Banner Elk Winery – a relaxing experience with my girlfriends

I recently had a very enjoyable time in the little town of Banner Elk, NC and one of the highlights was definitely the Banner Elk Winery located on 60 Deer Run Road. My friend, and wonderful hostess, Stacy recommended a visit and  I was more than happy to tag along.

The girls and I enjoying our wine.

Boasted as being Carolina High Country’s first commercial winery it was built on a 20 acre blueberry farm and hosts educational tours including instruction in the various steps and processes on how wine is made.

The atmosphere was perfect for a cold, snowy evening and the wine tasting was a delightful experience. For $6 you get a hearty sample of six signature wines along with crackers and chocolate to compliment each glass. If any of them tickle your fancy ( and one is sure to ) than you can buy a glass for $6 to drink as you mingle.

My girlfriends and I all settled on the Banner Elk Red and found a seat around the fireplace. We met a great couple, who were also visiting for the first time, and enjoyed a wonderful time learning about each other.

One of my favorite things is to meet new people and it was an easy thing to do at the Banner Elk Winery. Also, the staff is so friendly and easy to talk to that no matter where you look you’re met with a smile.

Before closing time the owner, Dr. Richard Wolfe, introduced himself and engaged us in an interesting conversation about his passion for both wine and travel. This man in quite an inspiration. In his seventies, he hikes the North Carolina hills daily. This is no problem for a man who celebrated his 70th birthday while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.

My bottle of Banner Elk Red made it safely back to Atlanta with me.

If you ever find yourself winding through North Carolina I would highly recommend a stop at that Banner Elk Winery. You will not regret it as you are sure to leave satisfied and with a little more appreciation for the art of wine.

If I’ve piqued your interest visit for more information.

A weekend getaway with the girls – my recent trip to North Carolina

Life’s tough; whether you’re a mom who juggles between work, kids and housekeeping or your bath salts weren’t as effervescent as you’d have liked during your last soak you need to get away with the girls sometimes. That’s exactly what I did this past weekend and it was just what I needed.

I dug out my winter clothes and headed to the mountains for an estrogen-filled weekend with two gal pals. The place was Banner Elk, North Carolina and even for a city girl like me it was quite enjoyable.

Our days were filled with exploring, shopping and coffee breaks while at night we enjoyed great food at local restaurants before scurrying back to my friend’s apartment for a soak in the hot tub dispersed with board games and chick flicks. Every girls dream, I know!

Plenty of places to rest your feet in Blowing Rock, NC

Notable places on this trip included the quaint, picturesque town of Blowing Rock, NC. To say this is a small town is an understatement as it is a total of only 3 square miles. Yet its website boasts more than 100 shops and two dozen restaurants for visitors to enjoy. Also, Nick’s Restaurant and Pub back in Banner Elk is a great place to grab a beer, sing karaoke (or watch others) and chat with the locals.  Banner Elk also has a wonderful winery (watch for a separate post on that)  and a tapas restaurant called Zuzda Tapas with over 100 selections to choose from.

While many would gravitate toward the more recognized towns of Charlotte or Asheville, NC I would challenge you to veer off the beaten path for the small towns that are dotted throughout the mountains. More importantly, all you ladies need to unite and get away for some rest and relaxation with your girlfriends. Whatever the destination you’ll be glad you did!

Backpacking through Europe

This is a dream of mine for two reasons: First, I want to experience the excitement of traveling between countries on a whim. Secondly, I really want to try my hand at minimalism. Backpacking through Europe seems to be a great way to accomplish both.

Now I know that it won’t be easy ( I own over 100 pairs of shoes for crying out loud) but the challenge of living with only what I can stuff in a backpack seems enlightening. The packing process will be interesting and probably comical for those who get to witness it but I think I can pull it off. Here is my impromptu packing list:

– 3 shirts

– 1 lightweight sweater

– 2 pairs of pants

– 2 pairs of shoes ( gasp, I think my blood pressure just spiked!)

– 2 pairs of socks

– My water bobble (see My Faves)

– Chapstick

– Sunscreen

– Sunglasses

– My Iphone 4

– My Canon t1i camera with 18-55 mm lens

I’m sure that there will be more items to add once I do some research but you get the idea. I will be very much out of my element and the thought of it excites me.

Also, if leaving the luggage at home means more freedom to explore then it’s totally worth it. Falling in love with a particular place and knowing that you can stay as long as you want would be a great feeling.

Can’t wait to check this off the list!!!

Filtered water on the go

I am ashamed when I think of how much bottled water I bought this Summer as I explored New York City. It wasn’t my intention but I’d find myself thirsty on a hot day and the easiest solution seemed to be heading to a street vendor for a Dasani. Before I knew it I’d be on my third bottle and shaking my head. I could have filled my bottle at the nearest water fountain but they seemed to be few and far between. Also, filling up at an old rusty fountain seemed very unappealing.

I found the solution to all of my H2O problems upon returning to Atlanta. A friend introduced me to the Water Bobble which is a reusable bottle featuring a replaceable filter. Not only does this way-cool contraption ensure clean water with every gulp, it’s also quite stylish. With six colors to choose from, it’s curvy silhouette looks as good on a hike as it does on the streets of London. It also comes in several sizes.

Let’s not forget that by using a reusable water bottle you reduce your carbon footprint on the environment. Instead of buying bottles of water at the store that you’re going to eventually throw away get a Water Bobble that you can use forever. Just replace the filter every once and awhile and you’re good to go.

The Water Bobble is the best solution that I’ve found as an on-the-go person. I hate throwing away my water when going through airport security only to buy more once I get to my gate. Now I can just put an empty Water Bobble in my carry-on bag and fill it up at a water fountain after the security check.

You can order your own Water Bobble at and enjoy the freedom of water whenever you want!