Jord Watch

Jord Watch

I have teamed up with JORD which makes fabulous wooden watches for a fun 100$ giveaway! I decided to take you and my JORD around to a few of my favorite places in the Charleston area!  But first the giveaway!

In order to enter the the 100$ giveaway you have to go here! Easy peasy! Then you are entered with a chance to win 100$ towards a new JORD watch.  The contest closes on 7/30/2017 so don’t delay!! This is the link to my specific JORD watch in case you wanted to know which one I have been wearing.

Some of my favorite places or things to do in Charleston, SC:

King St: Do you like food, shopping, drinks or history? Well, King St. has it all. I love everything about King St. from the newer up and coming areas with a thriving restaurant scene all the way down to the Battery Park. There is so much to see and do!

King St

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charleston always has something to do and lucky for us we have a local baseball, soccer, and hockey team!  We love to go out and support our local Charleston teams with or without the kids.  Here we are at the Charleston RiverDogs Game.  Time to play ball!

Charleston RiverDogs Game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wouldn’t be South Carolina if you didn’t have to be near water in the summer.  Mind you, I DID NOT get my beautiful watch wet!! That’s a huge NO, NO! But, most of my days are spent by the pool or beach and I often go straight there!  Look how it shines against the water!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, I often take my watch out on the town for dinner. We are in one of the fastest growing culinary areas and I wear my JORD to complement all things fashion.  Here is a sample of some fun looks from dinner out an about. Bonus points if you can guess where I took it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed a few of my favorite places with my JORD watch. I have enjoyed taking you along for the ride! Now go win yourself 100$ towards your JORD watch! Here’s the link one more time!

Good Luck!

Cheers,

Barb

 

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North High Brewing

 

North High Brewing

What would you do the night before leaving for Europe… Pack? Go to bed early? Well, not if you have an option for a private brewery tour!! From here on out, the night before a big vacation is now known as “Flight Night”!

We had the great pleasure of being able to tour the brewery floor at North High Brewing and then head off to the taproom when the tour concluded. Score! Lucky for us, Kelsey Stief (Marketing), was a fantastic host and really represented the brand of North High Brewing. It’s a laid back brewery, with a fun personality. Just like Kelsey! I loved the names of their beers and the retro look they used for design.

Kelsey Stief, Marketing and our tour guide!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me tell you a little bit about this brewery.  Owners Gavin Meyers and Tim Ward, met in graduate school at Ohio State school of Business and wanted to bring a new brewery concept focusing on experience to their area.  In 2011, a brewery was born. North High Brewing was the first and only Brew on premises established, where the customer is also the brewmaster!  Heck yeah, you mean I could call myself a brewmaster?? That’s a pretty sweet title!

Honey Wheat Lager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 2014, a brewery expansion was initiated bringing North High Brewing from one of the smallest to one of the largest in the area.  Brewmaster and partner, Jason McKibben, came on with the expansion and has been brewing and drinking happily for 3 years now.

Brewmaster, Jason. He was super excited to get his picture taken!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 led to signing with Premium Beverage Supply company and their beer is currently distributed throughout Ohio in 3,000 locations. Expansions and demand continue to increase especially after the Pale Ale took silver medal in the American Pale Ale category at the World Beer Cup. Now remember, I am not a huge Pale Ale fan, but come on I have try this beauty!  It was fantastic and my husband who is a Pale Ale kind of guy loved it too.

They now do their own canning!
Look how beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heck yes!
Acting cool, in the cooler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the brewery tour, which is off site from the taproom, we headed to taste some of their beers… “Flight Night”! My flight consisted of the Hefeweizen, the Honey Wheat Lager (only sold at the taproom), the Jalalima (if you love Jalepenos, this is a must), and the Thunderkissed a coffee infused milk stout (this coffee is roasted on site at the brewery). I loved them all evidenced by how quickly they disappeared from my glass. Wait…it’s gone already?!

The Taproom in all its glory!
Flight Night Success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their taproom is very well appointed with an area for home “brewmasters” and a fun area to host parties.  In addition, the light was perfect and you can even bring your friends with you… man’s best friend that is!  They pride themselves on being family friendly, pet friendly, college friendly… so basically everyone friendly and they wouldn’t have it any other way!

This my beer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had the best time so go check them out here.  You won’t be disappointed! Next time you plan a vacation, I hope “Flight Night” is on the agenda!

Cheers,

Barb Skidmore

@blushingalpacas

 

GoldCreationsSC

Gold Creations

I have had the great pleasure working with Gold Creations in Charleston, SC located here.  Jewelry is so often a representation of our style and ourselves that sometimes it is difficult to find the right piece that fits. Lucky for me, before leaving on a trip abroad, I was able to stop into this little shop and locate some dream pieces.  Before I get further into my trip, let me tell you a little about this charming shop!

Family owned and operated since 1975, started by a husband and wife team, Glenn and Vicki Wolfe.  The business began buying Native American jewelry on the West Coast then bringing their goods back to Charleston, SC and selling on the tables in the Market. This is where the conception of Gold Creations shop began and now houses their store.  Currently, they support 13 employees 4 of which are family.

Store Manager, Katherine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be deceived by how small the actual shop is, the amount and quality of jewelry they house are quite impressive!  Do you see all those gold pieces behind Katherine in the picture…. yeah, so many sparkly things!!  I was almost overwhelmed when I went into the shop, but never fear these girls know what they are doing and helped guide me in the right direction!

Their biggest seller is their Sterling Silver Rice Bead collections which they have been selling for over 15 years now. These necklaces were fashioned after the Carolina Gold Rice that was SC’s main cash crop in the 1700’s. You can find more about this here. You can see why they are a huge seller! Just gorgeous!

Carolina Gold Rice Beads
Rice Beads and Gate Ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So why did I choose Gold Creations? For years and years, Europe has been sending their gold and jewels to the States. This time however, I intended to bring a piece of Charleston,SC with me on my travels to Europe and Gold Creations provided just the pieces to compliment my story and my pictures.

To know me, is to know that my husband and I travel. We travel abroad, we travel local, we travel extensively.  Our favorite mantra is: The greatest traveler is always planning their next trip.  We live by this saying and although we just returned from the United Kingdom, we are already planning the next trip. Truly, we never stop thinking about it (Luckily, my husband is just as crazy as I am)!  With that said, one piece in particular stood out to me, The Compass Rose.  Now the Compass Rose was originally, fashioned after the nautical life of the low country. However, it has come to mean much more to me!

Big Ben, London UK

Here I am with Big Ben in the background, standing outside of the lovely phone booth with people everywhere. There is always a defining moment where I think to myself, we made it! This is where I am supposed to be at this time in my life!  The Compass Rose defines this for me. Follow the path you choose and let it lead you to new and exciting places. The Compass Rose took me to lots of places during our 12 days of travel! Let’s find out where!

 

Another defining moment for me, was getting to Stonehenge.  Trust me it was an escapade getting there… I mean serious shenanigans before we hit those gates! When we finally saw the Stones as we crested the hill, it was breathtaking.  The skies were moody and the Stones were telling a story, just like my compass. I wouldn’t have had the skies any other way.  It even started to sprinkle a bit which led to the perfect experience.

Stonehenge
Rice Bead Bracelets!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now don’t worry, we also went to Scotland too and on an overnight train to boot!  It was actually quite relaxing, but enough about that!  If you plan on going to Scotland, plan on going to the Highlands!  My favorite place by far on the trip.

Here I am at Eilean Donan with my Gate Earrings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eilean Donan was a gorgeous castle and also right next to the entrance or Gate to the Isle of Skye, so the Gate Earrings played perfectly with my destination this date. And to answer your question, yes it was cold almost every day even though it was June! It also rained quite often, but would clear quickly.  My favorite quote of the trip was when one of the workers said, “The weather is nice now, but we are just minutes away from miserable”!!  What a true statement, and also pretty funny, or not so funny depending on who you ask!

Now, we couldn’t leave Scotland without first looking for Nessie in Loch Ness (we didn’t find her), heading to Inverness, stopping at the top of Scotland in John O’Groats and heading back and out through Edinburgh. Here are a few more pictures.

Loch Ness, we didn’t find Nessie!
John O’Groats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It truly was a non-stop journey with lots of destinations. If you have any questions about our vacation, just let me know and I will do my best to answer them.  Follow the links in the post to access Gold Creations website for any questions related to the jewelry. You will not be disappointed by their variety and quality.

The Compass Rose will forever be apart of my future travels! Thank you Gold Creations for helping me locate such a magical piece.  I think Elizabeth (Lizzy) from Gold Creations said it best:

“The Compass Rose is a reminder that we are not merely travelers, but we are the navigators of our destiny.”

Now start planning your next adventure!

Cheers,

Barb @blushingalpacas

Ackergill Castle, Highlands UK with my husband @skidmorediaries

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day Guide

Father’s Day

Not sure about you, but Father’s Day always throws me for a loop. I rarely, if ever, know what to get my Husband or my Father.  Usually, I ask them what they want and they give me the old, “I don’t want anything” or “I don’t care”.  Why Thank you, that was super helpful.  Now don’t get me wrong, I get so upset about it because I really do want to get them something special. Sometimes, Dads don’t get the full attention for their day, mostly because they will never complain about it.  This lack of complaining is awesome, but also may lead to a delay in gift presentation or worse, nothing at all.  Well, I am here to help this Father’s Day! We still have time right?! Yep we do, Phew!

Here are my top 5 Father’s Day Gifts for different types of Dads:

  1. The Coffee Dads

Is there a Dad who doesn’t like (or require) coffee?  Not sure, I have ever met that Dad.  Get them a bag of coffee or gift certificate which will also help them stay awake for their big day! Here are a few of my favorite coffees local to Charleston that would make for a great gift.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Cold Tap Delicious Nitro pour growler (you can find this at Odyssey Board Shop)

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The Bearded Dads

Let me tell you, sometimes I think my husband loves his beard more than me.  I’m sure that’s not true… maybe.  He takes his beard very seriously, just ask him! Here are some of my husband’s favorite beard products and he always needs more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Cred @lahmansbeard @lahmanswife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Techie Dad

3. My dad is an engineer and of course my Husband loves just about  everything tech. Sometimes much to my dismay, “What’s the password on this one?” or “Why did the TV just turn off?” Here are some fun tech items. This is the most expensive portion of the article.

  1. The Foodie/Grill Dad

Thankfully for me, both my Dad and my husband LOVE to cook and eat out.  I think that is part of the reason I married my husband! They love all things food!  I mean ALL things. This is always a constant gift option for me.

  • Charbroil Smoker/grill  or utensils or accessories
  1. Gift Certificate to his favorite restaurant (too many links to connect to this one but here is a picture of food from Poe’s Tavern).

  1. The Active/Outdoorsy Dad

It’s easy to be an outdoors Dad when the weather is nice, and lucky for us in the South the weather is usually nice. Whether your dad is into water sports, hiking, climbing, or running, awesome gear is always needed (or at least wanted).

  • New pack (my husband loves this one from Hi Sierra) or of course some of the gear that would go with hiking.
  • New kayak/paddleboard, or and excursion like this one OM sailing

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The Drink Connoisseur Dad

Cheers to our Dads!  At the end of a long day, or maybe closer to the beginning of a long day, it’s nice to have a cold drink.  Different types of Dad’s like different types of drinks.  Here’s a few of my husband’s favorites.

  • Crown Royal just released their new limited Wine Barrel finished Whiskey and trust me this is delicious. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo taken at Charles Towne Fermentory, Growler courtesy of @cornbread_and_craftbeer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope your gift giving for Father’s day was just made easier, and if you are feeling overly generous you can get them everything! Enjoy your Father’s Day!

Cheers,

Barb

48 Hours in Charlotte, North Carolina

48 Hours in Charlotte

When thinking of Charlotte, I thought of the Carolina Panthers, and that’s pretty much it.  I have driven by Charlotte hundreds of times passing from Charleston, SC north to my parent’s house, and I always said, “Charlotte looks like a cool city, we should stop sometime.”  Well, oh boy was I right!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Charlotte and if you only have 48 hours to be there I have some great spots that you can’t miss!

Friday:

We checked into the Hilton City Center, which is located smack dab in the middle of the city and dangerously close to their renowned bakery Amelie’s (more about that later).  It is around the corner from the NASCAR Hall of Fame and basically in walking distance to all things uptown and a short Uber ride to all other areas.  Perfect location for all your Charlotte needs.

Stop 1: Haberdish

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haberdish is a new restaurant, opened December of 2016, in the up and coming trendy area of NoDa, short for North Davidson.  Although, this restaurant was newer, it ran smoothly with cordial and knowledgeable staff.   Haberdish is starting to be known for its craft cocktails with a modern take on good old fashioned meals.  We started with two of their recommended cocktails, Planes and Trains and Secret Surf Spot.  Oh man, were these drinks delicious and did I mention gorgeous?  The ice cube had a rose frozen inside of it!  Perfect presentation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you heard of Dilly beans? Yes, that means green beans pickled with dill…oh so good. Plus, the name is super fun to say!  Now for the entrees, well let me tell you that I am still dreaming about their Chicken Fried Cauliflower. Once again, you heard me correctly!  CHICKEN FRIED CAULIFLOWER!!  It’s a large slice of Cauliflower… chicken fried… and topped with Chimichurri sauce! Let’s just say, there wasn’t anything left of the Cauliflower and I slapped my husband’s hand away when he went for a second bite!  My husband (who is apparently nicer than I am) let me try some of his fried chicken and it was the perfect amount of tender.  The sides came family style and we had the charred okra (it’s a southern thing) and the pickled cole slaw.  We may have a slight problem with loving things pickled!

Chicken Fried Cauliflower!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For dessert, we went with a Digestive drink, the Underberg.  Usually seeing this pattern more in Europe, but we love having a sipper at the end of the meal to help with digestion.  It’s meant to sip so don’t chug it!! It will knock you over! Seriously, just sip it!  It may look cute and adorable but it packs a punch.  In any case, we enjoyed our sipping! Loved this place!  Definitely, need to stop here for dinner, but they don’t take reservations so go early!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop 2: Noda Brewing

First Brewery stop in Charlotte was at Noda Brewing Company.  They recently moved to a larger building which from the street looks like a factory, but when you pull back into where the actual front door is, you will see how incredibly large this place is.  They have a nice outdoor area with turf for grass which would help keep the kids from getting dirty, a musician singing, lots of outdoor seating and a food truck was present.  Gearing towards really anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was mighty busy when we showed up, but luckily they had 2 bars open and the lines moved very quickly.  Courtney, the head Bartender, was awesome.  She got us set up with a flight of some of the local favorites including the Bandito, Jam Session, Rainbow on Red, and the Premium Roast.  They were all pretty smooth, but the dark beer lover in me liked the Premium Roast the best, that is until she sent me the Samoan Blonde.  Now, I was struggling to choose my favorite.  Don’t worry Courtney said, I have an idea.  Have y’all ever heard of Suicides? You know, where you go to the Gas station fountain drinks and mix and match all the sodas/pop (let’s not get into soda vs pop right now)? Well, guess what, Noda will do that too.  Courtney mixed the Samoan Blonde with the Coco Loco and holy goodness… I was in love!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NoDa has a vibrant scene and is really great for everyone to enjoy, and a must stop for breweries! They have an award winner called the Hop, Drop and Roll which is very popular. Oh, and I almost forgot, they have a rotating beer that gets released every Tuesday and pours out of their original tap!  Pretty cool!

Stop 3: Free Range Brewing

 

 

 

 

 

Free Range is also in the NoDa area of Charlotte and is about to celebrate it’s 2 year anniversary this July with a celebration on July 15th from 12-11 pm. This place, although looks small from the outside, is quite large and roomy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason and Jeff, the owners and Brewers were there to meet us.  They are two brothers with very diverse backgrounds, but seem to complement each other well.  Plus, they still like each other which says so much when it comes to business and family. Speaking of family, Free Range is uber family friendly!  They even have a non-alcoholic juice made from fresh local fruit and veggies sweetened with a touch of honey on tap to pour for kids (or adults) to drink.  What a great idea!  They also have cold brew coffee on nitro pour which was also tasty and I might add an excellent alternative for those who want to drink something but maybe don’t want another beer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for their brews, in general once a brew is gone, it is GOOD AND GONE.  Occasionally, they will bring a popular beer back into the tap line, but that is never guaranteed so if you like it, you better get some to go.  They have only one house staple and it is called the Cream of the Crop.  I am in general not an IPA fan, but I did like their “you know what makes me feel good” IPA, maybe the named swayed me a bit.  My favorite was the “Rice, Rice, baby” a collaboration with BirdSong and yes, you are now singing the Song “Ice, Ice baby” in your head… you are welcome for that! For me, a close second was their “Seas of Companions” a Carolina oyster stout (ahhh… the Carolina girl in me needs this one)!  My husband enjoyed the Carolina Apple Graf the best.  Free Range is a laid-back brewery with lots of character! They support local artists, local athletics, and other local breweries. Definitely, a MUST stop on your brewery hop through Charlotte!

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday:

Good Morning! Time to walk off those beers last night and tour the city.

Stop 1: 7th street market and Walking tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We first went to the 7th street Public Market in the morning for a quick coffee and look around.  It is less than a mile from the Hilton City Center and passes some fun city sky lines and places along the way.  We grabbed our coffee from, Not just Coffee and went with the cold brew nitro pour. No cream necessary for this one!! It tasted so good.  We sat outside on the patio for a little while before heading out to walk about the city.  We used a walking tour map and found the Spirit square, Discovery place Science, Dunhill Hotel, Sonia and Isaac Luski Gallery, Bank of America Corporate Center, Wells Fargo Plaza, First Presbyterian, and Settlers’ Cemetery before heading to our Brunch Reservations at 5Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop 2: 5Church Brunch

I have visited 5Church Charleston, SC many times, so I was looking forward to this brunch.  This is the original 5Church named for its location on the corner of 5th and Church St.  The décor is very similar to the one I have been too which I would describe as modern and stylish décor with beautiful lighting and some artsy flair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The food…. Oh the food!  I am a huge brunch fan! I mean, who isn’t?! I truly love anything brunch related.  Alli, our waitress, did a great job steering me towards the double Mimosa (why waste time refilling a single mimosa) and the Bloody Mary for our drinks. Plus, they really make pictures look great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for the brunch items! My husband went with the English Breakfast and loved his eggs/potatoes and bacon. Remember that whole, I’m not good at sharing thing? Well I went with the Poached eggs on top of crab cakes. Let that just sink in for a minute.  Doesn’t it look beautiful? Almost too pretty to eat… almost! This crab cake and poached egg combo was as delicious as it looked.  By far, one of the best brunch options I have ever had the pleasure of eating and yes, I let my husband have a very small bite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last picture of the Crab Cake~

 

 

 

 

 

Stop 3: Brewery tour with Charlotte Brews Cruise

3 stops allocated for the brewery tour, and these stops vary pending what is going on in the community.  Our guide, Aaron Cook, was both entertaining and educational.  That’s right, I actually learned quite a bit on our brewery tour. Including this little tidbit about 18 breweries in Charlotte proper as well as the full process of making the beer while walking around backstage (where the magic happens)!  We were driven around in a lovely large caravan with air conditioning, bottles of water, and Cheez-its!

 

 

 

 

 

 

That last one comes in handy near the end of the tour! Let get right into the breweries we visited.

BirdSong Brewing Company:

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you may recall, Birdsong did a Collaboration with Free Range (from Friday night) so I had heard of the brewery and was looking forward to their beer.  Birdsong is one of the oldest breweries opening many many years ago… not really. It’s 6 years old opening in 2011, and it still sits as one of the oldest. There are 7 breweries within 2 ½ miles of Birdsong which doesn’t seem to slow down any business as it was packed.  Chris and Tara a husband and wife team, along with 6 investors opened this brewery and here’s the real kicker… they are all still friends! Birdsong started when Chris and Tara would exchange eggs for Connor’s home brew and then a brewtiful friendship began as did the idea for the Brewery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Birdsong’s second location and it is a bigger one keeping 5 brews all year round and at least 1 cider.  Most beer is sold in and around North Carolina.  Now I am going to have to tell you, that one of the best beers I have tasted in awhile was the Jalapeño Pale Ale. Remember when I said I don’t like Pale Ale’s or IPAs… I wasn’t lying.  Trying to figure out if North Carolina puts magic into their Pale Ale and IPA.  That is the only reasonable explanation!  In any case, Birdsong has a great indoor and outdoor area with games, food trucks and seating… oh my.  It’s worth a stop for the magic!

Blue Blaze:

A new one here in Charlotte at just over 1 year.  Blue Blaze is set back into what feels like a lodge overlooking the trees with big wide windows and lovely wood bringing the outside in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Blaze Brewery is named after the Appalachian Trail with each beer named after a marker.  For example, blue blaze means water source or camp ground or special interest. It also means a German style Alt Beer at this brewery.  The head brewer hails from Colorado and the owners Sven and Craig enjoy all the outdoor activities that are available.  They’re situated right next to the light rail walking trail so people can easily walk to and from town.  Great for families with snacks and outdoor corn-hole (bags), rocking chairs and picnic tables. The loft overlooks the brewery to one side and the tree line to the other.  Definitely a charming stop on the brewery tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HeistBrewery:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tour met at Heist but then also ended here.  Heist is a very large Brew-Pub one of the few that also serves a full menu along with the in-house beers.  A high top table was waiting for our group to arrive and the beers were poured and into our hands within a few minutes. The beers included the Brunch Junkie, Mocitra, Thirst, and B-Wheezy, and luckily the pink beer matched my outfit… what are the odds?  In addition to the beer, they had an Irish Whiskey Flight too, in which the Bachelor party decided they needed to partake in!  We didn’t eat any food while we were there but their pretzels with beer cheese smelled and looked amazing and I regret not getting them!  It was a great final stop for the brewery tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We thoroughly enjoyed our Brews cruise, it is a great way to hit a bunch of breweries in a short amount of time, learn some history, all while having a Driver.  It was fun to meet some people who enjoy beer just as much as we do and everyone had a great time.  There may have been just a little beer spilled but not until the very end!  Highly recommend this and if you get Aaron as your guide, you are sure to love it!

Stop 4: Bonterra

Bonterra is in the South End area of Charlotte, which has a completely different feeling then the NoDA area.  It is what some of the diners call a Legacy restaurant being one of the longer lasting in the area. We opted to sit at this bar for this one (mostly because of lighting, always need my pictures), and because it was open and the waitress was very pleasant.  You can order from the Bar Menu or from the set menu while sitting at the bar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was dressier than most of the places we had been prior (but mostly because we were at breweries) with a business casual look.  It is set in old church that was redone and changed into a restaurant.  We met some people sitting at the bar who said they often come here and sit at the bar for drinks and appetizers and then offered up some suggestions for us to go to later in the night.  We enjoyed a slight change from beer with Wine and Prosecco to go with our charcuterie board.

 

Stop 5: Wooden Robot

Yes, we kept going. We were like the energizer bunny! We had been told by a few people not to miss the Wooden Robot, so we walked (in heels, well I did but my husband didn’t) from Bonterra to the Wooden Robot. It actually isn’t very far, I just like to point out how tough I am compared to my bearded husband!  It was well worth the trip.  It was buzzin’ at the Wooden Robot, but the bartender was very patient and provided me with a couple of her favorites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the first sour we had seen in Charlotte so my husband jumped on that. Swarmi, the Assistant Manager, was fantastic and took us back into the backroom of the brewery and showed us the system. I really liked their Good Morning Vietnam which happens to be the biggest seller as well.  You definitely will enjoy this stop!  Plus, they have a Robot in the tap room that works via a control. Kind of funny to watch when people aren’t expecting it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop 6: Fahrenheit

Nope, I’m not joking, We went somewhere else! We went to the top of Fahrenheit for the view and oh what a view it was!  We were not disappointed.  This view is probably the best I have seen within the city.

 

 

 

 

 

We went at night and it was starting to get fairly busy when we got there around 10:30. The drinks were more expensive which is too be expected for the view.  We did not eat there, but we enjoyed the end of the night looking over the Queen City talking about our great day and the fact that we didn’t know that Charlotte had this great of a scene.  We walked back to our hotel which was just a few blocks away and turned in for the night! I would recommend Fahrenheit maybe a little earlier if you want to avoid a crowd. I bet sunset is breathtaking.

Sunday

Woke up a little late, and by late I mean 7:30! We tend to be early birds over here.  Well, luckily we were right across the street from our first stop for Sunday.

Stop 1: Amelie’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you haven’t heard of Amelie’s you have been missing out.  It’s a place where when you walk in you automatically gain at least 3 lbs from just the smells of fine chocolate decadence, pastries, breakfast entrees and coffee.  So, so many choices, we made our best attempt to try as many as possible! Salted caramel brownies are totally acceptable for breakfast, right?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a huge French press girl, and was excited that they would give the whole carafe to us.  My husband fell over when the breakfast sandwich with bacon, ham, and egg came.  I enjoyed the quiche as well as my brownie and of course a chocolate éclair and almond croissant.  Yes, we did order all of those things and yes, we did not eat lunch!  By the way, GO HERE!

Stop 2: NASCAR Hall of Fame

I am not the biggest NASCAR fan, really I just don’t know that much about it (GASP). I know, I am in NASCAR country and I don’t watch NASCAR.  I am surprised they didn’t know when I walked in the door. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed my time there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most enjoyable of the activities at the Hall of Fame was the NASCAR simulator. First you need to qualify for the race (learn how to use the electronics) and then you get to race in a car with graphics that include all the other people racing.  I came in second place…right after my husband and right before no one else! We were the only ones there so basically, I lost.  Five minutes of running into and racing your husband was well worth it!  If you go to the simulator first thing in the morning you won’t have a line, but you also won’t race anyone other than the people with you.  Even if you are not a NASCAR fan it is still a fun experience, so if you are a fan you will be in heaven!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phew… this weekend went super fast!  I can’t believe how much we saw in 48 hours.  I hope you enjoyed my fast track through Charlotte.  I highly recommend a trip to Charlotte, tourism will continue to grow with all it has to offer.  I will be back to see what I missed because although I tried my best, I didn’t see everything and Charlotte truly does “gotalot”!

 

Thank you CRVA and @charlottesgotalot!

Cheers,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbara Skidmore

www.blushingalpacas.com

@blushingalpacas

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting and Market

Meeting and Market Candles

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are from Charleston, SC the term Meeting and Market conjures up a busy intersection of historical buildings, bustling shops, and smells of delicious food wafting from nearby restaurants.  The owner of Meeting and Market, Marc Gaskins, is local to Charleston, SC and although the cross section of streets does carry an importance, there is also another story to the name.  When trying to develop this company and brand, he had MANY, MANY, MANY meetings before truly bringing his product to market.  So yes, Meeting and Market carries a double meaning!

Owner, Marc Gaskins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marc Gaskins, is a nice young man…wait do I sound old?!  Ok, let me start again.  Mark Gaskins is an ambitious and hardworking guy who has dedicated all his time to making the highest quality candles as possible. He’s also pretty funny too, but not sure if that helps the candle making process.  I had the pleasure of trying out two different types of candles.  The first one, Blackberry Sage, is the biggest seller and I am a huge fan of this scent.  In fact, I was having friends stay over from out of town (who doesn’t when you live in Charleston?) and I put this candle in their room.  They could not have been happier with the smell and the look. The second one, Red Ginger Saffron, is my husband’s favorite.  He said it smelled manly, but I think that’s just because he is red head so the name Red Ginger called to him! FYI it smelled excellent and could pass for feminine or manly!  I won’t tell him that though! Both were excellent choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting and Market manages all its shipping and handling via Amazon for a couple different reasons.  Amazon is essentially an employee for Market and Meeting. Amazon warehouses, ships, exchanges, refunds and returns all products. It saves the consumer time and money to use them. Plus, Amazon is the largest e-commerce platform around. If you are reading this, it’s your lucky day because you get 20% off all candles using code Alpaca20! Score!!

 

 

 

 

 

So where can you get them? As mentioned earlier, you can easily order them online here. Also, if you are in the area, you can buy them:

Local Farmers Markets:

Johns Island every Saturday 9-1pm

Folly Beach (May & August) Monday 4-8

Celadon Warehouse (last Sunday of every month)

Retail Locations:

The Port at Restoration on King

Reverie Shop Therapy in Mt Pleasant

Karma Boutique in Atlanta

Be the Change Boutique at King and Market

Marc has just begun to wholesale and is open to and looking for further places to sell his product! Contact him here , if you are interested.

Good luck on the giveaway today!!  The 20% off code Alpaca20 is good for a few weeks so don’t delay!  This is the perfect gift for Mother’s Day, end of the year teacher gifts, birthdays, guests visiting, or just for yourself!

Instagram: @meeting_and_market

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeetingandMarket/

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers,

Barbara

 

 

Odyssey Board Shop

Odyssey Board Shop

So you want me to get on a board…on the water…. heading towards the harbor….while standing up….but don’t worry, I’ll have a paddle!? Hmmm… Are you sure about this? Because I’m not!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I am so glad I stayed the course. Odyssey is a wonderful shop just off of Shem creek located here. It can be a little hard to find if you aren’t looking for it but it is well worth the stop.

Front of the shop

 

 

 

 

 

First of all, let me say that I have never been paddle boarding before. Yes, you are correct, I live in Charleston, SC and have never gone paddle boarding.  I mean, what was I thinking? Oh I know, I didn’t want to fall in or look ridiculous.  After speaking with the owners, Brian and Jenny, I was assured that I would be more than capable to handle this.

Owners Brian and Jenny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With these smiles, who could say no?! Brian and Jenny have owned this shop for 5 years now and specialize in paddle boarding, surfing, board rentals and skateboarding.  Since it was my first time, they recommended a guide to take me out and provide a tour around the Creek. Book a tour here.

They left me in the capable hands of Victor.  Seriously, the tour was invaluable to teach me how to turn around quickly, what to look for, and where to go. Victor may or may not have said, “brace for impact” and “turn your paddle around”! He’s smiling because he knows I am going to love it, but also I am going to be sore tomorrow.  What a great work out and, of course, next on my list is this headstand lesson!

@victorboyd24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yep! Totally can do that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We toured the “Creek” on our boards and Victor took us back into a beautiful area with low hanging trees. It was quite peaceful and calming until… I almost fell off (Brace for impact). Don’t worry, I am proud to say that I stayed on the board the entire time. Although at some point, I’m not sure how fast I was moving!  Near the end of the two hour tour, I was feeling quite comfortable on the board and knew how to maneuver fairly well.  Victor told me I was not the worst paddle boarder he has ever seen, not even close… Why, thank you Victor!  I will take it!!

Just going under the Palmetto Breeze!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Odyssey is run by wonderful, outgoing and kind people and their guide was fantastic!  Since I was a true novice, I can comfortably say that although paddle boarding can be challenging at times (mostly for my weak arms), It can be done by anyone: kids, parents, teenagers, retirees. They will customize it to your needs. Check out some of their other events including kids camp this summer, Movie night with Coastal Crust, and Luau night.

So when someone says, “You should get out on the water… on a board… with a paddle”. The answer should always be, YES!!! Tell them @blushingalpacas sent you and you will get 10% off!

Oh, and by the way they also own ColdTapCoffee… More on that later.

Cheers~Barb

Anson Restaurant

Anson Restaurant

“Where is Anson again?”  This question kept coming up every time I mentioned I was heading to Anson to eat. Trust me, you need to know where this place is (located here ) and let me tell you why!

Many of times, I have walked by Anson restaurant and said to my husband that place looks pretty cute, we should try it sometime. But alas, this was our first visit and I assure you it won’t be our last.

As we walked up to Anson, the building, colors, and flowers struck me first. It is beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived at Anson around 5:15 beating the dinner rush. At this time in the evening, the sun is shining perfectly through the floor to ceiling window/doors casting a warm glow and it’s like stepping back into a different time period.  I mean really, why have I waited this long to come here?  Although Anson has kept the historical charm, they have also modernized it after a fire hit in 2013.

The downstairs is quite different than the upstairs giving a variety of dining options best suited to your evening. The downstairs has beautiful hardwoods, a long bar extending the length of the restaurant, while the upstairs carried a more elegant softer style. Just a tip, try and get seated by the window upstairs as the glow and lighting are perfect. (How gorgeous are those lighting fixtures by the way?!)

Downstairs Dining
Upstairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for the Service, The Manager, Phil was fantastic! Cordial and informative but not intrusive to the dinner. The Maitre d’, Thomas and our waiter, William followed up with great recommendations and even better instructions (oh yes, I needed instructions on how to eat my Flounder)!

The food…. oh the food! The Chef, Jeremy Holst, has been there 5 years and once again, I have wasted 5 years of my life not eating here! Why oh why did I do that to myself. We started with their She-crab soup and the Crab Cake both were perfect. And of course, Champagne was a welcome addition to the meal.  Plus, it just looks pretty in the pictures!

Crab Cake Appetizer
She-crab suit with vinegar

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant to order the Whole Fried Flounder, but they assured me it was a local favorite and people travel from everywhere to eat this dish….  It did not disappoint. I have become a Flounder lover (is that a thing, well it should be)!  Don’t worry, they showed me exactly how to eat it after it was placed in front of me.  These instructions were invaluable to saving my clothes and my dignity! My husband got the Fried Pork Chop with Grits and Collard Greens and we enjoyed sharing them both (see pictures below),

Flounder with an Asian flair
Pork Chop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So where is Anson again? Now you know, and now you need to stop wasting time and go eat the Flounder!

My best desciption of Anson is as follows: It has the historical charm of Charleston wrapped up into low country cuisine!  Locals frequent and tourists seek it out and if you close your eyes, you can hear the clip-clop of the horse drawn carriage right outside the doors taking you back in time.

Cheers~ Barbara

Cheers!

Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe

Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe is well worth the trip!

Kaminskys is about to celebrate there 25th anniversary Tuesday 4/28 (see details here) . I can see why they have lasted this long in Charleston, SC as many others have come and gone.

Dessert Menu

 

 

 

 

 

This place is always hopping and we had the pleasure of ending our night here for Dessert with a side of dessert (which is how I would explain their amazing Martini selection). Although, there was a line for take out and a line for a table the staff was managing the people well and everyone was willing to wait for a chance to taste the prize.

Anna the Manager and Spencer the Bartender took great care of us. Spencer who has been working there for 5 years recommended two drinks including: Toasted Almond Martini and the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Martini…. ummm yeah, they tasted as good as they looked.

 

 

 

 

For our side, we went with Dessert!  Shocking I know. We had a hard time deciding they all looked so good, but went with the Carrot cake to split and this piece was amazing!  If you like Carrot cake, don’t walk but run to Kaminskys and get some… like right now.  I’m serious!

 

 

 

 

 

After talking with Spencer, we learned that the busiest times are Thursday, Friday, Saturdays and Sundays especially in the evening right after the dinner rush. If you want to go when it is less busy, check out Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday especially right after they open at 1 and pre-dinner time. We enjoyed our time and will be back to sample some of the other amazing options!

Bartender @Spencebonk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are locals and there are tourists but everyone is happy and now you know why.

Cheers,

Barbara

 

 

Sunday Brunch at The Grand Bohemian

Grand Bohemian and their rooftop lounge

If you are looking for a place to go for Sunday brunch, I have a place for you to check out.  Question: Do you love rooftops?

I do, I do, I do! I mean, who doesn’t. Well this brunch comes with a view.

We made Sunday reservations (though we didn’t need them on that day) at the Grand Bohemian’s Rooftop Restaurant, Eleve.  It was beautiful! If you get there right as it opens (11 am on Sunday), you can have this view all to yourself.

 

 

 

 

While the outside is gorgeous, the inside is just as beautiful, and we ended up choosing to sit inside for Brunch and then bringing our drinks outside when we were finished to enjoy the view.  Our waitress Missy was fantastic and the Manager Josh was pleasant and accommodating.

 

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for a place to host an event, they also have a private area where a wedding party was enjoying their food with a view.  I haven’t even mentioned the best part….. are you ready?

Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s for up to 2 hours!  That’s right! You heard me correctly. The drinks were on point and the food was just as good.  We will definitely be back for their Sunday Brunch and look forward to trying their Happy Hour another time.  Here is a picture of the front of the building. Very charming and it reminded me of my time in Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time,

Cheers

Barb