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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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Can you believe it is already August? When we flipped through our planners this week to see what we had planned this upcoming month, we could hardly believe our eyes. Perhaps this hot weather is starting to get to us. But we refuse to let this heat interfere with our plans, and you shouldn’t either! Here is where you can find us on property and around town this month:

Umstead Cuvée Release: Over a year in the making, we are thrilled to announce the official release of our very own Umstead Cuvée during a 5 course wine dinner with Alexana Winery. This special Pinot Noir was hand blended by our Executive Chef, Steven Greene who tasted each individual component to determine what should be included. This continued with a blind tasting of 7 different options, as Steven sipped his way through to find the right blend and age. With its acidity and fruit notes, this exclusive wine complements our artful cuisine perfectly. Join us August 4 at 6:30 pm and mingle with the wine maker and Chef Steven to hear about the process during a sparkling wine reception, followed by the dinner with our Cuvée as the highlight of the evening paired with the entrée. Tickets available at 919-447-4050, full menu available here.

Beer Bourbon and BBQ Festival: We here in North Carolina are very particular about Barbeque. Nothing sparks up a heated debate (pun intended) like which you prefer, east or west. To make your own choice, head over to the Koka Booth Amphitheater on August 5th and 6th for the 10th anniversary of the Beer Bourbon and BBQ Festival. Enjoy two days of Seminars with master distillers, brewmasters, and pit masters, listen to Rock, Blues, and Bluegrass, and check out cool exhibits with BBQ accessories, hot sauces, and even a cigar tent. A variety of ticket options available, including “Designated Driver” tickets, for those who are opting out of the Beer and Bourbon. More information can be found here.

Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo: It’s time for another Food Truck Rodeo and to help with the heat, this time it is an evening beginning at 4pm on August 7. If this is your first time at the rodeo, get ready for over 50 food trucks from all over the State. That is ½ a mile of Food Trucks and Restaurants scattered over 11 city blocks. Admission is free, but bring cash for food – and be on the lookout for the lobster roll truck. It will be the one with the longest line!

NC Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Festival: Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate – just a few of our favorite things so why not attend a festival dedicated to all three! On August 13, enjoy tastings of all over at La Fayette Village in Raleigh. With live music, DJ’s and the shops at La Fayette adding to the atmosphere, we can’t wait to go! Tickets available here.

Southern Season Cooking Class with Chef Steven: Ever wondered what it would be like to cook with a 5 star chef? Then head over to A Southern Season on August 16, where Chef Steven will be sharing a few tricks of the trade as he prepares dishes with ingredients from our very own One Oak Farm. Tickets and more information can be found here.

The Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival: If you are from the area, you grew up going to the Lazy Daze Festival every year. We remember heading over with mom and walking down Academy Street viewing the different arts and crafts at all the tents. This year they celebrate their 40th anniversary by making it a two day festival filled with food, live art demonstrations, entertainment and of course the little Lazy Daze man hiding throughout. Due to road construction the festival will be held at Cary’s Town Hall Campus on August 27 and 28, more information can be found here.

Compliments of the House:If staying indoors is your way to beat the heat, then enjoy a complimentary art tour of our permanent collection. With nearly 100 pieces throughout the property, it is a visual delight you can experience either on you own with our self-guided map or schedule a private tour with our Gift Shop. To reserve a complimentary private tour, please call 919-447-4065.

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North Carolina weather is always unpredictable; those snow days followed by a perfect 70 degree day, you never quite know what to expect. But apart from asking the Groundhog this month what he expects the rest of winter to hold, check out what else is on our calendar to enjoy:

Artisan Confections: Not everyone is a “teddy bear and flowers” kind of person, me included, so this year I am celebrating it at the Artisan Confections event. It is the weekend before Valentine’s Day (yay no crowds!) and includes a combination of chocolate and gin. Executive Pastry Chef, Evan Sheridan, is partnering with the Durham Distillery, and will be teaching everyone how to make Liquid Bon Bons, which is basically chocolate with gin inside. This is a win all around. Tickets can be purchased at 919-447-4050 and takes place on Sunday, February 7th.

Umstead Uncorked: Continuing with the Valentine’s Day alternatives, our monthly wine tasting, Umstead Uncorked, will be held on February 25th, and all about Italian wines. And I don’t mean the typical Tuscany or Veneto wines, but the Southern Italian wines. I’m looking forward to sipping my way through Italy while Sommelier, Hai Tran, teaches us a few things. Tickets available at 919-447-4050.

Mash and Lauter: Unless you are familiar with the term, sour beer might strike a nose curl at the thought. But I couldn’t be more excited about the new Mash and Lauter opening up above the Busy Bee where the Hive use to be. Chris Powers, a sour beer enthusiast and the one who convinced me to give it a try, has just opened this Belgium-inspired bar, which is the perfect place to taste for yourself. Especially with Cicerone, Sean McKinney, behind the bar.

Ghost Tour: We all know Christmas in July, but what about Halloween in February? Try out the Raleigh Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour for a little scare and step around town. The 1.5 mile walking tour is a great way to hear about local folklore and ghost stories. Children ages 8 and up, tickets are $15 a person with tours every Saturday this month.

Compliments of the house:With the weather already getting warmer, ask our Concierge about renting one of our bikes complimentary. Perfect for a light ride through the neighboring Umstead State Park.

Looking for more? Talk to our concierge at concierge@theumstead.com or give them a call at 919-447-4030. They are the best keys to unlocking the city.

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