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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.

The Umstead Hotel and Spa now has its very own Umstead Cuvée! This special Pinot Noir was specifically created by us for us with the help of the Alexana Winery in Oregon.

Alexana Winery

When the idea to create our own hand blended wine, Executive Chef Steven Greene knew he wanted to work with Alexana. A custom crush facility, Alexana approaches wine with the overall experience in mind. The owner, Dr. Madaiah Revana fell in love with Burgundy several years ago and began searching for an area that could rival the pinot noirs he discovered there. Due to the perfect climate and terrain of Oregon, he knew he had found the right spot. With a focus on a variety of sustainability efforts, Alexana wines are known for their balance and character.

Blind Tasting

Steven visited the vineyard in 2015 to begin the wine making process. He started by tasting each individual component to determine what percentage of each element he wanted to include. Based on his choices, they proceeded with a blind tasting of different blends which Steven sipped his way through to find the perfect age and best taste.

Described as silky and velvety in texture, with acidic notes and lush fruit tones highlighted by beautiful aromatics this specifically engineered wine compliments our artful cuisine perfectly. The Umstead Cuvée is limited in quantity and available for purchase in Herons, the Bar and Lounge, as well as our gift shop.

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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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