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So close and yet so not close. We’ve been to the umstead many times, but they don’t seem to know that. Hey guys, maybe a computer??

As predicted, in the Spring it is just gorgeous here.

But all is not perfection. Arrival after midnight should pay attention to reservation constraints. Like: 2 beds (actually made), the fact that we have been here multiple times (?!), the fact that we like sparkling water, and so on. The umstead has slipped management-wise over the last few years. Who is the general manager? Great property, but not managed very tightly at all. Get it together, umstead, if you want to be world class and not just the best property in NC.

Hmmm

Hmmm

Room 107 is beautiful as all of the rooms here are.

107 Umstead

107 Umstead

We're in it for the bathrooms

We’re in it for the bathrooms

The shower is to write home about. Really. Bench. 4 shower heads. Plenty of pressure. World class.

Unbelievably great shower

Unbelievably great shower

It's Spring

It’s Spring

Are there sheets under there?  Maybe not.

Are there sheets under there? Maybe not.

Note that the patio is a superior place to have a leisurely dinner on a fine Spring evening. Delicious. The company was the best part of course. Oh, and there is real mixology here now too, mostly stolen wholesale from NY. Nothing if not good mimics here.

However, we’re looking for perfection. Four point five showerheads for the Umstead. Time for management to wake up and figure out that being great means serious attention to detail and a history on your guests.

During college and the arts, there was a visit to Duke and UNC. Both schools are to be avoided for different reasons. Duke thinks it is Stanford (uh, nope). UNC thinks it is a sports franchise. Ouch.

The only interesting thing about Duke

The only interesting thing about Duke

The only interesting thing about UNC

The only interesting thing about UNC

UNC: Centered around a stadium, or is that a prison?

UNC: Centered around a stadium, or is that a prison?

Hey look what North Carolina collected when you weren’t watching. ART.

genius

genius

USAirways to Raleigh

March 14, 2015

Surprise surprise! Commuter jets operated by Republic for USAirways have wifi, and you can upgrade for super cheap. Too bad they only fly out of DCA.

I am not sure what United has planned, or when its plan will be implemented, but they seem to think a plan is reality. Ridiculous.

I flew in and out for dinner and did not spend the night. But I did camp in the Marriott RTP lobby for a short while. Yuck.

At least Marriott listened (and brought out a cocktail to boot).

By now we all know that Cary remains an acronym for “containment area for relocated Yankees,” right? Well, some of the Yankees must be rich. The Umstead is a gem.

The balcony view from 312.

The balcony view from 312.

There's a lake down there somewhere.

There’s a lake down there somewhere.

Last time I was here, they welcomed me with a nice amenity (chocolates! water! wine!). Why? Who knows. But I am apparently no longer on the list. This time I ordered my own (rather expensive) bottle of sparkling water. We’ll see if they get the memo before my April reservation.

Room 312 is very nice. In particular, the shower rocks.

It's all about the bathroom in 312

It’s all about the bathroom in 312

Umstead cubicles. One for the shower.  One for the toilet.

Umstead cubicles. One for the shower. One for the toilet.

That shower.  Yes!

That shower. Yes!

Five stars minus an amenity to the Umstead.

The capstone of this visit to NCSU was an over-capacity sold out Cyber War talk. Afterwards, a visit to Fox Liquor bar was superb. What a find. Real cocktails and real expertise. Garrett Waddell exceeded expectations by blending a Manhattan derivative with a (verboten) Blood and Sand. For the record, Scotch is not my thing. But this cocktail was great!

Message in Blood
1.5 oz Aberlour highland scotch
1.5 oz Punt et Mes
bar spoon cherry heering
3 dashes Agostura
Stir down. Serve up. Garnish with an orange twist.

Dinner at Buku was very good. They could use a pass to update their winelist, but the food was very tasty and the service great.

After dinner, we returned to Fox Liquor to round out the night.