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One of the best parts about our visit to Asheville last month was that we were visiting locals for a wedding, and all of the wedding events had great local touches. The night before the wedding wasn’t your traditional rehearsal dinner but rather was a casual get together at the very cool space that is Salvage Station.

 

salvage station asheville

A riverfront complex of buildings including a concert hall, lawn games, and several bars, Salvage Station offers all sorts of experiences all in one place, all depending on what area you choose.

salvage station asheville salvage station asheville

From a giant PBR can that houses a local beer bar inside to the River Bar and  Riverside seating to the wide expanse of lawn, Salvage Station has enough space for everyone and was fun for the kids and adults in our party.

salvage station asheville

salvage station asheville salvage station asheville

Since I was with my niece and nephew, we spent a lot of time exploring, checking out the river, playing table tennis, and playing with an antique cigarette machine. . . bad auntie!

salvage station asheville

live music ashveille

In addition to all of the seating areas, Salvage Station has one big warehouse-like space that features live music and plenty of seating, perfect for our big family.

salvage station pulled pork When we tired of exploring and found ourselves hungry, we went to the food stand and picked up some truly excellent fare including pulled pork, tater tots, and fish tacos. The food was simple, fast, and fresh, great for a busy night of socializing and sampling local Asheville beers. We ate and we were up and about again!

fish tacos

Without being invited to the pre-wedding celebrations, we might not have found Salvage Station, so I am excited that it all worked out the way it did!

Have you gotten a good insider recommendation from a local when traveling recently?

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Tags: art, Asheville, Food, North Carolina, Restaurants, Travel

The one night we spent in Old San Juan was an absolute delight, thanks in part to the gorgeous Monastery Art Suites. Being in the heart of Old San Juan, it was definitely different than our beach paradise in Luquillo. The colorful architecture of Old San Juan, along with restaurants, art, and more surrounded the location, and we were a short walk from the sea on all sides.

We arrived at the hotel early for our reservation and received the warmest welcome while our bags were whisked away and stored for us. We had to return our car to the airport (definitely don’t need it in the city) and when we got back to the hotel, we explored the stunning, artistic lobby and events spaces.

Monastery Art Suites Monastery Art Suites The building has a long history and was at one point a Masonic lodge. Thick stone, high ceilings, decorative windows, and beautiful staircases make every corner worth inspecting. There are beautifully detailed surprises everywhere.

Monastery Art Suites

When we were whisked to our room by the friendly woman at the front desk, we discovered our bags had already been brought up for us. The warm and artsy theme of the rest of the hotel carried into our room, which had beautiful colors and little touches. Monastery Art Suites

 

Monastery Art Suites

And while the hotel is historic, we enjoyed many modern touches in our room, including excellent air conditioning that cut through the brutal heat, Apple television, a fridge, coffee maker, and a wonderful shower. Our shutters opened to overlook the sunny lobby area and the umbrellas we saw from the other side when we arrived.

Monastery Art Suites

The hotel’s location near government buildings meant that there were officers right at the end of the street at all times, making it feel complete safe at all hours. From here we were able to walk everywhere we wanted and to retire in utmost comfort at the end of the day. I slept so well and felt so rested after our night here.

I can’t recommend the hotel and its lovely staff enough. Monastery Art Suites will be our Old San Juan home base going forward, and let’s face it, with snow in April, all I am doing is dreaming of going back.

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Tags: art, hotels, Puerto Rico, san juan, Travel

On our first full day in Tanzania, we had breakfast and a briefing at Moivaro Lodge, our home for the first two nights of the trip, and then we all piled into a bus for our day at Shanga & Riverhouse, about 20 minutes away.

Kindness About Shanga:

Set under the towering Acacia trees of Tanzania, East Africa, Shanga is a heartwarming project dedicated to supporting and empowering disabled community members. With breaking down obstacles for disabled Tanzanians and a commitment to environmentally sustainable business practises as its core values, Shanga is a for-profit company that raises standards. Now comprised of a bustling workshop, open-air restaurant, and three trendy boutiques, Shanga has grown exponentially from what started with one beaded necklace and a desire to help those in need.

Shanga is simply amazing. People with disabilities, some who might otherwise be tossed away or ignored by society, are empowered through art, and they make some beautiful things on-site using recycled materials. Trash is a big problem in Tanzania; people burn it, and there was plenty along the side of the road, so being able to channel that trash into beautiful merchandise goes a long way in keeping this beautiful country clean.

Before we took a tour at Shanga, we had a sign language lesson where we also learned some Swahili words. Our lesson was held on a sprawling lawn on pink and green couches made from old beds. It was a stunning, festive space, and we had a great time learning and laughing.

 

Shanga and River House After our lesson we toured Shanga’s art workshop areas and got to meet some of the artisans behind the glassware, beads, paintings, and fabrics for sale in the store.  Our guide Paul was kind and fun, and he really showed pride in the people working with him.

craft demonstration

recycled glass As we wound our way through Shanga, we marveled at beautiful decor like walls of recycled wine bottles that magnified the warm light and made a lovely noise when gently moved.

beads

Shanga Tanzania Shanga has people making beaded jewelry and cloth from recycled materials. We all fell in love with stuffed elephants made from mens’ shirts. I think we bought most of their supply for kids in our lives.

colorful cloth

weaving There was so much talent, pride, and focus in the artists at Shanga, and it was fun to watch them work.

Shanga and River House At the end of our tour, we had time to check out the on-site restaurant, which was to die for. I want to go back and have another wedding there.

River House

We left Shanga with hand blown glass Champagne flutes, stuffed elephants, and a beaded Christmas ornament to remind us of our travels, along with a major respect for the people living and working at Shanga. It was well worth the trip and an enchanting place to spend the day.

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Tags: Africa, art, charity, Tanzania, Travel, travel blog, Travel Tuesday

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