Day Trip from Charlotte

North Carolina is one of the coolest places to live because we have the beach and mountains all in one! Summers can be busy, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a day getaway. Charlotte is a wonderful city with plenty around it to make for a fun day trip.

 

The Quarry at Carrigan Farms

The Quarry is a natural body of water, fed by a spring, located in Mooresville, NC. Pay just $15 to dip into this gorgeous water. All swimmers will pass a swim test or are required to wear a life jacket. Not into swimming? They also have a farm to visit with hay rides!

 

Crowders Mountain

If you love to hike, then you’ll love Crowders Mountain. There is no fee to hike and multiple trails, depending on your hiking level, to lead to the top. What’s at the top? Just a gorgeous view overlooking the state park. They offer other activities as well, such as fishing, rock climbing, and bouldering. Enjoy the day in one of the best parks nearby; just don’t forget to pack food and plenty of water.

 

The U.S. National White Water Center

Charlotte is lucky enough to have the National White Water Center. This is an amazing place for numerous daytime activities: white water rafting, kayaking, paddle-boarding, zip-lining, biking, and more. The White Water Center also hosts community events, such as River Jam, where people can gather and listen to live music, eat food, and enjoy the great outdoors.

 

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

If you love nature, take a short drive to Belmont, NC to enjoy the beauty of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. You can enjoy 110 acres of many different plants and creatures. Take your kids to the Butterfly Bungalow, where they can get up close and personal with several species of butterflies! Admission is only about $15 for adults and about $8 for kids. Then enjoy local food like Nellie’s Southern Kitchen after your visit (the food must be good for Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra to have their wedding reception there)!

 

The Great Wolf Lodge

North Carolina is lucky to have such an awesome, family friendly vacation spot! With an indoor waterpark and interactive game throughout the hotel, the Great Wolf Lodge is a great spot for families to get away. Keep the kids occupied with Magiquest, Build-A-Bear-Workshop or numerous free kids activities while you enjoy their fitness center and minigolf. Your suite is even designed to look like it’s part of a forest. There’s fun for everyone.

 

So as you can see, there are plenty of trips you can make in just one day from our beautiful city; another reason why I love Charlotte so much!

Stay Cool: Troubleshooting your HVAC

The worst time of year to start having HVAC problems are the middle of summer (and the dead of winter). Not only are you quickly experiencing the discomfort of no heat or air, you also have that sinking sensation in your gut that something is wrong and it’ll probably cost money. Here’s what to check first, before you even have to call the technician (or maybe while you’re waiting for them to pick-up). 

 

Power

Believe it or not, sometimes we all miss the simplest reasons our HVAC is acting up—the power is off. If the power is off in your house, or in your neighborhood, there is probably nothing wrong except that you’ll have to wait for the power to come back on. 

 

Air Filter

Airflow to your unit is important and if you haven’t been changing your air filters regularly, the restriction can cause your unit to slow down or drag, especially when it’s trying to work hard during the summer heat. For twenty bucks and five minutes of work, you’re HVAC can be frigid once again. 

 

Batteries

If the thermostat display doesn’t work, try changing the batteries. 

 

Circuit Breaker

Check the circuit breaker in the breaker box. If it’s been tripped (the one switch that doesn’t look like the others), reset the breaker. Breakers can trip for a variety of reasons, and if it happens once it’s no big deal. But if the breaker keeps tripping, it’s best to get an electrician to come look at the problem.  

 

On-Off Switch

On many units there’s an on-off switch next to the indoor air handler unit. For whatever reason (pets, kids, random incidents) this switch can get flipped. Best to double check. 

 

Outdoor Switch

There’s another switch on the outside unit and it can get flipped for all the same reasons. Make sure it is plugged in or flipped on. Be very careful, as this switch controls the 240 volts of electricity to the outdoor A/C unit and it’s very dangerous.

 

Condensation pump 

There’s a water safety switch under the pan under the unit to stop water from leaking into your home. If there’s no water in the pan, or it looks old, try emptying the pan, flush the drain line and see if it makes the unit start working again. 

 

If you’ve checked everything and there’s still a problem, definitely contact your HVAC service technician and have them come out. You don’t need to be suffering in this heat.

Summer Air Conditioning Troubleshooting

 

In these days of early summer heat, it can feel like your air conditioning may not be working quite the same as you remember. Maybe you missed your spring maintenance. Maybe you keep turning down the thermostat. Here are five ways to check-in with your air conditioning system before it becomes a problem.  

 

  1. Change your system filter. Often a clogged filter is a big culprit for slow circulation. Filters should be changed at least once a month and it’s especially important during the summer.  
  2. Open the vents on your home if it’s a peer and beam foundation.  
  3. Have your HVAC company come out and inspect the unit or determine if the system may need a recharge.  
  4. Check the fan is moving on the outside unit. If it’s not moving, the motor may be to blame.  
  5. If your unit is blowing hot air, often the coil is frozen. Turning the unit off and allowing the ice to melt off the coil will resolve this problem.  

 

HVAC is such a specialized system that when things go wrong it can be very hard for even an experienced homeowner to handle. An option to avoid surprise costs is to sign up for a home repair insurance program or a pre-payment plan with your HVAC company.  

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

Eight Summer Time Savers

 

Summer may not seem to be the time to start any new projects or habits, but it’s the perfect time to make life easier for yourself. Here are eight summer time-savers.  

 

Organize your grocery list. You probably shop at the same store or stores every time and can remember the layout if you needed. Organize your grocery list by the way you go through the store. Divide your paper into three vertical columns. First column is the outside edge. Middle column are the center aisles and the far column is the opposite outside edge. You can add two columns at the bottom for deli and any other common grocery store section. This allows you to create more efficient lists and cut down on the forgotten items and trips back to the store.  

 

Cut things quicker. Scissors for pizza, egg slicers for strawberries and mushrooms. Think creatively with your kitchen tools.

 

Prepare snacks. Especially in a household with demanding children, having a designated snack bin either in the fridge or kitchen is a way to cut down on interruptions and create more self-reliant children. After grocery shopping, prepare the snack items (such as small bags of carrots, grapes, nuts, crackers or other snacks your children like) and place them in a designated area that they can reach.  

 

Cleaning Supplies Where You Need ThemStage a small collection of cleaning supplies in each bathroom, in order to always have them on hand for a quick spray and wipe whenever you are in there and find it needs done. You’ll never need to apologize for your bathrooms again.  

 

Car Stash. Keep a bin of non-crumbly snacks, water, extra socks for that one kid, books, games (and motion sickness medicine) in your car and never have to scramble for those items again.  

 

Fill A Trash Bag. Taking a garbage bag around your home and filling it with trash or items to donate can be a freeing and productive exercise. It’s amazing how many things you keep that you don’t actually want.  

 

Put a trash bin where you sort the mail. Put that junk mail where it belongs.  

  

Keep beach items in a central location. Nothing is worse than the rush to find all the appropriate beach items. Keep a container in a closet and fill it with your beach towels, extra sunscreen and toys, so you always know where to find them and where to return them.  

 

Happy Summer!

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21