The Homestead is Virginia’s premier vacation resort in Hot Springs, Virginia. My girlfriend took me there for a surprise vacation August 13th through the 15th. She only told me that we were going somewhere and what to bring. The Homestead is an amazing historic resort with an endless supply of things to do so long as you have an endless supply of cash. My girlfriend and I are both very broke, but wanted to get away for the weekend. My girlfriend is like most women and enjoy very nice things (i.e. expensive). The deal was that I would pay for food and drinks and she would pay for lodging.
They gave us twin beds instead of the king like we had asked for, but the room was still very nice. The TV was the same kind you see in most hotels with minimal channels, 32′ of non-digital picture, and a Nintendo 64 controller wired into for the pay for play games. Like most vacations we spend a lot of time watching the Discovery channel. Our view was amazing because we got to see the entire Homestead from our room. It’s an amazing building that has a beautiful view where ever you go. The bathroom and sink was separate with his and hers bathrobes provided. It was a very nice room and we ordered room service. I had a burger and she had salmon. We devoured both quickly because they were cooked to perfection. We sat around in our robes drinking wines I believe the Homestead makes themselves until we fell asleep.
Things to do for free
My girlfriend and I aren’t rich so we didn’t get to enjoy things like golfing, hunting, or falconry. There is a lot you can do on a limited budget or no budget at all.
Indoor/Outdoor Pool: There is an indoor pool in the spa and an outdoor pool located near the bath house. Both are free to guests.
The Village of Hot Springs: The Homestead is actually larger than the town it rests in, but the Village of Hot Springs is connected to the Homestead. Enjoy the farmers market and the tiny little shops. Everyone in Hot Springs is very nice and easy to talk to.
Walking/Hiking: Walk the grounds of the resort because there is a lot to look at. I mean inside and outside. Every floor has a bookshelf full of random books. The place is also full of history so stop and read some of the signs. There is a hiking trail as well, but my girlfriend and I were out of shape and didn’t make it up the hill. The hiking trail is no joke. If you like being out of breath and going up hill then give it a try.
Tea Time: Each day at three in the reception hall they serve tea and a light snack. I quite enjoyed this because you just sit and enjoy tea with a room full of other happy people.
Movies: Each night they show a movie, location varies, be sure to ask someone what they are showing and where. When we were there it was only children’s movies.
Relax: The point of a resort is to relax and enjoy yourself. You didn’t pay a bunch of money to to run around and wear yourself out trying to cram in every single event. Fall asleep in a rocking chair, or play a game of chess. I did my best to catch up on my sleeping.
If your like me then it isn’t a vacation without getting so drunk you can’t remember most of it.
Hot Springs ABC: Virginia’s ABC has a store in the center of town for all the spirits you could want. Across the street is a place that sells beer and wine.
Presidents Lounge: This is a must when visiting the Homestead. It is a beautiful lounge with a piano player taking requests. It’s walls are lined with pictures of the American Presidents who have visited the Homestead. All of them look great except for Reagan who looks just awful in his picture. They served the best Manhattan I’ve ever had and would gladly go back for another. This was the best part of our trip…or my part of the trip I guess.
Wine: The wine at the Homestead is only the best so be sure to order some…with every meal.
Room Service: Is expensive, but worth it. Get the smoked salmon because it’s the real deal. I don’t even like that stuff and I was about to steal it from my girlfriend. Avoid the mini-bar because it’s expensive.
Dining Room: This is formal dining that requires men to have jackets and women to be in dresses or jackets as well. It was very fancy, but made both of us feel terrible. Way too much fat and butter. Plus you pick your own courses and most of them don’t balance well. After dinner we thought we were going to die. I didn’t feel well for two days.
Martha’s Market: This is where we had both breakfast and lunch everyday. They serve Starbucks coffee, amazing doughnuts, fresh made sandwiches, etc. I loved everything I got from here because it was super tasty, cheap, and fresh. This is where the non-fancy dining was. Plus you can go and sit on the porch and meet the nicest cat ever. I assume he lives there, but he just walks around greeting all the guests as if he runs the place.
I’m not sure if I would ever go back, but I’m happy that I’ve been. If I ever become a rich man then I’m sure I’ll stay again. I can’t see me spending more than a weekend though because they fanciness of the place gets to me after a while. It just gets old fast and you find yourself just watching TV and wanting to go home.