March 20, 2020

Floor Plans

Take some time to play these with the whole family and get going!


The floor is lava! Take any pillows, pieces of paper, towels - whatever and lay around the house.

Don't touch the floor. Super simple. Here is a video to help with rules and items from the actual board game. 


I love! WhatsUpMoms videos and these are all about Spy Games to do in the house!


5-Minute Craft Kids is hysterical with their 20 Fun and Easy Games for Kids AND Adults...see which ones to

use inside!


And even 5 super Easy DIY dog toys to keep the whole family entertained!

Enjoy! Please give feedback and tell us how any of these turned out for you! Or add your own!


Posted in Community, Fun Times, Kiddos
March 20, 2020

Greenways Here

The Mecklenburg County greenway system is quickly becoming one of the finest in the nation. Greenways are linear parks that connect people and places. Greenways are vegetated natural buffers that promote water quality, help reduce the impacts of flooding, and provide wildlife habitat. Greenway trails provide recreation, transportation, fitness, and economic benefits for all to enjoy. There are currently 52 miles of developed greenway trails in Mecklenburg County, with more being built every year. 

In conjunction with many surrounding cities, our Greenways will result in over 100+ miles sooner then we think.

Check out all the maps and locations to start your journey!

Trail Partnerships with Links Below:

Carolina Thread Trail:
 The Carolina Thread Trail is a regional network of over 1,500 miles of greenways and trails that will reach 15 counties and 2.3 million citizens. It links people, places, cities, towns and attractions. When you see the Carolina Trail Logo on mile markers and trail maps, that will indicate that particular greenway is a section of the Carolina Thread Trail. For more information please visit: Carolina Thread Trail

Lake Norman Bike Route: In years to come, the Lake Norman Bike Route will take shape as a continuous, multi-jurisdictional bicycle route that will encircle Lake Norman, segment-by-segment. It will connect prominent destinations, neighborhoods, and various local bicycle facilities within the surrounding areas; providing a safer, useful, and attractive transportation and recreation resource for a wide range of bicyclists. When you see the Lake Norman Bike Route, it will indicate that particular greenway is a section of the Lake Norman Bike Route. For more information please visit: Lake Norman Bike Route

TrailMarkerWEB.jpgCross Charlotte Trail: In Cross Charlotte Trail is a partnership between Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte that strives to develop a 26 mile contiguous trail that will connect from the SC/NC State line to Cabarrus County. Once completed, the Cross Charlotte Trail will allow residents to travel seamlessly from one end of Charlotte to the other. Approximately 140,000 residents and 130,000 jobs will be within walking distance of the proposed trail and the adjacent greenways that connect to it. For more information please visit:  Cross Charlotte Trail


TrailMarkerWEB.jpg Mooresville to Charlotte Trail: The Mooresville-Charlotte Trail is a partnership between the following Jurisdictions: Mooresville, Cornelius, Huntersville, Charlotte, Iredell and Mecklenburg Counties for the development of a north-south trail to connect and activate trails that would connect with corridors for the greenway master plans for each jurisdiction. For more information please visit:Mooresville to Charlotte Trail

CNIP.png The Comprehensive Neighborhood Improvement Program: (CNIP) makes strategic investments in larger, multi-neighborhood geographies to more comprehensively address a broad array of community needs, consistent with the goals of the City’s Community Investment Plan (CIP).​ Connecting neighborhoods to major employment, institutional and retail areas through a network of streets, sidewalks, greenways and bike lanes. For more information please visit: Comprehensive Neighborhood Improvement Program


 CRTPO.jpgCharlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization

TownofCornelius.png Town of Cornelius


Davidson.jpg Town of Davidson


TownofHuntersville.jpg Toun of Huntersville


Town of Matthews.jpg Town of Matthews


Mint Hill.jpg Town of Mint Hill


Pineville.jpg Town of Pineville

Posted in Community, Fun Times
Jan. 29, 2020

7 Dog Friendly Spots

7 Lake Norman Dog-Friendly Places To Take Your Pup

Everything becomes instantly better whenever a dog is involved, and that’s a fact. When I first moved to Lake Norman, the first thing I noticed was the fact that it is super dog-friendly. I love taking my dogs with me when I explore the Lake Norman area, and I’m sure they’re just happy to be out of the house. There are so many restaurants, parks, and trails for us to go to without worrying whether or not they’re allowed. If you’ve got a furry friend, I highly recommend taking them to any of the places below. You will not be disappointed, and I’m sure your pup will love you for taking them on fun, new adventures!

Restaurants and Bars

Photo via @coop_and_capo


Lucky Dog Bark & Brew

19607 Statesville Rd, Cornelius, NC 28031

Lucky Dog Bark & Brew is an indoor/outdoor dog park that’s perfect for any pup. While your dog is running around, you can sit at the 21+ sports bar and enjoy a drink. This bar is open to furry children only, and they also offer doggy daycare, overnight boarding, and baths!

Photo via @jasper_and_palmer


Yappy Hour Bakery

Check out their Facebook here.

This activity is more for the pups than it is for humans. The Yappy Hour Bakery is an all natural, gourmet, mobile dog bakery that offers a ton of different dog treats. They make some greats birthday cakes too! (For dogs, of course.)

Photo via @carolinaandmain


Cafe 100

100 Huntersville-Concord Road, Huntersville, NC 28078

At Cafe 100, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner with your pup on their outdoor patio.


Birkdale Village

16725 Birkdale Commons Pkwy, Huntersville, NC 28078

Birkdale Village is a beautiful outdoor shopping center here in Huntersville. On the weekends, you can find a bunch of people walking their dogs throughout the shopping center. Birkdale Village is so pet-friendly, you’ll even find several water dishes for your pup to drink from outside of some of the stores. There are also many restaurants that allow you to dine with your dog in their outdoor seating areas.


Photo via @awalkwithholly


Latta Plantation Nature Preserve

6211 Sample Rd. Huntersville, NC 28078

The Latta Plantation Nature Preserve has 16 miles of hiking trails that weave their way through different terrain. From the trails, it’s easy to find beautiful views of the lake, streams, and the forest. The Latta Plantation Nature Preserve welcomes pups as long as they’re on a 6-foot or shorter leash, and you can even bring your horse! It’s the only Mecklenburg County property that’s completely open to horseback riding.

Photo via @williecorleyy


Jetton Park

19000 Jetton Road/Cornelius, NC 28031

Jetton park is a 104-acre lakefront part that’s perfect for hiking on a beautiful day!


Swaney Pointe K-9 Park

18441 Nantz Road/Cornelius, NC 28031

Swanet Pointe K-9 Park is a four-acre, fenced-in, off-leash area for dogs. It’s located in Ramsey Creek Park, and has two areas that operate larger dogs from smaller dogs.

Jan. 14, 2020

Kids Eat Free Around Town

56 kids eat free deals in Charlotte restaurants

Jody Mace
Courtesy ""

Kids eat free charlotte
Save money every day by knowing where the “kids eat free” deals are around Charlotte.

We contacted every one of these restaurants in March, 2019 or later to verify the deals but keep in mind that they can change their deals at any time.

Also, in many cases there were several locations of a restaurant, and when we called them we got varying information. And finally, it’s possible that the person who gave us the information wasn’t 100% sure of the details.

So a good practice is to call the restaurant before heading out if “kids eat free” is crucial. Just follow the links below to get to the website and find the phone numbers there. Please find them on the restaurants’ websites.We will continue to update and add to this list. We are also including some kids’ meal deals that are not free, but are very inexpensive.

At the bottom of this list are deals that are available on multiple days of the week.

Form hit counter (see email privacy policy)


Libretto’s Pizzeria
Two Charlotte locations:

  • Parktowne: 1600 East Woodlawn Road, Charlotte; 704-877-7702
  • Ballantyne: 15205 John J. Delaney Dr, Suite A, Charlotte; 704-714-1442

All day Sundays, kids eat free from the kids menu, 1 kid per adult entrée. Includes tea or fountain drink. Ballantyne location might be changing soon.

Monterrey Restaurante Mexicano
8914 Pineville Matthews Rd (Park Rd.),
(704) 541-6664
Sundays, kids 12 and under get one free kids meal with the purchase of an adult combo or big plate. Drink not included.

Lake Norman location: 19905 NC Hwy. 73, West Catawba Ave., Suite 102, Cornelius; (704) 987-8890. Kids eat free all day. Drink not included.
University Plaza location: 8927 J.M. Keynes Drive, Suite 900, Charlotte; (704) 503-1979. Kids eat for 99 cents all day.
Ballantyne Commons East location: 15105 John J. Delaney Drive, Charlotte; (704) 752-6869. Kids eat free all day. One per adult entrée purchase.

Crunch Bistro
6414 Rea Road
(704) 362-0077
Sundays, one free kid’s meal per adult entree purchase. Includes drink and side of fruit or chips.


Sonny’s BBQ
All Charlotte, Concord and Mooresville locations:
Mondays, kids 12 and under get one free meal per adult purchase of at least $8.99. Drink included.

Village Inn Pizza
Kids eat from buffet for $1.99 per paying adult. Kids 3 and under eat free at the buffet every day.
Westpark Shopping Center, Statesville; 704-873-1101

Cabos Mexican Restaurant
10 years and under eat free all day, drink not included, one per adult entree.
6676 Carmel Rd, Charlotte 704-759-9886

Afton Tavern
Kids meal free with adult entree purchase.
355 John Galt Way, Concord 704-262-7866

Firenza Pizza (Belgate Shopping Center)
Every Monday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., kids eat free a the Belgate location. Buy one signature or 4-topping pizza and get up to 2 kids’ cheese pizzas for free. Dine-in or carryout.
6925 University City Boulevard, Suite 420, Charlotte, 28262


Pizza Peel & Tap Room
All locations:

  • Cotswold: 4422 Colwick Road, Charlotte, NC 28211, 704-714-8808
  • Plaza Midwood: 1600 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205, 704-790-7335

Matthews Station: 110 Matthews Station St., Charlotte, NC 28105
Kids eat free Tuesday, all day. Kids age 12 and under. Receive up to two complimentary kids’ menu meals (regularly $4.49 each) with the purchase of one adult meal. Dine-in only. All kids’ meals are served with your choice of milk, chocolate milk, apple juice or soda. Red rover & blue monster beverages are $0.99 ea. and float beverages are $1.99 ea. Refills on milk are $0.99 ea. Details on Kids Eat Free deal.

Rocky’s Pizza
10310 Wilmington St. Huntersville
(704) 727-5080
Kids eat free on Tuesdays all day at Rocky’s Pizza. One child gets our bambini combo deal free of charge when one adult spends $15 on food. For ages 10 and under. The child also gets a voucher for a free kid scoop of ice cream next door at Baskin Robbins. Must be used the same day.

Cantina 1511
Kids Eat Free (one Child per One Adult) 4 pm. to 10 p.m.

  • Stonecrest at Piper Glen: 7708-Rea Road 704-752-9797
  • Park Road Shopping Center: 4271 Park Road 704-331-9222

Kids eat free all day every Tuesday with the purchase of an adult entrée of at $5 or more. Dine in only. Drink included. At the following locations:

  • Monroe location: 2925 Monroe Way Monroe, NC 28110; 704-225-7623
  • Dilworth location:1500 East Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28203; 704-377-6344
  • Rock Hill location: 1910 Cinema Dr. Rock Hill, SC 29730; 803-980-6637
  • Concord location:1497 Concord Pkwy. Concord, NC 28026; 704-262- 7992
  • Huntersville location: Northcross Village 16933 Kaufinger Street, Suite #180-J Huntersville, NC 28078;704-896-2206
  • Ballantyne location: 14825 John J. Delaney Dr. Charlotte, NC 28277; 704-369-5020
  • Waxhaw location:8133 Kensington Dr., Unit C Waxhaw, NC 28173; 704-843-9355
  • Indian Trail location: 6443 Old Monroe Rd Indian Trail; 704-776-9785




Golden Corral
NOTE: Kids under 3 are free every day

  • Charlotte location: Under 3 free, 10 and under eat for $1.99 after 4 p.m. 2 kids per adult. 9430 South Blvd.; (704) 643-2345
  • Concord location: Under 3 free, $2.99 children ages 4-12; 2 kids per each paying adult, after 4 pm. 1540 US Hwy. 29 North; (704) 782-0044
  • Rock Hill location: Under 3 free, Kids 10 and under eat for $2.99, 4-8 p.m. 1031 N. Anderson Road; (803) 328-0327

Wolfman’s Pizza
Kids eat free with the purchase of a $8 adult purchase from 5-8 pm.
Only Cotswold location:
Cotswald: 106-B S Sharon Amity, Charlotte, NC 28211 (704) 366-3666

Andele Mexican Restaurant
Kids eat free all day with an adult entree.
1096 Hwy 29 N, Concord. (704) 262-3506

Kickstand Burgers
Kids 12 years and under eat for free all day on Tuesday. One kid per $7 adult entrée.
1101 Central Ave, Charlotte (704) 332-1010

Rusty’s Deli & Grille
Free kids meal with drinks and chips after 4 pm on Tuesdays. Purchase of an adult entree is required.
Quail Corners Shopping Center-8512 Park Rd. Charlotte (704)554-9012

Bang Bang Burgers
Kids eat for free with the purchase of an adult entree. One child’s meal per each adult meal purchased. All day.
2001 E. 7th St., Suite D (704)375-4505

The Gateway to Athens
The Gateway to Athens
360 NW Exchange St. #107
(704) 788-2174
Kids 12 and under eat free all day on Tuesdays with adult meal purchase of $10.75. One child meal per each adult meal purchased, dine-in only. Drink included. Orders are not valid for punch card.

Bob Evans
Huntersville and Charlotte only.
Kids 12 and under eat free all day on Tuesdays, 1 per adult entree;
Huntersville: 16706 Northcross Drive, Huntersville, NC, 28078 (704) 896-8846
Charlotte: 9253 Statesville Road, Charlotte, NC 28269 (704) 599-5414

Several area locations.
Tuesdays 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Kids 12 and under eat free from designated items on kids’ menu, two kids per adult entrée purchase

  • Sunset Road (704) 597-9224
  • Concord (704) 979-7474
  • Gastonia (704) 879-4717
  • Mooresville (704) 664-4884

Hawthorne’s New York Pizza
All area locations:
Tuesdays, kids eat free with each $7.50 adult purchase. Ages 12 and under.

Texas Roadhouse
All locations
Kids 12 and under eat free Tuesdays from 4-10 p.m., one per adult entrée. Drink included

All area locations
Kids 12 and under eat for $1.00 Tuesdays from 4-9, up to two kids per one adult entrée – maximum four kids per table/party. Drink included.
Charlotte: 8650 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28213; 980-207-3508

McAlister’s Deli
Kids eat free Tuesdays from 4-9, up to 2 kids per adult entrée, ages 12 and under. Includes a drink. Dine in only. Drink included. Recommend calling ahead to confirm.

The Pizza Peel and Tap Room
Cotswold; 4422 Colwick Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211 704-714-8808
Plaza Midwood; 1600 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205 704-790-7335
Kids 12 and under eat free all day Tuesday, 2 kids per adult entrée. Drink included.

Two locations.

  • Harvey’s in Huntersville: 13812 Cinnabar Place, Huntersville, NC 28078 (704) 947-5080
  • Harvey’s Cornelius: 19906 N Cove Road, Suite A, Cornelius, NC 28031 (980) 231-5936
  • Kids 12 and under eat free Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday’s at Harvey’s in Huntersville is also ½ off bottles of wine.
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • All locations.One free kid entrée per adult entrée purchase on Tuesdays starting at 5 p.m. Drink included.



JJ’s Red Hots
All three locations
All day Wednesday kids 12 and under eat free, one per adult entree, drink included

  • Uptown, 400 South Tryon St. Suite R2; 980-207-4922,
  • Dilworth, 1514 East Boulevard; 980-225-8880
  • Ballantyne, 15105 John J Delaney Dr, Charlotte; 980-335-0601

Fort Mill Carolina BBQ
Kids 10 and under get a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée and a drink. Dine-in only.
737 Stockbridge Dr., Fort Mill (803) 548-7400.

Captain Steve’s Charlotte
Kids 10 years and under on Wednesdays After 4 p.m kids eat free with purchase of adult entree, 2 kids per adult, drink included, Dine-in only.
8517 Monroe Rd, Charlotte (704) 535-1400

Captain Steve’s Fort Mill & Harrisburg
After 3:30 pm on Wednesdays kids eat free with the purchase of a drink and adult entree

1975 Hwy 21 Bypass, Fort Mil (803) 547-2340

5645 Hwy 49, Harrisburg (704) 455-1222

Flying Biscuit
Kids Night every Wednesday after 4 p.m. Kid’s meals are $1.99, drink not included.
7930-A Rea Road, Charlotte; 704-295-4440

Foster’s Grille
5-9 p.m. Kids eat $1 with the purchase of an adult meal. Drink included.
8520 Pit Stop Court, Concord; 704-979-3663

Tryon House Restaurant
215 E. Exmore St.
(704) 527-6545
This location only, kids eat free Wednesdays after 4 pm. 1 kid per adult. Drink included.

East Coast Wings and Grill
Kids eat free Wednesday after 4 p.m. with purchase of an adult entrée of $10 or more.

  • Charlotte location: 9711 Northlake Centre Pkwy (704) 494-4174
  • Harrisburg location: 7326 Caldwell Road, Harrisburg, NC (980) 258-0752
  • Kannapolis location: 2263 Spider Drive, Kannapolis, NC (704) 720-051
  • Zaxby’s
  • Several area locations.
  • Kids eat for 99 cents after 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. One kid’s meal per adult entrée.
  • Thursday

Pure Pizza
Thursdays at 1911 Central Avenue, 980-430-1701
Kids eat free all day, one per adult entrée of $10 or more. Drink not included.
Central Avenue location only



The Roasting Oven & Grill
Kids 9 and under eat for free between 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday with purchase of entrée. Drink not included.
855 Gold Hill Road, Fort Mill 803-547-5522

More than one day


Fran’s Filling Station
Mondays and Tuesdays, kids under 12 eat free. One free kids’ entrée with the purchase of one adult entrée. Available for dinner in the taproom only, while space permits.
2410 Park Road, Charlotte, 28203

Cici’s Pizza
Several area locations. Every day, kids age 3 and under get one free buffet with each paying adult. Drinks not included.

Steak ‘n Shake
Several area locations.
All day Saturday and Sunday get one free Kids Plate for every $8 purchase. Good for dine in only. No drinks included with kids meal. Ages 12 and under.

Free baby food for every adult meal purchased in restaurant

Red Bowl Fort Mill
On Mondays and Saturdays, kids 10 and under eat for 99 cents. 1 kid per adult. No drink included.
845 Stockbridge Dr, Fort Mill, SC; 803-802-5666

Sports Page Food and Spirits
Charlotte location: 8400 Bellhaven Blvd; 704-399-4417
Kids eat free Mondays and Tuesdays after 5 p.m.. 1 kid per adult entrée. Dine-in only. Drink included.

At these locations, kids eat free Tuesdays and Wednesdays after 5 p.m. 1 kid per adult. Dine-in only:

  • Denver: 179 Cross Center Dr; 704-827-6283
  • Mooresville: 128 Argus Ln; 704-662-8851 

8531 N Tryon St.
(704) 549-4397
Kids age 4 and under eat free Monday through Friday all day, 1 kid per adult entrée.

Jersey Mike’s Subs
Matthews: 2332A Matthews Township Pkwy; 704-847-0410 and Stonecrest: 7828 Rea Rd Suite A, Charlotte; 704-540-1140: Kids 12 and under eat free on Wednesdays after 4 pm, includes drink. One kid per purchase of adult sub.

Harrisburg: 7234 Caldwell Rd, Suite C3; 704-454-3040: Kids 12 and under eat free all day on Sundays. One kid per adult meal.

Firehouse Subs

  • Kannapolis-2251 Spider Drive NE; 704-721-1100 Buy one medium combo and get up to 2 kids combos free; after 4 pm Wednesday and all day Sunday, 12 and under only.
  • Huntersville-9826 Gilead Rd.; 704-992-2282 Buy one medium combo and get up to 2 kids combos for 99 cents; after 4 pm Wednesday and all day Sunday, 12 and under only.
  • Indian Trail-14039 Hwy 74 E.; 704-893-2888 Buy one medium or large combo and get up to 2 kids combos for free, all day Wednesday and Sunday, 12 and under only.
  • Mallard Creek-2700 W. Mallard Creek Church Rd. Charlotte; 704-503-1111 Buy one medium combo and get up to 2 kids combos for 99 cents; after 4 pm Wednesday and all day Sunday, 12 and under only.
  • North Lake Mall-9335 Center Lake Dr. Charlotte; 704-494-3330 Buy one medium combo and get up to 2 kids combos for 99 cents; after 4 pm Wednesday and all day Sunday, 12 and under only.
  • Pineville-9101 Pineville-Matthews Rd.; 704-341-6116 Buy one medium combo and get up to 2 kids combos for free after 4 p.m Wednesday and all day Sunday, 12 and under only.
  • Steele Creek-12806 S. Tryon St. Charlotte; 704-588-9988 Buy one medium combo and get up to 2 kids combos for 99 cents; after 4 pm Wednesday and all day Sunday, 12 and under only.
  • Whitehall-8516 South Tryon St. Charlotte; 704-583-0444 Buy one medium combo and get up to 2 kids combos for 99 cents; after 4 pm Wednesday and all day Sunday, 12 and under only.
  • Matthews-1808 Windsor Square Dr.; 704-708-5555 Buy one medium combo and get up to 2 kids combos for free, all day Wednesday and Sunday, 12 and under only.
  • Gastonia-2290 East Franklin Blvd.(Gaston Mall); 980-888-0927 Kids eat free all day Sundays and after 4 on Wednesdays, up to two kids combos with the purchase of one adult combo.
  • Speedway Blvd.-7712 Sossamon Lane Concord; 704-979-3737 Buy one adult combo, get up to 2 kids combos for 99 cents each, after 4 pm Wednesday and all day Sunday.

Golden Corral Monroe
Kids eat free ages 3 and under, ages 4-8 years eat for $4.99, ages 9-12 eat for $5.99.
2507 W. Roosevelt Blvd., Monroe; (704) 226-9718.

The Randazzos’ Grid Iron
Children 10 and under eat free including desert at dinner time, per paying adult entree, all day, every day,
13105 South Tryon, Charlotte 28278; (704) 588-1130

Dilworth Neighborhood Grille
Kids free all day, includes drink, Monday- Thursday, one per adult entrée purchase
911 E Morehead St., Charlotte; 704-377-3808.

IHOP Rock Hill
Kids ages 12 and under eat free Mon.-Thurs after 3 pm. Adult must buy an entree, drink not included.
2797 Cherry Road, Rock Hill; 803-325-1705.

One free Kids Meal (chicken, ground beef or cheese) per adult entrée. Kids must be 12 and under. Tuesday 4 -8 p.m, and all day Sunday, Dine-in only. Valid at the following locations:

  • Cotswold location: 304 S. Sharon Amity Rd. 704-442-0655
  • Huntersville location: 14230 Reese Blvd. West 704-875-7272
  • River Gate location: 12807 S. Tryon St. 704-587-7093
  • Indian Land location: 8374 Charlotte Hwy 803-560-0067
  • Salisbury location: 120 Summit Park Dr. 704-870-3037
  • Mooresville location: 688 Bluefield Rd. 704-799-7403, Tuesday only, after 5 p.m

Several area locations.
Tuesdays and Saturdays 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Kids 12 and under eat free from designated items on kids’ menu, two kids per adult entrée purchase

  • Sunset Road: 4541 Sunset Rd, Charlotte, NC 28216; 704-597-9224
  • Concord: 8031 Concord Mills Boulevard, Concord, NC 28027; 704-979-7474
Dec. 20, 2019

Your Home Ownership Journey

Allen Tate President/CEO Pat Riley shares milestones to plan for.

There’s an old saying that there are three things that matter in real estate: location, location, location. But while location is certainly important, homeownership is really more of a journey, not a fixed destination.

“When you take ownership of your home, it’s called a closing. But this is really when the homeownership journey begins, not ends,” said Allen Tate Companies President and CEO Pat Riley.

  • Market Update. Riley recommends a quarterly update to keep up with recent sales and current trends in your neighborhood.
  • Insurance Physical. Once a year, homeowners should “shop” their insurance coverage to make sure they are getting the best rate and coverage/
  • Mortgage Refinance. This decision must be made strategically, said Riley, based on what type of loan you have, interest rate, closing terms and how long you plan to stay in your home.
  • Maintenance and Repairs. Regular home maintenance and repairs need to be part of your budget. A home warranty can help with unplanned system and appliance failures.
  • Cosmetic Updates. Today’s buyers don’t want homes that are dated. Riley recommends a home physical every 3-4 years to review your home’s features and colors.


Dec. 10, 2019

Biltmore House

The Biltmore In North Carolina Gets All Decked Out For Christmas Each Year And It’s Beyond Enchanting

Ask anyone who’s made the journey to the Biltmore Estate at Christmastime and they’ll tell you it’s pure magic. With self-guided daytime tours and evening tours by candlelight, visitors can wander the estate in awe of the magnificent holiday decor that transforms America’s castle into a shimmering holiday wonderland.

Christmas at Biltmore takes place November 1, 2019 to January 5, 2020. If you only splurge for one holiday event this year, then this is THE one. Have you been to Biltmore at Christmas in years past? We’d love to hear about it and to see your photos, so feel free to join the discussion!

Tickets purchased online more than 10 days in advance are discounted by $10, according to the website. But hurry… you’ll need to select an arrival time when you purchase your tickets and the best times sell out quickly, so don’t wait. Learn more about (daytime) Christmas at Biltmore here, and go here for more info about the Candlelight Christmas. If you purchase a Candlelight Christmas pass, you can actually add a daytime pass for the following day for an additional $25. Questions? Give them a call at (800)411-3812, or refer to the official website home page for Biltmore.

Can’t get enough holiday cheer this year? Visit Christmas Town U.S.A. during the month of December to light up the season!

Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803, USA
November 14, 2019 by 
Dec. 6, 2019

10 Game Day Appetizers

You might know about these, but when was the last time you made them? Reset your snacks. 

In a rut with game day fare? Spice up the menu with these 10 recipes that pair perfectly with football watching marathons.


Chicken waffle sliders


Chicken waffle sliders are popping up on menus all over, and with the perfect blend of savory and sweet— it’s not hard to see why these are such a crowd pleaser! 

Entertaining a crowd for game day? Food prep will be a complete breeze when you make these easy, but oh-so-yummy, slow cooker buffalo sliders.

Meatball stuffed biscuits

We’re loving absolutely everything about these meatball stuffed biscuits. And best of all, there’s very little time involved in actually putting together the ingredients, which is much appreciated on game day!


Cowboy Caviar


Ready to break away from the traditional chip dips like salsa and guac? Why not try this delicious Cowboy caviar? Complete with corn, black-eyed peas, avocados and more, this fun dip is sure to please! 


Cheddar bacon ranch pull apart rolls


You had us at cheddar and bacon. And adding ranch to the mix is just icing on the cake, for this mouth-watering appetizer designed to delight a crowd. 


Mac and cheese bites 

Is there anyone who doesn’t like mac and cheese? We didn’t think so! And while mac and cheese is not exactly finger food, these mac and cheese bites satisfy carb cravings, and are perfect for entertaining a crowd. 


Spicy sausage wonton cups

We’re loving this fun (and spicy!) twist on classic party food. If you’re ready to bring the heat, try these spicy sausage wonton cups


Sweet siracha meatballs

Meatballs are always the first things to be devoured at any gathering, and that’s why we’re loving the idea of incorporating sriracha to this timeless tailgate classic. Give sweet sriracha meatballs a go if you’re on the hunt for something different for your next party. 


Peanut butter and jelly cups

Kids and adults alike can get behind this fan favorite. Make sure there’s something for everyone at your next event when you make these peanut butter jelly cups


Chicken fried chocolate covered bacon

Chocolate, fried chicken and bacon…what’s not to love? Make the appetizer everyone talks about, when you bring these chicken fried chocolate covered bacon bites to your next tailgate.


Posted in Foodie, Fun Times
Nov. 29, 2019

Wine Road Trip

Road Trip To 38 Different Wineries On The Yadkin Wine Shuttle In North Carolina

Any idea how many wineries and vineyards are in the area of North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley Wine Country? The number may astound you: it’s 67. Who needs Northern California when we have our own Napa Valley right here in the Tar Heel State? Deciding which ones to visit and then electing a designated driver has never been easier than handing over the reigns to the experts at the Yadkin Wine Shuttle Service, which provides services to 38 of the best wineries in the Yadkin Valley.

Sounds like the perfect girls’ day out, doesn’t it? For more information, including a full list of wineries the shuttle goes to, see the official website for Yadkin Wine Shuttle.

Address: Yadkin Valley, NC 28645, USA
Posted in Community, Foodie, Fun Times
Nov. 22, 2019

14 Weekend Getaways

14 weekend getaways within 3 hours of Charlotte, North Carolina

Even though we love living in Charlotte, a charming town between the coast and the mountains, it’s nice to get out of town and explore every now and then. Fortunately, we have access to so many incredible destinations within a three hour drive! From bustling cities to natural hot springs and picturesque small towns to national parks, there are plenty of opportunities for travel.

Make it your goal this summer to visit one or two of these spectacular road trip destinations close to Charlotte and experience our area’s natural beauty, historic architecture and cultural attractions. Adventure awaits!

Lake Lure, North Carolina
Lake Lure

Photo courtesy of Liza Goodlett via The Lodge on Lake Lure

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours

Why we love it: This famous Lake was the setting for the classic film Dirty Dancing, but is even more gorgeous in person. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the quiet getaway features lush greenery, a flowering bridge, a beach and nearby attractions, including Asheville and Chimney Rock. We’re sure you’ll have the time of your life!

Where to stay: The Lodge on Lake Lure makes it easy to experience life on the lake with complimentary paddle boards, canoes and kayaks. Plus, you can enjoy luxurious features like an on-site restaurant with locally sourced fare, plush bathrobes, and a wine and cheese hour.

Wilmington, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 3.5 hours 

Why we love it: With an abundance of seafood, historic sights and landmarks, mini golf, and outdoor activities there is something for everyone to enjoy in this coastal city in south eastern North Carolina. Take in the sunshine and relax on the white sandy beaches, or put your adventure cap on and go kayaking or fishing in local inlets. No matter your preference, you are guaranteed a great time!

Where to stay: Book a stay at the Hotel Ballast to perfectly compliment your trip to Wilmington, NC. Boasting beautiful historic and river views, on site dining, and a close proximity to downtown, this hotel has it all. 

Boone, North Carolina 

Boone, North Carolina
Photo courtesy of Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours

Why we love it: Outdoor adventurers, take note. Boone is a lesser-known outdoor haven in the Blue Mountains! Here, you’ll find bouldering, zip lines, tubing opportunities, hiking, kayaking, mountain bike trails and so much more. Once you’re done tackling your adventure of choice, there are plenty of opportunities for top-notch relaxation as well. Pamper yourself at a world-class spa, go wine tasting at the local vineyards and shop along King Street. It’s an incredible place to visit at any time of year!

Where to stay: Set in a Greek Revival-style mansion, the Westglow Resort & Spa is a romantic getaway with impeccable service, delicious food and a full-service spa. It sits on a secluded 42-acre estate in one of the state’s most beautiful locations! And we’re not the only ones who have recognized it as one of the bests — it has earned accolades from Condé Nast TravelerTravel & Leisure MagazineOpen Table and more.

Ready to make one of these beautiful places home? Let us help!

Greenville, South Carolina

GreenvillePhoto courtesy of Mary Beth Thomas via VisitGreenvilleSC

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours

Why we love it: There is so much to love about Greenville, South Carolina. The town is famous for the park in the town’s center, Falls Park on the Reedy, which features spectacular riverfront gardens and waterfall views. But it’s also famous for the Swamp Rabbit Trail, which attracts more than 1,000 visitors each day to traverse the 22 miles to nearby Travelers Rest by bike. While you’re in the area, make sure to check out some of the town’s best restaurants (The Lazy Goat features top-notch Mediterranean dishes and views of the river), or try one of these fun and romantic date ideas.

Where to stay: There are several awesome Bed and Breakfast options in Greenville, but we recommend the Swamp Rabbit Inn. This charming and quirky hotel is a haven for families, cyclists and couples alike — offering private cottages, an on-site bike shed and super friendly staff to help provide local recommendations.

Related: Top things to do in Greenville, SC 

Davidson, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 30 minutes

Why we love it: If you love small towns, this city is calling your name for a weekend getaway. Just a short drive from Lake Norman and downtown Charlotte, experience it all in this picturesque small town. From the Main Street Bookstore to the well manicured grounds of Davidson College to boating out on the Lake, this trip will make for a relaxing and fun getaway 365 days of the year.

Where to stay: The Davidson Village Inn is in the heart of Davidson. The central location of the Bed and Breakfast allows visitors to be within walking distance of the local shops and restaurants. Plus, enjoy local delicacies for breakfast each morning.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North CarolinaPhoto courtesy of Explore Asheville

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Why we love it: Asheville is a little slice of paradise tucked into North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Known as Beer City, USA, Asheville features the most breweries per capita in the country, but is also famous for its vibrant art scene, incredible restaurants and historic architecture. You could spend the entire weekend hopping from restaurant to restaurant (think: tapas at Curate or tacos at the White Duck Taco Shop), but make sure to stop into some of the shops and museums along the way. Or, step outside of town for a wildflower-rich hike at Max Patch on the Appalachian Trail!

Where to stay: The Omni Grove Park Inn features a $50 million spa underground that has been ranked as one of the top 20 in the country by Condé Nast Traveler. That’s reason enough to visit, but the inn also offers easy access to nearby breweries, gorgeous scenery and an on-site piano bar.


Brevard, North Carolina

Brevard, North CarolinaPhoto courtesy of

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Why we love it: Situated 130 miles west of Charlotte, Brevard, North Carolina is known as the land of the waterfalls. And trust us, it’s just as picturesque as it sounds. Visit during the summer for the ultimate waterfall experience — hiking and swimming opportunities abound! After exploring the outdoors, you’ll be able to enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the charming small town, which features delicious restaurants, shops, and festivals or concerts almost every weekend.

Bonus: While you’re here, make sure to check out Sliding Rock, a popular swimming hole with a natural rock waterslide. It is sure to be a hit for adventurers of all ages!

Where to stay: Book a cabin through Deer Ridge! These charming cottages feature mountain views, fireplaces and other upscale amenities, and most of them are dog-friendly!

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours

Why we love it: Nestled near Boone, NC, Blowing Rock has scenic mountain views around every corner and a breath of fresh air that can sometimes be hard to find in the city. Take it easy in this small town on your weekend getaway. Go hiking at The Blowing Rock–it’s dog friendly!–or walk around Main Street and grab a bite to eat at Storie Street Grill. Overall, this trip will be perfect for hanging out with your honey or exploring with your family.

Where to stay: Coined as “one of the best stays in the Blue Ridge” by Southern Living, Chetola Resort, this place offers everything from afternoon tea, a full service spa for everything hair, nail, and face care related, fly fishing, archery and much, much more. The Chetola Resorts is the perfect place to stay to take in all Blowing Rock has to offer.

The Research Triangle, North Carolina

Washington Duke InnPhoto courtesy of the Washington Duke Inn

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours, 30 minutes (to Durham)

Why we love it: A large chunk of Charlotte’s population is made up of graduates of UNC Chapel Hill or Duke University, so if you’re a Tar Heel or Blue Devil reading this, you already know the lowdown on the Research Triangle. This area, linked by Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, is ripe with opportunities for exploring — including top-notch nightlife and culinary scenes.

There are also plenty of cultural experiences, art and history museums, and historic architecture! While you’re here, taste moonshine at Topo Distillery, experience the exclusive atmosphere at the Crunkleton ($5 buys a membership), enjoy farm-to-table fare at the area’s restaurants, explore Durham’s American Tobacco Campus, and visit the Peanut Roaster in Henderson. There is also easy access the outdoors at the nearby Eno River State Park!

Where to stay: The Washington Duke Inn and Golf Club allows for an exclusive, resort feel without the astronomical price tag. Golf enthusiasts will love the proximity to the on-site course, but everyone will enjoy exploring the 300 acres of tall pines and hardwoods in Duke Forest! The Inn is conveniently located on the Campus of Duke University, and offers easy access to everything the Research Triangle has to offer.

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 1 hour, 19 minutes

Why we love it: You name it, Winston Salem has it. Good eats, outdoor excursions, art, and history, this city has it all. Check out Old Salem and learn about the history of the village. Or, explore the arts district downtown where you can windowshop and dine at the local restaurants.

Where to stay: Close to dining, history, entertainment, and more, Hotel Indigo is our top choice for a place to stay in Winston Salem. This modern hotel offers both one and two bed rooms great for both couples and families. Check out the specially crafted drink menu at the on site restaurant to compliment your stay.

Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Why we love it: Welcome to one of the most picturesque places in the country. Grayson Highlands State Park is located within Jefferson National Forest near Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, and is a haven for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Hiking trails lead to waterfalls and spectacular overlooks, and the camping throughout the area is top notch.

Where to stay: Pitch a tent or stay at one of the local cabins! You can find all of the information you need for that on the park’s website.


Hot Springs, North Carolina

Hot Springs North Carolina

Photo courtesy of the Hot Springs Resort & Spa

Driving time from Charlotte: 3 hours

Why we love it: Imagine soaking in an all-natural pool of hot, crystal clear mineral waters with healing properties. Now, imagine doing that with incredible views of the mountains! Hot Springs, North Carolina is a small town that surrounds a 100-acre resort and spa with modern jacuzzi-style hot tubs positioned along the banks of Spring Creek and the French Broad River. The tubs are supplied with the world famous hot mineral water that put this little town on the map, and there are also massage therapists on site to complete the spa-like experience.

Where to stay: The Hot Springs Resort & Spa offers several different lodging options for your relaxing getaway, including luxury suites, a deluxe cabin with a private outdoor tub, primitive camping sports and more.

Lake Jocassee, South Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 3 hours

Why we love it: Lake Jocassee is a magnificent, 9,000-acre, spring-fed lake located in northwest South Carolina. In the morning, the glassy surface of the water reflects the pristine shoreline and the surrounding rock formations, and at any point on the lake, you can enjoy staggering mountain vistas. It’s certainly one of the area’s most gorgeous natural attractions! There are three boat ramps offering public access to the lake, 20 lakeside villas, an abundance of campsites, several hiking trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities — all you need for a memorable weekend adventure.

Where to stay: Either pitch a tent at one of the campgrounds or book one of the spectacular lakeside villas for a more luxurious experience. Either way, you will be graced with excellent views and easy access to the lake!

Charleston, South Carolina


Driving time from Charlotte: 3 hours

Why we love it: Charleston’s historic district is second to none. Showcasing colorful historic homes, ornate balconies, charming churches and horse-drawn carriages to take in the views, it feels like you’ve stepped into the past! Of course, that’s not all that Charleston has to offer. Perched on the coast of the Atlantic ocean, the city offers an abundance of fresh seafood and stunning beaches for soaking in the sunshine. In fact, the city was voted the #1 city in the US and Canada by Condé Nast Traveler in 2017! You might need more than a weekend to see everything.

Where to stay: If you’re going to Charleston, you might as well go all out! The Wentworth Mansion is one of the city’s most historic, unique and luxurious hotels — and the only one in town with a five-star rating. The Wentworth offers a true dose of Southern hospitality and easy access to the area’s best attractions.

Durham, North Carolina

Driving time from Charlotte: 2 hours, 12 minutes

Why we love it: As one of the cities that make up the Research Triangle, this city will not disappoint. Snap some photos on Duke’s scenic campus and take a look inside the Duke University Chapel. Watch a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center or explore the hidden historic and artsy Tobacco District. No matter what you choose to do, this city has something new to explore around every corner.Where to stay: The Durham Hotel is a stunning mid century modern hotel with a vast offering of rooms and suites. Take in the views of Durham from their rooftop: enjoy small plates and drinks at the bar or participate in one of their rooftop yoga classes.

Ready to make one of these beautiful places home? Let us help!

Enjoy your weekend getaway!

Blog courtesy of Allen Tate Realtors 9/2019
Posted in Buying, Community, Fun Times
Nov. 15, 2019

6 reasons why you should attend an open house

Attending a handful of open houses might be one of the smartest decisions you’ll make during the entire home buying process.

Besides the fact that you’ll get to check out tons of homes in various price points, walking through open houses before you start your home search allows you to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for— so when you’re ready to buy, you’ll be able to make an offer quickly. 

Not convinced checking out some open houses before you buy is worth your time? We’ve got 6 reasons it is. 

Reason #1: You’ll know exactly how much you can afford

Perhaps you’ve got your heart set on a specific neighborhood or certain location. Attending a couple open homes in your desired area will give you a good idea about how much you’ll need to spend to be in that location.

Reason #2: Learn exactly what you want

You know the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know?” Nothing could be more true when it comes to buying your first home.

Before you look at homes you might think a certain square footage is adequate or think you only need 3 bedrooms. Additionally, you might have opinions about things like floor plans, garage size and whether or not the home has a fireplace.  

It’s likely that during the home search process, as you step into more and more homes your wish list evolves. Walking through a good amount of open houses before you get really serious about home buying allows you to continuously retool your desires when it comes to your new home.

Reason #3: You won’t rush into a home purchase

Currently, we’re in a seller’s market— which happens when inventory is low and demand for housing is high. And many times, when a house comes on the market in a desirable area and price point, it’s likely to get snatched up quick.

And sometimes, buying a home in haste can lead to buyers’ remorse— a recent study found that almost half of all homebuyers, and a whopping 66% percent of millennial homebuyers have buyers’ remorse when it comes to the purchase of their home. 

But guess what?  

If you do your homework ahead of time by attending open houses and continuously refining your wish list, you won’t have buyers’ remorse because you’ll know exactly what you need and want. You’ll be able to make an offer quickly and confidently when the time comes.  

Related reading: Three things you must do before you buy a home

Reason #4: Take your virtual search offline

Modern technology is great, there’s no argument there, but there really isn’t a replacement for seeing something with your own eyes. 

Arguably, one of the most helpful reasons to view multiple homes in person is to get a good idea about what different home sizes, and more specifically, square footage, actually looks and feels like.

And after viewing some homes, you may find you can live with less space or you may need to bump up your square footage requirements. 

Reason #5: Get a good feel for the neighborhood/surrounding area

If you have small children and you’re seeking a neighborhood filled with kids, don’t wait until moving day to realize you’ve moved into an older community.

There’s no better way to check out a neighborhood than to attend an open house in one. While you’re there, ask the realtor to give you insight on the area. Are you looking for a neighborhood with a lot of amenities?

Perhaps you’re seeking a more peaceful environment, or are looking for a community filled with young families. Whatever you desire, talk to the realtor at the open house about your preferences and even take some time to walk through the neighborhood to get a better feel for the area. 

Reason #6 You might find the perfect real estate agent

Even if you’re just in the beginning stages of the home buying process, it’s never too early to enlist the help of an Realtor. If you don’t have one, attending an open house is a great way to find one.

By dropping in at an agent’s open house you’ll have the opportunity to meet them, so be sure to  strike up a conversation. Be sure to exchange information if you have a good connection. 

Items to think about as you attend open houses


  • Square footage preference
  • How many bedrooms/bathrooms do you need
  • Do you need a bonus/flex space?
  • Do you need a home office?
  • What type of layout do you prefer? Open? Separate spaces? Etc.
  • Lawn preferences… do you want a low maintenance yard or are you okay with maintaining your yard?
  • Do you want to buy in a neighborhood that has an HOA?
  • What type of neighborhood amenities are you looking for?
  • What closet space is preferential?
  • How updated do you want the home to be?
  • How close do you want to be to work/nearby conveniences?
  • Average age of major appliances and systems