Southern Chat: Bow-Ties, SnoBalls, Mermaids, and a Family Fun Hotel Stay at Raleigh Marriott City Center

I've been doing something fun in my spare time, and I thought I would let the cat out of the bag today. Visit Raleigh saw that I was having so much fun in my own hometown that they've brought me on board as a writer for the Greater Visit Raleigh blog. I love helping promote all the activities that my hometown has to offer for visitors. I think our partnership is a great one.  

Downtown Raleigh at Sunset

And while on the tourism beat, I've discovered some great things such as the Kennedy & Grace boutique in Garner, N.C.  These bow-ties are made by a local designer. 

Locally-made bow-ties in Garner, N,C.

I also reported on Pelican's SnoBalls in Cary, N.C. We love to get these sweet icy treats. Margarita flavor for me, please. 

SnoBalls are delicious in Cary, N.C.

The City of Raleigh is about to be invaded by a singing Mermaid. NC Theatre will soon debut "Disney's Little Mermaid" in Raleigh from July 29 to August 3. This will be a regional premiere for the popular musical. I'm taking the kids to see it. 

NC Theatre will present Disney's Little Mermaid July 29-Aug. 3
Cast in the role of “Ariel” is Jessica Grové, who has played the role at Paper Mill Playhouse, Pittsburgh CLO, Kansas City Starlight, Sacramento Music Circus and Theatre Under the Stars. Her Broadway credits include A Little Night MusicSunday in the Park with GeorgeThoroughly Modern Millie, and Les Misérables, in addition to a long list of regional and national tour appearances. The production will also star Alan Mingo Jr. as “Sebastian,” a role he understudied on Broadway in 2008. In the role of “Prince Eric” is Ian Parmenter in his third production at NCT, having previously appeared as Combeferre in Les Misérables (’14), and Munkustrap in CATS (’13). 

NC Theatre is also proud to announce eighteen students from their flagship training program, the North Carolina Theatre Conservatory in North Raleigh, appearing in the production, including Joseph Gaitens in the role of “Flounder.” He has previously appeared on our stage in Les Misérables and Oliver!

It should be a great show.  For tickets to NC Theatre’s production of The Little Mermaid, visit or call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000

We spent the 4th of July in Raleigh. We checked into the Raleigh Marriott City Center, which turned out to be in the center of all the 4th of July firework action.

The Raleigh Marriott City Center

This was my first time staying overnight in the Raleigh Marriott City Center. It is a great location, of course. It's very clean, and has very little wear and tear for a property built in 2008. The rooms have double beds rather than queen beds. The bathrooms are medium-sized and updated. The hotel has incorporated local artwork into its decor which is a nice touch. Our room had a painting of Raleigh's historic city market area. I liked that added touch to give the rooms a local flair. 

Raleigh Marriott City Center

I would definitely stay at the Raleigh Marriott City Center again, but many nights, it is priced over $300 per night with taxes and parking. Since I live here, that price is a lot for me to personally spend to stay at a downtown Marriott (And yes, I cover a lot of luxury hotels, but those hotels are in a different league and overall, the properties offer different experiences than a chain hotel like a Marriott can offer ) in my own hometown just because I want to do so for fun. This particular hotel has a good restaurant, and a Starbucks in the lobby. Children under 4 can eat at the breakfast buffet for free. All of those are great perks. 

There are very few Downtown Raleigh hotels and the area's demand for rooms keep prices on the rise. I will say that the Raleigh Marriott City Center is probably one of the best full-service hotels in  Raleigh with an indoor pool, room service and a great location. There are other nice hotels in the area, but the Marriott is one of those hotels where you can park your car in the garage underneath the hotel and not retrieve it again for several days. Restaurants and museums are all within walking distance. There are a few other downtown hotels that I would consider if I were a tourist, but I've not personally checked those out yet. 

More information on the Raleigh City Marriott can be found online.  

It was great to use as a base for Downtown Raleigh's 4th of July celebration. Fireworks went off right next to the hotel. The group rate for this spectacular event was $119 plus tax so sometimes great deals can be found. 

Fireworks in Raleigh, N.C.

Hope you had a great 4th of July. 

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