Tag Archives: Wintergreen Resort

Guest Post: Wintergreen Summer Getaway with a Toddler

view-from-deck

[Note: This post was written by Erika Lloyd, a Washington, DC-based freelance writer and parent.]


Before my daughter’s birth, I was a big fan of road trips. Actually, I was a fan of any travel. Now, when I dream of traveling, I think about all the stuff I have to bring along — the pack-n-play, the diapers and wipes and creams, the sippy cups, the toys, the white noise machine, the nightlight, the loveys, the snacks, the extra snacks for when she inevitably decides she doesn’t like the first snacks offered, and all the other things that I have to write down or else I’ll forget them. Travel has changed quite a bit over the 19 months that I’ve been a parent.

I admit that it took me a while to realize that having a child doesn’t mean we can’t travel, it just means that we must take a new approach to travel, one with more planning and balanced expectations. A perfect example of this is our recent trip to Wintergreen Resort in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. As usual, I had grandiose plans to go hiking, biking, and canoeing. However, reality turned them into short walks, exploring the nature center, and swimming in the pool, which I’ve come to learn is pretty productive for a weekend away from DC with a toddler.

The drive to Wintergreen took us a little over three hours, partially due to traffic — we left after work on a Thursday (returning home on Sunday was a bit faster). New-ish parent mistake number 841: Starting a road trip at 7pm. When driving with a toddler, I highly advise leaving in the morning or mid-day (though every other parent probably already knew this). We were convinced she would sleep during the drive, but that didn’t happen. Fortunately we had the Kindle Fire prepped with PBS kids shows.

Wintergreen-condos-scenic

The hassle of packing and driving was immediately forgotten when we arrived at Wintergreen Resort. Even in the dark it has magical qualities — the fresh, cool air (a welcome break from DC’s humidity), the quiet, the stars (you can SEE the stars!). And we woke up to breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from our deck. Along with the outdoor space, the Wintergreen condo we stayed in had a beautiful living room with views of the mountains, a kitchen and dining room, washer and dryer, and separate bedroom.

Condo

With two full days at the resort we had plenty of time to explore the mountain, while also sticking to our daughter’s nap schedule. We didn’t leave the resort from Thursday evening to Sunday morning, as there are so many activities and restaurants to choose from on its 11,000 acres. The surrounding area has a lot to offer, but we decided that it would feel more relaxing for us to hunker down in one area and drive as little as possible. Of course, having a toddler makes it difficult to walk everywhere, especially on a mountain, so we used the car for short drives to many on-site attractions and restaurants.

resting

We visited the Wintergreen Nature Center to purchase a trail map and get advice on child-friendly hiking trails. The Trillium House Trail was short and sweet, and we had a blast looking at all the plants and exploring an old gazebo in the woods. We stopped at vistas to take in the gorgeous scenery and ate at a number of restaurants including Devils Grill, The Edge, and Stoney Creek Bar & Grill. The Edge offered a very relaxing, family-friendly environment with a mix of pub-style food. Devils Grill features fine food in a romantic setting overlooking a golf course — it’s more adult-friendly, but they have high chairs and the wait staff was very sweet with my daughter. We didn’t hire a babysitter, although the resort offers a list of recommend local babysitters upon request so that you can have a date night during vacation.

Wintergreen-Lake

Wintergreen Resort has so much to offer you probably won’t be able to experience it all in one visit. My family plans to return, especially once our daughter is old enough to participate in more of the activities offered. Discovery Ridge Adventure Center is a highlight of the trip for children, with a zip line, climbing wall, mini golf, inflatable bounce bot for toddlers, tubing park, and bungee trampoline. Lake Monocan Park, in the valley, offers swimming, kayak and canoe rentals, paddleboats, and biking trails. Children ages two-and-a-half through 12 can join one of the half- or full-day programs at The Treehouse. My husband and I treated ourselves to massages at the spa — we took turns swimming in the pool with our daughter, so one of us could sneak away for a bit. Overall, the weekend was a perfect mix of light activity and relaxation away from the city. I highly recommend Wintergreen for a family getaway.

Wintergreen Resort is located in Roseland, Virginia, about 30 minutes from Charlottesville. You can book a stay through the resort and take advantage of special packages that include resort activities, or DIY with VRBO and add the adventures on once you arrive. It’s full of fun activities during the summer and a ski resort during the winter for winter adventure, too.

*For more on Wintergreen, read about a KFDC experience on summer getaway there last year.

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Filed under All ages, Destination from DC, Guest Post, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Summer Weekend at Wintergreen

Enjoying the Wintergreen scenery

Enjoying the Wintergreen scenery



As much as we love living in the city, we also relish an escape from it now and then. It’s refreshing to go somewhere a little more laid back, where we can see oodles of stars twinkling in the night sky, breathe in fresh mountain air, hike among tall trees, and partake in adventures that aren’t so easily accessible all in one place at home.

So, when friends asked us to join them for a weekend away earlier this month, we didn’t hesitate to say yes. We decided to go to Wintergreen Resort, because 1) both of our families had been before — us during the winter, them in the summer — and knew we liked it and 2) we found a great, reasonably-priced house there through VRBO – Vacation Rentals By Owner.

wintergreen_scenery

Wintergreen is located in central Virginia on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, about a three-hour drive from DC. We headed up there on a Friday, arriving in the evening and stayed through Sunday afternoon. And while it sounds like a quick trip, it felt much longer. We managed to fit in a good amount of activity — and a nice dose of R&R as well.

wintergreen_sash

wintergreen_hiking

With five kids ranging in age from 1 to 7, we planned most activities around them. We took a short hike, letting the kids do some easy rock climbing; spent several hours swimming at a pool and playing at a nearby playground; took tube rides down a mountain at the resort’s Discovery Ridge Adventure Center; and swam, canoed, and played at Lake Monocan down the mountain.

wintergreen_tubing

wintergreen_zip

That’s just a tiny sample of all there is to do there. At the Adventure Center alone you can also ride zip lines, jump on the bungee trampoline, tee up for mini golf, and let little ones play in Ridgley’s Fun Park. There is also golf, tennis, a spa, and fishing opportunities, plus scheduled family activities like geocaching, scavenger hunts and lawn games.

wintergreen_lake_monocan

wintergreen_lakejump

wintergreen_canoe

You need resort passes to enjoy some it — like the spa, tennis, and golf — which you can get if you book through the resort. If, like us, you book through the property owner, you can ask about a resort pass. We did not have one, but had access to other pools on the mountain, which was absolutely fine. You also have to be a resort member or guests to go to the lake on Saturdays. That also worked out well for us, since we went on Sunday when there was barely a crowd (and we heard it was packed the day before).

Not bad place to enjoy a morning cup o' joe

Not bad place to enjoy a morning cup o’ joe

All in all, it was wonderful weekend at a locale I highly recommend. And now that we’ve been during winter and summer, a leaf peeping trip is in the works for the fall.

Wintergreen Resort is located in Wintergreen, Va (though the address to get there says Roseland, Va), about 30 minutes from Charlottesville. You can book a stay through them and take advantage of special packages or DIY with VRBO and add the adventures on once you get there. Either way, you’re in for a fun escape.


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Filed under All ages, Destination from DC, Fall, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter