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

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

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

STAY | Hyatt House Falls Church /Merrifield

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

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

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

EAT | bartaco & more!

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

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

SHOP | Mosaic District

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

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

PLAY | Muse Paint Bar & more !

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



Arrive | Saturday


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

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


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


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





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


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

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


Sunday Funday


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

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



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

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

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

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

Depart | Monday

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


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


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


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

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


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

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Want a change of scenery? Here’s where to STAY, EAT, EXPLORE in @WilmingtonNCoast! #travel #familytravel #WilmingtonNC #CarolinaBeachNC #SobeSavvy

2020 has been a unique year to say the least. Challenges that none of us could have guessed a year ago have filled all of our lives since March. Like many of you, home school and working from home has become a mainstay. My #HeighPartyof3 family were in need of a change of scenery, so we opted for a roadtrip to Wilmington, NC over this past Thanksgiving Day weekend. If you are not familiar with Wilmington, it’s an iconic coastal city that is both urban and beachy at the same time with a down home friendliness and great food and hospitality scene. We have visited this destination a few times (read about past visits: here) and our familiarity made the choice that much easier. If you are in need of a change of scenery, here’s where to STAY, EAT, EXPLORE in Wilmington, NC!

STAY

Social distancing is a invented term due to COVID-19 and picking a place that takes that seriously led us to Embassy Suites by Hilton Wilmington Riverfront. They have instituted a industry leading room cleaning sanitation program called Clean Stay. They have partnered with Lysol to ensure the highest level of cleanliness at the property.

This hotel’s proximity to the riverwalk and historic downtown makes this a awesome choice for those wanting to explore this part of Wilmington on foot. Hubby took a jogging map the hotel has and went for a birthday morning 3 mile run! We had a spacious modern suite with a enviable Cape Fear River view. Great stay at a nice property!

STEAM Restaurant & Bar, located inside the Embassy Suites Wilmington Riverfront had a special Thanksgiving Brunch. The STEAM staff served the buffet with socially distanced tables and sanitized protocols in place. We had a table with no one in our immediate area so we got a chance to relax and enjoy a turkey dinner along with some locally sourced oysters and shrimp! Great service and wine/cocktail list made this a great choice.

EAT

In addition to STEAM , there are amazing family dining options in the area that offer takeout as well as dining in with Covid safety measures in place. Here are some places we enjoyed:

Hops Supply Co.: We had eaten a heavy “thanksgiving” at lunch time and didn’t quite think about the fact that almost NOTHING is open after 3 or 4 on Thanksgiving and needed a place to get something light. Enter Hops Supply Co. A restaurant that happens to be THE place in Wilmington for craft beer, wine on tap and food of course !We opted for curbside pickup of their Bistro Salad and a side order of asparagus. The.salad.was.everything !! Enough for two and incredibly good. The candied walnuts and blue cheese crumble combined with their incredible balsamic vinaigrette equaled perfection. When times get more back to normal I look forward to returning to try their beer and other food selections.

Slice of Life Pizzeria & Pub: Everyone likes pizza but my husband and daughter LOVE pizza. Lucky for them {and me} that one of the best pizza places ever at Slice Of Life. Voted Best Pizza and Best Late Nite Eatery in Wilmington for several years in a row, Slice Of Life got the unofficial stamp of approval from a 9 year old. You can customize a pizza with their myriad of toppings. We opted for half cheese and half Pineapple ham and mushroom. Simple perfection. We will definitely return!

The Basics: Located in the heart of everything downtown on Front street is The Basics. This mainstay has been a dining favorite for years. Everything from a casual breakfast to a dress up for dinner party can be had in this one restaurant. We had celebrated my birthday here a few years ago abd returned for breakfast this time. Shrimp and Grits, Chicken Biscuit and pancakes for the not so little one were ordered up this time. A few daytime cocktails included a Tequila Sunrise that was simply perfect.Yum Yum Yum. Just look at these pics and they say it all. There is nothing Basic about The Basics!

EXPLORE

Wilmington Riverwalk: Wilmington’s iconic riverwalk has been under construction for a few years now. It’s popularity had taken a toll and they are now renovating and expanding this wonderful walkway that doubles as a jogging route. We enjoyed taking walks during our stay here and made a fun IG reels video (that you can watch: here) to take you along the Riverwalk with us! Hugging the Cape Fear River this walkway gives visitors a great way to experience what I call the “backside” of downtown. Restaurants, shops and hotels line the riverwalk as well and you can see some of the most beautiful sunsets from here. You could also book a cruise tour aboard The Henrietta riverboat to learn more about Wilmington.

Carolina Beach: One of the best features of Wilmington is it’s proximity to many beach areas within a 30 min drive from downtown. Carolina Beach is one of them. We took a stroll along the boardwalk, enjoyed gelato while sitting in one of the swings and simply enjoyed being outside with nature. A walk on the beach is all that we needed to get some relaxing time together and a change of scenery.

Wilmington Tours: History is everywhere in Wilmington and sometimes it can be hard to figure out where to start when it comes to exploring historic Wilmington. Enter the Wilmington Tours App. Located in the Google Play store, this app features 5 full length city tours that include: African-American History, Pub Crawl Wilmington, Civil War Wilmington, 2nd Street to the River, and 3rd Street & East. We downloaded the African American Tour and since it was raining we drove to some of the historic sites that included the home of one of Wilmington’s most prominent black families, a rare intact urban slave quarters and different street corners of significance. This interactive tour is highly informative and literally made history come to life. I highly recommend this app for any visitor to learn about the history of Wilmington. Next time we will choose another tour from this amazing app!

Airlie Gardens: These public gardens are 67 acres of natural historic beauty. Airlie Gardens are a treasure not just of Wilmington or Hanover County but a treasure of all of North Carolina. While these gardens are beautiful any day of the year, we went for their annual “Enchanted Airlie” Holiday light spectacular. This is the hot ticket since 2005 and this year, while a little different still was as popular as ever. Timed tickets ensured it was not too crowded. Over a million lights adorned natural and man made things throughout. Different themes could be found everywhere. We all loved “Swan Lake” and the butterfly house exhbit. So many colors and with Holiday tunes playing, everyone was into kicking off the Christmas season! It even “snowed”. My daughter simply loved the whimsical atmosphere of it all and it will be a treasured memory.

👀Watch my full recap of opening night at Enchanted Airlie>> here.

We are thankful and grateful to be able to spend some quality time together and get a change of scenery in a neighboring city that we love to explore. This was our first time going to Wilmington,NC as a kick off to the holiday season and we may just make this a new family tradition! Before you go, be sure to check in with Wilmington and Beaches to plan your vacation. We hope that you are inspired to visit soon!

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

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

STAY

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

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

👀Watch my YouTube video for an inside look⤵️

EAT

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

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

PLAY

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

Have you visited Fayetteville, NC before? If yes, where should I go next? If no, which one of the places would you like to visit from this blog post? Leave your comments below and thanks for reading!

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Spring 2020 Family Fun Things To Do in Durham, NC @DurhamNC

I am so happy Spring is just around the corner here in the Triangle! With warmer temps on the horizon in our weekly forecast and daylight savings time happening this past Sunday, I was motivated to get out and have some family fun in Durham, NC. It just takes 30 mins/28 miles to get to Downtown Durham from my home in Raleigh, so I love going there often. But this time, I wanted to play tourist and make a list to share with you some Spring 2020 Family Fun Things To Do in Durham, NC! Planning things to do was easy when I got an email from Discover Durham announcing their new Spring Guide.

The guide included an original lo-fi album, a variety of spring festivals to check out, a listing of lady bosses in the community (just in time for Women’s History Month), and more! Here are the places we checked out in Durham, NC:

Nolia Family + Coffee

We headed to Durham for a full day of fun but before we got started, we went to get the fuel most parents need to get thru the morning: coffee! Nolia is a must when visiting Durham because as per their name, they are all about Family + Coffee. This business is a unique child centric coffee shop where owner/Justin said “kids here are not just tolerated, they are celebrated!” This was evident from the moment we walked in this cute minimalist space. They had a storyteller on one side with kids sitting on the floor and having a great time. Beautiful vibes were everywhere with a feeling of community and inclusion. They have small selections of coffee and tea and some good pastries to boot. You can also shop local and get a candle from Bright Black, a Black, family owned company that uses scent as a medium and candles as a platform to share positive narratives about Blackness. We ordered a delicious apple pastry, a pour over coffee and a kids hot cocoa to go. Everything was good and we will be back!

Name: Nolia: Family + Coffee
Website: www.noliacoffee.com
About Us: Nolia Coffee is Durham’s family-centric, specialty coffee shop.
Social Media: Facebook & Instagram – @noliacoffe

The Carolina Theatre of Durham

Earlier in February, I attended a media mission hosted by Discover Durham, where invited media were introduced to local businesses in Durham and informed about what is new in 2020. While I was there, I spoke with The Carolina Theatre of Durham and learned about their Family Saturday Series. Tickets are just $5 and includes free popcorn and a drink. to catch a show at the historic Carolina Theatre. This show featured Beverly Botsford, Dancing Drums, which showcased an array of percussion instruments and celebrated universal rhythm. Children and families enjoyed this very interactive show. The audience was encouraged to sing, clap along, make their own beat and join her on stage to play the instruments. My daughter got a kick out of seeing her father play the bongos! A good time was had by all.

SobeSavvy Tip: The theatre has a free exhibit on the top level called “Confronting Change” that speaks to it’s racial segregationist past and how it eventually allowed all people of all colors to finally be treated as equal. Make sure you check it out no matter what show you are there to see!

Name: Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc.

Website: www.CarolinaTheatre.org

About Us: Since 1926, the Carolina Theatre has been dedicated to presenting vibrant, thought-provoking film and live performances that contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of downtown Durham and the greater Triangle Region. Our nonprofit has operated the venue for more than 25 years, using both commercial and mission-driven programming to establish the venue as so much more than just a building to its community. From concerts to comedy to cinema and more, the Carolina Theatre remains an important cultural beacon of a growing region.

Social Media: Facebook & Instagram – @carolinatheatredurham; Twitter – @carolinadurham

EAT| Pizzeria Toro

We were ready for lunch after seeing the show at The Carolina Theatre. Since we were parked conveniently across the street in the free parking deck, we decided to walk around and find somewhere to eat. Downtown Durham has so many great places to dine but we decided to try a spot called Pizzeria Toro because it had wood fired pizz on the menu along with a great wine/beer list for us parents! They had a kids cheese pizza and hubby and I went with customizing our pizza by adding proscuitto. If you love thin crust, great quality cheese with a balance of fresh tomato sauce in a family friendly place with a trendy vibe, then go to Pizzeria Toro!

Name: Pizzeria Toro

Website: http://www.pizzeriatoro.com

Social Media: IG/Facebook/Twitter

@pizzeriatoro

Durham Arts Council/Durham Arts Walk

After lunch, we walked off all that delicious pizza by attending Durham Arts Walk/Spring Market, an annual spring festival that celebrates community and its artists. It’s a great event – everything is family friendly but they also had a special kids activity area on the second floor of the Durham Arts Council building. One of the favorite features is the Durham Art Walk Drawing, which features some wonderful prizes, including a family four pack for the Durham Bulls. Here is more about the event details on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/519407152025095/

Name: Durham Arts Council
Website: http://www.durhamarts.org
About Us: As Durham’s local nonprofit arts agency, the Durham Arts Council (DAC) serves artists, arts organizations and the general public. DAC serves the public through continuing education classes, artist programs, large events, and access to the DAC building 7 days a week, including rotating exhibits and special event venues. The arts community is served through grants of cash and space, teaching, performing and public art contracts, exhibit opportunities and technical assistance. As a private nonprofit service agency, the Durham Arts Council is uniquely positioned to partner extensively with other community agencies, including Durham Public Schools, Student U, Granville Education Foundation, Durham Parks and Recreation, Durham Area Designers, Duke University and North Carolina Central University. DAC recently launched a new veterans art program and is about to launch a new artist/arts organization public database. Additionally, DAC continues to lead the Durham SmART public art program in partnership with downtown stakeholders, the City of Durham and Downtown Durham Inc.
Social Media: Facebook & Twitter – @durhamarts; Instagram – @durham_arts

Discover Durham Visitors Center

While downtown, we stopped by the Discover Durham Visitor Center. This bright space has all Durham related info under one roof. They also have an interactive computer wall map, free cell phone charging station and clean bathrooms for visitors! While letting our cell phones recharge, my daughter used a sticky pad to participate in a wall where visitors are encouraged to leave their own personal messages celebrating Women’s History Month. This place is the ultimate resource for any visit to Durham. Sightseeing guides and maps are free for all. Knowledgeable staff are there with suggestions and ideas of how to curate a great day in the bull city. We picked up a free “mural guide” booklet that allowed us to explore many of the murals and enjoy plenty of photo ops.

SobeSavvy Tip: Find 5 murals and return with your cell phone photo proof to get a prize (a beer glass celebrating Durham being 150 years old)! How awesome is that?!

Name: Discover Durham

Address: 212 W Main St #101, Durham NC 27701

Website: https://www.discoverdurham.com/

Social Media: Facebook/Twitter/IG @DurhamNC

Jeddah’s Tea

When you leave the Discover Durham Visitor’s Center you must make your way to Jeddah’s Tea, a cozy black female-owned tea house that has quickly earned a special place in Durham. Cool, laid back vibes were present and they have a massive selections of local teas as well as teas from around the world. I ordered a Matcha Latte while hubby went for some hot chocolate. My daughter opted to have ice cream from The Parlour, which is just a couple of doors up from Jeddah’s Tea, so it was a win win for all. We were all just so happy to support local and I love their motto: Tea to the people, for the people

Name: Jeddah’s Tea

Website: https://jeddahstea.com

Social: Facebook/IG @jeddahstea

Durham Bulls Athletic Park

The Durham Bulls are one of the sport jewels of the triangle. Arguably the most iconic AAA baseball clubs in the nation located right here in the bull city. Saturday they held their annual Fan Fest at the stadium. We strolled the grounds, met the mascots, and sampled some ballpark gourmet food. Some attendees even were allowed on the field to take actual batting practice. The field looked great and will be ready for opening day on April 9th this year. I look forward to returning for a game or two this summer!

Name: Durham Bulls Baseball Club
Website: http://www.durhambulls.com
About Us: The Durham Bulls, Triple-A Affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, are excited to
showcase giveaways, merchandise, specialty jersey designs and more as we approach
the 2020 season. The Durham Bulls open the 2020 season at home on Thursday, April 9 against the Charlotte Knights.
Social Media: Facebook, Instagram & Twitter – @durhambulls

EAT|BORICUA SOUL

Located adjacent to the Durham Bulls stadium, Boricua Soul has their first brick and mortar incarnation of their popular food truck that folks here in the triangle have loved for years. This family owned casual eatery combines the essence of the South with the flavor of Puerto Rico. We ordered some empanadas, a side of mac n cheese and their sopa de pollo. Served in a little metal pot, the soup presentation alone won me over! My daughter and husband really commented on how great the empanada crust tasted as well as the fillings. This was the perfect place to go nearby to our final stop that day in Durham.

Name: Boricua Soul
Website: http://www.boricuasoulnc.com
About Us: Boricua Soul merges favorites from both Puerto Rico and the South to create new and exciting dishes. Our Durham-grown food truck is excited to expand to the American Tobacco Campus.
Social Media: Instagram & Twitter – @boricuasoulnc; Facebook – @boricuasoul

Museum of Life + Science

This past Sunday, we headed to the Museum of Life + Science for a special event to commemorate International Women’s Day. It was called “Girl Powered Science: Inspiring The Next Generation of Scientists“. This event had multiple science tables where girls {and boys too} could participate in actual science experiments {cloud making anyone ?} and equally important speak with actual working female scientists, lab assistants and researchers. My daughter learned about DNA, weather formations and even more than she already knew about the pioneering women of the NASA space program. Almost every table was it’s own interactive project. I loved that I was exposing her to all the career opportunities and choices that formerly were not open to women.

We also explored more of the museum, including the cafe and even took a train ride around the grounds which was loads of fun for everyone. My daughter is an animal lover so she especially loved The Farmyard and seeing the butterflies in the Magic Wing Conservatory. There is always something new to see and do here, so a repeat visit is in our future!

Name: Museum of Life and Science
Website: http://www.lifeandscience.org
About Us: Located just north of downtown Durham, the Museum of Life and Science is one of North Carolina’s top family destinations. Situated on 84-acres, our interactive science park includes a two-story science center, one of the largest butterfly conservatories on the East Coast and beautifully landscaped outdoor exhibits which are safe havens for rescued black bears, lemurs, and endangered red wolves. Other popular attractions include over 60 species of live animals, Hideaway Woods, Dinosaur Trail, Ellerbe Creek
Railway, and Into the Mist.
Social Media: Facebook & Twitter – @lifeandscience; Instagram – @museumoflifeandscience

Durham,NC aka Bull City is rich in culture, and has plenty of things to do for everyone. If you are planning a visit here soon, I hope these Spring 2020 recommendations are helpful. Have you been to Durham,NC before? Do you have any family fun recommendations for our next visit? Please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading!

Getting a selfie with the Durham Bull statue aka Major the Bull..is a must when visiting Durham aka Bull City!

CONNECT WITH ME @SobeSavvy
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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!

CONNECT WITH ME @SobeSavvy
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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

TRAVEL | Where to Stay in Baltimore MD – Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott @BWI_Airport @FairfieldHotels

Flying or driving to the Baltimore/Washington Dc area and seeking an affordable modern hotel? Well seek no more. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriot BWI is the answer. This budget conscious property does not lack style or substance for a wallet friendly price. Whether just for one night pre or post flight or for a full blown vacation base camp, this property should be on your lodging short list. Let me share some reasons for you and your family to choose Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott BWI.

Location is Everything

This hotel is a short distance from the two major city centers.  It is right off of the B/W Pkwy-295. They also have a airport/train station shuttle that can take you anywhere within a 3 mile radius. There are a multitude restaurants and eateries close by. The MARC train runs between Baltimore and Washington and the Baltimore Light Rail takes you right into downtown Baltimore. This region offers visitors two major cities in one region. 

 

Wake Up to a wonderful Breakfast

There’s nothing worse than waking up in a hotel and having to figure out where to go for breakfast. Guests here do not have that problem. Just take the elevator to the lobby floor and voila. A hot breakfast awaits with some great coffee and tea to boot. Waffles, bacon, turkey sausage is on deck. Yogurt, granola, oatmeal, fruit and cereals can be had also. This just makes mornings better at FairField Inn & Suites.  

 

Stay Fit During Your Stay

 This hotel had an indoor pool and  spotless fitness center with new equipment for a quick run or weight training.

Modern Lobby

We were pleasantly surprised by how attractive the lobby and business center were designed. A few nods to Maryland crab culture always made us native Baltimoreans smile. Two full terminals with printers were available with office supplies. Two big flight status boards were also present. This would be priceless as it would avoid going to the airport only to find out your flight is delayed or canceled.

COMFORTABLE ROOMS

Our room was a king studio. It was a spacious open design. A microwave, mini fridge and coffee maker were all in suite. This was the only studio room I had ever stayed in that had two televisions ! Our girl stayed on the comfy sofa bed while the parents had the king. Perfect set up ! We all had a great nights sleep.

Make the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott BWI your lodging choice the next time you visit the area.

**Want to see more of what’s in store? Here is an inside look and brief tour, courtesy of my daughter #outandaboutAva!

WATCH: https://youtu.be/qk3MEStZ24c

FAIRFIELD INN & SUITES by Marriott BWI Airport
1020 Andover Rd.
Linthicum, MD 21090                    Tel: 410-691-1001
http://www.marriott.com/bwiaf

TRAVEL | Where to Stay in Atlanta GA – Hyatt Place Downtown Atlanta




Are you planning to visit Atlanta, GA? Well let me help you decide on where to stay. The Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown offers …”Southern Charm with a Big City Flair” at a great price. While there are a myriad of lodging choices in Downtown Atlanta, let me share some reasons for you and your family to choose Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown.
• CONVENIENT LOCATION


This hotel is conveniently located near the city center which made it the ideal place to stay while in Atlanta. You can walk to over 30 different restaurants and major attractions (we walked to Mellow Mushroom and World of Coca Cola). Not in the mood to walk? The Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown offers a free shuttle!Guests can utilize their free shuttle to any destination within 3 miles of the hotel. This pretty much covers almost all major city centers attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola and even the trendy Atlantic Station Shopping Area.


WORLD OF HYATT MEMBER PERKS


World Of Hyatt Members {free to sign up here} get to enjoy complimentary breakfast featuring cage free eggs, delicious entree choices and specialty breakfast items. My daughter loved the warm monkey bread rolls and I appreciated the fresh fruit options for us all.


HAPPY HOUR


This location specifically has a 5 to 7 happy hour at the lobby bar. For two hours guests can indulge in half price appetizers and their complimentary “drink of the day” 7 days a week. I really enjoyed the Paloma Fizz which was the featured Saturday drink during my stay. Cheers to Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown for offering these refreshing cocktails to guests.


MODERN COMMON SPACES


We arrived pretty late and it was nice to be warmly welcomed by staff. As soon as we walked thru the door, I noticed the beautiful Christmas Tree and modern decor. My daughter noticed the fresh green apples in the lobby, which were available for all guests to enjoy. The Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown also has comfy nooks and sitting areas for guests to unwind , enjoy 24/7 dining or get some work done in the business center.


COMFORTABLE ROOMS

The Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown makes great use of a small space by having a sofa that converts into a bed and a partition that gives partial privacy. The layout made it feel spacious during our two night stay. The room included a microwave, mini fridge and also a personal coffee maker in our suite. We all thought the bed and pillows were quite comfortable and we were satisfied with the cleanliness of the room.

What makes a hotel stay comfortable? Is it cozy bedding, a room that offers peace and quiet for a good night’s sleep, or the quality of in room amenities? I need all of the above and the Hyatt Place brand offers just that! Overall, we had a nice stay. Which for me meant I was able to rest, enjoy a hot breakfast in the morning, and service with a smile. Every single person here greeted my family and I with a genuine smile and inquired how our stay was going. While this may seen minor to some, it is major in my book. This is a way to show thanks and respect for my business. Next time you are in Downtown Atlanta for pleasure or business, consider staying at Hyatt Place Atlanta/Downtown.


HYATT PLACE ATLANTA/DOWNTOWN
330 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia, United States, 30308
Tel: +1 404 577 1980 | Fax: +1 404 688 3706

#FamilyTravel | Where to Play, Eat, Stay for the Holidays in Charlotte, NC #CLT

Thanksgiving Weekend 2018 has ended but not without making memories in Charlotte,NC. Me and my #HeighPartyof3 drove 2.5 hours to kick off our holiday season in the Queen City and had such a great time! I wanted to share some of the highlights from our visit to inspire other families who may be traveling there soon. Check out my Family Travel Guide|Where to Play,Eat,Stay for the Holidays in Charlotte,NC.

PLAY

Discovery Place & IMAX| website

Discovery Place, located in Charlotte’s Uptown area, is a wonderful hands on learning complex about technology, nature and science. Spread out over 3 floors, families can spend the day here exploring and having fun. Watch an IMAX feature, Touch a Starfish, Create Art with a hot glue gun, and Dance while learning how the muscles move in your body! There is plenty to see and do like looking at our skin cells under a microscope, crossing a rope bridge in the rainforest, playing the secret scents game and so much more! Discovery Place lets kids of all ages experience learning thru play. It is a great way to spend a fun day! To see more, watch youtube video>>here.

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Visiting #Charlotte #NC for the holidays? Take the whole family to @discoveryplace and discover something new! Swipe 🔙 and get inspired to learn more of the wonders of science, technology and nature. Plus, check out my #instastories as we explore three floors of fun for everyone from interactive displays, a rainforest, an @imax 3D theater and more! We ❤ science and had a blast! Have you ever been to Discovery Place? What did you discover? . . . #SobeSavvy #lifestyleblogger #NCblogger #familyblogger #fun #familyfun #family #clt #discoveryplacescience #Heighpartyof3 #museum #outandaboutAva #science #stem #stemlearning #travelblogger #play #thingstodoinCharlotte #learningisfun #Ilovescience #girlmom #dadanddaughter #nature #technology

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Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway | website

Charlotte Speedway is the annual home to “Speedway Christmas”. Every year thousands and thousands of lights takeover the infield and stands at this iconic racing venue. We got a chance to actually drive on the racetrack which my husband loved! Tune in to their own radio station and listen to Christmas tunes as you take a slow drive for a few miles. We enjoyed partaking in the tradition of seeing the unique sights and creativity used for the dozens of displays. Guests can stop at their Christmas Village for snacks, rides and shopping. Speedway Christmas is a seasonal, holiday event held at Charlotte Speedway. So pack the family up in the car and have your chance to drive on the speedway to see holiday lights! Pay one price per vehicle and sit back, sing Christmas Carols and Enjoy! Take a look at my youtube video and enjoy some of light displays at Speedway Christmas!

SobeSavvy Tip: It is recommended that visitors come in early in the season as the lines tend to get longer the closer they get to Christmas. Also going on a Thursday or Sunday night is best as the Village is open and movies are shown on the Speedway TV. On Dec.9 bring 5 Food Lion brand non-perishable food items and get $10 off admission!

EAT

Piedmont Social House | website

Looking for a place that has great food, a tap room, games and a 12 lane bowling alley? Then head to Piedmont Social House, located in the popular Ayrsley neighborhood of Charlotte. It is a one stop destination for an afternoon or evening of food,drinks and fun! The atmosphere here is energetic and lively. It is a great spot for groups or a fun date night. There is something for everyone in the family. The service was good and so were their Chicken and Waffles! Just feast your eyes on it here:

SobeSavvy Tip: Now through December 31 they have a special Gift Card Promotion. Buy a $50 Gift Card and receive a $10 Bonus Card! Just ake a look at my photos featuring good food and good vibes from our dining experience at Piedmont Social House >>here and you’ll want to give or get a gift card to this restaurant!

THE COWFISH Sushi•Burger•Bar | website

With so many restaurant choices around Southpark Mall in Charlotte, it can be hard to find something that is actually different. One in particular that stands out from the rest is The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar. Creative cocktails, innovative sushi rolls and awesome burgers is what ypu can find here. My daughter loves their kids menu choices, which comes with a Cowfish tattoo! Service is excellent and if you can, save room for dessert. See more drool worthy photos from our visit >>here and be sure to dine at The Cowfish when visiting Charlotte.

American Girl Bistro | website

SPECIAL..MAGICAL..MEMORABLE, Those are three words I would use to describe our visit to the American Girl Store/ Bistro. On Sunday, my #Heighpartyof3 enjoyed ‘Holiday Tea’ and each other during this event. Our #outandaboutAva and Luciana got all dolled up in their matching red velvet dresses for the special occasion! It was so darling! Girls got to visit the hot chocolate bar, play with a paper doll craft and we all had a chance to eat savory bites/sweet treats. Check out more photos from the Holiday Tea event>>here to see some of the holiday memories we made at this special in-store experience. With all the attention to the little details for girls and their dolls, it was a visit our daughter will never forget!

SobeSavvy Tip: Save 25% on matching dresses for girls and dolls thru 12/24/18! Find something special to make their season memorable and magical at americangirl.com

STAY


Hampton Inn & Suites Charlotte/SouthPark at Phillips Place| website

The Hampton Inn & Suites was a wonderful place to stay during our Charlotte visit. It is located at The Phillips Place Shops area and is within walking distance to many restaurants and even has a Whole Foods next door. The immense Southpark mall is right down the street. It has a stately lobby and public areas. Large modern and stylish suites awaits visitors. I loved the built in TV vanity mirror feature of our suite. There is complimentary Valet Parking and of course the Hampton Inn breakfast gets you ready for another day tackling the Queen City. Make this your property of choice on your next visit to Charlotte!

Here is an inside look at the Hampton Inn & Suites Charlotte/ SouthPark at Phillips Place:

As you can see, Charlotte is one of those cities in North Carolina that no matter the length or purpose of your visit, there are so many options for families. You can play, eat, stay and have fun along the way!

Planning to visit Charlotte this season? Which one of these places would be on your list?