewitz, owner of Weeping Radish, a brewery, restaurant, butchery and farm that celebrates craft! He came to NC in the early 1980s, from Bavaria, Germany, established a microbrewery and worked with lawmakers to change the NC laws to allow microbreweries to sell beer directly to consumers. In addition to brewing beer, cattle and hogs are sourced from local farms and processed on-site into sausage and charcuterie. The retail counter sells sausage, pastrami, bacon and beer. The Pub serves lunch and a housemade draft root beer that you must try!

Day 2 #NCFarmTour ..a look at our visit to Sanctuary Vineyards, Jarvisburg, NC

The Wright family-owned vineyard grows a variety of grapes on 10 acres. All grapes are picked by hand and the use of french oak barrels gives their NC wine a wonderful taste. We toured the vineyards and learn how world-class wine is made at Sanctuary Vineyards. I purchased a bottle of Morton which is a red wine blend that I can not wait to enjoy!

Jennette’s Pier, Outer Banks

PLAY | Jennette’s Pier is the oldest fishing pier in the Outer Banks and has been a landmark since 1939. Fisherman catch a variety of fish from the 1,000 foot pier including red drum, speckled trout and croaker. We bloggers took advantage of the opportunity to cool our heels from all the farm tour walking at the pier since you get access to the beach!

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Today was filled with so much to learn, see and do, here are some of my fave moments from the #NCFarmTour Northeast North Carolina Day 2 w/@nc_agriculture @gottobenc ——————— •A visit to @jennettes_pier_official gave us access to the beach and a chance to see the oldest fishing pier in #OBX • We got to see who makes the envelopes for blimps and learn this history of #TCOM ,LP •John E. Ferebee Farms gave us an inside look of how they grow and pack red, white,yellow potatoes •@weepingradish is where we celebrated the craft of cooking, butchery amd farming. We had lunch at this microbrewery before taking the Beee and Brat Tour • i enjoyed tasting some NC wines from Sanctuary Vineyards and learning about their wine making process •Beautiful views from my balcony room at The Oasis Suites Hotel • Lastly, Dinner @lonecedarcafe Where their fried soft crab was some of the best I ever had caught fresh here in #NC.

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EAT | Dinner at Basnights Lone Cedar Café, located on the Roanoke Sound, is family owned/operated and serves only seafood caught in NC by local fishermen. Pork, poultry and vegetables are sourced from local farms. Herbs are grown on-site. Deserts are made from scratch daily on-site by the pastry chef. Everything we tried was delicious, especially the soft shell crab!

STAY |The Oasis Suites Hotel is the only boutique hotel on the Outer Banks. All rooms have private balconies with water views and are very spacious! Take a LOOK at my room reveal video to see for yourself how lovely this hotel property is:

Day 3-Friday, 6/29

Everything tastes better with bacon right? If you like savory and sweet, try the Maple Bacon Donut from Duck Donuts, Nags Heads

After enjoying breakfast from Duck Donuts, we started Day 3 of #NCFarmTour at O’Neals Sea Harvest in Wanchese. Sara Marabilio, who is the Fisheries Extension Specialist at NC Sea Grant, met us at the family owned and operated
seafood wholesaler to lead the tour and provide more information about NC Seafood. At O’neals Sea Harvest, you can purchase locally caught, fresh
seafood daily. The also sell fresh and frozen seafood (crab, variety of fish, shrimp & scallops) through their retail store and Monday-Friday they serve the fresh catch at their restaurant on-site.

Next stop, was nicknamed by me as Crabmeat Lover’s Heaven because Captain Neill’s Seafood, in Columbia is the largest domestic crab processing (by hand-picking) plant left. Owner Phillip Carawan started buying hard/soft-shell crabs, then opened (in 1997) a facility to process wild caught crabs caught from NC waters and purchasing daily from crabbers that dock behind their facility. Captain Neill’s processes a variety of crabmeat products in
addition to oysters, cocktail fingers and ready to eat steamed crabs.
They sell to a variety of markets, including grocery chains, under the
names Capt. Charlie’s and Capt. Neill’s. I learned that aprox 11 pounds of crab yield 1 pound of crabmeat and that an emplyee can pick the meat out of the crab in aprox 15 seconds! I left there amazed at the efficiency of the process and hungry for crab. SobeSavvy Tip: If you are a member of Sam’s Club you can purchase their crabmeat there.

EAT |Our last stop and final lunch on #NCFarmTour was at Garden Spot Café in Plymouth,NC. Located in a building built around 1900 on the banks of the Roanoke
River, this restaurant is owned by three sisters and known locally for their home-style cooking. They offer a variety of menu items to meet every taste preference. I tried the fried shrimp platter/flounder because after all that time learning more about NC seafood I was craving it!

All of these stops on the tour are just a short drive from the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. I encourage you to take the to time to explore more of NC, shop at your local farmers market, support restaurants where you can eat local foods and buy local goods. There are so many fun ways to support our state’s number one industry, AGRICULTURE! I am so inspired to incorporate what I have learned when it comes to food that my family consumes and make sure it comes from a North Carolina Farm!

Leslie Heigh, Founder of SobeSavvy.com on the #NCFarmTour

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