Welcome to Tar Heel Tastes and Travels

Welcome to my first post on Tar Heel Tastes and Travels: Blue Ridge to Barcelona…Traveling Gluten-Free.  I’m Mary, and I love to meet new people, explore locally, try new foods, and travel abroad. I’m often asking myself, “Where to next?”

Exploring North Carolina

North Carolina (The Tar Heel State) has been my home since 1990. I’ve visited many amazing places in NC, but I know have only scratched the surface of this beautiful state. Let the travels begin! In this blog, I will report back on my visits to towns, restaurants, and attractions in North Carolina. From time to time, my trips will take me beyond The Tar Heel State.


Several weeks ago, when I was preparing to launch a general NC travel and restaurant blog, I learned I have celiac disease and must eliminate gluten from my diet. I am still in the first stages of learning what this new regimen entails.  I do know it will make overnight travel more challenging. As I’ll need to eat on the road, I will be researching gluten-free restaurant and grocery items.  I hope I can create resources for others who are traveling gluten-free.

My Travel Companion in NC and Beyond

Library of Celsus, Ephesus, TurkeyMy husband Sam, who was born in North Carolina, will be joining me on most of my trips. Sam has an amazing sense of maps and navigation. (I don’t.)  We are empty-nesters who seek unique yet affordable restaurants and destinations. We’ve enjoyed a wide range of accommodations, from budget bed-and-breakfasts to upscale cruises. Each time we travel, we learn more about saving money on travel, navigating transportation, and getting off the beaten path. Part of what makes our adventures possible is thorough research and budgeting. However, we do splurge for special or unique opportunities.

Kid Stuff

Because we also enjoy spending time with our young grandchildren (who live near the Carolina coast), I’ll occasionally include suggestions for family-friendly activities like museums and parks.

To See the World…

My first memory of wanting to explore the world was watching the movie Heidi on television when I was a girl; I thought it would be amazing to live in the Swiss Alps. Growing up in Boston, I was always fascinated by faraway places.

I have been fortunate to travel to 25 other states and 23 countries so far. (By the way, I did make it to Heidi’s Switzerland on a backpacking trip in 1984.) Over the years, my travel accommodations have ranged from dreadful to luxurious; every stay was memorable, though.

Now, online resources like Tripadvisor and Rick Steves’ Europe allow travelers to meticulously research lodging and restaurants from the other side of the world–minimizing unpleasant surprises.  Planning and research are integral and fun parts of a trip. At the same time, unexpected events in travel are inevitable and can create the most lasting memories.

And so the adventure begins…

I hope you’ll follow Tar Heel Tastes and Travels, where I’ll:

  • highlight places and people that make NC unique
  • review gluten-free restaurants and products
  • share tips for gluten-free travel in other states and countries
Thanks for stopping by! More posts coming soon…