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“Paradise Not Lost, but Going Fast”
Review of Big Meadows Lodge

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Big Meadows Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Ocean Isle Beach, NC
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Paradise Not Lost, but Going Fast”
Reviewed August 25, 2008

Big Meadows Lodge has always been a slice of paradise, a family oriiented place to get back to nature. I've enjoyed this place since I was about 10. It is a rustic lodge with mountain charm, with rustic rooms and cabins - a pristine place where deer are at home, and a hike or horseback ride would bring you close to the natural beauty. From your balcony you could see the Shenandoah Valley thousands of feet below, simply magnificent. A basement 'Tap Room' would serve up good food and spirits, and a rustic restaurant with a magnificent view would serve up the best of country cooking. All of this came to us for all to enjoy at family friendly prices, courtesy of your National Park Service (and your tax dollar).
But Not Any More. Most of the views are gone, the riding stables are closed, the good & reasonable food is only a memory, and the family prices are now for wealthy families.
Not too many years ago, when I was just married I paid about $12 for a room here. Two years ago I paid $99 for a room w/ view. This year I paid $141.00. That's over 40% higher. Now, 2 years ago I averaged $2.99 for gas & this trip was about $3.89. That's a 30% increase for gas. If folks are so mad at gas prices, maybe they should be mad at these prices. Rooms of this quality in the real world would have a very hard time getting $59-69 a night. This year they have added a $3 water sursharge. If water is so scarce, why don't they replace those old toilets with 1.6 gallon models. A new toilet only cost about what they charge for one nights rent.
And yes, they closed the stables. I heard a flimsy excuse that didn't hold much water to me. If you are willing to drive 20 min. or so up the drive, you can still ride horses at Skyland for a fairly reasonble price of $30. Don't tell Aramark that it's reasonable or next year it will be a prohibitive $60. This is a great experience and tradition.
And most of the magnificent views are gone. Trees have grown up from the original clearing. I paid for a room with a view. All I got was a room with a view of trees. How can they sell a room-with-a-view that has no view? I have heard that they control up to 200 feet out, which means they CAN trim the trees. Others claim that some Appallacian Trail Organization pressures them not to trim because the trail runs close by. Balony! The trail runs thousands of miles long, they can let us have a few hundred feet. After all, you don't need to cut the trees down, only need to 'top' them. Besides, if the land was originally cleared for a view, then this original intent should be maintained.
Now for the worst change.....the food. Gone is that good old country cooking we came to love. The current menu is entirely inappropriate for the setting. This menu would be more at home at The Regency Hotel in Manhatten. Price wise it runs about twice as much as a family oriented restaurant. Worse, the quality is horrible. Worse, unless you have the appitite of Tinkerbell, you will probably leave hungrey. Worse, it is the only food option - a complete monopoly. At Skyland you can at least go to the bar and get a burger (for about $50 for a family of four). At Big Meadows today the bar only serves appitizers from the dinner menu for around $8-10. My question is, if Cracker Barrel can do it right, why can't they?
Don't get me wrong. To all outward appearances this is the same place so many of us have come to love. I would, however, not advise getting hungrey. They are beginning to refurbish the rooms. TV and A/C (still no phones) is being added, which will delight some & disappoint others. The changes to the rooms are actually minor. They are going to bare wood floors, which turned the soles of my son's feet black. They have new pillow top beds, however, they are not all that comfortable and have a low-end feel to them. My family didn't like the new furniture, but I thought it blended well with the mountain lodge charm of the room. It is natural pine and I think contrasts well with the age old dark notty pine walls. The paths around Big Meadows (one goes a mile to the 'Wayside') are made of standard black-topping and should be resurfaced, if only for liability purposes. They are quite worn with many defects and could cause a serious fall. I saw a wheelchaired person trying to negotiate a path & finally bail out due to the poor surface quality and pit-falls. It's a national park, it should be accessible. I am a physician and sensitive to such things. I hope this review is helpful. Personally, I will continue to return to Big Meadows and enjoy what there is left to enjoy. Shenandoah Nat. Park and it's lodges are a national treasure and if enough people complain about the changes over the recent years, then perhaps it can once again be a family oriented place with charming lodging, great views, horse trail rides, and reasonably priced home cooking.

  • Liked — the charm of a real mountain lodge
  • Disliked — the prices and food
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank cruisedoc1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Texas
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2008

Since this hotel is in the national park it is very convenient to stay at while visiting Shenandoah. My family and I stayed in one of the newer rooms. The room was quite nice and decorated to give a cabin like feel. The bathrooms were not newly remodeled like the room though. They looked rather old and in need of being redone. There was an area right outside the door to view the wildlife and we saw some deer during our stay. We also took a small hike that was right next to the lodge, up to a great view of the sunset. While visiting we dined at the lodge restaurant twice. The food was okay but nothing special. I would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank FWMOM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, VA
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 4, 2008

Just returned from a one day visit to the Lodge. One word describes it--Awesome! I went with my family of 4 others (husband, and 3 kids ages 9,3, and 1 years old). We all had a wonderful stay. We rented the Deluxe room in the newer part of the lodge. It came equipped with a 20 inch television, coffee-maker, and patio on the back. The King size bed was very comfortable. Deer and other wildlife were literally just steps away.

The food at the lodge was terrific; expensive, but terrific.

Next time we will go for 2 or three days to enjoy all of the activities the lodge has to offer, such as hiking, evening campfires, jr, ranger programs, etc.

  • Liked — The scenery
  • Disliked — No refrigerator or microwave in room. Nearest convenience stores outside of park--about 25 minutes down the mountain.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LoveRVacation
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DC
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2008

The Deluxe rooms are worth paying extra for ....... since they have attractive fireplaces and wooden decor. Bathrooms rather dated though.

Good location, surrounded by the forest: we saw bears and deer outside the door during our stay.

The restaurant was rather disappointing though. Steak was of poor quality and some menu items ran out by 8pm. Tastiest offering was the bean soup. Overpriced and portions could be more generous. During warmer weather, the dining room is also stiflingly hot.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — restaurant
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank avidtravellerDc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grayslake, IL
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 15, 2008

We have been coming to BIg Meadows Lodge for over 15 years and have not found a better place to vacation. My husband and I have stayed in other places but always come back here. We find the rooms, food, and service personnel to be outstanding.

The couple of times we have had a problem, it was taken care of immediately and to our complete satisfaction.

We travel from north of Chicago to here and find it worth the time and driving it takes.

Helpful?
1 Thank jmnieman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Co. Durham
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2008

We stayed one night during our holiday driving the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Mountain Trail - we stayed in a deluxe room in the lodge - the room was large, comfortable and with a balcony that looked over a meadow and woods below and beyond down into the valley. Lovely place to watch the sunset and look out for deer in the meadow.

Would recommend anyone to stay at the lodge - just lovely.

  • Liked — The setting
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Drybourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed May 19, 2008

My husband and I stayed at Big Meadows for one night, and I believe we had a "Deluxe" room - it was very nice. On their list of room costs the Deluxe was above the Superior, we felt like we had one of the nicer rooms.

The room was very clean, new furniture, a great view (when the mist lifted) and very convenient to the main building. It was such a great stay inside the park.

The restaurant was good - especially after hiking all day, we really enjoyed our time at the taproom though later in the evening. The entertainment was a lot of fun and audience participation was a must.

We actually hiked in from Skyland, the day prior to our stay we dropped off our overnight bag so it would be there when we checked in. No problems with doing that. We were also able to leave the bag at the front desk when we checked out and hiked on to Lewis Mountain cabins. We ended up getting shuttled back later that day to pick our luggage up and head out of the park.

Overall, I think I enjoyed Big Meadows better than Skyland. The whole trip was a great experience though.

  • Liked — Proximity of the rooms to the main building, the balcony and view.
  • Disliked — Shower water pressure.
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sensitiveartist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Big Meadows Lodge

Property: Big Meadows Lodge
Address: Mile 51.2, Skyline Dr, Shenandoah National Park, VA 22849
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Virginia > Shenandoah National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Shenandoah National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Big Meadows Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 97
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Also Known As:
Big Meadows Hotel Shenandoah National Park
Big Meadows Virginia
Big Meadow Lodge
Big Meadows Lodge Virginia
Big Meadows Shenandoah

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