Holidays Trip to…Charleston, SC

Definitely Airbnb (airbnb.com) has become our preferred app to book a place to stay. It is cheaper and most importantly we get to meet locals. And if you like to travel as much as we do, you should know that experiences when traveling is everything. You might not remember the place but you will definitely  remember the conversations, the smell, the laughs, and that will trigger the good memories.  

This was a short stop to Charleston thus we only spent a night on our way to see the family in Orlando, Fl (The Toll City :$ ). We stayed at Mt. Pleasent area, which is only 10 minutes from The French Quarter. This area looks very modern and growing; there are new constructions everywhere you look around. 

Revelry Brewing (@revelrybrewing) was our first stop of the night. They have very complex beers selection (this is a great compliment). We picked a barrel aged stout black and a belgian blonde. You gotta sit at the Rooftop…spoiler: the view is amazing. Nice crew, awesome environment, reasonable prices. 

City Market was our next stop. It was too late in the night to see the artesians but we had our appetizer as an anticipation for the entree the next day. 

The next day we said bye to our host and headed to the City Market (the main attraction). I didn’t know before Charleston is a cruise town. With that mind, there was a lot people in the City Market (Tip: try to look for a parking on the street. We paid over 15$ just for couple of hours. Don’t make that mistake.) Yes, you gotta go to the City Market. People work hard to make things for you to remember the city and come back to it:  baskets, soaps, scultures, paintings, pictures, horse ridings, books, recipes, food, chocolates, jewelry, clothes, scarves, more and more. At the time to leave this beautiful city we stopped to eat. 

Taziki’s (@tazikis) is a small mediterranean restaurant. As we started on this vegan diet adventure, we couldn’t pick a better place to continue with our healthy lifestyle. We ate two delicious sandwiches to then and only then continue hitting the road off to Orlando. 

MB

Wine Tasting Black Friday in North Carolina!

 

This year for the Thanksgiving weekend we decided to stay local and promote the small biz (An excuse to explore the nearest vineyards).

Our Black Friday started at 11:00am in Adams Vineyards & Winery. If you enjoy Muscatine and Fruit Wines this is a great place to visit. They have a great variety of wines, most of them are North Carolina awards winners. Among of those are: Papa Johnny’s Reserve and Mathew Red Reserve. Check their website here: adamsvineyards.com.

We are more dry wines drinkers. Adams has 3 different dry wines: Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Beulah. We chose the Beulah as the one to take home. It is a well balanced white wine. Ahh!! the owners are super sweet and easy to talk to….that’s what I call the true Southern Hospitality.

The second stop was Chatham Hill Winery in Cary. These guys export the grapes from the NC mountains and complete the wine process in the facilities in Cary. They have a large wine menu, checkout the website: chathamhillwine.com. We did the DRY Wine Tasting, where we tasted 8 (eight) different wines from the Dry Wine list. This list includes 12 (twelve) wines. They have also a Semi-Sweet Wine Tasting (but as I said before, we are more Dry wine drinkers at this point of our lives). I recommend the Perfect Harmony, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. If you are not in the mood for wine tasting go for a glass of any of those three.

Our third stop was a failure. We went to Cloer Family Vineyards to find out that it was closed. So, we headed to our truly third stop of the day: Doyle’s Vineyard. They were hosting a Wine and Painting event at that time but that didn’t stop Doyle to meet us in the Wine Tasting Room.  Doyle has six (6) whites and seven (7) reds going from dry to semi-sweet. No fruits wines in this place…just as an FYI. This place deserves you open a bottle and relax enjoying the view (if the weather permits). The Kaleidoscope’s Gold or Red or the Zinfandel (100% Zinfandel) are my top three, mix it with dark chocolate for a sweet treat.

I must say the best part of our wine tasting tour was the people we met… and skipping the Black Friday chaos in the Mega Stores!!!!

MB

Map Route
Black Friday Road Trip

 

 

“Country music, country food, country life…Nashville” 

 

We finally got out of town but I should say it was not one in our bucket list. We went to Nashville, Tennessee on New Years day.

Dressed up and ready for some good music, we hopped on the hotel’s complimentary shuttle to downtown. First stop of the night was at Legends Corner.  The layback atmosphere was noticeable. People singing, laughing, drinking and having a good time, we were no exception.  We grabbed a bite at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, not the best but just what we needed at the time.  Apparently, I offended a guy by wearing a tie and a vest. But hey, I just wanted to impress my girlfriend and she was happy so I took it off and we moved on to the next bar, Honky Tonk.  We called it a night and a cab.

Day 2 started with breakfast at The Garden Brunch Cafe. This cozy local place is awesome. If you are in the area, this place is a must. If they serve fancy drinks, mimosa and coffee before noon, I’m in and this place was all about of this. I have to add that the food was great. And with that we were ready for some sightseeing that only consisted of The Parthenon.  We went in, learned about it and took pictures. This is a subliminal message from my partner in crime to let me know how badly she wants to travel to Greece. I Got It!!! It was football championship day, a bottle of wine awaited for us at the hotel. This time around we wanted to do sushi for dinner (Koto, not much to say about this place) and go to the other bars we didn’t get to see the first night.  We went to Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, The Stage.  All of these in the Honky Tonk Highway. Walking around and farther out we ended up at a place called the WildHorse Saloon. A very layback, fun place suited for shots, shots, shots! Not a bad place, but if I were you I would stay at the Honky Tonk Highway were the action is. Crossing the streets we munched on pizza to go back to the hotel. A Fun night!

Last day in Nashville wasn’t any different. Good breakfast to start off! This time around we walked more, to get some souvenirs and take pictures. Kind of an obsession now, pictures of the places we visit. The day was getting gloomy and rainy so we spotted ourselves at Rippy’s Bar and Grill. Beers, drinks, football, music, hot wings, a great way to say ’til next time Nashvegas. Nashvegas is all about jeans, caps, beards, good live country music, good food, and a lot of booze and fun.  Nashvegas…We’ll be back!!!

MB

Broadway avenue
Broadway avenue
Broadway avenue
Broadway avenue
Broadway avenue
Broadway avenue
Honky Tonk fun! fun! fun!
Honky Tonk  fun! fun! fun!
Partheneon
Parthenon

IMG_0827

Country Breakfast
Country Breakfast
Layla's club
Layla’s club
shots, shots, shots
shots, shots, shots

Year comes to an end (Part II)

Well, last trip of the year…Charlotte, NC!! What a beautiful city!! Certainly one of the most beautiful metropolitan area of the US and the largest city of the NC. I was used to think that Charlotte was the capital of NC, but no, Raleigh is.

We arrived on Friday Dec 5th and stayed at Matthews (known for the short drive to Uptown Charlotte). We hit Uptown, Charlotte on Saturday. For our surprise, Charlotte was hosting the NCAA Football ACC Championship “Florida State vs Georgia Tech”. Uptown was packed and full of colors…gold and white, garnet and gold. We couldn’t get into couple of bars and restaurants because of the multitudes.  We ended up in City Smoke (Great choice!), great Pulled Pork and bourbon.  There, we wait until the football game started and moved to Mortimer’s Pub at the Epicentre.  We hit the lottery…music, football, beers, drinks, shots and another round of shots.

On Sunday, we went back to Uptown to visit the major attractions and take some pictures. Check them out at the end of the post!!!

I should add two more things to this post:  1. We have learned a lot of things in our trips.  On this one, I would say that the most important thing we learned was: check your luggage before hit the road. Ensure you have the appropriate clothes for the destiny you are heading to.  2. We are more than glad for the 2014 year adventures and looking forward for a new year full of health, life, food, and traveling.

MB

Georgia Tech Car
Charlotte Uptown View
Georgia Tech Car
Nascar Hall of Fame
Nascar Hall of Fame
Bank of America Stadium (Home of the NFL Carolina Panthers)

 

City Smoke
City Smoke

 

 

Year comes to an end (Part I)

Well my friends a fun year comes to an end. As I said in my previous blog we wanted to visit Blowing Rock and Charlotte before say goodbye to the 2014 and we did it!

In our way to Blowing Rock, we stopped first at Raffaldini Vineyards. We arrived around 1:00PM and we did the wine tasting. Eight (8) different types of wines, all locally manufactured and bottled. We are more like red wines kind of persons, although we are learning to enjoy white wines. Having said that, we bought a couple of red wines bottles and opened up one of them. We mixed up wine, cheese, salami (sold at Raffaldini Vineyards) and the stunning views from his backyard (See pictures below).

After that amazing stop at Raffaldini’s, we made it to Blowing Rock Downtown (It was too foggy that day so we skipped the Blue Ridge Parkway road in our way up). We arrived to the hotel (Hemlock Inn, Recommended!! Everything is walking distance from the hotel. Clean, hot water, and very comfortable), then we went to the Local Brewery. You should try the IPA and Belgian, they are so good!!! After that little snack, we spent the rest of the night at The Town Tavern watching college football and drinking local brews. People is really nice, there is a mix between college students and locals that makes the town really interesting.

The following morning we were trying to find a place to have breakfast but cafes open at noon. So we ended up in the only place open, had a coffee and hit the road. We visited the Moses H. Cone Mansion. In my opinion it wasn’t impressive but they have couple of handcrafted things really, really nice. I would add that the fog didn’t help to make justice to the place.

For the second part of this blog I will tell you about our trip to Charlotte.

Please feel free to comment. What we missed? Any recommendation? Any question about the places?

MB

Raffaldini Vineyards
Raffaldini Vineyards
Raffaldini Vineyards
Raffaldini Vineyards
Raffaldini Vineyards
Raffaldini Vineyards
Raffaldini Vineyards
Raffaldini Vineyards
Raffaldini Vineyards
Raffaldini Vineyards
Raffaldini Vineyards
Raffaldini Vineyards
Moses H. Cone Mansion
Moses H. Cone Mansion
Blue Ridge Parkway view
Blue Ridge Parkway view

Knowing North Carolina!!!

I know I mentioned in the previous post we were planning to visit another states, allow me to tell you, plans just changed.

Instead, due to work assignments, we just stayed at North Carolina and decided to start getting to know the state. First, we went to the Outer Banks. We felt in love with the area. It was just perfect…beaches, people, food, virgin areas, and drinks. If you have an adventurous spirit take the ferry to Ocracoke, rent a bike and visit the Lighthouse. Don’t forget to stop by Flying Melon for a delicious meal and Zillies for a beer (They have a very nice beer collection).

After that, we went to Wilmington. Nice Area! We went to a Surf Contest at Wrightsville and hang out with some locals. Downtown Wilmington is super busy. We took a bus tour and learned some secrets of the city. Downtown nightlife is super fun, it might be because the UNC University is close. You will find all classes of lifestyles, you will find anything you need to have a blast. I mean ANYTHING.

We are planning two more trips to complete the year: 1) Blowing Rock Area and 2) Charlotte. Any recommendation?

IMG_0548 IMG_0563 IMG_0567 IMG_0568 IMG_0576 IMG_0446 IMG_0462 IMG_0492 photo 3