Travel | Savvy Tips for a DC Family Getaway

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

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

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

STAY | Archer Hotel Falls Church

Stay Above The Rest…..Archer Hotel Falls Church

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

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

DISCOVER | The Mosaic District

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

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

EXPLORE | Historic DC Tours

All aboard the Old Town Trolley Tour…

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

Next stop : Arlington Cemetery …….

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

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

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

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

#HeighPartyof3 Takes DC | photo credit SobeSavvy.com

Girls Trip Travel Guide @WilmingtoNCoast @CarolinaBeachNC

If you have been following me for awhile, you know that I love to travel and am very fond of NC’s coast. Specifically Wilmington NC’s Historic River District & Island Beaches. I have visited and enjoyed many of it’s family friendly options, so I was really excited to plan a Girl’s Trip. After reading my prior blog posts about Wilmington, my friend wanted to experience it together. Here is a look at our 24 hour itinerary that I organized via TripIt app.

STAY | Aloft Wilmington Coastline Center

My Top 3 reasons for choosing ALOFT Wilmington are as follows:

1. It’s new (just opened Nov 2021) and modern

2. It’s convenient to the Riverfront, Downtown Wilmington, so could walk to most places

3. Full service– has gym, restaurant, bar, rooftop bistro and a coffee bar onsite

DINE | Sips & Eats

If you are a seafood lover like me, then you must dine at Seabird in Wilmington, NC

My friend and I are both foodies, so we were looking forward to dining out during our trip. Our number one focus for cuisine was seafood. We knew that being on the coast was going to be our opportunity to eat local and enjoy fresh seafood. But first…. coffee. Casa Blanca Coffee Roasters (in addition to their amazing coffee, we loved the avocado toast) , Aloft Coffee Bar, and Bespoke Coffee and Dry Goods are just a few places where you can enjoy a great cup of coffee and more in Wilmington.

Casa Blanca, Aloft Coffee Bar, Bespoke Coffee

Dinner reservations are a must at Seabird in Downtown Wilmington. We enjoyed wine perfectly paired with NC oysters, fresh seafood dishes created by Chef Dean Neff and great service at this restaurant.

Raw & Baked NC Oysters + SoftShell Crab at Seabird

For after dinner cocktails, we headed to Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar. There was live entertainment in addition to a nice atmosphere. If you want a small bite, they have a bar menu also. We could walk back to our hotel from there, which was a plus.

Chilling on Cloud 9

At Carolina Beach, we enjoyed lunch at Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar. With oceanfront views, a fun bar area and delicious coastal fare, this restaurant combines the best of beach eats.

Eat and Drink Local at Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar

PLAY | Things To Do

From strawberry picking, shopping local and having fun at the beach~ there’s so much fun to be had in Wilmington,NC and Carolina Beach

We arrived on National Strawberry Picking Day, so the first thing on our to do list was to visit a pick-your-own strawberry farm just outside the city limits Lewis Nursery and Farms with homemade strawberry ice cream and a plant shop.

That evening we checked out a comedy show at Dead Crow Comedy Room and the next day got our steps in along the Riverwalk.

Downtown Wilmington~ Dead Crow Comedy Room & Riverwalk

What’s a girls trip without shopping?! We both love to shop local and picked up some artisan goods at the Riverfront Farmers Market on Saturday morning.

Shop jewelry, teas,candles and more at the Riverfront Farmers Market

No trip to the coast is complete without spending some time near the water. As we made our way to the sand, we stopped at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk to take in the sights and have a classic glazed donut from Britts Donuts.

B is for Boardwalk and Britts Donuts

Spending a relaxing day at the beach was just what we needed. No chairs, no problem. Being able to rent an umbrella and chairs from Tony Silvagni Surf Schools was such a convenience for us. They provided great customer service and made our time at the beach very comfortable.

Getting some Vitamin Sea at Carolina Beach

Grateful for the memories made and the opportunity to share this trip guide with you! I hope you are inspired to make your way to Wilmington,NC & Carolina Beach soon. For more ideas be sure to visit https://www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/

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

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

Get your Official Visitors Guide at WilmingtonNCVisitorGuide.com

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

1. Airlie Gardens

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

2. Fish House Grill

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

Soft Shell Crab Sandwich at Fish House Grill

3. Practical Magic Store

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

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

4. Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront

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

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

5. Wilmington Riverwalk

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

Let’s Stroll along The Wilmington Riverwalk

6. Carolina Candy Company & Gifts

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

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

7. The Veggie Wagon

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

8. Fort Fisher State Recreation Park

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

Get some Vitamin Sea at Fort Fisher State Recreation Park

9. STEAM Restaurant and Bar

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

10. Cameron Art Museum

Support the Arts at Cameron Art Museum

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

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

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

STAY Relax -Dine -Play at @HyattCentric SouthPark Charlotte #HyattCentricExplorer

STAY | Hyatt Centric SouthPark Charlotte

Conveniently located in SouthPark’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment district, Hyatt Centric invites you to enjoy a fun, sophisticated stay in the heart of some of the best Charlotte has to offer. Being able to walk to SouthPark mall to go shopping, get pampered at Sassy Nail Bar and being steps away from Steak 48 made staying at this Hyatt Centric location ideal for my weekend getaway.

This 175-room lifestyle hotel features an all natural modern design that reflects Charlotte’s history and beauty. As soon as you walk in the lobby, there is a gorgeous curved centerpiece staircase, a colorful, metallic six-foot-tall peacock statue, and eclectic art such as a mural by local artist, Hillary Siber Edwards that features “100 porcelain gold ceramic mining pans intended to represent the 100 counties in North Carolina and the region’s history as the first documented gold discovery in the United States.”

There are two on-site dining options : MIZU, a rooftop restaurant where you can catch the sunset while enjoying dinner and bar service in a lounge setting …

…..and IRO, the hotel’s lobby restaurant where I enjoyed a tasty breakfast during my stay. Order the omelette your way or any of the other healthy options on the menu.

I also enjoyed the intentional details that went into making the rooms comfy for guests like dedicated reading lights on either side of the bed, USB outlets for device charging, large 55” televisions, rainfall showerheads, and more! Additional hotel amenities include meeting and event spaces, complimentary on-site parking, complimentary Wi-Fi and a rooftop fitness center featuring Peleton bikes.

I would definitely return and recommend for a wonderful place to relax, play, work, dine and stay >> @HyattCentric

For more info and to book your rooms go to hyattcentricsouthparkcharlotte.com

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

San Francisco Family Travel Fun
By SobeSavvy.com

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

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

STAY | Le Méridien San Francisco

Check In to Le Méridien San Francisco

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

EAT | Harborview Restaurant & Bar + more!

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

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

BRUNCH-LUNCH-DINNER-DESSERT

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

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

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

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

Welcome to the California Academy of Sciences

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

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

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

Fun Times at Madame Tussauds San Francisco

Sightseeing Must Do’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day One

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

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

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

Fantastic Sunset Sail Memories made while cruising with Sebago Watersports

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

Happy Hour deliciousness at Onlywood Grill

Day Two

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

Namaste by the pool for Aqua Yoga in Key West!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun in the sun at Bahia Honda State Park

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

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

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

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

My Top 5 Miami Beach Family Vacation Must Do’s

My TOP 5 Miami Beach Family Vacation Must Do’s

After a year and a half of staying close to home, we decided to take a well deserved vacation to our second home, Miami. We took a 2 hr direct flight from RDU to FLL via Delta Airlines, and before you know it, we were back in the sunshine state! Since moving away in 2015 (and my last solo trip in 2018>>read about that visit here.) much had changed but luckily alot stayed the same. We visited some of our favorite places in the 48 hours we were there before driving down to Key West (I’ll share more about that in my next blog post). Here are My Top 5 Miami Beach Family Vacation Must Do’s!

1. Stay at the Residence Inn Miami Beach South Beach

Location, Location is why we choose this hotel for our family stay whenever we visit Miami Beach. Besides being right across the street from one of my favorite stores, Trader Joe’s, you can walk (or utilize their free shuttle) to get to South Beach. A one bedroom suite suits my #HeighPartyof3 well as it includes a sofa bed in their spacious living room plus a kitchen. It’s also quiet because it is more on the local side of South Beach, so our stay at the Residence Inn Miami Beach South Beach has always been pretty relaxing.

My favorite feature at the hotel is the rooftop pool
Make sure to use your hotel amenities! I enjoyed taking a FREE yoga class offsite at Green Monkey Yoga

2. Explore the artsy side of Miami in Wynwood

Miami is known for many things: parties, beaches, latin food and culture. Miami in 2021 is also known for its street art scene. The Miami neighborhood of Wynwood is the center of this art scene. What started as grafitti artists tagging buildings has turned the area into a outdoor museum of murals, artist studios and unique eateries and shops. We spent a few fun hours there enjoying the scene and checked out an exhibit called the Womanish Experience, now showing thru August 29. See more about my experience here⤵️

Love street art and murals? There are so many Instagram worthy photo ops in Wynwood

3. Shop & Dine on Lincoln Road Mall

Living 5 blocks away, Lincoln Road was the backdrop of my daily life as a resident. It consists of almost a mile of restaurants, shops, a movie theater and more. There is even a church there in case you need a moment. We met up with a friend at Doraku, a restaurant known for it’s sushi/Asian cuisine. They have a great happy hour in a laid back stylish atmosphere. I suggest everyone spend time just strolling on Lincoln Road and see what catches your interest!

Lincoln Road Mall, a great place to shop, dine and spend some time. Check out Doraku for a great Happy Hour menu!

4. Get a relaxing spa treatment at exhale Spa

I learned that exhale Spa in Miami/South Beach offered Kiddie services and wanted to make an appointment for my daughter and I to have a mani/pedi date. However, because of my limited time, I decided to have a mommy break and enjoy a bit of self-care. The Power Facial was just what I needed to get my outer glow and inner glow aligned. Not only was it a relaxing treatment but the quality of the products used and service provided was stellar! See more about my lovely experience here ⤵️

Give the gift of wellness via a gift card or make a purchase at the boutique. For 15% percent off, follow exhale_southbeach on IG

5. Play in the sand and soak up the sun on South Beach

While I enjoy living in NC, I do miss the ability to walk 8 blocks to the ocean. We decided to frolick in the South Beach surf in the late afternoon. The ocean is bath water warm in August but still cooler than the air temps, so it was a relief from the heat! I did some daily yoga poses while hubby gave our 10 yr old piggyback rides in the water as the cruise ships went by. It was a beautiful day at the beach!

Spending some time on the South Beach sand is a great way to enjoy some family fun!

We enjoyed our 2 night stay in Miami Beach and being ex-locals made it easy. Seeing our friends and visiting old stomping grounds was a great start to our extended Florida stay. Next up… the Florida Keys and Key West! Stay tuned for more about our family fun in Key West coming soon on the blog, SobeSavvy.com!

We will always love Miami! Until next time😘

My Top 5 Miami Beach Family Vacation Must Do’s

Featuring My Favorite Places to Stay, Explore, Shop, Spa and Play

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


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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

https://youtu.be/TO4BT6vC5mk


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Tips for a Self-Care Staycation in Raleigh, NC ft. @achotelraleigh @level7roofbar and more in @visitnorthhills + GIVEAWAY 🎉

Tips for a Staycation in Raleigh, NC

Tips for a Staycation in Raleigh, NC | Photo Credit: @SobeSavvy for SobeSavvy.com

Hi..my name is Leslie. I am a 47 year old mother to a lovely daughter age 9 and married to a wonderful husband for all most 22 years. And while I love them dearly, after us all being at home together for work, school and everything in between, this mama NEEDED a self-care break. I knew just the place where I could relax, recharge and reward myself! I headed to North Hills in Raleigh,NC where there are plenty of options to STAY, EAT, PLAY for a nice getaway! I want to share some tips on planning your next self-care getaway, PLUS giveaway some 2 gift cards to 2 lucky readers/followers to use for their staycation/vacation/momcation/solocation/daycation or whatever you want to call it..remember, you deserve it! Details in how to enter to follow, but first here are some tips:

STAY

AC Hotel Raleigh North Hills

Part of self-care for me is taking time out for oneself, getting good sleep, being in a clean environment and having personal space to be creative. AC Hotel Raleigh provides all of that along with being convenient to everything North Hills has to offer. After my one night stay, I woke up renewed and ready to seize the day! Check out my IG post/photos to get an inside look of the King w/sofa bed guest room:

You can literally walk out of the hotel doors to many options for dining and entertainment or opt to stay in and head up to their Level7 rooftop bar! They offer good drinks, good food and good vibes making it the perfect hangout spot!

Take a look at my IG reel to get a feel of what Level7 is like on a Sunday night:

I made sure before checking out to utilize their fantastic fitness center and I may have stayed in their waterfall shower much longer than I would at home. I loved the green tea/lemongrass shower gel which smelled so good!

EAT

STIR Raleigh

Across the street from the AC Hotel Raleigh is one of my favorite restaurants in North Hills, named STIR Raleigh. From the creative cocktails, to the flavorful food along with the beautiful decor and great staff, I love dining there. Sit inside or outside and just treat your tastebuds to something amazing from their menu.

#SobeSavvyGiveaway: Speaking of a treat, here is your chance to enter GIVEAWAY #1 for a $50 gift card to STIR Raleigh! *no IG, no problem. Just comment on this blog post what you would have at STIR

Here are some other nearby dining suggestions that I enjoyed during my staycation in North Hills.

For breakfast: Another Broken Egg

For Lunch/Dinner: bartaco

PLAY

Kings Dining & Entertainment

Right next to the AC Hotel Raleigh is KINGS Dining and Entertainment. I actually went there prior to check in to past the time as well as enjoy a bit of Sunday Funday! They offered a couple of drink specials and I ordered the Tequila Sunrise, which was just $4! I paired it with some wings and played a few games. Families were bowling, friends were shooting pool and I saw some few couples on a date! If you want some fun on your staycation agenda, I recommend going to KINGS in North Hills.

PLAY

#NorthHillsArt

Tour public art for free during your stay in North Hills by taking an Art Walk >>click here for full listing! One of the perks of being a hotel guest at AC HOTEL Raleigh is the use of a free bicycle during your stay. I had so much fun riding around and exploring North Hills!

SobeSavvy Tip: I made an appointment on a whim for a mani -pedi service at Midtown Nail Spa in North Hills. It’s steps away from AC Hotel Raleigh and across from Another Broken Egg. I enjoyed complimentary Sangria and Vinnie gave great customer service. Getting pampered while on a self-care staycation is a must!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CQHVXO3nVet/?utm_medium=copy_link

GIVEAWAY

As you can see, North Hills is “The Place To Be” in Raleigh, NC and the perfect place to enjoy a Self-Care Staycation! I hope this blog post has inspired you take some time for yourself and delight in a change of scenery. Use my tips and discover some places to enjoy on your own in North Hills. They have plenty of shopping options as well to enjoy some retail therapy and I’d like to giveaway a giftcard for 1 lucky winner to do just that!

#SobeSavvyGiveaway: Here is your chance to enter GIVEAWAY #2 for a $50 gift card to use at almost any store, restaurant or salon in North Hills! *(some exceptions apply). To enter, like and comment on this blog post where you would go in North Hills. For an extra entry, share this blog post via IG, FACEBOOK, Twitter, Pinterest and tag @SobeSavvy |SobeSavvy.com

A random winner will be chosen Monday, June 21, 2021 at noon.

Good Luck!

Thank you for reading and I hope a staycation/vacation is in your future! Until next time….

Wish You Were Here art mural

Leslie Heigh , Founder of SobeSavvy.com kicks of her Raleigh, NC Staycation in front of the Wish You Were Here Art Mural in North Hills | photo credit: SobeSavvy.com, @sobesavvy

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Spring Family Travel Guide | STAY, EAT, SHOP & PLAY in Fairfax, VA @MosaicDistrict @VisitFairfax

Did you and your family stay home or travel for Spring Break? Since the pandemic, many of us have not travelled. My family has not left the state of NC for the past year! But since our daughter is out of virtual home school for her spring break, it was the perfect time to plan for a quick getaway.

We took a road trip from Raleigh, NC to Fairfax, VA. It took us approximately 4 hours and was an easy drive especially since we arrived on a Wednesday. The staff greeted us warmly at check in and we were ready for our mini family vacay to begin!

STAY | Hyatt House Falls Church /Merrifield

Looking to visit Fairfax,VA soon? My #HeighPartyof3 enjoyed a two night stay at Hyatt House Falls Church. It was comfortable, clean and convenient to everything in the Mosaic District.

I would recommend this property because of all of it’s wonderful offerings like:
• SPACIOUS one bedroom suites with full kitchen (upgrade to a room with a balcony!)
• FREE grab n go breakfast • AMENITIES: fitness center
• ACCESS to all of the Mosaic District’s shops, restaurants, services and more right outside of the hotel doors!

SobeSavvy Tip: 👀 WATCH this YouTube video for a tour of the hotel room and more!

EAT | bartaco & more!

We loved having so many dining options withing walking distance of the hotel. In fact, one of the reasons we chose the Mosaic District was to be near one of our favorite restaurants: bartaco! With their new/ improved app, ordering online for pickup or delivery was so easy and convenient. We ordered all our fave scratch made tacos and sides and even got their ‘reviver’ cocktail to go! We also tried the 🆕 #bartacosecret taco: chile-lime shrimp taco,which launched on 4/1 and available through 5/5. It’s the perfect combo of spicy + tangy! With plenty of space in our hotel to dine in our room, we were able to enjoy #bartacoathome away from home!

SobeSavvy Tip: If pizza is your kiddos love language, then deliciousness awaits! Our daughter, #outandaboutAva enjoyed cheese pizza for dinner from Oath Pizza & a chicken pesto pizza for lunch at Matchbox, located in the Mosaic District! I think it is safe to say, you will be in pizza heaven when you visit here!

SHOP | Mosaic District

The Mosaic District is described as an urban district with curated boutiques, restaurants and Angelika Film Center. For us, it was a one stop shopping district, where we could enjoy a short vacay with so many conveniences near our hotel stay! From Target, to boutiques & everything in between, there are plenty of places to shop in the Mosaic District.

SobeSavvy Tip: If you are looking for quality body/skincare, shop LATHER! Their products are natural & smell amazing! The perfect selfcare treat while on vacation!

PLAY | Muse Paint Bar & more !

When we checked in on our first night, I encouraged my husband to do something he has never done before ( attend a sip/paint by himself )! Muse Paintbar was the perfect place for him to sip wine, paint, play and enjoy some alone time because parents need a Spring Break too! He had fun painting ‘Bob Marley’ and creating this unique souvenir from our getaway!

SobeSavvy Tip: Create more #mosaicmoments by checking out the beautiful art murals in the Mosaic District and don’t forget to stop by the Gratitude Post for a chance to send someone (or yourself) a note on a postcard expressing your gratitude! #7wordstories

Although our visit was short and sweet, I am “Super Grateful” to have spent this time with family exploring Fairfax, Va’s Mosaic District. There is more to explore, so I know we will be back to stay in this area especially when the temps warm up and as things get back to normal! Until next time, keep wearing your masks, social distancing, washing yours hand and staying grateful! Peace Out!

Have you ever visited Fairfax, VA or Mosaic District before? Please share with me a place I should check out during my next visit. Thanks for reading and I hope you are inspired to travel to this area this Spring!

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