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The holidays are looming as we approach November, which means the beginning of holiday events. Here is a list of how we plan to spend the season:

Umstead Uncorked: Our monthly wine tasting is a bit earlier this month, set for November 8th. We are traveling through time at this uncorked, and exploring the difference a year can make. Sample the same wine side by side, with the only difference being the year they were produced, and see if you can tell the impact a year can make. Learn more about how rain, temperatures, and other elementals determine the direction the wine will take. Tickets available at 919-447-4050, more information available here.

Moonlight in the Garden: the local J.C.Raulston Arboretum boasts beautiful botanicals, but what we really love is the chance to see the gardens at night with their Moonlight in the Garden event. Available Thursday through Saturday, November 9th - 11th and 16th to 18th, there will be food trucks, live music, and fire pits to stay warm by, but the real treat is walking through the maze of flowers lit up by luminaries and colored lights. More information and ticket details can be found here.

Carolina Artisan Craft Market: jumpstart your holiday shopping at the Carolina Artisan Craft Market on November 10th through 12th. This market includes over 100 different artisans and goods made from glass, ceramic, wood, metals, leather, in addition to handmade furniture, clothing, and jewelry. There will also be art demonstrations and live music throughout, details are available here.

Annual Christmas Parade: though it isn’t quite December yet, Jolly ol’ Saint Nick is heading into town on November 18th with the annual Christmas Parade in downtown Raleigh. Beginning at 9:40 am on Hillsborough street, they will be touring through the town concluding at Lenior street by the Duke Progress Energy Center. More information on parking and routes can be found here.

Christmas Tree Lighting: if you miss the parade, or don’t want to worry about sitting in the traffic, then stop by North Hills for their annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony also on November 18th. A great event for the kids, this event has snow slopes, trackless train rides, bounce castles and a vendor village. Activities begin at 3:30, with Santa’s arrival at 6:00 pm bringing in the tree lighting. There are plenty of great restaurants near by, but we advise making reservations in advance, more information available here.

The Chinese Lantern Festival: Another one of our favorites is the annual Chinese Lantern Festival, kicking off on November 24th. We love to go when all our family is in town, the perfect way to finish Thanksgiving weekend. These larger than life Chinese lanterns are lit with thousands of LED lights and displayed throughout the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary. From gigantic swans to the dragon lit on Symphony lake, there is tons to see, but this year the festival will also include performances such as traditional Chinese dances, foot juggling, and vase juggling. Details can be found here.

For more events, speak to our friends at VisitRaleigh or our own Concierge team at 919-447-4030.

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Now that fall is here and the hot and humid weather we call a Raleigh summer is gone, we are excited to see the leaves start to change and breath in that crisp morning air. Take it from a Raleigh native, the best time to be in the City of Oaks is now. And a great way to take advantage of the weather is at the gorgeous local parks, of which there are many. Here are a few of our favorites, with something for everyone:

Umstead State Park: The closest to the hotel, and our namesake, is the Umstead State Park. Named after Governor William B. Umstead, this park features a network of hiking and multi use nature trails. The Concierge offers complimentary bike rentals from the hotel on a first come, first serve basis, but the park also offers canoe and row boat rentals too. Enjoy time under the green canopy and breath in that fresh fall air.

J.C.Rauston Arboretum: for the botanical gardeners out there, head over to the J.C. Raulston Arboretum. Filled with plants native to the piedmont, wander through the perennials and roses, into the Asian Valley, past the Lath House. For a whole different take on the gardens, try the “Moonlight in the Garden” event, which is one of my personal favorites. There are food trucks, fire pits, and live music, but it is amazing to see the way the grounds are lit up by the luminaries and working your way through the florals under the stars. But keep in mind, temperatures can drop quickly at night here, so bring a pair of gloves.

NCMA Park: How about a little art with your nature? The Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park at the North Carolina Museum of Art has permanent and temporary art installations scattered throughout, including the trio of Gyre rings, but follow the footpath down the capital area greenway to enjoy the floating chairs of Tom Shields or the Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky.

Jordan Lake: one lake that everyone who grew up in Raleigh visited is Jordan Lake. About 30 minutes outside of Raleigh, this 14,000 acre reservoir is the perfect place for hiking and swimming, they even offer pontoon boat tours! We also love watching the wildlife. Bald Eagles can regularly be seen flying overhead and hunting for prey, so be sure to bring your camera and binoculars.

There are plenty of other natural parks and lakes worth exploring in the area. Head over to Visit Raleigh for a full list, and many other activities to enjoy this season.

The best time to be in North Carolina is during the fall, and October means it is finally here! As we patiently wait for the leaves to begin to change, here is where you will find us this month enjoying the cooler weather:

Fall Menus: with the new season comes new fall menus in Herons! With fresh flavors and new ingredients from over 14 local farms, including our own One Oak Farm, we can’t wait to see what Chef Steven has been cooking up. For reservations and menus, visit us here.

Oktoberfest: Starting off the month, we are heading to the Kokabooth Amphitheater on October 6th and 7th for Oktoberfest! There will be live entertainment, wiener dog races, Bavarian food, contests, and of course German beer, all going to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For ticket information and other details, click here.

The North Carolina State Fair: We are going to the fairgrounds October 12th through 22nd for the annual N.C. State Fair. This annual event brings in visitors from all over, including locals, to try the array of deep fried foods, games, rides, music and shows. Open daily, tickets can be purchased here.

Birth of the Bird: The Umstead Gift Shop is delighted to present The Birth of the Bird by Oiva Toikka for Iittala beginning on October 14th. Discover how these amazing glass birds are created by artisans in Helsinki, Finland. Beginning as a mere piece of molten glass, these nature inspired creations are delicately hand crafted through a 7 stage process. This unique display will be available for viewing in The Gift Shop until November 18th. Information available here.

Diwali Festival 2017: the 17th annual Diwali Festival or Festival of Lights, is being held at Kokabooth Amphitheater on October 14th as well. This sensory experience is a widely celebrated religious and cultural event in India, and will feature music, dance, a handicraft bazaar, food vendors, art, and more. More information can be found here.

International Festival: Head to downtown Raleigh October 20th through October 22nd for the 32nd annual International Festival. With live performances, food, a bazaar, cooking workshops, and a children’s corner, there is something for everyone. For tickets and more information click here.

Halloween at Hogwarts: The top most visited attraction is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and we love their adult nights events! This month, step through platform 9 ¾ on October 27th for their Harry Potter Halloween event. Drink butterbeer, walk through the Forbidden Forest, and enjoy music, games, and drinks afterhours at the museum. Event information and tickets available here.

For more events and other ways to live like the locals do, speak with our Concierge at 919-447-4030.

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