Few properties in the Mid-Atlantic region have the history of Mountain Lake Lodge, a secluded and scenic retreat just west of Blacksburg, Virginia. Mountain Lake enjoys a rich heritage with generations of families from all around the country returning to the main hotel, its smaller lodges and cabins to experience its history and now, the new and exciting developments taking place. Of course, it is well known as the location for the filming of the movie Dirty Dancing,
Jeff Burrell, the resort’s new manager, oversees the restoration of the property, including the lake, the victim of a cycle of recent reduced annual rainfall. There is also the renovation of the main lodge and its restaurant, Harvest, with its emphasis on locally sourced foods. Mountain Lake’s management brings a new focus on outdoor adventure themed activities including an extensive zip line course, geocaching, orienteering, hiking, bouldering, archery and cycling.
My wife and I have been vacationing at Mountain Lake for years. We are fond of the place. Our interest has always been in the serenity and outdoor activities it offers. We planned a long 4th of July weekend and, knowing of the effort to store the lake and the resort’s other amenities, we booked three nights in the Chestnut Lodge, a favorite of ours.
We live in Charleston, West Virginia, and so its is a simple drive of under three hours on I-77 to Routes 460 and 700. The road up mountain is winding, but easy enough. When you enter the lodge, the changes are subtle, but apparent to the seasoned eye. Slight changes in decor and furnishings and a quick and helpful response at the front desk signal there are adjustments taking place.
Our room at Chestnut Lodge was familiar, but had received similar freshening since our last stay. Nearby, the old building housing the gift shop and guest activities had been removed and replaced with a larger facility above the old location. The open space created by the removal of the old gift shop structure may be the site of a new small amphitheater. The giant outdoor chess set, the Bocci Ball court and swimming pools remain as well as Mary’s Barn, where various classes are taught, concerts held and dancing takes place.
On our second full day, a long hike took us past the new zip line course. Judging from the number of people gliding overhead or balanced on swaying ropes, poles and chains, it is already a popular attraction. The weather cooperated as we hiked an easy three mile course, ending on Indian Trail. We skirted the lake, stopping to watch a company from New York set up that night’s fireworks display (which was excellent).
Harvest, the restaurant in the main lodge, offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which are not included with the room charge as was the custom in the past. The service was good to excellent, depending on the staff. Breakfast was a simple buffet of standard fare, well prepared and plentiful. We did not eat lunch there, but had two dinners. We were very pleased with the quality of the food, its presentation and delivery. We opted for dessert on our first night, the Blueberry Bread Pudding was what you might hope for in a dessert with that name. We ate well.
We have great hopes for Mountain Lake. It is certainly worth the effort and certainly worth a visit.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The newly renovated historic Mountain Lake Lodge features 43 Rooms in Main Stone Lodge, 16 in Chestnut Lodge, 9 Mountain Homes in Blueberry Ridge, 8 historic rustic cabins and 9 Front Lawn Cottages on 2,600 acres of preserved mountaintop property owned by the Mary Moody Northen Endowment. Mountain Lake Conservancy, a non-profit organization founded in 1989, serves to protect the land and wildlife resources on the property for future generations. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mountain Lake Pembroke
- Hotel Mountain Lake