Our Holiday Inn Asheville Vacation

Hey again! Its been only a month since our last getaway to Aruba, so we took a family trip to Asheville, North Carolina & brought Noah this time! To be honest, when I think of vacation locations, this would not have been at the top of my list but maybe it should have been. 

You see, Asheville is a very pretty, artsy city in western North Carolina.  Reminds me of a cross between Seattle & Portland. It's pretty famous for the Biltmore Estate built by the Vanderbilt family (as in Cornelius, & Gloria, and Anderson Cooper) but it also has a great downtown with lots of vegetarian + local dining options, a brewery community and lots of art galleries. I also like that it has lots of Vegetarian places to visit!

Once again, Holiday Inn surprised us with something way out of the expected. The Holiday Inn Asheville Biltmore-East was a mix of local charm along with tons of nature!  Right off the bat, one thing I really liked at the Holiday Inn Asheville Biltmore-East was the staff - super friendly & always willing to help.... and I'M NOT kidding they all knew my name! Even the man cleaning the pool!

Our room was all the good you expect from Holiday Inn rooms - clean & efficient - with a fridge and a microwave (even though my family no longer uses microwaves anymore) it was nice. We were one of the first to trial a new room called an H4 which is designed especially for families with kids traveling. One especially nice feature was the rolling desk which could be used as a long table between the beds. We DEF used that.

One of the really super neat things the hotel is doing, like many of the businesses around town, is partnering with local farms & vendors to supply farm-to-table and + fresh foods. The town and hotel are also very vegan-friendly which was a pleasant surprise considering that I am trying to stay on a fairly vegetable heavy diet.  Aside from lots of vegetarian places right near the hotel, the Holiday Inn staff surprised us with a beautiful amenity basket filled with local goods! How cool was that?! We actually had them ship it back tour apartment in NYC.

So what is there to do? .....Well of course we took a day to visit Biltmore Castle – amazing!!  The tour goes through the house, the gardens & the grounds and though it's rough to get a 2 1/2 year old to appreciate this amazing architecture, it was neat to see...I mean, 43 bathrooms & 65 fireplaces?!?! Woah. Def recommend!  - We even got to ride in the original elevators, which were the first ones installed in a private home and the oldest Otis elevators in operations (with the original equipment).

Nicely situated in the mountains, Asheville is right in the center of a ton of hiking, amazing greenery and rustic activities. We were hoping to get to see Chimney Rock but the elevator wasn't working so instead we took Noah to the Western NC Wildlife Center – a wildlife preserve & conservation just a few miles from the hotel. This wildlife center was huge and well worth the visit! We loved our trip & would love to return again sometime in the new future.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Holiday Inn. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Our Holiday Inn Aruba Vacation

Hey Guys!! We recently took a vacation & I wanted to share it with you here.  When we decided to head to Aruba for our trip - I must admit that Holiday Inn Resorts was not the first place that came to mind! But....thanks to Holiday Inn, Mat and I got to visit Aruba and right up front it defied pretty much every expectation.

Aruba is a small island right off the coast of Venezuela. With a slogan like “One Happy Island” you can pretty much envision festive Caribbean fun which isn’t necessarily what we look for in a vacation so we weren’t quite sure what we’d find. But Aruba is much more than that and most definitely the highlight of the island are the beaches. Pristine, soft, white sand with beautiful turquoise-looking  waters. We flew down during the shoulder-season so it was quite hot and humid but that was all forgotten once we woke up the first morning.

The hotel - Holiday Inn Aruba Resort - retains a lot of the basic elements that you’d expect from Holiday Inns like clean and efficient rooms and easy-access restaurants. We arrived at night so we didn’t get to see much ......but we woke up to a gorgeous BLUE sky with a balcony facing the ocean...OMG!!! The view was straight out of a movie as you'll see in the pics below!  Our room was a corner room with a balcony over the beach, mid-size fridge and all the amenities you’d expect.

The resort is laid out in 3 sections with guest towers breaking breaking up the activity areas. This is AWESOME because most of the family activities were happening on one end, leaving a much quieter and relaxing section for adults seeking a bit of solace. That was something we really liked since we visited without our son.  There were several interconnected pools as well as hot tubs, but I have to admit.....we didn't get in any of them because the ocean was much more inviting!!

Right on Eagle & Moomba Beach, the resort has 100 palabras - straw covered umbrella huts - but even in the 90°F sun, we didn’t really need one. Being our first vacation at a beach location in years, we took advantage and spent plenty of time just reading and relaxing within feet from the ocean.

So, the most challenging thing about being on vacation for me is trying to find a Vegetarian  restaurant with some gluten-free & sugar-free items. The restaurants at the Holiday Inn offer a fairly diverse menu that I would call “local meets corporate” with of course the expected beach-type foods, but there were a few items that I was able to enjoy.

We looooved the Sea Breeze - an open restaurant right on the beach with a good lunch menu & even better dinners, and the staff was SUPER friendly & helpful! My favorite meal, though, was a sunset, beach-side romantic dinner with my husband where we enjoyed a chef’s-choice Vegetarian menu (note, just ask the front desk if you’re interested in getting the sunset dinner package).  I had never done anything like that before, so this was very special!

As I said, we didn’t head out beyond the resort much.... but for those on Vegetarian diets, there’s a couple of places you could check out!  On our second day we hopped in a cab and ate at Green Food Service, a luncheonette with only 5 tables featuring a very cheap daily menu of pescatarian/vegetarian items.

The other is Eduardo’s Beach Shack which is on the boardwalk just to the south of the Holiday Inn Aruba Resort which offers healthy options like smoothies, wraps, and CocoWhip - a soft-serve “ice cream” made from just whipped coconut water (no added sugar) and served with fruit! I swear I almost didn't believe it....but this place was AMAZING!

For me, a vacation wouldn't be a vacation until I've gotten a massage...or in this case, two! The Etnika Spa is right on the Holiday Inn resort grounds and has a full menu of spa treatments. I got the Hot Stone Massage which is my all time favorite....& the next day I convinced my husband (who normally doesn't go for spa stuff) to join me for a couple's massage - so relaxing! Aruba is colorful, gorgeous & full of friendly people! The sunsets were such a blessing to watch every night - especially from our room.

All in all we had a lovely vacation & only wish it was longer. We would gladly go back to visit Holiday Inn in Aruba!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Holiday Inn. The opinions and text are all mine.
Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

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Noah's Room

Hey everyone!

Welcome back and thank you for coming by to view the living & dining room reveal last week! This week I wanted to share a bit of my son's room. I wanted to focus mostly on one side of his room because I honestly haven't decided to put anything above his crib. The reason is because he's a toddler and if I add any artwork, he may actually touch it & knock it down! -  I know other moms can relate to this.

I thought about some vinyl stars again, but just felt it would appear too cluttered. I already think it has a lot and that's due to the open West Elm Parsons shelf we added. BUT don't WORRY...the shelf is securely bolted to the wall! So remember, I would not recommend adding this to a toddler's room unless it is securely bolted, so safety first! My son is also NOT a climber thankfully!

So here it is, his little space that he enjoys and I think his favorite part is the table + 2 stools we got him from Sprout Kids. We also added two more chairs from Oeuf NYC which I absolutely love! We chose the Eco-Friendly Bear Play Chair set of 2 in Birch. You can also add these fun play stickers to your purchase as well! However, if you're feeling creative you can certainly purchase some craft paint & paint some faces yourself! Hope his space inspires you! 

-images by jen ramos


'lion book ends' not available but recommend these or these
Oeuf Nyc Bear Ear chairs set of 2 via Barneys
beaumont white book ledge via Land Of Nod.  
Star Lamp by Fromage La Rue 
sensory play space divider by Edu2Toys

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