WIth my family growing up in the 60s, on my own, and with my wife of the last twenty five years, I've been to the national park and Skyland (and Big Meadows and Lewis Mountain ...) probably a couple of hundred times. It remains close to our hearts as a cherished place, because of the serenity, the air, the scenery, the walking, the incredible changes in weather when fronts come through.
Our most recent stay at Skyland was mid November 2012, just after the Veterans Day holiday. For the first time we had a pet dog with us. The pet-friendly rooms are in the Canyon lodge building, down the hill from the dining room. Our upper room (room 166) had a great view of the valley, lights twinkling through the dark evening. This room also had a television, with roughly a dozen or so cable stations; it went unused by us. The only difference with the pet-friendly room is that it has synthetic wood flooring rather than carpet (makes great sense). The room, as has always been our experience, was cozy, rustic, with comfortable beds, functional electric heating (it turned quite cold overnight, with strong winds and sleet beating down), and a clean bathroom with lots of hot water. We enjoyed the overnight stay as usual, and our puppy seemed thrilled by the scents outside and the squirrels, chipmunks, deer, etc. She slept happily all through the night.
Our meals in the dining room were satisfying. Pan-seared chicken breast with wild mushroom risotto was particularly good. A surprisingly good selection of wines is available for those who indulge. We had no room for dessert, though from past experience all the sweet selections are quite good. Bring a healthy appetite. The breakfast menu has good variety, from healthy stuff to a Shenandoah version of eggs benedict.
My wife and I will continue to return here, with puppy in tow, for our usual early spring and late fall visits. We've learned that Aramark will no longer have the concession contract with Shenandoah National Park as of 1 January 2013. Let's hope the new concessionaire - Delaware North Companies - will meet the challenge and keep standards high. We wish them well.