My year of hope and joy is going strong. This grieving business is tough. After almost half a year of ignoring my nutrition and health, my body has been letting me know (screaming at me) to start taking care of it.
Luckily, I’m blessed to have a sister who is also my best friend. We have both been feeling the need for a “tune out” and we are well versed in the art of a comfortable silence with each other. We were planning to go to the family beach house for a little wellness break, but then remembered we had already winterized the cottage and with snow upon us, it didn’t seem smart to undo that work. Hence reservations at The Umstead ensued. 🙂





Committed to creating memorable experiences for our guests, The Umstead Hotel and Spa enhances your stay with this well-considered array of luxury amenities and services. The Umstead


Why yes they are…it’s really so special. We were greeted by our concierge, Larry. He was delightful. He took care of our valet and escorted us to the front desk. Front desk attendants, Sarah and Hannah were able to check us in early to our room.  Yay!  For their “basic room” we were pretty dang happy.  Look at this place.  Larry made sure we were settled into our rooms before leaving.  He is the best!




We had scheduled spa treatments early on in the day so we’d have time to enjoy the spa amenities.  I’m not new to spa time, but this place really does take it to another level of enjoyment.  I ran around and took a few pictures before more clients arrived.

We started the morning with a long steam followed by showers before our facials.  I’m slightly crushed that I didn’t take a picture of the amazing showers at the spa.  The ceilings are a good 15′ tall and the showers are frosted glass 6′ up and then clear above.  It was snowing while I showered.  Ahhhhhhh.

My facial was their signature Valmont facial.

This skin-firming, 100% collagen mask is like a “biological face-lift.” Through unique and exclusive treatment protocols, the Valmont treatment is easily distinguished from all others notably because of the “Butterfly Movement”. Thanks to its combination of active ingredients, it helps reactivate the skin’s deficient natural functions and from the very first application, the appearance of the upper layers of the skin is visibly and lastingly improved. Skin instantly recovers its natural resilience, suppleness and radiance.
*For 30 years, the Valmont Group has been helping women and men master the visible signs of aging. Heir to traditional Swiss medicine, the company draws inspiration from the unspoiled natural resources of Switzerland and the latest cellular cosmetic research findings to formulate utmost anti-aging skin care products featuring visible and long-lasting efficacy. Patented Triple DNA, Glacial Spring Water and pure plant extracts are the key ingredients used for their unequalled hydration, regeneration and cellular reactivation properties.

Kelly had the Jurlique Brightening Vitamin C Facial.

This relaxing facial addresses uneven skin tone and skin discoloration. The concentrated VitaBrightKX, a superfruit complex featuring Kakadu Plum Extract – the worlds’ richest fruit source of Vitamin C, helps to brighten and even skin tone.

After our facials we relaxed in the downstairs women’s lounge by the gas logs, reading our books.   We had a late brunch in the hotel bar around 1.  I had a decadent smoked bacon casserole with pepper preserves, aged cheddar and Yukon gold potatoes.


My sister had a healthier brunch.  She had the salmon with capers, red onions and boiled egg.


After our strenuous morning of facials, steaming and brunching, we headed back to our lounge chairs by the fire with our books.  The staff was able to squeeze me in for an afternoon massage, too.  I was a little bit of a princess.

After my massage, a little guilt set in and we both decided to hit the hotel gym.  I started with a little yoga and ended with 20 minutes on the elliptical machine.  After our workouts, we tried the outside, heated current pool followed by a little time in the sauna.  If you are going to a spa, make sure you have allotted time to use all of the spa amenities that are offered.  It’s part of the experience.

Look at this cutie!


We dined in the hotel bar for dinner, as well.  Heron’s is closed Sunday afternoon and evening, but the same culinary team takes care of the hotel bar food, as well…so yes it was delicious!

The Umstead is pleased to offer homegrown vegetables and herbs from our nearby dedicated farm. Herons has been recognized by Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, and Southern Living, in addition to receiving numerous accolades and awards including Five Stars from Forbes Travel Guide and Five Diamonds from AAA.

For my dinner, I had oysters on the half shell with a champagne and herb mignonette and pickled vegetables.


I also couldn’t resist ordering the charred beets with pistachio and horseradish rye crisps.


And this beautiful cocktail called the Hibiscus.  It consisted of Ciroc, St. Germain, Sparkling wine, lemon and an edible hibiscus.


After dinner we went back to our beautiful room and opened a great bottle of red and cuddled up in our beds to watch whatever was on TV.  We settled on zoning out to the X-men.  We were both asleep before 8.  It’s tiring to be pampered so much. 🙂  We’ve both been working so hard to close dad’s store and make sure that mom has all of her needs taken care of and in that process we both had kind of lost our mojo a little.  After the wonderful attention the Umstead staff provided us, we are both feeling refreshed.  Sometimes tuning everything out for a while allows you to really tune back in to yourself.

5 thoughts on “Tuning Out So You Can Tune In

  1. Wow. Sounds like you and Kellie were treated like queens. You deserved all of it!! You’ve now sparked my interest in going to The Umstead. Happy New Year.

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