Monthly Archives: October 2011

Raffaldini Vineyards: A Colorful NC Fall Getaway

Standard

She was breathtakingly gorgeous. He was in awe over her. Together on their wedding day, they were two of the happiest individuals I’ve watched in a very long time. Their smiles and look in their eyes said more than their vows.

Last Saturday, Marc and I had the pleasure to be guests at an absolutely beautiful wedding at Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery. We knew little about this vineyard until we received our invitation to the wedding. After a quick Google search, we learned that it was located about 30 miles north of Statesville, NC in a small town called Ronda. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Charlotte. Not bad.

Saturday definitely felt like a fall affair. Raffaldini Vineyards is a bit in the foothills and the actual winery is up on the crest of a hill. We had a breathtaking panoramic view of golden and red autumn colors. The ceremony was at 6:30 PM, so we were also able to enjoy an incredible sunset that created a warm glow prior to the wedding.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. It was sunny and crisp without a single cloud in the sky. I’m glad they were blessed with such beautiful weather at their wedding because they are  now on their honeymoon in Cancun and it has been raining most of their trip. I’m keeping them in my prayers as Cancun is in Hurricane Rina’s projected path. Luckily, the storm is weakening, but I still pray for their safety.

I loved that the wedding was at a vineyard and I was so happy to be a part of their beautiful day. However, I have to admit, it killed me that I couldn’t do the full-blown wine tasting. I love wine tasting. I had the Merlot at dinner and I thought it was pretty good. By the way, I’m a wine novice, so please take my opinion with a grain of salt. I drink a lot of it and admire all the flavors, but I fully acknowledge my lack of wine expertise. I’m getting better at tasting notes, but that’s not saying much.

We’ll definitely visit Raffaldini Vineyards again so I can experience all their wine! It’s a romantic getaway that’s nice and close to Charlotte, so there’s no reason for us not to visit again. Men, if you’re looking for a good date option … take your girlfriends to do some wine tasting. This place is ideal for dates!

I also recommend staying where we stayed. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites since we knew we wouldn’t be up for driving home after the wedding. This hotel sure knows how to decorate for the holidays! There were so many Halloween decorations up in the hotel that it was somewhat tacky; however, if I had kids, I would have absolutely loved the decor. Since I don’t, I can say it was a bit much for my taste. Oh, I almost forgot, there was a Christmas tree outside of our door! That kind of topped the tacky Halloween decorations. A bit much?

Anyway, Marc and I were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the hotel. I was a huge fan of the cleanliness, room decor, and I was even a pretty big fan of the bathroom.  This hotel is a place two yuppies like ourselves can go and be completely satisfied, all for around $100 a night. It was actually really nice not to spend tons of money on a hotel room and still thoroughly enjoy our stay. Too bad you never know what you might get with a hotel like that. Luckily for us, this one was fantastic.

P.S. The complimentary breakfast was delicious! Marc and I were a bit surprised annoyed by the loudness of the dining area, but I guess we’re just not used to staying where families with little kids stay!

~ Lyndsi

The W in Austin, TX: A Yuppie Haven

Standard

Lyndsi and I just returned from a long weekend in Austin, TX, where we attended a wedding. I’ll be sharing our adventures in several posts, but first up is a review of our hotel the first night.

As Lyndsi and I strolled through the lobby of the W in downtown Austin, TX last weekend, I said, “This place feels like yuppie central.” Modern, sleek, hip, over-the-top, pretentious … yet perfect for these two yuppies looking for a fun hotel in the city. I immediately noticed the “whatever/whenever” concierge desk when entering. Our friend Brian later found out that’s no joke after picking up the phone by the elevator and immediately connecting to the desk.

The halls were dark, hip, modern, moody with dark colors contrasted by red. A perfect combination. The elevators are full of mood lighting and mirrors. Perfect for narcissistic yuppies who enjoy nothing more than checking their hair in the mirror (definitely not us…). The walls by the elevator are made of gorgeous wood.

Hotels like the Austin W (opened in 2010) are all about style over function. Yet for leisure travelers, it’s perfect. When you enter the room, the first thing you notice is a built-in shelf in the room with nice cups illuminated with mood lighting (which also lit above the bed with blue hues). There’s the typical flat-screen, floor-to-ceiling windows with impressive city views, and a bed that was simply heavenly.

The bathroom was … interesting. The room with the toilet was only partially private, with two french-style doors sliding together, leaving gaps on the sides (and the doors in ours didn’t lock). The shower water would spill into the center of the bathroom by design. Oh, and two strategically-placed mirrors in the shower were a nice touch. Because if your narcissistic self enjoys looking at yourself in the elevator, the shower has to be 10x more appealing.

Just don’t valet park unless you enjoy spending $31 for one night of parking. Oops.

So what is it about expensive hotels like the W (dropped close to four benjamins all included) that makes them worth it? The little things. The lighting, the feel of the floors and bed sheets. It all comes together to make you feel safe, clean, comfortable … content. Whereas in typical hotels you sometimes feel  grossed out by the bathroom or bed comforter, in exquisite hotels like the W, everything feels clean and welcoming and quality. It’s things like the recessed lighting in the bathroom, the blue mood lighting above the bed, the unique mirrors, the complimentary newspaper every morning, the HDTV with real HD channels … I could go on. Call me crazy, but I appreciate the little touches. I’ve been cursed with expensive taste.

And compared to the quality of hotel we experienced later in Austin, it made us appreciate the W even more. Stay tuned.

If you plan on traveling, here are some options for cheap cruises, Hawaii flights, Los Angeles flights, Bali flights, and Fiji flights.

~ Marc

 

Traveling Couples’ Digital Dinner Party — October 2011

Standard

Thanks to @twoOregonians for the invitation to the 1st Traveling Couples’ {Digital} Round the World Dinner Party. B & T are the brilliant minds behind #RTWDinnerParty and we are delighted to be their guests! If you like what you see here, be sure to check out the rest of the dinner table’s posts over at http://twooregonians.com/rtwdinnerparty.

Meet & Mingle

I love to treat the hostess with the mostess, so here you go, B! It’s a chocolate, tobacco leaf, and ebony wood warmed with roasted espresso scented candle!

Lyndsi: I’m well traveled within the United States and hope to travel the world someday. I’ve lived in four states: California, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina. In all, I have visited 29 states, but who’s counting? As we mingle around the dinner table, I’m likely to get loud. Marc will usually nudge me in a caring way to let me know I need to tone it down a bit but, if he doesn’t, feel free to let me know I’m shouting! I just get a bit excited when I start mingling!

Marc: Originally from Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, I have lived all over the Eastern U.S., including New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, and now North Carolina. I’ve been an Internet geek since the ’90s when I started Sports Central, a sports fan magazine, due to my love of sports and passion for the Internet. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it would grow into a profitable business and remain with me into adulthood.

Aside from travel and my desire to see the world, I am a certified car enthusiast and some people fail to understand why I’ll drive hundreds of miles just to … drive more (twisties). I’ll also admit I’m an Apple fanboy and think Steve Jobs is a genius.

If you want, you can learn more about us here.

Dinner Specialty

We struggled with what to bring to this dinner party. I thought about bringing a dessert: Dad’s delicious spiked baked apples or his killer raspberry chocoloate rum cake. I also thought about bringing my mom’s amazing apple pie, but since this is a digital dinner party, I know that my words could not do it justice. Both my parents are amazing cooks/bakers and I know I couldn’t go wrong bringing their food to a dinner table. As for my cooking, well, it’s a work in progress and my Dad would tell you guys I follow recipes too much when it comes to cooking (which, he would argue, makes for super boring food).

So, since this is our first dinner together, I decided to play it safe and bring “burgushi” (sushi made with beef) as an appetizer from one of my favorite restaurants in Charlotte, North Carolina. The restaurant is called the Cowfish and it serves up burgers, sushi, and burgushi.

The burgushi I’m bringing to the table is the Taste Explosion roll (or maybe five Taste Explosion rolls). Seasoned natural Angus ground beef, applewood bacon, fresh jalapeños,and spicy cream sauce inside of a sushi roll coated with tempura flakes. Each piece is topped with marinated Roma tomato and pepper jack cheese, and then baked to perfection. Drizzled with cashew cilantro pesto to finish. I like my food spicy spicy. I sincerely hope no one at dinner suffers from heartburn!

We’re also bringing a special drink to the table tonight —  a bottle of Napa Valley Vodka. It’s made with sauvignon blanc grapes and is made for sipping. In my opinion, this is a wonderful way to get social and have a little fun! After all, this is our first dinner party!

Table Talk

Most likely, we’ll be more interested in listening to everyone else’s fabulous stories about round the world trips since we’ve just traveled within the United States. However, I’m sure we’ll pitch in with some talk about South Beach, Florida; Austin, Texas; North Carolina mountains, and random weekend getaways. We’re huge fans of American weekend getaways right now, so we have plenty to talk about in that category!

Cheers!

~ Lyndsi

P.S. I promise to bring some of my cooking next time!