I was invited to be part of an Fayetteville, NC blogger and influencer meetup hosted by the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitor Bureau. This is not a sponsored post. All views and opinions are my own.
In just over a week it will be time to celebrate Valentine’s Day! If you are in the Fayetteville, North Carolina area I have some special spots for sweeties and sweets just for you!
I was invited to Leclair’s as part of an Fayetteville, NC blogger and influencer meetup hosted by the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitor Bureau. This is not a sponsored post. All views and opinions are my own.
Have you explored where you live lately? Let me tell you about a local Fayetteville, NC find, Leclair’s General Store and a little bit more.
When my family moved back to North Carolina in 2013, there were several things we were looking forward to. One of those things was a local roadside stand where I would buy fresh veggies during the summer. To our surprise that veggie stand expanded greatly in the 7 years that we were away. There was now a huge roadside stand and separate from it, Gillis Hill Farm where they sell homemade ice cream. Who can resist ice cream? Certainly not my family. Once we visited we were hooked on this hidden treasure in our own backyard.
It getting hot out there and that means finding different ways to beat the heat. Since I live in North Carolina my husband has banned the beach this year. If you haven’t heard North Carolina beaches have had a small shark problem this year, like only 8 or so shark attacks in the last few weeks. Then there is that whole man of war thing. We like our kids. We would rather they didn’t become shark snacks. Since the beach is out for now that then leaves good ole swimming pools and various bodies of freshwater. So far this summer my family has been exploring local bodies of freshwater. We went camping at Jordan Lake which only made my husband want a boat. I’m not sure that trip to the lake was a good idea. A couple weeks later we finally had an adventure and my husband and I had the opportunity to float the Cape Fear River. Floating a river is something we had talked about doing since we lived in El Paso. There you could go and float a section of the Rio Grande that was in New Mexico. Then I have classmates from high school that are always floating at Rainbow River in Florida. There must be something to this floating thing and my husband and I were going to find out.
We floated the Cape Fear River, had a good time and as usual a bit of an adventure also! We definitely learned a few things that will help make trips in the future even better. Check out my 10 tips for a river float trip!
1. Check the weather. You not only want to make sure you are going to have good weather for your trip but if your area has had rain, especially a lot you will want to check that river levels are safe for your float trip. This is where the adventure in our trip came into play. Our trip was suppose to last about 5 hours and it lasted just under 2! Why? We had heavy rains the day before and the river was rising and the current was very strong. The group I was with was the only group that went down the day I went because conditions turned dangerous. We had several floaters that missed the take out spot. Heck, my husband and I missed the first take out spot despite his swimming and my paddling.
2.Wear Sunscreen. I think this one is simple, wear sunscreen and reapply. Sunburn sucks.
3. Protect your feet Wear water shoes, sandals or a pair of five fingers. There is no telling what is on the river bottom. Plus you will need something to wear to walk down to the river and then once you are done. I chose an old pair of my minimal running shoes. They are my go to shoes for mud runs and things like this.
4.Leave valuables at home. Don’t bring anything you are not afraid to lose. If something falls into the river it is typically gone for good. It doesn’t care if it is your favorite sunglasses. My oldest son has a pair of eyeglasses at the bottom of Elephant Butte Lake in New Mexico… That was a lesson he and my husband learned fast.
5.Ziploc Bags. Ziplock bags are your friend. They are perfect for storing your phone and valuables such as car keys and copies of your ID and some cash.
6. Nalgene Wide Mouth Bottle. One thing that is better than using a Ziploc Bag is a Nalgene Wide Mouth Bottle. Not only are they perfect for water and other drinks but they are a great way to have watertight storage for your keys and smaller valuables.
7. Bring Beverages and not just the alcoholic kind. You need to stay hydrated during your float trip so be sure to bring some water and other drinks. If you choose to bring alcohol, first and foremost drink responsibly. Bring cans over bottles as glass is just dangerous in this situation.
8.Bring snacks. You are going to be out on the water for a bit and your bound to get hungry so bring some snacks. Just be mindful of what you bring. Things can easily get wet and you will be left with soggy food. You also want to be mindful of the trash you are bringing. Fruit, nuts and beef jerky are all great options.
9. Bring a cooler. If you are bringing food and drinks you are going to need somewhere to put everything. Just stay away from Styrofoam coolers as they have a tendency to fall apart and are banned in many areas.. Most places offer a float with a bottom for a small fee.
10. Carabiners and Rope. Some places offer rope or have rope around their floats but not all do. Having rope around your float and adding a carabiner allows you to hang things off of your float. The rope is also useful to attach your cooler float and other floats together.
There you go my 10 Tips for a River Float Trip! So listen to your river guide for instructions, wear your life vest (because safety first!) and have fun!
When my husband and I lived in the Fayetteville area during our first round at Fort Bragg we never went to downtown Fayetteville outside of the day we were married and to pick up our boy’s birth certificates. Back then we were always told to avoid the area. I can remember hearing about how they were trying to revitalize the area and every now and then I would hear about something that was going on. After being away eight years things have changed and I can safely say that staying away from downtown is NOT advice anyone should take. Downtown Fayetteville is full of places to explore, eat and shop! It is an area of Fayetteville I am still exploring so I was disappointed I missed part of the adventure my fellow bloggers went on during the Fayetteville Familiarization Tour. Luckily though I was able to check out the Dogwood Festival and Fourth Friday with them and check out some areas I really need to go back and explore!
Fourth Friday has been held in some way or form for the last about 15 years. Every Fourth Friday of the month part of downtown is closed where you can walk on the streets. There are exhibits, all sorts of free entertainment as well as food and drinks that come to together in historic downtown Fayetteville. It is a very relaxed and fun atmosphere.
On the Friday that we went we first came across a set up by the Climbing Place, where you could climb and race to the top of the rock wall. It was busy and we watched as father’s raced their children up the rock wall to see who would be first.
Next we came across the Fayettevillains. Check out the great video that Angela from Mommy PR took of them HERE
and finally we reached the Market House where Air Born Aerials was set up. Here is some video that I took:
They were amazing! Aerial silks have always amazed me. Simply the upper body and core strength that is needed to do this amazes me!
I learned afterwards that there was even an exhibit inside of Market House. Honestly there is so much to do it is very easy to miss things with everything going on. Just exploring I was making a mental list of all the places that I needed to come back to and visit. Fourth Friday was definitely a good way to get out and explore downtown Fayetteville!
In addition to Fourth Friday the Dogwood Festival was going on. The Dogwood Festival has been around since the early 80’s. Much like Raleigh is the city of oaks Fayetteville is the city of dogwood’s, giving the festival it’s name. The festival which is held every 4th weekend in April, hosts local and national music artists, arts and crafts,plenty of food and of course fun! Friday night’s featured artist was country singer,Craig Campbell.
As part of the blogger familiarization tour we were given the VIP treatment and hung out at the VIP tent but not without first walking the red carpet.
I have to say that red carpet sure can make a girl feel special.
We were able to sit back and relax while waiting on the night’s headliner.
While remaining close but somewhat far away from the stage
There are concert’s at Festival Park several times throughout the year and having been in the VIP section before I can say the set up varies. I was happy to find this up close video of the flash mob the Fayetteville Police did. Their video is much better than the one I posted on instagram so here it is:
While in the VIP area they served a buffet dinner from Hilltop House, another great local restaurant that serves contemporary southern food. One of the best buffets I have had since I became gluten free. The tiny potatoes I had were my favorites!
All that was left was to wait on Craig Campbell’s who eventually came out after 9:30. He started off his set with Brooks and Dunn’s, Play Something Country and the crowd loved it! His concert closed out an eventful day.
Are you interested in Fourth Friday and want to check it out?
It’s that time of the year again, it is time for Memorial Day. Memorial Day for many is the long awaited weekend that welcomes summer. A time to head to the beach, pool or fire up the grill for a BBQ. There are those who confuse Memorial and Veteran’s Day and for this I kindly ask please do not Thank a Veteran on Memorial Day. That’s not what Memorial Day is all about. Memorial day is the day to remember all of our soldiers that have fallen while in the line of duty. My husband has lost several brother’s at arms, I know those who lost their spouses, children who have lost their father. I don’t know many in the military community that do not know someone who gave all.
With Memorial Day on us I want to urge people to do something a little different this year. Find a way to remember those who gave their all so you do not have to. An easy way is to look and see if you have any military history museums in your area. Living in the Fort Bragg area we are blessed with several great museums but if I could only pick one it would be the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.
The Airborne and Special Operation’s Museum has been in Fayetteville since August of 2000 and tells the story of the Airborne and Special Operations Soldier from the 1940’s until present time. Since it opened in 2000 I have gone several times but it wasn’t until I went on the blogger familiarization tour with the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau that I was really able to get a deeper look into the museum. We have gone on our own and taken family in the past but I have always had a little one or two so while I was able to walk through the museum I never was able to really give it the full attention it deserves. Even with the blogger tour I would have loved more time. There is just so much to see and learn.
When exploring the museum there are two routes to go, explore the outside first or the inside. Outside you have the original Iron Mike statue from Fort Bragg. There are also memorial stones and pavers lining the walkways up to the museum. There is also something outside that you won’t find elsewhere, a memorial to the K-9 Soldier. On Memorial Day (Monday, May 25,2015) at noon they will be holding a special memorial day ceremony to honor the bravery and dedication of the special operations K-9 Soldier.
Since we were visiting on a rainy day we went straight inside. Upon entering you see 2 paratroopers hanging from the ceiling. Here is one of them:
Once you have signed in you are set to explore the museum. Inside they have a temporary exhibit, the main exhibit and a simulator ride. The current temporary exhibit is, Task Force Ranger And The Battle of Mogadishu. This is better known to many from the book and movie, BlackHawk Down.
This exhibit just received the John Wesley Powell Prize, an award that is typically given to museums such as the Smithsonian! It really is a great exhibit and thanks to receiving the award we get to keep the exhibit a bit longer than planned. You have until October 2016 to check it out.
Here are a couple highlights from the exhibit:
There are no words to describe this note.
Moving on we go onto enter the Main Exhibit hall.
Walking through there is something to look at at every turn.
I loved looking at the uniforms and how much they have changed but also have stayed the same. The unit patch for the 508th is exactly the same logo today!
There was honestly too much for me to include in this blog but here are some of the bigger exhibits:
You walk through the 1940’s to present day with close attention to detail in an attempt to not miss a thing. I saw pictures that were similar to those of my grandfathers from World War II, you can read about how the Pathfinders began and why they were important, learn about different weapons and gear that was used. The tour is self guided so you can spend as much time or as little as you would like!
When you finish looking at the exhibit there is one more experience waiting for you. The Airborne and Special Operations Museum also has a simulator ride! They just updated it and it was to debate during Armed Forces Weekend but I have something for you. Here is a sneak peak of the ride:
I’m sorry but if you want to see how it ends you will have to go to the museum!
The museum is located at:
100 Bragg Boulevard
Fayetteville, North Carolina
The museum Hours are:
Closed Mondays and Federal Holidays.
The museum will be open on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veteran’s Day.
We are closed on Federal Holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day, and Easter.
The Exhibit Gallery closes at 4:45.
They recommend allowing 2-3 hours to tour the museum grounds.
Admission is free to the museum but they accept donations.
You do have to pay to ride the Motion Simulator, it is $5; half price for those under 36″. Tickets are available in the gift shop.
If you check out the museum from May 16 thru June 27th 2015 you will also have the opportunity to check out the North Carolina Field of Honor. Hundreds of American Flags are flying honoring those who serve, who have served and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. The Field of Honor You can read more information about the North Carolina Field of Honor HERE.
Being a military family we often have challenges when it comes to planning vacations. With my husband’s job we cannot really plan too far in advance and to make things a little trickier he does not get to pick when he is going to take leave. Unfortunately, many times his vacation days do not line up with the time our kids have off from school. What’s a military family to do? I can tell you what we do. Our family has embraced the staycation.
A staycation is a fun and affordable way to get out and explore what is right where you live or within a few hours. In addition to discovering what was in our own backyard our staycations have taken us to the beach, mountains, national parks, amusement parks and every where in between. Whenever we move to a new duty station one of the first things we figure out once we get settled in is all the cool places we want to go visit. The next challenge is visiting all of the places we want to go before my husband gets orders to a new duty station. Our staycations are part of how our family finds new roads to bloom where we have been planted. Discovering what is around you is key to falling in love with and loving your duty station.
Here are my top 8 tips for planning a Staycation:
8. Research, Research, Research! Thanks to the internet information is at your fingertips. Check with your local visitor bureau and see what is interesting in your area. You can also request visitor guides to be sent to your home.
7. Have a family meeting. Get your entire family involved! Find out what they are interested in seeing and doing.
6.Make a list. Figure out everything you and your family want to do and write it down. Seeing everything you want to do written out can help you decide exactly where you want to go and what you want to do.
5. Set a budget. You may be staying at home but very few things in life are free. Come up with a budget of what you can spend for fuel, food, tickets and whatever other expenses you may incur.
4.Plan Your Itinerary. Decide on dates and where you are going. Find specials and deals on local attractions. Don’t forget to check your installations Tickets and Tours office!
3. Plan for a road trip. If you are driving an hour or two away from home make sure you everything you need for your family. A car with plenty of room, snacks, your kids favorite toys, electronics and chargers make for a much smoother ride.
2. Check the weather first! Nothing is worse than planning a great outdoor adventure and then it get’s ruined by rain. Check the weather before you leave and reschedule if needed.
1. Have Fun! Above everything a staycation is time to spend time with family and relax. Let loose and have fun! There is no reason to stress while on vacation!
Summer is prime time for staycations and if you are in the market for a new car that would be perfect for your staycation road trips, Chevrolet has a great deal going on in May for Military Appreciation Month. Chevrolet is honoring those in the military with the best discount program out of any car company because Chevrolet feels those who serve deserve a great discount! Chevrolet Military Program is open to all veterans, this includes Active Duty, Reserves and Retirees and their spouses of all branches (U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard). An added plus is you can combine this discount with most other current incentives. For instance USAA members also receive an additional $750 private offer.
Have you ever taken a staycation? How do you find new roads when you PCS?
Check out the #ChevySalutes #FindNewRoads Instagram Contest that will run from May 4-17, 2015. Those that enter have the chance to win 1 of 3 prizes (1 grand prize, 2 runners up) by sharing photos or videos that show how their military family finds new roads or how we can support our military service members and their families as they find new roads. Make sure you enter, you never know your picture could be the grand prize winner!
Make sure to connect with Chevrolet on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and follow the #chevysalutes #FindNewRoads hashtags. You can also check out ChevySalutes.com to learn more about Chevrolet’s military discount program during Military Appreciation Month
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chevrolet via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.
I don’t know about you but I am a fan of old houses. From their architecture to those that have been made to look like they did in years past. Here in Fayetteville we have several beautiful homes in the historic Haymount area. One of those houses that you can visit is the 1897 Poe House and I was excited to check it out as part of the Fayetteville Blogger Familiarization Tour.
When most people here the name Edgar Allan Poe they think of great literary works such as The Tell Tale Heart, The Raven or one of his other poems or stories. Here in Fayetteville we had our own Edgar Allan Poe although he went by E.A. Poe. He was a prominent businessman and community leader in the area, Poe was a brick maker .
If you have been in Fayetteville you probably have seen his bricks and didn’t even know it. E.A. Poe’s bricks were used in the Hay Street United Methodist Church.
Poe and his wife, Josephine had the house built in 1897 and lived there with their children.
His daughter Lily lived in the home until her death and at that time she gave the house to the state of North Carolina to be used as a museum. The house was refurbished and is open today for free tours that are guided by very knowledgable volunteer tour guides.
No two tours are the same so you may learn a new tidbit or two with each visit. I can say we learned a bunch of interesting things!
Before even entering the house we were learning tidbits. When you first walk up to the house you can find a small imperfection. I won’t say where exactly other than in the eaves of the porch. This imperfection was based in the Poe’s christian belief of God’s infallibility.
My attention inside the house was drawn to all the little things from things such as books from that time period to the inside architecture.
The Encyclopedia of Etiquette was especially interesting. I wanted to pick it up and read it just to see what it said. There is just something about what was once considered proper.
While touring the downstairs we went through both the formal living room that would of been used for entertaining guest, the living room the family used to the children’s room where I fell in love with what our tour guide called the first Easy Bake Oven! It was actually a salesman sample cast iron oven. Back then salesman needed a smaller version of their product to show the lady of the house so they could show off it’s features
In the dining room our tour guide told us some of the ghost stories of the house. It wasn’t until we were at lunch that we discovered we were not alone in the room.
Krystal from Army Wife 101 captured an image of someone. We don’t know who although we think it may be the nurse or cook. Krystal and I were the last 2 people out of the room and when she took the picture I had just left for the food holding room to take pictures.
Here is the last picture I took of the room just moments before hers of the other side of the room.
Pretty spooky stuff! It definitely had us checking our pictures at lunch! Krystal and I both had other images of different rooms with green orbs. Since I did not use flash it was pretty interesting stuff!
My favorite room of the house was the kitchen but i’m sure some of you could have guessed that.
The cast iron stove was not the original but it was still awesome. In fact they use it throughout the year.
I loved this old cook book and how simple recipes once were!
That Pepsi bottle is actually a sprinkler bottle. Did you know that Pepsi is from North Carolina? It was created in a pharmacy in New Bern in 1898!
I really enjoyed our time at the Poe House and it is something that I plan to go back and visit again. I have been told the house is simply beautiful at Christmas! I know they also decorate for Halloween. It was raining on the day that we visited so I need to make a return visit just to check out the grounds of the Poe House and Arsenal Park, the remains of an ordinance factory that was used by both federal and confederate governments.
Poe House is located at 206 Bradford Avenue, Fayetteville, NC. There hours are-
Take a step back in time and check it out for yourself and let me know if you have any ghostly adventures! I would love to hear about them.
I really like doing things outdoors along with doing things that challenge myself. That is part of why I do half marathons and will be doing a full (Yes, I have gone full crazy!). I like riding “scary” rollercoasters and thrill rides. I’m not sure if I would jump out of an airplane like my husband but zip lining has always looked intriguing. I don’t like heights though. I can do them but not without that butterflies that makes me want to puke feeling in my gut. So when I saw Zippiest on the itinerary for the Fayetteville blogger familiarization tour the butterflies hit. I told myself I had this. Plus anyways, I didn’t want to come off as a scaredy cat in front of the other bloggers.
I was ready. It is zip lining, it is safe, you are hooked in, no falling off the cable. Why not?
So I signed my life away.
We got started with getting rigged up, harnesses, helmets, gloves and a leather sleeve for braking.
Gave each other names and wrote names on each other’s helmets… I was just Gourmet. After my blog.
We were then ready for training!
We went over the basics, how to stop, how to turn, self recovery. We practiced maybe 1-2 feet off the ground.
and then I was off! Well after everyone else. I ended up going last.
The taking off was the hardest part and taking that leap. The actual zipping was fun. If that makes any sense.
As we zipped through the trees we learned that they all had names. Like this one was Consuella, Sway for short. Head out to Zipquest if you want to know why Tiffany was making the face she did.
By the time we were half way through I had the hang of things and was going first or second. That hard to go feeling went away. The only time I had an issue going again was when my fellow bloggers were making me laugh hard. Zipping was fun, I even yelled out a few woohoo’s while on the line.
We zipped through the trees and over water from tree to tree, platform to platform. Going higher and longer on each zip.
We went up floating staircases
and crossed rope bridges. I was banned from going first and then almost kicked out of the blogger group when I went last. I went too fast which made the bridge really swing…oops!
One of my favorites was zipping by the waterfall at Carver Creek. If you keep your eyes open on the same zip you can see a mill also. It was on this zip I decided I liked those long zips where you can’t see the other side.
In the end it was a great time and something I would definitely do again. Our guides were great, they were funny and very patient with us crazy bloggers. Thank you Erich and Kyle you guys are awesome!
A zipline tour will take about 2 and a half hours and features 8 ziplines with 16 platforms. There are also 3 (floating) spiral staircases and you cross 3 suspension bridges. You zip among the various plants, trees and wildlife in the Carver Falls area and actually zip over Carver Falls. In case of inclement weather (or other reasons such as injury) while out on the tour there are emergency ziplines that can be used as needed. Those tour guides also go through regular training to include monthly recertification. You are in good hands at Zipquest.
Zipquest offers both military and group discounts.
Zipquest is located at:
533 Carvers Falls Road
Fayetteville, NC 28311
Their hours are,Monday through Saturday 9am to 5pm & Sunday 10am to 5pm and reservations are highly suggested. You can find out more information about Zipquest HERE
Whether you are PCS/moving and need someplace to stay while you are house hunting, have family coming in from out of town or are just looking for a local stay-cation, I have the place for you in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau started our blogger familiarization tour at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott on Ramsey Street and we were given a brief tour of the hotel. Every person has their own reasons for picking a hotel, the rooms, the amenities, the breakfast and this place has it all at an affordable price.
When you first walk into the lobby you are greeted by it’s open floor plan and a small seating area directly to your right as you walk in. To the left is check in as well as a small shop (Corner Market) where you can buy snacks and alcoholic beverages. We decided the wall behind check in was an awesome wall to take selfies! To the back was a large seating area what is used in the evenings and in the morning s for breakfast.
Moving on to the hotel rooms they are very nice and looked just like Fairfields pictures on their website. We were shown a room with a king bed as well as a studio with a king bed. Both rooms were quite roomy with plenty of space to maneuver around. The regular room had a space saving cubby hole built into the wall with your typical amenities- microwave, fridge and coffee maker. Where as the studio had a small kitchenette area that included dishes. The beds felt cozy, perfect for after a day exploring Fayetteville. If you had work to do they had a very nice desk in the room. The bathroom was your typical bathroom except for one thing, the shower. The shower was AMAZING! The pictures we took just did not do it justice. I would have loved to stay the night like a couple of my fellow bloggers to fully experience the room but it just wasn’t in the cards for me since my husband was away doing exciting Army stuff in Louisiana.
Among the other amenities the hotel has an indoor heated salt water pool. Personally, I love salt water pools over the typical chlorine pool. The pool area also included access to a patio area outside. This pool was really calling my name, if only I was staying the night! Directly across from the pool is the fitness room. The room was a very large room filled with a row of Precor treadmills and ellipticals and a rack with some free weights. Just enough for a quick work out while you are away. I really appreciated that there was more than one of each machine also!
A welcome addition to the Fairfield was an outdoor area in the back of the hotel with a BBQ grill and a fire pit and comfy seats. The fire pit is gas and is set to a timer for those oops, I forgot to turn it off moments. The back patio had everything you could need for a relaxing evening.
The Fairfield Inn does offer a complimentary breakfast and it is more than your typical cereal and maybe baked goods. They offer both hot and cold breakfast items and you can find something to meet most dietary needs. Even though I was not staying there I was able to try out their breakfast. Being gluten free this is often a challenge at many complimentary hotel breakfasts but I was able to have a couple pieces of bacon, a sausage patty and some yogurt. They also offered your typical make your own waffles, scrambled eggs, assorted pastries, fresh fruit to include a fresh fruit salad and more.
The Fairfield Inn isn’t just a place to spend a night away from home but they have meeting space and small banquet space. Are you part of an organization that holds regular meetings but is constantly looking for a place to meet? The Fairfield Inn has a conference room that you can rent seats 12 that is set up just to host meetings. Are you having a small wedding, sweet 16 or other small party? They have a room just for you. The room even includes a door directly to the outside to a patio area where your guest can smoke or just hang out.
The Fairfield Inn by Marriott is a great hotel for all your hotel needs where you get your money’s worth. They also offer government/military rates upon availability. I hope you take it into consideration when looking for a hotel in Fayetteville!