Our vagabond life: random NC

North Carolina is a funny state for us. The Husband’s best childhood friend lived in Raleigh  while we were driving up and down the coast. My uncle and grandma lived outside of Raleigh in Sanford. And I love Asheville. But our twice a year visits with friends and family trumped being a tourist, so the Husband and I always went to Raleigh. Which doesn’t mean we didn’t have an amazing time.


The Husband and me with his best friend Tyler and his girlfriend Jessica

Sometimes the Husband would just hang out with Tyler and his niece.


Actually, this happy family photo makes me LOL every time I look at it so I had to include it! I hope the LGBT parent groups don’t steal it….

Not surprisingly, we mostly drank and ate in Raleigh. I tried to bring my newly acquired Tampa flair to NC, so naturally we made sangria.


Definitely a few servings of fruit. Brandy is the key to a good sangria.

But mostly we would go out. There was a bar nearby that had $1 mystery beers. The waiter/waitress would grab a random (and I mean super random) beer out of a tub, and that was your beer. The selection was so spectacular we all ended up fighting over a Miller Genuine Draft. For real. The Husband ended up drinking a giant beer called King Cobra. It wasn’t good, but when you only pay a buck how bad can it really be?

$8 beer

Our bill for EIGHT BEERS! Every bar should do this….

And when all the drinking fun was over in Raleigh we would head to Sanford. Usually, my father and brothers would meet us there and we would have a few days of family fun. Since the rest of the family was coming from the north, we would spend most of the day in the pool. Which really meant me laying in the sun until I was forced in the water. Which I hate. I can’t really swim and I hate being wet (you try drying all this hair!). The only reason I shower is because society (and microbiology class) says I have to.

But every so often I get dragged in the pool. And as long as my head stays above water I’m not too crabby about it. Sometimes I get to float around while everyone else thinks I’m actually having fun.


I think the plastic tire toy was a bit too small for me. And shockingly, my brothers and Husband did not dunk me. Which would have been easy in the pretzel like position I had myself in to fit in that darn tire.

I must get my aversion to water from my father. He never goes in either. Which is fine, because then he can go fetch food and drinks. Normally a pretty easy and menial task, but not for my dad. Anyone who knows Mike Leo knows that it’s just never that simple. The four of us “kids” were hungry, it was around noon, so naturally it was time to eat lunch. So we asked dad to get lunch. Simple right? Well, an hour later, he came back from this tiny fast food stand with giant bags and a warning to call ahead next time…

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I had no idea you could even spend $70 at Cook-out! And remember, it was only for 5 people!!

But after spending a few months away from family, it’s always nice to be around them. Not many things make me happier than my family being together; drinking enough to stand being together, and leaving soon enough to still like each other after!

But when mom and I (and once grandma) drive down, we bypass Raleigh and go to Asheville instead. I love the Biltmore.


The Biltmore

I love the history, the story, the beautiful house, the grounds, and especially the winery. It’s so spectacular to see all the gorgeous details and to imagine how it would be to live there. I wonder if they called the woman of the house My Lady, like in Downton Abbey. I hope so. And we always end up there around Christmastime, and the decorations are just amazing. (Side note: I love Christmas in an unhealthy way. I listen to Christmas music all year long. I have half of my shopping done by June. I may have been an elf in my previous life).

Biltmore santa

Santa and Mrs Clause love the Biltmore as much as I do.

My maiden name is Leo. And I was born in the beginning of September, so I was almost a Leo again. Which I think is the reason my mother loves this photo so much.

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The Biltmore Leo stare down.

Anyway, there is a winery there too. You can do a wine tasting and buy all their different wines and cheese and spreads and amazing wassail mix and Christmas decorations. It’s probably one of my favorite places ever.


Mom at the winery.

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Grandma’s wine tasting table…

And you can eat in the old carriage house turned restaurant. The stable walls are still there but the decor is stunning. It is so beautiful inside. And the food is great.


Mom and I eating in the stable.

Biltmore food

Our stable lunch.

It’s a little busier at dinner, and you can sit up in the loft. It’s so beautiful and you can see down to the main floor of the stable.

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The waiter was the worst photographer ever. Nice thumb buddy.

And, of course, you need to buy the souvenir photo. Mostly because you can’t take photos inside Biltmore so this is as close as you can get.

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Biltmore souvenir photo