Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Homestead

We took my parents to the Homestead this past weekend in Hot Springs, VA.  It is one of my favorite places. There are few large resorts like it left. 

It is in Bath County, VA, not really near anything but only an hour's drive from The Greenbriar in White Sulphur Springs, WV.  You can take a shuttle from the Roanoke, VA airport, an hour and  a half.  Richmond is three hours away.

I have been in winter and in fall but have never been when you could use the outdoor pool.  It was open but it was too chilly to use it.  There are also outdoor clay tennis courts.

The resort was started in 1766 and much of it burned in 1902 except for the indoor pool and the Casino.  The Casino is now a restaurant and a shop but it once housed lockers and indoor badminton courts.

The area is known for its springs.  Once upon a time, people traveled great distances and stayed in elaborate hotels around underground springs.  In fact, there is a great book about this, which I find fascinating as many of these are in WV and VA.  It's called Historic Springs of the Virginias  by Stan Cohen.  Down the road a few miles are the Jefferson Baths.  I'll save the details for another Blog.  

The Homestead is no different.  There are many springs on the property.  These "healing waters" were once thought to cure all kinds of ailments.  The water is very warm, year round and they have been here for a long time.  Here are a few:

The resort has wonderful food.  We dined one night at Sam Snead's Tavern (he was born just down the road and is buried on his farm) and then in the hotel.  This photo was taken in the President's Lounge which is just outside the 1766 Restaurant where we dined.

The Homestead is also a golfer's paradise but none of us play golf so we did not venture out on the courses. They are beautiful though.  There is also a spa and an unbelieveable indoor pool which is fed by a warm spring.  It is art deco and simply beautiful.  This is near the indoor pool.  The gardens are charming, boxwoods, flowers, more springs. 

There is a small (very small) ski slope on the property.  They have a great work out room, many shops, vendors, a movie theatre and lots of stuff for the kids to do.  It is worth the trouble to get here.  

We had such a good time that we did not want to leave.  But I am certain we will be back!

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