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As the bride, the planning process can be long and stressful, but it is your great friends that help with everything along the way. They serve as decorator, designer, planner, and personal assistant. They throw you bridal showers, engagement parties, and bachelorette parties. But most importantly, they stand by your side and support you through every step of the way. Getting them something special, and more importantly, something they actually like and will use, is paramount.

  • We’ve seen a lot of “day of” robes for your girls – we even mentioned making them blue in a previous blog as your “something blue” item. But what about pajama sets or rompers? Anything the girls can enjoy while getting ready is always a big hit. And who doesn’t want to relax in a robe with a glass of champagne while getting ready with your girlfriends?
  • A traditional gift is jewelry. We love the Kate Spade Idiom bracelets, and they range from as low at $32.00. With hidden tags like “heart of gold” and “find the silver lining”, they are classic and the perfect addition to any closet.
  • Your gift doesn’t have to be something in hand that they take away. A spa day goes a long way and is a great thank you for anyone. A day or two before the wedding, why not gather everyone together for massages or manicures and pedicures? Avoid facials, though in case someone has an unforeseen reaction.
  • You can also do a bunch of fun small things! Pick out a cute tote bag and fill it with fun goodies for your girls to enjoy like a coffee mug, flats to change into after the wedding, a small bottle of champagne or bottle of wine, silk eye mask, or anything from the list above! The options are endless and can be any shape and size.

Whatever you choose, your friends will love because they love you. You picked these friends because they are your support system and sisters in life if not also by blood. They wouldn’t be standing next to you on your most special day if they didn’t, so don’t stress yourself out about what to give them. It’s the one thing they can’t help you out with!

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If you’ve never been to a spa before, well, you are missing out! But there is a first time for everything, and if you haven’t ever been, you may be wondering what to expect. Here are 5 tips to ensure you enjoy and make the most of your time!

Put your phone away The first thing we recommend is putting away your phone. It takes time to disconnect and quiet the mind, so leaving your phone in your car, or your locker, will help greatly. To protect your privacy – and your phone – we don’t allow guests to bring their phones into the wet areas because this space is clothing optional. So while someone may want to get a selfie of the fun they are having, we don’t allow phones to ensure you are not accidentally caught in the background as well as to ensure you don’t hear any dings, vibrations, or ticking away while you are trying to relax.

To clothe or not to clothe At our spa, the separated areas are clothing optional, so you have the option of wearing a bathing suit, a t shirt, your robe, towel, or nothing at all, and you will find those who are comfortable in one of the above and more. It is entirely up to you, so go as you see fit.

Arrive early If you are only having a nail treatment, 15 minutes will be early enough. But if you are having any other sort of treatment, arrive at least 30 minute early, but the earlier the better! You want to make sure you have time to park, check in at the front desk, be shown around the facilities, change into your robe, and start to calm your mind in preparation for your delightful treatment. But if you arrive earlier, you also have time to start enjoying all the complimentary facilities, which include our sauna, eucalyptus steam room, whirlpool, outdoor current pool, and relaxation lounges.

If you are not a hotel guest, book Monday through Thursday! Like most hotel and spa combinations, we prioritize our in house guests for weekend appointments due to the high demand. But what we always recommend to our loyal locals is to book Monday through Thursday, because you receive the added bonus of complimentary pool usage! What a great way to spend the day. Come in early and enjoy your treatments, make the most of the facilities, and then head out for lunch pool side, followed by a day in the sun. Even better, finish with a cool down in our rain fall shower, then head up to the Bar and Lounge for nightly live entertaining and craft made cocktails.

Treatment order We always advise your book in this order: Exfoliation or Body Wrap, Massage, Facial, Nail Treatment. Why you ask? With body treatments, you will lay on your face at some point, and that is not recommended after your facial, as you could wipe off some of the product or diminish the impact of the product. We also don’t recommend you use the sauna, steam room, or whirlpool right after your body wrap or facial, because again you want to give your skin time to soak up all the goodies you just put on it, not wash it off! The ideal situation would be to come in and enjoy the sauna, steam room, and whirl pool to begin relaxing and unwinding for your treatments, then sit in the relaxation lounge with a nice cup of tea or fruit water.

The main priority of yours should be to RELAX. So however you relax best and calm your mind that is the best thing you can do to make the most of your spa experience. It’s your day!

Spring has sprung and with this recent gorgeous weather, we want to make the most of it! And with April being North Carolina Beer Month, there are plenty of tours and events to enjoy at our local breweries, such as Crank Arm, Full Steam, or Big Boss. While there are a few beer events on our list this month, there are plenty of other wonderful events to enjoy this great weather in. Read on to find out what we recommend:

Spring Menus in Herons: Strawberries, basil, carrots, so many new flavors are ready for eating with the seasons change. And making the most of it is James Beard Nominee, Executive Chef Steven Greene. His new spring menus for Herons, the Bar and Lounge, and more all begin this month, starting April 5th. Come see what he has in store for you this season.

Seasonal Spa Treatments: A new season also means new spa treatments, and we’ll take any excuse to go! New to the list are our Rest and Restore facial and our Piedmont Ritual. This 30 minute anti-fatigue facial is perfect for travelers after long flight, to prepare for a long day, or anyone wanting a well-rested glow. Our newest ritual features warm herbal compression balls infused with herbs and spices and designed to relieve the body of toxins and tensions. This indulgent treatment relaxes you from head to toe, and an added bonus? Use your compression balls for an at home soak to continue the experience!

Haw River Farmhouse Ales Beer Dinner: Celebrate North Carolina Beer Month with us at our beer dinner with Haw River on April 14th. Located in Saxapahaw, NC, Haw River Farmhouse Ales feature Belgium styled beers with incredible depth and acidity. Each of the five courses are created by James Beard Nominee, Chef Steven Greene, and are complimented by its own beer, paired perfectly by Sommelier Hai Tran. Tickets can be purchased by calling 919-447-4050.

Cakebread Wine Dinner: Beer not your thing? Then join us for our Cakebread Wine Dinner on April 19th. A five course dinner with wine pairings by Sommelier, Hai Tran, and feature two cabernets for the main entrée, created by James Beard Nominee Steven Greene. Tickets available at 919-447-4050.

North Carolina Beer Month Umstead Uncorked: To continue the celebration, our Sommelier is taking a step away from wine to showcase a selection of some of the best beer offerings available to us. We will explore as well how beer and food can work together and in some situations where beer might be the better option for pairing than wine itself. Event takes place on April 28. Tickets available at 919-447-4050.

Art in Bloom at the North Carolina Museum of Art: The NCMA Second Annual Festival of Art and Flowers is this month, April 7 to 10. Floral designers from across the state and more interpret masterworks the from the museum’s collection in 56 creative floral displays. Events include scavenger hunts, lectures, tours, and workshops taught by floral designers from around the world. Not a bad way to greet the spring.

NC Museum of Art Trunk Shows: In addition to the Art in Bloom festival, the museum store will be having several trunk shows throughout the weekend of April 7 to 10, featuring Vintage Bee Honey, Lucia Shaw Sculptural soaps, and Matthew's Chocolates. All of these shows are from local artisans, and the perfect home additions for the spring.

Macbeth: about a little ballet this month? Between April 14 and 17, the Carolina Ballet will be presenting Founding Artistic Director Robert Weiss’s newest ballet, Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Set to an original score by J. Mark Scearce, Composer of Carolina Ballet’s Dracula, this murderous dance will keep everyone on their toes. Just remember to not say Macbeth’s name upon entering!

Compliments of the house: With everything beginning to bloom, simply get out doors on our grounds! Our natural surroundings are one of the elements that make the Umstead so serene. Another great area to enjoy is the J. C. Raulston Arboretum. This beautiful botanical garden is the perfect place to escape to see the blossoms beginning. Only 5 minutes away, speak with the concierge for directions or to arrange transportation.

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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