BY LORI CAPULLO
That’s what you can choose to do at Primland in Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Hike, fish, golf, shoot, swim—or park on a porch and watch the wildlife be wild, all in the lap of rustic luxury.
Should you arrive at Primland on a drizzly, cloudy day, as we did, you’re sure to marvel at the way in which the clouds float right outside your guestroom window, hovering above the mountaintops like massive tufts of cotton suspended in mid-air—especially if you’ve come from a major metropolis and such wonders are limited to your view from a window seat on an airplane. If, on the other hand, you arrive to sunshine and blue skies, you’ll feel almost as though you’ve stepped into a scene from The Sound of Music, with verdant hills and pristine blooms all around.
When you get to the security gate at the property’s entrance, you’ll have to drive another six miles through the woods to get there. As you enter your simply but elegantly appointed room, you’ll find a host of accoutrements to add to the cozy factor here—from Keurig coffees and teas to cookies and savory snacks to homemade fudge in the shape of the state of Virginia (it’s locally made at Nancy’s Candy Company on Jeb Stuart Highway in Meadows of Dan), beautifully wrapped and accompanied by a personal note. That same sweet treat is left at your bedside during turndown service, just a little something to look forward to every night after the day’s activities are done. It’s clear that Primland knows first impressions are everything, and they certainly don’t disappoint.
Located in scenic Southern Virginia in Meadows of Dan, on 12,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this tranquil haven is the perfect place for gazing and dozing. But chilling out in front of a fire pit with a cocktail or spending the day in the property’s luxurious spa are but a couple of ways to spend your time here. Despite the serenity that envelops the entire resort, all that nature surrounding it is put to good use. Immaculately manicured golf courses draw enthusiasts of the sport from around the world. As you stroll the grounds, even on the short walk from your cottage to the restaurant in the main building (which, by the way, you don’t have to do—just pick up your phone and in what seems like seconds, an SUV is at your door to shuttle you wherever on the property you want to go), you’ll spot bicycles and hikers. En route to pick up your ATV for a tour, fly fishers will be waving to you from their perch at the edge of the lake. Hit the tennis courts, shoot skeet, grab a kayak and glide across the water, go tomahawk throwing—yes, tomahawk throwing—the options are all there for you to explore. Or not. It’s totally up to you.
Although the property is situated up in the mountains surrounded by woods, you will not be roughing it. In the rooms and the buildings, clubby materials—wood, leather, stone—are juxtaposed with modern artwork and modern conveniences (read: technology, in the form of flat-screen TVs, high-speed Internet and WiFi). The lodge-like lobby is so cozy and comfortable, with its multiple seating vignettes comprised of cushy sofas, tables, stone fireplaces, and bowls of fresh green apples and bottles of water placed about for the taking—that my travel companion was happy to settle in there with a book and wait without complaint as I lingered perhaps a little longer than necessary in the lovely spa post-massage. As a reward, I took him to the 19th Hole Pub on the premises and plied him with beer and “pig candy”—maple-coated bacon—although I had my own motives for that move. (See the aforementioned “pig candy,” which is as deliciously salty-sweet as you might dream it to be.)
At night, after dinner in the fine dining restaurant, element (go for the chef’s nine-course tasting menu with wine pairing for a truly memorable experience), go stargazing in Primland’s Observatory Dome. When the weather allows and skies are clear, guests gather round the resort’s Celestron CGE Pro 1400 telescope for a 45-minute lesson in stars and planets that truly does fascinate. Sip wine, wrap yourself in a blanket, look up—and completely forget every stressful thing you’ve got waiting for you beyond the gates of Primland. It’s not your average resort activity.
Also worth noting—because to me, the success of a travel experience has everything to do with the people who work in the places we visit—is the conviviality of every single staffer we came in contact with here, from General Manager Ted Horan to the hostess at the lovely fine dining restaurant, element. Southern hospitality is not a myth—it’s evident that these people are genuinely happy to be here and to interact with each and every guest, whether it’s to ask if there’s anything you need or just to chat. It’s interesting to note that more than one of the staffers we met was proud to tell us she’d been on staff for more than 20 years, and perhaps even more interesting to note that several of the Primland staff—from Horan to the restaurant’s executive chef to the head of maintenance—actually live in homes outside the resort but still technically located on the property. We learned this from our congenial, 70-something-year-old driver as he was taking us to the airport on our last day, along with the fact that he is long retired but working a side job driving for Primland because they called and asked him to—and he enjoys working for the resort so much that he couldn’t refuse. Now that’s commitment. And after a few days of experiencing Primland firsthand, it’s easy to see why.
The Lodge and Cottages at Primland,
2000 Busted Rock Road, Meadows of Dan, Virginia,
866-673-7802; visit primland.com.
IF YOU GO
The easiest way to get to the property is by car, and it’s about a two-hour drive from the Roanoke, Va., airport. Primland also has a partnership with Summit Helicopters of Roanoke to transport you to the helipad located at the property’s north gate should you choose to arrive that way.
There are 44 guest accommodations: 26 Lodge rooms, six Fairway Cottages and 12 Mountain Homes. Rustic esthetically and also by virtue of the fact that they’re constructed of natural materials (the scent of wood is intoxicating as you enter), all are luxuriously appointed with feather-topped beds dressed in Frette linens, fabulous deep soaking tubs, L’Occitane toiletries, flat-screen TVs and WiFi (across the entire property).
In the fall, winter and early spring months, plan to layer clothing, for those warmer moments during the day and chillier temps after the sun goes down. Bring sneakers and/or hiking boots, gloves, swimwear and sunglasses to be prepared for any activity.