TOP MOVING TIPS

Is there anything more stressful than moving, other than maybe wedding day? I feel like a pros at the whole (not so fun) process by now, so I thought we’d share some tried and true moving tips that will save you valuable time and money. We could all use more of both, right?!


MOVING TIPS FOR THE PRE-PACKING PHASE

Before you start haphazardly start throwing items in boxes at the eleventh hour, let’s think things through. Ideally, it’s a good idea to start planning your move a few weeks ahead of time. These tips will help you navigate the planning phase like a boss:

  • Purge Before You Pack – We don’t know who needs to hear this, but you know that pair of pleather pants you’ve been holding onto since middle school? Yeah, you’re never going to wear those again. So, before you start packing up all your belongings, take inventory, and be honest with yourself. Many movers charge by the pound, so it pays to purge what you’re not using. Make a sell pile and donate pile, then you know what to do!
  • Schedule Your Move for a Weekday – If your schedule is flexible, move on a weekday. It’s much cheaper to rent a truck on a Tuesday or Wednesday. And the sooner you book, the better the rate. Don’t forget to check online for promo codes or coupons! 
  • Create a Moving Master Doc – Avoid moving-day mishaps by planning ahead. Start a quick spreadsheet in Google and document all the essential details of your move. Jot down important reminders, contacts for utilities, etc. When things get stressful, it’s easy to let minor details slip.  
  • Look for Free Boxes – Boxes can be pretty dang expensive to buy, so go treasure hunting. Check Nextdoor, Craigslist, or the Facebook Marketplace for freebies! You can also find boxes behind shopping centers and grocery stores. I was lucky enough to get fry boxes from work, which was such a blessing!

Pro Tip: If you can’t find enough free boxes, buy them from Uhaul! After your move, take the boxes and receipt to them, and they will buy them back.


PACK LIKE A PRO WITH THESE MONEY-SAVING HACKS 

Alright, now that the planning is behind you, it’s time for the hard part: packing! But don’t worry; you’ve got this! These tips and tricks will help make packing less of a pain:

  • Organize Your Supplies –  “Honey, where’s the tape?” are four of the most dreaded words for anyone who’s eyeballs deep in a box fort. Save yourself some frustration (and avoid a few arguments) by keeping all your moving supplies in one spot. Grab some tape, markers, scissors, and tools, and put them in a handy bin that can travel with you from room to room. 
  • Skip the Bubble Wrap – You don’t need to shell out money for bubble wrap! Use what you’ve got to wrap dishes and other fragile items. You already have to pack towels, linens, and clothes, so why not use them to safeguard your stuff?! Papers work well, too!
  • Label Your Boxes Well – Do not — we repeat — do not skip this step! Labeling boxes may take a little effort and planning, but it pays off big-time. On each box, note where it should go and list out the main contents. You will be SO glad you did! And you’ll save yourself from having to waste money buying items you can’t find after the move. 
  • Pack an “Open Me First Box” – Think through all the things you’ll need on night one in your new home, and throw them a box that will go on the moving truck last. Be sure to include toilet paper, soap, trash bags, paper towels, bath towels, a shower curtain, paper plates, cups, and utensils.

Now you’re ready for the big day! Will it be exhausting? Yes. But does it have to be stressful and expensive? Nope! We’ve got even more tips to survive moving day and live to tell the tale. 


TIPS FOR SURVIVING MOVING DAY

It’s time for the moment you’ve been waiting for: moving day is here! Have a filling breakfast, lace up your sneakers, and let’s get moving. These tips will help you minimize moving day mishaps:

  • Pack one Suitcase Per Family Member – Don’t forget phone chargers, toothbrushes, and PJs! Pack whatever you need to survive for the first week or so when you’ll likely still be digging out of boxes. Don’t forget some entertainment for the kiddos! Check out my video and see how I lived out of one suitcase for two weeks during my most recent move!
  • Make Labels for the New House – Grab some poster board and make a sign for each new room of your house. Make sure those signs match the labels on your boxes. (Ex: Living Room, Bedroom #2, etc.) Tape the signs up outside each room before you start unloading. It makes things go so much more smoothly!
     
  • Try this Bed Linens Hack – The morning of the big move, take the sheets off your bed, fold them up, and place them in a dresser drawer. Put your pillows in a drawer, too. Then, either wrap your dresser in heavy-duty plastic or use a little tape to keep those drawers shut. When you get ready for bed, your sheets will be right where you need them!
  • Make-Ahead Meals & Snacks – Moving works up an appetite, so make sure you have plenty of snacks at the ready! Try one of these no-cook dinners for your first night in your new home. Or, pull a freezer meal out so it’s ready to cook with ease. 

Pro Tip: If you’re having friends help you move (which is another great way to save money), it’s nice to order a few pizzas and have plenty of drinks for everyone. Check out Little Ceasar’s. It’s our go-to pizza place for feeding a crowd affordably.


WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY MOVING TIPS

I hope these tips take some of the stress out of your next move. If you follow this advice, you will stay organized, feel more prepared and complete your move without breaking the bank. 

You probably have a few tricks up your sleeve, too. So, spill the deets! Leave a comment below and share your best moving tip, trick, or hack.

I also want to give a big shout-out to my parents and in-laws for helping us ensure a seamless moving process! WE SERIOUSLY COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU GUYS!

XO,

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GUIDE TO EDISTO ISLAND, SC

In the Lowcountry of South Carolina nestled between Hilton Head and Charleston is Edisto Island. Time has virtually stood still on this small, barrier island. You won’t find any high-rises or hotels. The island has a handful of restaurants, a few beach shops, a single grocery store, one seafood market and one farm stand. The only big brand name on the island is Wyndham, which runs time-share condominiums and a golf course.

The two-lane, Route 174 is the only way on and off the island. Traffic lights don’t exist and golf carts are allowed on the main road. Bike lanes abound. The drive along the main road is flanked by acres of marshland with tall grass growing and the occasional egrets hidden in the grass. Massive live oak trees adorned by Spanish moss line the roads creating a welcoming canopy of branches overhead.

You will find is a quiet island with a fabulous beach, stretching from the ocean to around the horn to the sound. It’s a place where the popular mode of transportation is not a car, but a golf cart or bicycle. Kids can roam around unaccompanied on their bikes, go for ice cream or just walk around without worry. We have been coming to Edisto for the past six+ years (other than the exception of HHI) and have loved every second of it.


FOOD + DINING

SEACOW EATERY

Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, SeaCow Eatery is exactly the sort of relaxed restaurant that you want for your beach vacation. No matter what time of the day you come, you’ll leave full of simple, fresh, and delicious diner food, with plenty of seafood ready for your enjoyment. You’ll find the widest variety of seafood at dinner, when the choices range from fresh, Edisto-caught shrimp that you get to peel yourself to Mahi Mahi, flounder and crab cakes. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, the pies, brownies, cookies, and cheesecakes are all baked on-site from time-tested recipes.

MCCONKEY’S JUNGLE SHACK

McConkey’s Jungle Shack has all the basics down, burgers, hot dogs, fried seafood, and so on, but their menu also offers some exciting other options if you’re looking for something a little different. The Mexican section of their menu is a sure bet, especially with their fish tacos, a favorite around town. However, you won’t just be coming to McConkey’s for the food. They also have a great beer menu, which includes both a number of ubiquitous brews (Bud Light for the novice, Sierra Nevada or Harpoon IPA for the seasoned beer drinker) and a featured brewery, usually one nearby, with an ever-changing menu of drinks.

BRINY SWINE

Briny Swine is a fabulous mix of smokehouse genius and chilly oyster bar delights! A perfect mash up of traditional Lowcountry culinary arts! Enjoy an amazing view and great food!

E&0 TACO

E&O Taco is one of Edisto’s two Mexican Restaurants. Located inside Wyndham next to Ella & Ollie’, E&O Taco is open for lunch only until 4pm. Serving tacos, chime changes and fresh margaritas, you can finally get your Mexican fix on Edisto!


“There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it is sent away.”

SARAH KAY

LEISURE

BEACH DAY

Beach days are 90% of the reason why we love Edisto. The shoreline at Edisto is never busy and there are shells that abound. EB is a quiet stretch of beach that hosts families with kids, older couples and everything in-between.

If you are unsure of what all to pack in your beach bag, check out my “Beach Day Essentials” post for some of my favorites that are always a must!

BOTANY BAY PLANTATION

The Botany Bay Plantation is a wildlife and heritage preserve located right outside of Edisto Beach, on the Island. Although most of the original plantation structures are long-gone, it is definitely worth a visit. Originally the area was used for farming and cotton growing; it is now a wildlife sanctuary with a 6-mile, self-guided tour.  

Upon entering the preserve, you drive under massive live oaks, arching over the road. At the first parking lot, you stopped at a small stand with information about the area and a driving guide that we took along with us for the journey. The guide is numbered with descriptions and history of what you will see at each location. The entire drive takes only 15-20 minutes. The pleasant drive provides plenty to see, including the massive live oaks, plenty of birds, and some of the original plantation structures.

BINGO

For as long as the island has been around has been bingo (only kidding, but it feels like it). Bingo is at the Edisto Beach Lions Club every Thursday during the summer and doors open 5:30 p.m. with games beginning promptly at 6:00 p.m. Make sure to go early to reserve your space, because people will

DAY TO CHARLESTON, SC

For those of you who know, you know. You could spend a week in the Holy City alone, but my mom spent a morning and afternoon in Charleston.

*Check out my Travel Guide to Charleston blog for some of my recommendations on my favorite things to in Chucktown.

EDISTO FARMER’S MARKET

Y’all… The Farmer’s Market is probably one of my top three things to do on the island. The Farmer’s Market is every Wednesday morning + afternoon from 9am-3pm. They have lots of local vendors who sell a variety of different goods; from amazing pork rinds, to sweet water grass baskets, paintings and even yard art.

KINGS FARMER’S MARKET

We stumbled upon this Market on our way to Edisto Beach. They are located on the main street that takes you into Edisto, and they have signs in front that you can’t miss. What really made us stop was their sign about Key Lime Pie.

This small market is well stocked with all different dry staple items: jars of pickled vegetables; jars of jelly, jam and honey; jars of chow chow; different kinds of grits; cornbread mix; several varieties of specialty bagged rice, and many more dry staple and jarred foods.

There is also a great selection of fresh, refrigerated and frozen foods: flowers; herbs; produce; fruits; local beef; eggs; dips and spreads; soups; salads; sandwiches; casseroles/meals; baked goods; desserts; ice cream; etc.

They also sell merchandise, like baskets, postcards, t-shirts, and other small items.

This is a great stop to stock if you are staying at one of the rentals on the island and then stop on your way back home to take their amazing products with you…you will crave them!

ADDRESS: 2559 SC-174, Edisto Island, SC 29438
HOURS: 9:30AM-6PM


Sorry again for being in MIA here lately! I was at Edisto for a week and then moved to Charlotte, NC with my husband all within two weeks!

For those of you who vacation at Edisto or around the area, what are some of the top things on your vacation?

XO,

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WE’RE MOVING TO CLT, NC!

Just when Asheville was feeling like our long-term home and I was feeling like a “local,” the Lord had bigger plans for the Bridges bunch! With that being said,

Asheville has seen 90% of mine and Chandler’s marriage, including our first anniversary. We moved here just four months after we got married and have not looked back!

In Asheville, we adopted our kitten, Belmont!
In Asheville, I bought a new car and is where we “survived” a global pandemic.

In Asheville is where I grew individually, spiritually and mentally, but also felt closer to Chandler in ways unexplainable.
In Asheville, I accomplished things my younger self would’ve never thought possible.

After all, Asheville is where I put myself out there and started this blog. P.S. – Thank you all for following along with my many ramblings along the way!

Asheville has seen a lot growth, challenge and change for us both – individually and as a couple. It has brought me lifetime friends and a lifetime of precious memories. I wouldn’t have traded this time for the world and selfishly wish it would’ve lasted a little longer!

Our time in Asheville was short, but oh so sweet!


With that being said, I have learned through this move that sometimes less is more. A home, as I stare at some of these empty rooms and walls, is made of the people inside. I am so grateful for my little crew and the life we created here, but more excited for the next chapter.

TO CHANDLER,

As sad as I am to be leaving Asheville, home is wherever I am with you. You are the best start to my morning and the greatest end to each day. Asheville has been such an amazing ride and you are to thank for that. We’ve made countless memories here and as hard as it is to be thinking about another city, the Lord knows what He’s doing. Thank you for being a great provider for our little family!

Home sweet, you and me
Ain’t got much, but we got all we need
Wherever the wind blows, wherever this life goes
Baby, all I know, ain’t nothin’ like, nothin’ like
Home sweet
You and me

RUSSELL DICKERSON

Thank you to all of our family and friends who are willing and able to help us make the move from Asheville and Charlotte. I couldn’t have imagined doing it without you guys and we are so grateful for your willingness to be the hands and feet, quite literally, to move lots and lots boxes. Y’all are life savers! THANK YOU!

Choosing to say goodbye to this little life we’ve built wasn’t an easy decision to make, but we’re excited for this next season and all of the adventures it’ll bring! The memories are long, the happiness we shared here was endless and the //. Here’s to the next chapter, bittersweet as it might be!


If you are ever in need of any recommendations to do in the Asheville or Hendersonville area, please feel free to reach out! I would love to share some of favorite places around town!

We are loosely familiar with the greater Charlotte area, but we’d love to hear from y’all about favorite coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, etc! Drop your recommendations below!

XO,

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TRAVEL GUIDE TO CHARLESTON, SC

A brief stop in Charleston for my brother-in-law’s graduation from the College was the ultimate 24-hour getaway weekend! Growing up in the upstate of SC, I remember always looking forward to our summer trips to CHS every year. Charleston is steeped (and I mean steeped) in deep, well-presevered history on every street corner! BTW, I am no expert on Charleston by any means, but I have created a comprehensive list for those of you who have never been or who are looking to try new things! There is no way you’ll be able to do all of these things in one weekend unless you are some magician, but please feel free to try and check as many off as possible!

FOOD

THE CODFATHER

The CODfather is the only place in town to get proper fish and chips. Our WORLD FAMOUS fish and chips are hand made the traditional British way. HUGE 8oz North Atlantic Cod fillets dipped in our own recipe wet batter and cooked until golden brown. Chippy chips hand are cut daily from only premium crop potatoes and cooked twice for perfection.

FLEET LANDING

Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar is Charleston’s Best Waterfront Dining with a focus on local and sustainable produce and seafood. Housed in a 1940s retired naval building on the east side of the Charleston peninsula, Fleet Landing features a fusion of classic and contemporary Southern seafood fare in a setting that celebrates the area’s waterfront heritage.

Make reservations here.

GRACE & GRIT

Grace & Grit is a local family-run restaurant with a passion for local food and southern hospitality. At Grace & Grit, they offer a casual upscale dining experience inspired by our home here in the Lowcountry. Chef-driven, their restaurant features quality Southern and lowcountry-influenced cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh, locally caught seafood and big flavors. Relax indoors among interior details that thoughtfully come together to pay tribute to their coastal home or outdoors on their dog-friendly patio, shaded by grand live oaks. Whether local or visiting from afar, Grace & Grit looks forward to welcoming you in for a taste of home!”

BRUNCH / DINNER

HALL’S CHOPHOUSE

Hall’s is another Southern “fine dining” spot that is a downtown staple! It’s also a great brunch spot if you don’t want to splurge for dinner, but treat yourself for dinner. I, personally, would highly recommend the steak and hot pepper martini!

Make reservations here.

࿏ MAMA KIM’S HIBACHI

Mama Kim’s is located in the heart of downtown Charleston and is some of the best (and I mean best) hibachi in the country. Many locals and travelers alike know Mama Kim and she has the memory of a computer. She also has hundreds of pictures of passerby’s hung in her restaurant! (Chandler made the board his freshman year!)

Bill Murray also loves this place and she has a picture with the legend himself.

࿏ POST HOUSE RESTAURANT + INN

Post House is a coastal tavern and inn offering seasonal fare, classic cocktails, seven cozy hotel rooms and a bit of salty air. Situated in the heart of the Old Village, Mt Pleasant, Post House is a home away from home for staycationers and travelers alike as a charming respite from the day-to-day hustle. Take the weekend or the week and settle into Village Life. 

Built in 1896, 101 Pitt Street has a longstanding history as the neighborhood hub. Some hundred years and many iterations later, Post House now presents a contemporary take on the neighborhood landmark, still bringing people together, in celebration, over good food and with a few drinks in tow.

Between their menu and cocktails menu, you are in for a treat! The red curry was out of this world and the The Birds + the Bees cocktail was to die for.

FIVE LOAVES CAFE

Five Loaves cafe is a favorite lunch spot in Mount Pleasant – and there’s a location downtown, too! I love their sandwiches and soups, as well as their brunch, and they have so many gluten free options!


MT. PLEASANT SEAFOOD

Nestled on the banks of historical Shem Creek sits Mount Pleasant Seafood, one of the oldest businesses in the Lowcountry. Locally owned and operated for more than 75 years, their fourth generation family business is known as the locals choice for fresh local seafood served with a side of southern hospitality.


COFFEE + DESSERT

BITTY + BEAU’S COFFEE

The cafe, located at 159 Church Street, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee is more than just a place to grab a cup of coffee – it’s an experience. While the shop is run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the customers love the products, they really come in for the unique customer service experience.

From the minute you step into this coffee shop, you are treated like a queen (or king). You get the highest service and are always greeted with a smiling face!

JENI’S ICE CREAM

If you aren’t in the South and have never had Jeni’s, you MUST! There is a shop on King Street that is breathtaking – and you literally can’t go wrong with any flavor! My favorites are the “Gooey Butter Cake” (it’s GF!) and “Brown Butter Almond Brittle!” Try as many as you can while you’re there!

KAMINSKY’S DESSERT CAFE

Kaminsky’s entices visitors into its cozy atmosphere with a rotating selection of delectable desserts made in-house daily, in addition to heaping milkshakes, specialty coffees, and cold beverage creations. Delight in over-the-top varieties of classic childhood desserts, signature hot spirited specialties, dessert martinis and hot toddies. A full beer, wine, and liquor selection are also available.

KUDU COFFEE

Kudu Coffee & Craft Beer is locally owned, operated, and located in the heart of downtown Charleston, SC. Kudu’s focus is to offer their guests a high quality beverage experience here in their café or outside in our lovely courtyard. They roast their own specialty coffee on a Diedrich IR-12 at our roasting facility located at 708 King Street and offer a rotating list of single origin coffees as well as espresso.

POUNCE

Pounce Cat Cafe + Wine Bar is a place where you can hang out with furry felines, sip on your favorite beverage and snack on a delicious pastry.

They’ve also teamed up with Charleston Animal Society to provide our cats, so if at the end of your visit you’ve fallen in love with your new feline friend, you can take them home with you!

Book your visit here.

DRINKS

EDMUND’S OAST BREWING CO. – $

Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. is a craft brewery, taproom, and restaurant located at 1505 King Street, Charleston, SC in the Pacific Box & Crate development. Their moto, “Quality first. The rest will follow” is 100% true.

FIREFLY DISTILLERY – $

Their is nothing better than sunshine and Spanish moss, mixed with salt air and sweet tea. At Firefly, they are all about good times with friends (two-legged and four). During the summer months, they have concerts and an // to park your // chairs.

THE GIN JOINT – $$

The Gin Joint has been offering an expansive list of classics along side a rotating seasonal menu since 2010. Alongside their large spirit collection, they also have amazing a curated bar bites menu!

If you don’t know where to start, they suggest a “Bartender’s Choice.” Simply pick two adjectives that suit your fancy and they’ll craft something to satisfy your taste buds. How neat?!

MY PICK: KENTUCKY SUNRISE + STAY GOLD

HOLY CITY BREWING – $

The Holy City story is about a team of four guys dedicated to craft beer and their community, aiming to bring more of one to the other. If you have time in your schedule, I highly recommend HCB. It’s such a neat place to kick up your feet to enjoy your beer and enjoy your friend’s (or families) company.

SHOPPING

࿏ HISTORIC CHARLESTON CITY MARKET

Located at 188 Meeting Street, the market is an AMAZING central location that features dozens of local artists, shops and vendors who sell their products here each day! It is such a cool experience to walk through the market and see all of the products, and it’s bordered by a few of the restaurants + candy shops I’ve mentioned in this post (like 5 Church, Market Pavilion + a popular candy shop for pralines)!

࿏ KING STREET

This is the main strip of shopping + eating downtown Charleston! It’s where you will find the majority of the popular shops and eateries – and it’s also just a gorgeous street to walk up and down to take in the views! All of the high end and regular shops but some really cute boutiques as well and the prices were surprisingly good. I would have bought some cute shirts or a dress or jacket if I had more room in my bag, but I was traveling with just a carry on!

SIGHTS:

࿏ ARTHUR RAVENEL JR. BRIDGE

The Ravenel Bridge is the most iconic bridge in the Southeast, which spans over the Cooper River and connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. The bridge has a main span of 1,546 feet, making it the third longest among cable-stayed bridges in the Western Hemisphere.

The Cooper River Bridge run is also run over the Ravenel every year, which is always a really popular event every year!

࿏ THE BEACHES (duh…)

There are so many beach options surrounding Charleston, including beaches on Folly Beach, James Island, John’s Island, Sullivan’s and Isle of Palms! Personally, we love going to Isle of Palms most – but Folly Beach is a much more “tourist-friendly” and party vibe if that’s what you’re looking for!

BOONE HALL PLANTATION

Some of the classic “Notebook” movie was filmed here! Boone Hall is another beautiful and super popular plantation, and known as the #1 plantation to visit in Charleston, SC! The Spanish moss and lowcountry smells truly can’t be beat!

You can buy tickets here.

CHARLESTON RIVERDOGS

The Charleston Riverdogs are part of the Low-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. Grab a beer, a hot dog and enjoy a baseball game overlooking the pretty marshlands.
FUN FACT: The Riverdogs are also co-owned by Bill Murray. How neat?!

You can buy tickets here.

࿏ RAINBOW ROW

Rainbow Row is one of the most iconic spots in Charleston! This area is located at 83 E Bay Street and includes multiples blocks of gorgeous, colorful historic homes! I could photograph portraits here every single day and never get tired of it. It’s the perfect place to get all of the iconic Charleston pictures!

MAGNOLIA PLANTATION & GARDENS

One of my family’s favorite plantations to visit – Magnolia is absolutely gorgeous! It is known for the gorgeous gardens and Spanish moss, and is the perfect spot to get lunch and walk around or do some tours of the property! You can also grab a picnic packet and find the perfect spot to plop down for some great company and great views.

You can buy tickets here.

࿏ PINEAPPLE FOUNTAIN + THE BATTERY

The Ashley and Cooper Rivers come together at the seawall known as The Battery, popular with visitors because of the antebellum homes along the stroll. The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality + the perfect spot for some girls’ weekend photo memories and to rest your feet after all the shopping.

Charleston is the perfect weekend (or week, to be perfectly honest) getaway for a girlfriends get-together, family trip or bachelorette excursion. I actually went for my own bachelorette weekend in Aug. 2019. It’s so incredible easy to walk around and to see the history etched streets.

OTHER MISC. RECS: Butcher + Bee, Candlefish, Hottle Little Biscuit, Sugar Bakeshop, The Citadel, The College of Charleston

OTHER SIDE NOTE: If you are also looking for ways to donate to a good cause in the Charleston area, then check out my other blog post about Charleston Hope’s mission.

Are you a fan of Chucktown? What are some of your go-to’s while in town? Let’s chat about some of your favorites in the comments below!

XO,

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A GUIDE TO ATLANTA, GA

Atlanta, GA is the economic and cultural center of the south of the United States. A city full of traditional charm spiced up with a modern flair. Atlanta is filled with attractions and activities, including the Georgia Aquarium (the world’s largest), the Atlanta Olympic Park and the beautiful Atlanta Botanical Garden. Atlanta is also rich in history, with the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Gone with the Wind” – Margaret Mitchell – commemorated with a museum of where she used to live.

FOOD

THE VARSITY

The Varsity is an iconic restaurant in the modern culture of Atlanta, Georgia.

The main items on the Varsity menu include standard fast food fare: hot dogs, burgers and fries. But there are variations setting The Varsity apart from other fast food restaurants. Hot dogs are often topped with both chili and mustard. Another option is to top hot dogs with store-made cole slaw and nothing else. Three types of grilled cheese sandwiches are served as well as a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Side items include the expected french fries and fried onion rings. But there are 16 types of ice cream and a frosted orange shake. In addition to a fried apple pie, The Varsity also serves a fried peach pie, which might be expected in “The Peach State.”

EAST POLE COFFEE

Y’all… I found East Pole Coffee by chance and I am SO glad I did. Chandler and I went Saturday morning and enjoyed a “slow” start to morning. We enjoyed our drip coffee and iced coffee while sitting on the porch //.

JENI’S ICE CREAM

Jeni’s is not your ordinary ice cream shop! Their ice creams have a uniquely smooth texture and buttercream body, with bright flavor and clean finish (as they don’t use synthetic flavorings, dyes, or off-the-shelf mixes). As I’m writing this, I am dreaming of the Brown Butter Almond Brittle + Skillet Cinnamon Rolls and drooling…


They also ship nationwide, so you have NO excuse to try it for yourself!

BREWERIES

SWEETWATER BREWING

Living by the motto “Don’t float the mainstream,” SweetWater Brewery has been blazing its own path in craft beer throughout the Southeast since its inception in 1997. With a brewer calling the shots, quality of beer—and life—are always most important in crafting a lineup of lip-smackin’ brews. Widely known for its flagship 420 Extra Pale Ale and recent Great American Beer Fest gold medal winner LowRYEder IPA, SweetWater also serves up an ever-evolving Catch & Release seasonal lineup of brews and an off-beat, one-off Dank Tank series. SweetWater invites folks to join them for tours and tastings of their Atlanta brewery every Wednesday through Sunday, so be mindful of that if you are planning to visit!

ARCHES BREWING

Arches Brewing is a craft brewery located just north of the Atlanta airport, in the arts district of Hapeville, GA. Through many hours of brewing and tasting, they have a strong emphasis on classic & seasonal lagers, but also make many American styles along with several strong Belgians. We believe doing things the old way makes for a cleaner, more complex and balanced, delicious end result.  

They have plenty of outdoor (and covid friendly) seating with lots of umbrellas and aderondak chairs to choose from. Enjoy the sunshine all while enjoying your beer.

old fourth DISTILLERY

Old Fourth Distillery was launched by five friends (two of whom are also brothers) in 2013 with the aid of a Kickstarter campaign. Atlanta’s first legal distillery since 1906, Old Fourth Distillery started distilling in November 2014. Initially releasing vodka and gin, bourbon and whiskey were always part of the plan. But the friends decided to give it time. In February 2019 they decided to go big with a Bottled in Bond bourbon comprised of 75 barrels originally laid down in January 2015. An additional 120 barrels were expected to be released in 2020.

MISCELLANEOUS

☆ ATLANTA BRAVES GAME

Catch an Atlanta Braves game at the Truist Park, home of this three-time World Championship Major League Baseball (MLB) team. Grab a pretzel, a beer and a hot dog to enjoy the game with friends, family and thousands of your closest friends! Chop on, Los Bravos!

Be aware that they are still operating on a very limited capacity (as understood…) throughout the 2021 season. They are taking every precautionary measure to keep fans and patrons safe. For all of you ladies, make sure to also bring a CLEAR bag no bigger than 5×9. The bag “checkers” and security can be pretty finicky about about what is allowed in, so rather be safe than sorry!

Useful Information

(CHICK-FIL-A) College football hall of fame

The College Football Hall of Fame is an interactive hall of fame attraction devoted to all things college football. The National Football Foundation founded the HOF in 1951 to immortalize the players and coaches of college football that were voted first team All-American by the media. There is also 95,000 square feet of inspiration and awesome interactive fun!

Chandler took me last time we visited ATL a few years back and I loved every second of it. Each person in your group can follow the interactive experience in accordance with their own football team.

Useful Information

  • Address: 50 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
  • Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 10a – 5p ET
  • Buy Tickets Here

WORLD OF COCA-COLA

Discover the history of this iconic beverage at this museum which displays Coca-Cola artifacts from more than 100 years ago. And as your visit here will probably make you quite thirsty, take advantage of the unique opportunity to try the more than 100 drinks made the Coke company.

My husband would go to the World of Coke every time we visited ATL if I would let him. He loves (and I mean loves) this place! I’ve been once or twice myself and it is really fun, even though I don’t drink soda. They also do have drinks (not all carbonated) from around the world, which is pretty neat!

Useful Information

  • Address: 121 Baker Street NW – Atlanta, GA
  • Opening Hours: Sun – Thu 10h – 17h, Fri – Sat 9h – 17h
  • Facebook: Visit profile »

LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta is made up of a series of interactive features to immerse kids into a world where their imaginations can run wild. Featuring a bunch of exciting attractions, from the Kingdom Quest ride to an amazing re-creation of the local area’s most iconic buildings, the center not only provides fun for the LEGO fans, but also fantastic educational benefits. Legoland is also a great place if your kids (or husbands) are into Legos.

Useful Information

  • Address: 3500 Peachtree Road NE G-1 – Atlanta, GA
  • Opening hours: Sun – Fri 10h – 19h, Sat 9h – 21h
  • Facebook: Visit profile »

☆ PONCE CITY MARKET

Ponce City Market is a mixed-use development located in a former Sears catalogue facility, with national and local retail anchors, restaurants, a food hall, boutiques and offices, and residential units. The 2.1-million-square-foot building, one of the largest by volume in the Southeast United States, was used by Sears, Roebuck and Co. from 1926–1987 and later by the City of Atlanta as “City Hall East”.

Visiting the Ponce City Market for the first time was SO much fun! It was a well worth it and I would highly suggest carving out time if you’ve never gone before! There are local restaurants and shops scattered throughout the redone Sears building and I could’ve spent hours there!

Useful Information

  • Address:
  • Opening Hours: Hours of operation vary, please check their website for more information
  • Facebook: Visit profile »

georgia aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is home to hundreds of species and thousands of animals across its seven major galleries, all of which reside in more than 10 million US gallons of fresh and saltwater. It was the largest aquarium in the world from its opening in 2005 until 2012 when it became the third-largest aquarium in the world after the Marine Life Park in Singapore and the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in China; the Georgia Aquarium remains the largest aquarium in the United States and in the Western Hemisphere.

Useful Information

  • Address: 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
  • Open Hours:
  • Buy Tickets Here »

What are some of your favorite spots to visit while in Atlanta? For those of you who are from Atlanta or live there now, I would love to learn about some of your favorite local spots! Let’s chat in the comments below!

XO,

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BEACH DAY ESSENTIALS

Packing the perfect beach bag is a skill. When you spend the day at the beach, packing is a balance between not packing enough and packing too much. With a bit of practice and prioritization, you’ll have the perfect system to back for the beach! Consider these beach bag essentials first and then pack more if you have the space!

There are always obvious things that you should carry in your beach bag. You’ll need the basics, like sunscreen and a towel, but the things you haven’t thought about might actually surprise you in their usefulness. Check out the this list of 15+ beach bag essentials that will change your life! A single night getaway or a week long vacation in paradise, you’ll want to make sure you have these items on hand.

A FEW HIGHLIGHTS:

My favorite beach bags for beach outings when I travel are Scout bags because they fold up flat on the bottom of a suitcase. They are also waterproof and clean very easily. You can take a Clorox wipe (because Covid…) and wipe that sucker down! I almost always make sure to pack a wet dry bag when I travel. We tend to have wet bathing suits when packing to go home and we can just throw them in here and into the suitcase.

Generally speaking, we tend to relax more than swim, so I am not afraid to bring my compact camera and other more valuable items with me.

ACCESSORIES

BEACH BAG

Beach bags are pretty essential for your day at the beach, am I right?

SUNSCREEN

This one might seem obvious but here’s the thing…you can’t be too careful with these packing lists! Make sure if you are going to over pack your beach bag you take along some extra sunscreen. Take a few options. I like to have one for my face, lip balm with SPF, and an easy spray option for reapplying even when I’m sandy.

WATER BOTTLE

When you are deciding what to pack for the beach, you might be tempted to omit drinks from your beach bag but don’t! You need to stay hydrated. Even on days when you think it’s not overly hot or // short trips, the sun will still be leeching precious moisture from your skin. Staying hydrated is essential. Even lukewarm water is going to taste pretty good when you are baking in the sun all day. If you don’t pack a cooler along with your beach bag, be sure to take some water or hydrating beverages in your regular bag. A water bottle, like a Yeti or a Hyrdroflask, will also keep your beverage super cold throughout the day! IMO, they are definitely worth the mulah!

INSTAX CAMERA

You’ll be making memories, there’s no doubt about that. Instead of being tied to your phone or taking the risk of getting it full of water and sand, just grab a camera! You can go with an instant version for some throwback charm or take a regular point and shoot camera to capture some unforgettable moments. Either way you’ll want something cute and travel worthy to go along with your list for what to pack for the beach.

FLIP FLOPS

Those beautiful sandals that you are loving this season? They’re probably not your best bet for the beach bag. Sure, they’re cute and all but they aren’t going to do you much good against the scorching sand and salty water along the shore. Grab a pair of flip flops or water shoes to keep your feet protected and happy while you are soaking up the rays.

BEACH TOWEL

Beach towels have been a staple in every beach bag EVER. The good news is that when you are deciding what to pack for the beach you have some stylish and light options now! The future is here. there are classy beach towel options that don’t look like they came straight from your 90’s nightmares.

BEACH BAG

You can’t exactly pack a beach bag without the ideal beach tote. It needs to be cute, of course, but also needs to have plenty of room for all of your beach bag essentials. Before you can decide what to pack for the beach, you’ll need to have the ideal beach bag to put it all in!

BEACH HAT

This item doesn’t necessarily need to be packed in your beach bag. Instead, you should wear a great buy to keep the sun off your face and shoulders while enjoying the beach. There are some adorable and effective options and it can really help with the squinting face too! A floppy hat that provides lots of coverage or a baseball cap are both great options!

SWIMSUIT COVER-UP

If you plan to stray from the sandy shore at any point during your beach visit, you might want to pack a swimsuit cover-up. With a cute cover-up, you’ll be able to head into restaurants, stores, and more without feeling self conscious or breaking any rules about shirts, shoes, etc. Check them out and find a totally packable, comfortable cover-up for all of your travel needs!

SUNGLASSES

Ideally, you will want some sunglasses that are dark enough to protect your eyes from the harsh reflections off the water. The sun near the shore is always just a little more aggressive so make sure you protect your eyes, you only get one set after all!

SWIMWEAR / BATHING SUITS

Even if you don’t plan to get in the water, no list of what to pack for the beach would be complete without swimwear. You should be prepared with something adorable just in case you want to do some swimming! If you don’t plan to swim, the options are even more plentiful because you focus strictly on style and ignore the usefulness aspect!

HAIR BANDS

Some hair bands can double as an adorable bracelet! You will need something to manage those unruly hair moments when the wind kicks up or you want to read without your hair bothering you. The best part is that you won’t have to worry because adding these to your list of what to pack for the beach doesn’t add any bulk or weight to your beach bag.

1 // Scout Beach Bag 2 // Rainbow Flip Flops 3 // Turkish Beach Towel 4 // Instax Mini Camera & Film 5 // Beach Coverup 6 // Sun Bum Sunscreen 7 // Straw Hat 8 // Canvas Beach Bag 9 // Silicone Rings 10 // Speaker 11 // Yeti Cooler & Cup 12 // Hydroflask 13 // Sunglasses & Croakies 14 // Hair Ties 15 // Beach Cart 16 // Swimwear 17 // Koozie

CLOTHES

We all need a few new clothes, am I right? Below, I have listed a few of my go-to outfits and accessories for the beach or lake days for when you are planning a night out on the town.

1 // Casual Tunic Dress 2 // Chacos Wayfarer Sandals 3 // Essie Nail Polish 4 // Ratan Earrings 5 // Blue Jean Shorts 6 // Off-Shoulder Shirt 7 // Straw Handbag 8 // Wedges

What are some of your favorite beach (or lake) day essentials, both for hours at the beach and nights out on the town? Let’s chat in the comments below!

XO,

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HOTELS VS. AIRBNBS: WHICH IS BETTER?

No one wants spiders crawling on them or to sleep on a hard mattress, as we all know that finding somewhere to stay is just as important as picking your destination. When booking accommodations, we often find ourselves deciding between staying in a airbnb or a hotel, so I thought we would compare both in this blog.

Airbnb

Airbnb came onto the travel scene over twelve years ago. Coined from the term ‘air mattress Airbnb,’ Airbnb hosts list many different kinds of properties—single rooms, a suite of rooms, apartments, moored yachts, houseboats, entire houses and even a castle—all on its website.

Guests can search the Airbnb database—not only by date and location, but by price, type of property, amenities and the language of the host. They can also add keywords (such as “close to the Louvre”) to further narrow their search.

To me, Airbnbs offer many different “off-the-wall” types of places, like tiny homes, clamping tents and tree houses. Just last month, my husband and I took a trip to Dahlonega, GA and stayed in the cutest tiny house, courtesy of Airbnb. It was the cutest thing!

PROS

  • Full house and/or apartment: When staying in an Airbnb, you can rent the full house/apartment, which includes multiple rooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, garden and more.
  • Cheaper: Airbnb is notably much cheaper than staying in a hotel, especially for long stays.
  • Rewards: You can get rewards for recommending Airbnb to others.
  • User friendly: The Airbnb app and website is easy to use and navigate around.
  • Unique: Airbnb’s are usually unique and have a lot of character.
  • Groups: Perfect for group holidays

CONS

  • Book up fast: Popular and affordable Airbnb’s usually book up very QUICKLY.
  • Nightmare host: Sometimes upon arrival hosts are not very nice or accommodating, additionally hosts can cancel last minute.
  • Nowhere to leave your luggage after checkout: Hotels usually have a room where you can leave your luggage, allowing you to explore the city a little more before your flight. Airbnb’s do not offer this however you can find luggage lockers in popular cities.
  • No extra features: There is no reception desk or food service, Airbnb’s are usually self-service- so don’t expect a lovely maid to clean your room or change your towels while you are out wandering. 

    * If you are looking into trying Airbnb for the first time, make sure to use this my code to get up to $65 off your first qualifying booking.

Hotels

Hotels offer many great accommodations, like continental breakfast, laundry amenities and business centers.

If you have been wandering how to accumulate points without the extra hassle and or any hidden fees, I highly suggest applying for an American Express Hilton Honors card to use for basic spending, like for grocery shopping, gas or other basic everyday spending. I applied for a card just last year and have already have over 130,000 points. I would always preface with the usual “be smart with a credit card” speech, but you get the deal.

PROS

  • Location: Hotels are normally located in close proximity to key sights, which is easier for tourists. 
  • Amenities and staff: The staff in hotels are well-qualified and you can use the amenities on offer at the hotel such as pools, gyms, spas, restaurants, shuttles and high-speed internet. 
  • Stars: Hotels can range from luxurious to budget, from ☆ to ☆☆☆☆☆, depending whatever your budget is, you will always find a hotel to meet your needs and budget.
  • Security: There is often concierge or security guards in hotels, which can give you an extra sense of security during your stay.

CONS

  • Price: Some hotels can be very expensive, especially if located in a great location (rather ironic that this is a pro/con). Additionally, it can be expensive when booking for multiple people.
  • Large: Hotels can be huge and you can find yourself walking down long corridors for what feels like eternity just to get to your room. 
  • Noisy: As hotels have so many guests at one time, it can often be noisy- especially at night. 
  • Generic: Hotel rooms include a basic bed, side table and bathroom, without much character.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy traveling!

XO,

Which one do you prefer – Airbnbs and hotels? Let me know in the comments below!

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72 HOURS IN DAHLONEGA, GA

Last month, I promised my husband a weekend getaway post-Christmas if he could survive another year in the retail business. I will be honest in that of the “main” reasons we picked Dahlonega was because of a reference in a song by one of our favorite country artists. Ashley McBryde sings about the Crimson Moon, which is the dive bar she is referring to A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega.

In this blog, I will dive more into our weekend exploring around town and what we felt like fit our agenda the most.

Nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains, Dahlonega, GA boasts a 6,000 population and is known as being the site of the first significant gold rush in the United States. It’s also home to many wineries, a thriving performing and visual arts scene and plenty of outdoor activities year round. Dahlonega is also home to the University of North Georgia, which is a small, “multi-campus” college.

FOOD & DRINKS

Dahlonega has many local restaurants that all boast of unique tastes and eclectic styles. Below are just a few of the places we stumbled upon in our wandering around town.

THE PICNIC CAFE

The Picnic Cafe is a charming, old-fashioned bakery and cafe with a small-town vibe and assortment of housemade sweets.

Chandler and I went for brunch on Sunday morning and it was delightful! I highly recommend the bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and the peppermint mocha. Chandler went with the biscuits and gravy and both were great options.

ADDRESS: 30 Public Sq N, Dahlonega, GA 30533
HOURS: 7:30AM-8PM daily
INSTAGRAM: @thepicniccafe

CANOPY + THE ROOTS

Canopy and the Roots exceeded all expectations I held going in. It is a local coffee shop, yoga studio and music venue with the most calming and eye-pleasing aesthetic. Chandler indulged my begging and pleading to go and I loved every minute of it. This is a place I could definitely see myself blogging, reading and sipping on a cup of coffee regularly.

RECOMMENDATION: Iced Coffee & Cold Brew

Check out their calendar if you plan to stop by and check out what talent they have playing at the time. You can even take a yoga class!

ADDRESS: 53 W Main Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533
HOURS: They are open seven days a week, but hours do vary.
INSTAGRAM: @canopyandtheroots

THE DAHLONEGA FUDGE FACTORY

The fudge shop quickly became one of our favorite spots in town. We visited on Saturday afternoon and this girl’s sweet tooth was quickly satisfied. They offer over eighty (80, y’all) types of fudge, brittle and chocolates. The Dahlonega Nugget (pecans or cashews covered in homemade caramel and dipped in chocolate) is a favorite. I personally went with the chocolate covered pretzel and even bought some to go.

ADDRESS: 8 N Park St, Dahlonega, GA 30533
WEEKEND HOURS: F/SAT: 10AM-9PM (open daily)
INSTAGRAM: @dahlonegafudgefactory

WOLF MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS & WINERY

Setting atop a mountain ridge, Wolf Mountain boasts breathtaking views of North Georgia from the multiple decks overlooking many mountainous range. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed grabbing a glass of wine, enjoying each other’s company and seeing the beautiful mountain range.

We went with the “sweet” flight and enjoyed six of their different wines.

It was slightly snowing when we visited, so the inside was was quite packed. (#notcovidfriendly) On any other warm day, we would’ve enjoyed the porch and the gorgeous view.

ADDRESS: 180 Wolf Mountain Trl, Dahlonega, GA 30533
HOURS: 12PM-5PM
INSTAGRAM: @wolfmountainvineyards

ACCENT CELLARS

Accent Sellars was another winery we visited during our stay in Dahlonega. This place was off the beaten path, but was well worth the drive. It had //.

*There are multiple wineries in Dahlonega to choose from, so make sure to make a conscious effort to visit more than one if you consider yourself a wine “snob.”

ADDRESS: 215 Auraria Rd, Dahlonega, GA 30533
HOURS: 12PM-6PM M-SUN / 11AM-7PM SAT
INSTAGRAM: @accentcellars

SHENANIGANS RESTAURANT & IRISH PUB

Shenanigans is a buzzy pub offering Irish-American fare & diverse beers in snug quarters with live music & a deck.

The SOUTHWEST IRELAND SHRIMP WRAP and FISH & CHIPS are both drool worthy.

ADDRESS: 87 N Chestatee St, Dahlonega, GA 30533
HOURS: 11AM-9PM
INSTAGRAM: @shenanigansdahlonega

SIGHTS & SOUNDS

HARVEST HUB FARMER’S MARKET

In Dahlonega’s historic town square, the annual Farmer’s Market begins the first Saturday in May and continues weekly through late August. Fall markets are held on the 1st and 3rd Saturday every month in September & October and you can find local handmade jams, jellies, seasonal vegetables and hundreds of other items.

We weren’t able to go because of how early in the year it was, but would’ve definitely enjoyed going if we had the chance to visit.
This girl is definitely a sucker for a good Farmer’s Market.

ADDRESS: 52 N Park St, Dahlonega, GA
FACEBOOK: Dahlonega Harvest Hub

DAHLONEGA GENERAL STORE

The Dahlonega General Store has books, maps, candy, 5 cent coffee, popcorn and gifts for all ages. Somewhat like a Mast General Store for those of you are familiar with those, the DGS has plenty of trinkets and knick knacks for the entire family to enjoy.

ADDRESS: 24 Public Square, Dahlonega, GA 30533
WEEKEND HOURS: 10AM-9PM
INSTAGRAM: @dahlonegageneralstore

NIGHTLIFE

For being a relatively “small” town, Dahlonega can pride themselves on a great nightlife scene. There are still many bars and restaurants that are still open relatively late. (thanks, COVID…)

CRIMSON MOON

The Crimson Moon is a dive bar located off of Dahlonega’s historical district. Ashley McBryde’s famous A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega is what helped to set them on the map, but this place is such a cool vibe! We visited on Friday night and enjoyed live music with enjoying a side of your typical bar food.

*This was also one of the main reasons we visited Dahlonega, if that tells you anthing.

ADDRESS: 24 N Park St North, Dahlonega, GA 30533
WEEKEND HOURS: 11AM-10PM
INSTAGRAM: @thecrimsonmoon

LODGING

When Chandler and I had originally talked about getting away for a weekend trip, we looked at many different options for “lodging.” I have an American Express credit card and have bookoodles of hotel points, but I saw this tiny house on Airbnb and instantly fell in love. Nestled on five wooded acres in the Chattahoochee National Forest, this tiny house is located less than 15 minutes from downtown Dahlonega. Large windows offered wonderful views of the surrounding woods and filled the house with the most breathtaking natural light.

We enjoyed our own “personal” fire pit, picnic table and walking trails that started right off of our house.

OTHER NOTABLE PLACES:

Currahee Brewing (Clayton, GA)

Etowah Meadery (Dahlonega, GA)

We also stopped in Helen, GA on the way to Dahlonega. If you have time on your trip, please make the stop. Helen is a Bavarian town and is the home to the biggest Oktoberfest sight in the US. It is full of German flair, pretzels, bier gardens and much more!

Chandler and I had the absolute BEST time during our getaway. It was such a refreshing weekend and came at the just the right time. I [highly] recommend Dahlonega for a short time away. If you are looking for a tiny house like this one or another fun stay, make sure to use my Airbnb link to get up to $65 off of your first booking.

Have you ever visited Dahlonega, GA? If so, what have been some of your favorites and “must-do’s?” Let’s chat in the comments below! ♡

XO,

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COMPLETE GUIDE TO CHRISTMAS AT BILTMORE

Hiya! My husband and I visited the Biltmore House for the first time on Sunday and we loved every minute! We have lived in Asheville for almost a year now, but haven’t had the chance to visit this beautiful monstrosity of a mansion yet. Since my husband is a sucker for all things Christmas, I bought tickets for the Candlelight tour at the Biltmore and it was nothing short of amazing! We also had friends from Charleston visit and were able to tour the house with them, which also made the experience really special for us!

In this blog, I will go over certain tips and tricks that made our trip to the Biltmore seamless and easy. Buying a ticket to the house does grant you two days entrance onto the property. If you are from out of town or plan to be in Asheville for the weekend, plan to go back both days. Believe me when I say that the Biltmore Estate is full of things to do. It is breathtaking in every way and should be something you be able to do without being rushed.

Antler Hill Village & Winery

Antler Hill Village sits on the north side of the property. It is approximately 1.2 mile from the Estate, so be sure to factor that into your travel time if you have a reservation for the house. They do have trolleys that drive from AHV to the house, but will take you 10-15 minutes. At Antler Hill Village, you have the Winery, lots of restaurants and plenty of shopping to keep you busy.

Due to limited number of people allowed in for each tasting, reserve a time slot to the Winery in advance to guarantee your spot, especially if you have a bigger group. They have a QR Code for you to scan to put in your information, which will then send you an email confirmation. Each tasting is complementary, so don’t miss out on the chance to taste five of the best wines from a long list of //. After your tour, buy bottles to take home from the wine shop to enjoy at your convenience or join the Vanderbilt Wine Club, in which you will receive three different wines each quarter by mail. You can choose from all red, all white, mixed or sweet. They also offer a pick-up option on site as well for those who live in the area.

Estate Tour

The Biltmore House was completed in 1895 and is currently still the largest home to date in the United States. There are sixty-five fireplaces, an indoor swimming pool and a bowling alley! The self-guided tour takes you through a one way route, but feel free to roam at your own pace. The typical time frame is anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half in the house.

Audio guides are available for $12.99pp. The 90-minute tour allows you to select the corresponding number to each room that then tells you more about he surrounding architecture, design and decor. It also tells you more about the lives of the Vanderbilts, their guests and servants alike.

The estate also offers a…
Rooftop Tour ($25pp) – Get an amazing view from rooftops and balconies of the Biltmore House.

Premium Biltmore House Tour ($175pp) – Get a personal guide, see the rooftops, and a behind-the-scenes look of the servant’s quarters.

Backstairs Tour ($25pp) – Offers access to rarely-seen servants’ areas and workplace stores.

Behind-the-Scenes Winery Tour & Tasting ($10pp) – See how the vineyards run and what it takes to make the wines of Biltmore.

Pro Tip: Make sure to walk up the hill across from the house to see the Diana & the Esplanade. This gives you one of the most iconic and most breathtaking views of the house from afar. As a preface, the Christmas is not there year round.

Bags no larger than a 12″ x 6″ x 12 plastic bag or 4.5″ x 6.5″ clear bag are allowed into the house, so make sure to come prepared.

Gardens and Conservatory

Chandler and I weren’t able to visit the gardens during our trip, but we plan to during the spring time now that we have annual passes. Yay for Christmas gifts! From what we have heard from friends and family who have been, we have heard nothing but great things!

There are 2.5 miles of paths that you can take through themed gardens around the house.
In the the winter, most of the gardens are empty. Any other time of year, you will find hundreds of variations of blooms.

Some highlights include:

+ 50,000 tulips in Wall Garden during the Spring
+ A mile long sunflower patch near Antler Hill Village in the late summer
+ Click here to find more details on blooms you can expect to see.

Walking Trails

There are over ten different walking trails on site at the Biltmore. They vary anywhere from a 1/4 mile to a 1/2 mile loop and there are 22 miles in all. During the Spring time, you can experience the blooming flowers at the gardens, go biking, fly-fishing hiking, horseback riding or even float down the river. The estate also offers Segway tours, sporting clays and falconry.

If you have smaller children and are planning to be on property for a majority of your day, there is the Pisgah Playground which is located near Antler Village. Plan for adequate time for the farm as well. Once home to the Biltmore Dairy, you can now stop by the farm to see the blacksmith, woodworking and craft demonstrations. Stop in to see the farm-friendly animals with your kids as well. They have sheep, chickens, goats and pigs.

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What can I expect at Biltmore Christmas?

A lot! If you’ve never been to the Biltmore before, the Estate at Christmas time is an even better first impression. There are stringed lights atop the walkways, Christmas trees at every turn and hot cocoa for //. For it being our first time touring the house, I am so glad we waited to do so at Christmas time. Every room of the house is decorated to the nines and was more than I expected.

Is the Biltmore Candlelight Tour worth it?

Starting at $114 per ticket, seeing the Biltmore during the Christmas holiday is like nothing else you’ll ever experience. We personally went with the self-guided tour, but there is also three different other tour options they offer throughout the year, which are all unique in their own way.

All in all, the Candlelight Tour was worth the “big” price tag. Seeing the estate’s fifty-five Christmas trees, lights, garland and hundreds of poinsettias were so magical to me. They also had all sixty-five fireplaces lit, live music playing on each floor and so many things to see and learn about in the house.

How long is Biltmore House decorated for Christmas?

The Biltmore house is decorated for Christmas from early November to into mid-January. Take advantage of the holiday festivities and make a trip during the Christmas season.

Where can I eat on site the Biltmore?

There are many different options to eat at the Biltmore! There are both fine dining and casual “light bites” for more on-the-go eats.

Antler Hill Village & Winery

  • The Bistro $$$ – causal spot serving farm to table foods
  • Cedric’s Tavern $$ – pub food, global cuisine and drink options
  • The Creamery $ – ice cream, sundaes, pastries and coffee
  • The Kitchen Cafe $$ – house-made soups, salads and sandwiches
  • The Smokehouse $$ – carolina bbq, sandwiches and southern favorites
  • Village Social $$$ – southern style food using sustainable seafood and regional ingredients
  • Wine Bar (Winery) $$ – sip of delicious wine and munch on a plate of cheese

Biltmore House & Gardens

  • Stable Cafe $$ – bbq, grilled foods and other southern favorites
  • The Bake Shop $ – fresh-baked pastries, coffee and tea
  • The Conservatory Cafe $ – small plates and wine
  • The Courtyard Market $ – gourmet hot dogs, salads, snacks and drinks
  • The Ice cream Parlor $ – hand-scooped ice cream, milkshakes and sundaes

Can I stay onsite during my visit?

You can! There are two different hotels on site where you can book reservations.

  • Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate $$
  • The Inn on Biltmore Estate $$

GENERAL INFORMATION

Address: One Lodge Street, Asheville, NC 28803 (map)

  • Biltmore Estate Ticket Prices: $45-$85 (depending on day/season)
  • Flex Daytime Tickets
  • Annual Passes: $219 pp (you can also apply the price of your day pass to an annual pass)

Pro Tip: Save $10 by purchasing tickets online 7+ days before your visit.

Hours:

  • Admissions Gate: 8:30am-5pm (or last scheduled Candlelight tour)
  • Reception & Ticketing Sales Center: 8:30am-5pm (or last scheduled Candlelight tour)
  • Biltmore House: 9am-5pm
  • Winery in Antler Hill Village: Sun-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat 10am-9pm
  • Gardens: 9am-6pm
  • Conservatory: 9am-5:30pm

Note: Always double check their site for hours in case they have special events going on.

Chandler and I absolutely loved our first visit to the Biltmore Estate. If you are planning a casual trip to Asheville for a weekend getaway or are coming to the area specifically for the Biltmore, make sure to factor in enough time to see this house in its fullest. Our trip did not disappoint by any stretch and we are excited to be able to make it a more common excursion.

Have you been to the Biltmore? What tips and/or tricks would you give first timers?