The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC and Herons Restaurant

Just minutes from the noise and bustle of everyday life in the Research Triangle, there is a tranquil oasis situated on twelve acres in Cary, North Carolina, The Umstead Hotel and Spa.  What was described to me as “The Umstead Experience” became evident the minute we walked into the lobby.

This luxury property, recently named one of the Top Hotels in the South by Condé Naste Traveler, was also ranked #11 for Best Large City Hotels by Travel & Leisure in 2012.  Herons, the signature restaurant at The Umstead, has received numerous accolades and awards including Five Stars from Forbes Travel Guide and Five Diamonds from AAA.  It has also received recognition from Food & Wine and Southern Living.

We traveled to The Umstead to meet with Executive Chef Scott Crawford who has also been the executive chef at some of the finest properties in the Southeast including The Woodlands Resort & Inn in Summerville, South Carolina and The Cloister at Sea Island, Georgia.  He is committed to using the absolute finest ingredients and supporting local artisans and farms.

Herons Dining Room

Herons has received two very prestigious awards from AAA and Forbes

The striking blend of art, nature, and refinement is evident as you enter the hotel’s lobby.  Subtle earth tones and soft lighting combined with views of the surrounding lake, wooded property, and gardens have an immediate calming effect.  It is obvious that every effort has been made to ensure the ultimate in relaxation and the perfect stay for the guests, down to the impeccable service offered by the staff.

An impressive art collection is displayed throughout the hotel

The lake and wooded area in back of the property are perfect for a stroll or run in the morning

The rooms have a spa-like feeling with a neutral palette and views of the gardens and wooded areas

Since it was Mr. B’s birthday weekend, we decided to take Beamer, our Tibetan Terrier, along for the celebration.  The Umstead Hotel is pet friendly.  Beamer settled right in with the dog bed and bowls provided in the room.  Our room was located on the ground level with easy access to the gardens outside.  We took afternoon walks around the lake.  We enjoyed the beauty of nature and Beamer enjoyed the many plants, shrubs, and flowers that he closely inspected along the way.

The walk along the lake includes some great photo opportunities as well as time to relax

Throughout our stay, there was a true sense of relaxation.  A calm settled in.  Each venue is designed to soothe the senses.  The first afternoon we enjoyed a glass of wine on the upstairs patio outside the lounge and bar.  As the afternoon sun began to set, the summer temperatures moderated and we were comfortable outdoors, with a bit of a breeze coming in from the lake.  We took the time to enjoy the view from above where you could see all the grounds and the pool area.  As I was thinking ahead to fall, the large stone fireplace on the patio looked like an ideal place to gather and enjoy a cocktail in the cooler months.

Enjoying a glass of wine at the outside lounge and bar area

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