NC Mountains – Asheville area

We love getting out of Florida for Thanksgiving so we decided to book as last minute Airbnb in the Asheville area. Options were limited so we chose a house in Hendersonville. It wasn’t our ideal cabin-esque home, but the views could not have been any better!

As with our last trip to the mountains, we drove through the night so that the little one could sleep. Both home owners for Seven Devils and this rental in Hendersonville were so understanding and accommodating – letting us check in and out at odd times.

Day 1

When we arrived, we went to the Collier Cove Nature Preserve that was just a few minutes down the street. It had a great path and let us have a nice stretch after being in the car so long. After we explored for a while, we went grocery shopping and made our way to the house for a good nap.

After naps, we went to Burntshirt Vineyards. Like I’ve said before, vineyards became a favorite pandemic activity! Outside, tons of space, and wine!

Day 2

The next morning our plans were derailed when we found a tick in our little ones neck. Instead of a pretty waterfall, we went straight to urgent care! The tick broke and it’s hook was stuck in her neck. She was an absolute trooper. The difficult part was trying to find doxycycline in liquid form for a 2 year old to be able to take. We had to bounce around to several pharmacies before we found what we needed. Moral of this paragraph, don’t forget to check for ticks! I now keep a Tick Twister in my first aid kit.

Pardee Urgent Care

Later that evening, we went to the Biltmore to see the gorgeous Christmas lights! It was so beautiful! You have to have tickets in advance so be sure to purchase them online. The earlier you can book them, the less expensive they are. The prices creep up throughout the holiday season.

Day 3

On Day 3, we squeezed in a lot since Day 2 didn’t go as planned. We started early and went to two different waterfalls – Looking Glass Falls (pictured here) and Triple Falls. The little one was able to handle it all and loved it!

After the waterfalls and a nap, we went back to Antler Village to walk around in daylight. On the way there, while at a red light, a van rear-ended us going 40 MPH, causing us to hit the folks in front of us. Luckily, everyone was okay and all parties involved were SO NICE! The woman that hit us mailed an apology card a few weeks later with a big sticker book for our daughter. The truck was okay to drive (yay steel bumpers!) so we still continued on with our plans.

As the sun went down, we left Antler Village and went to the NC Arboretum for their drive-thru lights show. It would have been more fun to walk around, but they did a wonderful job, considering we were in a pandemic!

Day 4

Since we packed so much into Day 3, we took it easy on the morning of Day 4. In the afternoon, we went to Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards. It was a cute little property and we had a lot of fun walking around.

Day 5

Happy Thanksgiving! In the morning, my mom and I went to a falconry experience. Every year for Christmas, I try to find an activity instead of a gift so this was her early Christmas present!

Later, we took it easy and had our Honey Baked Ham Co. dinner and Baked Pie Co. dessert.

Day 6

Our last day! Cameron and I did a hike on our own, while little one stayed with my mom. I think she could have handled it, but we weren’t sure before going. The Rainbow Falls trail was easy and well marked. And we actually caught an early morning rainbow!

After naps, we went to Point Lookout Vineyards. Oh. My. Goodness. This place was gorgeous. If anyone would ever like to get married there, please invite me!

That night, we were Florida-bound as our last vacation of 2020 was complete.

Weekend Getaway – Raleigh, NC

A few years ago, Cameron and I started an annual tradition of visiting his brother and our sister-in-law in Raleigh for Easter. It gives us an excuse to get away for a long weekend and gives them the opportunity to have family around for a holiday without having to take time off of work.

A lot of our time is spent relaxing, eating, and drinking. But we also go on some adventures too! I’ll share all of our favorites here.

But first, planning. We try to wait for a Southwest sale that encompasses the dates around Easter (or whatever other weekend we decide to go). Southwest has early morning nonstop flights from Tampa to Raleigh, so it’s a really easy and convenient way to get there. You can also look at Delta. Allegiant tends to have inexpensive fares but the dates aren’t as flexible. If you can’t find a sale through Southwest, tickets are typically $250 per person round-trip.

Favorite Eats

Let’s start with the most important parts of this trip – food. If you like southern food and have not been to Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, add it to your list of places to try! I get the chicken & waffles every year but have also tried almost the entire menu! My top 3 picks are the chicken & waffles, chicken biscuit, and chicken pot pie. And I think it’s pretty necessary to get a side order of biscuits to-go. You’ll thank me in the morning.

Right across the street from Beasley’s is Bitter Sweet – a specialty coffee, dessert, and cocktail bar. This picture isn’t great, but I can assure you that this s’mores sundae was!

Smashed Waffle in Durham. These little treats are delicious! Grab a waffle-wich to share so that you have some protein and then one of each specialty waffle to share (6 total). This is definitely the way to go so you can try a little of everything!

A few other favorites:

Boylan Bridge Brewpub – great stop for views, apps, and drinks!

Torchy’s Tacos – YUM! These things are huge so you may not need to order as many as you think.

The Station at Person Street – BRUNCH! This is my favorite brunch spot. Be mindful that alcohol cannot be served on Sunday until 12:00 PM in Raleigh.

Boulted Bread – There will always be a line. Go early to grab your favorites!

Whiskey Kitchen – Fun atmosphere, good drinks, good food.

Trophy Brewing Co. – Our go-to pizza place in Raleigh.

The Third Place – Our go-to breakfast spot in Five Points. The smoothies are delicious!

Lonerider at Five Points – Fun brewery with tons of outdoor seating. Dog and kid friendly.

Bowstring Pizza and Brewyard – Fun brewery with outdoor seating and great cocktails included on the menu. Limited parking.

You’ll see The Pit as a highly rated destination but if you’re looking for good bbq, find a nice little hole in the wall place. It was good, but not memorable.


Our usual Friday plans when we land include a round of golf at The Preserve at Jordan Lake Golf Club.  Some years, winter may be longer than normal and Easter may land in March, so the course won’t be in ideal condition to play. If it’s not, we’ll relax and nap with the pups.

Centennial Campus Disc Golf Course – We’re all terrible at disc golf but it was a lot of fun to walk the course and try out our non-existent Frisbee skills. This course is only 9 holes so we played twice. It was a gorgeous day and a fun way to spend it outside.

On Easter Sunday, we go to the Sarah P. Duke Botanical Gardens. This is an annual tradition that I love! The gardens were closed for Easter 2020 and 2021 due to Covid, but they are open again!

Since the gardens were closed for 2021, we visited the WRAL Azalea Garden. It’s free to enter, just like the Duke Gardens!

Walking the trail at Lake Johnson. This is a great paved trail to enjoy.

Pullen Park.  We love this park and try to stop by every year. Pre-kids, it was fun. With kids, it’s fun. Overall, great spot to walk around and enjoy. Playgrounds, pond, gorgeous flowers, train, carousel, and more.

Laurel Hills Park. HUGE playground, walking trails, baseball fields, soccer fields, a pond. The playground is ADA accessible and really impressive.

North Carolina Museum of Art. Another great outdoor trail to enjoy!

Roanoke Park. This park is in Five Points. We grab breakfast at The Third Place and then head to the playground.

Marbles Children’s Museum. Awesome spot for kids and different areas are geared toward different age groups.

Museum of Life and Science. We visited in October and attended their pumpkin patch event (museum admission + pumpkin patch admission). The kids played games, picked a pumpkin to take home, and rode a train!

NC Chinese Lantern Festival (winter time). One of the coolest light displays I’ve ever seen.

Drive Shack. Great spot if you’re looking for something to do with adults or kids.

Message me with any questions that you might have! If you get the chance to visit, I hope you enjoy!