Rutherford County recently hosted us for a family getaway in picturesque Rutherfordton, North Carolina. Our accommodations at Carrier Houses Bed & Breakfast and family activities were sponsored by visitncsmalltowns.com, which serves as an excellent resource when planning your visit to Lake Lure & The Blue Ridge Foothills. In this post I talk about our experiences traveling with a toddler; all opinions here are mine alone.
Our family adventure started a few weeks before Thanksgiving, when the air is crisp and vibrant leaves are scattered throughout the landscape. Before we had our son, my husband and I had traveling down to a science. We would escape for the weekend at a moments notice… pack a small bag, hop on a plane to Vegas and make accommodation arrangements while shuffling through the airport (true story). However, when we decided to start a family of our own, those mini travel expeditions seemed far behind us. Let’s be real for a moment: toddlers are chaotic, “hangry” little individuals who need constant entertainment and embrace the energy of a swift bunny.
Lunch at RiverWatch Waterfront Bar & Grill in Chimney Rock
Recently, we’ve discovered that the key to traveling with a toddler is road trips. Airports and airplanes have proven to be a little too tough during the toddler years (we learned this the hard way by flying to California earlier this summer). However, the flexibility of a road trip gives you the availability to carry that extra change of clothes, child-approved snacks and toys that are required to properly entertain (and care for) your bundle-of-energy.
Upon arrival, we were pleasantly greeted by Innkeepers Jim Masek and Russell Knight, who recently purchased Carrier Houses’ historic estate earlier in the year. The inn was built in the mid 1800’s, offering a total of 8 guest rooms that are all equipped with their own private bathrooms. We stayed in the Bechtler Suite, which featured a massive kingsize bed, soaking whirlpool tub and mini refrigerator (which was ideal for Dylan’s snacks). The room was very spacious, allowing us to create a play space for Dylan’s toys and set up his pack ‘n play at the foot of the bed. (Travelers Note: Our pack ‘n play is a must-have if we plan to sleep during our getaway… have you tried to share a bed with a toddler? Just skip it, trust me.)
Betchler Suite at Carrier Houses
To start, the location is ideal for families with small children. The inn is situated in Rutherfordton’s quaint downtown, just steps from KidSenses Children’s Interactive Museum. Additionally, Rutherfordton is just a short drive to various attractions surrounding Lake Lure and Chimney Rock State Park. To top it off, Carrier Houses offers a home-cooked breakfast with your stay, accommodating any dietary restrictions or picky-eater requests.
Toddler approved Fruit Plate
Pumpkin-Walnut Pancakes with Bacon and Warm Syrup
After our comfortable night stay and hearty breakfast in the morning, we grabbed our stroller and walked down to the interactive children’s museum. During our visit, the town of Rutherfordton was decorating for their Tree Lighting Ceremony that will take place on Saturday, December 2, 2017. For almost 100 years, the town decorates North Carolina’s Largest Living Cedar Christmas Tree and celebrates with a full day of parades, free pictures with Mr. & Mrs. Claus, and much more.
City workers decorating for Rutherfordton’s Annual Christmas Celebration
Next stop was KidSenses Children’s Interactive Museum – one of the coolest places we’ve EVER brought Dylan to visit. There are 15+ exhibits, all geared to stimulate your child’s imagination with hands-on play. A few of our favorite activities included grabbing groceries at the store, taking care of multiple pets at the veterinary clinic and sitting front seat in the firetruck.
First time riding in a kayak
We ended up staying in Rutherford County the entire weekend! Other adventures included playing mini-golf on Lake Lure, gem mining by the river and exploring the hiking trails at Chimney Rock State Park. (Stay tuned for future posts about our visit to the town of Chimney Rock – we absolutely loved it there.)
Just a short drive from Charlotte (less than 2 hours), I would recommend this vacation getaway to anyone who is seeking a fun-filled adventure weekend with their toddler. With plenty of attractions that are available year-round, we cannot wait to go back and visit this summer!
Mini Golf at Rumbling Bald Resort
Digging up treasures at Chimney Rock Gem Mine
Wild Animal Exhibit at Chimney Rock State Park
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