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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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The holidays are here! I don’t know about you, but if you feel like us, they crept up quietly and we can’t believe they are already upon us. Fortunately, we have you covered for all your Locals We Love this season and where you will find us:

Herons is excited to offer a special White Truffle Kaiseki Dinner available nightly during the month of December. The illusive white truffle is often called the “white diamond of Italy” and can only be harvested certain months of the year. Incredibly difficult to find, this rare and delicate truffle is one of the most coveted ingredients in the world and provides a sensory experience unlike any other. Reservations must be made one week in advance of the desired date, and tickets can be purchased at 919.447.4050. More information can be found here.

Start your New Year’s Eve celebration in Herons as James Beard Semifinalist, Chef Steven Greene prepares a special four course dinner with selection of entrée as you reflect on the year past and prepare for the year to come. Full menu available here, reserve your table at 919.447.4050.

The countdown has already begun for 2017! We are looking forward to our annual celebration and welcoming back The Soul Psychedelique to help us ring in the new year. Enjoy premium spirits and a wide array of food stations including crab claws, smoked duck, artisanal cheeses from local dairies, and an incredible pastry bar filled with Nutella crunch bars, strawberry champagne cheesecake tarts, and Umstead Ferrero Roches. With a grand finale countdown and confetti cannon at midnight, we can’t wait to dance the night away. Tickets are all inclusive and can be purchased at 919.447.4050 with more details available here. Inquire about overnight accommodations as well and make an evening of it.

Though we don’t see the same frigid temperatures as the north does, we do have our own Rockefeller-style outdoor ice rink for skating! Head downtown to the city center for Raleigh’s only natural outdoor rink. Tickets are $10 per person and include skate rental, though skaters are permitted to bring their own. This is one the locals take advantage of every year, you don’t want to miss it! Schedule available here.

The North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival is another huge hit here at the Koka Booth Amphitheater. These larger than life lanterns light up the amphitheater and are available for viewing Tuesdays through Sundays from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for kids ages 3 to 17. This year there will be cultural performances and artisanal crafts too! Details available here.

If you have ever driven down Blount street you have probably seen the North Carolina Executive Mansion, but chances are you have never been through those large iron gates surrounding the property. Well, if you ever wanted to, you can go Thursday, December 8 through Sunday, December 11th. This holiday open house is decorated with North Carolina grown Christmas trees, floral arrangements, and mantle displays. Admission is free and reservations are not needed, so while you are wandering around downtown Raleigh, head on by for a viewing. More information can be found here.

Another Raleigh landmark is the historical Mordecai house, the oldest house in Raleigh on its original location. This December 10th and 11th they host their annual Holiday Open House. Tour the home to see how the Mordecai family would have celebrated the holidays over the decades. Each room features a different time period, from colonial times through World War II. This free event begins at 10:00am on Saturday and 1:00 pm on Sunday. More details here.

Every Raleigh local – myself included – have seen Ira David Wood III’s version of A Christmas Carol at least once. Now in its 42nd year, it has been named one of the top 20 events in the Southeast and is perfect for everyone. Tickets prices range from $30 to $82, details can be found here.

Prefer the ballet over the theater? Then be sure to get tickets to the Carolina Ballet’s Nutcracker, performing between December 3rd through December 24th at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium and DPAC. Get your tickets here.

Compliments of the house: Enjoy sitting fireside in our lounge with friends, listening to live music and make memories to last. The holidays are meant to be shared with those you love, let The Umstead be the backdrop for your holiday gatherings.

With the upcoming weather this week, it looks like summer may finally be waning and we are catching the first glimpse of fall! Now before you trade in your chiffon blouses for cashmere sweaters keep them on hand for some of these great outdoor festivals this month and enjoy the beginning of the season with us. You will be sure to find us and the rest of the #localswelove at these events this September:

African American Culture Festival: September 3rd and 4th we will be on Fayetteville Street and at the City Plaza for the 7th annual African American Cultural festival. There are story tellers and dance troupes, drum circles and craft tents, paintings, ceramics, and all sorts of clothing, jewelry, and accessories for sale. This celebration of African American art, music, and history is perfect for all ages! More information can be found here.

Hopscotch Music Festival: September 8th through 10th everyone, and we mean everyone, will be downtown Raleigh for the 7th annual Hopscotch Music Festival. Called “America’s (secretly) best music festival” and “the premier experimental and underground festival in America” is three full days of music, food, drinks, and dancing as restaurants and venues open their doors to local and national bands alike. Day shows take place on street stages and are free to all, while evening shows in various venues require a wrist band, at least one day is worth going to. All shows are within walking distance of each other as downtown shuts down for this Mardi Gras-like event.  Details here.

Greek Festival: After we spend our days at Hopscotch, we plan on heading over to the NC State Fairgrounds for the Greek Festival September 9th through 11th. This great event supports Habitat for Humanity and includes authentic foods, cooking demos, dances, and all sorts of crafts for purchase. More information here.

Art Gallery Opening and Wine Reception: September 15th we will be at the opening of Artist Liz Leventhal’s exhibit “Ethereal Panorama” in our Gallery. We look forward to sipping wine and spending time with Liz as we view the newest installation, which explores her vibrant and organic works. Inspired by the changing seasons, Leventhal uses mixed media to project an emotional response to her surroundings. She pours colors onto the canvas and watches what happens, intuitively editing and adding throughout the process. The result: volumetric configurations that are opaque and airy, thick and organic. Reservations available at 919-447-4050, more information here.

BugFest: The most visited location in all of North Carolina, our Natural Science Museum, is hosting its annual BugFest on September 17th. All sorts of bug exhibits, displays and activities, as well as a few “bugged-out” dishes to eat on will be available throughout the day, with a nocturnal insect tour and street carnival in the evening. Details can be found here.

SparkCon: Raleigh’s annual Festival of Creativity starts on September 15th this year and runs through September 18th. This incredible street festival features pop up performances, films, street painting, crafts, food, everything your creative heart desires. More information can be found here.

Compliments of the house: Before you head out on the town, pop by our Bar and Lounge every morning between 5:30 am and 9:00 am to enjoy coffee and pastries. You can’t walk around on an empty stomach!

For more information, speak with our concierge at 919-447-4030. They are always the best keys to our city.

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