Thursday, October 26, 2017

10 Things to do in Charlotte During the Winter

While many of us get ready to hunker down into the media streaming binge watching club, plenty  still want to ditch the couch for more engaging and physical activities. The Queen City has many fun and cultural activities to enjoy. So unplug and zip up for cool weather, and find your fun on the following list.

Trolley Pub Crawl
Offering tours of  the town, pubs, or dinner routes. The Trolley Pub is peddle powered by up to 14 people, and can be booked for private events or you can purchase a seat for $30-$35. The Trolley operates 365 days a year, and also provides a family-friendly option.

A Charlotte holiday tradition , this will be the 70th year anniversary for the largest parade in the Southeast, and the 4th largest by attendance in the country. The parade begins at 9:30am on November 23rd, 2017, and will run a mile long route heading North on Tryon St., from Stonewall St., to 9th St.

Visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

A botanical garden located on 380 acres, approximately 21 miles Southwest of uptown Charlotte. Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens offers activities nearly every week of the year, and oftentimes daily. Events happening now include the Chinese Lantern Festival. The festival runs 5:30pm - 9:30pm, from September 7, 2017 through October 29, 2017. It’s Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden’s largest exhibition to date. Over 800 handmade lanterns will fill more than 12 acres, and the festival will offer nightly activities.

Chinese Lantern Festival
Beginning November 17, 2017 through December 31, 2017 the Garden will feature Holidays at the Garden from 5pm - 9pm daily. This event features winter-wonderland decor, live music, horse-drawn carriage rides, A visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, marshmallows by the fire, and more than 600,000 lights.

Holidays at the Garden

The Dinner Detective
Try a Dinner Theatre - The Dinner Detective allows you to solve a murder mystery while you enjoy a four-course dinner. The comedy murder mystery show performs weekly, and hides non-costumed actors in the audience that are pretending to be regular guests. They also offer private events, and shows. It is advisable to make reservations at least a week in advance.

The comedic tour travels through the Queen City providing a glimpse at the history and architecture of the some of the area's neighborhoods. You'll laugh along the way as the tour guide tells jokes. It's a BYOB trip but does make a stop for a beverage and restrooms. The tour lasts 90 minutes, and leaves from 7th Street Public Market. The bus also offers a PG-13 trip for family friendly fun

Board a Mississippi River Boat and head out for dinner or sightseeing
The Catawba Queen allows for beautiful lake Norman views. If you would rather have more of a romantic or relaxing feel you will want to try a dinner cruise aboard The Lady of the Lake. You'll board a real 2 story 93ft yacht and indulge in a four course meal, and on board entertainment. The cruise offers bookings for events, and multiple VIP packages with inclusive add-ons.

The Carolina Renaissance Festival
Travel back in time attending the Renaissance Festival - The Carolina Renaissance Festival is an annual favorite of sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. Over 1,000 creative professionals that specialize in all types of artistic expression are here to work each Festival day throwing the region’s largest costume party. Come as you are or join the fun by coming in period costuming. Either way, you will find 12 stages of dance, comedy, drama, and circus shows, crafts, falconry, and food. Whatever you do don't miss the Jousting performances. Sure to be a hit with young and old. The festival runs Saturdays and Sundays, September 30, November 19, this year 10am - 5:30pm.

The Blumenthal Performing Arts offers access to all the performing arts right here in the Queen City. It is home to outstanding arts organizations including Charlotte Symphony, Community School of the Arts, Charlotte Ballet, On Q Productions, Opera Carolina, Studio 345 and Caroline Calouche & Company. There are 2 Broadway plays and 1 Broadway musical happening in November, and December. The 2 famous Ballet productions - The Nutcracker and Swan Lake will hold performances in December

Enjoy Winter Fun at Charlotte Christmas Village
This European inspired Christmas Village takes Place uptown in Romare Bearden Park, and admission is free. Open daily after the Thanksgiving Day Parade at 11am, November 23 - December 24, 2017. There will be performances, Christmas Market shopping and plenty of food, and beverages to sample.

Reed Gold Mine is hosting A Golden Christmas December 2, 2017 10am -4pm. Hayrides, Crafts Market, Christmas decorations, Tours of the mine and multiple vendors will make the day filled with fun, and interesting history. Reed Goldmine is a short drive of approximately 26 miles East of Uptown Charlotte, and offers tours Tuesday - Saturday, 9am - 5pm, and Gold panning from April 1 - October 31.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Winterize Your Home: A Quick Guide to Preparing Your Home for Cold Weather

Winterizing your home is preemptive maintenance that helps keeps your home safe, and saves on your heating and repair costs.

According to The Weather Channel the forcasted winter is expected to be warmer than normal in the Carolinas. While it definitely feels like an extended Indian Summer here in Charlotte that doesn't mean you should skip out on getting your home ready for colder weather. The following list will put you on the path to winterizing your home. 


  1. Clean Out Gutters - Fallen leaves and other debris allows clogs to form and can cause water and moisture to back up into your home.
  2. Trim overhanging branches and dead limbs from trees. Branches and limbs can rub against the roof of your home in windy conditions and cause damage to shingles and guttering. Not to mention adding to the gutter clogging factor.
  3. Turn off outdoor spigots, unhook garden hoses, turn off sprinkler systems and drain. If left undone water already in the pipes may freeze and cause cracks, breaks and flooding. 
  4. Insulate your outdoor spigots with "freeze caps" available at home improvement stores usually for a couple dollars.
  5. If your house has a crawlspace then close the vents to prevent freezing air from entering under the house and freezing pipes.
  6. Call a certified Chimney Sweep to clean and inspect your chimney and fireplace for use. According to, you can prevent a fire, save energy, and reduce pollution. 
  7. Get your HVAC system serviced for the winter months. Technicians can check for duct leaks and generally okay your unit for the cold season and keep you from being surprised by a needed repair.
  1. Change your Furnace air return filter. Changing your filter regularly extends the life of your unit, improves air quality, keeps energy bills down, and keeps the system cleaner.
  2. Caulk around windows and doors and check for cracks around piping into and out of your home. Not only does this improve how well your home holds and maintains heat it also keeps pests out that want to find warmer digs in the cold months.
  3. Add weatherstripping to your storm doors.
  4. If you have a walk-up attic consider adding an attic stairway insulation tent that covers the opening. This is one great investment! When I installed mine a few years ago I couldn't believe the difference it made. I'm not sure how many degrees of a temperature change it made but it was quite noticeable. 
  5. Reverse your ceiling fans counterclockwise so that the air is forced downwards.
  6. Make sure your flue is closed on your wood-burning fireplace (unless in use). Read on here for more info.