We finally got a Golf cart last weekend!! Ever since we bought our beach house last year in Ocean Isle Beach NC I had my heart set on eventually getting a golf cart. Ocean Isle Beach is known for his golf cart community lifestyle and everyone on the island typically has one for cruising the streets easily. The towns hosts a 4th of July Parade every year where they decorate everyone’s golf carts and line the streets for the kids! After researching a few companies over the last several months, we finally decided to go look at Golf Carts at Cary Cart Company’s newest location in Ocean Isle Beach! (6855 Beach Dr. SW #3 Ocean Isle Beach NC). The location is an easy 10 minute drive from Ocean Isle Beach on the way to Sunset Beach. We toured all the color options they had and decided to go with this Mint green one!
The exact Golf Cart we chose and features:
Model: Onward PTV, street legal Club Car Manufacturer
Local Service-(Offices in OIB, Bald Head Island, and Cary, NC) This was huge, if something happens to golf cart or the battery stops working etc, I wanted someone nearby to easily run over and fix the problem. Their team even brought it on a trailer and dropped the cart off at our house once purchased.
Cost: 48 months 0% financing! You heard that right. When I thought about waiting another year to get a golf cart, it just made since to go ahead and finance once since we would have 4 years to pay it off. They offer this deal for brand new golf carts. You can buy used ones as well, but the 0% won’t be available.
Custom Golf Carts: You can customize and make any type of golf cart if you don’t want a used one! They help you pick out the colors, features, seat size etc!
Family Owned: I love to support local small businesses expecially during this time and I love the fact the entire family works and operates at each location.
Rent or Buy: If you are just renting a beach place for the week, they also have that option available. Search their rentals here and the carts for sale here!
This Wrightsville Beach guide is a long time coming! When I say a long time, I mean this was the first beach I ever went to with my family when I was a baby and continued to vacation for 30 years :). Being born and raised in North Carolina you come to love Wrightsville beach and Wilmington NC area because it is the closest beach right off highway 40 when you head to the coast. Not only is it super convenient, it also has always been the most developed North Carolina Beach town with some of the best restaurants and shops to me. This post is also going to be hard for me to write because there are SO MANY good places to go, visit, and eat. For that simple reason, I am going to do two blog posts. This first one I am going to highlight options to stay and things to do with the kids. The next one will showcase where to eat around town, so stay tuned for that too!! So without further ado, below is some info on WB!
How to get there:
You can fly into ILM airport and easily be at the beach in 20 minutes depending if summer/traffic etc. If you are driving, you head straight down 40 East till you arrive in Wilmington. North Carolina is not complicated to figure out 🙂 The best weather in NC typically runs from April-October. The hottest time of the year is typically July-August, with highs touching the 90s.
(pictured here is the Holiday Inn Resort at Wrightsville Beach)
If you want to stay on the beach, any area over the bridges is an easy walk to the ocean.
If you want to stay near restaurants/bars, choose the streets right off of Lumina, or anywhere behind the beach bars (located by Jerry Allens, or Tower 7)
The Southend of Wrightsville is more quiet and secluded in my opinion.
The North end (shell island) has more larger house rentals/full time residents and two hotels on that end.
If you have a boat, look at renting docks by the north end/”lollipop area”
We recently stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort at Wrightsville Beach. I loved this hotel because they have so many amenities on site for kids: Playground, indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub, onsite kids camp/playroom, and an arcade room open 24/7. The rooms also have a balcony over looking the pool & ocean!
We have also stayed at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, which is on the south-end of the island. They recently renovated the hotel & the entire outside area is gorgeous.
What to do:
Rent a Boat/Car from Bluewater Transport Charters: One of my favorite things to do in the summer is go out on a boat to some of the neighborhood islands. The closest one is Mason’s inlet, which has small tide pools for kids to play in. On the islands you can bring your own coolers, dogs, and tents year round & spend an entire day out there! You can rent a boat for the day, do a sunrise tour, and even arrange luxury car transfers if a special occasion.
Visit the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History: Located at 303 W. Salisbury, find this museum in the middle of the Historic Square of houses all built in the early 1900s. The homes that make up the Historic Square are some of the last survivors of the Great Fire, which roared through
the island in 1934 including the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History. The Wrightsville Beach Park is right behind the Museum, so take the kids right after the blow off some energy! Wrightsville Beach Park has a new all-inclusive playground geared towards children with disabilities as well as two outdoor basketball courts, four tennis courts, three sand volleyball pits, one softball field and anopen area for soccer/flag football.
Explore Airlie Gardens: “Encompasses 67 acres of beautiful Gilded Age gardens and lakes. Admire the azaleas,gaze at the camellias, stand in the shade of the 450-year-old Airlie Oak, experience nature’s most delicate and ephemeral creatures – butterflies – in the region’s first
permanent butterfly house.” Airlie Gardens has special events year round, including the famous “Garden Party” which is hosted Azalea festival weekend on that Friday. They also do “Enchanted Airlie” during the holidays where you can pay for a car full to drive and see all the lights!
Book a Cave room with Native Salt Caves & Wellness: This was a really cool experience to take the kids to detoxify your body! From the site, since they can explain their process better: “Providing Himalayan salt caves for halotherapy, Native Salt Cave and Wellness offers the choice of two caves: one for a massage treatment room or children’s cave, and the other for adults to sit and relax enjoying the benefits of breathing the salt-infused air surrounded by Himalayan Salt. The salt used in the halogenerators, found in both caves, is pharmaceutical-grade 99.99% sodium chloride, the same that is used in medical saline solutions. The main Salt Cave holds tweleve. Inhaling dry salt air for a period of time has been a traditional wellness practice. Signature events: Classes, or group sessions, held in the main cave combining massage, light and sound techniques to enhance the salt cave experience.”
Dining out in Asheville(All the above images are from the Red Stag restaurant, conveniently located beside the lobby of the Grand bohemian Asheville) Also the places below were recommended several times:
Curate: This was Spanish Cuisine Tapa Style dishes, Get the Paella De Verduras- our favorite by far, it takes 40 mins so order as soon as you sit down.
NightBell (same owner as Curate)
Breakfast: Biscuit Head, Tupelo Honey (but this is a chain), Holes Donuts & Vortex Donuts, Early Girl Eatery, Underground Cafe Donuts
Dessert: French Broad Chocolate Factory (prepare to wait on weekends)
Breweries: Sierra Nevada, Wicked Weed, Funkatorium
We loved our room at The Grand Bohemian, in fact the Bellman told us Kevin Hart had just stayed in this exact room! We had the One bedroom Suite, you can book it here. I felt like this was the perfect size for a family of four. The living area had a pull out couch that felt like a regular queen, and our king size bed was very cozy. The kids would have stayed in the jet jacuzzi all day if I let them! (see pics). The staff was amazing, food was great, and we really felt like they treated us like family after such a short time!
The kids loved the Indoor Pool at the Omni Grove! It isn’t connected to the hotel, but they have a shuttle that takes you to the “Sports complex” which has air hockey, ping-pong, the pool, and several other activities. Located behind that is a playground too! If I had to explain the two hotels, I would say the Grand Bohemian had a chic, hip small luxury boutique hotel vibe easy for exploring Asheville. The Omni Grove is a huge property, that felt historic with a very well known spa. If you go to Asheville, I would put both on your hit list!
I have been visiting Blowing Rock, NC since I was little so this post might be all over the place! My parents have owned a Condo at Chetola Resort for 20+years, so its safe to say we have been to the area a lot. Most of my travel guides on here have been to places I’ve had to research nonstop beforehand and we hit up every single hot spot during a short period. Growing up visiting Blowing Rock, I find myself going to the same usual places we love and not exploring the city like we do other places. But isn’t that usually the case in your own home-town? I’ll tell you all our favorite spots below we hit up when in town, but you probably will find more on google too that I dont know about!
Accommodations: Chetola Resort Like I mentioned above, this is where we typically stay when in town because my family owns one of the condos. The entire property is decorated & lights up during the holidays, so we are always there after Thanksgiving. They also have big events in the summer for 4th of July, and Parades for both seasons. The grounds are beautiful- So many people get married on the lawn overlooking the pond. 3 Types of Accommodations to choose from on property:
1. The Chetola Lodge- Which is just like your standard hotel rooms
2. The Bob Timberlake Inn- a Bed & Breakfast with 8 rooms that connects to the Lodge, above the main restaurant.
3. Condominiums- Which is where we stay- great for families! They range from 1- 4 bedrooms!
Amenities on site:
Indoor Pool & Jacuzzi- My kids live here, so great during the winter months.
Explore Downtown Blowing Rock: go to the shops, park, tennis courts and basketball courts less than a mile from Chetola.
Visit The Blowing Rock– This is one of my favorite scenic spots that’s very close by.
Visit Tweetsie Railroad– If your visiting BR more than twice and have kids, get the season pass. Its the same amount if you were to go twice, and you can go year round. They just started doing Tweetsie Christmas, so its pretty much open on weekends year round now too!
GrandFather Mountain– Its about a 30 minute drive, cross the high bridge and hike the trails to see all the animals onsite at the zoo.
Skiing/Snowboarding: For beginners, or a short drive- just go to Appalachian Mountain. For more advanced go to Beech or Sugar. My personal favorite is Sugar for snowboarding.
Hike a Waterfall: We’ve done Laurel Creek Falls, but follow the directions online to a tee. There are no signs.
Visit Rough Ridge for amazing views/pictures: We did our family pictures here last year, you will see them below- its a hike up and then you can stand on the rocks overlooking the mountains. Peak time is in October/November when its fall foliage!
Spa– for another beautiful spa off property, check out Westglow resort & Spa. Breathtaking! (This is the path to Rough Ridge where these photos were taken)
Bistro Roco– we make sure to always get a reservation here in advance during holidays! Favorite date night spot. It feels like you are in a cave/mountain kind of and I love there MacnCheese!
Mellow Mushroom– I know a chain, but its right in Downtown Blowing Rock and I crave their “esperanza” dipping pizza sauce.
Twigs– Go here for lunch on a nice day and sit outside, grab a draft beer.
Kilwins– Another chain, but go here for Ice cream & Lemonade when walking around Downtown 🙂
(Our dresses are from Ivy City Co)
(these photos were taken on the grounds of chetola)
*I love our tradition of getting family photos done during the holidays every year there! All photos were taken by the lovely- Sydney Gail, if you’re local to Blowing Rock area, and are looking for a photographer that knows the area well + takes amazing photos, book her here!
I was born & raised in North Carolina. I went to school in North Carolina (except for a semester in Hawaii), and I now live in North Carolina with my family! When it comes to traveling around the state, I find myself doing the same things I am so use to and grew up to know. I wanted to break out of the ordinary and start traveling my own state like I do other cities. These next couple months I am so excited to do several “Stay-Cations” in North Carolina and see some sides of these towns I haven’t before! We have some upcoming trips to the mountains (Blowing Rock & Asheville) over these winter months so keep an eye out for those travel guides.
In NC, fall/Winter blend together for the most part. I wanted to show you my basic travel packing list for the kids when going on short one night stays in the area! Here’s whats in their suitcase:
Jackets: These Merrimane Jackets have been a life saver, not too hot, not too cold, perfect over the clothes jacket that’s so soft. It also has a chic look too it, so we rock these jackets to church too :). * Fun Giveaway happening on my Instagram page, head over there for a chance to win a Merrimane Jacket!
Basic Tees/Leggings: My go to is H&M/ Carters for basic black/white tees for layering
Pajamas: Babybreez– I always try to put the kids in jammies when traveling for comfort.
Proximity: We chose this hotel due to its convenience to downtown and tons of restaurants within walking distance.
Kid Friendly: If you saw my stories on my Instagram, they didn’t do it justice. This hotel comes with a complete underground basement with a basketball court, Bowling Alley, Slide, ping pong tables, and so on. Anyone from kids to adults could spend hours in this area having a blast.
Pet Friendly: This hotel allows dogs. Its rare that I am at a nice hotel that also allows pets, so bring your fur babies!
Rooms: We stayed in a large king room, the showers were amazing with kids- double sided no fights!
Buffet Breakfast: Starts at 8am, I would have preferred earlier because my kids are early birds but nonetheless it was delicious and easy!
Amenities: Their Indoor Pool & Whirlpool was the hit of our stay with the kids. I love when a hotel has a pool indoors because you can keep the kids entertained no matter what time of year it is! The place was huge and stocked with towels.
Restaurant on site: Their new restaurant 88 Oaks was an easy choice for dinner & Breakfast.
Service: Everything was perfect from check in to check out, to getting us anything we needed quickly.
Rooms: We had a king bed room and the bed was very comfortable, I usually toss and turn not sleeping in my own bed and didn’t wake up at all here. The bed felt like a cloud.
Proximity: This location is within a mile from North Hills shopping, and we happened to stay the night of the Tree Lighting at North Hills! A lot of fun action happening around this area for kids to be entertained.
We went to the Christmas parade in downtown Raleigh yesterday and then scooted over to the North Hills Hilton! There seemed to be a ton of events going on. A tree lighting at North Hills Shopping center with a ton of vendors/events going on, and at the same time they had one in Lafayette Village we didn’t get a chance to check out.
The Kids are wearing their Merrimane Jackets in these pictures I mentioned above- giveaway happening on my instagram page!
Upcoming Events I am excited to check out and share with you, check them out if you’re in the area!
I have always wanted to throw a beach party for Lainey since she has an August birthday and most of our friends live at the beach! This year worked out perfectly to do that on Labor day weekend! I thought it would be fun to treat it like a mini “bachelorette” and get matching suits for all the girls! We also told everyone to BYOF (bring your own float) and we floated outside by the dock the entire day. Lainey’s favorite thing about the party was the Pelican Sno Balls we had unlimited, as was mine (it turned out genius to make alcohol drinks with the shaved ice too 🙂 ) Below are the vendors we used, and several images from the party.
*If you’re in Wrightsville/Wilmington area and are throwing any type of party, make sure to contact these vendors below! Everyone was phenomenal, on time and very responsive.
Photographer: Visuals By Helen Helen came for about an hour and got all the photos I needed easily! She even sent me 3 sneak peak ones that evening, super fast and loved all the images she got!
Moana 2-layered Cake- One Belle Bakery I told them my vision, sent a few sample inspiration photos, and boom, they delivered an awesome cake that tasted just as good as it looked!
Mermaid- FairyTales and Dreams by the Sea We booked for one hour, and felt like it was the perfect amount of time for her to interact with our small crowd of 8 kids! They loved her reading to them during “Story time” and she danced and stayed right by the birthday girl! It was the perfect something “Extra special” birthday treat I am glad I booked for all the kids.
Pelican Sno Balls station: We booked the starter package and I felt like we had more than enough extra shaved ice left, we invited all the neighbors over to even have some!
Personalized Swim Suits & Tumblers: Etsy: Parkerryandesigns One of our good friends Andrea has been running this etsy shop for awhile and I casually mentioned I was looking for personalized swim suits, and what do you know, she said she could easily make them! She is one talented girl, if you need something personalized (from clothes to cups) shoot her a message on etsy!
Water trampoline/Slide O-zone Water bouncer: Rave Sports We have been loving this all summer, but I got this Water Bouncer specifically for lainey’s birthday bash! The kids and toddlers loved it! You can see why we love it on this post I did awhile back here.
Letter Board: Felt Like Sharing I love the pop of color their letter boards add to any event and photo!
Hair: I had my hair styled in braids by Set Blow Out Bar
I always go by here when I am in wilmington to get a blowout, so figured I’d get a braid style for the party too. Lainey was supposed to come, but she was already enjoying the festivities when it was time for our appointment so I went solo :). They do Mommy and Me styles too!
Can a Kid ever see Santa too many times or have too many cookies or wear enough Christmas jammies?? Answer still up for grabs, but we got close.
If you’re like me, the Holidays were jammed packed for the month of December and went by way too fast! I think I might have slightly over done it this season, but I have serious FOMO (which I blame from my dad) and I didn’t want my kids to miss one bit of action going on in NC! Most of these events I had to start planning back in the Summer, because moms are all over it when it comes to Christmas activities around here in the south apparently :). Mark your calendars for next summer because you are going to want to get tickets for these events next year!
Events around NC that sell out in advance typically:
-Pullen Park Holiday Express
-Polar Express Train- I know there are two locations in NC.
-Tea with Santa (Umstead)
-12 days of Christmas Carolina Inn
-1870 Farm santa/animal hayrides
-MapleView farm icecream santa hayrides
-Chetola, Blowing rock NC -Santa & Carriage Rides
-Tweetsie Christmas (this was the first year they opened this!)
-Disney on Ice- PNC arena
-Feel free to let me know if i need to add any more high demand ones!
Some photos from the holidays of these events are below, and ill remind everyone when these tickets go back on sale!
12 Days of Christmas Carolina inn (We did brunch with Santa and Sugar Plum Fairy afternoon tea):