Thursday, August 21, 2014

Healthy Vacations at Hilton Head Health

Biking your way to health with Hilton Head Health

You've always wanted to drop those last 10 pounds or start eating a healthy diet. Maybe a fitness plan has been on your to-do list. But where do you get started? And how do you make the changes become part of your life?

One option is to to hire a trainer and invest in a weight-loss program. But how fun is that? A better option is to plan a trip to one of the most recognized health and wellness resorts in the country. Hilton Head Health has been helping people create a personalized health and wellness routine since 1976. And they've been doing it at an all-inclusive resort and spa that feels more like a vacation than anything.

Located in the 800-acre Shipyard Plantation on the beautiful barrier island of Hilton Head, Hilton Head Health offers three separate tracks to help wellness oriented guests get a kick start on a healthier, better lifestyle. LoseWell is their signature weight loss program. It lasts 4 weeks and is primarily targeted for people who are seeking guidance to help them lose weight (40 lbs or more). More manageable is their LiveWell track that helps people shift their habits into a more healthy and wellness-focused lifestyle. This one week program is focused on those who want to lose 10-30 pounds and who need a quick reboot to get them back on track.

And, lastly, is their PlayWell program. This new initiative will launch this fall and, while targeting the health and wellness conscience, will focus on the fun recreational offerings available on Hilton Head Island including golf, beach yoga, biking, parasailing, walkting tours, paddle boarding and kayaking.

Classroom in the H3 Healthy Kitchen at Hilton Head Health
Hilton Head Health also offers shorter programs including an array of sessions of unique participatory healthy cooking classes and dining experiences in their H3 Healthy Kitchen.

Hilton Head Health is undergoing a massive renovation this fall and winter which will include the addition of a new Indigo Spa, a 30-room inn, and a new restaurant. Called True, it will feature healthy and delicious options like lobster tacos, California pizza, a variety of fish and poultry options, and even a wine list.

So why not combine your next vacation with a commitment to a new healthy lifestyle. You might even be able to scratch off a few of those to-dos.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Taste Carolina Wine Festival Coming to Colfax

There's nothing finer than a fall day filled with wine tastings, arts, and music. And you can have all of that right here in North Carolina at the 12th Annual Taste Carolina Wine Festival coming to the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax on Saturday, September 13 from 12noon to 6pm.

More than 20 North Carolina wineries will be pouring award-winning whites, red and possibly even a rose. Tastings will be available in your complimentary wine glass as well as bottles of wine will be available for purchase. There will be lots of art vendors displaying and selling their craft, as well as food vendors with food for sale. And there will be plenty of entertainment all day long with music by Evan and Dana, The Plaids, Andrew Gibson and the Back Porch Orchestra.

Tickets are $30 for the afternoon of wine tasting. Or you can purchase a VIP ticket for $40 which includes your own private wine tasting with entertainment from 11m-12noon, a $5 food voucher, priority tent seating near the stage, and a free wine glass lanyard. Tickets are available at Lowe's Foods and Just Save Grocery Store or online.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lake City's ArtFields Looking for Great Artists

ArtFields, one of the South's most engaging art festivals and competitions (Photo courtesy of j forest photo)

The date has been set for the third annual ArtFields, Lake City, South Carolina's celebration of all things art, and now they are looking for artists to compete in their highly touted competition. Founded in 2013, ArtFields is one of the South's most engaging art festival and competition awarding more than $100,000 in prizes to artists from across the Southeast. Held in the historic district of Lake City, ArtFields is a ten-day (April 24-May 2) celebration of art and artists from the 12 Southeastern states that turns this charming South Carolina town into an Southern art Mecca.

Artists are invited to submit artwork for the competition and a chance at their share of prize money including Top Prize ($50,000), a Juried Panel prize ($25,000), a People's Choice two-dimensional ($12,500), and a People's Choice three-dimensional ($12,500). Interested artists may submit one 2-D or 3-D piece of art including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, digital media, installation art or other mediums. Artwork submitted online will be reviewed by a jury of visual art professionals who will select 400 works to compete. The call for submissions runs from September 14 through November 14 and artists will be notified of their acceptance by January 1, 2015.

The only rules are that applicants must be 18 or older by November 14 and reside in one of the 12 Southeastern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia). Only original artwork is eligible for submission and must have been completed within two years of the submission deadline of November 14, 2014.

Check out the ArtFields website for more details and for entry rules. Not an artist but love art? Then be sure to put April 24-May 2 on your calendar and make plans to attend ArtFields.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Country Greats Headline Southern Folklife Collection Celebration in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Merle Haggard will perform at the Southern Folklife Collection 25th Anniversary Celebration

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Southern Folklife Collection next week with a star-studded lineup of country greats at venues throughout Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The Southern Folklife Collection is an educational resource dedicated to collecting and preserving Southern cultural heritage. Featuring recordings, moving images, photographs, manuscripts, books and songs, the SFC documents Southern music, art and culture including old-time country-western, bluegrass, blues, folk, gospel, rock, Cajun and zydeco music.

The festival will include musical performances, lectures, and readings and will be a celebration of all things Southern culture. Festivities begin on August 21 with an all-star benefit concert and dinner featuring the sounds of Tift Merritt (UNC '00) and a Sophisticated Southern Supper created by James Beard Award winners (and local chef luminaries) Ben and Karen Barker, Ashley Christensen, Andrea Reusing and Bill Smith. Beverages will be provided by Chapel Hill 's Top of the Hill Distillery.

Also on August 21, a retrospective exhibit will open in UNC's Wilson Library highlighting the history, collections, and work of the SFC with rare and unique artifacts, photography, posters, and multimedia presentations. The exhibit will run through January 15, 2015.

Friday's events include a New Orleans Brass Band Symposium, a panel discussion with members of the Rebirth Brass Band, and a Rebirth Second Line Parade from Wilson Library to Memorial Hall. The evening will culminate with a concert by the Rebirth Brass Band and Dumpstaphunk at Memorial Hall and a concert featuring Big Star's #1 Record and Third/Sister Lovers at Cat's Cradle.

The festival continues on Saturday with an array of performances at Cat's Cradle from 10am-4pm including music by Sierra Hull, Dex Romweber Duo and Flaco Jimenez with Los Texmaniacs and lectures by authors Peter Guralnick and Holly George-Warren. The SFC silver anniversary celebration culminates Saturday night with a concert by Country Music Hall of Famer Merle Haggard and UNC's own Tift Merritt taking the stage in Memorial Hall.

Festival information and tickets are available at

Thursday, August 7, 2014

TerraVITA Going to New Heights to Celebrate Five Years in the Triangle

Cheese and beer pairing, part of The Sustainable Classroom, at TerraVITA, Chapel Hill, NC

Celebrating their fifth year, TerraVITA Food & Wine Event (October 9-11) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is taking the festival to a new level this year with the addition of a 3-day pass, live chef demos and the season premiere of PBS series A Chef's Life. Heralded as one of the "10 Southern Food Festivals You Need to Taste" by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and "4 Can't Miss Southern Food Festivals" by, TerraVITA is devoted to highlighting local and sustainable food and beverages and does so with a three-day taste feast for the mouth and the mind.

New this year is a three-day pass, The Whole Shebang, that not only gets you into all of the weekend festivities, but also provides access to exclusive and non-ticketed events including an afternoon event with four of North Carolina's most high-profile chefs, a hands-on bread baking class with Master Baker Lionel Vatient of La Farm Bakery in Chapel Hill and an After-Party with Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer and Chef Adam Rose.

The weekend kicks off with the Southern Harvest Dinner featuring chefs and producers from across the Southeast for an outdoor feast at Southern Season in Chapel Hill. Chef Kevin Johnson from The Grocery in Charleston, SC and Weathervane chef Spencer Carter will create a magical dinner featuring the grass-fed lamb of Border Springs Farm's shepherd Craig Rogers. Following dinner will a Season Premiere Party for the second season of A Chef's Life, the PBS series starring Chef and the Farmer's Vivian Howard.

Friday features The Sustainable Classroom, a hallmark of TerraVITA, which uses culinary workshops, food and beverage tastings, demonstrations, and engaging panel discussions to feed our minds. The day is complete with The Carolina Table: East Meets West, a family-style seated dinner prepared by some of the most exciting talent in the region including Chef Scott Crawford of the soon-to-open Standard Foods and Nash Tavern in Raleigh, Ben Adams of Piedmont in Durham, Matthew Dawes of The Bull and Beggar in Asheville and more.

Grand Tasting on the Green at TerraVITA, Chapel Hill
TerraVITA culminates on Saturday with the Grand Tasting on the Green, featuring, for the first time, live chef demonstrations along with tastings from 45 chefs and artisans from across North Carolina and more than 100 sustainably-produced beverages from around the globe including organic coffee, biodynamic, organically-grown and natural wines, local mircobrews, and distilleries.

Tickets are on sale at

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hilton Head's Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort Perfect for Family Duffing (and Fun!)

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort features 3 miles of beachfront and an 11-mile lagoon system. 

It can be hard to find the perfect family vacation destination. I mean, how do you please everyone with activities and amenities that interest all ages of kids (and their parents)? Problem solved at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. And we're obviously not the only ones that feel this way. The resort's many offerings for all ages helped to name Palmetto Dunes one of the "World's Top-25 Family Getaways" in 2013 by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Palmetto Dunes features offers a Family Golf School
In addition to award-winning tennis, fishing, kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding on an 11-mile lagoon system, bicycling, beach activities along it's three-mile stretch of Atlantic Ocean beachfront, and dining, shopping and a variety of charters at Shelter Cove Harbour across the street, Palmetto Dunes offers world-class golfing and a full-fledged Family Golf School. No matter what ages or skill levels, the resort has tailored its golf programming to please everyone. And it doesn't hurt that their head of golf instruction, former PGA Tour player Doug Weaver, is a natural with kids. He's even developed engaging and fun methods to teach kids the basics of golf including moves like "closing the car door" and "alligator arms".

Palmetto Dunes offers a variety of golf lessons for kids including its popular "Little Swingers" program for ages 3-7, Junior Golf Clinics for ages 6-18 that focus on golf fundamentals like golf shots, etiquette, and rules, as well as Advanced Juniors Classes for duffers 8-18 who are at the top of their class. The property features a trio of world-class golf courses designed by legends of the game including Robert Trent Jones, Arthur Hills and George Fazio that cater to golfers of all levels including junior tees, markings of 150 yards or less, and free golf for kids after 4pm with an adult paying regular rates.

So please everyone this summer (or anytime of the year) with a family vacation to Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Carolinas Rock Southern Barbecue

You know you are in the land of 'cue when USA Today's 10 Best Southern Barbecue spots include four in the Carolinas. Yep....three of the top 10 are in North Carolina (natch!) and one is in South Carolina. Here's the rundown:

Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q - Monroe, NC
Customers come from all over the South to pay their respects to the Alabama barbecue legend Big Bob Gibson, whose descendants now operate a handful of locations. The assortment of dry-rubbed meats come with sauce on the side, the better to showcase why the restaurant has won more than 10 World BBQ Championship titles

Lexington Barbecue - Lexington, NC
Founded by Wayne Monk in 1962, some locals refer to one of North Carolina's most decorated barbecue spots as "The Monk." The staff continues Monk's technique of cooking only pork shoulders for roughly 10 hours over oak or hickory coals. For a true local experience, be sure to order the state's most famous drink, the cherry soda Cheerwine and a chopped BBQ sandwich.

Skylight Inn - Ayden, NC
Founded by Pete Jones in 1947, this decorated BBQ shack is now run by Jones's grandson, Sam. The menu consists of two items: pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw and a dish of pulled pork with cornbread and coleslaw. The pork comes from whole pigs that are split in half, then slow-roasted over oak fires in open-air pits. Jones can usually be seen hand-chopping the meat daily, with crowds lining up out the door.

Scott's Bar-B-Que - Hemingway, SC
The ever-smiling Rodney Scott has earned his place on the present-day Mt. Rushmore of barbecue. Scott cuts down the hickory, oak, and pecan trees used to power the concrete pits he uses to produce some of the nation's most decorated whole-hog 'cue. Scott keeps busy mopping his meat with his special secret vinegar-pepper sauce. Few patrons seems to mind his eatery's lack of amenities.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hotel Domestique a Perfect Travelers Rest

We're always on the lookout for unique hotels in the Carolinas. And we found a gem in the mountain town of Travelers Rest. First of all, what could be better than a hotel in a town called Travelers Rest. It just conjures up the perfect image of a restful stay after a day of travel. And that's exactly what Hotel Domestique, just 20 miles north of Greenville, South Carolina, offers up.

Opened in 2013, Hotel Domestique is owned by cycling legend George Hincapie. Known for his participation in a record 17 Tour de France bike races, Hincapie has created a cycling Mecca on his 30-acre, 13-room French chateau-like hotel. As well as a place of rest and rejuvenation in the heart of the Upcountry. Each of the rooms are named for an area found along the Tour de France route and feature spacious accommodations, sleek and understated decor, a large bathroom with double vanities and a shower large enough for two, iPad concierge service, gas fireplaces in some rooms, stunning views of nearby vineyards and mountains, and a complimentary pantry filled with an espresso machine, cold drinks, wine and snacks.

Fountain garden at Hotel Domestique
The public spaces are equally restorative including a cozy library complete with fireplace, a stunning lobby, a lovely fountain garden, a tranquil pool, a cafe for coffees and lunch, and sensational Restaurant 17 overlooking it all for French continental breakfasts and a full dinner menu by renowned Chef Adam Cooke. There's even a small gift shop off the lobby that carries riding jerseys and other biking gear, as well as copies of Hincapie's candid autobiography, The Loyal Lieutenant

Hotel Domestique (which translates to the French word for servant and is used throughout the cycling community as a road racer who works for the benefit of his team and leader) is an ideal destination for cycling enthusiasts because of the miles of rolling hills and climbs throughout the mountainous area. Mountain biking is also a draw at nearby state parks such as Dupont, Caesars Head and Table Rock. The staff can give you loads of suggestions of idyllic rides, as well as offer up BMC rental road bikes, ride-programmed GPS, varied biking packages, and several 'Ride with George' outings and events. 

But if biking isn't your thing, there's still plenty to do at Hotel Domestique. From golfing at nearby courses to hiking to excursions to Asheville and downtown Greenville or simply lingering by the pool, there's something for everyone regardless of your definition of travelers rest.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

World Beer Festival Headed Back to Durham, North Carolina

The World Beer Festival, sponsored by All About Beer Magazine, is headed back to Durham for the 19th year and is setting up at the newly renovated Durham Bulls Athletic Park in downtown on October 11, 2014. This beer Mecca is definitely a cut above the rest with more than a dozen new breweries pouring some of the country's best beers. This years' event will also feature educational programs and a new Taste of Belgium beer garden.

In years' past, the event has gotten a bit too large and congested. So the festival planners are cutting attendance by 35% and restructuring the layout to better accommodate true beer aficionados with more space, less lines, and better opportunity to sample beers. But, due to the decrease in tickets, an early sellout is anticipated. So you better hurry.

General admission to the World Beer Festival-Durham is $55 which includes a tasting glass and unlimited 2oz. pours from over 200 beers, access into the Art of Beer Experience, the Belgian beer garden, and festival seminars. VIP admission tickets are $70 and have added access to a private, air-conditioned hospitality area, private bathrooms, and a bonus selection of rare beers not available to the general public.There are two sessions on October 11, 12-4pm and 6-10pm.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Euphoric Food, Wine and Music in Greenville, South Carolina

Euphoria's Sunday Supper at Wyche Pavilion 

The fall wine & food festival season is ramping up and we get a little euphoric this time of year. And it doesn't get much better than Euphoria in hot Greenville, South Carolina. Running September 18-21, Euphoria is jam-packed with all you can eat, sip and listen to in this four-day celebration.

Kicking off the weekend on Thursday is a choice between the Songwriter's Recipe, featuring an intimate "behind the music" event with legendary songwriters Tom Nichols, rivers Rutherford and Bob DiPiero as they talk about the music making process and sing some of their favorites and Swine and Dine, a soil-to-city whole-hog roast with craft beers, craft spirits, tasty wines, and plenty of music to wash it all down with.

Friday features food, wine and music VIP Experiences for VIP ticket holders and then Euphoria kicks into high gear with the Taste of the South under the stars in downtown Greenville. Groove along the soothing currents of the Reedy River with live music and dine on Southern dishes created by some of the Upstate's finest chefs and restaurants. There will be plenty of amazing wines and beers to pair with the evening's festivities.

Saturday brings together a full-day of wine, beer and food with the Tasting Showcase along Main Street. Here you will have a chance to sip, sample, taste and learn with acclaimed chefs, local culinary stars, master sommeliers and talented musicians at the grand wine tasting, craft beer garden, gourmet food and spirits sampling, wine seminars and cooking demonstrations. When the sun goes down, choose from either the Traffic Jam, a full-on food truck rodeo, or one of several guest chef wine dinners at some of Greenville's finest restaurants. Finish out the evening with the infamous Lambs + Clams after-party and enjoy tasty late night bites of Border Springs Farm Lamb and Rappahannock Oysters.

Recover from Saturday's festitivies at the Sunday Jazz Brunch when chefs from nearly 20 local restaurants put their best foot forward at a full-on New Orleans-style brunch. And you can put your best foot forward with big band music from the South Carolina Jazz Orchestra and the cool trumpet sounds of Mark Rapp and the requisite Sunday morning Bloody Mary's and bubbly.

The weekend winds down Sunday night with a spectacular farm-to-table experience at Sunday Supper. Guests will have an opportunity to bread bread with the elite line-up of the weekend's local and guest chefs, artisan cocktails, and soothing dinner music under the stars at the Wyche Pavilion. We can't think of a better way to close out this amazing taste of Euphoria!