Hawks Nest & New River Gorge, WV

This weekend I was able to head to the gorgeous area of Hawks Nest State Park and New River Gorge in "Wild and Wonderful" West Virginia. We left from Durham on Friday night and it was about a 5-hour drive. Jean had asked me to join her for a very meaningful and important task and I was quite honored to go.  we also  Our drive was just gorgeous...or, I am sure it was but it was pitch black outside so we weren't able to tell until waking up Saturday;)

We had a little GPS snafu but after stopping for directions found the lodge located in the state park. We were slightly nervous we may be sharing a bed and as we got off the elevator and saw a men's room and a women's room, we readied for the mindset of shared bathrooms. Once Jean opened the door to our room she quipped "good news. Two beds and our own bathroom!!"

The lodge was built in the 70's and it shows but the rooms were nice and clean and the beds were super comfy. I noticed we had a balcony and wondered if we would have a great view. Once we woke up, I was not disappointed and was greeted with a majestic view of the gorge.

We got breakfast and whatever you do...skip the lodge restaurant. Blech isn't even a strong enough word.

After we checked out we realized that the tram to the bottom of the gorge and base of the river was actually located on the lower level of the lodge. Doesn't get any more convenient than that! It is $25 for both the tram ride and the half hour river boat tour. We really enjoyed both. We were able to see the train trestle and the dam/tunnel and then he took us back to the real highlight of the New River, the bridge. It is the 3rd largest single span bridge in the world and the 4th tallest in the US at 876 feet. The bridge is quite the show stopper and my pictures cannot truly do it justice.

After our river cruise ( which I definitely recommend, we went fast and saw amazing sites, plus Rick, the owner, and his wife were funny and one of my favorite parts of the weekend) we stopped at an overlook, which was splendid and awe inspiring. The most fun part was that across the street from the overlook was a covered shelter and they had a wedding reception set up. By far the nicest shelter I have ever seen, complete with a gorgeous fireplace.

After this, we headed towards the bridge to get a better view from the top. We then drove over the bridge to the adorable town of Fayetteville and this is where our food choices took an upswing and I was able to indulge in one of the better pizzas I have ever had. We stopped into Pies & Pints and what a delicious surprise. I got the white pizza with goat cheese and steak. Divine and Jean ordered the most unique pizza combo I have ever heard of: Grapes and Gorgonzola! She raved about it.

We then walked around Fayetteville a little bit, taking in the small town charm. We came upon a few more food options that looked scrumptious and were packed... so small town Fayetteville turned out to be a foodie paradise.

If you a planning a trip to this area, a stay at the lodge was fun. It was nothing fancy but the location was perfect and the beds were comfy. You will find more hotel options in a half hour radius. This area is known for kayaking, zip lining, and white water rafting. I can only imagine how gorgeous it is in the fall!


The Weekend We Almost Melted

This past weekend we went to Richmond to watch my nephew's baseball games and to visit Water Country USA. We stayed at an Aloft just outside of downtown and had a fabulous visit with good eats and good music, plus catching up with my family. Richmond and Williamsburg are two of my favorite spots so I most definitely recommend a trip to either place!

I will just take a moment to say that I still have not cooled off, 24 hours later. The temps were 96 degrees with a heat index of 110 and being outside in the direct sun all weekend was pretty miserable. Even being at the water park didn't help. It was so hot it that we were just pouring sweat! 

We made the most of our visit though and checked out the absolutely beautiful Lewis Ginter Botanical gardens in Henrico just outside of Richmond. This is one of the best botanical gardens in the country and aside from the oppressive heat, our visit didn't disappoint. The grounds are gorgeous and ,while I adored the impressive greenhouse with all the butterflies, my favorite was the tree house. The view through the skewed windows was fabulous and it offered a little shelter from the sun. If you are in Richmond I suggest a stop at this lovely spot! 

On Sunday we gout going early and drove the short hour to Williamsburg to check out Water Country USA. Our last visit there was about 4 years ago and ended with me having a kidney stone. It was also pouring rain. I was really pumped to get back and check it out in the sunshine. 

Note to self: Light rain never hurt anybody. Haha, it was almost miserable. We had a fabulous time and enjoyed the park but even the water rides couldn't stop it from feeling like we were sitting on the surface of the sun. We made it for about 2 and a half hours and then we caved and left!. 

Headed back to Richmond this weekend for a fun weekend at Kings Dominion so here is to hoping it stays below 90, fingers crossed!


Please Come To Boston

Last month we were able to take two quick, and back to back weekend trips up to Boston and we packed each one full of fun times. The first weekend we surprised my in-laws by flying up to help celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary with a view at Top of the Hub. It was a lovely dinner and the next weekend we popped up for a last minute bbq (this is what us Southerners refer to as a "cookout", it didn't qualify as a real "BBQ" ;) with Tony's family. We often miss out on so many of the gatherings up there and it was a treat to be able to see everyone and enjoy a good party!

Each trip was full of good eats, cocktails and, plenty of catching up. Tony was able to get lobster each weekend and I got to partake in some really good cider. We both came away happy. I also got to squeeze in a visit to one of my favorite blog friends, Kerry. We may have met through blogging, but we are full on real life friends as of now. 

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was taking the water taxi in from the airport to Boston. It is not that expensive, relatively fast, and the views can't be beat! If you are ever flying in and out of the city, I totally recommend this on at least one leg of your journey!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from both weekends. Can't wait to get back up for another visit in the fall! 

The Harbor from the water Taxi

Dinner with the family and a view at Top of the Hub in Boston

That view though!

Lobstah Roll, Local Boston cider: DownEast, and Gouda & Sweet Potato Panini


What's Up Wednesday: July 2016

I can't remember the last time I linked up for "What's Up Wednesday" But here goes nothing!

This week I have been eating my strawberry cheesecake cannolis (recipe tomorrow;), my Italian Pork Roast, and my Poolside Manners Cocktail.

I am reminiscing about our trip to Jekyll Island this time a few years ago. We have visited a few times and each trip this small majestic island off the coast of Georgia captures another piece of my heart. It's been a few years since our last visit and am hoping to get back soon!

I am loving all of the new updates we have done to our house lately. We got new comforter sets/sheets/pillows for both our bedroom and the guest room. We also bought this gorgeous new couch that is actually a futon for our office and can't wait for it to arrive. Slow changes are happening but I am pumped.

We have actually stayed at home the past two weekends and done local stuff which is so unusual for us but so much fun. Outdoor movies, local festivals. Eating lots of yummy goodies, and prepping for our fall trips!

I am dreading this whole week of temps 95 + and almost 100% humidity. Do not get me wrong, I am a person who would always choose to be hot over cold, but these temps are just too much and rather brutal. Going outside takes your breath away!

I am working on a few pitches for a couple of article ideas I have. I am also working on photos with my friend Beth for my upcoming cocktail cookbook. EEEEEK I have 73 original recipes as of now. It is just about photographing them and choosing which ones for the book!

I am so excited about seeing the play Mary Poppins tonight! I saw it on Broadway a few years ago and can't wait to see it here in Raleigh. My bestie and I have season tickets and this is our finale show of the season.

I just finished Marcella on Netflix and it was absolutely amazing! I loved it. One of my all time favorite binge watches was The Fall (with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan) and this kind of reminded me of that. I am about to start on Marco Polo. I just finished The Bookman's Tale which takes place between England and North Carolina and I adored it. Starting a new book this morning, haven't really decided which one yet. I read about 5-7 books a week and just decide as I go or when my holds become available through the library. ( this is the one plus to no kids, I just read every night before bed and can fly through books;)

I am wearing my new Tieks. I will probably write a blog post on these soon. I got the patent red leather ones and it is love! They were an anniversary present from my husband and absolutely everything I heard beforehand was true, So far they are definitely living up to the hype!

This weekend we have some of our best friends (and their littles) visiting us. We will be hitting up some museums and the (air conditioned) carousel at one of our local parks. Gonna eat lots of goodies and catch up.

Next month we are making up our recent lack of travel. The first weekend we head to Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach. Then I have a speaking engagement with NAMI. Next up, we head to Richmond and DC. The next weekend my mom and I are taking our annual trek to NYC for her birthday.  The last weekend a friend and I have a really special trip planned to the mountains of West Virginia and I will talk more about what that entails in the next few months.

I think my favorite thing about summer is Watermelon. Since I have eaten it for the last eight days for breakfast...

What all is new with you guys?

Linking up for What's Up Wednesday!


The Weekend That Was Hot As Hades

This past weekend was filled with festivals and completely overhauling our house. We took multiple trips to Goodwill, World Market, & Lowes. Our bedroom got a whole new look and I am totally in love with it. Our new comforter set...le sigh. It makes getting out of bed absolute torture but our sleep has stepped up its game.

On Friday, I spent the day with my friend Beth, preparing cocktails and yummy goodness so she could capture a few shots with her amazing photography skills. I am so elated and cannot wait to see the finished products. I have some exciting plans for those photos and The Whimsy One brand over the next few months. Stay tuned for details but it will be fun!

Friday night, Tony and I grabbed a bite to eat at a new restaurant and then headed to a movie at one of our favorite local theaters. We saw 'Our Kind of Traitor' which was fantastic and grabbed a cocktail before heading home.

Saturday there was a massive festival downtown to highlight the Dorthea Dix property that the city purchased last year. The goal was to have a festival to showcase the land and get people excited about the future of the park. No questions asked it was one of the most fun and easily one of the most efficiently run events put on by a city that I have ever attended.

The only problem was the little fact of it being almost a hundred degrees and about as humid as it could get. The fact of water misting stations can only help so much when it is that extreme outside. We still had a lovely time and I picked up quite a few goodies along the way.

Then my husband got picked for a tv interview. They wanted opinions about the festival and the future of the park. When it was over my husband was asked if he was a professional speaker or possibly works in radio or tv. This is something he gets asked all the time. It is just more so amusing when a person who legitimately does work in tv is the one doing the asking,

Sunday we were busy bees finishing up with the house and buying things for a few rooms and visiting Goodwill in between sweating bouts! This whole week is supposed to be in the upper 90's with high humidity. Hopefully, we don't melt;)