Friday, August 13, 2010

Wintergreen Resort - Summer Edition

Wait, stop, hold up. We went to a place called Wintergreen during the hottest day of summer? Yes, and that's not all. Our winter trip (read about it here) was over Valentine's Day weekend. This time, we went with my parents...

To say that Wintergreen is a versatile vacation destination is quite an understatement. In February we found it to be a winter wonderland filled with skiing, tubing, and hiking. It was a perfect rustic - yet very comfortable - retreat from the city. In July, it proved to be a nice escape from the heat (15-20 degrees cooler) with the same charm, and this time, without the crowds.

The four of us rented a three bedroom home for no more than what you would expect to pay for a decently nice hotel. In addition to the privacy and additional space, we loved the screened-in porch and hot tub on the deck. Affordability and amenities; it must be a mantra at Wintergreen.

There is always a ton to do at Wintergreen and in addition to the obvious, there's also the unexpected... like taking a mountain Segway tour. My dad was intrigued and my mom was willing, so off we went. After donning the world's most obnoxiously colored safety garments and going through a surprisingly quick safety lesson, we were off on our tour. Up and down hills, over rocky terrain, and through the woods we went, to find pristine vistas and giggles all around. Next stop on our list: the uber-touristy Segway tour through DC.

When looking to beat the heat of the middle of the day (it still got to the 80's), we enjoyed a dip in the nearby Lake Monocan which is free, and on Saturdays, exclusive to those people staying at the resort. It is great for lying out on the beach, swimming, or paddling around on any number of options. Our favorite activity though were the giant inflatable slides and trampolines.

Wintergreen isn't going to be featured in Travel and Leisure anytime soon, but it is a good bargain, has plenty to do for all types, and is a perfect distance from D.C. On that note, I'd be remiss not to mention the road trip. Choosing Wintergreen also enables travelers to enjoy the Shenandoah National Park (check), Charlottesville (check), and various historical sites (check) along the way.

On this trip, the role of historical site was played by Montpelier, home to James Madison, 4th President, Founding Father, and primary framer of the Constitution.

Over the years, Madison's life-long home was purchased and expanded upon by a member of the duPont family. After she died, restoration took place to restore the home to how it looked when Madison lived there. This process was completed in 2008.

While the home and grounds are finished, the interior is still a work in progress. Walls are mostly bare and there is little decor. Still, it was special to stand in the room that produced many of the ideas that have shaped our Nation.

I'm sure that a visit to Montpelier will be much better once they completely restore the interior, but I'd still recommend a visit if you're in the area... and I do hope that you find an excuse to be in the area.

J Says

Having planned our Valentine's Day trip to Wintergreen, I was pretty familiar with the resort, and fully expected to have less fun in the summer than we did in the winter. I was wrong. Despite the dorkiest outfits ever, the Segway tour was really fun and bouncing on the trampoline at Lake Monocan made me feel like a kid again. It was also a nice change of pace to visit Wintergreen when we had the place practically to ourselves. It was a perfect escape from the crowded city streets.

I also learned that Montpelier isn't just a city in Vermont with a hard-to-pronounce name. It is a beautiful estate that, as B said, is worth a visit. In November, they're holding the Montpelier Hunt Races if you want to combine horse racing and presidential history in one visit (the duPont family installed a horse racing track on the property).

Finally, who can resist a visit to quaint Charlottesville with its up and coming restaurant scene and walkable neighborhoods? If you're over this heat and need to escape, think about escaping to your own backyard.

1 comment:

Amy J said...

Ha! I was at Montpelier last Friday. Went to Monticello and Ash Lawn/Highland on Saturday. Had a fantastic time. You should have seen Montpelier before the restoration, I still can't get over the difference! (We had toured it in 2002)