#TravelTuesday Spotlight on New Hotel @EmbassySuites by Hilton Atlanta NE Gwinnett Sugarloaf #EmbassySuites

My sister in Law lives in Gwinett County, one of Atlanta’s main northern suburbs. Since this is my daughter’s spring break week, we decided to roadtrip 6 hrs down from Raleigh,NC. Every time my family and I come to visit we have a dilemma on where to stay and set up base camp. Thankfully that dilemma has been solved by the new Embassy Suites Atlanta NE Gwinett Sugarloaf

Centrally located near Duluth/Lawrenceville, this lodging choice is convienient to the many attractions here in this part of Metro Atlanta. Sugarloaf Mills and Medieval Times (a family fun attraction we checked out on Sunday)  is a short 5 minute drive as well as dozens of dining and entertainment choices. Most of this brands properties were set up in a classical atrium style. This is a different design. Set up in a more traditional hotel layout, this new property boasts a fresh upscale modern design with technology and service at their forefront. Rooms have a plethora of USB and charging outlets. Bedrooms even have their own dedicated power stations. This is essentially a tablet, smartphone, laptop obsessed world so to pleasure and business travelers alike, connectivity is important.

The public spaces are just as beautiful. Cabana style nooks with flat screens.

The expansive outdoor stylish patio seating just adds to the already special flair one feels when staying here.

The gym has everything needed for a workout and the indoor pool is available for a swim.

They have also redesigned their room suites. High end furnishings and quality bedding is par for course. The interior resembles many a high end boutique hotels for sure. Avant Garde light fixtures just add to the overall high brow feel to the entire suite.

I am also here to report that there iconic breakfast offerings are even better now with dedicated stations for custom yogurt parfaits and a oatmeal station with every imaginable fixin for the taking.

Of course made to order omelettes are still standard.

This hotel also still has their famous 2 hour complementary happy hour 7 days a week. Light snacks , beer, wine and cocktails can be enjoyed in their indoor or outdoor spaces. This is always been a generous perk of staying at this brand of Hilton Hotels.

SobeSavvy Tip:

Embassy
Suites by Hilton Atlanta NE Gwinnett Sugarloaf participates in the Hilton
HHonors® loyalty program, which is open to all guests and free to join –
visit 
here for enrollment information. Hilton
HHonors members always receive the lowest price with Hilton’s Best Price
Guarantee, along with Hilton HHonors Points, free standard Wi-Fi access, digital
check-in, Digital Key and no hidden fees, only when they book directly through
Hilton. To celebrate the recent opening, guests will earn 1,000 HHonors Points
per night from January 18 – May 31, 2017.

Next time in this part of the Atlanta metro make this Embassy Suites your lodging of choice. You’ll be glad you did. 

Cheers! https://www.instagram.com/p/BSuQZ8ihIhZ/

What To Do in #Atlanta for #FamilyDate Night Fun ? @MedievalTimes for Everyone !

My family and I are visiting Atlanta during our daughters very first official spring break and decided to step back in time for a family fun filled Sunday dinner.

All the way back to Medieval Times! This spectacular dinner theatre in Gwinett County features Jousting, horsemanship & falconry plus a 4-course utensil-free meal served in a castle-like ancient arena.

Upon entry their expansive lobby area is bustling with all sorts of activities. You can take pictures with characters who are straight out of King Arthur ! There is a crackling fire and a huge bar where you can grab a drink prior to the show. We ended up with a cocktail called the “Dragon Slayer”. It came served in a specialty cup that we can keep for years as a conversation piece.

Once we entered the competition arena things really got interesting. It was a surreal atmosphere. The “stage” is a custom made sunken equestrian course with sand. The knights performed all sorts of competitions and games like pluck the ring and horse relay racing !

While enjoying the show we were served a set menu of roasted chicken ,corn, potatoes and corn on the cobb. No forks or knives allowed. Eat like the knights of old.WITH YOUR HANDS !!

The show culminated with a hollywood worthy showdown of what can only be called a “knight fight”. Swords and swinging hammers were everywhere while the actors played stuntmen with flips and falls. The audience went wild and cheered. The King and his daughter ruled the show from their royal perch. 
In addition to general admission, they also offer knighting ceremonies, upgrade packages such as king’s royalty (additional $22 per person), royalty (additional $18 per person) and celebration (additional $12 per person).
SobeSavvy Tip : Go anytime during the months of March and April and take advantage of their special spring break rates by following this link and use discount code ” SB17″.

If you ever want to do something unique to do on your next visit to Atlanta make sure you take the whole family to have dinner and a show at medieval Times.

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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!

#FoodieFriday Spotlight on #CLTFood | Where to Eat & More #Charlotte #CLT #charlottesgotalot 

Note: This post was sponsored in part by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. All opinions and photos are my own.

To celebrate the end of 2016, my family and I went on a road trip down to Charlotte, NC. Besides all the great cultural and sports attractions that North Carolina’s biggest city encompasses, I was there for a more basic reason: to eat !  Charlotte has quite the cuisine scene and this foodie was focused on eating like a Queen in the Queen City! 

American Girl Dining SouthPark Mall

First, I made plans to have lunch with my little princess and her favorite doll at the bistro inside the American Girl Store at SouthPark Mall. It was quite a unique experience, which you can read my full review here. Not only was it a fun time, but the kid friendly menu had tasty options for us adults too. A reservation is definitely necessary as this place is popular. Be sure to end your meal on a sweet note and order dessert. They’ll even bring a cupcake out for your child to decorate for their doll to enjoy!

Dinner at Sea Level NC  

Since it was NYE, an early dinner in Uptown was the perfect choice. I love fresh seafood and Sea Level NC delivered just that! Service was friendly and professional. Never underestimate how important southern hospitality is to a restaurant experience.Their decor is modern and understated stylish. Lots of exposed brick and wood. 

They have a incredible farm to fork raw oyster menu sourced from North Carolina and all over the country. It changes constantly depending on the season and what’s available. All fresh and delectable. 

Ooh baby I like it raw..in my ODB voice..lol, but if you dont’t and prefer something steamed, try the mussels. Plump and tasty. Mussel rule #108 don’t forget to use the bread for sopping up the mussel broth made with white wine and garlic butter !

Wash them down with a beer or glass of wine from their extensive drink menu or a  order craft cocktail called Melting NY Sour. It was what my husband called a “man’s drink”.

Their daily seafood catches and delicious dishes, like their classic Lobster roll make this restaurant a must try for visitors and locals. Huge hunks of lobster on greens and a remoulade sauce on a lightly toasted bread was fantastic. They let the lobster just be lobster. Why mess with perfection?!

Midwood Smokehouse Ballantyne

Midwood Smokehouse has quickly become a BBQ institution in Charlotte. We had the pleasure of dining at their Ballyntyne location in Charlotte on New Years Day for dinner. North Carolina and Charlotte in general have a lot of BBQ restauarants, but when restaurateur Frank Scibelli toured barbeque joints in Texas, he picked up invaluable tips.For starters, they burn hickory logs 24 hours a day to smoke their meats in a one of a kind ,old school manual commercial smoker. The general manager was kind enough to give me a tour of the kitchen where all the magic happens. Someone has to feed the smoker constantly to keep the fire going and maintain a even temperature in the smoker at all times. That takes a lot of work . More art than science and it shows in their food.We started with some smoked wings. Dry on the outside but moist and flavorful inside. 

I had a new years special that is not normally on their menu. Pork shoulder, collard greens, black eyed peas and jalapeno cornbread. This is traditional meal to be eaten for good luck to start 2017. They should start a tradition and keep this entree on the menu! It’s was that good.

One side dish you can always find on the menu is the mac and cheese. I do not know what cheeses were used but there was plenty of it throughout ! I have no doubt this was made with love.

Service was prompt, informative and friendly. The manager demanded we try some brisket before we departed , so we managed to try a few bites. WOW ! tender, tasty and perfect mix of lean and fat.Midwood is now our “GO TO ” spot when we are in Charlotte and craving REAL BBQ . Take it from their mascot, the Notorious P.I.G ..they smoke the good stuff!

After a great dinner, we headed back to our hotel at Homewood Suites by Hilton in Ballantyne. It is conveniently close (within walking distance) to the restaurant and a great choice of lodging when staying in Charlotte. Check out my video to see why : https://youtu.be/YqoCw2QHhuk

Holidays on Ice at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza

Although it rained most of our visit, on our last day, I got to work off some of that good eating by ice skating. Located outside the
Nascar Hall Of Fame, Charlotte’s outdoor ice rink is perfect for families, date nights or fun outings with friends. 

None of us had ever been ice skating before so this was an exciting family first! Skates on.Stand up. Let’s skate. If it was only that easy !! Luckily a few kind teenagers helped us onto the ice. We all held on to the bannister and laughed alot. Holiday on Ice is definitely a holiday tradition that both skaters and non-skaters can enjoy. Afterwards, we celebrated by having our picture taken with the giant polar bear and next to a NASCAR sign of course!

Thank you to our friends at Homewood Suites by Hilton Charlotte Ballantyne, American Girl brand and a very special thanks to the CRVA for the warm welcome to Charlotte! We made great memories, discovered amazing places to dine, learned that the Queen City is a haven for foodies and that Charlotte’s got a lot.

#TravelTuesday Tip: Visit #Atlanta #FamilyFun #Attractions & Save with @CityPass ! #CityPass

If you are planning to travel to Atlanta and want to have an amazing experience at some of the best attractions at a huge savings, get a CityPASS. For more than 15 years, CityPASS has been the premier product for savvy travelers who want to visit a destination’s most popular sights while enjoying significant discounts.

You can save 43% on 5 Admission tickets to all the iconic spots Atlanta has to offer. That is such a great deal that we here at SobeSavvy.com couldn’t wait to share with you how easy it was to use and how much fun we had using Atlanta CityPass for the following attractions: 

Fernbank Museum of Natural History-Here is where our journey with CityPass began.I simply showed an email voucher along with my ID and received the CityPASS booklet with tickets to attractions, insider tips and information as well as a map and coupons. We chose this attraction because I knew our almost 5 year old would enjoy the exhibits here that cover the world’s largest dinosaurs, nature, natural history and more! Our CityPass also included ticket to see an IMAX film (which is not included with a regular admission ticket). That was a pleasant surprise savings bonus! It’s located just minutes from Midtown and offers free parking. Be sure to check out FernbankMuseum.org/Summer to see what upcoming daily activities and Family Fun events they have for you and your family to enjoy! Here are some pictures from our fun-filled morning at the museum!

Zoo Atlanta – We headed here in the afternoon for some family fun with the little one who enjoys learning about animals! There are over 1500 animals here but we could not wait to see Bamboo Besties Mei Lun & Mei Huan. Those two young giant pandas are so cute and playful.They are twin sisters and are the only twin pandas in the world! We checked out the petting zoo, the playground and thanks to CityPASS we did not have to pay extra for the train ride and carousel. A memorable moment was getting a chance to see the zookeeper feed the elephants and learning about their conservation. Enjoy these photos from our animal adventures at Zoo Atlanta!

Georgia Aquarium –  We got expedited entry thanks to CityPASS (Who doesn’t like feeling like VIP?! ) into one of Atlanta’s most famous attractions. This massive aquarium and its 6 unique galleries is a must-see for its spectacular aquatic sights from sea lions at Sun Trust Pier 225, giant whale sharks, manta rays,beluga whales and dolphins! 

Georgia Aquarium invites all to come and see more aquatic life than any aquarium in North America ! Take a look at a few pics from our “Funbelivable” experience:

The CityPASS is valid for 9 days after first use but we were only in Atlanta for a brief 48 hours and only got to 3 out of 5 places on our to do list of attractions. Reduced admission is also available for World of Coca-Cola, Inside CNN Studio Tour, Center for Civil and Human Rights(instead of Zoo Atlanta) and College Football Hall of Fame (instead of Fernbank Museum).

There is so much family fun to be had there, just let CityPASS be your guide! 

#TravelTuesday~A #Daycation in @WilmingtoNCoast #FamilyTravel #WilmingtonNC #WrightsvilleBeach

Summertime and the living is easy..especially if you have a coastal city/beach destination within road trip reach!  Our family headed up 40 east and in 2 hours we were at our destination:  Wilmington, NC & Beaches

With our little girl in tow, we planned a ‘Sunday Funday’ that included a city tour, a fun children’s museum to explore, good eats galore and playtime by the shore!  This was our first visit to this charming Southern city but definitely will not be our last. They have a variety of activities suitable for everyone ! Discover below just how fun our Daycation in Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach was.

Where to Go/What to Eat: Wilmington
Before you get started in any city, I think it is travel savvy to get visitor information. Located at the foot of Market Street, the RiverFront Visitor Information Booth was our first stop. They are open daily..how convenient!  The welcoming staff gave us great tourist tools for our visit and even snapped a family photo to celebrate the start of our Wilmington adventure! 

Before exploring the historic streets of Downtown Wilmington, voted the #1 “Best Al Fresco Dining Neighborhood” by USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards,  we decided to grab a bite. And since it was Sunday, I said, “Let’s do Brunch” !  The Pilot House, a waterfront restaurant with scenic views of Cape Fear River, is known for its steak/seafood selections and for having the only bar that faces the river. Our daughter enjoyed the kids menu choice of grilled shrimp and fresh fruit , while the seafood lover in me had to have the chargrilled oysters topped with lump crab meat! It was amazing! I also had a half sized ceasar salad with shrimp. My husband enjoyed the French Toast from the a la carte Sunday Brunch menu.If you are foodies like us you must try a dining experience at The Pilot House. 

Next we went sightseeing in Wilmingron’s National Register Historic District via a Horse-Drawn Trolley Tour. Dan, our costumed driver, was a funny yet informative tour guide who took us on an unique adventure. We learned some of the rich history of the city and got to take in its beauty and Southern charm. We saw classic architecture, specialty shops, moss-draped live oaks, Wilmington’s historic houses, mansions and more! It’s also nice to know the horses are rescued horses and if you like, you have the option of taking a picture with the horses at the end of the tour. 


Having fun while learning is something our #outandaboutAva loves to do. So when we discovered that The Children’s Museum of Wilmington was located in downtown, we walked over for a family play date!  There were lots of hands-on exhibits and plenty of opportunities to stimulate our soon to be 5 year old imagination. Her favorite area was the Magnetic Minds Science Center, where she could explore and experiment.I had fun too letting my inner child run wild!

Where to Go/What to Eat: Wrightsville Beach
The beach is always recognized as the ultimate family vacation destination and Wilmington,NC has 31 miles of Island Beaches to choose from making it the #1 reason to visit!  We took the easy 20 minute drive from Wilmington across the scenic Intracoastal Waterway to visit Wrightsville Beach

Spacious and clean, this beach with it’s crystal blue waters was the backdrop for some relaxation and family fun in the sun!  Our little one enjoyed collecting shells and playing with her new Wilmington beach ball.We just happened to find parking near public access to the beach close to the newly renovated Crystal Pier. Here are few pics of memories made on the sandy shores of Wrightsville Beach !

A sunset dinner at Bluewater Waterfront Grill was the perfect way to end our day in this beautiful beach town. It is popular on Sundays as they have Live Music on their large patio, so we made sure to get there early. They have an outdoor bar and seating available or you can enjoy dining inside. This restaurant had quite a vibrant dining scene and good food to go with it! Whether you are going for sips and sites or having lunch/ dinner (I highly recommend the coconut shrimp and the filet mignon entree), make sure to get to Bluewater Waterfront Grill. 

It was National Tequila Day, so I made sure to order a margarita or two… on the rocks, no salt please !

Cheers to a wonderful daycation in Wilmington, NC!  I look forward to future visits and I’m already gathering a list for next time. And with Wrightsville Beach being such a short drive away, you can bet we’ll be back soon !  

* These are the latest postcards our daughter will add to her collection 🙂 Thanks for the memories Wilmington,NC ! 

#TravelTuesday ~See Why #CharlottesGotAlot of #FamilyFun #GoodFood in the #QueenCity @charlottgotalot

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I love to celebrate life, especially with my family. No holiday is too big or too small. So when it came time to celebrate Father’s Day, I thought why not treat Dad Like a King by traveling to the Queen City a.k.a Charlotte, NC !

Myself, my husband and our 4 year old daughter packed up our car for a road trip to Charlotte. I had 2 days of family fun planned for us. When researching for this trip, it became pretty clear that the Queen City has something for everyone!

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In case you are planning a trip with your little ones in tow, I can assure you that Charlotte is family friendly and an awesome place to make memories. Take a look at our family fun travel guide and a snapshot of our itinerary during this past Father’s Day weekend!

STAY 
Hyatt House Charlotte/City Center proved to be the perfect location for our stay as it was right in Uptown. It had everything required in a style forward setting. Full kitchens and comfy beds.Full breakfast in the lobby with  made to order omelettes included. Nice small pool and paraben free bath products sealed the deal. It’s location made walking to city center attractions a breeze.

*Day 1
Late Afternoon/Evening :After a day of traveling , it was nice to arrive to comfortable accomodations. The sun was shining so we headed to the hotel’s outdoor pool, which also had a lounge area. Dinner options are available at the hotel ‘s restaurant known as H BAR which is opened daily 5pm-10pm offering delicious bites from a “menu  of home-cooked comforts”. Needless to say, Day 1 was fun yet relaxing!

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PLAY
Discovery Place 
Trying to find a place that makes kids and adults equally happy is always a challenge when traveling. Lucky for us Discovery Place fits the bill. Calling this a childrens museum does not do it justice. It’s is all in one wonderland that is a delight for all! It has so many interactive and educational exhibits all under one roof. Science experiments in one room and an aquarium in the next. We learned about the power of air pressure and the wonders of the rain forest. My daughter loved the infrared machine outside that accurately measures your height by just standing underneath the beam ! It was just the perfect blend of all things amazing about our world. I highly recommend this for any family visits to Charlotte. It was filled with cool stuff to do and so much fun! No wonder it is one of Charlotte’s most visited attractions.

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NASCAR Hall of Fame

“Start Your Engines”..Those are 3 of the most beloved words to racing fans. The Nascar Hall of Fame is a place to come and celebrate the history and heritage of the sport. Located in a beautiful building filled with memorabilia and exhibits, The Nascar Hall Of Fame did not dissapoint.  They have classic racing cars and the realistic racing simulators where at the end you get a personalized stat sheet of how you performed. You can practice fast changing a tire at the pit crew challenge and even the little ones can be part of the pit crew in the kids zone. The gift shop was amazing. You can buy everything from mini replica cars to all sorts of racing clothing and gear. Check out our visit to the Nascar Hall of Fame where we spent the afternoon walking among legends!

*Day 2
Morning: After a restful evening, we woke up ready to go sight seeing in the Queen City. The complimentary breakfast buffet at Hyatt House was enough to give us energy to walk to the nearby attractions. On the way to Discovery Place, we passed the Time Warner Cable Arena (which is next to hotel) where the Charlotte Hornets Play. While we opted to stroll ( Uptown is pedestrian friendly), we noticed other ways available to get around the Center City, like horse and carriage or bicycle.
Walking allowed us to see the beautiful skyline and amazing public art along the way, such as the four statues at Trade and Tryon streets.
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*Day 2 continued..
Afternoon: Every foodie must have lunch at 7th Street Public Market. ( I will share more in the EAT section below). The Nascar Hall of Fame does have a cafe inside if you choose to eat there. Believe me, you will need fuel as we found out this attraction is a place you could spend your entire afternoon!
Evening: For dining,nightlife,entertainment, EPICENTRE has it all in one place. Just a couple of blocks from the hotel made this a perfect place to catch and early dinner with our little one. We ended our evening by hopping on the CityLynx Gold Line, a streetcar system that connects neighborhoods through 6 stations all for free! The 1st and last stop conveniently was across from the Hyatt House.

EAT
7th Street Public Market is a foodie’s paradise! Variety is the spice of life and this place is so diverse in its dining options. For example: my daughter had pizza from Pure pizza, I wanted sushi,so Bonsai Fushion fit the bill and Local Loaf was my husband’s choice for a sandwich. The quality of the food and the variety of offerings can be enjoyed by all: families, locals, tourists, hipsters, just to name a few! The market also has retail shops great for picking up locally made items or imported goods. We ended our visit to the 7th Street Public Market on a sweet note by getting a cupcake for my cupcake and a very memorable creme brulee from Cloud 9 Confections!

Nan and Byron’s
It was a beautiful Sunday morning and we took a short drive to the South End neighborhood to have brunch at Nan And Byron’s restaurant. Their weekend brunch consists of an all you can eat buffet w/carving station, bloddy marys and mimosas. The buffet was attractively laid out in their bar area with various breakfast favorites and they even had a seafood raw bar of Snow Crab legs and oysters. The little one enjoyed the pancakes. We sat in the open dining room with huge windows that let in the beautiful natural light of the morning. Service was very good. If you ever on the South End or want a brunch with locals and not a huge amount of tourists, then this is your spot. Oh yea..their sweet rolls are decadently yummy !
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*Day 3
Morning We checked out with ease and headed over to Nan and Byron’s for their special Father’s Day Brunch. The restaurant opened in November 2013 and its name originated from Grant Wood’s well-known 1930 American-Gothic painting of a man and woman (Nan and Byron) holding a pitchfork in front of a farm. The restaurant, which focuses on new-American cuisine, is a short drive from Uptown but well worth the trip! We discovered alot about Charlotte and all of its regal offerings. We left with many fond memories of The Queen City and something to tell all our friends and family: “Charlotte’s Got A Lot” !
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#TravelTuesday Tips: #MyrtleBeach in May ~Where to Stay,Shop,Play @MyMyrtleBeach #FamilyVacation

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Myrtle Beach, SC. is well known as being Number One for Family Fun ! It is one of America’s favorite destinations to Stay, Shop and Play because of the variety of attractions all located in Myrtle Beach. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy and because of its popularity that is why the month of May seemed the ideal time to visit with my 4 yr old daughter and husband. TIP #1 : Go off season. Preferably in May. The weather is warm and it is prior to the very busy summer season.

STAY

We arrived on a Friday for a 2 night stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Oceanfront Resort.
The hotel has two large towers with amenities befitting a resort. Full service spa. A pool complex with various indoor/outdoor pools and two mini lazy river rides. Their famous breakfast buffet is presented every morning in the expansive breakfast lounge area. We had a room with two double beds and an awesome view of the Atlantic Ocean. Hi speed Wi Fi was excellent as I had some work to do when we arrived on Friday. TIP #2: If you are traveling with kids choose this hotel, it’s a short drive to all the action on Ocean Boulevard and the boardwalk, yet quiet enough for a good night’s sleep. It was the perfect base camp for our visit.
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SHOP

You can shop til you drop in Myrtle Beach! There are outlets as well as many other shopping options. My favorite area is this urban shopping, dining, entertainment village known as The Market Common. Barnes and Noble , a favorite bookstore of ours , is there along with the movies and more than 30 of the nation’s most popular stores and restaurants. TIP #3: Wear your athletic shoes, pack a ball or frisbee and head to the Grand Park (across the bridge, connected to The Market Common) where there are open fields, swinging chairs to watch ducks/turtles, and playgrounds.
The Market Common ‘s motto is “Where Fashion Meets Fun” and I could not agree more!
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PLAY

The following are some of the activities, sports, entertainment and attractions we enjoyed during our stay.
BROADWAY AT THE BEACH is one of those one stop shop places that offers a wide range of activities. Here are a few we enjoyed while there:

*The Palace Theatre
located at 1420 Celebrity Circle at Broadway at the Beach. We saw the thrilling “Cirque Extreme” show. Its a spectacle filled show that the whole family can enjoy!
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*RIPLEY’S AQUARIUM of Myrtle Beach located at Broadway at the Beach offers alot of interactive,hands on exhibits that my kid loved. We touched a real jellyfish in their newest expansion exhibit called Planet Jellies! There is also a cove where you can touch a stingray. Our favorite was the shark tunnel, where we could view big sharks, rays, sea turtles, fish and more in a reef all while riding a moving conveyor belt.

Ripley’s have several attractions thru out Myrtle Beach. We also checked out Ripley’s Moving Theater located on the boardwalk. This attraction was too intense for my 4 yr old but we could still enjoy the 5D inaging, surround sound and special effects from non-moving seats.

*Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center gave us an opportunity to play dress-up with some of our favorite stars! They have props available to use and pose in the spotlight alongside your fave celeb. We had a ball here! TIP #4 : This attraction is open 365 days a year and closed at 10pm. We prefer to go late as it allowed us to get more camera time and gave the feeling of having our favorite star all to ourselves!

MINI-GOLF
If you like mini-golf, there are alot of options. We went to Captain Hook’s because my little one loves Tinkerbell. This golf course really stayed true to theme and even had facts along the course about Captain Hook, the Lost Boys and Tinkerbell. TIP #5 Grab a coupon book. They are almost everywhere..inside of hotels and restaurants. They are filled with discounts for attractions, especially mini golf!
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BAREFOOT LANDING is on the waterway offered two unique attractions in one!
*Alligator Adventure was voted the best outdoor adventure by The Travel Channel and I couldn’t agree more. Not only are there literally dozens and dozens of gators in various habitat settings, but one crocodile in particular stood out. His name is Utan. Born in Thailand in 1964, he weighs in at over 2000 LBS and over 18 feet long. He is the largest crocodile in the United States. We witnessed an afternoon feeding of the gators having their raw chicken lunch and we also enjoyed the Lemur house and snake wildlife show in the outdoor theatre. It has much more than just gators. My little one loved seeing the pink flamingos and various tropical birds and HUGE Euroasian Owls. Great place and a lot of fun!
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TIP #6 At the back of Alligator Adventure you will receive a bracelet for free wine tastings to the adjacent Duplin Winery complex.
*Duplin Winery is the world’s largest Muscadine winery. The main winery and vineyards are in Rose Hill, NC but the Myrtle Beach location also does some hand bottling. They produce over 4.6 million bottles of wine a year. We enjoyed a deluxe tasting of various popular and special reserve wines. Our bartender, Bruce was both affable and informative. He advised at this tasting we will learn the PDR wine tasting method~ Pour,Drink, Repeat! The building is bright and airy with a delightful outdoor patio which has live music throughout the summer. Duplin wines can be found locally stores in 13 states but some wines can only be purchased at the winery. Took home two bottles to enjoy later and reflect upon how special this place is.

Medieval Times is the ultimate ‘knight’ time attraction because it includes dinner and a show or shall I say tournament! Once you walk thru the drawbridge into the castle, you are transported to a place and time where lords, ladies, princesses, kings come together to feast and enjoy the pageantry and thrills of an authentic medieval tournament!
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We ended our vacation at the 35th Annual World Famous Blue Crab Festival: A Little River, SC tradition featuring over 300 vendors, entertainment and a children’s area. Located just 20 miles north of Myrtle Beach, we thought it would be nice to stop thru on the way back home. Since children under 12 are free, I was able to giveaway a pair of tickets as a surprise to some festival goers. Here are some pictures from our “Sunday Funday” :
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I look forward to making future memories in Myrtle Beach! For current event info, dining, entertainment options, maps and more, go to visitmyrtlebeach.com and plan your family vacation TODAY!

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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It’s 2016,Resolve to #TravelforReal ! #TravelTuesday Feature @Loews_Hotels #LoewsAtlanta #SaltwoodAtl

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January 1, 2016 began a New Year in which one of my resolutions was to travel more. A road trip to the city of Atlanta with a stay at the Loews Atlanta Hotel seemed like a great place to begin.
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Upon entering the hotel lobby, which was still looking festive from the holidays, I immediately knew this was going to be a chic and cozy hotel stay. My family and I were greeted with a warm smile and hot apple cider. Our bell captain , Kahn was very welcoming and insured us that we would enjoy our stay. Our room was on the 22nd floor overlooking Midtown Atlanta, which is according to Wikipedia” is the second largest business district in the city of Atlanta, situated between the commercial and financial districts of Downtown to the south and Buckhead to the north.”

Our spacious corner room had views of the midtown skyline in 3 directions. Besides the Loews literally being one of the quietest hotels I have ever stayed at, it was also one of the most comfortable. Bedding, pillows and the Keurig coffee machine all made for a very enjoyable stay

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Prior to our arrival, I corresponded with Jonathan Vendrick, the VIP/Concierge Manager for the Loews Atlanta Hotel who was beyond helpful with advising what attractions our 4 yr old would enjoy.

Already on our agenda was Lego Land (see article here) and the Children’s Museum ( read more here).
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After a long day of travel and sightseeing, it is great to have a hotel that has a restaurant and a spa on the premises. Loews encourages guests to “Add a little well being to their stay” and I took them up on their offer by visiting Exhale Spa while there! Take a look at my feature of their spa here.

Our first dinner of the year was enjoyed at their restaurant, Saltwood. The restaurant specializes in the lost food art of Charcuterie. Chef picked specialty cuts of pork meats and cheeses. We also enjoyed fried Oysters and their succulent fried chicken with homemade gravy. Their whole fish was a favorite at the table also. Stylish space and unique offerings are to be found at Saltwood.

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Needless to say, my little one and I enjoyed our home away from home at the Loews. Their quality, customer service,attentiveness and attention to detail made this a memorable family travel experience and a great way to start the new year in comfort. Until next time….
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