5.26.2015

Personal Notes

I've been busy writing a dining guide for North Carolina's Crystal Coast that I hope to debut this week, and while doing that, I glanced down at my posting calendar tonight and realized that I've not posted here since May 16. That's kind of a long time in the blogsphere, Why the lull?

Well, it's because May is busier than December, and I've barely sat down in my office.  I was sick most of April with Bronchitis. My Mom has been ill most of April and May and I've had to check on her daily. She's doing better, and we celebrated her 80th birthday over the weekend with cupcakes.


And the baby of the family graduated from preschool this month. She is ready to bridge over to elementary school this coming August. I think we are all ready for this next chapter in our lives called kindergarten.



My other one has had spring concerts. He's now 9.  He's had a great school year and we're very proud of him. We have had no problems at all with the pineal cyst on his brain, and it's shown absolutely no growth at all. I have decided to take on the roll as PTA Vice President next year so things are going to get busier, but I'm ready for the challenge.



The school year is quickly coming to a close, and we're ready for the lazy days of summer before we hit the ground running in the fall.  It's always such a relief that first week when we don't have to be out of the house bright and early, but by week two, the kids drive me nuts with very little structure.

I've given both kids the roles of interns for the HinesSight Blog so I'm putting them to work this summer. My son is to get us up to speed on video, and well, for my daughter.....not sure. Knowing her, she will want to star in videos but regardless, I plan to keep us busy getting #OutaboutNC and we'll be taking a trip to Washington D.C. this summer as well.

Be sure to follow @HinesSightBlog and @OutAboutNC on Instagram. I was so pleased to have @OutAboutNC to be named as a travel account to follow on Instagram this week by Andrea Updyke, author of the Lifestyle Blog, Just is a Four Letter Word.

Before I close, we also have one more hurdle to overcome. Unfortunately, Will has been diagnosed with melanoma as of last week. We hope we've caught this skin cancer early, but we still don't know much at this point. His first appointment is next week. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Cheers,
Leigh 

5.16.2015

Great Road Trip Read for Kids: National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 (Giveaway)

I've been fortunate because Will has been a very hands-on parent for bedtime routines unless he is working late. I read to my son one night and he reads to our daughter. The next night, we switch kids. Of course, my 9-year-old can read to himself, but he still likes that time with a parent.  He and I are now reading 6th Harry Potter book, but recently, we switched things up and began reading the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016. 

National Geographic Kids Almanac


This is a fun read and I think every elementary school-aged child needs to add it to their summer reading list. NG Kids Almanac 2016 is bursting with information about the culture, history, animal life, geography, wackiest weather and weird but true facts (coolest coasters, wildest hotels!) from every corner of the globe.  In addition to an entire section that provides an overview of all 195 countries and another section containing info on our 50 states, the almanac also features "You Are There" vignettes, making the reader feel like they are on the Singapore Flyer (one of the world's highest observation wheels), spotting wild orangutans in Borneo or visiting the Mayan ruins of Copan in Honduras.  Quite simply, the NG Kids Almanac is a terrific introduction to not only the exotic lands far from home, but also exciting locations just a car ride away.  

We've had a lot of fun reading it, and let me tell you....I feel so much smarter. If I ever go to a cocktail party, I'll have lots of opening lines.  Let me just educate you. 

**Hey, have you been to Bermuda or the Bahamas lately? You're basically standing on ancient coral reefs. 

**Like honey in your tea? Did you  know that a single honeybee colony can produce 200 pounds of honey each year.? That is 91kg. 

**We are so lucky to have the Great Smoky Mountains in N.C. Did you know that  it is the most visited park in the U.S.? 

**Got some time on your hands?  The horologists at Buckingham Palace in London deal in time daily. There are two on staff and their job is to wind more than 350 clocks and keep them ticking. 

I think the NG Kids Almanac 2016 will be great for road trips to keep kids entertained in the car. The entire book is 337 pages, and each time you open it, you discover new facts. 

I'm giving away one copy to a lucky reader. Enter below. Want this book now?  You can order the book off of Amazon immediately. 

Learning can be so much fun. 






a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I received a complimentary copy of the book to review. 

5.10.2015

A Traveler's Look at Beaufort, N.C: A Cool and Historic Small Town

Historic Beaufort, N.C.

Beaufort, N.C. (pronounced Bo-fort) is North Carolina's third oldest town. It follows behind Bath, and Edenton as an historic town, but with its prime waterfront location on Beaufort Inlet with easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, you are likely to see some yachts on the waterfront that rival those in Monte Carlo,

Beaufort, N.C.


But, Beaufort is no Monte Carlo. It's not glitzy, but rather laid-back with a new trendy, preppy edge. Beaufort has always had its waterfront with big boats, historic homes, and gourmet restaurants, but now it also offers a downtown with cool coffee shops, wine bars, clothing boutiques that make Jack Rogers and Trina Turk lovers squeal with delight, art galleries, upscale gift stores with fine-linens, and a high-end pet shop with gourmet doggie biscuits.  All of these factors mixed with history have really helped shape Beaufort, North Carolina into one of the coolest small towns in America.

Beaufort is a hot vacation destination among North Carolina's Crystal Coast, and a town not to be missed when you are in this area. Beaufort is filled with historic bed and breakfast inns, and a few small hotels. Most homes are privately owned, but you can find a few vacation rentals with waterfront views.

Beaufort, N.C (channel)


Beaufort also makes the perfect day-trip or dinner spot destination, especially if you are staying on any of the Crystal Coast beaches like we did on this trip. From Beaufort, you can also visit Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks, the island with wild horses.

Historic Beaufort, N.C.


The Location 

Beaufort is about 20 minutes from Atlantic Beach and surrounding beaches, 10 minutes from Morehead City, and about 30 to 40 minutes from Emerald Isle.

The Historic Double-Decker Bus Tour of Beaufort




A must-do in this town is the Historic Double Decker Bus Tour conducted on a 1967 London Double-Decker bus, operated by the Beaufort Historical Association. We loved this tour, and learned so much about the town. It is a royal treat for adults and kids. The entire tour takes about 45-minutes. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tours are offered every day except on Sunday.

Beaufort Double-Decker Bus Tours


The tour will take you by the Old Burying Ground, historic churches, and homes. I personally love the homes, and a Beaufort event that is my favorite is the annual old homes and garden tour held each June.

Historic Inns and Homes in Beaufort, N.C.


Lunch at Historic Spouter Inn Restaurant and Bakery

When you are on the Crystal Coast, Beaufort is certainly the place to enjoy fine dining. On this particular trip, we dined on the waterfront at the Spouter Inn Restaurant and Bakery which has been a culinary staple in this historic town for 30 years. Despite my many trips to the area, this was the first time my family has dined at the restaurant.

Spouter Inn Restaurant and Bakery in Beaufort, N.C.


Here, you will dine with waterfront views like this. It is upscale, but not too formal for kids, especially during the day. They have crayons and a kid's menu. Dinner prices are above $20 for entrees, and I personally like to dine at that price point without my kids because my meals just aren't the same when I'm dining with my kids because I'm feel as if I'm always rushing or trying to focus on making sure they are behaving.  I will soon post a dining guide for the Crystal Coast so look for that soon.

Waterfront Dining at Spouter Inn Restaurant and Bakery


I loved my food at the Spouter Inn and will definitely go back. I got the crabcake salad, and it was divine. Reservations are suggested for dinner.

Desserts are the restaurant's specialty in Beaufort and it operates a public bakery. I was just too full to sample some coconut pie, and I really regret that decision now. I will do it on my next visit.

Places of Interest in Beaufort, N.C. 

Historic Beaufort Double-Decker Bus Tour
The Spouter Inn Restaurant and Bakery
NC Maritime Museum 
The Beaufort Coffee Shop and Cru Wine Bar
Island Proper
Beaufort Olive Oil Company
The Fudge Factory
The General Store
Beaufort Pet Provisions 
Beaufort Linen Company

Intimate Inns and Bed and Breakfast Inns in Historic Beaufort
*Many bed and breakfast inns prefer guests over the age of 10 or 12. Please check policies before booking for family travel. 
Inlet Inn  (Kid-friendly)
The Cedar's Inn and Restaurant
Front Steet Inn by the Sea
Pecan Tree Inn 
Beaufort Inn and Suites  (Kid-Friendly)
Ann Street Inn 
Langdon House Bed and Breakfast 
Old Seaport Inn 

Plan your Visit: 
The Crystal Coast
Wild Horses, A Lighthouse, and Emerald Isle: A Quick Look at the Crystal Coast


Disclosure: The bus tour and lunch at the Spouter Inn were part of my press agenda arranged by the Crystal Coast. 



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