​Travel + Food

Spontaneous Summer Fun


Summer may already be in full swing, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to plan some family fun. We’ve got a roundup of outdoor adventures and weekend getaways you can still add to your calendar. PHOTO: Courtesy of Wilkesboro TDA

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Hop the border for adventure


An escape from the routine doesn’t have to mean intricate travel plans or a calculated itinerary. It can be as easy as jumping in the car, aiming North and hopping the county border into Jackson County, North Carolina – just over an hour away from Upstate South Carolina. PHOTO: Jackson County Tourism and Development Board

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Restaurateur combines tradition with contemporary


Ani Meinhold grew up in Puerto Rico and Manhattan with a German father and Vietnamese mother. After graduating from the University of Miami, she stayed in Miami to start a management training program with The Ritz-Carlton. By age 24, Meinhold had opened two hotel properties and was a general manager. PHOTO: Courtesy of Phuc Yea

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Play your cards right this fall


A quick drive to North Carolina’s Cherokee or Kings Mountain lands you in gambling country, both run by the local indigenous tribe. Whether you’re new to poker and slot machines or you’re a regular in Vegas, these local destinations will give you a run for your money. Photo: Courtesy of Harrah's Cherokee Casino

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Chef’s specialty

and passion:

Plant-based dishes


In sixth grade, San Juan native Jerome Valencia made a Mexican pizza on pan de agua, a common

water bread found in Puerto Rico, and topped it with cheese, pepperoni and sauce. His grandmother, who cooked rice and beans, plantains and other

traditional dishes found in Puerto Rico, taught him the value of sharing food. Photo: Jessica Cabrera


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Veteran apple

harvester is an

expert in her field


It’s only natural for Janet Delgado to feel at home

in an apple orchard. Her family has worked at Cornerstone Ranches in Toppenish, Washington, since before she was born in that state; her dad is a supervisor there. Delgado, whose parents are from

Jalisco, Mexico, joined the farm full time seven years ago, after graduating from high school. Photo: Daisy Delgado

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All-terrain wheelchairs bring freedom and the beach to Florida residents


Although Florida has more than 800 miles of beaches, people who use a wheelchair have a hard time getting to the ocean because the thin wheels sink into the sand. The solution? All-terrain wheelchairs with oversized wheels. Photo: Zack Wittman

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Accessible Pathways to Adventure in Charlotte


Wheelchair users appreciate a smooth ride, too. Charlotte and the surrounding cities feature a network of paved walkways on greenways and in parks, all accessible to wheelchair users, and their families and friends. 

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Accessible Water Activities in Charlotte


Accessible water activities and water sports are available in and around Charlotte for when you, a friend or a family member need extra assistance, adaptive equipment or accessible paths to participate.

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Seas The Day: 3 accessible beaches for families with special needs


When our son Ben grew too large to be carried from his wheelchair to the beach, we wondered how we’d manage future trips to the shore. His favorite pastime is splashing at the ocean’s edge, and we didn’t want him to miss out. PHOTO: Courtesy of Wheel the World

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Eclectic elegance


George Rodrigue’s “Lunch at the Club,” a limited edition silkscreen from the Louisiana-born artist’s Blue Dog series, welcomes guests into The Applewood Manor’s parlor. The piece is one of several from the owners’ personal collection adorning the walls of the six-room bed-and-breakfast near downtown Asheville. PHOTO: Courtesy of The Applewood Manor

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THE GANG’S ALL HERE! A guide to multi-generational travel


After two years of limited contact with extended family and friends, you’re probably overdue for a visit. If a beach vacation or mountain getaway is in your plans, consider these four destinations for a big group. PHOTO: Wildwater Ltd.

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Culinary Synthesis: Food. Music. Wine.


Twenty years ago, Armando Tam started cooking meals for friends and letting them critique the dishes. He’d been inspired by Food Network’s “Melting Pot” program. “It was the first show that had chefs of color,” says Tam, 47. “I loved watching it and then I started applying what I learned on the cooking shows.” PHOTO: Roberto Tam

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5 Delicious Ways To Create Peachy Memories


Donna Livingston with Edgefield County Chamber of Commerce reminisces about the homemade peach cobbler from her childhood. Her mom and grandmothers baked the fruity dish for dessert on Sundays, a simple recipe with flour, sugar and milk. 

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Adventures in Agritourism


Most people have participated in some form of agritourism without realizing it: Picking strawberries or pumpkins, riding on a wagon, or attending a composting workshop are all forms of agritourism. 

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Adventure and amore


Spartanburg, S.C., is a former mill town steeped in history, with fine dining and plenty of outdoor activities. A closer look proves the city about 75 miles southwest of Charlotte is also an unexpected romantic getaway.

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10 Tips for Your Best Beach Vacation


Whether a beach trip is an annual tradition or a last-minute escape, here are 10 beach tips to help you make this year’s beach vacation the best one yet. PHOTO: NC’s Brunswick Islands

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A Mount Pleasant Holiday: Break Tradition With a Beach Vacation


Imagine celebrating the holidays somewhere other than home. The thought has certainly crossed my mind: Break tradition and do something different to mark annual events. Wake up somewhere new, eat from a special menu or get takeout. Change can be good, especially after this year.

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Escape to Naples


In the late 19th century, Naples, Florida was recognized for its beauty and became a tourist destination. It was compared to its namesake in Italy, citing the Gulf of Mexico was just as beautiful as the Bay of Naples. The only way to know for sure is to visit both destinations. PHOTO: Paradise Coast CVB

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Winter Memories: Do the things you love with the ones you love


If living in a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we miss our family and friends and participating in life outside our homes. This year, when searching for the perfect holiday present for your spouse, family and friends, consider giving the gift of experience.  PHOTO: Hendersonville: Home for the Holidays/Derek DiLuzio

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15 Unique Gift Experiences for Your Family


If you’re full up on trinkets, toys, and gift cards, consider giving your family an experience instead. View something beautiful together, learn a new skill, or have an outdoor adventure. Read about 15 ways to celebrate the season with kids and extended family: PHOTO: Kersey Valley

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The Magic of Cataloochee


My husband’s friend gave us directions to Cataloochee several years ago when he heard we were heading to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I was skeptical of this so-called magical place, but we followed his directions, and now, Cataloochee will forever be one of our favorite finds. PHOTO: Cataloochee Valley Tours

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Ride On: Family-friendly bike paths in the Carolinas and Virginia


A bike ride adds a sense of adventure to a family vacation or day trip. Kids can practice new skills on paved paths and more experienced riders can challenge themselves with more technical rides. Fortunately, the Carolinas and Virginia offer plenty of options for families. PHOTO: Jared Kay Photography for Visit Jacksonville NC

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Four New Ways to Experience Asheville


When we visit the same place multiple times, we often return to our favorite restaurants, hike familiar trails and even stay at the hotel we’ve always booked. The 90-minute road trip to Asheville from Upstate South Carolina may be your go-to place for a comfortable getaway because you know it well. PHOTO: Omni Grove Park Inn

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Winter Wonderland in One of These Cozy Towns


Imagine winter nights spent in front of a roaring fire after a full day of exploring a small town. Banner Elk, Greenwood, Camden and Sevierville, give visitors a treat during the cold months.

Indulge in a get-away for romance or plan a weekend away with friends. Adrenaline junkies find adventure in these small towns too. Which of these three will become your winter wonderland? PHOTO: Sevierville CVB

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Speed Seekers


When Paul Sexton was a boy growing up in Denton, a rural community in Davidson County, he remembers seeing a 1965 Shelby GT Mustang at Hill Motor Co. “Every 11- and 12-year-old’s dream is to drive a hot car,” says Sexton, 69. The High Point resident bought his first Ford, a 1966 silver-blue Mustang with a 289-cubic-inch V-8, when he was in college. PHOTO: Courtesy of Ford Performance Racing School

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From the Mountains to the Beach: 3 fall getaways to revive your relationship


Earlier this summer, my husband and I hiked through the woods near Linville Falls, leaving our three boys at home. I felt the stress of the last 18 months melt away. School, jobs, extended family, health, and safety had been our primary concerns. The focus on our partnership had stalled since the pandemic, and we’d begun to see the consequences. PHOTO: Courtesy of Applewood Manor

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12 Dog-Friendly Vineyards in North Carolina


After a year of being cooped up at home with their wine-loving owners, it’s only natural for four-legged friends to expect an invitation to the vineyards. Luckily, many of the nearly 260 wineries across North Carolina welcome dogs on the property.  PHOTO: Courtesy of Linville Falls Winery

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High country haven


I left Charlotte early on a Friday morning for the two-hour drive to Blowing Rock. Three days alone is rare for me, and I wanted to take advantage of every moment. I’ve breezed through the small mountain town in previous years, but a chance to spend an entire weekend perusing shops and wandering trails was a treat. PHOTO: Todd Bush

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9 Places to Go for the Perfect Sunflowers Photo Shoot


A field of sunflowers with glorious bright yellow blooms are sure to brighten up your Instagram feed. When you’re looking for fun things to do this weekend to get outside and soak up the sun, plan a road trip to a sunflower farm to get the perfect photo. PHOTO: Tanja Rachelle Photography

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4 Dream Destinations for Dads


Gather a group of fathers, invite grandpa, or grab the kids for a daytrip or weekend getaway. Bad music, tall tales, and dad jokes are encouraged. PHOTO: Grandfather Mountain

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On Location: Southport auditions for most charming town in America


It’s easy to imagine a movie crew filming in Southport, North Carolina. Restored homes with wide porches and gingerbread woodwork boast a long history. Many honor the original owners, dating back to the 19th and early 20th century, with plaques hung by the front door. PHOTO: NC Brunswick Islands

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Whatever Floats Your Boat: Top Dock Spots from North Carolina to Florida


Boat owners are taking to the water to visit destinations within several hours or days from their hometown. Marinas in towns up and down the southeast coast make day and overnight docking simple for visitors. Once you dock, the land lubbers in your crew can head to the beach, museums and other nearby activities. PHOTO: Shawn Hill, Beaufort, SC

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Road Trip Alert: Hot Springs, North Carolina


I can’t remember how I learned about Hot Springs, North Carolina, but the tiny town captured my heart more than 20 years ago. It’s tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, 30-minutes from the Tennessee border, with access to hiking trails, restaurants and shops. The town and its surrounding areas offer a setting for quiet reflection.

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Getaway: Follow the Cheers! Trail to breweries near Hendersonville


In just two hours, you can be sipping a German lager with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. The Cheers! Trail in the Hendersonville area will lead the way to 23 breweries, wineries, cideries and a meadery. Purchase a $10 Cheers! Trail Passport online (CheersTrail.org) or at the Hendersonville Visitor Center. Get the passport stamped by 12 of the 23 locations and receive a special Hendersonville memento. 

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Journey to the N.C. Wine Country


When Cornelius-resident Ken Gulaian found himself in North Carolina without a job, he started looking online for companies to buy. Round Peak Vineyards in Surry County appeared on the list. After a visit to the vineyard with his wife, Kari Heerdt, they were sold on the wine, the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the vineyard’s rolling hills.

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6 Special Spots for Mother’s Day Tea


Celebrate spring and Mother’s Day with a visit to a Carolina teashop. Sip a wide variety of tea flavors in charming surroundings with the people you love. Shop for tea drinking accessories and find the perfect gift for the tea aficionado in your life. Traditionally, the height of the table determines what kind of tea it’s called. High Tea is set on a tall table and is often served closer to 5 p.m. PHOTO: Courtesy of Calabash Garden Tea RoomRead More

All About Agritourism: Get Educated at One of These Carolina Farms


Ever ask your family where the food on the dinner table comes from? If they answer, “the grocery store,” it might be time to teach your children about the origin of foods, the processes to make it, and how those items got to the grocery store. PHOTO: Kellie Hicks

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10 Best Restaurants (right now) in Charlotte, North Carolina’s NoDa Neighborhood


Like most cities, Charlotte, North Carolina, is made up of neighborhoods, each recognized for its vibe and character. The NoDa neighborhood—so called for its main drag, North Davidson Street—developed a reputation as an art district more than 25 years ago when husband and wife team, artists Ruth Ava Lyons and Paul Sires, saw potential in the dilapidated mill village. PHOTO: Haberdish

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A Culinary Collaboration


When Kristin Klein was asked to develop a version of the Nashville hot chicken sandwich for a new restaurant concept at LangTree Lake Norman in Mooresville, she wondered how she’d do it. Despite her apprehension, the West Coast native proudly added “Somewhere Near Nashville” to Scratch Kitchen by Ghostface Brewing’s menu. PHOTO: Lisa Crates Photography

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Gardens and Galleries Show Off Spring Blooms


Many felt the struggle of being cooped up for the past year. The industrious managed their time learning a new language, reading the books on their nightstand or writing a memoir. Most of us binged on The Crown or Schitt’s Creek, ate gallons of ice cream and learned to accessorize sweatpants with a mask. PHOTO: Visit Spartanburg

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Road Trip Alert: 7 Great Towns For Thrifting and Antiquing


Hop in the car and take a road trip to these towns for antiques stores, thrift stores and consignment shops with clothing, home decor, furniture and jewelry. We’ve included dining and accommodation recommendations if you want to make a weekend of it. PHOTO: Sevierville CVB

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Lowcountry longing


The small town of Beaufort has a hold on me. Situated on Port Royal Island, the riverfront city feels like a miniature Charleston but without the hustle and bustle. The attractions are simple: Stroll down a side street to find a locally-owned shop making homemade soaps...PHOTO: The Beaufort Inn

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Smoky perfection


Billowing smoke from barbecue pits and the smell of cooked pig were part of the spectacle during courthouse sessions in Lexington, North Carolina, in the early 1900s. It was a chance for the people to have their day in court — and eat barbecue, too. PHOTO: Michael Hrizuk

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Always well-prepared


An invitation to a party on Lake Norman in the mid-1990s changed the course of restauranteur Rob Duckworth’s life. “We went down for the weekend,” says Duckworth, “and I fell in love with it (Charlotte). PHOTO: Link & Pin

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Beach Eats! Dine Your Way Through NC’s Brunswick Islands


Heading to your favorite restaurant after a day of swimming and sunbathing at the beach is a hallmark of vacation. North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands offer a selection of restaurants, cafes and tasting rooms to complement your beach vacation.

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26 Kayaking Spots in the Carolinas – Plus AAA Discounts!


Kayaking may be one of the easiest ways to get outdoors and social distance this summer. There are bays, lakes and rivers — perfect for kayaking — in the Carolinas. Join a guided kayak tour or rent a kayak for a self-guided experience. PHOTO: Paddle NC

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Bottoms Up: Hop on the Cheers! Trail for good times & great color


I like to give travel advice. I can tell you where to go for the day, the weekend or for longer holidays. Right now, my heart is telling you to hit the Cheers! Trail: Get in your car and set the driving app to Hendersonville, North Carolina. 

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5 Reasons to Plan a Winter Vacation (and Where to Go)


It's tempting to hibernate at home, but winter might actually be the best time of year to travel.

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Moving to North Carolina? Here Are the Basics


From climate to cost of living to craft beer, here's everything you need to know before relocating to North Carolina.

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Cozy up to one of these winter getaways


Imagine winter nights spent in front of a roaring fire after a full day of exploring a small town. 

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An Abbreviated Vacation Guide for N.C. Families

Senior Architect

Last summer, our family–which includes teens and tweens–traveled to Jekyll Island, Georgia and Floyd, Virginia for four nights each. We did it out of necessity but our abbreviated family vacation turned out to be a positive experience worth repeating.

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Did someone say 'Road Trip'?

Senior Architect

Mystery and nature surround Burke County, situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. A short 90-minute drive from Charlotte leads to Morganton, the county seat with a charming mix of breweries, restaurants and shops. 

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Burke perks

Senior Architect

Mystery and nature surround Burke County, situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. A short 90-minute drive from Charlotte leads to Morganton, the county seat with a charming mix of breweries, restaurants and shops. 

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Here’s what you need to know to enjoy your first cruise (and not freak out)

Senior Architect

I never wanted to go on a cruise. When my best friend offered to treat me to one, I said no. When she came back a few days later with the destinations — Havana, Cozumel and Key West — I said yes. I couldn’t turn down Cuba...

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5 Reasons to plan a winter vacation (and where to go)

CTO

Most everyone plans a vacation during the summer. We spend January and February fantasizing about the places we'll visit during the warmer months, but what if we looked at winter differently? Perhaps winter is a timely opportunity...

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Travel on a budget: Your winter getaway to the highest ski resort east of the Rockies​

CEO

Do the commercials for the 2018 Winter Olympics have you imagining yourself speeding down a mountain on a snowboard? Or are you ready to perfect your ski jump or show off the Axel or Lutz in the...

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This Charlotte golfer teed off at THE PLAYERS championship — then everything changed


It was Harold Varner III’s fifth time at THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach. When he teed off at the 10th hole at 2:35 p.m. Thursday, he was hoping for a share of the $15 million purse.

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10 Ways to be a Kid Again on Alabama’s Gulf Coast


The lure of white sandy beaches and aqua-colored water brings guests from all over the United States to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. It’s enough to lay in the soft sand, watching the pelicans dive for a meal or the... 

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Kith and kiln


Pick out a piece of pottery at The Mint Museum’s store in uptown or on Randolph Road, and there’s a chance the artist is from Seagrove, a small town just 90 minutes northeast of Charlotte in Randolph County. Despite its tiny population — 218 residents, according to the latest census...

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Paradise Found

CTO

Barbados, “the bearded one” in Portuguese, is the easternmost island in the Caribbean. On the map, it’s a speck, but its 166 square miles of winding roads through small towns with shops, restaurants, bakeries and historic places pack a big punch. 

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Exploring The North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville

CTO

Fall is my family’s favorite time to explore North Carolina. Sometimes we are in search of apples or pumpkins; other times, rivers or lakes. This time our adventure led us to The North Carolina Arboretum...

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How an ’80s Fanboy Became Headliner of Beech Mountain’s Retro Weekend

CTO

Armed with a huge suitcase and several plastic bags packed with authentic clothes from the 1980s, Brandon Kirkley came to Beech Mountain ready for Retro Weekend.

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Need a weekend getaway? Here’s 5 ways to fall in love with Floyd, Virginia


Our first trip as a couple was to New Orleans. I surprised my boyfriend — who is now my husband — with a AAA triptik planner (This was before...

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Four of our favorite comfort foods and where to find them in the Carolinas


Cooler weather begs for foods that warm our souls and fill our bellies. Comfort foods remind us of family dinners and reunions, and Sunday suppers...

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Jekyll Island, Georgia: Adventure, history and nature packed into one tiny island


I hop on the red tram parked behind the Mosaic museum on Jekyll Island, Georgia. A young and enthusiastic tour guide...

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Put Spring into your Step with a Hike

CTO

North Carolina and South Carolina are home to dozens of state parks and recreational forests with trails through woodlands and pastures and views of waterfalls. Check out these seven trails to hike.

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Planning a bachelorette party? 48 hours in Vegas is just right.

CEO

The bachelorette party tradition is a celebration of longtime friendships and letting loose with the people who know you best. In recent years, bachelorette parties...

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Planning for a Smooth(er) Family Vacation

Senior Architect

I remember being so excited about our first family vacation, and then my best friend, who has children a few years older than mine, gave me a more realistic view of what to expect.

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Rooftop pool, fireworks and pink eye — this uptown staycation had it all

CTO

The grocery store cashier asked me if I had plans for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. It was the third time the question had been posed to...

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Take a day trip to Landsford Canal State Park and see river spider lilies

CTO

Landsford Canal State Park is about an hour south of Charlotte in Chester County, S.C. I am a park aficionado, and Landsford is one of my favorites.

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4 Mom Getaways You Deserve

CTO

Everyone needs to connect with friends, and a getaway without kids can energize a busy mom. Planning a distant trip can be difficult with varying family schedules, but a weekend trip not far from home may be put...

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