Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Vacation planning

Posted January 7, 2009

January is a good time to plan a vacation. It can be cold and dreary month and it's good to find something to lift your spirits during the bleak mid winter.  We need vacations to break the grind and feed our souls.

What are your plans for vacation this year?

Will you vacation close to home? What NC destinations appeal to you?

How has the economy affected you family's plan to enjoy a vacation?

What family vacation would you recommend in our state?

Please feel free to offer your thoughts and ideas.

I am planning several short working vacations this year. I have the pleasure of emceeing the Celtic Adventure Weekend at Asheville’s Grove Park Inn February 6 and This festival features an Irish dancing workshop and music by Gaelic Storm and my group Lorica. I can almost feel the warm glow from the magnificent stone fireplace in the Great Hall of the Grove Park Inn. That should be an awesome weekend. Another working vacation will be at Grandfather Mountain for what people call “the world’s greatest Highland games.” The dates this year are July 9-12 at MacRae Meadows. I’ve helped emcee the games there for several years and performed there with the Celtic fusion group Bragh Adair.

Cindy and I have also been saving up our airline miles and have managed to accumulate enough points to secure two “almost free” tickets to New Zealand. Our April trip will focus on the South Island with its scenic hikes and dazzling mountain vistas. With a lot of planning we have found ways to make the trip affordable. The biggest challenge may be the 22 hour plane flight to Auckland.

I would also like to take some side trips this year to Lake Mattamuskeet to see the wintering snow geese and tundra swans. And I’m definitely making the spring wildflower excursion at Big Yellow Mountain near Minneapolis in Avery County.

What about you?  What would you recommend?


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  • gnatsmate57 Jan 14, 2009

    My husband and I dance at the area NA pow wows. Last year gas prices kept us doing mostly daytripping in NC and southern VA. We hope that this year we can make it weekend trips. May be even make it to the Eastern Shore of MD to the one held there. I find that the little trips like that are more refreshing than staying a week some where.

  • ladybug68 Jan 13, 2009

    Well, the hubby and I started the New Year inSavannah with longtime friends from OH that now live there. We are headed to Wash DC in lateFeb (I have never been there. my husband is retiring in May. W#e plan a week at Top Sail in Sept and who knows what else. Retirement will bring visits to all the Presidential libraries.

  • machtilley Jan 8, 2009

    We have two children currently on two school schedules. Thanks to WCPSS, we won't know our schedules for this year until mid-May. It makes it very hard to plan vacations when the schools fluctuate year by year.

  • Raleighnative58 Jan 8, 2009

    We are planning a trip to Cullowee in May for a wedding; possibly a weekend getaway to Greenville in Sept. to see the Mountaineers play the Pirates; and our "big" trip will be to Gatlinburg this summer to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. In all of these trips we will be able to use "free nights" we earn during the year - otherwise we'd be staying at home.

  • UNC0105 Jan 8, 2009

    My husband and I are leaving for St. Lucia (Ladera) and the Grenadines (Petit St. Vincent) in two weeks. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!! We will be there for 9 days. Our favorite NC vacation spots are Sunset Beach and Highlands, NC.

    Bill, have the best time in New Zealand! My aunt (formerly of Raleigh) owns a bed and breakfast on the south island ( You should definitely visit Banks Peninsula while you're there. It is breathtaking.

  • happy Jan 8, 2009

    Only concrete plans, start today at 4:00. Traveling to Destin, FL for a family reunion. Unfortunately, I have to be back at work on Monday, so it's a quick trip.

    Planning a trip to the mountains in July. Nothing like getting out of the Raleigh sweltering heat and heading up into the hills for some cool air!

  • blytle Jan 8, 2009

    Hey, Fishnett! So glad your husband got a job. Sounds like he will be right where he belongs since he loves farming. If you can fit into my carry-on luggage, you're more than welcome to come to England with us. It will be a very special trip for us since we're going to Canterbury to celebrate my Master's Degree. My husband and I would love to tour Ireland and Scotland, too, someday. We've had just a taste of both places and want to see much, much more. Enjoy Sunset Beach! We love the beach in the off seasons, too!!

  • softballmom Jan 8, 2009

    Next month, my husband and I are leaving the cold of the Triangle and are heading to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We will be spending a week there, relaxing, whale watching and eating!

    Then in July we will be heading to St. Maarten for a week of fun in the sun! Can't wait.

    Many of our weekends this summer, we will be heading down to North Topsail Beach, NC to get away from the city to sleep in and read.

    As for the ecomomy, we will more than likely give up our season tickets to the Carolina Hurricanes so that we can travel more.

  • fishnett5977 Jan 8, 2009

    Hey mdoodle! Got room in that luggage for me???lol Seriously, I hope ya'll have a wonderful time. My dream is to head that way too - Ireland and Scotland - home of my ancestors! Someday but not this year I dont think! Closer to home and now- I have from Jan 16th until Jan 25th off this month. I turn 50 on Jan 17th. Was planning a trip to the beach but now it may be a day or so trip. Love Sunset Beach in the winter and summer! Going to Sunset in June after my granddaughter graduates from kindergarten( I hope! ;) ) Take her and two of her cousins and have a couple of days at the beach with them before she goes stays with her mom for the summer! Hubby got a job - FINALLY - and he is working as a mechanic/farm worker with a local farmer. Not bunches of money but he does so love farming! At least it will do until the economy gets better and the construction business goes back to work! Guess I will be with a friend or kids or grandkids to vacation this summer!

  • khoggard Jan 8, 2009

    We are planning a trip to the outer banks in June when everyone is out of school but that is about it. Maybe a few side weekend or one-day trips to other places in the state.




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Bill Leslie