• Five Oaks May 2024
  • Prisma Health Jan 2024
  • SCCT April 2024
  • YMCA May 2024
  • CCES May 2024
  • Int'l Ballet April 2024

Author Archive

Elizabeth Faulkner REALTOR®: 7 Myths of Real Estate

Posted on |

Are you currently buying or selling a home in the Greenville, SC area? Local REALTOR®, Elizabeth Faulkner and mortgage lender, Andrew Evans, are here to demystify common real estate selling and buying myths. Thank you to Elizabeth Faulkner for sponsoring this article!

Faulkner 2023

Myth #1: Looking for a house is the first step of the home buying process.

Starting the process by “just browsing” could be setting yourself up for heartbreak. Before you go looking for (and falling in love with) a home you need to:

  • have a realistic idea of what you can afford.
  • make sure your credit is in good shape.
  • get pre-qualified for a mortgage.
  • possibly most importantly, find a great Realtor to work with.

I can help you with that last one, I’m that great Realtor! I also have great local lender connections. Making those connections is the real first step of buying a home.

Myth #2: Buying a house requires a 20% down payment.

There are a wide variety of home loan options available to home buyers today. While some loans do indeed require a 20% down payment, others require very little money down. A good lender can explain the different types of loans to you and help you choose the one that will best fit your needs.

Faulkner Myth 2

A few loan highlights from Andrew Evans, a local lender who has helped many of my previous clients:

  • Conventional loans require as little as 3% down.
  • FHA loans require as little as 3.50% down payment.
  • VA loans are 100% financing so no down payment is required.
  • USDA loans are 100% financing so no down payment is required.

Keep in mind that the lowest interest rate isn’t always the best for your particular needs. Yes, a higher interest rate means a larger monthly payment. But it’s not that simple. What kind of loan you should consider depends on many factors.

How long do you plan to stay in the home? How much cash do you have to put down? Where is the home that you’re considering buying located?

The point is, when you’re considering buying a home, a mortgage lender should be one of the first calls you make. They will provide you with all the mortgage options available so you, as a buyer, are able to make an informed decision. And when you’re ready to speak with a mortgage lender, I know who to connect you with to help you get the right answers. Working with me means: my connections are your connections!

Myth #3: If you don’t have children, the schools don’t matter.

Unless you know with 100% certainty that you are buying your forever home, you should always take the quality of the schools into consideration. A house with good schools close by will have a greater resell value because, for many homebuyers, great schools are high on their priorities list. But good schools is far from being the ONLY important criteria when you’re shopping for a home.

Faulkner Myth 4

Here are a few of the factors to keep in mind when hunting for a home:

  • Location, location, location — This is a biggie for lots of great reasons. Is there a work location you plan to drive to regularly? A long commute to work is often a deal breaker in a home search! What else is important to you and your daily routine? Consider the distance to all the important people and places in your life when you’re house hunting. Maybe you want to be within 5 minutes of your in-laws or church. Be very specific on where you want to live when you begin your search!
  • Size matters — Is the house the right size? Even if your family could make it work for the time being, what does your future look like? Is your family growing? Unless this is a home you don’t plan to be in very long, make sure you’re hunting for a house that will fit your family in a year or two years or five years.
  • Think long term – If you expect to be in a home for many years, make sure the home functions well for your needs today and for years to come. Items on your must-have list may be things you couldn’t care less about in 3 years. For example, sending your 2 year old upstairs to play in the bonus room feels impossible right now but before you know it, that room will be invaluable! And, yes, having a master on the 2nd floor is great when kids are little. However, we are all getting older. One day you may wish you didn’t have to climb steps on repeat because your bedroom isn’t on the main level of your home.
  • The neighborhood — No matter how much you love a house, the neighborhood (or lack thereof) matters. If you have kids and want an active neighborhood full of amenities like a pool, tennis courts and playgrounds, let your Realtor know this. If you absolutely hate HOAs, you need to be sure you’re only looking at homes without a homeowners association. It won’t matter how perfect your home is if the neighborhood was never the right fit. And no one wants to go through this process all over again because they picked the wrong house the first time!

Myth #4: You don’t need a home inspection.

Faulkner Myth 5

Even now, with mortgage interest rates on the rise, the housing market is still hot. We are seeing low levels of inventory and lots of buyers. Which means, fewer homes for buyers to choose from and more buyers to compete with. Given the market we are in, you may find your dream home and be tempted to skip inspections. Because, yes, that dream home could potentially be sold to another buyer who was indeed willing to skip the home inspection. But I urge you not to waive the home inspection, even if it means you lose out on what you thought was the perfect home. Do you really want to find out two weeks after closing on a home that the roof is leaking or there is a structural issue in the crawlspace? Take the time and spend the money for a thorough home inspection, your future self will thank you.

Myth #5: Selling your home yourself will save you money.

Selling a home is no easy task. It takes expertise, skills, and so much time. I’m not saying it’s impossible to sell a home on your own, and while upfront it may sound appealing to save some cash on real estate fees, but there is a lot to consider.

Faulkner Myth 6

Here are a few factors to think about before trying to sell a home on your own:

  • Your home needs to be in the MLS — If your home isn’t listed in the MLS, buyer’s agents may not be aware of your home. After all, the local MLS is the resource most used by buyer’s agents when hunting for a home.
  • Price your home correctly — A real estate expert is the most knowledgeable source on the local market and the best bet for pricing your home accurately. In fact, FSBO (for sale by owner) homes tend to sell for less than real estate agent assisted homes. Often times, the lower price of an FSBO house negates the savings by not hiring a Realtor.
  • Making an error could get you sued — Selling a home involves lots of paperwork and legality. Unless you’re a lawyer, a real estate agent most likely knows more about laws regarding real estate than you do. Making a mistake when selling a home FSBO can cost you greatly. Do real estate agents make mistakes? Of course! But they have professional Errors & Omissions Insurance to protect them when a mistake is made, meaning the buyer has recourse without going after the seller.

There are so many reasons to not sell a home FSBO; too many to mention here! Bottom line, buying or selling a home is most likely the biggest transaction you’ll ever make. Why would you do that without professional representation?

Myth #6: Home values listed online are accurate.

There is no shortage of online tools that will help you calculate the value of your home. But it’s important to keep in mind that pricing your home is more complicated than an online tool can calculate. Consider the pricing you see online as a ballpark based on other homes nearby. There are a whole host of things an online valuation cannot take into account. What upgrades did you just put into your home? Buyers place a lot of value on certain upgrades, like kitchens and bathrooms, but your zestimate won’t necessarily reflect that. Online home valuations are often calculated using inaccurate or outdated comps, which can also throw off the home value amount you receive.

Faulkner Myth 7

Bottom line, online home values are just estimates. Before deciding what your house may actually sell for in today’s market, you need to speak with a real estate professional. If you’re looking for the hard facts, I am happy to determine the true value of your home.

Myth #7: Real Estate works the same in every state.

Unfortunately, this is the myth I run into the most. Many homebuyers in the Upstate of South Carolina are moving here from other parts of the country. And though they may have bought or sold a home in another state, the process of buying a home in SC is often very different from their past experiences.

For example, while in South Carolina due diligence fees are only paid if a buyer backs out of a contract, in other states these fees are paid up front and non-refundable. Did you know that some states require real estate purchases to be closed by an attorney while in other states, real estate can be closed by an escrow agent or lender?

My point? Before you dive headfirst into the real estate market, get your local team of experts in place. Be sure you enlist the help of qualified professionals who are well versed in their field of expertise and can guide you through your real estate purchase in South Carolina!

Contact Elizabeth

Elizabeth Faulkner, local realtor, takes great pride in working hard and providing top-notch service to her clients. Her goal is to make the buying and selling process a smooth one for each and every client she serves!

Elizabeth Faulkner
REALTOR®
864.414.2434
elizabethgfaulkner@gmail.com

Andrew Evans
Branch Manager, Princeton Mortgage
864.313.0602
aevans@princetonmortgage.com

6 Real Estate Tips for Selling Your Home Off-Season

Posted on | No Comments

Has the spring and summer peak real estate market passed you by? It’s not too late to buy or sell your home! Even if the peak season is behind you, Realtor® Elizabeth Faulkner says selling a home is possible any time of the year! Check out Elizabeth’s valuable pointers and get ready to make exciting changes!

Thank you to Elizabeth Faulkner for sponsoring this article.

(more…)

Tweetsie Railroad: Review of A Nostalgic Theme Park Full of Surprises

Posted on | 4 Comments

Are you wondering if a trip to Tweetsie Railroad is right for your family? The Tweetsie Railroad theme park in North Carolina is full of nostalgic family fun. Elizabeth Faulkner shares her own Tweetsie Railroad experience so you’ll know what to expect when you visit, plus all the great mom tips you’ll want to know.

Media passes were provided for her visit to Tweetsie Railroad, however, all opinions shared in this post are her own. 

Confession of a bad mom. My family has spent a lot of time in the North Carolina mountains; specifically, the Boone, North Carolina area. Lots of time. For years. And we’ve driven right by Tweetsie Railroad many times over the years. Since my oldest daughter, who is now 7, was able to speak she’s been begging me to take her to that ‘place with the ferris wheel’ that we pass on our way to the mountains. And I (the bad mom) had never taken my girls to Tweetsie Railroad. Until today.

If you don’t know Tweetsie Railroad, it is not exactly a new theme park. Nope. I have lots of friends who tell me about their childhood memories visiting Tweetsie – it’s been a theme park since the 1950s. Heck, it was the very first theme park in the state of North Carolina. But a theme park was not how Tweetsie Railroad began.

The history behind Tweetsie Railroad

Tweetsie began as a railway between Tennessee and North Carolina in the late 1800s. The extension into Boone, NC began in the early 1900s, as a passenger train as well as a method of moving lumber out of the mountains. The train was referred to as Tweetsie because of the “tweet tweet” whistle sound the train made that echoed through the hills. And the name stuck.

Many years later, road development bringing competition from automobiles, and later flooding in Boone, brought an end to the much adored Tweetsie Railroad. Though initially Tweetsie Locomotive No. 12, the only original of the 13 steam engines from the rail line, was moved to Virginia, No. 12 later returned to her home in Boone, NC and the Tweetsie Railroad that we know today began.

Though the history of Tweetsie Railroad is truly fascinating, the North Carolina mountain theme park has been loved by children for generations. If you’re a history buff you can read the Tweetsie Railroad history for yourself right here.

Today’s Tweetsie Railroad is a sweet theme park located in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. If you are like I was, unaware of all the fun hiding in those hills, you’re in for a real treat.

Tweetsie Railroad Blowing Rock NC
Photo Rights to Tweetsie Railroad

Our day at Tweetsie Railroad

Our first stop after entering the gates this morning was the train ride, of course. After all, I’ve never ridden a 100+ year old steam locomotive.  Winding through the hills near the theme park this short train ride was complete with replica old mountain towns, cowboys, and even a shoot out. The train ride was so fun we did it again later that afternoon.

Once we got off the train we decided to take in a show – one of many shows featuring cowboys, can-can girls, magicians, musicians, dancers and more. Though there were lots of fun shows to see, this was the only one we made it to. The girls and I all loved it. I’d say their favorite part was the end of the show when they got to get up on stage and try a little can-can dancing of their own.

Then we were on to some rides. I think one of the great things about Tweetsie Railroad was that we didn’t run into even one ride my 7 and 3 year old were too little to ride (though there was one ride I was too big to ride!). Now, that said, we did not get to one portion of the park that included the bigger rides – the few I’m pretty sure my little ones wouldn’t be able (or brave enough) to ride. We’ll check that out next time.

After a yummy pizza lunch, we took the chair lift up to Miner’s Mountain, the little kid portion of the park. The chair ride up to Miner’s Mountain was an adventure all on its own. If you’ve been on a ski lift it’s the same idea. Beautiful views, and a little bit of praying no one wiggles along the way – it’s a long way to the ground. I thought for sure my husband would have us walking back down the mountain – he’s not a fan of heights – but we rode the chair lift back down the mountain too.

Deer Park

Honestly, once we got to Miner’s Mountain, we were running out of steam so after the girls played on the playground a little while we headed directly to Deer Park Zoo. Given that we’ve been to a bunch of zoos, I didn’t have very high expectations for this one but it may have been my favorite part of the day.

This animal park petting zoo includes about 90 animals that we got to be up close and personal with, including several kind of goats, deer, emus, llama, miniature horses and many more. Plus, we were able to buy ice cream cones filled with feed (for 50 cents each) before we walked in which made for a ton of fun. Think animals eating feed right out of your little ones hands – it just doesn’t get sweeter than that!

Though, personally, I really loved watching the animals when they finally got to their favorite snack – the ice cream cone. What a riot. I could’ve spent all afternoon in the sweet Deer Park but we did finally head out. It was way past nap time after all.

Though there were many rides we never got to ride and shows we didn’t see, we were all tired out after spending most of the day at Tweetsie Railroad so it was time for us to go home. All in all, it was a great first (though not last!) visit to Tweetsie Railroad.

Tweetsie Railroad Review

Truth be told, I’m not sure who had more fun, the kids or me. The park was small enough that is was easy to navigate and didn’t feel overwhelming, perfect for little ones, full of super friendly staff, and never felt crowded at all.

I also really appreciated that the tickets included everything – all the rides and shows, unlimited train rides, and the zoo. This old fashioned, family oriented theme park is a local and regional favorite and now I understand why. Like it is for so many others, Tweetsie Railroad will become a family tradition for my own family.

Tips for visiting Tweetsie Railroad

And now that we’ve finally made it to this tourist hot spot I have some tips for you when you go:

  • The park opens at 10 am most days.
  • If you do go early make sure the top parking lot is full before you park in the lots right inside the entry. You can save yourself a little extra walking to get inside the park.
  • Yes, there is a mock robbery with “bad guys” but this doesn’t occur on the train itself. Rather you watch the show from the train. I was relieved that it wasn’t at all scary to my little ones.
  • If you want the best view of the show from the train possible choose the 2nd, 3rd or 4th car and sit on the right side of the isle.
  • Though I didn’t see this happen, I was told that kids can get embers from the train in their eyes. You may want to bring along some sunglasses for your kids to wear on the train ride.
  • Walking can get tiring for little legs – bring a stroller or wagon. Plus you have somewhere to hold your drinks and purchases. Should you not have a stroller and need one there are several options available to rent. Rental rates are $10 per day and you can choose from single or double strollers or various wagons.
  • Don’t feel like spending money on lunch? No problem – pack your own!  You can bring your own food into Tweetsie, which can help a little with the budget.
  • Take pictures! There are lots of beautiful photo opportunities at Tweetsie – after all, the mountains are the backdrop. Our family shot in front of No. 12 is going to be a perfect Christmas card this year!
Tweetsie Railroad Blowing Rock NC
Photo Rights to Tweetsie Railroad

Tweetsie Railroad is open for the 2023 season!

www.tweetsie.com
300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane*
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
800.526.5740
*approximately 3hrs from Greenville!

Summer hours

June 19 – August 13, Thursday – Monday, 10 am-6 pm, See the entire schedule here.

Special Events for 2023

The 2023 season at Tweetsie Railroad is loaded with special events, including the ultra popular K9s in Flight Frisbee Dogs®, Riders in the Sky, Railroad Heritage Weekend, and more! See the entire list of special events here.

This year’s K9s in Flight Frisbee Dogs® event happens July 22-24 & July 27-30, 2023. These high-flying pups will amaze you with their flips and tricks! Shows are included with regular park admission.

Ticket pricing

General admission tickets are $60 for adults, $40 for kids 3 – 12 and free for kids 0 – 2. General admission tickets are not valid for Ghost Train or Tweetsie Christmas.

If you enter the park after 3 pm, the next day is free! Keep your ticket stubs and present them at the Ticket Office for another full day of family fun.

If you are lucky enough to get to Tweetsie Railroad more than a couple times in a season you might want to consider a season pass.

Ready to buy your tickets?! Purchase general admission tickets here.

Where to Stay Near Tweetsie Railroad

Find the perfect place to stay near Tweetsie Railroad with the map below. Kidding Around earns when you book through the links in the map through as part of an affiliate relationship with Stay 22.

Kidding Around WNC: things to do in Western North Carolina towns

Find more fun in WNC! Check out our huge guide to Western North Carolina, Kidding Around WNC.

Contact Elizabeth Faulkner

Local realtor, Elizabeth Faulkner, takes great pride in working hard and providing top-notch service to her clients. Her goal is to make the buying and selling process a smooth one for each and every client she serves!

Elizabeth Faulkner
REALTOR
864.414.2434
elizabethgfaulkner@gmail.com

Read more about Elizabeth Faulkner on Kidding Around.

Top 5 Spring Activities for Families: Greenville, SC

Posted on |

Summer in South Carolina can be, um, intense, to say the least! In this guest post from realtor Elizabeth Faulkner, she shares her top 5 favorite spring activities that you and your family should tackle before the heat dictates what you can and can’t joyfully (or even safely) do! Outdoor activities are still manageable, so check out the list and plan your family’s next outdoor adventure now—before it’s too late!

As spring winds to a close I find myself bracing for the dog days of summer. Lucky for us here in the Upstate of South Carolina, June tends to be a month with some lingering beautiful spring-like days! So, before my family hunkers down at our neighborhood pool for the hottest part of the summer, we make every effort to get outside and enjoy SPRING while we still have it! Here are a few of our favorite things we try to do every year in the short season we love so very much.

Birds Fly South
Located in Greenville, Birds Fly South has a green space on which kids can run around and play. Plus, the popular White Duck Taco is right next door!

This article was formerly sponsored by Elizabeth Faulkner.

(more…)

Why Travel When You Can Plan A Staycation in Greenville, SC?!

Posted on |

It happens every year. You survive the South Carolina winter, which likely includes a little snow, many cold and damp days, and even a few 60+ degree days thrown into the mix. The key here is: you made it through and spring is in the very near future!

If you’re like me, with kids in Greenville County Schools (GCS), spring includes the much loved and desperately needed Spring Break. That glorious week off of school for the kids and, hopefully, off work for the parents. What do we do?

  • Leave town.
  • Head to the beach.
  • Go west to snow ski.
  • Fly to a remote tropical island.
Faulkner Canva Photo

The options are endless! Like so many GCS families, my family typically travels for Spring Break. What makes my family unique is that every year I hear my husband grumble about how he hates winter but also isn’t a fan of the summer heat and humidity. And yet, we LEAVE town for Spring Break during his favorite season of the year.

I get it. I really do. But, let’s be honest, I’m not giving up an annual trip during Spring Break! As a result, we’ve become big fans of staycations . . . right here in the Upstate! What’s not to love? A staycation is quick, easy to plan and full of great options close to home!

If you’ve considered a staycation or are just now realizing it’s a viable option, read on. I’m sharing some of my family’s favorite staycations as well as ideas and pointers for planning your own!

A Staycation Close to Home: Downtown Greenville

Everyone loves downtown Greenville, my family included. But let’s face it, even though we are only 20 minutes away, we don’t visit downtown very often. As a result, we love staying overnight “in the city” and having plenty of uninterrupted time to check out many of the fun things to do in the area. The options are endless for a staycation in downtown Greenville. Here are a few possibilities!

Where to Stay

Clearly, not the most important element of the staycation concept—however, since the word starts with STAY, so will we!

As a loyal Marriott family, we really love the Springhill Suites on Washington Street. It sits across the street from Fireforge, one of our favorite breweries in the area, and is very close to everything on Main Street.

There are so many hotel options in downtown Greenville that you can literally pick your hotel based on which part of downtown you want to be closest to, which loyalty program you’ve pledged your undying love to, or what amenities they offer. Embassy Suites Downtown Riverplace offers a rooftop bar. AC Hotel is new and super fun with multiple places to eat or drink inside the hotel, plus it’s surrounded by all the new development where Greenville News used to sit. If you prefer the west side of downtown, there are several smaller, boutique hotels out that way too.

What to do

Talk about a loaded question! The options are truly endless.

Downtown Greenville offers one of the best Saturday morning farmers markets in the area! Happening every Saturday morning from May through October, this is your chance to walk down Main Street without dodging cars, while you shop for flowers, fruits and vegetables, fresh baked bread, handmade soap and so much more! Even though this doesn’t run during Spring Break—be sure to mark your calendars for May!

Rent bikes and hit the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Reedy Rides is right downtown and can hook your whole family up with bikes. Head north past Furman University and into Travelers Rest. Or head south to Cleveland Park. Stop by Cancer Survivors Park or Linky Stone Park along your way! So many options.

Visit Falls Park. This alone could occupy hours of your time. Walk across the bridge, explore the gardens, and venture a bit further to the galleries. You could even have a meal or snack at Passerelle while enjoying the park from above.

Find the mice in downtown Greenville! Whether your kids have never done it or done it a thousand times, the Mice on Main scavenger hunt is truly iconic and a must-do for families when visiting downtown Greenville!

Take in a baseball game. The Greenville Drive stadium sits right in the west end of downtown and makes for a fun spring afternoon destination!

Go for a hike. If you’re not quite ready to head home after checking out the last morning, sneaking in a short hike may be exactly what you need. Paris Mountain and Conestee Nature Preserve are two great options not too far from downtown.

Is the weather not-so-great? No problem! Downtown Greenville has some pretty cool places to hang out indoors too.

Get your game on at Group Therapy. This indoor fun zone offers something for everyone, including ping pong, mini golf and more! Keep in mind, Group Therapy is adults only after 7 pm. Sorry kids!

Walk and shop. Not gonna lie, this is how my family tends to spend a good chunk of our time when we staycation in downtown Greenville. My goal is to walk from one end of town to the other, then back. Stopping wherever we want along the way, we check out hotel lobbies and rooftops, boutiques, kitchen stores, antique shops and, of course, the Mast General Store.

Downtown Greenville has several breweries the whole family can enjoy. When you think brewery, you may think adult-only but you are wrong! Breweries typically offer amazing outdoor spaces, giant TVs, games, great food, and yes, beer. My family has loved Fireforge for years, though recently we’ve been known to enjoy some hot chicken and foosball at Yee-Haw Brewing Company!

Don’t Forget the Nearby Cute Downtowns

Downtown Greenville is certainly not the only option for a staycation in a cute downtown without traveling too far from home. Downtown Greer is one of the cutest downtowns in the area, has a new hotel in the midst of it all, a giant park you can walk to and so many cool festivals. Downtown Simpsonville and Downtown Fountain Inn are two more good choices for a fun staycation as there are plenty of things to do, places to eat, etc.

A Staycation Down the Road: Downtown Spartanburg

Did you know that before Gather came to Greenville, downtown Spartanburg had Fr8yard? Yep, it’s true. Downtown Spartanburg is another great option for a fun overnight trip with the family. Tons to do, lots of places to eat, a scavenger hunt of their own and so much more!

Where to Stay

You know what else downtown Spartanburg had before downtown Greenville? The AC Hotel. This Spartanburg hotel sits right downtown, is walkable to everything and offers rooftop dining at Level 10. This AC Hotel has an outdoor pool and you can even bring your pooch! The area also has other large hotel options as well, like Spartanburg Marriott, and several smaller boutique type inns as well.

What to Do

There is certainly no shortage of things to do in downtown Spartanburg! My family has loved Fr8yard for years! It’s South Carolina’s first open air biergarten. Don’t be fooled, it offers way more than beer. Great food, live music, games and tons of space to hang out and have fun with your people.

Visit a super cool park. If you’re visiting downtown Spartanburg with kids, be sure to check out the park situated in the heart of it all. Even my “I’m too old for a playground” kid loved Play on Main, which is actually a school playground but open to the public when school isn’t in session.

Experience Lighten Up Spartanburg. The art scene is legit and another fun way to explore downtown Spartanburg. We love strolling the streets of downtown Spartanburg and finding the lightbulbs. Not familiar with Lighten Up Spartanburg? You should be! Over 20 life size fiberglass lightbulbs can be found throughout downtown Spartanburg and the surrounding areas. Finding and photographing these lightbulbs is something my family loves to do each and every time we visit downtown Spartanburg. Heck, maybe finding ALL the lightbulbs should go on my personal 2023 bucket list!

Visit a street festival. Perhaps you should plan a Spartanburg staycation around one of the city’s popular street festivals! Hubs City Hog Fest, Cribbs Burger Fest and Spring Fling are all happening in downtown Spartanburg this spring.

A Staycation a Stone’s Throw Away: Downtown Asheville

Close enough for a quick overnight but not exactly a staycation, downtown Asheville is another favorite destination for my family. Here you will find lots of fun things to do, great food, cool hotels, and even a pinball museum, all with a beautiful mountain backdrop.

In the past we have stayed at Renaissance Asheville Downtown but next time, may check out the AC Hotel. Like the AC hotels in Greenville and Spartanburg, the AC Hotel Asheville also has a rooftop dining option, tapas style Capella on 9. And unlike the South Carolina hotels, this rooftop venue offers some amazing mountain views to enjoy as you sip a glass of wine.

Another great aspect of a semi-staycation in Asheville is proximity to so many outdoor activities like hiking or whitewater rafting. And don’t forget about the beloved Biltmore Estate right outside of downtown Asheville. If you plan it right, you could enjoy a staycation in Asheville capped off with a trip to Biltmore Blooms; Biltmore’s annual flower extravaganza! Perhaps a staycation in Asheville calls for a whole weekend to truly enjoy this mountain city and even a small portion of what it has to offer. Not too bad for only a hour or so drive from home!

Plan Your Own Staycation

Next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and your kids over-scheduled, consider an escape in your own backyard! When life gets crazy, a staycation is a great way to bring your family back together while having a lot of fun and making memories!

As you plan your own staycation, be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • You don’t have to travel far.
  • Make it a surprise!
  • Many hotels will even let you bring your dog.
  • Wrap up your staycation with an activity the next day.

As the years go by and kids grow up, I find myself counting down the years until my oldest daughter (now 14) heads off to college. I get a little knot in my stomach as I realize the clock is ticking! Truthfully, hanging with her boring mom, embarrassing dad and annoying little sister isn’t always at the top of the to-do list for my teenager. This is another reason my family has really embraced the staycation concept!

No weeks of planning. No friends with us. No hours on electronic devices. It’s just our family together for 24-48 hours and pure togetherness as we walk, explore, play and eat. It’s all about the memories we make! We have made some good ones on our staycations and look forward to making some more.

I hope you found this piece helpful in planning a fun staycation for your own family!

Contact Elizabeth Faulkner

Elizabeth Faulkner
REALTOR
864.414.2434
elizabethgfaulkner@gmail.com

Read more about Elizabeth Faulkner on Kidding Around.

 

 

Put These 5 Awesome Parks in Greer On Your To Do List This Summer

Posted on | No Comments

KAG travels Northwest to explore kid-friendly parks in Greer. Straddling Greenville and Spartanburg counties, Greer has some of the most popular playgrounds Greenville has to offer.. Check out our list and spot that Apache helicopter at Veteran’s Park or see some ruins of an old mill by the Scenic Enoree river while taking your kids (and dogs) for a walk at Pelham Mill Park and Dog Park.

Find even more great parks on our Greenville Parks Page.

Kids Planet at Century Park in Greer

Century Park & Kid’s Planet [CLOSED FOR RENOVATION SEPT. 2019-EARLY 2020]

On top of our list and probably yours, Century Park & Kid’s Planet is a parent’s summer oasis. The park is getting a huge makeover and will open with all new equipment sometime in early 2020.

3605 Brushy Creek Road, Greer

Victor Memorial Veteran’s Park

Victor Memorial Veteran’s Park, located on SC Highway 101 South just north of Stevens Field, offers a lighted walking path, a gazebo, a freshly planted and landscaped lawn area, retired military equipment, and a monument honoring the men and women who have served their country in the United States Armed Forces. Kids will surely be in awe of the Apache helicopter and tank on display.

17th Street, Greer

Greer City Park

Greer City Park

Famous for its moonlight movies, Friday concert series and etc…did you know that on top of all its amazing family events and features, it also has a musical fountain? See what our writer Jackie has to say about Greer City Park.

301 E. Poinsett Street, Greer

East Riverside Park

A part of the larger Suber Road Soccer Complex, the overall size is described as larger than a football field! East Riverside Park also offers some shade and two playgrounds for the little ones. Its unique feature are the sand volleyball court and the community garden for Greer residents at an annual membership of $50 for one garden bed.

1155 S. Suber Road, Greer

Pelham Mills Park Greer parks

Pelham Mill Park

No playgrounds at Pelham Mills Park, but plenty of history, nature and rough trails. There is a dog park for your furry ones. Keep your little one entertained from doing a short hike and finding the Geocache hidden stash.

2770 E. Phillips Road, Greer

What park in Greer is your kid’s favorite?

Mom Review: Camping at Mount Pisgah

Posted on | No Comments

One of my favorite places to celebrate the outdoors with my kiddos is high atop the Blue Ridge Mountains at Mt Pisgah Campground. The campground is right off the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway (near Canton, NC), and while individual sites are mostly wooded and tucked away, the entire area boasts breathtaking panoramic views of rolling green-blue mountains from horizon to horizon. Picturesque sunrises, sunsets, hikes, picnics, drives, you name it, it all comes with an incredible view.

What to Expect at the Mt. Pisgah Campground

As it sits at an elevation of nearly 5,000ft, the entire area boasts much cooler temperatures than here in Greenville. Even in the middle of summer, don’t forget a light jacket. If you’re camping in the fall, enduring the chilly air will bring the payoff of a vibrant colorscape you won’t soon forget. The campground accommodates both tents and RVs with a total of 127 sites, as well as offering drinking water, fire rings, picnic tables, and full service bathrooms.

Reserving a Campsite

Some sites can be reserved online and some are first-come first-serve. Campsites are just $20/night. There are no power hook-ups – so plan accordingly. And don’t forget to head down to the campfire circle for fun programs and marshmallow roasting. Ranger-led programs are offered most Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm in the amphitheater at the top of B loop.

The Camp Store

Directly across the street, through trails behind the campsites, is a quaint camp store that is always fun to visit, plus it’s got you covered when you think of what you forgot, like lighter fluid, matches, and even coffee if you can’t get that fire going in the morning. The store is open daily from 8 am – 8 pm.

Things to do around the Mt. Pisgah Campground

What else can you do? The campground offers hiking straight from the sites. If you’re feeling ambitious (and your kids are too) you can trek about two miles up the summit of Mt. Pisgah to a viewing platform that’s truly worth the effort. Our kiddos have done this many times over the years and have always enjoyed the hike.

Or drive about a mile to the trailhead of Frying Pan Tower trail, an uphill climb to an old fire watch tower with 360 degree views of the mountains.

If you want to take a dip or explore some more just head down the mountain along 276 toward home and you can enjoy Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, the trout hatchery, Cradle of Forestry, and the Davidson River among many, many others. Head further along the Blue Ridge Parkway and find yourself in Asheville for the afternoon.

One of my kids’ favorite pastimes about this camp spot is simply driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway with the windows down, and screaming their heads off in every tunnel we encounter. A warning dear friends: there are many tunnels on the BRP. Share this tradition if you dare!

Plan your own trip to Mount Pisgah

Mt. Pisgah Campground
408 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Canton, NC 28716
828.648.2644

Have you taken your kids camping lately?

Related Content: Where to Find Waterfalls Near Greenville | Davidson River Campground | Western NC Day Trips

My Daughter’s Super Fun Birthday Party at Pigtails & Crewcuts

Posted on | No Comments

KAG team member Elizabeth shares her family’s birthday party experience at Pig Tails and Crew Cuts.  For more great birthday ideas, check out Kidding Around Greenville’s Ultimate Birthday Party Guide.

Thank you to Pigtails & Crewcuts for hosting my daughter’s birthday party in exchange for this review.  Even though the party was given in trade, all opinions are my own!

Okay so I think I got the title of this post wrong.  It should be “my daughter’s super fun and SUPER EASY birthday party at Pigtails & Crewcuts” but that seemed a little long.  And I really needed an easy party this year.  You see, when my daughter turned 7 she wanted a party at home.  What I expected to be a low-key party ended up being 14 little girls, a cheer theme party, complete with high school cheerleaders.

I scoured pintrest for birthday party ideas for weeks.  I spent the entire week prior to the party making pom poms out of streamers and cutting megaphones out of poster board for 14 little girls to decorate and scream into. (What was I thinking?!?)  I enlisted the services of a few high school cheerleaders and begged my friend to stay and help me manage the bash.

The girls made megaphones, learned cheers, danced, even had their faces painted. The party was fun; really fun.  I, however, was completely exhausted when it was finally over.  And my house was a wreck.  I had spent a ridiculous amount of time and way more money than I had intended.

So when my daughter’s 8th birthday rolled around I had one firm rule – the party was not going to be at home.  Nope.

Pigtails & Crewcuts haircuts for kids

Before the party

My daughter is a girly girl.  She loves playing dress up, dons lip gloss any chance she gets and adores getting her nails done, even if only on my bathroom floor.  So it seemed like a no-brainer to hold her party at a salon where she and her little buddies could be pampered and play dress up.  And my excitement was only heightened when, after chatting over the party plans with the salon owner, I realized all I had to do was bring cupcakes.  They would handle the rest. Sign me up!

So rather than spending weeks getting ready for the party I spent, ummm, maybe an hour picking up cupcakes for the party.  The helpful staff at Pigtails & Crewcuts took care of everything else.  It was exactly what I was hoping for!

Party time

We arrived a bit early so my daughter could get all dolled up before her guests arrived.  She had plenty to choose from – would she be a princess or a diva?  She even had the option of a pirate but she’s way too fancy for that!  She got her hair styled in a way her mom could never pull off and her nails painted exactly as she requested.  When her guests arrived she looked like the little diva I know her to be all too well!

After each and every little girl got dressed up, hair styled perfectly and nails manicured to her specifications they posed for a group picture.  I mean, what’s cuter than a group of little girls all dolled up for a night out?  Or, in this case, a night in!

The group picture needed a fancy frame to be proudly displayed by every guest so, of course, there was a fun craft involved.  Each guest was given a wood picture frame and more pretty decorating options than they could handle!  They got serious about picture frame decorating and every girl went home with a keepsake photo in the frame they created – perfect!

Last came singing, cupcakes, lots of hugs goodbye and, just like that, the party was over.  Or almost.  My daughter had one special party extra – her big night ended with getting her ears pierced!  Not part of the party package but saved us the trip to the mall we had scheduled for the next day, so a win-win if you ask me!  After that was done, we packed up and headed home.  It was the perfect party for my now 8 year old daughter & the completely stress-free party I was looking for.  No stress, no mess for me to clean up, and the girls all had a blast!

birthday party for kids

Party packages at Pigtails & Crewcuts

Pigtails & Crewcuts is a brand new salon for kids on Augusta Road.  Of course they cut hair but they also offer a hair products, accessories and gifts too! They even offer a special package for first haircuts, including a souvenir card with your child’s name, the date of the haircut, a lock of hair and a photo to take home, so your family can look back on this day and smile.  Plus they do nail painting, as well as up-dos or braids should you have a special occasion in your near future.  And, of course, fun party packages too!

Pretty Little Princess
(recommended for ages 3-5)

It’s a royal ball! All princesses will dress up in our beautiful gowns and receive two of the following services: a pretty up-do (topped with a tiara), makeup or colorful nail polish! A game of “Pin the Candle on the Cupcake” and decorating a picture frame to take home with a picture of all the princesses in it is part of the event as well.

$300 (for up to 10 guests)

Darling Divas
(recommended for ages 5-10)

For a diva in the making! Strike a pose! These glamorous girls will be treated to sequined dresses to wear as well as two of the following services: a fashionable up-do, pretty makeup or colorful nail polish. Revelers can also decorate a picture frame to take home with a picture of their paparazzi ready crew in it and rock out on our karaoke machine!

$300 (for up to 10 guests)

Sweetheart Spa
(recommended for ages 8-12)

Time to get pampered! All spa guests get treated to a pedicure while relaxing in a comfy robe with cucumbers over her eyes. A choice of a fun braid or colorful nail polish will complete the look while each guest also get to decorate their own picture frame to take home with a picture of the party crew in it.

$300 (for up to 10 guests)

birthday party packages Pigtails & Crewcuts

Ahoy Matey!
(recommended for ages 3-6)

Even pirates like a party! All pirates are welcome aboard as they put on his pirate gear to begin their adventure. Each matey will pick out a tattoo and have their hair “painted.” They will also love going on a treasure hunt to find hidden treasure and decorating a picture frame to take home with their pirate crew in it.

$300 (for up to 10 guests)

Superhero Squad
(recommended for ages 3-6)

Calling all superheroes! All crusaders are welcome as each guest starts this party by transforming into a superhero sporting a cape. Everyone takes home a frame they have decorated with a picture of their superselves in it!

$300 (for up to 10 guests)

Build-a-Bash!

If these parties are not exactly what you are looking for, call us to customize your own special event.

For all parties Pigtails & Crewcuts provides a party hostess, choice of two services, age-appropriate themed activity, paper goods, set up & clean-up.

birthday parties in Greenville

2 locations in Greenville

Pigtails & Crewcuts Greenville
2222 Augusta Street
Greenville, SC
864.248.4844

Pigtails & Crewcuts Five Forks
2815 Woodruff Road
Simpsonville, SC
864.626.3338

Would your little one love a birthday party at Pigtails & Crewcuts?