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Life and Religion

Weekend daytrips and staycations
4 ways to get away without going away
Published Wednesday, May 21, 2014
by Michaela L. Duckett

Ms. Elsies Caribbean Bed & Breakfast Inn has the solitude of a tropical island in the heart of southeast Charlotte. Guests receive the royal treatment and awake each morning to a full Caribbean breakfast.

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which marks the unofficial start of the summer travel season.

However, as the price of flying continues to rise with escalating airfares and fees, many families are opting to vacation closer to home. Luckily for those in the Charlotte area, there are plenty of opportunities to plan a getaway when you don’t have the funds or time to get away.

Fun in the sun

With more than 500 miles of shoreline, Lake Norman is an ideal alternative to those looking to enjoy a day at the beach without breaking the bank filling up at the pump. Located just 15 miles north of Charlotte, this “inland sea” community encompasses the charming towns of Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville.

Whether you are looking for an adventure filled with animal encounters, water sports and NASCAR attractions or simply desire to unwind with some upscale retail therapy or a scenic boat cruise against a blazing sunset, Lake Norman is the place to be.

NASCAR fans can tour one of the area’s many race shops. Couples can enjoy an intimate evening of educational wine tasting or fine dining aboard a chartered luxury yacht. Families can get out on the water and take a few lessons in the latest trend in watersports, standup paddle boarding, or experience the area’s heritage and culture at one of the local living museums.

CSI fans can even take a turn at being a real crime scene investigator at the American Academy of Applied Forensics, and gun enthusiasts can shoot a few rounds at The Range at Lake Norman.

With so much excitement, it’s hard to choose one thing to do – so pick several. Begin planning your visit at www.VisitLakeNorman.org.

A spa retreat

Looking to escape the daily grind and take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life? Get away from it all while still in the midst of it all at the Ritz-Carlton in Uptown Charlotte.

The luxury hotel’s penthouse Spa & Wellness Center is an oasis of calm in the center of the city. The two-level day spa features four treatment rooms (including a couple’s room) and separate ladies’ and gentlemen’s Vitality Lounges, where you can rejuvenate your mind, body and soul with eco-friendly treatments and an array of restorative spa experiences.

Packages include gender-specific treatments as well as those designed for couples. Whether you have just an hour to get away or plan to make an entire day of it, there’s a package to meet your needs. Many include food and beverage credits so you can indulge in artisan chocolate from the Ritz’s Bar Cocoa, delight in the culinary skill of the chefs at the hotel’s BLT Steak restaurant or relax with a cocktail or two from Urban Sip Wine and Scotch bar located next to The Lobby Lounge.

The Ritz-Carlton is located at 201 E. Trade Street.

Visit www.RitzCarlton.com for more information.

Paradise Island

Dreaming of a tropical vacation? Consider booking a stay at Ms. Elsie’s Caribbean Bed & Breakfast Inn. Located in the heart of Southeast Charlotte, the inn welcomes visitors with the blissful solitude of a tropical island in the midst of a major urban city.

Proprietor Cheryl Watkins, a native of the Caribbean and proud granddaughter of Ms. Elsie, invokes the spirit of the Caribbean with the inn’s décor, which features walls painted in vibrant pastel colors accented with tropical foliage and the sound of the islands playing in the background.

Choose from one of three luxurious rooms – the King Suite, Sea Mist Room or Mango Room – and wake each morning to a full Caribbean breakfast.

When it’s time to relax, grab a seat on the large cushy sofa in the Generations Room where you can read a book, watch TV or put on some island music and “do d’ limbo.” Guests also enjoy unwinding in the Inn’s Aloe Vera Sun Room, which features a gorgeous view of the outdoor pool and beautiful garden landscape.

Watkins' mission is to treat guests to a taste of island hospitality in her tropical hideaway just minutes from Uptown. The Inn is located at 334 N. Sharon Amity Road. Call (704) 365-5189 or visit www.MsElsies.com for rates or more information.

The resort life

Who says you have to go to all the way to the Florida Keys to enjoy the resort lifestyle or to Pinehurst for world-class golf? You can experience both right here in Charlotte at the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge.

The Ballantyne resort is a Forbes Four-Star and AAA Four-Diamond recognized hotel with an 18-hole championship PGA par 71 golf course. Check in to one of the luxurious guest rooms, which all come complete with 10-foot ceilings, large picture windows, plush bedding, a spacious marble bath and dual closets with robes and slippers included. Then, book a golf lesson at the adjacent Dana Rader Golf School.

With so many amenities – from the four-star Gallery Restaurant to the tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center and nature-inspired day spa – there’s hardly a reason to leave the resort.

The Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge is located at 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.

Visit www.TheBallantyneHotel.com for more information.


Thanks for including us in your article. We look forward to welcome many local guests for a quick summer getaway.
Posted on May 22, 2014

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