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

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

Where to Stay

Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza

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

Arlington has many options when it comes to accomodations. At the suggestion of Stay Arlington, we stayed at the brand new Hyatt Place in the Courthouse district. [ read my 2019 update >>here ] In my opinion this eight-story hotel property is located in an awesome area for walking and exploring Arlington on foot or the metro 2 blocks away. Hyatt Place Arlington is perfect for families as well as business and leisure travelers as it has everything one needs for a comfortable stay. The guestrooms are spacious and allowed us to rest easy after driving up for 4 hrs from Raleigh.

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

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

What to Do

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

Arlington Farmers Market

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

Rocky Run Park

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

Arlington National Cemetery

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

National Mall

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

#PhotoswithAlbert

National Harbor Capital Wheel

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

Where to Eat

Bayou Bakery

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

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

Earl’s Sandwiches

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

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

Kona Grill

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

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

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

Until next time..Happy Travels!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schedule:

9AM-9:30AM – THE MAC RUN GROUP

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

9:40AM-10:10AM – MAC ATTACK

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

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

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

11:00AM-11:30AM – THE MAC HOSTS ZUMBA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*w/MAC Zumba Instructor, Tisha Guthrie

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

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

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

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

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

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The Heigh Five..5 Questions for Lisa Crawley, Resource Center Manager @LewisMuseum #ReginaldFLewisMuseum

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Ever wanted to trace your family history? Starting your family genealogy can begin with a simple worksheet called a pedigree chart. This was something I learned after interviewing Lisa Crawley, the Resource Center Manager at Reginald F. Lewis Museum .

This museum celebrates the rich contributions of African Americans from Maryland and beyond through exhibitions, family activities, films, concerts, lectures and more. Located on the fourth floor of the museum, the Resource Center has a reference collection with a focus on African History and culture. When I learned that the center also helps members of the public trace their family history, I asked to meet with Ms. Crawley to answer Five Questions:

1. Can just anyone walk in here and do their own Genealogy Research at the Resource Center?

” Yes we will assist anyone on a walk in basis on Wednesdays and Fridays between 12 and 4pm. No appointment needed.”

2. What is the first step in researching your bloodline ?

” A person has to choose which side of their family do they have the most information about, the maternal or paternal to get started.”

3. What records are usually found first or the easiest in the search ?

” Census records usually are the foundation of an initial search. Once we find that it opens up alot of doors. In times past, multiple generations lived under one roof, so a wealth of information usually exists there that we can branch off into different directions. ”

4.What types of books are in the resource center and can people check the books out as they would in a library ?

“We are constantly adding books to our in house library. We have everything from first person slave narratives to books about African American achievements. People are free to come here onsite and access them but they cannot check them out.”

5. Do you ever have special events here at the resource center ?

“Yes, we currently have a speaker series where we host various experts come and speak about a particular topic. These are also open to the public. We have them listed on our website and also here posted at the museum.”

This Spring, be inspired to travel to Baltimore, visit the Resource Center at Reginald F. Lewis Museum and start your family tree !

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Explore the Romantic Side of #Baltimore ! @BaltimoreMd @hyattplacebalt #Hyattplace @FlowersFancies @artBMA~Recap SobeSavvy .com

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This past Valentine’s day weekend, my husband and I decided to drive up to the quintessentially American city of Orioles and Ravens..Baltimore. We have traveled here before with our daughter to enjoy the charm of charm city by visiting many of its attractions. This time we wanted to explore the romantic side of Baltimore!

The city has many special neighborhoods to enjoy. Folks kept advising us that we HAVE to explore Harbor East. Apparently this is a newer built up area east of downtown proper. Trendy shops and restaurants abound. The buzz in the air is palpable. The problem with trendy is that style often trumps substance. I wanted to take no chances with my lodging choice for the weekend. I wanted a spot with all the amenities. That spot was the Hyatt Place Inner Harbor.

With a stylish and discreet business center in the lobby, it can be assumed that this Hyatt brand is geared toward extended stay business travelers. While that may be the case on the surface, it’s also a great place for leisure travelers and romantics alike. Check in was very friendly and efficient. When I entered our guest room, there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Baltimore’s premier florist, Flowers & Fancies
Per their website,”Since 1971 Flowers & Fancies has strived to serve its clients with a higher standard of high quality florals, inspired designs, and world class customer service”. Just take one look at these beautiful flowers and I am sure you will agree with their statement. They also provide same day delivery. Romantic flowers for a romantic weekend. Make sure you use them on your next visit to Baltimore.
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After being mesmorized by the floral arrangement, I could finally take in the oversized guest room. With a very strategically place partition, it made the space seem even bigger. The design was perfect for our romantic weekend. Ceiling to Floor windows! Modern furniture that was very comfortable. Even the wall art was tasteful and stylish. We loved it!
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They have a cocktail and coffee bar in the lobby that also serves a wide variety of desserts. Although we had a dinner reservation at one of the many nearby restaurants , we wanted to do something a little intimate with a group of friends. The hotel reserved a special space in their gallery where we hosted an after dinner dessert extravaganza for our party. Coffee to Cocktails is open till 12:00AM and it was the perfect place for me and our guests. Dessert choices are but not limited too – Cheesecake, Cupcakes, Cookies and Chocolate “Lava” Cake which was fabulous.
The Key Lime pie slice was my favorite. Our friends had a great time ending the evening with us.
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Some of the other perks of Hyatt Place include:
* 24 hour a day food menu . That's right. If you really want a Bacon & Cheddar burger at 3:30am, they make it happen !
* Quiet Rest. This is a urban location so the floor to ceiling windows are double paned.
* Modern business center is also at your disposal 24 hrs a day.
* Meeting spaces are also available for corporate or casual meetings. State of the Art Audio /Visual equipment is present in the meeting rooms.
*Indoor heated pool? Check . Modern workout fitness room ? check.
* An awesome free A.M Skillet breakfast. Eggs done two ways, waffles and various juices. They even offered almond milk.
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That delicious full breakfast provided us the energy to explore more of the Romantic side of Baltimore as we prepared to leave the Harbor East area and visit the Baltimore Museum of Art. It was a perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day by visiting one of the romantic art museums in the city. A great date is satisfying to the mind and heart which made this a perfect outing because I love art. The BMA houses the world’s largest Matisse collection, an array of African and Asian art and a wild contemporary wing.
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Overall, it was a great stay in Baltimore. Due to inclement weather we ended up extending our visit one extra day. Hyatt Place offers free WiFi, so I was able to work remotely in the comfort of our room!
If you are planning a visit to Baltimore, MD and looking for a place to relax, work or have a romantic rendezvous consider Hyatt Place Inner Harbor. #TheresAPlaceForYou

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#VisitBaltimore & #GetARoom @HI_InnerHarbor @BaltimoreMd & Dine at #EdenWest #DottiesCafe

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I recently shared with you all the family fun things to do in Baltimore but did not mention where we stayed.This was not an oversight. I intentionally wanted to dedicate a post specifically to accommodations and let you know when looking for a budget friendly place to stay that is within walking distance to all Inner Harbor attractions, choose Holiday Inn Inner Harbor-Baltimore!

It has 365 rooms, including 12 suites and a pillow menu option. The Holiday Inn Inner Harbor makes comfort and hospitality their priority. At the front desk, lollipops and smiles await from the friendly and helpful staff. It was lunchtime, so we were advised to dine at the hotel’s restaurant, Eden West.

Featuring classic Maryland Cuisine, Eden West Restaurant pleasantly surprised and satisfied our appetites! Delicious, fresh and innovative, this place is a hidden treasure to tastebuds everywhere! Oh and kids eat free! An extra plus for budget friendly family travelers.

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Mac & cheese, fruit and milk includes a sweet treat at the end! Crayons and coloring sheet provided by the restaurant kept my Li’l one entertained.

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Our waiter advised us of some recently new items on the menu. For starters I tried the Sweet & Tangy St Louis styled Applewood smoked BBQ Ribs. They are made with homemade lemonade BBQ sauce. So good, tender and I really enjoyed the flavors. It was the first time my 4 yr old tried BBQ ribs because she normally doesn’t like sauce on anything. She is now a fan!

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Next I had the signature Eden’s Salad: mixed greens, tomatoes, onions, cucmbers, mushrooms topped with salmon. As you can see in the picture it’s a big portion so you get alot for a reasonable price! You also get the option of chicken or beef to top your salad if you like. It was super fresh and fulfilling!

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No visit to Baltimore is complete without trying a crab cake sandwich, so I was happy to see this option on the menu. A nice mix of broiled lump crab meat and old bay. Served on a pretzel roll with lettuce and tomato. It came with a side of fries. This was good to the last bite! We ended our meal with a dessert at the recommendation of our waiter. His favorite was the hot apple crisp and it’s now my favorite too!

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After a long travel day, it was time to get comfortable in our ‘home’ away from home during our stay. This hotel has complimentary WiFi throughout the hotel and a 24 hr fitness center. There’s also an indoor pool with sauna but they also have suites complete with whirlpool baths! Here are some pictures of our contemporary stylish suite :

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Remember…Kids Stay Free, a Holiday Inn North America program expectation!

The next day before we set out to explore the Baltimore area   we stopped at Dottie’s Cafe. It’s a coffee shop located in the lobby and has plenty of nibble and nosh options! Souvenirs, newspapers and sundries are available too as well as local and regional goods.
“Dottie Kmoch opened our hotel in 1964 as a switchboard operator (when they actually used plug-in wires) and was most recently our Director of Human Resources until she passed away last year.  She was a feisty redhead and loved by all – this is her Holiday Inn legacy!”, says Judy Wilbur Director of Sales & Marketing at Holiday Inn Inner Harbor – Baltimore.

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Be sure to sign up for the IHG Rewards Club to earn points when you stay or make any purchases !

After a fun filled day, we had a sweet dreams treat waiting for us. Who doesn’t love tasty surprises?! Thanks Holiday Inn! We ❤  you and Baltimore too!

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#FamilyFun in @BaltimoreMD with #OutandAboutAva! @PortDiscovery @BmoreWaterTaxi @prattlibrary #USSCONSTELLATION @GeppisMuseum #FamilyTravel #VisitBaltimore

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Baltimore is a city rich in history and heritage. My heritage started in Baltimore City where I was born and where I lived until 1996. So much has changed but so much remains the same. Charm City never loses its charm to me, so it is with great pleasure to explore with my 4 yr old daughter some of the things that make Baltimore special! Recently we paid a short but sweet 24 hr visit to “My Bmore” and here are the places we checked out:

1. Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Location
We took a walk through the monumental Enoch Pratt Free library located in the city’s cultural heart, Mount Vernon area just north of downtown. This library has a charming Children’s department that includes learning toys to play with, computers, a day/night room and live fish to feed!
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2. Historic Ships in Baltimore
Historic Ships in Baltimore includes five national historic landmarks. We toured the 1854 Sloop-of-War USS Constellation and while on board we could see the Lightship Chesapeake glistening red on the Inner Harbor. My daughter loved pressing the numbers in the handheld tour guide and listening to the facts given about the ship, it’s sailors and Captain!
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3. Geppi’s Museum
Geppi’s Entertainment Museum is a memorable trip thru American pop culture. We got to experience a time line of nostalgic toys, comics, and other collectibles highlighting familiar characters for both her and I. I was very impressed by the museum’s collection and decided to make my own entertainment by way of photo slideshow as seen here:

4. Baltimore Water Taxi
Ride all day on an on-off ticket when you board any of the blue and white water taxi boats. Get a free map and guide to over 35 attractions and neighborhoods. We boarded at the Inner Harbor and got off at Fell’s Point. From there we headed to the Broadway Market for a slice of cheese pizza, every child’s favorite!
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5. Port Discovery Children’s Museum
About a year ago, my daughter Ava had a chance to visit Port Discovery Children’s Museum ( http://sobesavvy.com/2014/08/14/outandaboutava-visits-portdiscovery-childrens-museum-baltimore-maryland-recap-by-sobesavvy/) with her Nana. A year is a long time in a child’s growth and development and this museum offers ever-changing programs for kids ages birth through 10. Voted one of the top 5 children’s museum in the USA by Child Magazine, this was the perfect attraction to visit during our short stay. We even got to see the new “Here We Grow! ” Exhibit which introduces children to farm processes, products and people. It was some much fun trying to beat the machine in milking the cow the fastest! I also enjoyed having the opportunity to read her one of the many books about farm animals, etc. while there. This museum is a great way for a child to learn and play during a Baltimore stay!
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#Travel to @BaltimoreMD , enjoy the charm of #CharmCity and Fall in Love with #Baltimore ! #visitBaltimore @HI_InnerHarbor @MDScienceCenter @NatlAquarium @BmoreWaterTaxi ~Recap by #SobeSavvy .com #soDMVsavvy #soTravelsavvy

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I had the great fortune of being born and growing up in Baltimore, Md. There are bigger cities. There are smaller cities. But there is NO city more quintessentially American than the city of Baltimore. It’s not even close. Baltimore is literally the seam in our nation. Birth of the Star Spangled Banner. It is where north meets south. It was where slavery and freedom existed. Unique indeed. It is a great port city. Proud of our blue collar reputation. Ethnic neighborhoods abound. Sports is in our soul. From Johnny Unitas and Cal Ripken to Ray Lewis. Festivals more than one can count. The only person who has ever disliked Baltimore has never visited there. Yea, I am biased. I am from Baltimore. Everything here starts from the city center and radiates outward. This city center is where I went back home to spend a beautiful early fall weekend to get out enjoy as many of my cities attractions that locals sometime take for granted.

The Holiday Inn on Lombard street http://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/baltimore/baldt/hoteldetail was a fantastic base camp for the weekend. One block from Pratt Street and within walking distance to both Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Stadium where the Ravens play. Hospitality at it’s best. Their Eden West restaurant also lets kids eat free for breakfast, so what’s not to like !

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Here are just a few examples of things we had fun doing last weekend:

The National Aquarium http://www.aqua.org/ . Opened in 1981, it has consistently been ranked as a top aquarium in the nation. The National Aquarium, Baltimore, features a living collection of more than 20,000 fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and marine mammals living in award-winning habitats. In summer 2013, the Aquarium opened Blacktip Reef, a breathtaking exhibit replicating an Indo-Pacific reef and featuring more than 700 animals, including a school of blacktip reef sharks.

My family had an amazing time there. So much too see and experience. The huge open pool full of sharks, giant turtles and fish was magical. My four year old especially loved the jellyfish exhibit and the dolphin tanks the most. The aquarium floorplan slowly leads up to the roof their iconic rainforest sits. There was an elusive sloth that we searched and searched for but alas eluded us ! What a magnificent place that reinforces the natural wonders of our oceans.

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The Maryland Science Center http://www.mdsci.org/ on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has interactive exhibits combined with the state-of-the-art Davis Planetarium that was opened to the public in June 1976. The addition of a new atrium lobby in 1986, and the very successful IMAX Theater in 1987, stimulated annual attendance.A major expansion and renovation of the entire facility was completed in May of 2004. New exhibitions were added on all levels as well as the addition of a permanent hall showcasing dinosaurs and earth sciences, and a dedicated gallery for housing temporary exhibitions. Upgrades to the IMAX Theater introduced 3D film technology and improvements to the physical plant updated and enhanced visitor amenities and services. Today, as it has been in the past, the Maryland Science Center continues to focus on remaining a vital community resource and economic development engine now and in the future.

Entering the MD Science center was instant education. Education in the most fun hands on way possible. A huge portion of the complex was interactive hands on experiments. Whether it was generating electricity with handlebars or letting my little one use her hand to break up a tornado, we simply never ran out of things to do and learn about. Without a doubt our favorite part was playing a paleontologist in their dinosaur/fossil area. What a blast! We can’t wait to return to this gem.

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Although on a nice day you could get alot of excersize by walking around the entire harbor area or you can take the water taxi. It has stops near all the major attractions in and around the harbor. From Fells point and Harbor East to harborplace and more. http://www.baltimorewatertaxi.com/ A great way to travel around the harbor and a scenic trip for sure !

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A person can only be from one place. I am lucky that MY place is Baltimore. Come to visit this fall and fall in love..with Baltimore !

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