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September means festival season in Raleigh, and with one every weekend, you can understand why! Here is a list of all the fun activities to participate in this month:

  • The African American Cultural Festival: Labor Day Weekend kicks us off by celebrating African American culture as expressed through art, music, food, and community. There are various performances held at City Plaza, in addition to an art gallery walk to view original pieces, a market place to purchase clothing, jewelry, accessories, and home décor, and a collection of amazing food along the way. There are kid activities such as drum circles, story tellers, dance troupes, as well as craft tents where you can make your own masks. The festival opens at 11:00 am, more information is available here.
  • Hopscotch Music Festival: One of the “best and most eclectic music festivals in America” Hopscotch is indefinable by any who try. This 4 day music festival goes from Thursday, September 7th through Sunday, September 10th, and features free day shows along with an adventurous lineup of bands in venues around downtown Raleigh in the evenings. This festival showcases all types of music including rock, hip-hop, bluegrass, folk, electronic, and experimental with performers both well-known and undiscovered. You will see married couples, children, college kids, locals and out-of-towners all wandering through streets taking it all in. By far one of the best events all year, it is not to be missed. Details and event schedule available here.
  • Sparkcon: Sparkcon takes place on September 14 through 17 in downtown raleigh and features more than 2000 artists in over 200 events. These include fire twirlers, aerial silks, dancers and painters, fashion, music, and more. There are kid friendly activities and demonstrations, food trucks, all wrapped up in this incredible creativity festival. This event is free, more information can be found here.
  • Bugfest 2017: After indulging in your creative side, head over to The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for Bugfest 2017! Beginning at 9:00 on Saturday, September 16, enjoy entertaining displays, fascinating demonstrations, a beekeeping workshop, and even taste a few creepy crawlies at the Café Insecta. Then hang out with moths, fireflies, and katydids and other nocturnal activities during the Evening Insectival. Details can be found here.
  • The Fiesta Del Pueblo: Another wonderful cultural festival is the Fiesta Del Pueblo, a celebration of Hispanic culture taking place on Sunday, September 24th. Filled with artists, musicians, vendors and performers, this is a great way to spend your Sunday. Filled with food vendors, enjoy tastes of the Caribbean, Cuba, Venezuela, Peru, and more. For a full list of activities and details, click here.
  • Wide Open Bluegrass: closing out the month is the annual Blue Grass Festival September 29th and 30th. Another great music festival, this free festival has 5 stages located throughout downtown Raleigh, along with a dance tent, BBQ championships, art, food, shopping, and more. There will be the musical talents of local, national, and international artists playing throughout the weekend, it is a must see! Details and full schedule is available here.

For more information on our great city, as well as parking details for downtown Raleigh, head to VisitRaleigh.

It is hard to believe it is already August! But we guess time flies when you are having fun, and we plan to continue doing so all month long. Here are our favorite events taking place this August:

Art Gallery Opening and Wine Reception: We are excited to welcome Marcy Gregg to The Umstead Art Gallery this month. Her multifaceted explorations of the intrinsic beauty of form and the inherent properties of her chosen medium of fine oil paints showcase her creative compositions, reflecting her love of color and texture. Join us for the opening on August 3rd in The Gallery for a wine reception and a chance to mingle with the artist. Reservations available at 919-447-4050.

First Friday Raleigh: Head to downtown Raleigh on August 4th for First Friday. This is a big favorite amongst the locals, with local galleries, art studios and shops staying open late and hosting live music. It is entirely self-guided, so park downtown and wander around to see what you can find. Some of our favorite stops are CAM, Capital Club 16, City Market, Artspace, and Lumina Clothing. Visit their website here for more information and a detailed map.

Redress Raleigh Fashion Show: Speaking of CAM, they are hosting their annual Redress Fashion Show on Friday, August 18th. This event spotlights conscious and responsibly-produced fashion in the Southeast. Collections selected for the show feature responsibly designed clothing, upcycled pieces, eco-friendly fabrics and sustainable production processes. Tickets are available here along with more information.

Total Solar Eclipse: While this isn't specific to our area, it is certainly worth seeing! On August 21st the sun will disappear completely behind the moon, coating the sky in twilight and dropping temperatures everywhere. Our area is scheduled to see it at it's peak at 2:45 pm, so get outdoors for this incredible experience!

Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival: As a Raleigh Native, one event I’ve been going to since I was a little kid is the Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival in Cary. In their 41st year, this festival will be held on August 26th and 27th and features art, crafts, music, food, and a variety of events such as glass blowing demonstrations and wood working. There will also be a kids area filled with family friendly activities. For more information, visit their website here.

Mark Hewitt Kiln Opening: One of our favorite North Carolina Potters, whom we feature throughout the property, is none other than Mark Hewitt. And this month, he is hosting a kiln opening at his studio in Pittsboro, NC, which is about 30 minutes from the hotel. Take a look at new pieces and glazes while enjoying a little time outside of the city. More details are available here.



For today’s Wedding Wednesday blog we are looking into the topic of wedding party gifts, specifically for the groomsmen. The idea is to get them something they will like and actually use – hopefully on more than just the day of the wedding. It is a way of saying thank you for all the help they have put forth, including the time, money, and energy to attend engagement parties, bachelor weekends, and anything else you may have needed. So to help you show your gratitude, here is a list of a few of our favorite gift ideas:

Traditional gifts: the first gift ideas that come to mind are the generally “traditional” gifts, which include ties, bowties, and socks that the group is expected to wear the day of the wedding. While we love this idea, they may not be able to utilize them after the wedding, especially if your color scheme is not quite their style. So why not throw a little something extra in there that they can use later too, such as an engraved pocket knife, bar key, or even some of the other gift items mentioned below.

Tie bar and cufflinks: Add a little personalization to the gifts with an engraved tie bar or cufflinks. We’ve seen great ones that are unique, such as a different superhero for each, or their initials. No matter how casual your friends are, they can always use a classic pair of cufflinks in the future.

Money clips and wallets: Another great gift idea that everyone can use is a sturdy money clip or leather wallet. Bonus points if you have their initials engraved beforehand.

Leather dopp kits: when you were young, you may have just thrown your stuff straight into your travel bag or perhaps grabbed a plastic one from the kitchen. But now that we are older, everyone can use a dopp kit, especially one that will hold up as well as leather. You can put a few other items in there, as their tie for the day like we mentioned earlier.

They favorite bottle of alcohol or a personalized flask: A great way to keep the celebration going, and something they will be guaranteed to enjoy is their favorite bottle of spirits and a flask to carry it in. While on the conversation of flasks, if you go that route, try one that is a combination. We’ve seen great options with are both a flask and cigar holder, or have a collapsible shot glass discretely included. You can even include whisky stones or something similar for added effect.

Something specific to your wedding: Here is where you can get unique to your group of friends or a theme you may want to adhere to. Maybe you are having a beach wedding and you purchase them all a pair of rainbows. Or you want everyone dress in black Chuck Taylors for the big event. We even had a group of groomsmen who all received Storm Trooper helmets. Yes, as in the ones from Star Wars.

You can even do a combination of any of the above for a goodie bag. Or you can think about each wedding party member individually and select a gift unique to them. Be sure to utilize your resources too. Etsy, The Knot Shop, and even local novelty stores can be a gold mine of ideas. However you choose to say thank you, your men are sure to appreciate it.

photography by Martha Manning Photography

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