Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Homestead

Over President's Day weekend, we spent a couple of days at The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA.  The goal was to see some snow, and we were willing to drive 5 hours to see it.  We filled our days there with so many activities that we were all exhausted when we got home.

The day we got there, it was about 25 degrees in the heat of the day, with a howling wind (and no snow.  The picture above was from the day we left.)  So we spent that day exploring inside.  We found rooms set up with corn hole and a giant chess board.  We played family bingo and just walked around this huge resort.  We had dinner in the Commonwealth Room, which was a big buffet that reminded us a lot of the Blue Ridge Dining Room at the Grove Park Inn.  In other words, it was a darn good buffet!

We woke up the next morning and went swimming in the indoor pool.  The pool looked like a larger version of the indoor pool at my summer camp growing up, which was likely built around the same time as this pool (around the turn of last century).  It brought back so many great memories of camp!

After that, it was time to go to the ski slopes.  We weren't planning to ski, since we didn't have enough time to do everything.  But we wanted to see snow, even if it was manmade.  Luckily the weather was much warmer than the previous day (a balmy 45 degrees), so it was easy to bundle up and stay warm.  We had lunch at the ski lodge (outside!), and then we enjoyed the snow.

Sims loved sliding in the snow and watching people ski.  When the kids came out for their group lesson, he got really interested in wanting to ski.  Next year we will have to take him skiing! 

Next up was ice skating!  This was Sims' first time ice skating, so it took him a little bit to get the hang of it.  By the end, he was actually skating by himself!

Yes, those are people swimming in the pool in the background!
Sims would skate around the rink once, then he would come off the ice and take a break while Jason skated around the rink once.  I'm not sure if Sims really needed to rest.  It seemed more like he was fascinated by the wooden boxes you put your skates on to tie them up.  Then he would say, "I'm gonna go help the Hurricanes," and off he would go skating.  This boy sure loves his hockey!  Now, he at least understands how hard hockey is.

After that, it was time for a break and afternoon tea in the lobby.  I loved all the lounging areas around the resort.  They were tucked in all sorts of places.  You could find some as busy or as quiet as you wanted.

Then we got ready for a hayride around the property.  We were the only ones who signed up for the hayride, so it was like we were on a personal tour.  We rode up to the ski lodge and made smores by the fire.

We discovered that Sims doesn't really like smores.  He's not a fan of the marshmallows.  But he does love the chocolate and graham crackers!  Then we headed to dinner at Sam Snead's Tavern.  Needless to say, after dinner we headed to bed!  It had been a big day.

The next morning, we woke up to snow!  We were excited to get out there and play.  We went downstairs and bought a sled and headed out.

We were happy to get our snow fix!  Then it was time for us to go home, but not before having lunch at the Casino Restaurant.  Sims ate quickly and took a nap in the restaurant, while we finished.  It was an exhausting couple of days, but it was so worth the trip.  Jason and I are even talking about trying to go again.  We might need to stay a least one more day to warrant the 5 hour drive though.  That was tough!

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