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We hope everyone has had a great start to 2017! The weather has been a little abnormal, even for us, but we can’t complain about those 65 degree days when we can sit on the terrace for evening cocktails. It looks like we may have a few more throughout the month of February, so we sure to take advantage while you can! Here are a few other activities to take advantage of this month too:

Umstead Uncorked Wine Tasting: We are traveling to Portugal this month with our next Umstead Uncorked. With Portugal’s cool green mountains and warm maritime vineyards, it continues to produce unique and contrasting wines. Join us Wednesday, February 8th for this pre-Valentine’s Day wine tasting as we sample a range from crisp dry whites to elegant and smooth reds. Tickets available at 919-447-4050.

Valentine’s Day dinner: With Valentine’s Day falling on Tuesday this year, we are extending the celebration to begin the Friday beforehand. Our special four course menu created by Executive Chef Steven Greene and Pastry Chef Jonathan Fisher was designed with romance in mind. Available Friday, February 10th, Saturday February 11th, Monday February 13th and Tuesday February 14th, reservations can be made at 919-447-4050. Make an evening of it with our overnight accommodations or special packages.

Do you think winter is over or just beginning? Find out what Sir Walter Wally thinks on February 2nd at the North Carolina Museum of Sciences. Then take a stroll through the museum, which is complimentary to the public. Our favorite feature is the dry rain forest with butterflies floating around you. A great way to spend the afternoon. Details here.

February marks Black History Month, so head downtown Raleigh to Fayetteville Street for the 15th Annual NC MLK-Black History Month Parade and Step Show on February 4th. The Divine Nine will be serving as Grand Marshals with the theme as “Remaining Awake Through the Great Revolution.” More information can be found here.

To go with the warm weather, we are going to take a trip under the sea with the Carolina Ballet’s production of The Little Mermaid. Open February 2nd to 19th, this incredible performance is taking place at the Fletcher Opera House Theater downtown. Details and ticket information is available here.

Compliments of the house: Be sure to speak with our concierge about the wonderful amenities The Umstead has to offer, including complimentary video rental.  Just pop by the desk to see what they have or contact them at 919-447-4030.

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.

Driving around this weekend, we couldn’t have been more excited to see the array of pumpkins being set out and the leaves showing their first hint of color. North Carolina is a great place to be in autumn, after all Raleigh isn’t called the City of Oaks for nothing! Here is what we recommend to start your fall off with a bang:

  • Savor all those incredible root vegetables, gourds and greens with the new autumn menus in Herons. Executive Chef Steven Green and his incredible team have created new menus that will excite the taste buds, with dishes such as lobster in parsnip soup to start or our fowl course including quail, squab and duck combined with persimmon and white poppy. Finish with the fruit of the cocoa or our Pyranese cheese course created by Executive Pastry Chef Jonathan Fisher. Are you salivating yet? Menus begin changing Monday, October 3. Book your reservation here or at 919-447-4050.
  • The Umstead Spa is also highlighting the benefits of Turmeric this fall in their Featured Fall Treatments. Known for its antioxidant and detoxifying properties, it is a perfect way to renew your mind and body for the new season. Enjoy a Therapeutic Massage with the addition of turmeric and black pepper oil to help reduce arthritic and muscular discomfort or our Piedmont Experience which utilizes warmed aromatic Thai Balls filled with turmeric and a variety of other herbs and spices to clear the mind and release tension in the body. Be sure to place your Thai Balls in your shower or bath to make the most of the aromatics at home and continue the experience.
  • Opening October 1st is the Rolling Sculpture: Art Deco Cards from the 1920’s to 40’s exhibit at the North Carolina Art Museum. Taking a cue from the arts movement overseas, the ever evolving automobile was the perfect way to showcase the combination of decorative arts and industrial design synonymous with the art deco period. The exhibit shows off motorcycles, coupes and convertibles, each handcrafted and unique to this decadent time. For details or tickets, click here.
  • Though Halloween isn’t until the end of the month, you can go ahead and enjoy the festivities beginning October 6 with Raleigh’s Theatre in the Park showing of Dracula. Led by Ira David Wood III, this adaptation of Bram Stoker’s most famous vampire includes all the familiar characters and explores hidden secrets underneath the false surface of Victorian society. A widely popular show, get your tickets early here.
  • It wouldn’t be October without the North Carolina State Fair, opening its gates on October 13! We love the games, rides, livestock, and exhibits, but what everyone really goes for is the food. Funnel cakes, roasted corn, ham biscuits, deep fried everything including mac – and – cheese, PB and J, snickers, it’s all there; we’ve even seen a doughnut burger! The nights finish with a fireworks show, it’s not one to be missed. More information here.
  • After indulging in the all American fare at the fair, head over to the Raleigh Convention Center on October 14th to 16th for the 31st International Festival of Raleigh. Enjoy food from around the world, cooking demonstrations, and a variety of performances including Turkish Belly Dancing, a Japanese Tea ceremony, and more. A great event bringing together so many cultures makes for a perfect weekend in Raleigh.
  • If you want to focus on just one culture, try out the Diwali Festival on October 15 at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheater. Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil, light over dark, and the beginning of the New Year. With Yatra: A Journey In Time as its theme, the Cary Diwali will take you on an incredible journey through time as you celebrate India’s rich heritage and culture. Free general admission with parking at $5, more information can be found here.
  • Once you’ve had your cultural fill, be sure to take advantage of the Nocturnal by Night event at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences on October 27th. This adult only event gives you the chance to see the museum in a whole new (moon)light. Beginning at 7:00 pm, enjoy music and drinks as you make your way through the “Hall of Oddities”, perfect your “Thriller” dance moves with the Elevate zombies, and glow in the dark with the help of bioluminescence. Tickets available here.
  • For you sports enthusiasts out there, our North Carolina Hurricanes kick off the NHL season on October 28th against the New York Rangers. With the PNC Arena right next door, you won’t want to miss the only professional sports team in North Carolina show those New Yorkers how we play hockey down south. Click here for tickets.

Compliments of house: bringing the kids along for your next trip? Enjoy complimentary game console rental with plenty of games to choose from, or bring your own from home and use our system to play here! Speak with our concierge for more details.

 

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