3.30.2014

Southern Chat: A Divine Spring Menu and Horse-Racing Cocktails at the Washington Duke Inn

Spring Menu at Washington Duke Inn
A sampling of the Washington Duke Inn Spring Menu
I attended a Kentucky Derby inspired media luncheon for the launch of Washington Duke Inn Executive Chef Jason Cunningham's spring menu this week. It wasonly 40 degrees the day the luncheon was held, but we put on our spring hats anyway, and enjoyed the spring blooms around us.

Washington Duke Inn
Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club

The Washington Duke Inn, located in Durham, N.C. on the campus of Duke University, is a gorgeous property. If I lived closer, I think you would find me on this terrace a lot more enjoying lunch or dinner. When I am able to get to the hotel to dine, it is a treat because Jason is a fabulous chef. You already know it is a favorite spot of mine for afternoon tea, and his partnership with Carolina farmers and artisans make dining here special. His Dinner at Dusk menu, served daily from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with a prix-fixe price of $35 per person, is one of the best culinary bargains in the Triangle.

Washington Duke Inn
The Fairview Dining Room Terrace

The 2014 spring menu delights. We were served several lunch-type items as well as seasonal salads. The soup and salads are on the main menu in the Fairview Dining Room for both lunch and dinner, but my favorite entree is available only at lunch in the Fairview Dining Room and at the Bull Durham Bar for all-day dining.  I tip my black hat to the Field Pea Burger. For our sampling, Jason paired it with the Asparagus, Spring Pea and Mint Soup. It was excellent. I highly recommend it.

Field Pea Burger at Washington Duke Inn
Pea Field Burger and Asparagus, Spring Pea, and Mint Soup

The Washington Duke Inn hosts a special Kentucky Derby Day on the day of the Derby each year. It will be serving the same cocktails that are popular at top horse races in the U.S. We sampled Mint Juleps, the signature drink for the Kentucky Derby, the White Carnation, the drink of the Belmont Stakes, and the Black-Eyed Susan, the preferred drink for the Preakness

Recipe for Mint Julep, Black-Eyed Susan, White Carnation
Mint Julep, Black-Eyed Susan, White Carnation
The mint juleps were so good that I couldn't stop raving about it to those seated by me. But, the white carnation came in a close second. It's more like a dessert cocktail. Truthfully, I could have downed the entire thing and had another, but it was a working professional lunch so I just had a very modest taste. I also didn't have my chauffeur with me so I was very cautious. I loved both drinks, and the mint juleps. Well, that may be my new Southern thing. 

The Inn shared the recipes with us so I'm not going to share them with you.  

Mint Julep

1 1/2 ounces Maker's Mark
1 ounce mint simple syrup
1 ounce seltzer

Combine bourbon and syrup in an ice shaker, shake vigorously, pour over ice, top with seltzer, and garnish with sprig of mint. 

Black-Eyed Susan

1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounces St. Germain elderflowr liqueur
1/2 ounce blackberry brandy
2 lemon wedges

Combine ingredients in an ice shaker, and strain into martini glass, garnish with floating lemon wheel.

White Carnation

1 1/2 ounces vodka
3/4 ounce peach schnapps
1/2 ounce half and half cream
1/2 ounce orange juice

Combine ingredients in ice shaker, shake vigorously, strain into martini glass, garnish with an orange peel. 

Enjoy!

Hats off to the Inn for a great time. 

HinesSight Blog
Washington  Duke Inn Spring Menu Luncheon
Kathy with WRAL Out and About, Wendy with Op5 Creative Public Relations, Johanna, Durham Foodie, Hopie Avery, Triangle Scout Guide, and me. 






3.26.2014

Fearrington Belties Live the Five-Star Life

The Fearrington House Inn, located in Pittsboro, North Carolina is a five-star Relais & Chateaux hotel that captures my state's pastoral beauty.

Beltie Cows at Fearrington House Inn
@FearringtonNC Instagram Account
I love the Beltie cows that live around the Inn and Fearrington Village. Aren't they adorable? This photo was posted on the @FearringtonNC Instagram account this month and I fell in love with it. The official breed is Belted Galloway cows. The hotel uses the hashtag #FearringtonBehindtheScenes. The Fearrington House Inn has been named as N.C.'s best hotel, and is also ranked as a Top 100 hotel in the U.S.

The Inn is close to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When in college, my roommate and I had a beautiful black and white cat named, Maggie. Every time we would ride by the Fearrington Inn, we would call these cuties "Maggie Cows". I've just always been fond of them.

To learn more about this beautiful country Inn and its history, visit the hotel's website. My last overnight stay at the Inn was shortly after my son was born for my birthday. A lot of changes have been made since my last visit, including the addition of a spa and new room renovations. My husband and I plan to visit the Inn sometime soon for another overnight, but we've got to work on the logistics of a kid-free weekend first.

Beltie Cows at Fearrington House Inn

The Fearrington House Inn is a small hotel with 32-rooms, but this Instagram photo shows you how many staff are needed to run a top-ranked hotel. The photo was the Inn's Holiday greeting on Instagram last year. The original house serves as the Fearrington House Restaurant, a 2014 James Beard Foundation Award Finalist.

Fearrington House Inn in Pittsboro, NC
Staff of the Fearrington House Inn
@FearringtonNC IG account
The Fearrington Village has shops, a cheese and wine store, a more casual restaurant, and a great bookstore. It's definitely worth a weekend stroll.

Do you have a great Instagram travel story to share? Read the linky rules below and join us this week (but don’t forget to grab our logo {here} and link to at least one of hosts in your post). If you are not a blogger, but have an Instagram account tag your lovely travel moments with #IGTravelThursday. No blog, no Instagram? You can still join in the fun by reading our IG-related travel stories and by giving us some feedback love!  If you want to host the IG Travel linky on your blog so that your readers can easily find our posts, you may use this,  get the InLinkz code


3.23.2014

Sunday Chat: Cabbage and Tomatoes Fat-Burning Soup Recipe

I am probably an old snake oil salesman’s dream client because I sometimes like living life without always making the changes I need to stay healthy and active. I always have great intentions, but I sometimes fall short. 

Hines-Sight Blog (Fat Burning Soup Recipe)
Celebrating my 45th birthday and my son's 8th birthday in December of 2013.

I take more different types of vitamins on a daily basis than I can name. There are so many bottles in the medicine cabinet that they practically fall out when I open the door.

Will likes to say, “You know there have been some studies that show vitamins are a waste of money!”

And then there are teas for bloating and teas for mood swings in my kitchen pantry.

They are stacked high in the back with the herbal tea for a sore throat and the funky-smelling green tea to burn fat. 

I am that one person that a salesperson tries to hone in on during a shopping trip to Whole Food. 

Now that you know all of that, then it will not surprise you to learn now that I made a fat-burning soup last week to jump-start some weight loss. 

Fat Burning Soup with Cabbage and Tomatoes


You already know from my writing on this blog, I completed a wholesome detox in 2012, and lost weight again with Denise Austin in the fall of 2013.   But like any normal person, I threw all of that hard work out the window by taking a Disney vacation, and by indulging in Christmas goodies and cocktails the last of the year. I also love my craft beer and occasional scone. 

I've never been an overweight person, but last month, I felt overweight. My clothes in my closet were too small. I was 10 pounds heavier than I was in November 2013.  My doctor says we all gain weight with age, but it is important to get control of your weight so that you are not adding on extra pounds yearly because you think it just comes with age. 

I would try to cut back calories.I would lose a pound or two then go out to eat over the weekend, and regain the pounds by the middle of the week. I was like a rat spinning its wheels in this cage called life. Unless I followed an eating plan exactly, I would get nowhere with weight loss. 

Fat Burning Soup with Cabbage and Tomatoes


Now for the scoop on the soup. I made the soup. I liked the taste, and it helped me tremendously with bloating and portion control. Within three days, I lost about four pounds. After I stopped eating the soup, I then focused on limiting my calories. I've continued to lose weight, about seven pounds total. 

Many people have asked for this soup recipe on Facebook. It is part of a medical diet that I did not follow except for two and half days. By the end of day three, I ate a small plate of spaghetti during a family dinner. I needed something more than soup, fruit and vegetables. I couldn't stand it.  Day 4 was just crazy with skim milk and bananas. I said no more. I continued to eat the soup though until I ran out, but ate normal portions of food during the day. 

Fat-Burning Soup


I believe in Denise Austin's eating style, and I knew this soup diet was not the right way to lose weight long-term, but I needed this jump start. The soup is good. My opinion is that if it causes me to eat less of other foods then it helps with my goals. I have a problem with portion control more than anything. And I don't always make the time for exercise either. 

Green Onions in Fat-Burning Soup


Basic Fat-Burning Soup
(my version)

6 large green onions
2 large cans of tomatoes
1 large head of cabbage, chopped
1 bunch of celery
shitake mushrooms for flavoring
1 hot pepper
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1/4 inch of Kombu seaweed
Vegetable broth. I used organic
Spices for flavoring: Your choice. I used a red pepper sauce, thyme, oregano, etc. 

Saute veggies in olive oil. Add tomatoes. Cover with a combination of broth and water.  Boil for ten minutes. Season it with items of your choice.  They say the more you eat, the more you lose. Do not drink alcohol while eating this soup. 

I have no idea if this soup burns fat or not, but what I do know is that I reduced my calories while eating the soup, and it helped me achieve weight loss.  

Will I make another batch? Well, there is a head of cabbage in my fridge right now. 







3.19.2014

Tropical Escape to Family-Friendly Four Seasons Punta Mita, Mexico

It's been a long winter in Raleigh this year. We were out of school for ice two days ago. Our tenth school day we've missed this winter for ice or snow. We're not used to this in the South. As a result, I've been turning to my Instagram account to escape somewhere tropical and sunny.

How does this view look?

Punta Mita, Mexico (Four Seasons)
@FSPuntaMita Instagram account


And let's pretend this mango margarita is in our hands. 

Mango Margarita from Four Seasons Punta Mita


I love to follow The Four Seasons Punta Mita on Instagram, and apparently, this hotel in paradise likes to make margaritas. I say, "How quickly can I get there?"

I've not personally been to The Fours Seasons Punta Mita, but it is on my dream list. The resort is about 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta.  Every Saturday night as a child, I heard Julie on The Love Boat say, "And our next stop is Puerto Vallarta."  I've not been there either, but my gut tells me I would want to go straight to this resort once I got off the plane.

The Four Seasons Punta Mita recently renovated its rooms, and it is very family-friendly.  You can have a tropical drink by the pool, and so can your mini-me.

Tropical cuties at Four Seasons Punta Mita
@FSPuntaMita Instagram Account

I fell in love with big and small drink photo this week on Instagram. It gets my vote as a favorite in my feed.

Are you feeling tropical today?

Four Seasons Punta Mita
@FSPuntaMita Instagram Account

What tropical drink would you order?

Do you have a great Instagram travel story to share? Read the linky rules below and join us this week (but don’t forget to grab our logo {here} and link to at least one of hosts in your post). If you are not a blogger, but have an Instagram account tag your lovely travel moments with #IGTravelThursday. No blog, no Instagram? You can still join in the fun by reading our IG-related travel stories and by giving us some feedback love!  If you want to host the IG Travel linky on your blog so that your readers can easily find our posts, you may use this,  get the InLinkz code






3.17.2014

Rainbow Fruit Tray, Shamrock Sugar Cookies, and Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick's Day! My friend, Michelle, hosted a St. Patrick's Day party at her Wilmington, N.C. home this past weekend. I fell in love with this rainbow fruit tray she assembled with strawberries, oranges, pineapples, grapes, bananas, and marshmallows.

Rainbow Fruit  Tray
Rainbow Fruit Tray

I think this is a fantastic idea for a kid's themed party, especially for  St. Patrick's Day, but any party really. Think My Little Pony! There is a horse named Rainbow Dash.  Cute, simple, and clever idea.

I think I could make the fruit tray, but I leave yummy baked goods to the Raleigh baking professionals.

At Yellow Dog Bread Company in Downtown Raleigh this week, I tasted this great shamrock sugar cookie.

Shamrock Cookie from Yellow Dog Bread Company in Raleigh, N.C.
Shamrock Cookie at Yellow Dog  Bread Company


Yellow Dog is one of my favorite Tuesday spots in Downtown Raleigh. It's located on Franklin Street in the Historic Mordecai area. I hit this bakery/coffee shop after dropping my son off to school. You-know-who and I have about an hour to kill before her dance class. Yes, the cookie was for her, and I barely even got half a clover.

HinesSight Blog


LaFarm Bakery in Cary, N.C. is my other favorite place in Wake County to go for coffee and  baked goods. It's off my normal beaten path, but I love to get over there when I can. It's located off of Cary Parkway. I was there last week working on a feature store with bakery owner and master bread baker, Lionel Vatinet. It was such a treat to pop in during one of their busy, seasonal times. On this day, the bakery was busy making Irish Soda bread in addition to their other popular loaves. I was invited into the kitchen as they were making Irish Soda Bread that day. Lots of yummy butter goes into 40 loaves.

LaFarm Bakery in Cary, N.C.
LaFarm Bakery has 70 employees and they bake a lot of bread while we sleep

Irish Soda Bread from LaFarm Bakery
LaFarm Bakery's Irish Soda Bread 


Irish Soda Bread sold at LaFarm Bakery in Cary, N.C.


Lionel Vatinet
Look for my feature with Lionel Vatinet soon

I'll be sure to let you know when my feature on Lionel and LaFarm Bakery runs because it may be published on a few different sites before it runs on this one. Be sure to follow me on social media and never miss a HinesSight Blog post by subscribing by e-mail, which can be done on my sidebar. I post about 2 to 3 times a week.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! And I leave you with one more rainbow. One of my little sparkles in life.

HinesSight Blog


And for my travel lovers, follow @todestination on Instagram. She's my colleague at Skimbaco Lifestyle. She captured this beautiful Irish rainbow in Ireland last fall.

Photo by @ToDestinationUnknown on Instagram (Irish Rainbow)
@ToDestinationUnknown on Instagram



3.16.2014

Sunday Chat: Lunch with a View of Raleigh's Skyline at PR @ the Poole

I've got a new lunch place in Raleigh to chat about today. I'm excited about this one because it's like dining at a country club or on a resort patio by the golf course. The view of Raleigh's skyline is cool.

PR at the Poole in Raleigh
PR @ the Poole in Raleigh, N.C. 

One of Raleigh's well-known and iconic dining establishments, Player's Retreat, which has been serving State students on Oberlin Road since 1951, has opened a second restaurant at the Carol Johnson Poole Clubhouse on the Lonnie Poole Golf Course in the heart of Centennial Campus at N.C. State University.

Yeah, that's a lot of names, but all you have to remember is PR @ the Poole. 


Carol Johnson Poole Clubhouse
Carol Johnson Poole Clubhouse on N.C. State Centennial Campus
The Atmosphere

PR@ the Poole opened about a month ago. Now that the weather is getting nicer in Raleigh, PR @ the Poole is ready to get the word out about its opening.. As it gets warmer, the restaurant will be extending its hours into the early evening as well. I'm probably most excited about that for the summer time. Diners will also be able to go to the club for holidays like Easter and the 4th of July. Special holiday menus will be served. It is important to note that even though this feels like a country club, it's public and anyone can dine there.

N.C State University invited me to come out to try the food at PR @ the Poole in order to experience the restaurant's atmosphere firsthand. Before I was contacted, I had no idea the restaurant was there and open for business. This was also my first visit to the public golf course, which serves as the home course for NC State's golf team.

With the original Player's Retreat being a popular Raleigh favorite among diners, I think PR @ the Poole will become a Raleigh jewel for people like me who want casual food in a resort-like setting. Nothing could be more relaxing than drinking a NC Craft Beer on a patio.

Outdoor seating at PR at the Poole

The Menu and Food

The menu is in line with the original Player's Retreat menu, but pizza is not served here. The menu is also not as extensive since it does not serve until 2 a.m. PR @ the Poole owner, Gus Gusler, carefully chose some of his more popular items to serve at the clubhouse.

What golfer wouldn't like a beer and a burger?  And I'm not talking about just any burger. I'm talking about fresh, Angus beef grounded daily by the restaurant.  And boy, you can taste the difference.

Angus Beef Burger at PR at the Poole in Raleigh
PR @ the Poole serves fresh, Angus beef 

My entire family got burgers. Sorry!  That was not a lot of variety on our part to try different things, but I couldn't help it. Sitting on that deck overlooking Raleigh's skyline and this golf course made a burger and a NC beer the best choice for me.

My son probably has had a burger in at least six luxury hotels in the past two years, and I don't remember getting this type of reaction after a first bite anywhere, except maybe at the Inn at Biltmore last year. At first bite, he immediately said, "Mmm...this is good!"

HinesSight Blog Restaurant Review

Family-Friendly and Food Price Points

PR @ the Poole is kid-friendly. At our visit, a children's menu was not printed yet, but Gusler says they will get that taken care of right away, and the kid's menu will be in line with what is served at the main Player's Retreat. The prices will also be reasonable with hot dogs at $1.75 and other entrees under $5.00.  My burger included house-made chips and a non-alcoholic drink for $9.95. The restaurant's menu has a concept of 15 meals for $9.95 which include favorites such as a Reuben, chicken salad, grilled chicken, veggie burger, veggie stir-fry plus chili and salads. Heavier entrees are also served with a price point around $15.

I will certainly be back. I probably need to branch out and try something else, but it's going to be hard not to order a burger.

Lonnie Poole Clubhouse at NC State


PR @ the Poole is also a new location in the area for wedding receptions and other parties, events, or celebrations.

Interior of PR at the Poole


Want to Go:
PR @ the Poole
Carol Johnson Poole Clubhouse
Centennial Campus
NC State University
Raleigh, N.C.


Disclosure: My only expense at this restaurant was for alcohol beverages, and gratuity. As always, my opinion about a restaurant or property I visit is my own. 











3.12.2014

Snapshots of a Cool New Ride at Loews Hotels

I am a new follower to Loews Hotels on Instagram. The account features all of its 19 properties. The hotel chain took to its Instagram account to announce a new partnership with FIAT on March 12. Guests of the Loews Regency Hotel in New York can get complimentary rides in the new FIAT 500L while staying at the hotel.


Fiat at Loews Regency Hotel in New York
@LoewsHotels IG account
Loews Regency Hotel in New York

How cute is that? Also, FIAT owners can get a discount of up to 30 percent on Loews Hotel stays in the U.S. as part of the new partnership. Four other Loews Hotel properties will have the FIAT 500L as a complimentary perk for its guests.

The Loews Regency reopened  in late January after a major renovation. There are not a lot of interior shots on the main IG account yet, but staff are certainly getting around the city.

New York City
@LoewsHotels IG Account
New York City


New York City
@LoewsHotels IG account
New York City

I'm sure as the new FIAT cars gets out and about in these cool cities, we'll see even more  photos from the Loews Hotel Instagram account throughout the U.S. The five properties which will have the complimentary FIAT car service are: Loews Hollywood, Loews Santa Monica Beach, Loews Miami Beach, Loews Regency (New York), and Loews Madison (Washington, D.C.).

Loews Madison's FIAT in Washington D.C. was also featured on the main Instagram account with its cute, new ride.

Fiat at Loews Hotels at Washington D.C.
@LoewsHotels IG account

And the FIAT USA Instagram account proudly showed a white FIAT in front of a Loews Hotel property on Wednesday afternoon. This looks to be a great partnership. I kind of want to ride around in one on vacation.

Fiat at Loews Hotels
@FiatUSA IG account


Do you have a great Instagram travel story to share? Read the linky rules below and join us this week (but don’t forget to grab our logo {here} and link to at least one of hosts in your post). If you are not a blogger, but have an Instagram account tag your lovely travel moments with #IGTravelThursday. No blog, no Instagram? You can still join in the fun by reading our IG-related travel stories and by giving us some feedback love!  If you want to host the IG Travel linky on your blog so that your readers can easily find our posts, you may use this,  get the InLinkz code

3.09.2014

Where to Stay for 36 Hours in Raleigh, N.C.

As I sit here today, it's my most least favorite day of the year. I hate losing an hour. I love all that Daylight Savings Time brings, but losing an hour kills me. It takes me days to adjust. I drive my husband crazy by saying, "Old Time. New Time" for a week or so. But, while we are on the subject of time, the N.Y. Times debuted a great article on my hometown this week called, "36 Hours in Raleigh." 

Downtown Raleigh, N.C.
Downtown Raleigh, N.C. 

They put together a fast-paced agenda that would exhaust the leisurely side of me, but they certainly hit the highlights of the city. 36 hours in Raleigh is simply not enough time because there is so much to see and do. At least, make it 48 hours. Better yet, at least shoot for 72 hours in Raleigh.  The more days, the merrier.

I may take things at a more leisurely pace, but I have to agree with all of their restaurant choices in the article. I've been to every one. I love Bida Manda, and the Stanbury. I would also add Big Mike's BBQ to the list for the BBQ lover because I like Mike's baked beans so much, and I enjoy having a beer with my que.

Joule in Raleigh, N,C.
Great Cafe au Lait and Black Currant Scones at Joule in Raleigh, N.C. 

I was at Joule for the first time this week, which is a restaurant mentioned in the article. I give a big thumbs up to the black currant scones.  And, here's my advice for those visiting Joule on Wilmington Street. Go ahead and park in one of the multiple decks. I chose street parking, and did not feed my meter enough. I learned the hard way, in the form of a $20 parking ticket, that the Raleigh parking police definitely work in the pouring rain.

My college roommate who lives in Atlanta, has been so supportive of my blog. She sent me the article link and said,  "someone is usurping your role!." I laughed. I do know about Raleigh destinations, but I certainly leave the nightlife, bar scene, fashion scene, and calendar of events to my other Raleigh blogging colleagues because I just can't keep up that coverage on a daily basis. @Triangle Explorer, @RaleighWhatsUp, @Gadaboutfood@RUWandering, @FoodaliciousFollies and @WRALOutandAbout are my go-to sources about what's happening in the Triangle with events and restaurants. 

I do, however, know a lot about the hotels in my area. If you noticed, accommodations were mentioned at the very end of the article. I want to expand a little more on that today because when you plan a trip, I believe a hotel is an important part of that vacation. Raleigh has a lot of great places to stay, but where you choose to stay really depends on what you are doing in the area, and the feel you want for your trip. 


The Marriot City Center
The lobby in the Marriott Raleigh City Center
If I were visiting Raleigh (Wake County only), I would probably choose to stay in three areas. Those areas would be in Raleigh's Midtown area, which was not mentioned in the article, Downtown Raleigh, and of course, The Umstead Hotel and Spa, located in Cary, N.C. The luxury hotel is not located in Raleigh, but it's only a couple of exits away from RDU-International Airport and is still a short drive (about 20 minutes) to the heart of Downtown Raleigh or Raleigh's Midtown. 

I recommend these specific areas for the leisure traveler to choose a hotel.  If you are a business traveler, or coming to visit family, attend a wedding, or coming for a specific purpose such as a little league tournament then you may have very specific needs. We have lots of great hotels that would suit those needs throughout the Raleigh area, including the hotels in the areas I recommend. 


The Renaissance North Hills
Renaissance Raleigh North Hills 

But, let's talk specific to this N.Y. Times article. Everything the writer listed is located inside the Raleigh beltline. For that reason only, I feel Downtown Raleigh hotels would be the best places to stay to tackle that particular 36-hour itinerary. 

For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, you know that I absolutely love the Umstead Hotel and Spa, but this five-star hotel is a destination of its own. 36 hours in Raleigh is not enough time to soak up the flavor of Raleigh, and also soak up all that the Umstead Hotel offers its guests. You need more time in the area so you can enjoy the hotel. 


The Spa at the Umstead Hotel
The Spa at the Umstead Hotel in Cary, N.C. 

You should not go there without visiting the spa, and the hotel's food is some of the best in the Triangle. I had the chicken pot pie in the Lobby Bar of the hotel last week, and it was divine. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't want to check into the Umstead, pay the luxury prices that go with that experience, and then be gone for 16 hours of the day, especially if all you want to do is pack in as much sightseeing, nightlife, and visit as many craft breweries as possible in a short amount of time. 


A Room Balcony at the Umstead Hotel and Spa
A balcony off a room at the Umstead Hotel and Spa
The Downtown Raleigh hotels are in walking distance of most of the places this N.Y Times article recommends to see. The Umstead does have an outdoor, resort-like pool and I would choose the Umstead as a base for families to explore Raleigh at a more leisurely place, especially in the summer. 

The Marriott and The Sheraton, both located downtown and mentioned in the article have indoor pools, which kids would love in the colder months. The Sheraton went through a major room renovation recently, and has added the Jimmy V Osteria Bar, which I've not tried yet. Another new downtown option is the Hampton Inn and Suites, located on Glenwood South, with breakfast included in the rate. The hotel also has a manager's reception a few days a week, and has an indoor pool. 


Downtown Raleigh
The Sheraton Hotel in Raleigh, N.C. 


The Renaissance Hotel at North Hills also has an indoor pool and a great restaurant. Shopping, more restaurants, a movie theatre and a bowling alley are all within walking distance to the hotel. That's a great perk for families with teens. North Hills is in a different part of Raleigh, but it makes a good base for exploring. 


North Hills in Raleigh, N.C.
North Hills, a popular shopping area in Raleigh's Midtown area

The Hyatt House, also located at North Hills in Raleigh's Midtown, has family suites and a small, outdoor pool. Breakfast is also included in your rate. 


The Hyatt House in North Hills
The lobby in the Hyatt House North  Hills 


Raleigh is a great city to visit. I just hope you take longer than 36 hours. We have so much to offer here. 


Nature Research Center at N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences
Outside of Nature Research  Center at N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences 

All of these Raleigh photos were taken by me for Instagram so be sure to follow me @Hinessightblog. 
Speaking of Instagram and destinations, I hope you join me for a twitter party this Thursday, March 13 at 12:00 p.m.  I'll be chatting with @Skimbaco, @IGTravelTh, @ChildMode and many others who are part of the Instagram Travel Community.  You can follow me at @hinessightblog. We'll be focusing on destinations so get some of your Instagram photos ready to share. We'll be using the #IGTT hashtag. 





Where to Stay in Raleigh:
Book Reservations here: 
The Umstead Hotel and Spa
The Raleigh Marriott City Center
The Sheraton Raleigh 
Hampton Inn and Suites, Glenwood South Raleigh
The Renaissance North Hills 
The Hyatt House Raleigh North Hills




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