Welcome to Part 2 of FredParent’s 90 Days of Fun series. As you saw in June, the intrepid Fredericksburg Parent staff is doing the hard work of summer fun research for our readers. Last month, editor Chris Jones experienced the Gaylord at National Harbor with his young children. This month, publisher Leigh Anne Van Doren reports on taking her teens to the historic and gracious Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA.
“The trip was a win the moment our car swept around a mountainous curve and the famous Homestead tower and complex appeared on the hill above us. After a short, stunned silence in the car, my 17-year-old said, “mom, is THAT where we are going?” In one short moment, the Homestead took me from slightly annoying mom status, to major respect.
Seeped with grandeur and tranquil architecture that dates to 1764, (George Washington visited the area) Omni Homestead and resort rejuvenates the mind, soul and body through its dining, family activities and spa. Just sitting in the lobby brought me more peace than the kids doing the dishes without me asking. It was an escape that soothed fractious teens, my stressed-out husband and gave me a memorable Mother’s Day.
After arriving Friday night, we picked up a s’mores kit from the front desk and joined other families around the firepit for a delicious, smoky, chocolate snack before bed. The 17-year-old, went for a trail ride, but the rest of us spent Saturday at the Spa. I had an ayurvedic massage, and then spent the rest of the day in the amazing Aqua Thermal Suite. I enjoyed an experimental tropical rain shower, the lavender herbal cocoon room, and best of all the thermal heated lounge facing video screens of waterfalls. (my favorite). My husband had a Swedish massage and both daughters had haircuts and blowouts in the salon.
Then on to a unique experience. We met at the oldest spa structure in the United States. The Homestead Serenity Garden is an adult only pool. There we soaked in a 90-96-degree octagon shaped pool. Fed by two springs, the pool is magnesium, potassium and calcium rich. The River Reflexology Walk with stones massaged our 15,000 nerves in our feet. We sat in the hot tub, swam in the pool and lunched in a private cabana.
Finally, everyone put on nice clothes, (without nagging! The Homestead truly cast a spell.) and went down to an extraordinary dinner. We started with a strawberry and blueberry salad with poppy seed dressing, moved on to Chateaubriand, with local asparagus, king trumpet mushrooms, whipped potatoes, dandelion greens and sauce Robert. I really thought nothing could top the tender Chateaubriand; but thank goodness I was wrong. I am completely sure that should I be allowed to enter the pearly gates, there I will be served Buttermilk Tart, comprised of Pate Sucree, Southern Buttermilk Custard and Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream. That piece of pie has now become my “happy place.”
Even the pickiest family member will find something to suit them, with an array of relaxation and pampering options available at the spa and seven dining options. 483 guest rooms await, each with their own unique views and features. Traditional rooms offer 120-220 square feet, whereas President’s Suites with a living room, two master bedrooms, and two bathrooms, decorated to tailor the presidential guests who have stayed there, span to 1,500 square feet. ADA Accessible Rooms are also available with roll in showers.
Family dinner can be brought to a whole new level as guests enter the Dining Room. Columns adorn the luxurious room. The cuisine reflects the Virginia heritage of the resort and the freshly grown food resourced from the Homestead gardens and natural surroundings. Guests can enjoy breakfasts and dinners at the Dining Room. For lunch enjoy other scenic restaurants such as the terraced Jefferson’s Restaurant and Bar or enjoy a brick oven pizza and thick milkshakes at Woody’s.
Guests won’t want to leave the resort once they arrive. Activities within the spa or throughout the entire resort can appeal to those looking to have the stress of life melt off of them, or for those wishing for thrills and unique experiences that the family will want to return to over and over again.
Rejuvenate at the spa:
- Relax and play year-round with the whole family in the two-acre water park, Allegheny Springs. Pools, whirlpool, lazy river and water slides are all spring fed from natural springs.
- Hit the pool at 3 p.m. every day for duck races.
- Water Play Zone cabanas are available for $200 for a full day. They’ll provide seating for a family of six who wants to stay out of the sun but enjoy the fresh air of the outdoors. If families want a more luxurious spread for $400 families, they can have the Lazy River Cabanas furnished with couches, flat screen, mini fridge and a personal attendant to wait on your needs.
- Pamper yourself in the Aqua Thermal Suite. These European style treatments are available for those 14 and older. Enjoy experimental showers, herbal cocoon, aromatic steam and thermal heated lounges.
- Teen (ages 14-17) and adult facials, manicures, salon, massages and personal trainers are available to make your body and soul feel brand new.
- Take a dip in the oldest spa structure in the U.S. Serenity Garden is an adult only pool. Replenish in the 90-96-degree octagon pool. Fed by two springs, the pool is magnesium, potassium and calcium rich. The River Reflexology Walk with stones can help massage the 15,000 nerves within the feet.
Activities for All Interests:
- Tee off at the Cascade golf course, which was voted number one “Best golf course you can play in each state.” Enjoy 18 holes surrounded by the scenery of the mountains.
- Golf Instruction and a second course, the Old Course can be scheduled for a tee time.
- Fly 4,000 feet through the treetops on the Ridge Runner Zip Tour.
- See the mountains sparkling with snow on the ski hills. Ski, snowboard or tube down the slopes for an exhilarating time.
- Shop for treasures and treats. Visit Maybelle’s candy shop for something sweet, then head over to Allegheny Activities for fishing licenses, hiking gear and gifts.
Surrounded by many happy families celebrating Mother’s Day, all four of us found the Homestead was a joy to experience. They have amazing babysitting programs for younger kids to enjoy and so much for tweens and teens, including archery, ziplining, golf, horses, games, hiking, biking, and kayaking, along with a family friendly lazy river. I give it five stars.