Even though I’ve lived in 12 states and have called Maryland home for 16 years, my heart will always belong to Virginia. It’s where I attended both high school and undergrad and because of the importance of those formative years, Virginia is very dear to me. That’s probably why I try to visit as often as I can, especially Southwest Virginia where I’m from. Keeping to my own love of short getaways, I packed up the car recently for the easy drive to one of the stars of Southwestern Virginia, Massanutten Resort. Talking with my friends, I still don’t understand why I hadn’t before visited, but that made me all the more excited for my first relaxing weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Massanutten. There’s a lot to do in this all-seasons resort, but here’s how I made the most of a three-day weekend and created a relaxing trip that I very sorely needed.
A Regal Stay
Massanutten is a four-seasons property, but it perhaps shines brightest in the winter months when thousands of people visit to shush down the slopes. Like all ski resorts, there are many different housing options from the traditional to condos that are ideally suited for a weeklong trip. I stayed in one of the resort’s newest condo communities, the Regal Vista. As soon as I walked into the brand new condo I knew that I was in for a very special treat. The gated Regal Vista community is Massanutten’s newest accommodation option and they offer a truly luxurious stay while visiting the resort. Featuring incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I honestly felt at home immediately. The condos are also enormous, featuring two bedrooms, pull-in garage, deck, fireplaces and more. I didn’t want to leave and now consider it to be one of my top resort experiences of anywhere I’ve been thanks entirely to the comfort and attention to detail on clear display. Even better, the community is close to everything you’d want to do at the resort itself.
Although Massanutten is pretty close to Harrisonburg, it very much exists in its own bubble, which means that the food options on-site are important. Like many other similar resorts, Massanutten offers a little bit of everything for all styles and budgets, but one of my favorite dining experiences was at the homey mountain restaurant the Campfire Grill. Set among the dense forest on the mountainside of the resort, the restaurant has adopted its surroundings to create a space that looks like a classic country café, but with the incredible food one expects from a resort like Massanutten. The only problem I had was deciding which of the many dishes to order, quickly wishing I had booked two nights at the Campfire Grill instead of just one. The appetizers and entrees were great, but it was the desserts served in their own iron skillets that very quickly won my heart. Throughout the property there are many other options from buffet breakfasts to quick service lunch establishments, but as a good Southerner my other favorite stop was at the Virginia BBQ & Pizza Co.
Walking up to the restaurant it was the smell of the wood-smoked meats that immediately captured my attention. The restaurant has its own massive smoker outside where they prepare to perfection chicken, pork and ribs. Add in the classic southern sides you’d expect and you have a meal to remember. They’re not only a lunch and dinner stop either, before hitting the road I visited for a breakfast that also features their famous BBQ. I’d never had Southern style biscuits with brisket gravy before, but it’s now a new favorite way to enjoy this traditional breakfast staple.
Golf & Spa
Although Massanutten may be well known for its skiing opportunities, there’s a lot to do throughout the rest of the year, starting with their two golf courses. The Mountain Greens Golf Course incorporates the terrain and woodsy feel of the mountainside of the resort, with tight fairways and a tumbling topography that’s perfect for the weekend golfer. If you’re like me though and not at all a great golfer, the Woodstone Meadows course is the ideal choice. This is an executive course that is well maintained, has some fun holes and thanks to its open fairways, is very approachable even for a novice like me.
Whether it’s to relax before your round of golf or soothe some sore muscles afterwards, the Spa at Massanutten is not to be missed. Sitting in the relaxation room waiting to be called in for my treatment, an older couple sat down and started chatting with me. They were visibly excited and one turned to me and said, “I hope you’re getting a massage because these are the best in the world.” High praise, but after an hour with the aesthetician I had to agree that I’ve never felt more relaxed in a spa environment. I don’t always book a spa time when I visit a resort, but I know at Massanutten it will always be part of my travel ritual.
Other Fun Activities
When I checked into Massanutten, I was given a booklet with activities and instantly my brain started to swirl. There’s a lot going on at the resort, too much (sadly) for me to tackle in just a couple of days. Throughout the day the property offers classes and events for every age group, from art classes to cooking demonstrations and even wine tastings. A massive indoor/outdoor waterpark caters to all ages as well and all around the resort there are miles and miles of hiking and biking trails. Something a little different that I was excited to try for the first time was the Escape Room. I’m sure you’ve heard of these by now, they’re increasingly popular and I couldn’t wait to try it out. Participants are led into a small room with an objective, a mystery to solve. Everything needed is in the room itself and guests have an hour to put all the clues together and solve the puzzle. Even though we didn’t solve the mystery within the hour, it was a lot of fun and I’d love to try it again. Up in the mountains there’s an adventure center with zip lines and a ropes course and closer to the meadows section of the resort there’s even a small farm with petting zoo area. Of course I had to stop by and pet the goats, a fun way to spend some time before heading home. No matter what interests you, there’s honestly a lot to see and do at Massanutten and I can’t wait to return and try the activities I missed.
Situated in the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains, close to both the Appalachian Trail as well as the Blue Ridge Parkway, Massanutten has captured everything I love most about Southwestern Virginia. Plus, from the Washington, DC area it’s a quick and easy drive making this the perfect spot to escape for a few days to enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation.