Family Travel | Fun Tips For Your Mountain Weekend Winter Vacay in Asheville, NC


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

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



Arrive | Saturday


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

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


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


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





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


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

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


Sunday Funday


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

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



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

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKUGJi9nmnl/?igshid=q9ztcov8f038

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

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CKKYNNvnXg6/?igshid=1cpfw4wawj4ms

Depart | Monday

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


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


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


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

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


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

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TRAVEL | Stay, Eat and Play in #ColorfulFay! My 2 Day Travel Guide to Fayetteville, NC @VisitFayNC

Recently, SobeSavvy.com along with 8 other travel writers & photographers from around NC were hosted for a weekend in Fayetteville, NC. We got to  see some of the most beautiful and diverse places in Cumberland County for a 2 day #ColorfulFay tour. Here is a look at the itinerary ( which was slightly adjusted for us due to rain), as well as my recap of where to Stay, Eat and Play! I hope it inspires you to pay a visit to Fayetteville, NC soon.

STAY

The MacPherson House,  701 Hay St. Fayetteville, NC 28301

We checked in to The MacPherson House, a 5 room Bed & Breakfast, in Fayetteville, NC. It is a brand-new, large B&B, which has opened up in an historic house on the outskirts of downtown. We were hosted as part of a tour organized by Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and we stayed in a lovely room with a king-size bed,and a private bathroom.  Every room is uniquely styled and named but each one has a fireplace. One of the unique features is the on-site wellness center, where you can start your day with yoga from Hayat, who is not only the MacPherson House B&B’s manager but also happens to be one of the top yogis in Fayetteville. Another great reason to nama-stay in #ColorfulFay! Check in to peaceful views, renovated rooms, featuring unique details & private bathrooms for a #ColorfulFay vacay at The MacPherson House
**SobeSavvy Tip: Use discount code “COLORFULFAY” for 15% percent off your stay when you book between now and December 31, 2020!
👀Watch my YouTube video for an inside look⤵️

https://youtu.be/LnH41gZUQno

EAT

● GARDEN VIEW CAFE
Located at Cape Fear Botanical Garden, enjoy lunch with a view of nature on the lovely patio! They use fresh ingredients from the garden as well as quality meats to make delicious deli sandwiches. Chef Lou and his family take a creative approach to make food taste as good as it look by using colorful bread for our tour group! DIRTBAG ALES BREWERY & TAPROOM + NAPKINS RESTAURANT Looking for Beer, Food and Fun in a family & pet-friendly atmosphere? DirtBag Ales & Napkins Restaurant is where to find it! We were treated to a craft-beer tasting + snacks on the grounds and it fueled us for a fun day ahead!PHARAOH’S LEGACY: MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE & BAR
In the mood for authentic Mediterranean food? Pharaoh’s Legacy: Mediterranean Cuisine & Bar is the place to feast on the most delicious eats combining flavors of Egypt, Greece, Lebanese & Turkey!BLUE MOON CAFÉ
Having Sunday Brunch inside or on the patio at Blue Moon Café is truly delightful! Kick of brunch with Bottle Service Mimosas and start off with the crab dip. It is addictive and amazing!  I also recommend their Monte Cristo which was the perfect mix of sweet & savory! For a visual taste of our brunch experience, feast your eyes on this fun Tik Tok video I made and posted on IG ⤵️




● UPTOWN’S CHICKEN & WAFFLES
Our last stop to eat on the @VisitFayNC #ColorfulFay tour was dinner at Uptown’s Chicken & Waffles! Chef Judy puts her heart and soul into Southern/Soul Food classics like mac & cheese, collard greens, fried chicken and waffles. Get a taste of everything and order the Uptown Sampler, which includes her infamous shrimp & grits! They also feature signature cocktails that almost look to good to drink.

PLAY

CAPE FEAR BOTANICAL GARDEN
I love nature and being surrounded by all its beauty. So when I saw that a guided nature tour of Cape Fear Botanical Garden was on the itinerary,  I was excited to learn more about this attraction that features “80 acres of NC beauty”! There is plenty of open space for kids to play and explore plus a dedicated kids area. And if you are looking for a wedding venue, consider Cape Fear Botanical Garden! Make sure to stop in the gift shop for unique finds and grab a bite from the Garden View Café. HOPE MILLS LAKE
Hope Mills Lake is where locals & visitors can have fun lakeside, with snow cones on the patio from Big T’s Snoballs while enjoying some R&R. Some of us got a fishing lesson with Cedar Creek Fish Farm, while others took a sunset kayak tour on the lake with Yakalacky Outfitters. We opted for the kayak tour and had fun being one with the lake.  It’s a great way to exercise and take in the scenery while social distancing. No matter if you are a novice or expert, Yakalacky Outfitters will have you feeling comfortable on the water in no time!● HUMMINGBIRD CANDLE CO.
Get lit 🔥 with Hummingbird Candle Co., where you can shop and learn how to make your own candles from over 40 + scents. We got to experience candle-making while sipping beverages fromThe Wine Café, which is also on Hay St. Candles are just one of my love languages. These eco-friendly candles make awesome gifts as well as provide the perfect ambiance to any situation. This is a great date night, girls night or group activity idea.  Congrats to the owner Tianna for opening up her second shop in Asheville. Be sure to stop in either location to shop local and support a ‘For Women by Women’ owned business!● DOWNTOWN FAYETTEVILLE/COOL SPRING DOWNTOWN DISTRICT Cool art, murals, history, plenty of outdoor photo-ops and people who all describe the community as family.. that’s what you’ll find in Downtown Fayetteville’s Cool Spring Downtown District. A guided arts tour (thank you Sam for being our wonderful guide) is a great way to explore and when it is time to refuel, stop in for tea, coffee & sweets at The Coffee Cup. TURNER LANE’S SUCCULENT PUMPKIN CENTERPIECE WORKSHOP
We attended a succulent pumpkin centerpiece workshop, a curated experience by Turner Lane, which is a “tiny but mighty gift store” in Downtown Fayetteville. We met Elaine, who showed us how to make and care for a beautiful living Succulent Pumpkin! This makes for a wonderful holiday centerpiece and was a fun project to do with a group. Follow them on Facebook to see when the next “Made By Me” classes are happening!Our final day on this tour had me full of smiles and a few happy tears as I got to learn more about the people and their love of the Fayetteville, NC community. They have a great deal of pride and I enjoyed hearing the stories of the minority-owned, black-owned, gay-owned, female-owned businesses there. I encourage you to support & visit to experience it for yourself! Get some inspo from my ‘VisitFayNC’ Instastories highlight. No matter where you go, you will see the diversity of ‘America At Every Turn’ in Fayetteville. Check out www.visitfayettevillenc.com before you visit for many more ideas on where to Stay, Eat, and Play in #ColorfulFay!**Merci Beaucoup and Special Thanks to Jenny Bell for creating wonderful, informative memories for us. This tour has given insight to the many ways to spend a day (or 2). We enjoyed it so much, we are planning to return and take our daughter with us for the weekend!
Have you visited Fayetteville, NC before? If yes, where should I go next? If no, which one of the places would you like to visit from this blog post? Leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
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