As voted by Trekaroo families, here are the Reviews of the Day from back in the day to today.
The Western North Carolina Nature Center offers an opportunity to study wildlife up close in its exhibit halls and along a nice wooded trail. The center is a living nature museum that shows visitors how animals, the environment, and people work together to shape the world.
The center’s World Underground exhibit demonstrates the importance of this unique environment; if you look really closely you’ll find more life than you could imagine. Other exhibits include spiders, snakes, and even the least weasel.
Along the trail you’ll come face to face with gray and red wolves, otters, mountain lions, a huge bear, deer, and more. The petting zoo gives the kids an opportunity to pet a goat or even milk a cow.
FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt's home is a super place to learn more about all that these great people did for the United States in a troubled time. I remember visiting as a grade-schooler and when I visited again I was wowed by the place. It's a terrific learning experience for anyone, young or old and it's pretty and humbling as well.
FDR was born at this estate and lived here with his wife and family as well. It's a large property - 300 acres total - and one he loved to return to all of his life. Also on site is the Presidential Library and Museum, Val-Kill, the cottage and historic site of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, the rose gardens and the Roosevelt's graves. You can tour the site with a guide or take a self-guided tour. The guides are quite passionate about the place and are very well-informed. I liked hearing their commentary on the place and they were available for questions should you have any. The tour is worth doing and is not very long but I think it adds a lot to your visit here. I would recommend it.
The site is also the home of the first presidential library and museum which in addition to the house, is a great visit. It is full of all kinds of artifacts and displays and interactive exhibits and information about the only president elected to four terms in this country. You think you know history, but this really brings that part of it to life and reminds you of all that FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt did. There was a ton of information and great things to see and learn. It was humbling to visit and would be great for someone learning about this part of history. The place is very popular for school groups and seniors, but anyone can at least enjoy the parklike setting the home and museum and library is located on. In addition to all of the history and information contained here, the setting is very scenic and I loved taking in the beautiful Fall foliage from different locations around the property. No wonder he liked coming back to this place thorough his life. It's pretty and very restorative to come here.
You can reserve tickets to tour the home or you can purchase them when you arrive here. Should you need to come at a specific time, reserve ahead just to be sure your time slot is not filled. Leave yourself a good bit of time to be able to walk around the grounds, tour the house, visit the library and museum and make your way out. It's a great place to go to and I would highly recommend coming here.
Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary tour of the estate in order to facilitate this review. The opinions stated herein, however, are my own.
We were fortunate to stay here just before the Festival of Lights and got to see the magic of the holidays during our stay. We were told they begin decorating the hotel in August to make sure the stage is set for the event! We checked in while the tree was going up in the lobby - it was decorated for over 6 hours! Then, there was a delicious gingerbread display that my kids desperately wanted to taste! Luckily, we were able to satisfy our holiday cravings at the award wining Casey's Cupcakes!
We stayed in a Junior Suite overlooking the main entry of the hotel, this was a beautiful view of the holiday lights! The lights were being tested throughout the day and off at night but the night before Thanksgiving we were awoken by the beautiful lights at 5 am! We all dressed in our warmest and dashed outside for some early morning photos...we didn't look so great but the lights were amazing! Just as we headed back up for breakfast the lights went out - we felt so lucky to have seen them!
We enjoyed our room - there was ample space for dining and relaxing. The hotel is Historic so their are some restrictions on updates and remodels but everything in the room was very comfortable and modern. We were able to walk right out of our first floor room down to the heated pool! The pool was mainly 3 ft deep which meant I could peacefully sit with my coffee while my kids splashed all around!
I highly recommend the Museum Tour while at the hotel, we were able to see some amazing sites all over the property and learn so much about the owners of the hotel both past and present! The history was great for myself and my kiddos! It was incredible to think we were saying at the same hotel as several US Presidents, Albert Einstein, and countless celebrities.
We had a beautiful tea at the Mission Inn Restaurant - my girls were happy to put on their finest and enjoy a lovely tea. The Princess Tea was a great value at $14 - my youngest isn't a tea drinker so the waitress was kind enough to let her pour lemonade from her tea pot. The Devon-shire Cream was amazing and I highly recommend the macaroons! We all loved the Herbal Jasmine Tea!
We had such a nice stay, one afternoon we had time to explore the nearby shops. Not all of them were kid friendly (a little boring) but the walkway between the shops and the hotel were great, we could explore stores then run a round before going to the next one. We also had a great time exploring the free natural history museum across the street from the hotel. Kids will love the hands on activities! Other than what is near the hotel there wasn't much more to see - this makes the area great for a one or two night stay - or home base if you plan to go up to Lake Arrowhead or into Palm Springs.
We highly recommend staying at this hotel for the holidays! If its sold out be sure the check out the lights display and book a holiday tea!
Disclaimer: I was provided a media visit in order to complete the review - however, all opinions are my own.
The Macy's Holiday Light Show is one of the most well-known holiday traditions in Philadelphia. Ask any person there over the age of 50 and they'll usually be able to tell you stories of their parents or grandparents taking them to see the light show every year for Christmas when they were young. The light show began operating in the old Wanamaker building (itself a well-known landmark) in 1956. It was probably state-of-the-art back then and pretty amazing to see. Even now it's wild to imagine what kids in the '50s must have thought.
The light show is comprised of about 100,000 LED lights accompanied by Christmas music from the famous Wanamaker organ, the oldest operating pipe organ in the world. It runs every hour, on the hour, from 10am through 8pm, from Black Friday through New Year's Eve. You can view the festive, four-story high light show from various places throughout Macy's for absolutely no cost. It is usually best during crowded Saturdays or when a lot of people are expected to grab a prime spot early and wait until showtime, but I have enjoyed it from non-peak vantage points before and it's still nice. The holiday figures are brought to life with the lights, and an accompanying story is narrated by Julie Andrews. It's great for kids and adults of all ages and combines nicely with a trip to Philadelphia for shopping, dining or just taking in the sounds and sights of the city during this special time of year. Don't get excited about the store - it's just a Macy's. Come for the lights.
We visited on a drizzly day and the staff was so happy that we wandered in. The views from the 4th floor educational center are fabulous. Take a peak through the telescope, use the interactive table map, and take a peak inside the fish tank. They offer programs such as marsh netting at select times. The boardwalk allows you to walk the marsh and get closer to nature.
This is a great spot to stretch your legs if you've been drinking I95 all day and is conveniently located in the River Walk near the Children's Museum and restaurants.