Media Trip to The Heart of North Carolina

The Heart of North Carolina has small town vibes with lots of history and stories to tell. But don’t get it twisted…. just because these are small towns, these towns do NOT lack in the food industry and they have great restaurants (especially for foodies and writers) cool shops, places to explore, and more pottery to see than you can ever imagine! I really enjoyed my time here and wanted to share some highlights along the way on this media tour.

When we all arrived, first we got settled into our hotel rooms and before we knew it, we were on our way to our first stop, Thomas Pottery in Seagrove, NC. We were greeted with a beautiful pottery shop, the pottery studio, and nestled on a gorgeous property owned by Bobbie Thomas, a potter, sculptor, and a lover of nature. She specializes in functional and decorative stoneware such as platters, vases, and animals.

                               Bobbie giving us the 411 on making pottery

Being hot and humid as ever, we got the pleasure of trying out some of the finest teas from all over the globe from the owner, Mary Murkin, of Carriage Tea House. She sources her teas from all over the world so she can share with others. It was such a cool treat to try a variety of flavors and enjoying them out of Thomas Pottery pitchers. You can purchase tea on their website at www.carriagehousetea.com

📍 Thomas Pottery    1295 S NC Hwy 705

Seagrove, NC 27341

 

You know a city is growing when you find out about an awesome brewery in Asheboro called Four Saints Brewery. A brewery founded by Joel McClosky and Andrew Deming. I loved their slogan as we entered their space, “Great beer for great people”. This brewery was created to pay homage to the patron saints of beer, Saint Wenceslaus, Saint Nicholas, Saint Augustine of Hippo, and Saint Luke. For me, this brewery I was so intrigued by due to this was all started because of Kickstarter, the largest successful brewery kickstarter campaign ever. Once was a Buick dealership turned brewery in 2015, this was the first brewery in Randolph County. They are a self distributing 7 barrel brew house and their beer is awesome! We sampled beer flights and took a tour back of house. If you are ever in Asheboro, this spot is a must on your list of places to go!

📍 Four Saints Brewery    218 S Fayetteville St

Asheboro, NC 27203

 

Just a few blocks down from Four Saints Brewery is an awesome restaurant called “Bia’s Gourmet Hardware” run by Chef and owner, Bia. This culinary enthusiast has over 20 years in the culinary industry.  She got her experience in NYC, then moved to Asheboro in 2010 and opened the restaurant in 2013. She works closely with local farmers and purveyors across the Carolinas. She has developed all of the recipes and locally sources all her ingredients. You can definitely tell the love that goes into the food. The cuisine is amazing from the cocktails to apps to dessert trays, this place is fantastic!   

📍 Bia’s Gourmet Hardware   103 Worth St

Asheboro, NC 27203

 

 

My favorite spot on this media tour hands down is our morning breakfast stop in downtown Asheboro called “The Table Farmhouse Bakery”. I cannot even tell y’all how floored I was just walking up to the bakery. Best way to describe this space is rustic farmhouse chic. From the gorgeous chandelier that is the focal point of the space to the natural light beaming into the restaurant, it is beyond gorgeous but yet so cozy. This bakery was inspired by the owner, Dustie Gregon, her childhood memories growing up in Sophia, NC. She grew up on eating fresh vegetables from the garden and seeing the way her parents guests were welcomed in their home and found a love for embracing the community. The pastries are out of this world and what sold me, was their iced lattes with homemade syrups. I opted for an iced latte with oat milk and homemade honey cinnamon syrup. Wow…. the best I’ve had and coming from a coffee snob, this took the cake!

Not only is this a bakery, but they have a menu as well offering items from granola with fresh fruit to grit bowls that are so so delicious! This bakery opened in 2013 and this is definitely a community favorite! Add this to your list as you are missing out if you don’t stop by here!

📍139 S. Church Street    Asheboro, NC 27203

 

With full bellies and a happy heart, we ventured to Owens Pottery and what a treat this was to meet Potter Boyd Owens. He operates the oldest pottery shop in the state of NC and he is the son of the infamous Seagrove Pottery, M.L. Owens. They are famous for the Owens red glaze. Basically for all my fashionistas, it’s like the equivalent to the Christian Louboutin red soles. Everybody can spot the Owens red glaze!

📍 3728 Busbee Rd     Seagrove, NC 27341

 

 

At Seagrove Stoneware making our own pottery with my blogger friend Rachel, QueenCityChic.

 

On this trip, it is amazing to hear all the stories being told and seeing all the different artists and their style of pottery making. King’s Pottery specializes in traditional and functional pottery such as vases and tableware but best known for their folk art face jugs.

Folk art face jug that Terry made for us. These types of jugs have been featured on Antiques Roadshow as folk art appraisers.

📍4905 Reeder Road     Asheboro, NC 27205

 

Two words…. Reverie Place…. Richard Petty Family Estate that is the personal home and farm of Richard “The King” Petty and the late Lynda Owens Petty. This gorgeous estate is located in Randleman, NC  

This estate also is a destination for weddings or any kind of event. Getting a tour of the entire property by Richard Petty’s daughters, this space is the perfect location to get married or throw a huge event. You can find more details on their website www.reverie-place.com

📍Reverie Place    514 Providence Church Road

Randleman, NC 27317

 

Last spot on this media tour was none other than The North Carolina Zoo! As you can imagine I felt like a lil kid in a candy store! Probably haven’t been to a zoo since circa 1989, LOL. You can prob figure out my age by that statement 🤣🤣🤣. This zoo is situated near the Uwharrie Mountains and it is the world’s largest zoo. You can get up close to elephants, rhinos, and arctic polar bears! They even have Safari tours of a 40 acre habitat that you can experience on a Zoofari Vehicle.

Inside the Zoo I would never in a million years think that the zoo would have high quality food and restaurants. But I was wrong. The picture above is from Iron Hen Cafe. A yummy bowl of grits topped with bacon, green onions, and goat cheese! Breakfast at Iron Hen Cafe is run by chef Mark Hensley. The cafe is known for their hand crafted sandwiches, salads, grits, and pancakes! Needless to say, I was pretty impressed by what he offered us that morning!

📍North Carolina Zoo   4401 Zoo Parkway

Asheboro, NC 27205

www.nczoo.org

Such a great way to end the tour of Asheboro, Seagrove, and Randleman North Carolina. If you want a quick weekend to get out of the city, I highly recommend exploring into Asheboro and other surrounding counties.

 

XOXOXO,

The Sweet Seoul

 

Roadie to The Olde English District

When I think of awesome restaurants, fun things to see and do….. I definitely do not think about venturing out to The Olde English District of South Carolina. Let’s be real, when I moved to Charlotte almost 2 years ago, I moved to be close to EVERYTHING!!! I mean, I’m a city girl who loves to have restaurants and attractions at an arm’s reach. Oh and shopping….. lots of shopping!!! Well, that mindset changed after I had the opportunity to go on a 2 day culinary road trip and an overnight trip to South Carolina, just a short 30 minute drive from Queen City. I was joined by a few of the city’s best food writers and bloggers and I got to experience an amazing food filled trip with lots of historic stops on the way! Places I would’ve never known existed if it weren’t for the amazing tour guides and people that accommodated us with open arms. Let’s get started shall we?!?!

Early morning on day 1, all of us met at The Flipside Cafe in Ft. Mill, SC for a fantastic breakfast, meeting the amazing Chef/Owner Amy Fortes, and learning about locally sourced ingredients of southern dishes on the menu and what some of Amy’s favorites are. Amy has an extensive background in the culinary world and just meeting her I truly sensed the strong passion she has for cooking. She loves cooking breakfast and that is her favorite aspect of what she does. When asked what the most popular dish is on the menu, it is the Shrimp and Grits, and now I see why. Flipside Cafe utilizes at least 5 producers from different local farms.  I had dined here once before and already tagged them as having the best damn sweet tea in the Carolinas! But I had never tried their breakfast/brunch. Some of my favorites were the warm scratch made pretzels and Amy’s White Cheddar Pimento Cheese, Carolina Grits, Potatos Bravas, and The Fort Mill Biscuit Bake. ALL were insanely delicious and must tries on the menu.

With full bellies and on to a little scenic drive, our next stop was Windy Hill Orchard, a family owned and operated apple orchard and hard cider producer, started by a couple, Fritz and Catherine Gusmer in the late 1980’s. They are open every fall from Mid August-December 5 days a week and in the Spring open on the weekends. “Picking Season” starts mid September and finishes up early to mid October. Their orchard offers every apple from my personal favorite, Pink Lady apples to Gala apples to the not so pretty Russet Golden apples. They sit on about 10 acres of land and this was the first cidery in South Carolina. Cider is a great option because it is gluten free and all ciders are 6% alcohol. Not only do they offer 6 different hard ciders, they have these amazing hot apple cider doughnuts and boy are they addicting.

Well folks, I grew up on bbq all my life but OMG…. talk about a hidden gem in the town of Buffalo, SC. I present to you my top pick for bbq in the Carolinas…. MIDWAY BBQ. A simple motto “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” has kept this family owned and operated bbq joint in business for over 50 years. I cannot say enough great things about this spot. From the staff, owners, and food, it is truly a gem. A Southern Legendary Gem….. Midway BBQ is famously known for its hash and spicy chicken stew. They offer over 30 meats and sides and can cater an army for $8 bucks a person….. Y’all heard right… $8 bucks a person and if you order off the menu a meat and 3 will run you $6.99. Not even shitting you. I was speechless for the next 2 hours because where else in the Carolinas can you get a meat and 3 for under $10 bucks. And needless to say their peach cobbler dessert will run you a whopping $.50 cents, like I wanted a whole tray for myself. Their old school sides are perfection and bbq is hands down in my top 3 all time bbq joints I have come across in my life. From sides such as sweet potato casserole to their collards and mac and cheese…..it doesn’t get much better than this.

Jay Allen, the owner and I after he treated us to a fantastic meal. I truly felt like family just hearing his story and the history behind this business. And just a little fun fact and another reason y’all should drive here to visit and get your grub on… Midway BBQ made the top 100 bbq spot list that you should drive 100 miles to eat this barbeque. Its totally worth the drive. People drive from all over to come to this establishment and damn nation, I can see why!!!

 

Not only can you find an awesome cidery and some bomb ass BBQ in South Carolina, but you can also stop and smell the roses in the beautiful Piedmont Physic Garden located in Union, SC. This botanical garden is a non profit garden where it houses a variety of historical and medicinal plants from around the world. This Physic Garden focuses on health and well being, puts on workshops on how to grow vegetable gardens and survival garden classes. There are interns that live on site 8 weeks at a time to help with the upkeep of the gardens. I have never seen such unique and stunning plants before until I stepped foot onto the gardens. The house itself is so lovely and is the perfect spot to have private tours and community celebrations. They truly want to impact the community and educate people how these plants have an affect on our daily lives, particularly in the health and wellness world. So they offer volunteering opportunities to all age groups and experience levels. Everyone is welcome to donate funds, time, or expertise to help support this non profit organization.

As the craft beer industry keeps expanding to cities near and far…. Legal Remedy Brewery was next on the list. Looking back on 2 minutes before pulling up to the parking lot, the sky fell out…..no literally the SKY FELL OUT. I’ve never seen it monsoon so hard, talk about perfect timing, lol! So, a craft beer was much needed that’s for sure. Legal Remedy Brewery had a really cool vibe and the space itself used to be an old car dealership, so when I was looking around and taking it all in, it definitely made sense. The windows and the space, you could tell that where we were sitting, eating, and sipping beers in the automobile showroom space at one time long ago. As the owner was bringing out menu items for us to try, we met and chatted with the “food lead”, Mike Ramsey. They don’t call Chefs… Chef, they go by food lead. Whatever the title may be, the food was more than just brewery bar food. We tried everything from smoked brisket sandwiches to pork schnitzels and southern poutine nachos. Then a quick tour of where all the magic happens.

After heading out from Legal Remedy Brewery, it was The Pump House time! This restaurant has been on my list for awhile now, so when I saw that this spot was on the list, I was like a little kid in a candy store! The Pump House has been open for 2 years and pretty cool story how it came about. So the owners were driving down the road and saw the pump house, and they envisioned it being a restaurant. Even though the structure had been built in the 1950’s, the architects and contractors said it was a solid build and they could basically build anything in the space. After lots of detailed planning and construction, The Pump House was brought to life.

Ending the night meeting Sous Chef Nigel Clark, as he prepared this glorious dessert, Cheerwine Cake that has two types of chocolate, cheerwine syrup, butter, and guess what?!?! NO FLOUR and its gluten free!

If y’all haven’t checked out The Pump House yet and want to go, I would highly recommend the fried green tomatoes, crispy calamari, drunken elk chops, shrimp and anson mills grits, cheerwine chocolate cake. All were really fantastic! Also, make a reservation to sit up on the top floor for an awesome view too or the patio. Cannot go wrong with either.

 

DAY 2:

After a long day and late night of working and staying up way later than I should’ve…. I was super stoked to visit The Yolk Cafe for breakfast on our final day of the tour!!! Another spot that had been on my list and wowzers, I am so glad I can check this badboy off the list. It’s funny because right when I posted on my instastories I was at The Yolk, my inbox was blowing up with messages from my followers telling me “Get the potatoes, you have to get the potatoes”. Rest assured, I got the damn potatoes and ermagherrrrrddddddddd…. The best damn home fries I have ever had. Chef/Owner Gregory Collier is a super talented chef that was born and raised in Memphis, TN and attended culinary school in Scottsdale. He utilizes southern ingredients to make southern cuisine, but he puts a fresh spin on all his dishes. He works with as many local businesses and farms in the area, goes through an average of 3,000 eggs per week, and he strives to get the most outta every ingredient he can. Even though he’s a huge Tennessee fan, I’ll let that slide because the food made up for it, hahahahha (if you don’t understand…it’s a rivalry football thing…Alabama fans do not like Tennessee fans)

This whole trip is focused on The Olde English District which covers Chester, Chesterfield, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Union, and York Counties. We stopped by the super cute Visitors Center where it was a gift shop, tourist center all in one.

Mixing in the arts and history of the trip, we stopped by Metal Sculpture Artist Bob Doster’s Studio in Lancaster, SC. What a treat it was to meet such a talented man and tour his studio space. What a small world it is, as I found out that he created a piece for the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Atlanta, GA. Back when I lived in Atlanta and would meander around through Saks, I remember seeing that sculpture as it towered over me as I went up the escalators. Not in a million years did I ever think that 10 years later, I would meet the artist himself.

This particular sculpture I found so intriguing and it’s actually cut outs of the students hands at the School For The Deaf and Blind.

Down the street, we headed over to The Native American Studies Center, a 15,000 sq foot facility that houses 6 faculty, an Archaeologist, Chris Judge, and five galleries.

As if I hadn’t already eaten my weight in food this trip, last but certainly not least are 2 more food spots. After leaving the Native American Studies Center, we walked up to 521 BBQ and met the owners and also the owner of Benford Brewing. Here we dined on pulled pork sammiches, fried pickles, fried okra, smoked wings and hushpuppies. Great lil hole in the wall bbq spot that definitely housed all the locals.

Five and Dine is a cool spot in Rock Hill, SC where they offer American Classics… With a twist! It’s located in the heart of historic Downtown Rock Hill on the site of the iconic civil rights sit-in where the “Friendship 9’s Jail no Bail strategy changed the protest movement. Inside the restaurant they display the original bar stools and lunch counter where history was made and on the counter above each stool was each gentleman’s face and picture.

Chef Anthony Russo was raised in Upstate NY and has been in the restaurant industry all his life. Five and Dine has been open for 5 years and they have dishes such as mini doughnut cheeseburger sliders and my favorite menu item I tried was the Pot roast. It was fantastic and the perfect ending to the perfect trip!

I highly recommend all the places I highlighted in this blog post. Overall, if you want to venture out of the city and have a full tummy and great experience in The Olde English District, look no further and GO!!! It was a blast and I will definitely be back!!!

 

xoxoxo,

The Sweet Seoul

Shopping on Amazon: My Favorite Things!!!

First blog post of the year!!! I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday celebrating the new year. I will definitely be that person that still writes 2017 with scratch marks through the date probably until summer, lol! In this blog post I wanted to share with you that I have an influencer page on AMAZON!!! Whoooooo! A few weeks ago, I was contacted to join the Amazon Affiliates Influencer Program and I was over the moon excited because I am a huge fan of Amazon, especially because of Amazon Prime, I get items in 2 days! For those that love watching my instastories and items that I tag on social media, well you can now shop from my own page! So exciting because I get a lot of messages asking what skin care I use, where I shop for some of my shoes I wear, make up I buy, or items you see in my loft in the background of some pictures I snap. And I think this is a fantastical tool to help y’all find some of these things I love!!! So, I will add items weekly that I always get off Amazon or previous purchases I have bought off the website! Now, y’all can just add fun stuff to your cart that you see me post about! Easy peasy right?!? Here are a few of some of my favorite items I always purchase on amazon.com and I use on the daily. You can see more and shop on my Amazon Influencer page

 

I hope y’all check it out and hope this helps some of you find some of the items y’all ask about. Again, I will be adding items weekly so check back every week to see what items I’ve added! Happy New Year to all of you!

xoxo,

Jessica

Bloggers and Golf Carts

 

BEEP BEEP!!! Lookout we got blogger babes on golf carts coming through!!! Happy Monday y’all and I wanted to share my super fun experience with you from yesterday with Queen City Rides

Queen City Rides is a locally owned and operated company that has over 25+ years of hospitality experience. So, with that being said, they really take pride in sharing what Charlotte has to offer and making sure that customer service is top notch!!! Kevin, the owner of Queen City Rides, felt that creating golf cart tours was a smart and eco-friendly way of letting the patrons experience Charlotte in a different light. They offer a variety of tours for everyone’s needs such as city, party, and brewery tours! You can even customize a tour just contact them with your ideas!

This eco-friendly way of getting to sight see, brewery hop, and tour the city on golf carts is genius. These 7 person golf carts are the coolest way to experience Charlotte and what it has to offer. I had the pleasure of going on a brewery tour with some of my blogger/influencer babes and what a blast we had.

First stop on Brewery Tour: Resident Culture Brewery

Newtown Pippin Cider

Group pic of us ladies and the owners at Resident Culture Brewery

As we headed to our next brewery, we got to jam out to some awesome music and catch up on life with each other. Second stop on our list was Sycamore Brewery in South End.

There we listened to live music, had a drink, hung out, and also got to eat some yummy food from Tin Kitchen Food Truck. I mean a girls gotta eat right?!?! Hahaha!!!

My brunch beer cocktail (The Bloody Mary Beer)

Cheers’n with my babes!!!

Last but not least was our final stop at Lenny Boy Brewery to end our brewery tour. I really loved how we got to spend time at 3 different breweries in 3 hours! It was a perfect event squeezed into 3 hours but also enough time to experience each local business and taste their craft beer offerings without feeling rushed.

I would highly recommend doing a brewery tour via Queen City Rides!!! Not only do they do tours, but you can find them at NASCAR events, Panthers games, Knights games, or honestly just cruisin around the Queen City!!! Super cool concept and absolutely enjoyed myself yesterday with great company!!! Check out their website and give them a follow on Instagram!

 

Queen City Rides

201 East 5th Street     Charlotte, NC 28202

704.361.8805

 

 

 

 

Staycation at it’s finest

Sometimes when you get so busy with “adulting” and life in general, you need a vacation… but if you can’t make it outta the state or country, a STAYCATION is super fun and wonderful, especially when it’s at a gorgeous boutique hotel in uptown Charlotte, called The Dunhill Hotel. This 10 story hotel screams historic and classy and just a sight for sore eyes. My hotel stay was beyond amazing. Not only is the hotel beautiful and is one of the few National Trust Historic Hotels in NC. It has been fully restored and is a landmark in the arts district and community. I got the pleasure of staying here around Christmas time and the decor in the lobby and all throughout was just spectacular. It was decorated with huge beautiful lit christmas trees, oversized standing Nutcrackers, and beautiful poinsettias placed throughout. From the exceptional service and hospitality that this hotel offers, it’s so comforting to know that whatever you need, they will give you the best guest experience ever.

This hotel is situated in the perfect location to shops, restaurants, and walking distance to the epicenter. So, this was perfect because I had my fiance’s Christmas company party a few blocks away. I stayed in the King Suite and the room was perfect. And the best things about the room were the amazing views and the huge ginormous comfy bed that I did not wanna get out of the next morning. LOL! The only thing that got me outta that bed was I knew I had reservations at the amazing and most delicious restaurant downstairs next door, The Asbury. Top 3 restaurants that I have had the pleasure of trying out. From the food, to the excellent customer service, all of the menu and atmosphere is so welcoming and comforting for the soul.

Overall, I would definitely stay here again in a heartbeat. Such a classy, romantic, and cozy boutique hotel that you will never wanna leave.

Address: 237 N Tryon Street   Charlotte, NC 28202