My Top Recommendations For A Family Fun Getaway in ATLANTA GA with @CityPASS @Ctr4CHR @FernbankMuseum @GeorgiaAquarium @WorldofCocaCola @CNNstudiotours @TheKingCenter and more

A 3 day weekend + a teacher’s workday was the perfect reason to plan a family fun getaway in Atlanta, GA. From Raleigh, NC it’s a straight shot on 85 South, which takes us approximately 6 hours by car. Although it was not our first time going to Atlanta, we were ready to make new memories spending time with family & friends, seeing some
historical sights and having some #HeighPartyof3 family fun!

On our way to have family fun in the A!

👀WATCH Vlog Trip Recap here:

SAVE $$, SEE MORE

CityPASS Atlanta helps you save $$ and see more top attractions!

My top recommendation for anyone who is planning to travel to Atlanta and want to go visit some attractions is to make buy a CityPASS! Here’s why:

  • 1 simple purchase
  • Valid 9 days
  • Skip most ticket lines
  • Save 40% on admission to 5 must-see attractions

There are two easy ways to make a purchase. You can buy at citypass.com, where you’ll get instant delivery with convenient mobile ticketing , opt to have the booklet mailed to you before the trip OR ask for CityPASS at any attraction.

CityPASS Atlanta Admission includes:

• Georgia Aquarium

Experience the underwater wonders at Georgia Aquarium

• World of Coca-Cola

Learn the story behind Coca-Cola and get to taste more than 100 beverages from around the globe at World of Coca-Cola

• CNN STUDIO TOURS

Wall thru the halls of CNN Center to experience a behind the scenes CNN STUDIO TOURS

• National Center For Civil And Human Rights

(or Zoo Atlanta)

Uplifting, Powerful, Inspiring, Educational, Amazing-all words to describe the National Center For Civil and Human Rights, a must-see experience

• Fernbank Museum of Natural History ( or Chick-Fil-A College Football Hall of Fame)

Spend an adventure filled day with immersive exhibits at the Museum, see a movie at the 3D Theater, explore the Forest at Fernbank Museum

For more information on the attractions we visited, check out these websites at:

GEORGIA AQUARIUM | georgiaaquarium.com

WORLD OF COCA-COLA | worldofcocacola.com

CNN STUDIO TOURS | tours.cnn.com

FERNBANK MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY | FernbankMuseum.org

NATIONAL CENTER FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS | civilandhumanrights.org

CityPASS | citypass.com

EXPLORE BLACK HISTORY FOR FREE

Visit the places where Dr. King was born, lived, worked, worshipped, and is buried at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park

While Atlanta has all sorts of world class attractions, visitors usually must pay an admission fee to enjoy. However, there is one square block here in the Sweet Auburn Historic District that requires no entrance fees and allows you to walk in the footsteps of the great Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Here are the places we visited:

Ebenezer Baptist Church

We started at 407 Auburn Ave where the historic and iconic Ebenezer Baptist Church sits. Dr. King was co-pastor with his father Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. at this location off and on from 1947 until 1968. Original pews, stained glass windows and organs are all inside. Sit and listen as the guides gives details about the church. To literally see the podium and actual microphone that Dr. King preached from was a wonderful experience to have with my family.

• National Park Service Visitor Center

Across the street is the MLK Jr. National Park Service Visitor Center. This facility houses some wonderful exhibits relating to not only Dr King, but to the struggle to equality in America. Some of our favorite areas was the “Freedom Road” marchers that my little one and myself joined.

• The King Center

Adjacent to Ebenezer Baptist Church is the resting place of both Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King. Dr. King was never shy in telling folks that he would not have been able to achieve anything without Coretta by his side. Visitors can see an eternal flame and the two marble tombs in the center/bottom of a cascading waterfall with a uniting message of peace and purpose in their words. Although there were people present, it was still peaceful, serene and reflective. His body was there but his spirit and legacy lives forever.

WHERE TO STAY

📍Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park

Top Reasons To Stay at this location:

✔ Comfortable Beds & Bedding

✔ Accessibility to walk to many of the CityPASS Atlanta attractions

✔ Free Happy Hour (& breakfast)

✔Amazing Views

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S T A Y in the middle of it all … @embassysuitesatcentennialpark 📍ATLANTA,GA ———- My favorite thing about staying here was it's location! It's very convenient to walk to most @citypass attractions like: 🐟 GA Aquarium 📺 CNN Studio Tours ☮ National Center for Civil and Human Rights | @ctr4chr 🥤World of Coca-Cola Plus, we had an amazing view of 🎡Skyview Atlanta from our room ——– If you are planning a family getaway to Atlanta soon, I will be sharing my recommendations from our visit on the blog, SobeSavvy.com soon! Stay tuned . . . #embassysuites #centennialpark #atlanta #atlantahotel #hotelstay #hotelstagram #SobeSavvy #soTravelsavvy #TravelTuesday #travelblogger #lifestyleblogger #familytravel #familyblogger #familytravelblog #ncblogger #mommyblogger #raleighblogger #hotelview #girlmom #momlife #mommyandme #travelling #motheranddaughter #igersatl #discoverunder5k

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Atlanta is a fun, fascinating place full of rich history and cool things to do. If you are planning a trip here soon, I hope these recommendations are helpful. Have you been to Atlanta before? Do you have any recommendations for our next family visit? Please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading!

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Winter Family Travel |Plan a 3 Night Stay in Alexandria VA

Did you and your family stay home or travel for the holidays? With our daughter being out of school for 2 weeks for her winter break, it was the perfect time to plan for a quick getaway. On Christmas morning, after opening presents, we took a road trip from Raleigh, NC to Alexandria, VA. It took us less than 4 hours and was an easy drive especially since not many were on the road! After visiting family in MD, we checked into our hotel Wednesday night and our mini family vacay began.

STAY | Embassy Suites Old Town Alexandria

Looking to visit Alexandria,VA soon? My #HeighPartyof3 enjoyed a three nights stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton Old Town Alexandria. It was comfortable, convenient, clean and you can choose to start the day off right with an omelet made just the way you like! That’s what makes a hotel stay at Embassy Suites Alexandria Old Town unique! Since we enjoyed our previous stay, it was nice to come back to this familiar property and all of it’s wonderful offerings like:
• SPACIOUS two-room suites
• FREE drinks & snacks at Evening Reception every night from 5:30p-7:30pm
• Complimentary made to order breakfast

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

SobeSavvy Dining Tip: We love having a Whole Foods within walking distance from the hotel. If you love ramen noodle soup, I recommend ordering from Genji Ramen. My daughter and I shared the featured ramen noodle soup: Truffle Butter Miso and it was delicious! She gave it the #outandaboutAva 👍🏾 thumbs up!

Day 1 -Thursday | Visit Alexandria

During our last visit to Alexandria, VA , we kept seeing The King Street Trolley and vowed we would ride it next time. Well this time we had a chance to get aboard and enjoy this free system of trolleys that run every 15 minutes with stops throughout Old Town. Stop 1 for anyone planning a trip to Alexandria, VA should be a stop by Visit Alexandria, located at the Ramsey House at 221 King St. for info, maps, deals and more! The employees are very helpful with tips and suggestions. That’s where I learned about the Key To The City Museum Pass.

Did you know you can save money on admission to museums and purchase a “Key To The City Museum Pass“. Purchasing this booklet gives you access to 9 historic Alexandria museum sites and also you get a 40% admission discount if you chose to travel to Mt Vernon. This $44 value will only cost you $15. We had time to enjoy two museums: Gadsby’s Tavern and Stabler Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. Both of these showed different parts of colonial Virginia life and learned quite a bit of history after going to some of the museums and historical sites. We attempted to go to George Washington Masonic Masonic National Memorial Observation Deck but it was closed for the holidays. However, it was still quite a wonderful view of Alexandria from the steps of this attraction.

👀 WATCH this YouTube video for some highlights of our day exploring Old Town Alexandria!

SobeSavvy Dining Tip: Our niece, whose husband used to live in Alexandria, gave us the recommendation to eat at Mai Thai. So when I saw the menu also on the wall in the dining section at the visitor’s center, I was like, that’s a sign! We were sold and everything from the cocktails to the appetizers to the flavorful entrees. If you live Thai food, check out this restaurant.

Day 2 – Friday | Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac at National Harbor

A day of fun was on the agenda when me and my HeighPartyof3 spent the day at Gaylord National’s Christmas on The Potamac– OPEN November 15 – December 30, 2019. Alexandria,VA is just across the bridge and National Harbor is just 6 miles from the hotel! It only took ten minutes by car to get there.

What is Christmas on the Potomac?

A holiday tradition where every year National Harbor and the Gaylord National Resort transform into a Christmas Village complete with holiday decorations and activities like:

▪︎ Feast with the Grinch

▪︎ Reindeer Rush

▪︎ Gingerbread Decorating

▪︎ Cirque Dreams Unwrapped

▪︎ Christmas Village

▪︎ Winter Square

▪︎ ICE! – Featuring Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
..and more !

SobeSavvy Tip: Everyone who goes to the ticketed ICE! exhibit must be ready for fun in 9 degree temperatures! Bring hats & gloves and be ready to see the amazing skill and artistry put into this ice exhibit. Everyone from infants to adults received a heavy #BlueParka to wear before going in the exhibit.

👀 WATCH this YouTube video for some highlights of our fun day at Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac!

We had hoped to unlock more of Alexandria’s history and visit more museums but we checked out on Saturday because the one thing that sometimes comes with winter travel is catching a cold! We all got some bug and picked up some meds from a nearby CVS (which is also walking distance from the hotel) before getting back on the road. Although our visit was short and sweet, we know we will be back to stay in this area and explore more of Alexandria, VA!

Have you ever visited Alexandria, VA before? Please share with me a place I should check out during my next visit.


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Top 3 Reasons to Travel to DC and Stay in VA at Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza

I am back from a wonderful weekend in DC where I covered a food festival event (The 9th Annual Chesapeake Oyster, Wine and Beer Festival) at Dock 5/Union Market DC, revisited the National Museum of African American History and Culture (which I shared our family visit highlights>>here ) and enjoyed some family fun at the only attraction in DC where you can see all 45 US Presidents, Madame Tussauds DC!

Although my agenda mostly involved being in DC, I opted for our lodging to be in VA, which is just a 4 hr roadtrip from NC. Since hubby and our 8 yr old daughter were with me, the hotel of choice had to be somewhere comfy, clean(..of course!), in a convenient location, and with a free breakfast to fuel our fun days exploring Washington,DC. So, we decided to return to a hotel property that was featured in my Family Travel Guide to Arlington, VA, which is the Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse. Although our last stay was in 2017, my hope was that everything that was excellent then had remained the same in 2019. Indeed it was!

Here are my Top 3 Reasons to Travel to DC and Stay in VA at Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza!

1. PROXIMITY

Less than 4 miles from the National Mall, The Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza has all the advantages of staying in Washington DC with non of the cons like traffic, noise and lack of parking. A short drive on 66 East brings you straight to the Capital. Visitors often name traffic and congestion as their main gripes when finding a lodging, this property has neither. After 6pm Arlington reverts to a mostly residential area devoid of tour buses and tourist traps.

2. PRICE


Hotels in Arlington are on average almost 25% less per night than staying in Washington D.C. proper. Snag a great price being a World Of Hyatt member. This allows them to offer you exclusive member rates and discounts over the normal rack rate.

3. PERKS

The Hyatt Place Brand means casual comfort and smart places to work and play. This property does both very well. Large modern guest suites come with a sofabed and endless television choices. They also have a USB connector island for today’s multi-device charging needs. This Hyatt Place also has a business center and a 24 hour fitness center.


Their morning breakfast has quickly become legendary. Rotating daily choices of farm fresh eggs, steel cut oatmeal and all natural bacon just to name a few. Become a World Of Hyatt Member and the breakfast is complimentary.

Whether you are visiting Arlington, VA or planning a next trip to Washington DC, I recommend this property for all the reasons listed here. There are a variety of restaurants/bars within walking distance and we enjoyed the cozy comforts of this hotel especially after a day of sightseeing in our nation’s capital.

HYATT PLACE ARLINGTON/COURTHOUSE PLAZA

2401 Wilson BoulevardArlington, VA 22201

Arlington, VA 22201

http://arlingtoncourthouseplaza.place.hyatt.com

#FamilyTRAVEL | Where to Stay in ATL,GA – Loews Atlanta @Loews_Hotels #LoewsLovesFamilies + Family Road Trip Package

This past weekend my family took a road trip to Atlanta from our home in Raleigh. After a 6 hour drive, we were happy to have the comforts of luxury accomodations at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. I was in town working as media to cover the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, and Loews Atlanta Hotel was the official host hotel for the event! It had been about 3 years since our last stay at Loews Atlanta, so returning here felt familiar yet still inviting.

Located in the heart of Midtown, this sleek, modern 26-story tower offers 414 guest rooms and 44 suites, more than 40,000 square feet of meeting space, the state-of-the art exhale Spa & Fitness Center and on-site restaurant, Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar (which I will share more delicious details later in this post). Besides these wonderful amenities, there are 2 more reasons why families should stay at Loews this summer: Loews Loves Families program and the Family Road Trip package.

Loews Loves Families

The launch of the new “Loews Loves Families” program focuses on kids of all ages, from infants to teens. For the last two decades, The Loews Hotels brand is known for catering to children but now has revamped their program to elevate the experience for the entire family. The “Loews Loves Families” will focus on the three pillars of Comfort, Imagination, and Exploration, aiming to provide engaging experiences that can be shared among different generations. It can now be enjoyed in the Southeast at Loews Atlanta, Loews Vanderbilt (Nashville) and Loews New Orleans Hotels.

Check out this video to see how Loews Loves Families here⤵️
https://bcove.video/2W23tEe

One of the program perks in Atlanta was Milk & Cookies as a special welcome amenity when kids arrive at their hotel. This undoubtedly was a sweet way to be welcomed to Loews Atlanta.

Family Road Trip Package

Starting from today until September, 30, 2019 families can save money when they book a stay and experience the Family Road Trip package. When you stay 3 or more nights, you get:

•Complimentary parking
•Free breakfast for up to 2 kids
•$30 food and beverage credit per stay
•2nd guest room at 50 percent off

My husband appreciated the convenience of complimentary parking and valet especially after our road trip!

We were met at the driveway by the valet and bell hop who promptly took our luggage and showed us to registration. Check in was efficient and we were warmly welcomed. We stayed in a Premium Double type room on the 17th floor. Looking out of the floor-to-ceiling windows at the gorgeous views of Midtown Atlanta was something we all enjoyed!

Modern, and stylish is how I would describe our room. It had ample seating areas and a spacious bathroom with both stand alone shower and tub with a tv in there as well. I had a fun yet busy day at The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, so it was very nice to come back, wrap myself in a cozy Loews robe and relax in a comfortable room such as this. Watch my brief room reveal video to see for yourself! ⤵️

Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar

After a wonderful night in their comfortable beds, all three of us were ready to enjoy breakfast at their restaurant, Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar. They have a Saturday & Sunday brunch that is amazing! Order a la carte from the menu or for $30, the unlimited buffet option has so many tasty choices including made to order omelets, salad bar, assorted pastries, carving station and more!

While I got a little bit of everything off of their brunch buffet, the little one chose pancakes and fruit + whipped cream from their kids menu. Crayons were given as well which always are a great idea to encourage kid’s creativity.

Hubby ordered a la carte off the breakfast menu and went with the Saltwood Burger. We all were drooling when it arrived to the table hot, fresh and topped with an egg. So yummy! No matter if you want something sweet or savory for breakfast, brunch lunch or dinner, Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar at Loews Atlanta hotel offers locally-inspired food for everyone!

For reservations or more information about Loews Hotels, call 1-800-23-LOEWS or visit: www.loewshotels.com.

Like Loews Hotels on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LoewsHotels

Follow Loews Hotels on Twitter: www.twitter.com/loews_hotels

Watch Loews Hotels on YouTube: www.youtube.com/LoewsHotels

Read our Wish You Were Here Blog at www.loewshotelsblog.com

Thanks again to our friends at Loews Hotel Atlanta for hosting me and my family! Your hospitality and committment to quality service will have my #HeighPartyof3 coming back again & again. Until next time…..

Jumpstart summer family travel and celebrate #LoewsLovesFamilies | photo credit: SobeSavvy.com

Where are you planning to travel this summer? Have you ever stayed at Loews Atlanta, Loews Vanderbilt or Loews New Orleans before? Let me know in the comments below ❤


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EMBASSY SUITES

1900 DIAGONAL ROAD

ALEXANDRIA,VA 22314

Event Recap |Carnival Horizon’s Naming Celebration + More #FunontheHorizon @CarnivalCruise

#FUNONTHEHORIZON

If you read my previous blog, I shared My Top 5 Must See Features On Carnival Cruise Line’s Newest Ship, Carnival Horizon. Well, I just got back from seeing it in person at the naming ceremony and US inaugural celebration in New York on May 23, 2018. This momentous occasion has left me so inspired to cruise with my family this summer!

Photo Credit | Carnival Cruise Line

Officially named by its godmother Queen Latifah, Carnival Horizon was celebrated by invited guests aboard the ship for an evening full of festivities. My time with Carnival Cruise reminded me that having fun is a daily choice and if I had one word to describe the event it would be FUN! Just take a look at my #FunOntheHorizon recap and you’ll see why:

MEDIA BRIEFING

Prior to the event, Carnival hosted a media briefing with Carnival President Christine Duffy, where St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was presented with a $100,000 donation check from Carnival representing monies raised from various fundraisers, both onboard and ashore. The funds continue the line’s ongoing support of St. Jude with more than $16 million raised in the fight against childhood cancer since the partnership began in 2010.

EMBARKATION

After the media briefing, it was time for the fun to begin aboard the Carnival Horizon! Check In/Boarding was a smooth process thanks to Carnival’s wonderful staff and The Cat in the Hat was even there to welcome us. When I boarded the ship, the first thing I noticed was the Dreamscape, a stunning three-deck-high LED sculpture in the ship’s atrium. It will showcase the artwork of the talented young artists from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It’s a beautiful sight to see and such a cool collaboration!

TOUR

Before the naming ceremony, my husband and I took a self-guided tour of Carnival Horizon. We started in our outside stateroom which was spacious, modern and comfy.

We could not wait to see the dozens of new innovations on this ship that makes it different than other Carnival cruises! Carnival Horizon has:

* Dr.Seuss Waterworks, the first-ever Dr. Seuss water park

* a new teppanyaki venue, Bonsai

* Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse, a unique dining concept that combines real deal BBQ favorites created by Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri, along with four craft beers brewed on board by brewmaster Colin Presby.

Carnival Horizon is the second in the line’s Vista class series so it includes features like the following:

*the bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide

*a Havana section with its own Cuban-themed bar and pool

NAMING CEREMONY

Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line said “Carnival Horizon’s naming ceremony was one of our best yet, with Queen Latifah carrying out her duties as godmother then battling it out with Super Bowl champion Jake Elliott of my hometown Philadelphia Eagles in an entertaining Lip Sync Battle. We were also delighted to showcase the wonderfully talented children from St. Jude whose artwork on the Dreamscape will be forever associated with this spectacular ship.”

Photo Credit | Carnival Cruise Line

Added Latifah, “My time aboard Carnival Horizon was nothing short of incredible. In addition to having the honor of serving as the ship’s godmother, meeting the amazing kids from St. Jude and their families and squaring off against Jake in an all-out Lip Sync Battle is certainly something I will always cherish.”

Photo Credit | Carnival Cruise Line

LIP SYNC BATTLE | #LSBCarnival

Photo Credit | Carnival Cruise Line

Following the ceremony, we headed into the Liquid Lounge to see Queen Latifah square off against Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl champion Jake Elliott in Lip Sync Battle: Horizon modeled after the hit Paramount Network TV series and rolling out across the Carnival fleet.

Photo Credit | Carnival Cruise Line

Latifah rocked the house with her incredible interpretation of the Weather Girls classic “It’s Raining Men,” while Elliott had a chance to live out his rock star fantasies performing Whitesnake’s arena anthem “Here I Go Again,” all performed with back-up dancers from Carnival Horizon’s Playlist Productions to a packed house who were given light up microphones and foam banners to wave in support of “Queen” or “Champ”.

DINING

Dressed in our “cruise elegant” attire, [if you are like me and not quite sure what that is, find definition here] we headed to dinner in the Meridan Dining room. Being the seafood lover that I am, I ordered and enjoyed the oysters as a starter, the Lobster/Shrimp entree while my husband got the lamb chops. We also sampled food from the Seafood Shack,various dishes from the buffet at Lido and Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint!

There are so many dining options and amenities to satisfy any traveling foodie! The quality of the food was great and everything we tried was fresh, and flavorful. After dinner drinks are available at the many bars on the ship. If you enjoy craft cocktails, definitely try Alchemy Bar, where they take a scientific approach to Mixology.

ENTERTAINMENT

So much to see and so much to do if you choose aboard the Carnival Horizon. Sports Fans can hang out at the SkyBox Sports Bar, Comedy Lovers can catch at act at the Limelight Lounge, check out the DJ and party on the deck. Catch a movie at IMAX or watch a Dive-IN Movie at Seaside Theater.

There really is so much to do and I had so little time. However, this overnight stay gave me just enough glimpse into how entertaining a cruise on Carnival Horizon would be!

BOOK YOUR CRUISE


Carnival Horizon kicks off a summer schedule from New York with a four-day cruise to Bermuda departing May 24, 2018. The ship will operate four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from New York through September then reposition to Miami for year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning later that month.


To learn more about Carnival Cruise Line or to make a reservation, visit Carnival.com, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, or contact any travel agent. Follow Carnival on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

GIVE BACK #HOWICHOOSEFUN

Thanks again Carnival for giving me the opportunity to explore Carnival Horizon to get a first look at your 26th ship and share the #FunontheHorizon!

As part of their “Choose Fun” for a great cause campaign, Carnival invites us all to share a selfie on social media with the hashtag #HowIChooseFun and Carnival will make a donation to St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital!

Leslie, Founder of SobeSavvy.com and her daughter #outandaboutAva says Carpe Diem! Wake Up and Choose Fun! #HowIChooseFun

I choose fun by embracing my inner child while playing with my own kid. Everyday she reminds me to get some laughs and fun in before my Mom/Wife/Life daily duties begin!
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE FUN?

#Travel | My Top 5 Must See Features On @CarnivalCruise Line’s Newest Ship, #CarnivalHorizon #ChooseFun

Have you heard the news about the new ship from Carnival Cruise? Yes, the Carnival Horizon is making it’s debut as Carnival Cruise Line’s 26th ship! This 3,960-passenger ship is so far the biggest of them all and has so much fun for everyone to enjoy! I am so excited to announce that I will be attending the ship’s official naming ceremony and pierside overnight event in New York City this month!

I am looking forward to seeing Carnival Horizon’s Godmother, Grammy award winning artist and actress Queen Latifah perform in a celebrity Lip Sync Battle, as well as the variety of innovations aboard this ship! There are so many new and amazing features on this ship that I have read about thus far, but here’s my list of the ones that I can not wait to see and experience once aboard the ship!

My Top 5 Must See Features On Carnival Cruise Line’s Newest Ship, Carnival Horizon

1. THE ELEVATORS

I know you are wondering what in the world is so great about the elevators? I’ll tell you right now. They’re special Schindler port elevators with no buttons. All guests waiting to get on use a touch pad to choose what floor they are going to. Afterwards each guest is electronically assigned an elevator car that whisks you to your floor ONLY with guests stopping in proximity. So for instance if you and another guest are going to decks 4 and 5 and 2 other folks are going to decks 8/9 the computer will place you all in the quickest elevators only with those going to the same stops. You will have the shortest trip times and stops! Saves times and less of that awkward elevator silence.

2. DR. SEUSS WATERWORKS

Taking my daughter on a cruise is something I look forward to very soon and with the expanded Dr. Seuss WaterWorks play area, I am assured of lots of smiles. This is the first expanded shipboard Dr. Seuss-themed Water Works water park. Besides occasional roaming characters they have colorful statues of Cat in the Hat the Thing 1 and Thing 2 who also get their names on twisting water slides. A giant red and white striped water dumping bucket is also shaped like the Cat’s hat.

3. Guy Fieri’s PIG & ANCHOR Bar-B Que Smokehouse and Brewhouse

Beer and Barbeque go together in a great way. Carnival has introduced celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s restaurant and brewery named Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B Que Smokehouse and Brewhouse. 4 craft beers are made in the worlds only onboard full brewery. Four types of beer are brewed and the meats are smoked over hickory and apple wood to give it that amazing flavor.

4. HAVANA SUITES

While I don’t mind a crowd, sometimes you just want a smaller crowd! Enter the new category of suites called “Havana Suites”. These are oversized suites that are in their own section of the Horizon. Guests who stay here get access to their own Havana pool and bar area that is off limits until 7pm for any other guests who are staying in these suites. This alone makes a little splurge worth it.

5. SKYRIDE Anyone ?

First introduced on Horizon’s sister ship,The Vista, SkyRide is a bit like riding a bike — you’ll never forget it. But SkyRide is also completely unlike riding a bike, because when was the last time you biked around a ship, high above the deck and even higher above the sparkling blue sea? Zip safely around our two-lane suspended course in a pedal-powered go-mobile, in search of your biggest racing victory, a lower-body workout… or simply the greatest view!

These Top 5 just scratch the surface on this amazing ship! I look forward to getting more information and sharing with you once aboard the ship. Stay tuned for more of Carnival Horizon + my event recap!

Have you taken a Carnival Cruise before? What was your favorite feature?

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

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

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

SUNDAY FUNDAY + Things to Do 

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

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

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

Say Frosé ! @Level 7 Rooftop Bar                                          

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

STAY

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

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

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

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

Lobby Level of Renaissance Raleigh

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

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

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

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

In room work space at Renaissance Raleigh

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

WORK + PLAY 

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

Lounge Area | Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

Family Fun Spaces at Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

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

Exterior of Pavane Boardroom at Renaissance Raleigh

DINE

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

Breakfast Buffet at 41Hundred Restaurant | Renaissance Raleigh Hotel

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

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

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

Exterior View Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

Renaissance Raleigh North Hills Hotel

4100 Main St at North Hills

RALEIGH, NC 27609

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

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

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

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

Welcome Bag courtesy of Wilmington and Beaches CVB

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

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

Inside the Hilton Wilmington Riverside

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

  1. BEACHES

    #outandaboutAva & her Mom at Kure Beach   

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

    Carolina Beach Boardwalk                            

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

    Britts Donut Shop

    Kure Beach Pier                                                  

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

    Enjoying a Mommy and Me moment

  2. FOOD 

    Visit Wilmington, NC aka ‘Foodie Paradise’

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

    Breakfast Time at Kate’s Pancake House

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

    Chop’s Deli, Downtown Wilmington                    

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

    Michael’s Seafood Restaurant ~Seafood Chowder

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

    The Basics, Filet Mignon Entree, IG@SobeSavvy

  3. Historic River District

    The majestic Battleship NORTH CAROLINA

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

    All smiles after the Wilmington Trolley Tour

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

    Taking a walk along the historic Riverwalk, Downtown Wilmington

  4. Family Fun Attractions

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

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

SobeSavvy.com at Fort Fisher NC Aquarium

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

SobeSavvy.com at the Wilmington Railroad Museum

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

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

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

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


     


    Top 6 #FamilyFun Activities to do this Summer in #Baltimore | #FamilyTravel #VisitBaltimore #MyBmore

    Today on the blog, I am sharing #MYBmore TOP 6 Family Fun activities everyone should add to their child’s Summer Break list of things to do in Baltimore! This past weekend my #HeighPartyof3 drove the easy 5 hr ride to Downtown Harbor East and stayed at one of our favorite hotels, Hyatt Place. One of the reasons I was there was to cover the 4th Annual Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival (be sure to check out my photo recap>>>here) but to also take #outandaboutAva to some museums and attractions in Baltimore. Here is my list of TOP 6 Family Fun Activites :

    1. See an Orioles Basesball Game -Orioles Park at CAMDEN YARDSA summertime visit to Baltimore would not be complete without a visit to the undisputed best ballpark in the nation! Oriole Park at Camden Yards is celebrating their 25th anniversary. We joined others to take in a game on an absolute beautiful evening. It was my little one’s very first MLB game and she loved it. Camden Yards is designed where there is not a bad seat in the house. She was also able to get up and close to the field pre game to watch the players stretch and interact with their fans. A night to remember for all.
    2. Learn and Play at Port Discovery Childrens MuseumBaltimore’s Port Discovery Children’s Museum is an expansive building dedicated to kids. They play and learn. Sometimes at the same time. This place has so many things to do, it can fill up an entire afternoon. From a faux diner called Tiny’s where the little ones can serve you lunch items {albeit plastic of course} to jungle gyms and a whole area dedicated to solving the mystery of what happened to a missing family, this place is amazing. My daughter enjoyed the Oasis room where she could sit quietly and read.There is plenty of hands on exhibits and interactive areas that the kids will simply love. A must stop for any families visiting with children. When you arrive grab your map at the front desk, arms in and let fun begin!
    3. Eat,Drink and Be Royal at MEDIEVAL TIMES Dinner & TournamentGo back in time to King Arthur’s day and visit the Medieval Times castle for a Dinner and Show you will never forget!  This attraction is not in Downtown Baltimore, but in Arundel Mills Mall (aprox 30 mins away by car).  Along with a medieval dinner (that you eat with your hands only),…we enjoyed entertainment like jousting,horse dancing and a real Falcon soaring above our heads to do a stunt!  This is all entertwined with a storyline the narrator explains.Medieval Times is great place to take someone who proclaims that they have seen it all. A mix between a Broadway show and Polo…Nothing compares to this experience. My daughter and her Grandma truly enjoyed their ‘Knight’ out! 
    4. Take a Joy Ride thru History at B&O RAILROAD MUSEUMDid you know that Baltimore is the home for modern commercial Railroading? The B&O railroad, which operated from 1828 to 1987, had many people skeptical {and scared} of this “new” technology. That didn’t last long as the B&O proved sucesseful in (per it’s motto)”Linking 13 Great States with the Nation”. We learned all about the rich history at the B&0 Railroad Museum while enjoying the impressive collection of vintage trains. We even took an actual 1.5 mile ride on an original section of the line! The museum does an excellent job telling the story of the railroad, which mirrors the story of America itself. Children can enjoy a hunt to collect stamps at stations throughout the museum in a little passport booklet which they turn in at the end for a free present at the gift shop! They also have a kid play area and rides outside which makes this a fun informative museum the entire family will love. I made a YouTube video full of highlights from our visit. Watch it here and Enjoy! SobeSavvy Tip: Check out this special circus themed event ‘Under The Big Top’ happening Now thru June 30 For more info visit www.borail.org.             

    5. Take a cruise aboard the ‘Fearless’ and become a pirate for the day with URBAN PIRATES 

    A day at the world famous Inner Harbor demands that one gets out on the water. We chose to take a trip back in time with a company called “Urban Pirates”. Based out of the Ann Street Pier in the Fells Point area, Urban Pirates takes visitors on a 90 min trip around the Harbor on a vintage looking ..well pirate ship. We didn’t know what to expect when we boarded along with other families. We were given official pirate names with tags and some pirate attire to wear for our voyage. https://www.instagram.com/p/BVu67NbBU55/ 

    Once out on the open water, the crew did a great job of entertaining all of us (and especially the kids) with songs, dances and all sorts of seafaring games. We even had an attempted sea hijack that we all thwarted with their water cannons! I don’t want to give away too much but let’s just say be prepared for a great experience unlike any other.

    6. Discover close to 20,000 animals at NATIONAL AQUARIUM The National Aquarium with its unique spiral floor plan, it’s huge rain forest in the rooftop, the diverse species of fish plus sharks and dolphins make it THE aquarium to visit. We chose to go early on Sunday morning and it paid off for being less crowded since this is Baltimore’s most popular attraction. 

    The close encounters of being able to touch horseshoe crabs and a real moon jellyfish in the Living Seashore exhibit made the experience that much more real. This aquarium is a crown jewel for both kids and adults alike and we always look forward to learning something new with each visit.

    Now that you know “Where to Play” your next visit to Charm City, be sure to check back here on Friday when I’ll be sharing “Where to Eat” and “Where to Stay” in Baltimore. Also check out www.baltimore.org for any information you need to plan your trip.

    Check out my fun photo video recap of these listed attractions : https://youtu.be/8lWvmmN9LRs