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History, Food, and Sea ~ Wilmington North Carolina

History, Food, and Sea ~ Wilmington North Carolina

Wilmington North Carolina is history, fabulous food, sea, beaches, and boardwalks. The town is celebrating 275 years of rich history of food and life in America. One of the most southeastern cities in the US is a great escape for a beautiful vacation.


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Battleship North Carolina Wilmington NC

Battleship North Carolina Wilmington NC

This ship begs visitors to come aboard. It is visible from downtown. In 1960 the ship commissioned to honor the men that served and keep the ship’s history.

Battleship North Carolina was the first to be constructed in sixteen years in New York in 1937. The history during wartime is 144 commissioned officers and 2,195 enlisted men, including about 100 Marines. This ship participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific and saving the carrier Enterprise. The ship earned 15 battle stars. They only lost ten men in action and 67 injuries.

Exploring the ship you get a sense of daily life and a feel for battle. It is cramped and you do have to go up and down stairs to see the ship so proper footwear is important. It makes you think about being out to sea for months on end with the same people, cramped quarters, and war around you. This is a must see when coming to town.

Cape Fear River Wilmington NC

Williamington NC Vacation 4Chion Lifestyle e
Cape Fear River Wilmington NC

This river is the connection to the Atlantic Ocean. This river brings ships from all over the world to Wilmington. There are many restaurants that have great views of the river and sunsets. It is a fun place to enjoy a good pub crawl, but most bars in the area do not have happy hours.

For centuries this port has brought Europeans to America. Cape Fear River was often used for fleeing slaves to escape slavery. Orange Street is where 22 slaves escaped to freedom by way of the Cape Fear River. Orange Street place designated in 2005 by the National Park Service as part of its National Underground Railroad Network (click link to read about the Levi home) to Freedom Program. The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program is to preserve and commemorate the history of the Underground Railroad.

There is plenty to see and do in Wilmington for families, history buffs, and couples from:

  • Boardwalks
  • Watersports
  • Aquarium
  • Tour historic forts
  • Wilmington railroad
  • Museum of the Bizarre


Kilwins Chocolate Wilmington NC

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Kilwins Chocolate
Williamington Kilwins Chocolate NC Vacation 4Chion Lifestyle c
Kilwins Chocolate













This is a must stop when visiting Wilmington You can smell the sweetness down the street. This is just the start of the sensory experience provided. When entering the story your eyes are drawn to all the beautiful handcrafted chocolates and sweets. Located in the Historic Downtown. Ice cream is a popular treat in Wilmington. Kilwins makes bomb waffle cones, exceptional chocolates, and it is worth the wait.

They make their own ice cream from their original recipe with 40 premium, unique and delicious flavors including Mackinac Island Fudge. They use local farms for ingredients. The chocolate creations are amazing.

Mission BBQ Wilmington NC

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Mission BBQ Wilmington NC

Always looking for good BBQ traveling across the country. Each area has their own special BBQ. Wilmington’s Mission BBQ is American and traditional to the area. This place brings the flavors of the region to dinner. Enjoying collard greens made with tomatoes, mac-n-cheese, and green beans with bacon, brisket and NC Style pulled pork with the vinegar BBQ (this food tradition is from original settlers, African slaves on plantations and modern ones). This is an Eastern-style sauce that is vinegar and pepper, no tomatoes. Bar-b-que is serious here making it all the way to state Congress to declare the official bar-b-q.

Mission BBQ opened 09/11/11 ten years after 911. There is a tradition in the 52 restaurants stops at noon on Fridays to honor the military members and stars and stripes. The decor follows this continued theme with a patriotic dining room full of tributes to those who make our country great. There is really nothing more American than a barbeque.

The staff is exceptional and give a lot of insight to the food and history.  The food is a delicious find.


Photo credit and travel collaboration Raymond L. Forchion Jr.

Kilwins connect here

1050 Bay View Road

Petoskey, MI 49770

(888) 454-5946

Mission BBQ connect here

351 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403


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Follow the trip across America here:

NYC Taking on Midtown Manhattan ~ Travel

Chicago Food, Fun, and Relaxation ~ Road Trip

The Middle of the Midwest Champaign ~ Road Trip

Motor Raceway to USA Gymnastics ~ Midwest Road Trip

Over The Rocky Mountains We Go ~ Road Trip

The Journey to Zions and Beyond ~ Road Trip

Discovering The Great Outdoors of Arizona ~ Road Trip


Swim Week Miami ~ Beautiful Fashion

Swim Week Miami ~ Beautiful Fashion

Miami Swim Week is exceptional beautiful fashion, people, and place. Art Hearts Fashion Week celebrating 10 years presents a wonderful fashion week.

The party starts before the runway gets underway with a model party and a yacht ride to work. The fashion designers present collections perfect for your swim adventure with swimwear, resort wear, formal wear for the evening, and menswear.

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Mister Triple X Miami Swim Week

Mr. Triple X Miami Swim Week

Creative director Erik Rosete (director of Art Hearts Fashion Week). This collection presents a modern 1940s vintage look. The styling continues the designs with 1940s victory rolls in hair paired with a modern edge. The makeup is a vintage red/orange lips with a sleek winged liner a truly vintage look.

Mr. Triple X fashion line is high-end streetwear that embraces their inner rock star. This swim collection continues with the lines bold prints and neutral softer color tones. This brings the inner rock star style to any beach.

Bob Hale Miami Swim Week Art Hearts 4Chion Lifestyle
Bob Hale Miami Swim Week

Hale Bob Miami Swim Week

Hale Bob collection continues with the confident women who enjoy femininity, comfort, and prints for the summertime fun. This collection brings silk to the evening and ready-wear. Silk provides a sensual look with a nice cool fabric for summer. The great prints for summer with the season trend orange. The entire line from print to completion is developed in their own shop.

The collection has a real chic sexy look from the prints to the designs. The designs capture movement and transformation. The collection is perfect for your resort getaway to any beach, boat, or poolside. The scarfs are nice styling touch for summer after a day in the water. The collection is great for mixing prints and creating a personal style.

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Trina Turk and Mr. Turk Miami Swim Week

Trina Turk and Mr. Turk Miami Swim Week

Trina Turk presents Mr. Turk on the Miami Swim Week runway. The men’s swimwear includes bold print swimwear and open tops. The laid-back stand out styling is perfect for any boating or riding a Ski-Doo.

The women’s swimwear line is continuing that stand out fashion. The inspiration is a multicultural mix, creativity, craftsmanship, architecture, and colorful aesthetic. The summer line includes stripes, bright colors, and bold prints. The cover-ups match the swimsuit or you can mix and match for a personal approach.

The makeup and hair is an effortless look. Simplicity in both the makeup and hair. Makeup light dusting of cheek color as well as lip color to give a fresh sun-kissed glow. Minimal beach waves in hair for that just fresh from a stroll on the beach look. The continues the carefree glamour. 

Fernando Alberto Atelie Miami Swim Week Art Hearts 4Chion Lifestyle d
Fernando Alberto Atelier Miami Swim Week

Fernando Alberto Atelier Miami Swim Week

Alberto carries on the family tradition (3rd generation) of elegant fashion with his summer swimwear. He brings sophistication and luxury to the poolside. The accessories create a real personal statement while at the pool. The large wicker purses perfect for sunscreen, towels, and favorite fashion magazine.

Willfredo Gerardo Miami Swim Week Art Hearts 4Chion Lifestyle
Willfredo Gerardo Miami Swim Week Art Hearts

Willfredo Gerardo Miami Swim Week

Gerardo uses lines to bring dimension to the swimwear. The play with lines from prints to the layout of the swimwear brings fun and flirty. The styling for this runway continues the theme with glowing skin with nude lips. Pops of gold and violet on eyes. Sleek back wet look to hair. This is a great look for your beach trip. 

Summer Beauty Trends

Summer beauty trends from Miami Swim Week from April Love-Medrano, stylist for swim week, says this summer, “makeup trends this season is definitely glowing skin. This is achieved by adding illuminating drops to your favorite liquid foundation and set with a light dusting of a pearlized powder. For eyes, pops of gold and purples and very natural wispy lashes.

Summer is just underway. What is your favorite summertime beach? Post your answers here #4ChionStyle.


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The Middle of the Midwest Champaign ~ Road Trip

The Middle of the Midwest Champaign ~ Road Trip

Champaign in the Midwest is a place of community, gracious hosting, and friendliness. We spend a little more time here on our road trip. We meet up with our sister, Tina, at her home. It is centrally located to Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Kentucky. The food, fun, and adventures seemed endless in food, bars, bands, art, and nature.

Champaign Experiences

Champaign Illinois Midwest Road Trip Travel 4Chion Lifestyle Champaign Illinois Midwest Road Trip[/caption]

Japanese Tea House

The Japan House in Champaign is a great community center with beautiful surroundings. It is peaceful, welcoming, and tradition. Japanese tea ceremony is a formal presentation.  The service is the winter presentation. This ceremony is preparing and presenting the matcha. This ceremony is centuries old and is about purification, harmony, respect, and tranquility.

The Japan House motto is,  “the Way of Tea,” representing nature, heaven, and earth. This service was a winter presentation. The mats are laid in the pattern that each guest sits and the hearth is low to bring more warmth to the room. The hostess and guests bow to each other. The ceremony develops for westerners who find the traditional floor sitting difficult.  A chabana, a beautiful flower arrangement sitting to the side. The seasonal arrangement represents winter, this connects the room to nature.  There is a connection to water, earth, wood, fire, and metal with the utensils used for preparation.  This ceremony and ritual date back centuries with details being the key to the ceremony.

Things all returned the way they were except us. The ceremony brings a deeper sense of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility changing us while all else remains the same.

Japanese Tea House Midwest Road Trip Travel 4Chion Lifestyle
Japanese Tea House
William R. and Clarice V. Spurlock Museum of World Cultures

The Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois and there is no charge. It is a great place to explore centuries of sociology and culture. The museum is very open and intimate as well. It brings thousands of years and cultures to one museum. Many of the items in the museum are replicas of famous art exhibits found worldwide. This brings the best opportunity to fully explore and see the great cultures in the world.

The fun of the day was hanging with Kaleb, my nephew, he has been to the museum with school. It was the best to see the different cultures through time in 9 areas. It was fun posing like the statues and seeing the tons of pottery each culture created. Have extra time there are board games to play. The museum offers:

  • Established in 1911 by the Board of Trustees and housed on the 4th floor of Lincoln Hall
  • The World Heritage Museum in 1971
  • Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 2009
  • holds more than 50,000 artifacts from six continents from throughout human history
  • Over 50,000 visitors each year
  • Collaborates on research projects with universities and museums across the world
Homer Lake

Homer Lake is a forest preserve that has great walking trails, a beautiful lake, and a place to feed and watch the birds on the outskirts of the county. The beauty of the preserve is gorgeous spring is filling in the branches of the tree and flowers are beginning to bloom. The ducks and geese are nesting or wandering with little ones as I make my way around the park. Looking over the lake, soon a large blue herring flies low over the lake. It begins to rain slightly. What a wonderful sounds as the trees move in the winds. Homer Lake has boaters and fishermen trying to get out of the weather.

Homer Lake is free of charge. They do have an interpretive center where you learn more about the area, animals, birds, and more. They offer packs you can use for your exploration around the park. Each pack has specific adventures that are very insightful to the preserve and many trails. Inside the interpretive center, there are many displays, hands-on activities, and more.

Kickapoo State Park Road Trip Midwest 4chion Lifestyle-1
Kickapoo State Park
Kickapoo State Park

Entering the park at dusk, you hear the bullfrogs, ducks, geese, and birds give their final song for the day. There are fishermen on the shore with their families. The kids run free and explore the forest. It is green and flowers blooming. Hyde, my traveling dog, is loving the space. It is s a bright evening filled with breezes in the trees.  The best part of the exploration was watching the families of ducks make their way to the lake for a final swim. Hyde decided she needed to chase one or two sending the large flock airborne towards one of the 22 lakes in the park.

This park is free and in Vermillion County, close to Sleepy Creek Vineyard. This park offers activities for visitors to fully enjoy the park. The activities include:

  • A multi-purpose recreational trail that will cover 24.5 when completed. It will cover the regions vast ecosystems
  • Biking
  • Tubing
  • Canoeing
  • Paddling
  • Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, crappie, redear sunfish, and during fall rainbow trout. There is a shop for anglers in the park
  • Food stand
  • Boating
  • 6 walking trails
  • Picnic areas
  •  Community events

This was a great find and fun on our trip. Much of the beauty and diversity of the Midwest is seen here at this park.

This community is home to Eberfest, established by long resident Roger Ebert. A supporter of local bands as well as the start of REO Speedwagon with streets carrying the band members’ names. This community brings the arts, farmers’ markets, sports, and education for a great personal or family vacation.

Champaign Food

The Midwest food is all American. The area settled by Europeans including Germans, British, Italian, Hungarians, and Scandinavians. The simple hearty foods with a strong Christian influences continue today. The fusion food trend is not found here as much. You will find that true honest food as it was from the beginning.

This town is a place you find the all American food. It is a place worth stopping and checking out the food scene. This area is in Central Illinois about 2.5 hours south of Chicago. The area surrounded by small farm and dairy communities. It is known for farmers markets, fresh dairy (yes you can buy fresh milk at the farm), ethnic foods, and the classic American food.

Sleepy Creek Vineyard Road Trip Illinois 4Chion Lifestyle
Sleepy Creek Vineyard Road Trip
Sleepy Creek Vineyards

Driving in from St. Louis, you take exit 206 from I-74. The winery is a great location to come for many events. Weekly they have local musicians, wieners and wine, and Winery Mary Bar Every Sunday. The winery has great yearly events from Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and more.

The wine is sweet not a real full-bodied wine. They have a jalapeño red wine they substitute with vodka in the bloody Mary served on Sunday. The place is beautiful and serene setting. Locals bring their picnic lunches, you can buy cheese and crackers, or at times, a food truck might be here. The day we were there they had a band playing in the large barn, a strong community presence sitting outside by the creek overlooking the vineyard.


The Courier Café Urbana

The Courier Café brings Champaign history and old Victorian styling in the decor. The main dining room has:

  • A large palace chandelier from the Opera House in Erie Pennsylvania
  • The cash register is  the first electric cash register
  •  The courier clock pendulum filled with mercury makes the time keeping right
  • The stained glass comes from a Danville church predating the Civil War
  • The Pullman lamps light the aisle for passengers on the Pullman railroad cars
  • The brass chimes a gift from George Malford, a Nickelodeon Maker, they are steamed powered

The Café’s name is for the Courier newspaper that operated for decades in the building. The building was almost lost to fire and remained empty for decades. In 1980, the current owners began remodeling and opened for business on November 10, 1980. They are a farm to table restaurant with the garden and bees on the property for the freshest ingredients.

The menu is a hearty all American menu with breakfast served daily until 11 AM then lunch and dinner menu until closing. The breakfast is traditional eggs, omelets, fantastic pancakes, and hash browns. Their coffee is fresh ground daily and they have special blends. The lunch/dinner menu is hearty with ribeye sandwich, fries, soups, and steak. The food has that home cooked look and feel. They do have a few items for vegetarians including breakfast sausage. They do have one special treat “Courier water this is a sparkling water from deep below the café. It is a great place for large parties and a sense of the community in Champaign.


Amaravati Indian Royal Cuisine Champaign

Amaravati Indian Royal Cuisine primarily brings Southern Indian cuisine to Champaign. Southern Indian cuisine based around rice, lentils, and stews. Dishes The authenticity found in the menu. The waitress knowledge of the menu and very helpful with the dishes.

Enjoying Paneer Tikka Masala with cubes of fresh cottage cheese cooked with green peas in an onion, tomato & cashew based sauce. Garnished with Kasturi methi and cashew pieces. The flavors linger on your pallet. The rice is perfectly cooked. Dessert is rasamalai it is juice and cream. It is a sweet and good amount of heat. This dish has a history of being created in Britain by a Bangladeshi chef.

Champaign Food Road Trip 4Chion Lifestyel
Champaign Food Road Trip
Core Life Eatery Champaign

Entering the eatery, you hear a local band on an early Saturday morning. The eatery is a location of freshness and wholesome. The food is GMO, grass-fed steak, all-natural chicken, and no GMOs.  The broths are center to the soups. You pick your ingredients from a fresh selection that looks like a produce stand.

The soup is heavy in a great vegetable broth the Sriracha soaked bean sprouts make a nice substitute for noodles and Sriracha brings heat to the soup. The kale and Napa cabbage are barely cooked by the hot broth this brings a freshness and crunch to the flavor. The shiitake mushrooms add texture to the soup. It is refreshing with flavors that linger on the plate.

This town is a place to visit and stay a day or two. It has good hotels, offers Air BNB, and a friendly community. There is a lot you can see in town or a little drive.


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Follow the USA Road Trip Here:

Motor Raceway to USA Gymnastics ~ Midwest Road Trip

Journey For St Louis BBQ ~ Road Trip

Over The Rocky Mountains We Go ~ Road Trip

The Journey to Zions and Beyond ~ Road Trip

Discovering The Great Outdoors of Arizona ~ Road Trip