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Happy New Year! It's hard to believe another year has come and gone. As we wrap up the holidays, we are looking forward to relaxing this month. With the weather turning drastically colder - and possible snow on the way - here is how you will find us making the most of January:

The Umstead Uncorked wine tasting series is back! Beginning on January 11th, enjoy a Celebration in Sparkling with a variety of champagnes and sparkling wines for any occasion. Then on January 25th, take a Trip to Spain. With its long history of wine you will taste vintages from all over the country. Tickets are $40 per person, per event, and are all inclusive. More information available here.

Whether you are a millennial or not, we all are dependent on our cell phones and other technology, much to our dismay. To help with this, Elizabeth Trinkaus of Pinnacle View joins us on January 18th for a Digital Detox Lecture. With simple tools, Elizabeth will teach us easy ways to de-stress, relax, and recharge. Tickets can be purchased at 919-447-4050, more information available here.

It's the Year of the Rooster! Celebrate the Chinese New Year on January 28th with the new year festival at the State Fairgrounds. With food, performances, puppet shows, crafts, and kids' activities, there is something for everyone. More information can be found here. You can also head over to Kokabooth Amphitheater between January 1st and January 15th and enjoy the Chinese Lantern Festival. More information available here.

Compliments of the House: to help you slow down, take advantage of our complimentary yoga each Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9:00 am. Speak with our Concierge for more details at 919-447-4030.

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It is hard to believe Christmas is the day after tomorrow! Hopefully you are enjoying time with friends and family, but for those who either have procrastinated or are panicking because you can’t think of the perfect gift, we have a few last minute ideas to help you finish out your shopping list.

  • First, head to our Gift Shop. From home accessories to jewelry, glassware and clothing, this jewel box of delights has something for everyone. I love the Alexis Bittar jewelry, hand blown glass ornaments, and the Ben Owen Pottery with a variety of price points.
  • For the art lovers, our newest Gallery Artist Christopher Marley’s pieces feature incredible insects, minerals, fossils, botanicals, and deep sea organisms with each element of unusual aesthetic. He does nothing to alter the colorations but each is vivid is its display. These pieces are also for sale in the Gift Shop and begin at $325.
  • Another great option is a spa goodie bag. There are so many wonderful product lines such as Decleor, Jurlique, and Valmont, but the one product I can’t live without is the De La Terre Herb Rich Balm. This balm can be used for almost anything- eye makeup remover, moisturizer, lip balm, burn ointment, sunspots on your pet, eye cream, the list goes on. And it is 100% organic and made right here in North Carolina.
  • Sometimes a “gift” can be less traditional, and I love treating my friends to more of an experience than something tangible. Why not treat your loved ones to drinks in the lounge by the fire while enjoying the holiday décor and live music in the evenings? Nothing beats the gift of good memories.
  • Still at a loss? Then let them decide! The Umstead offers gift cards in any dollar amount and acts as cash. The recipient can use it towards dinner in Herons, The Spa, Afternoon Tea, or a multitude of options since the gift cards never expire and can be used anywhere until the amount is used fully. Gift cards can be purchased at our concierge desk any time of day – so if you must sneak out at 6:00 am, we still have you covered.

 

Happy Holidays from The Umstead!

Being in the hospitality industry, we are always looking for new ways for our guests to feel welcome and at home away from home. After many years we have found perfect ways to create our own guest rooms into a pseudo-hotel room itself, perfect for our loved ones to escape while visiting for the holidays. Here are some of our favorite tips to make your guest room more inviting :

1. Passwords and instructions – when we first got the internet, the password was simply our phone number and name. Now we have 16-digit and letter combination codes and find ourselves searching for them whenever anyone asks, only to have to repeat ourselves multiple times, because B’s and D’s, S’s and F’s, too many letters sound the same. Make it easy for your guests by having a printout of the password ready and available in their room. Throw in special instructions on how to use the TV, DVD player, or operate the coffee machine. We all wake up at different times and no one wants to be the first up and then have to wait for coffee.

2. Speaking of coffee, how about water and snacks? Nothing fancy, it could simply be two glasses with a carafe and a tin of mixed nuts, but not everyone will feel comfortable going through your cabinets or mentioning when they are hungry.

3. Just as not everyone wakes up at the same time, not everyone goes to bed at the same time, so toss a few magazines and books into your guest room that your visitors might enjoy. Coffee table books are great, but I always like to include a book that is easy to get interested in for a better read.

4. Toiletries – be sure to have extra toothpaste and toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toilet paper, Q-tips, and dental floss in the guest bathroom. It is these little things that they may not realize they forgot until they need it. I like to go a step further and include a few basic medicines, such as Tylenol, Advil, and Tums or some other form of upset stomach medicine.

5. And while we are on the subject of extras, be sure to include extra blankets, towels, washcloths, and hangers for your guests. You never know if they will need them.

A little bit of effort goes a long way, and your guests, no matter how close you are, will appreciate it. However, if you would prefer to go the easier route, The Umstead is happy to welcome your loved ones for the holidays too. Book their accommodations online or speak with a reservations agent at 919.447.4050. Happy Holidays!

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