Josie Ortega reports from The Omni Homestead Resort, where every member of the family found something to love.
Our family recently enjoyed a perfect autumn day in Hot Springs, Virginia, home of the beautiful historic resort, The Omni Homestead. In case you have such an opportunity, here’s what we loved.
How to get there? A four-hour drive from the Washington, DC area where we live, Hot Springs is a charming town in Bath County, VA nestled in the Allegheny Mountains in Southwest Virginia. Roanoke is the closest city. Shuttles run from Ingalls Field, the small airport nearby, as well as from the Clifton Forge Amtrak Station.
By the way: I'd like to note that this trip fell on my son's birthday, so we made it into a celebratory birthday getaway! He chose the movie for the car ride, and thanks to a tip from a friend about birthday traditions, we wrote on the car windows and received birthday honks on the drive there and back.
Before this most recent family trip, my husband and I loved our quick adults-only Omni Homestead getaway for a babymoon six years ago! That time, I took advantage of the resort's spa for a prenatal massage. My husband Israel took advantage of one of the golf courses, and we both enjoyed trying to out-gun each other at the shooting range.
The Homestead Resort offers plenty of different ways to enjoy the gorgeous property during all four seasons. Having kids along for the ride this time around encouraged us to take advantage of other options.
In addition to the shooting range, guests can sign up for hiking, fishing, archery, and even falconry and zip lining. We hiked and explored around nearby Lake Moomaw, part of George Washington and Jefferson National Forest just outside Hot Springs. We even "fished" — in quotes because we caught nothing. But the birthday boy was delighted nonetheless!
To get that feeling that you're living that Dirty Dancing-esque resort life, you might like dining in the on-site dining room. Without kids, we enjoyed a dinner at the Waterwheel Restaurant in nearby Warm Springs. There's also a brewery and a local pizza place in the town of Hot Springs.
True story: my husband had a powerful, fond memory of the breakfast sandwich he bought at The Homestead's casual coffee shop six years ago. He demanded that we return to the same place to find that sandwich. (We did, and it was still good.)
The Homestead Resort's long history of southern hospitality originated when travelers flocked to the area for its natural thermal springs. Today, guests can enjoy the same relaxing benefits of the sulfur baths, in rather more developed amenities!
The Homestead is no regular hotel. History lovers will appreciate the Jeffersonian architecture and the traditional, warm atmosphere. We especially loved the large porch and comfortable lobby. There is a supervised Kids Club available. So while the children enjoy their own activities, parents might bring a book to spend some quiet time on the porch and enjoy the gorgeous view, or slow down and have a conversation by the fire in the lobby.
It should come as no surprise that our favorite amenity, of course, was the swimming pool. On our babymoon six years ago, my husband and I swam in the Gatsby-esque Art Deco indoor pool. This time around, we loved swimming in the heated Allegheny Springs pool outside, where you could look around at the gorgeous Appalachian fall leaves on the surrounding hills. All pools are spring-fed, and guests are able to swim year-round. I hope next time we'll return in summer to try the water slides and lazy river!
After a few minutes in the whirlpool, I was feeling remarkably healthy. I wondered whether Thomas Jefferson might appear from behind a column at any moment to congratulate me on my salubrious habits. Then my son splashed me in the face.
Truly, both children and parents were delighted that we could swim outside even in the cool fall weather. As we bundled up to exit the pool, we caught sight of an inviting bonfire on the grounds and heard a band beginning to play outside. This is the life!
At The Omni Homestead Resort, there’s something for everyone: if you want to be active, if you want to golf, if you want to relax, if you want room service and spa time, if you want to find that perfect combination to please every member of the family. I recommend it!