Summer at Southeastern U.S. mountain resorts means everything from spa treatments to lake swimming, mountain biking, and much more. Here are some samples of what’s in store this summer.
Guests will find new additions at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., the result of their current $25 million transformation. A new spa and wellness center is the centerpiece this summer, where you can choose from a wide range of new treatments, wellness programs, classes, and special events.
There are 29 renovated treatment rooms and the new fitness center offers an array of state-of-the-art cardiovascular and resistance equipment. A year-round spa garden completes the amenities.
Families will enjoy Allegheny Springs, a two-acre attraction at The Homestead that also opens this summer. Mountain Rush will offer three 100-foot water slides and a 400-foot lazy river. There’s a separate family pool and whirlpool and kids will enjoy the sandy beach. More family activity choices include the new Mini Cascades, an 18-hole miniature golf course.
Eating is always a looked-forward-to benefit of a vacation and this year at The Homestead is no different. New options will include more casual dining restaurants, such as the new lounge down the hall from Jefferson’s Grill and those riding Mountain Rush.
West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort has something for all members of the family, whether it’s on two wheels, four wheels, or two feet. New this year is the Green Zebra Off-Road Adventures where you can be the “guide” or just be a passenger. It’s a 14-mile adventure through 11,000 acres of wilderness over a variety of terrain. Tours begin every two hours starting at 9 a.m. Drivers must be at least 18 years old. No passengers under five will be allowed.
Two-wheel activities include mountain tours on a Segway X2 designed to go off-road and into the woods; the Snowshoe Bike Park with 38 trails and 1,500 vertical feet of descent; and cross country mountain biking with just under 100 miles of cross country trails.
Two-footed activities include the Gary Player-designed Raven Golf Club with rolling terrain and views; and geocaching on two courses that give you interesting facts about the wildlife, flora and fauna of Snowshoe Mountain and Pocohontas County. You also can experience water play at the Split rock Pools featuring slides, hot tubs, and sauna, or try your skill with sporting clays for all ability levels.
The area offers choices of fly-fishing, Shavers Lake, the highest elevated lake in West Virginia, hiking and nature walks, and the Eurobungy and Climbing Wall.
Another W. Virginia resort, Timberline Four Seasons Resort, kicks off summer over Memorial Day weekend, May 23-26. Lots of activities are planned throughout the summer months, including weekend music festivals, motor and bicycle races, and weekend entertainment featuring local James Michel Woodyard with a variety of rhythm and blues sounds.
Check out the views on the way to the 4,268-foot summit of Herz Mountain while riding the 1,000-foot vertical lift. There’s an accommodation for mountain bikers to bring their bikes on the lift. Experts will enjoy the over 3,500 feet of downhill riding, including 40-foot wall rides, logging roads, downhill double track, and drops and glade tree runs. Rent or bring your own equipment and supplies.
Sign up for volleyball tournaments every Friday at 6 p.m. and get complimentary court side hors d’oeuvres to build up your stamina. Timberline Stables offer guided trail rides.
North Carolina’s Sugar Mountain Ski Resort has a variety of activities for guests this summer. Hikers and bikers can use the intertwining trails throughout the Village and resort with free daily trail access from dawn to dusk through Oct. 21
Want a natural wedding high? Then schedule your mountaintop nuptials at Sugar Mountain, followed by your made-to-order reception. Or just enjoy a 45-minute, round trip chairlift ride to Sugar’s 5,300-foot summit where, on a clear day, you can see No. Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. Kids 4 and under ride free with a ticketed adult; bikers can attach their bikes to the lift. Prefer other activities? Try one of Sugar’s six tennis courts or the 18-hole executive golf course.
Fourth of July weekend brings a super sale at the Sports Shop with 30-70 percent off everything. No exceptions. That’s a shopping opportunity everyone can understand.
Tennessee's Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park offers the Wildlife Encounter where you can see and learn about some of the area’s “neighbors,” such as black bears, river otters, birds of prey, and raccoons. They recently had a blessed event with the birth of two black bear cubs, Holly and her brother, Chief.
You can purchase the cost-saving Outdoor Activity Wristband at the Amusement Park that entitles you to unlimited use of the alpine slide, scenic chairlift, chair swing, Kiddie Land, Kiddie Train, mini-golf, Amaze ‘n Maze, and the carousel. Cost is $22 adults; $19 for kids 5-11.
The All Activity Wristband includes all of the above activities, plus one session of indoor ice-skating and Wildlife Encounter. It’s a savings at $33 for adults; and $28 for kids 5-11, as many of the activities are priced at $7 per person.
Photo: Ober Gatlinburg Wildlife Habitat Courtesy Ober Gatlinburg