Winter retreat at Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains

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WRITTEN BY RAY HOFFMAN/For Digital First Media

Mid-winter getaways don’t always have to be Icelandic to be idyllic.  Many Main Line families that look forward to February, March and even April mini vacations have a lot of options closer to home.  With gas prices at their lowest point in years, and the recent State Department warning to Americans to be vigilant when traveling abroad, it may be the ideal time to consider a homeland destination for a few days of family fun (and pampering.) One such destination that long has been on Main Line residents’ R and R radar is the historic Homestead in Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains.

The venerable Grand Dame resort (founded 10 years before the American Revolution) has just undergone a $25 million revitalization as one of the newest destinations flying the Omni Resorts flag.  Now officially known as the Omni Homestead, this mountain retreat is about a five-hour drive from the Valley Forge area (90 percent turnpike and Interstate.) Once there, one can choose from an abundance of activities, dining options and a brand-new spa on its 2000 acres in Hot Springs, Va.

Of course this time of year, skiing, ice-skating, tubing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, including lessons for all ages, are featured attractions in a winter tapestry remindful of the best of European destinations.  What’s more, there are many rate-special packages available. Among them are: a Presidents’ Weekend and Valentine Day Feb.13-16, a Writers’ Weekend March 20-22 featuring literary lectures and book-signings to complement an annual Highland Country Maple Festival, and Easter Weekend, April 3-5 that stars the Easter Bunny, a massive 10,000  Easter Egg Hunt, magic shows, balloon artists, caricature and photo events and more.

Since the place is “as big as all outdoors,” you can also choose from a host of non-snow activities like mountain-biking, hiking, fly fishing, four skeet shooting fields, a trap shooting field, two sporting clay courses and horseback riding.  Tennis and golf, both 18-hole championship and 18-hole miniature courses, are available most days.

Coming inside the towering main hotel, many guests take to the large indoor heated swimming pool, the newly-rebuilt spa and fitness center for hours of regeneration and relaxation.  For the record, the spa has 28 treatment rooms plus a family spa suite, an adults-only spa garden and a full menu of salon services for adults and children. Also inside are a choice of casual and formal dining options that are traditional to the resort.  A lobby bar warmed by a large wood-burning fireplace, accompanied by a repertoire of live piano music, is a favorite before or after dinner spot to relive the day’s activities.  Live music and dancing in the Main Dining Room adds to the Southern hospitality nightly.

If you’re interested in learning more about the rich history and legends and the year-round offerings at the Omni Homestead, visit omnihotels.com/homestead or call (540) 839-1766.  Or give me a shout out at mainlinebanter@verizon.net.

 The main dining room is  shown.  Submitted photo

The main dining room is shown.
Submitted photo

Ray Hoffman writes a regular column for Main Line Suburban Life.  You may contact him at mainlinebanter@ Verizon.net.

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