While celebrating the 50th Birthday of two dear friends, I had the very good fortune to spend time at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary (near Raleigh) North Carolina. While not an overnight guest, I had the opportunity to enjoy the natural landscape, a delicious brunch and to realize the peace, serenity and absolute luxury that guests enjoy.
According to Our State: North Carolina Magazine, the Umstead was built on land that used to be part of the William B. Umstead State Park. “The hotel is a reflection of the surrounding serenity with a limestone exterior that rises up from naturally landscaped earth. Off the terrace, a shaded boardwalk invites visitors to linger around a pond fringed with blue flag iris and a grove of young cypress. Inside, sleek wood paneling, stone floors, and walls of windows pull nature indoors” (http://www.ourstate.com/brilliant-oasis-the-umstead/).
The Umstead also boasts an extensive art collection. I wandered the interior of the hotel, stopping time and time again to enjoy the paintings, sculptures and photographs, all a reflection of the natural world. I had not thought of writing about the experience from the perspective of art (hey – I was here for a party!), but I wish I’d taken more time with the camera. As I stopped to photograph some of the pieces, I thought about how I don’t know much about art but I do know what catches my eye.
The flower arrangements were stunning!
And even the presentation of the table and food were beautiful to see.
A stroll along the walking paths took us through the trees and alongside a pond. The hotel boasts it’s sustainability and I loved that over 50% of the food products for Herons, the in hotel restaurant, and over 30% of the food products for the entire property come from local North Carolina purveyors (http://www.theumstead.com/ourHotel/sustainability-en.html). We watched as one of the chefs selected herbs for the days meals.
What an absolute treat it was to spend a few hours at The Umstead. I kept joking with my friends that I understood why people wanted to be rich … I would have loved to spend a few days, rather than just a few hours, here.
Even the trees put on a show for us.