Blake Miller

Correspondent

  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Blake Miller is a Forbes Travel Guide correspondent who lives in Charlotte. Before embarking on her freelance career, Miller was an editor at Philadelphia and Charlotte magazines, the latter of which she oversaw all travel coverage. During her time at Charlotte, she helped launch two award-winning ancillary publications, Charlotte Home + Garden and Charlotte Wedding. The self-described wannabe foodie and fitness freak has covered travel, interior design, and health and fitness for US Airways Magazine, Redbook, Self, ElleDecor.com, Four Seasons Magazine, Women’s Health, among other national and regional publications.

  • On June 22, 2013
    Blake Miller answered the question: Blake Miller

    Where is the best outlet shopping in Charlotte?

    Concord Mills is easily the closest (and best) option for outlet shopping in Charlotte. About 40 minutes from Uptown Charlotte, Concord Mills is home to outlet outposts of Coach, Crocs, Nike, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, GAP, Banana Republic, Bose, and much more (including the soon-to-be-opened Vans outlet store). Because it’s such a popular destination not only for out of towners but also locals, the best time to visit Concord Mills is midweek in the morning when there are few people shopping leaving more deals for you to take advantage of.

    Closer to town is the relatively new Nordstrom Rack. Here you can score deals on pieces from Rag and Bone, Burberry, and Tory Burch. The selection of kids’ shoes, though, is a hit with parents, who want to nab serious discounts on Crocs, Nike, New Balance, and more for their little ones.
  • On June 22, 2013
    Blake Miller answered the question: Blake Miller

    What are the best outdoor activities in Charlotte?

    With its mild weather, Charlotteans love to be outside year round, even during the heavy heat of the summer months. To escape the hot temps, residents head to one of the two local lakes nearby, Lake Norman near Davidson and Mooreesville and Lake Wylie just over the North Carolina/South Carolina border. Rent a pontoon boat or Jet Ski and sail the water before docking up at the Rusty Rudder or Blue Parrot Grille, two of Lake Norman’s top lakeside restaurants. If you’re on Lake Wylie, consider stopping by T-Bones, where the outdoor patio features a fantastic view of the action on the lake.

    For adventure seekers, head to the U.S. National Whitewater Center where you can cool off by riding the rapids or work up a sweat mountain biking the 20 miles of scenic trails on property. If relaxing is more your speed come to the Whitewater River Jam series, which takes place every Thursday evening, from 7 to 10 p.m., May through September, or Saturdays 7 to 10 p.m., June through August. You can grab a draft beer and some appetizers from River’s Edge Bar & Grill and enjoy the music by local and regional acts.

    Charlotte is also home to fantastic golf courses including the Golf Club at Ballantyne at the Forbes Four Star Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge. The public, championship PGA course is open year round.
  • On June 22, 2013
    Blake Miller answered the question: Blake Miller

    What are the best day trips near Charlotte?

    Because of its proximity to the beach and the mountains, there’s no shortage of fantastic day trips from Charlotte. Just under two hours from the Queen City is Blowing Rock, North Carolina. This mountain town—so popular that many Charlotteans have second homes there—features galleries, cafes, candy stores, and fantastic festivals including the Blue Ridge Wine & Food Festival held every spring. Blowing Rock is also home to the luxurious Westglow Resort & Spa, which boasts the best view of the Blue Ridge Mountains during the peak leaf peeping weeks of late September and early October.

    Another smaller town just under two hours is Pinehurst, home to the Forbes Four Star Pinehurst Resort & Spa. Located in the Sandhills, the town of Pinehurst has a lovely downtown full of galleries, great storefronts, and restaurants and bars. The true attraction here, though, is the resort itself. Spend the day at the Forbes Four Star Spa at Pinehurst or tee off on one of Pinehurst’s famed courses (course No. 2 will host the men’s and women’s U.S. Open in 2014). Finish off the day trip with dinner at 1895 Grille, Pinehurst Resort’s upscale dining option featuring Lowcountry fare.
  • On June 20, 2013
    Blake Miller answered the question: Blake Miller

    What are the best boutique hotels in Charlotte?

    The Forbes Four-Star Ritz-Carlton Charlotte is easily the best boutique hotel in the city while the Forbes Four-Star Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge in Ballantyne—just 20-plus minutes from the city center—is the best boutique property in the suburbs.

    The Ritz-Carlton has a more urban feel and being that it’s centrally located in uptown, it has also become the go-to accommodation for business travelers. Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge exudes southern charm with its traditional décor and location in the stunning Charlotte suburb of Ballantyne.

    Both properties boast luxury amenities including impressive spas, fine dining (BLT Steak and Bar Cocoa at the Ritz; Gallery Restaurant & Bar at Ballantyne), impressive (and popular) bars and lounges (the Ritz’s Urban Sip has become a hot spot for city dwellers; the Gallery’s bar is the go-to area for business drinks and post-golf games), and amenities such as a pool, in-room WiFi, and state-of-the-art fitness facilities.
  • On June 18, 2013
    Blake Miller answered the question: Blake Miller

    What are the best attractions in Charlotte?

    Easily one of the biggest draws to Charlotte is its racing scene and with that comes the attraction of the relatively new NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown. Filled with memorabilia from racing decades past, here is where you'll learn about the history of the sport. Not to be missed is one of the best features of the museum, Glory Road. This banked ramp simulating various racetracks also showcases 18 historic cars not to mention highlights 40 current and historic tracks.

    Just a short walk from there is the Levine Center for the Arts, an impressive campus featuring five museums and theaters including the Mint Museum Uptown, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the John S. and James L. Knight Theater. Expect a vast array of revolving exhibits that range from Native American art to Broadway shows such as The Lion King.

    If you’re willing to make the drive out of town, head to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, situated on 400 acres of pristine land. With over 24 activities (including riding the rapids or biking the trails), a restaurant, live music shows, and events including the Microbrew Cruise—a sunset paddle along the Catawba River followed by a fireside dinner with craft beer tastings from local breweries such as Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and NoDad Brewing Company—you’ll find plenty to do here.

    For the shopping fanatic, a visit to SouthPark is a must. The main shopping destination in the city and state, SouthPark is anchored by SouthPark Mall, which features showrooms by designers such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., St. John, Tory Burch, Hermes, and soon-to-be-opened Gucci.
  • On June 18, 2013
    Blake Miller answered the question: Blake Miller

    What are the best activities to do in Charlotte?

    Luckily for Charlotteans, the mild weather here allows for ample time to spend outdoors yearround. For those who love to get outside, an absolute must is the U.S. National Whitewater Center. This 400-acre park just outside the city is a playground for the ultimate adventure lover. Ride the rapids in one of the 8-person whitewater rafting boats or opt for a single-person kayak. Afterwards, dry off and head to the Adventure Course where you’ll maneuver from one obstacle to another 20 feet in the air or opt for the Canyon Zip Line, each of which are 200 feet long.

    A less active option is to take a stroll down Queens Road West in Myers Park, which boasts some of the most impressive homes and architecture in the South. Centuries-old oak trees tower over the sidewalk-lined streets providing a massive canopy, which allows for a comfortable walk even in the heat of the summer. A few turns off Queens Road West will bring you to the famous Duke Mansion. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the impressive all-white home was built in 1915 and was tripled by its most famous owner James Buchanan Duke. Since then, The Duke Mansion has been home and host to leaders of the 20th century not to mention a popular venue for weddings and events.
  • On June 18, 2013
    Blake Miller answered the question: Blake Miller

    What are the best hotels in Charlotte?

    Depending on where you're staying, there are two fantastic options for lodging in Charlotte. If you're staying outside Uptown in the Ballantyne area, you can't go wrong with the Forbes Travel Guide-rated Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge. Located in the heart of Ballantyne on a public, championship PGA golf course, the traditionally-decorated Forbes Four Star hotel exudes Southern charm and hospitality not to mention a popular restaurant and bar. The Forbes Four Star Gallery Restaurant serves delicious contemporary American fare. For a more modern feel, head to the bar where the chic decor--sleek wood paneling, an illuminated bar, and comfy seating with sleek lines--couples well with the impressive Baucom’s Best Farms beef burger. This mouthwatering burger is layered with Guinness-soaked gruyere, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, sautéed onions, and served alongside hush puppies or sweet potato fries. A bonus: add foie gras for a most decadent entree.

    If you’re in Uptown, book a room at the Forbes Four Star Ritz-Carlton Charlotte. This relatively new property is the most luxurious in Uptown boasting a cool, modern aesthetic and one of the most popular bars in the city. With the addition of Bar Cocoa—the premier dessert bar and chocolate bar in Charlotte--guests can sample housemade pasties, confections, French-style macarons, gelato, cakes, cupcakes, and even ultra-rich hot chocolate and chocolate-infused cocktails.  Before dinner, head upstairs for a cocktail at Urban Sip. This sophisticated lounge offers a near-panoramic view of the city and a menu featuring a distinctive selection of wines by the glass, premium Scotches, tapas and artisanal cheeses. For dinner, make a reservation at BLT Steak, one of the city’s top steakhouses.
  • On June 18, 2013
    Blake Miller answered the question: Blake Miller

    What are the best activities to do in Charlotte?

    Luckily for Charlotteans, the mild weather here allows for ample time to spend outdoors yearround. For those who love to get outside, an absolute must is the U.S. National Whitewater Center. This 400-acre park just outside the city is a playground for the ultimate adventure lover. Ride the rapids in one of the 8-person whitewater rafting boats or opt for a single-person kayak. Afterwards, dry off and head to the Adventure Course where you’ll maneuver from one obstacle to another 20 feet in the air or opt for the Canyon Zip Line, each of which are 200 feet long.
    A less active option is to take a stroll down Queens Road West in Myers Park, which boasts some of the most impressive homes and architecture in the South. Centuries-old oak trees tower over the sidewalk-lined streets providing a massive canopy, which allows for a comfortable walk even in the heat of the summer. A few turns off Queens Road West will bring you to the famous Duke Mansion. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the impressive all-white home was built in 1915 and was tripled by its most famous owner James Buchanan Duke. Since then, The Duke Mansion has been home and host to leaders of the 20th century not to mention a popular venue for weddings and events.
  • On June 18, 2013
    Blake Miller answered the question: Blake Miller

    What are the best attractions in Charlotte?

    Easily one of the biggest draws to Charlotte is its racing scene and with that comes the attraction of the relatively new NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown. Filled with memorabilia from racing decades past, here is where you'll learn about the history of the sport. Not to be missed is one of the best features of the museum, Glory Road. This banked ramp simulating various racetracks also showcases 18 historic cars not to mention highlights 40 current and historic tracks.
    Just a short walk from there is the Levine Center for the Arts, an impressive campus featuring five museums and theaters including the Mint Museum Uptown, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the John S. and James L. Knight Theater. Expect a vast array of revolving exhibits that range from Native American art to Broadway shows such as The Lion King.
    If you’re willing to make the drive out of town, head to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, situated on 400 acres of pristine land. With over 24 activities (including riding the rapids or biking the trails), a restaurant, live music shows, and events including the Microbrew Cruise—a sunset paddle along the Catawba River followed by a fireside dinner with craft beer tastings from local breweries such as Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and NoDad Brewing Company—you’ll find plenty to do here.
    For the shopping fanatic, a visit to SouthPark is a must. The main shopping destination in the city and state, SouthPark is anchored by SouthPark Mall, which features showrooms by designers such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., St. John, Tory Burch, Hermes, and soon-to-be-opened Gucci.
  • On June 15, 2013
    Blake Miller is now following Jerilyn Kuthe
  • On June 15, 2013
    Blake Miller is now following Cristina Tudino
  • On June 15, 2013
    Blake Miller is now following Angie Orth
  • On June 15, 2013
    Blake Miller is now following Michelle Doucette
  • On June 15, 2013
    Blake Miller is now following Quia Querisma
  • On June 15, 2013
    Blake Miller is now following Amanda Arnold