WINTERGREEN, VA - It seems that when you picture the mountains, you see skiing, hiking-or maybe camping. You remember the days of yore when Dad would pack you and all your gear in the 'woody' station wagon for a weekend holiday up high where the family could spend the vast majority of its time pitching tents, gathering wood, and fighting over who would have to do the dishes. All of that is well and good, of course, but there are alternatives for those who want perhaps a little bit (or a lot) more luxury and convenience than a naked campsite can offer. For those folks, Wintergreen Resort is the place.
Wintergreen bills itself as a four season resort-and sure enough-with a brief look around you can see ski runs, trail heads, golf courses, tennis courts, a big mountain lodge and all sorts of outdoor entertainment to keep you busy 365 days a year. More than enough of nature's wonder to go around.
But it's more than just a visit to the mountains. Wintergreen offers excellent accommodations from which to launch your activities-luxurious condominiums or single-family homes for rent. Gone are the days when you'd have to go ask your neighbor in the campground for some extra lighter fluid if yours runs out. And forget about having to shiver in the tent if it rains-these places are tastefully furnished and come with complete kitchen setups. And all of them have incredible mountain views. Ours was a spacious two-bedroom condo complete with all the kitchen comforts of home and cable TV. The master bathroom even had a whirlpool bath. Quite removed from the necessity of looking for a place to shower and wincing in the pit toilets. This was quite a setup.
On warm summer afternoons, enjoy a cool one on the condo deck while enjoying the 3,000-foot elevation difference between the top of the mountain and the valley below. It would be hard to find a better view anywhere.
For the people who want to be truly pampered, Wintergreen offers the Wintergarden Spa & Fitness Center. Here, you can work out, swim, soak in a hot tub, get a massage-and for the ladies, a manicure. The Spa provides a comfortable place to relax after a tough afternoon on the links-or a day on the slopes. It sure beats having to pile your stuff in the back of the wagon and head back down the mountain like the old days.
For food, there's no need to worry about catching enough 8-inch trout lest you go hungry. The resort offers several different types of eateries, from fine dining at The Copper Mine Restaurant and Lounge to more informal family style fare at The Edge at Cooper's Vantage. Both golf courses also offer their own excellent grills-Café' Verandah at Stoney Creek, and Devils Grill Restaurant and Lounge up on Devil's Knob. Going hungry is not a possibility up on the mountain this time.
In addition to all of these great offerings, the resort has programs designed just for the kids. If Mom & Dad need an afternoon off to go for a round on the links, there will be more than enough to do for the kids. There are seasonal activities for youngsters of all ages. Not only will the kids have fun, they might even learn something about the outdoors.
Wintergreen really is quite removed from my memories of the mountains-but in good ways. There will always be a basic campground available in your backyard if you feel the urge to pitch a tent. But if you want a little touch of class to go along with your outdoors resort stay, then Wintergreen's a good place to start.
P.O. Box 706
Wintergreen, VA 22958
Phone: (800) 273-3390
Fax: (804) 325-7448
All Wintergreen Resort photos by Keith Paton.