The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia
One of America’s Historical and Today’s Classic Resorts


Story & Photos by: Ed & Fran Stone

“When the 18th hole is done, everyone deserves a pat on the back,
whether meant as celebration or solace.”


For the avid golfer, The Homestead is a “must see and play” resort. If you’ve not visited or played golf here…put it on your “bucket list.”

The Homestead Resort (above) is beautifully situated in the Allegheny Mountains on the Northwestern side of Virginia in the small town of Hot Springs.

The 251-year old resort is beautifully situated in the Allegheny Mountains on the Northwestern side of Virginia in the small town of Hot Springs. Offering two of the finest golf courses in the State along with delightful accommodations, a plethora of activities and variety of dining options, the property is also steeped in history. The founding of The Homestead goes back to 1766 and has been a continuous resort for generation of families who call this place a home away from home.

Two championship golf courses, the Old Course and Cascades, have been around for more than a 100-years.

GOLF:
Two championship golf courses, the Old Course and Cascades, have been around for more than a 100-years. In addition to demanding your game be well tuned, the rewards of breathtaking scenery make up for those errant shots – especially the spectacular waterfalls and rushing stream of Cascades Gorge. These two courses hold the distinctions of being the country’s finest mountain course (Cascades) and the oldest first tee in continuous use (Old Course).

Several American presidents have taken on the challenge of these outstanding links, Howard Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower and George Herbert Walker Bush, just to name a few. Many other famous individuals including both John D. and Nelson Rockefeller have golfed at The Homestead. To the golfing world, Slammin’ Sammy Snead is the icon of this area. He was born in Hot Springs and lived here for his entire life.  He learned to play the game on the Cascades course. The course has also hosted numerous USGA championships and PGA TOUR events.

In addition to golf, there are activities for everyone to enjoy such as fishing, archery, canoing, horseback riding and lots more.

In addition to golf, there are activities for everyone to enjoy such as fishing, falconry, archery, carriage rides, Segway tours, kayaking, swimming, archery, horseback riding, snow skiing, nature hikes, and lots more.

Allegheny Springs includes Mountain Rush where there are two 100-foot water slides and a 400-foot lazy river as part of the water oriented complex.

ALLEGHENY SPRINGS:
During the summer of 2012, The Homestead invested more than $25 million in the resort.  This investment included the building of a two-acre water attraction appealing to the entire family. Allegheny Springs is fed by water drawn from the Allegheny Mountains. Named Mountain Rush, there are two100-foot water slides and a 400-foot lazy river as part of the water oriented complex. Guests may enjoy both the swimming pool and the whirlpool, year-round. For winter guests, the pool is heated and features chaise lounges with a stone-face deck warmed by radiant heaters. Other elements included from the investment are the Canyon Ranch SpaClub and miniature golf. There are now more than 30 resort recreational opportunities at The Homestead. These recent major additions allow the resort to appeal to a younger and broader audience.

DINING:
Aside from golfing and other recreational endeavors, dining might be a primary reason to spend some time at The Homestead. Guests can select from sports-themed bars, casual lunch spots with golf course views, and grand ballroom with nightly dancing. Dinner reservations are required and can be made when you book your stay. Your selection for breakfast, lunch or dinner depends on your appetite. Let me suggest you try the full buffet breakfast in the historic Main Dining Room at least once. Anything you could want to begin the day can be found in this spread. Of course, a very appetizing continental breakfast is offered from the Homestead Bake Shop. Their breakfast/dinner package plan includes the buffet breakfast and the casual Sam Snead’s Tavern and the elegant Main Dining Room.

Dining at The Homestead includes sports-themed bars, casual lunch spots with golf course views, and Main Dining Room with nightly dancing.

When packing to visit, be sure to check the dress code for meals. Here at The Homestead, breakfast is resort casual, which includes collared shirt, casual slacks and shorts. No cutoffs, tank tops, spandex, pool attire or sleep attire permitted. For dinner, it’s business attire, including jackets and collared shirts for gentlemen and dresses or dress pants suits for ladies. No denim permitted. Ladies and gentlemen are asked to remove caps when entering the Main Dining Room. The dress code applies to children 12 and older.

SPA & POOL:
When the Native Americans discovered the mineral-rich hot springs waters, they recognized their “healing powers” or restorative properties. Today, the resort continues to use these mineral waters to enhance the experience of the guests. All presented in a world-class and innovative environment, spa treatments give you a renewed feeling of body and mind.

The Canyon Ranch SpaClub offers The Homestead guests incomparable experiences in the area of treatments that provide rewards living a healthier, longer, more vibrant life. Signature services include the Canyon Stone Massage and Mineral Euphoria Body Treatment, along with Target Heart-Rate Determination and Nutrition for Wellness. This is Virginia’s newest luxury spa offering healing and restorative massages, skin care and body therapies, and a fitness area with cardio/weight room and movement therapy rooms for Pilates, yoga, cycling and other classes. Just imagine you're relaxing in the same location where Thomas Jefferson enjoyed nearly 200 years ago. The resort uses botanicals and essential oils from plants indigenous to the surrounding landscape, creating luxury spa experiences with a distinctive Virginia flair.

MEETINGS:
For the conference and meeting planner, The Homestead has to be one of the most ideal places to absorb all the essence of presenting new ideas and bringing new products to market. Sporting 483 guest rooms and over 72,000 square feet of meeting space of ballrooms and breakout rooms, the brochures compares it to a cruise ship on land…all contained on 3,000 acres. The top five reasons the resort list for meeting here are: location, space, activities, “birthplace of Southern hospitality and all under one historic roof."

Native American’s first discovered the healing powers of the waters in and around Hot Springs, thus the name for this quaint, small town.

HISTORY:
Our Native Americans first discovered the healing powers of the waters in and around Hot Springs, thus the name for the town. They used the mineral waters to “rejuvenate” their bodies and so did people passing through the area. These springs were fairly well known when Captain Thomas Bullet, Charles and Andrew Lewis came to the area with the militia and surveyors during the French and Indian War back in the early1760’s. Once the war ended, Captain Bullet received a land grant of 300 acres in 1764 for his services. His portion of land is purported to have seven natural mineral springs. He then moved his militia company and their families to the area and built an 18 room wooden hotel that was completed in 1766. This was the beginning of The Homestead, named in honor of the Homesteaders who helped build the resort and bathhouses.

During the American Revolutionary War, Col. Bullett was killed but his family continued to operate the resort until 1832 when Dr. Thomas Goode and his family purchased the property along with a resort in Warm Springs and Healing Springs, Virginia. Recognized as a prominent physician, Dr. Goode created several spa therapies and treatment, in particular the Cure, commonly used today. This treatment is a salt scrub followed by a Swiss shower.

 
Travel & Leisure recently ranked The Homestead as the number 12 out of 52 hotels in “The World’s Best Hotels for Families.” The publication stated: “Welcome to The Homestead, one of the world's finest golf and spa destinations.  
 

The Goode family sold The Homestead property to M.E. Ingalls, a well-known lawyer from Cincinnati, Ohio in 1881. He was employed by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company. His connections led to the building of a railroad spur, helping to provide additional access to the resort and the area.

Fires have always seemed to plague major resorts. The Homestead is no exception. On July 2, 1901, a fire, which started in the pastry shop, burned the entire resort. The staff was able to save the Spa, Casino, the cottages in Cottage Row and the Virginia Hotel. The next day, while the ashes were still warm, Mr. Ingalls, Mr. Decatur Axtell, who was President of the resort, and investors met to discuss the resort's future. They decided to rebuild the resort. By the middle of March, the next year 1902, the Great Hall was completed and the Homestead was back in business.

For 112 years the Ingalls family was either part owner or full owner of The Homestead Resort. They added the East Wing in 1914. In 1929 the Empire, Crystal, Garden rooms and Theatre were completed along with the iconic tower. The Garden Wing was the last major addition in 1973 under the Ingalls family ownership.

In 1993 Club Resorts, a part of ClubCorp, acquired The Homestead and began a total restoration. In 2001 The Homestead unveiled a new Grand Ballroom and outdoor pool, along with state-of-the-art snowmaking for the ski area and a new Shooting Club House and Pavilion.

Since 2006, KSL Resorts has owned and managed The Homestead. KSL Resorts was founded in 1992 and now owns and operates iconic destination resorts such as the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. To their credit, they have launched "The Next Chapter" which began in 2012 with the addition of Allegheny Springs. This extraordinary new children's playzone, family pool, 400 foot lazy river and water slides area extends a much needed appeal to the family audience.

ACCOLADES:
Travel & Leisure recently ranked The Homestead as the number 12 out of 52 hotels in “The World’s Best Hotels for Families.” The publication stated: “Welcome to The Homestead, one of the world's finest golf and spa destinations. Experience championship golf courses, one of the world's premier spas, a world-class shooting club, fly-fishing with Orvis-endorsed instructors, 100 miles of hiking and biking trails, and an award-winning KidsClub. And that's just the beginning. No matter how much or little you wish to do, the historic Virginia setting of our hotel provides endless vacation adventures for the entire family.”

The Homestead Resort is one place we highly recommend for families, couples and meeting planners. This is a true Southern hospitality experience that is well worth your consideration. We discovered a few of the rules given to all employees of this vacation destination. Here are a few we wanted to pass on to our readers:

  • “If you do your job well, you will know each guest by name. If you do your job extraordinarily well, each guest will know you by name.”
  • “Elsewhere, it may be enough to greet a guest with a mere ‘welcome.’ But here, we say ‘welcome home'.”
  • “Whether it’s iced in the summer, or hot in the winter, always serve tea steeped in tradition.”
  • “Though there are many ways to serve your guests, always serve them just one way - graciously.”
  • “Be sure to give your guest every opportunity to take in the beautiful surroundings during their visit.”
  • “Provide adventures by day, a tranquil view at sunset, and a heavenly respite at night’s fall.”
  • “Always open the door for a lady, or a gentleman, or anyone kind enough to come calling.”
  • “Welcome your guest as you would a familiar and much adored friend.”
  • “Always offer your guests more than they expect.”
  • “Show your guest that in the South, we are always polite - even when engaged in competition.”
  • “Make certain the bed feels like heaven itself and that the covers are turned down before the crickets start to sing.”
  • “Each guest should leave the dining room full - fully nourished and fully delighted.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

The Homestead
7696 Sam Snead Highway
Hot Springs, VA 24445
Phone: 800-838-1766
Website:
www.thehomestead.com

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