9.16.2014

Travel Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Tweetsie Railroad in N.C for 25th Anniversary Ghost Train

It's #TravelTuesday and I've partnered with Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock this week for a great giveaway for all of you who love things that go "Boo!" in the night.  I'm the biggest scaredy cat of all so I'm leaving all of this frightful fun for you.

Photo by Barry Houck Photoworks
Tweetsie Railroad, one of North Carolina's most beloved attractions, will be a frighteningly fun world when the sun goes down as it celebrates the 25th anniversary of its Ghost Train® Halloween Festival, Friday and Saturday nights starting September 26 through November 1. 

Tweetsie is a fun, family-friendly destination, that my children adore and I've shared our trip before on the blog. 


Daytime visitors can still enjoy all of Tweetsie¹s Wild West adventure, rides and attractions; but when the sun goes down, ghosts and spirits fill the park when the gates open at 7:30 p.m.,daring brave guests to take a trip back in time to the "Great Train Wreck of 1914." Ghost Train passengers will travel back in time to the scene of one of the worst (fictional) accidents in railroading history. Old-timers swear they¹ve seen an apparition of the phantom locomotive and its doomed engineer and passengers. A true scream-worthy experience, the journey is filled with spooky frights around every bend and is guaranteed to give passengers a ghostly good time.




Named one of the "Top 20 Events in the Southeast" by the Southeast Tourism Society, the hauntings include much more than the signature train ride. Enjoy a spooky stroll through the Freaky Forest while encountering dark surprises along a desolate woodland pathway of terror. Visit The Boneyard where you can venture into the 3-D Maze, the disorienting Black Hole, and ­ new for 2014 ­ the mystifying Warp Tunnel. Brave visitors should not miss the spine-chilling Haunted House, where 13 spooky rooms will startle and challenge the imagination.

For those looking for less chills and thrills and more tricks and treats, visitors of all ages will be enchanted and amused by the spooktacular black light show at the Haunted Palace Saloon, the lively dance party on Tweetsie¹s Main Street, the amusement rides at the Creepy Carnival, and of course, it wouldn¹t be Halloween without traditional trick-or-treating throughout the park. The Ghost Train® Halloween Festival is safe, scary fun for all ages.

Due to the popularity of this annual event, a limited number of tickets are available for each evening. Many nights often sell out, so ordering advance tickets online is strongly recommended.  Admission is $31 for adults and children, while kids ages 2 and under are admitted free. Tickets are available at Tweetsie.com

I was in Blowing Rock recently, and rented a condo at the Chetola Resort. I love the new fire pit outside of Timberlake's Restaurant. I've not yet stayed in the hotel, but I would definitely do that if you have a party of four, and can fit in one room or a suite. The location of the lodge is within walking distance to everything at the resort whereas the condos are not. I think it would be ideal to sit out by the fire and then walk back to the room. 


I've also stayed at Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis and at the Courtyard Marriott in Boone, N.C. Fall is an extremely popular time in this area, especially on weekends. ASU has home football games, and hotels fill up quickly on the weekends. 


You may also want to check out FlipKey Vacation Rentals and be sure tor ready my Smoky Mountain Travel Guide. I'm a huge fan of our N.C. mountains. Be sure to read my  latest N.C. Travel article on Examiner.com.  And if you are in the area, be sure to grab a table at Dan'l Boone Inn. The food is good. No, MAKE that FABULOUS. 




The winner of this giveaway will receive two complimentary tickets. The giveaway will end on 9/23 at 12:00 a.m.

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9.11.2014

Hotel of the Week: 200 Main in Highlands, N.C.

Did you know that motel-chic is now in style as a place to stay when traveling?  It's cool to stay at older properties that perhaps looked a little, shall we say "economy" 20 years ago. Hotel owners with a sense of style are turning these dated properties into fabulous places to stay for a getaway that has the characteristics of a luxury hotel, but without the luxury hotel prices. Case in point is 200 Main in Highlands, N.C



I visited its sister property, Old Edwards Inn and Spa, last spring. Old Edwards Inn  is ultra lux, full-service, and one of my favorite hotels in N.C. In a nutshell, it's dreamy, but....and isn't there always a but? Old Edwards Inn and Spa can be out of some traveler's budget for various reasons. And it's not because they can't afford it, but rather, some traveler's would rather put costs in other places such as in restaurants, excursions, airfare, lots of travel, or even fashion. Designer boots will stay with you all autumn and winter. A hotel room is one night. Trust me, I get it.


This is where 200 Main comes into play as the type of hotel to consider or seek out when traveling if you like the look and basic amenities of upscale hotel rooms, but don't care about luxury extras.  200 Main is basically the type of property I discussed with you for my Savannah trip. However, traveler's going to the mountain town of Highlands are just lucky because 200 Main is an independent hotel that is very unique to its area. Taking a nod from its sister property, it offers guests frette linens, and heated tile floors in the bathroom. Rooms are not cookie-cutter in style.



Nightly rates are kept affordable because the hotel is not full-service. There is no room service. There is not a restaurant on property, but the hotel does offer complimentary muffins, fruit, and coffee in the Terrace Room each morning.




The property has a pool. It's family-friendly, and it is close to the action in Highlands. Are you ready for this? Summer and fall are peak times for this area of N.C.  When things are in demand, rates are still under $200 a night. Rates typically hover from $105 to $160 depending on demand and room. There is a minimum stay of two nights during the weekend, especially during peak autumn. Old Edwards Inn and Spa is known for its gorgeous destination weddings. With the addition of this new property in its portfolio,Old Edwards Hospitality Group,can give guests a more affordable option for lodging while in town. This hotel is sure to be a splash of success.


I've not yet seen 200 Main in person. I've been invited to visit, but Highlands is almost seven hours from Raleigh.  For a quick weekend, it's tough to get there.My family couldn't make it up this summer due to other travel plans.  After my stay in Old Edwards Inn and Spa though, I trust this hospitality group 100 percent,which is why I'm recommending this inn as a new option for some travelers in Highlands.

Fall is a glorious time in our mountains. Put the area on your travel list.

Want to Stay:
200 Main Street
Highlands, N.C.
http://www.200main.com/













9.07.2014

Southern Parenting Tale: Let it Go

If you have a daughter younger than 10 then there is a good chance, you've seen the "Frozen" movie. Perhaps you've even heard of the song, "Let it Go!"

I joke and say the song is this generation's version of  "You Light Up my Life" by Debby Boone. I can't tell you how many times I shouted that song from the back seat of my parent's car. I know hear "Let it Go" from my backseat a million times a day and lots of tears if anyone else in the car tries to sing it.

We did a quick overnight at North Hills this weekend, and I purchased an "Elsa" costume for Liza as a treat while we were there.

She put on the Elsa dress for the very first time at our hotel, and let's just say she "Let it Go!"


I thought I would share it with you for fun.  I can't believe she's going to be five in a few months. If you remember, I started this blog when she was a baby. Being a parent, it sometimes feels as if time stands still and at other times, time flies.

I would say this is a "time flies" moment, and I would love to keep her four for a while longer.

Be back soon.




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