Tuesday, August 29, 2017

New Paddle Pro App + 6 Essentials for Kayaking in the Triangle from Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Cameron Village

Looking to add a little more outdoor adventure to your life? A great late Summer, early Fall activity to do around the Triangle is kayaking. If you are looking to try kayaking and haven't done it before or need some guidance on how to get started, we discovered that Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Cameron Village has created an awesome online app that helps walk you through a short series of questions to find out exactly what you will need.

This new app is called Paddle Pro and you can find it at http://www.gopcpaddlepro.com/ . The app has six easy questions:
  • what do you want to do on the water?
  • where would you like to paddle?
  • what is your own experience level? 
  • how far do you want to go?
  • what do you want to carry in your boat? 
  • how much do you need to move around in the boat?
You will get results of which boats are the best match for your needs. You can click to make an appointment in the store and go in already knowledgeable about your paddling goals, experience, etc. Easy enough!

Great Outdoor Provision Co. has a lot of information on where to paddle in the Triangle area on their website as well as some great safety and planning videos.  You can also make an appointment to learn more about purchasing a kayak through the Paddle Pro app.

Once you are ready to get going we've got a great "hidden gem" location from GOPC for kayaking: Venture out to Durham, Three Rivers area, named after the convergence of the Eno, Little and Flat Rivers, which form the headwaters of the Neuse before Falls Lake. There are several launching points for canoes, and kayaks, but the Eno River boat ramp access off of Red Mill Road and Teknika Parkway in Durham is perhaps the most accessible. It's a relaxing paddle with a mix of open water and swampy areas.

Got questions? Check in with Chris Garrett, Raleigh Paddle Sports Department Manager is the resident expert in paddling at GOPC in Raleigh Cameron Village.

6 Essentials for a Kayaking trip in the Triangle from GOPC

1. NC-made Kayaks.

Plenty of variety of kayaks available at GOPC. Find the perfect one for you with the Paddle Pro app. The Hurricane brand is locally made in Warsaw, NC.

2. Paddles. 
These Aqua-Bound Sting Ray Hybrid 2 peice paddles are perfect for flat and slow-moving water. The Cannon Wave Slider Paddle has easier pull through the water and a large powerful blade which is good for heavier kayaks/canoes.

3. Yeti Coolers, Tumblers + Bags. Great Outdoor Provision Company has the newest coolers and styles in stock now. The Yeti Tundra 45 keeps drinks and food cold for multiple days of car camping or float trips (and college tailgates!) . The Tundra 45 is Yeti’s best all-purpose cooler and a top choice because of its versatile 26-can capacity and easy portability.

4. Cool, comfortable and stylish feather-weight Helinox chairs. These chairs are great for any outdoor activity including camping, outdoor concerts, football tailgating or backpacking trip. The company Helinox won design and outdoor awards for the slick light-weight design of these chairs. They easily break down to a small portable bag weighing less than 2 lbs!

5. Life vests. Astral is currently headquartered in Asheville, NC. These life vests combine incredible fit, lightweight construction and a great selection of technical features. Its versatility is perfect for sea kayaking or your favorite river or lake. The Linda is a beautifully designed, feature-rich women’s life vest.

6. Water repellent  gear bags. These bags bright colors and texture caught our eye. They are durable and water repellent and good for any kind of outdoor activity and travel. The blue version is especially great for Carolina fans (great gift idea)!

#CVTRENDREPORT: I'm excited to partner again with Cameron Village over the next few months to feature some of the great merchants in the Village and highlight some 2017 Late Summer/Early Fall Trends and great "hidden gems". I love shopping local and it's been an amazing opportunity to get to know these merchants, their stories and their passion for what they do! Cameron Village has also recently partnered with Jaguar Land Rover Cary and they were kind enough to provide us with a Range Rover Sport luxury vehicle for the day!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Luxury Triangle Adventuring + a day in the Great Outdoors

I'm excited to partner again with Cameron Village to spotlight several amazing local businesses in the Village this late Summer and early Fall, in downtown Raleigh. Cameron Village has recently partnered with Jaguar Land Rover Cary and they were kind enough to provide us with a luxury dream car for the day! I was excited to get to drive a Range Rover Sport vehicle this past weekend, the most agile and dynamic of the Land Rover line. Mine was the Turbocharged Diesel SE Td6 model and we spent a little time at the dealership Friday in Cary getting an introduction to the vehicle (including a very entertaining ride over some simulated rough terrain)! These vehicles are amazing!

We started off the morning with the Range Rover in Cameron Village where we loaded up the SUV with all kinds of cool kayaking equipment from Great Outdoors Provision Company. The Range Rover has some amazing high tech features including two sensors on either side of the vehicle for touch-less opening of the tailgate. Simply move your foot beneath either to activate the tailgate to open. Helpful when your arms are full of gear or groceries! Surround cameras are great for getting a 360 view of the car when parking, backing up, etc. I loved the sporty cockpit where the seat feels really comfortable, luxurious and specially made just for you. I knew it was going to be hard to part with this car at the end of the day!

One really unique feature is the head-up display on the window that shows your current speed and the legal speed projected onto the window so you don't have to take your eyes off the road. I also really like the engaging touchscreen display, and USB and charging points are a must.

The SUV is larger than what I'm used to driving but it didn't feel like a large car with it's dynamic handling.  The diesel engine shuts off when you come to a complete stop at a light which seems eco-friendly, fuel efficient plus it's just really quiet. Starts right up when the gas pedal is pressed and there's virtually no delay. The gas mileage on this vehicle is pretty good considering its a 5500 lb vehicle! 28 mpg highway and 22 mpg around town.

We loaded the gear from Great Outdoors Provision Company including NC-made life jackets, paddles, Patagonia waterproof bags, the ultimate camp chair by Helinox and the newest Yeti cooler and bag and headed to Lake Jordan. The back is roomy and plenty of space for gear. I also loved the dual moon roof!

It was my first time visiting Lake Jordan and it's a beautiful spot! Lot's of people there camping, boating, paddling, SUP, having picnics and more. We enjoyed driving the car to the lake on a beautiful crystal clear Saturday morning. The car has blue tooth so we could plug the phone in to listen to our own playlists.

After some lake time we made a quick stop for fresh tomatoes at a local farmer's fruit stand and then drove into downtown Apex for lunch and a little window shopping on main street.  It was time to return the vehicle back to Jaguar Land Rover Cary. It was a lot of fun exploring new places in the Triangle in the seat of luxury for a day!

Thanks again to Jaguar Land Rover Cary and the folks at Great Outdoor Provision Company for a wonderful Saturday out around Raleigh and the Triangle area! UP NEXT: Stay tuned for much more info on all the fantastic gear from GOPC and much more including a cool new Paddle Pro App!

We took a "thrill" ride in the Range Rover over some rough terrain at Jaguar Land Rover Cary

 I'm excited to partner again with Cameron Village over the next few months to feature some of the great merchants in the Village and highlight some 2017 Late Summer/Early Fall Trends and great "hidden gems". I love shopping local and it's been an amazing opportunity to get to know these merchants, their stories and their passion for what they do!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

CARY: Let's All Scream for Homemade Ice Cream at Andia's in Cary

Stacey Sprenz Photography
Last week I packed up the teenagers and went on a mission for some homemade ice cream! We ventured out to Cary to visit the brand new Andia's Homemade Ice Cream shop that just recently celebrated their grand opening.  Their adorable new shop is located at 10120 Green Level Church Road, #208 in Cary.

We met up with several other media folks to hear their story and sample their ice cream treats and it was such a pleasure to meet Andia & George Xouris and their two children, Alyssa and Alex. We enjoyed hearing the story of their Greek family roots and how they came up with the vision of their homemade ice cream treats and the passion of creative flavors and top notch customer service.

Andia's Homemade Ice Cream is family-friendly and features 20 flavors of ice cream and sorbet like baklava, salted caramel, blueberry cobbler, lemon basil sorbet and cookie Xplosion. Vegan options are available as well. I had the lemon basil sorbet, which was fresh, zesty and full of great flavor. Very refreshing on a warm summer evening.

Andia's Media Event - photo by Stacey Sprenz
They feature unique menu items like the doughnut ice cream sundae, which includes a glazed doughnut with ice cream in the center, which is warmed and topped with a chocolate and caramel drizzle. Another unique menu item is the ice cream cannoli, which is just like eating a cannoli but with cannoli ice cream instead of cream. Also delicious!

It's summer and prime time ice cream eating season! Take some time to swing by Andia's and say hello and experience friendly people who genuinely love what they are doing, and enjoy delicious + unique ice cream treats (and free sprinkles!) for yourself! Be sure to take some ice cream TO-GO as well!

Let's all scream for ice cream! #scoopedwithlove

Lemon Basil Sorbet
Happy kids!

Garbage Can 

Cookie Xplosion + Birthday Cake

Warm Donut Sundae

Birthday Cake
Chocolate rocks, rock!

Take it TO-GO!

The Xouris Family, photo courtesy of Stacey Sprenz Photography

About Andia's Homemade Ice Cream
Founded in 2014 as the Freezing Pointe, Andia and George Xouris re-branded their ice cream catering business in 2016 to Andia's Homemade Ice Cream. With a focus on their Greek background and family, Andia's Homemade Ice Cream currently offers premium quality ice cream and sorbet through their catering operation and a retail store opening July 2017 in Cary, NC. Connect with Andia's Homemade Ice Cream on Facebook and Instagram.