31 Days of Idea House Giveaways: Day 23, Stay at Homestead Preserve

August 23, 2015 | By and | Comments (98)

Love the 2015 Southern Living Idea House? Every day in August, we are giving away the items you need to make the look your own.  Check back daily to see the product and enter to win!

Courtesy of Natural Retreats

Courtesy of Natural Retreats

Who’s in need of a vacation? If you’re like us, a two night stay at Homestead Preserve’s Trailview Cottage ($1,000) in Hot Springs, VA is just what the doctor ordered! This cabin sleeps up to six in three bedrooms, and comes with exclusive access to the amenities at Homestead Preserve’s Old Dairy Complex Community Center. *Valid through September 1, 2016. Package has no cash value and cannot be exchanged. Blackout dates apply, subject to availability. 

How to Enter: Describe your fondest memory while on family vacation. What made it so special? Comment your answer below, and we’ll pick our favorite.

The contest begins today at 12:01 a.m. CST and ends tonight at 11:59 p.m. CST. Official rules here.


  1. Vicki

    My fondest memory was waking early when camping. Sitting around the fire while breakfast was being made in the big cast iron skillet, then everyone would get their gear and go to the pier to fish or swim for the day. Also having lunch at the pier. It was always bologna sandwiches with my favorite grape soda….the best!!

    March 31, 2016 at 11:11 am
  2. Sherry Bullock

    My family along with two other sets of family lived in Indiana. They migrated there for work in the late 50’s. Two or three times a year we would travel back to Arkansas (their roots) and visit the rest of the family (massive). It did not feel like a vacation it felt like going home. We would stop and picnic in some pretty area on the way. I remember stopping under a rock overhang one time, which my dad thought was hilarious. Mom was not so impressed (what if it fell on us). Oh well. Another time we had cold watermelon we purchased along the way and ate under some trees. We finally moved as a family back to Arkansas, while me and my sister were still kids. It felt like home and still does.

    October 15, 2015 at 5:46 pm
  3. Tammy Roark

    My husbands mother had multiple myeloma and she was given three years to live. We tried to enjoy every moment with her that we could as our children were young, (still in elementary school and preschool). So it wasn’t one vacation it was every day that we tried to make the best we could. After the awful tragedy in our area yesterday (news reporters murdered) I think people are reminded that we need to be thankful for everyday!

    August 27, 2015 at 8:34 am
  4. Wanda Mullins

    My sister, my niece and I went to Hot Springs on a vacation one year. Very enjoyable. I liked the gift shop in the large hotel. I bought some of the best bath soap there. Smelled heavenly. Wished I had gotten more after coming home. A very pleasant trip!!! I remember it fondly. We also went to Hot Bath house and relaxed in the Hot Springs water. Fun! Relaxing! WM

    August 26, 2015 at 9:07 pm
  5. Eleanor Davis

    Watching my grown boys and grand-children make a giant sand sculpture on a family vacation to Bald Head Island. When they play in the sand they are very serious using a camp shovel to help with the digging. I loved seeing them all working together on their project.

    August 26, 2015 at 1:13 pm
  6. Holly Ferrero

    a couple of years ago we had just gotten started on our 8 hour car trip to Orlando and were singing along to Taylor Swift. 22 came on, and my then 6 year old girl belted out at the top of her lungs, “dress up like hamsters” instead of hipsters. We laughed until we cried, and it totally makes sense that a6 year old would know about hamsters but not hipsters.

    August 25, 2015 at 7:48 pm
  7. Trisha shay

    we took our 2 sons to the state park-rented a cabin there.unbeknownst to us the pond out back was full of mosquitos and I stayed awake all night because I thought there was a propane leak. In the morning it started raining and we packed up and went home!!

    August 25, 2015 at 8:31 am
  8. Joan Kubes

    My memory was driving down mt lemmon at sunset. It was so great to get to spend that time with my husband and children.

    August 24, 2015 at 10:47 pm
  9. Theresa Hennis

    The best vacation I ever had was actually a vacation at home. My grandsons got to stay with me for 2 months in the summer. We made precious memories that were worth more than any away vacation could have provided.
    We did things I enjoyed as a child, and it was heartwarming to see them enjoy those same, classic treats.
    A drive-in movie, music in the parks, spending time at the library for special summer library events and book reading programs, taking walks together, playing board games, going to get ice cream cones, and more.
    We might not have experienced those things in an unfamiliar place, but sometimes the familiar joys right under your very nose make for the most precious memories.
    I wouldn’t trade that time for the most expensive vacation you could give me.

    August 24, 2015 at 6:28 pm
  10. Debbie Bandy

    My family enjoyed a picnic in an open meadow of wild flowers at the foot of Mt.Moran on a sunny day in June several years ago. We spear a quilt and pulled our packed picnic basket out of our car. We enjoyed good food and tranquility close to nature. A priceless memory for a southern family.

    August 24, 2015 at 3:47 pm
  11. Marsha Gum;pf

    And we have been married on August 19th for 35 years!

    August 24, 2015 at 3:09 pm
  12. Marsha Gum;pf

    BEST was when my husband proposed!

    August 24, 2015 at 3:08 pm
  13. Ginny Kirby

    Grew up going to Amelia Island for vacations. Not the fancy “Plantation” side of the island but who needs fancy. We stayed in a small shotgun style house, ate tomato sandwiches for lunch, and the biggest decision of the day was were to eat dinner. There were NO fast food places on the island. We (kids) were allowed to roam up and down the beaches without parents worrying about us being out of sight.

    August 24, 2015 at 2:31 pm
  14. Ann Scranton

    Watching the look of disgust turn to wonder as my 2 kids, age 6 & 8, looked more closely at all the Sargasian Seaweed on the beach in front of our condo. While other visitors walked the beach for less infiltrated spots, we hunkered down and explored the contents of the ropey muck, teeming with “child sized” life.

    August 24, 2015 at 2:13 pm
  15. Jean Kirchhevel

    I grew up in a small town up in the mountains where it was cool, very green, lots of pine trees, fog, and rainy for a good part of the year. When I lived there, I liked it, but thought nothing much of it. Then many years after I moved away, even half-way across the globe, I reallized that every time the stresses of life were upon me, I always wanted to go somewhere green, cool, with lots of trees. The fog and smell of a woodfire seemed what I craved for. Smelling the pine trees and feeling the pine needles under my feet was calming. Seeing the fog in the morning imparted a sense of serenity. Rain was invigorating and refreshing! Once I went back for a vacation and the hour and a half climb from the low lands was scintilating. The higher we climbed, the lower the temperature got. The vegetation and scenery changed and even the smell of the air! The pine trees and the sky looked sharper in color. When the bus stopped, it was so quiet as if time was slowing down. The crisp air filled my lungs and my senses were hightened. I was so happy, tears began to fall. I knew I had come home.

    August 24, 2015 at 1:49 pm
  16. Pam Garrett

    I remember when I was little going to chespeake bay staying for a week weslept in a little cabin with my uncles family I have so msny god memories

    August 24, 2015 at 1:49 pm
  17. Martha Parrott

    Going to Florida with my grandparents every summer. My grandfather had a homemade camper top on his pickup that we loaded up in. I remember me and my 2 aunts would be riding in the back, my cousin in the front with grandparents. We always stayed with family when we got to Florida, going to the beach was a plus for us.

    August 24, 2015 at 12:55 pm
  18. Kimberly Ann

    My favorite vacation was with all my kids. We spent a week at a cabin just enjoying being together. Two of my kids are gone now, and we haven’t been together since. This would be.A great place to spend some quality time with my kiddos!

    August 24, 2015 at 11:58 am
  19. Donita Stewart

    My favorite vacations were spent with our Grandmother. Each summer she would take us kids on the most fabulous adventures. Mamaw was a “rock hound” so we trekked through cow pastures to emerald mines in Spruce Pine, NC, or were up to our elbows in a sifting stream looking for rubies in Franklin, NC. One summer we even went to Tennessee looking for geodes or as the locals call them, bull eye rocks. I remember we loaded the trunk of her Comet so full of geodes we had to put air in the tires. Our reward at the end of the day was always swimming in a motel pool. Our Mamaw was a true gem!

    August 24, 2015 at 11:20 am
  20. Regina Beckner

    Growing up in Northeast Tennessee,in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the summer couldn’t come fast enough. Every year after my Uncle returned from Vietnam, My parents Aunt’s and cousins would go up to the Smoky’s in June. Long before Dollywood and all the stores now, it was a place to rock climb all day in the Chimney’s, swim in the creeks and watch the Cherokee dance at night. Oh to go back to that time for a moment would be heaven. I wish my kids could enjoy time with family the way we did and slow down a bit in a lovey place like that.

    August 24, 2015 at 10:52 am
  21. Tana McCraw

    I loved the vacation my family took in 1973. The car was packed with suitcases, food, five kids and my parents. The four hour car trip was a scenic mountain drive to Greenbrier State Forest in WV. We stayed for a whole week in a log cabin, enjoying the bike and hiking trails, the pool, & playground, visiting historical sites, and spending time with our VA cousins who stayed in the next cabin! I treasure those memories. I would love to make new vacation memories at Homestead Preserve 🙂

    August 24, 2015 at 9:02 am
  22. Barbara Mattfeld

    My fondest and cherished memories were the days spent in Upstate New York camping out with my sisters and my father. Breath taking night skies lit up with lightning bugs it was magical. Stone paved creeks we’d comb looking for crayfish. Sitting underneath the waterfalls and listening to our voices echo. Running through the flower filled fields and tall grasses. Fishing and catching the trout for the days dinner and mornings following breakfast over an open fire. The best part of it all was Dad pointed all of these wonderful moments out and was right there with us enjoying it all too!
    Barbara M.

    August 24, 2015 at 8:47 am
  23. Kit Willis Rutherford

    Truly my fondest memory of vacationing as a child was the anticipation…it hardly mattered where we were going or what we were doing, but the days and excitement building up to departure were euphoric! Pulling out luggage, packing (especially all the special snacks) and my little brother and I fighting, ahead of time, about who would get the coveted “that little place” spot in the car hanging from the back seat over the front with one’s head directly between mama and daddy, fully able to listen to EVERY word they said! I loved my family then and I love them even more now…to this day, I still want to call out to my brother, “That little place” every time I get near a car with him. What I have come to know is that the little place we yearned for is actually a part of all of us…the place where family, faith, memories and love converge!

    August 24, 2015 at 7:37 am
  24. Ramona Salyer

    My fondest vacation memory was camping at Fall Creek Falls in TN with my husband and three children. From the evening pick up games of softball to the waterhole swimming after a hike, this remains our favorite. Even being chased out of our camp site by a skunk was part of the adventure. And when we finally saw that amazing waterfall, we knew this was one for the books.

    August 24, 2015 at 6:26 am
  25. Julianne Lothrop

    It was years ago, camping in the mountains of Maine when I was fostering. I had two children of my own at the time, three foster kids and an exchange student from France. The day had been fill of boating, swimming, and fun that night we were all sitting around the campfire telling stories laughing etc and going around the circle of people gathered around the fire saying what we were grateful fora tradition in out family. And it came the turn of a young girl of ten years old, she zat quiet for a min, the raised her face looked at me and said ” I’m grateful for you mama Julie, I never went camping or had fun at all before I came to live with you and your family and now I am and I’m not even scared of anything at all anymore.” We All sat silent for a moment realizing just then, that moment and the words of that little girl made that the best holiday of all. Nearly 100 kids came into my care in twenty years, but that holiday moment will like all of the kids who touched our lives. Stay in my heart forever. The place is certainly conducive to making your holiday feel like a holiday, and the people who join you their make it complete. ❤

    August 24, 2015 at 6:19 am
  26. Sonja Lubinski

    At my Grandparents house and me and all my sister’s were trying on our Grandma’s wigs. Which there were a lot and we did a fashion show with them.

    August 24, 2015 at 5:11 am
  27. Jen Horn

    My fondest memory while on family vacation is walking up and down the shore in the morning looking for seashells with my mom and sisters. This time was quiet and peaceful, and will live forever in my heart.

    August 24, 2015 at 3:37 am
  28. Mona

    My favorite family vacation was in September of 1988, my Dad was fighting lung cancer and wanted to see his brother Harold in Titusville, Fla. We loaded up as many family members as possible into 3 vehicles and made our way south in 2 days, where he got to spend a week with his brother and we took all the children to Disney World. We partied, laughed, cried, remembered and loved each and everyone during that very hard time as we all knew Dad didn’t have long to live and was losing ground. We have wonderful pictures of the pranks that were pulled on everyone and know one will ever forget that wonderful time. We lost my Dad 6 weeks later and at the funeral home we showed the pictures and the fun everyone had while in Florida, bringing smiles to family and friends who couldn’t go with us.

    August 24, 2015 at 1:47 am
  29. floridagld

    Gracious this is a difficult question as I have many memorable vacays for a variety of reasons. “Firsts” of any thing make the best memories..traveling out of the country, A seven day cruise, first time to be a kid again at Disney. We camped a lot when I was a kid therefore staying in a motel with a swimming pool was a real treat. Being from Florida going to the mountains for he first time was unreal..so high up..ears popping and an airplane flew below us..wow..the education of our early pioneer lives we learned at all the places along the blue ridge parkway..hiking, camping through the Sierra, Tahoe and Yosemite…amazing wild life not see here. My first trip on a jet to Jamaica. Visiting Haiti..what an eye opener about culture and government powers. Then to see seals along PCH..San Fran, and the Golden Gate Bridge..amaZing feats of engineering…the food in Chinatown…the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean..local culture..beautiful fauna and snorkeling the reefs with, sharks. turtles,bat rays, fish, and coral..again learning about the fragile ecosystems of marine life…the monuments of Washington D C to the Majestic Niagra Falls…the diversity of Florida is he best..the Everglades, springs, St. Agustin’s..the keys, swamps,diving, sea shell collection form Santibel..deep sea fishing..manatees to gators and airboats…back in the day when we camped right on the beach for free for weeks or on the island in the intercostal…catching our supper..really fresh, frog legs too. I have been blessed to have had fantastic family vacations the best were when beauty and education where involved. Memory makers that I am now recreate with my family. And, all these trips were done very frugal..true.

    August 23, 2015 at 11:55 pm
  30. April

    kids kids kids, they make everything better

    August 23, 2015 at 11:50 pm
  31. melikegarfield

    My grandfather Everette past last year around this time, but fortunately we had an amazing multi-generational family vacation with him a year before that which has provided us with a most treasured highlight to our share lives.

    My grandfather was very frugal, and despite having a deep and significant curiosity about the world, his frugality kept him from taking any meaningful vacations his adult life Fortunately, two years ago we were able to get him to agree to a take a lifelong dream-trip: to stay in a cabin in the Appalachian Mountains, listen to his fill of live folk music and visit some historical places in Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.

    The trip was like a little window into his youthful side. It was amazing to see him beam with happiness like a little kid in a candy shop. He couldn’t stop smiling despite the increasing healthy challenges he was battling. He drank up the moment with vigor. It was true gift to have had a moment like this to share with him and it is some of the most treasure memories I have of him: dancing with him to his most beloved music.

    August 23, 2015 at 11:36 pm
  32. Sue Allred

    Several years ago, my husband and I flew out to North Carolina to visit our son, daughter-in-law and new baby. We rented a car and set out for some exploring on our own. We stopped at a cash station for fuel and my husband ran in for some bottled water and snacks while I sat in the car. On the outside of the cooler was a bin with single wrapped roses. He decided to surprise me and had just selected one, when a little girl, about six, asked him (in her best southern drawl) “Mister, are you going buy that flower?” “Yes” he answered. For someone you looooove?” “Yes” “Awe……..that’s so sweet!” He told me to story when he got back to the car, and the rest of the vacation, we would ask one another – “for someone you loooooove? Awe, that’s so sweet”. It still makes us smile.

    August 23, 2015 at 11:35 pm
  33. Donna Benter

    My favorite vacation memory is going to my Grandmas in Virginia. She lived in a little house on top of a mountain in an area called Sandy Ridge. We had so much fun and so much love.

    August 23, 2015 at 11:06 pm
  34. Jan Wiggins

    My favorite memory of a family vacation included our 2 kids fishing at a well stocked trout pond. Usually in Colorado you have to catch and release. However, we paid for only the fish we caught. We cooked the fish in our cabin after carefully following the manager’s suggestion. We also went horseback riding through woods and finally reaching an open field with a beautiful creek. While going into town one day, our trip was delayed for a few minutes as we waited patiently for a herd of sheep to cross the road. It was a new experience for all of us because we are city folks.

    August 23, 2015 at 10:25 pm
  35. Susie McKnight

    Walking along the beach in St Petersburg, FL collecting starfish in a bucket with my family.

    August 23, 2015 at 10:22 pm
  36. Gail Sangster

    My favorite vacation moments are times we spent in the Mountains! One time for my daughters birthday we rented a cabin and invited all her little friends. We had cookouts and scavenger hunts and enjoyed every minute! My daughter is grown now but the memories live on. Would love to do this again!

    August 23, 2015 at 10:10 pm
  37. Wayne Y

    Having an autistic child severely limits your family summer vacations. Several years ago, the tides turned. A weekend jaunt (prayers in full) to the Outer Banks was planned. Loaded up the van with clothes, food and a rocking chair. Yes, a rocking chair. My son doesn’t sleep or function without it. Stocked the cottage with Disney DVDs and a rocking chair. Well, it worked. First family vacation that was a success. Memories of a functional family

    August 23, 2015 at 10:05 pm
  38. David Parker

    For my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary, 16 of us (children, grandchildren, her sister, and her family) all rented a house on St. George Island for Thanksgiving week. The house we rented was appropriately named “DevOcean.” We spent all week as a family exploring the island, enjoying time together at the beach, and having a low county boil for Thanksgiving dinner. My daughter was just starting to get potty-trained. The whole week, everyone announced when they had to go to the bathroom so she could hear. By the end of the week, she was completely potty-trained. It was a week of family time and celebrating that we still talk about 10 years later.

    August 23, 2015 at 9:07 pm
  39. Elisabeth Bass

    Some of my most carefree days as a young girl were spent at my grandmother’s house in Cape Cod. She was an avid gardener and painter and her home, nestled on a small pond and which doubled as an occasionally occupied bed and breakfast, was filled with delightful treasures waiting to be found. I began playing piano there. I was able to help her in the garden and to explore the studio where she painted. I went snorkeling with a friend and canoeing with my mother and younger brothers. Those memories are of some of the sweetest times I ever spent with her and gazing at her paintings today brings those memories back in waves.

    August 23, 2015 at 9:04 pm
  40. Steve

    My fondest memory was a long trip by car from Upstate NY (where I grew up) to Miami, Florida to visit my aunt, uncle & cousins. We not only had a great time visiting family when we made it to Florida, ut the car ride was such a great experience going through states I never been before, being 11 years old at the time. Each state we passed through had it’s own uniqueness and I can still remember all of that experience.

    August 23, 2015 at 9:02 pm
  41. Tina Gorman

    My grandparents drove me, three of my siblings, an aunt, and an uncle from Spokane, WA to Gulfport, FL during the summer of ’69. My father had just retired from the USAF and the entire family (11 children) were returning to Florida.

    During this trip, we stayed in cabins in Montana, camped in Yellowstone where we viewed the geysers, hot springs, wildlife, etc., camped along the roadside, stayed in some motels, visited Pikes Peak, The Cave of the Winds, and numerous other places.

    I was eight years old at the time; the trip took approximately four weeks. I always wanted to go back to show my children the incredible sights that I had seen, especially Yellowstone Park. Unfortunately, it has now been almost fifty years and my children have children of their own. I will never forget this wonderful gift my grandparents gave me, and continue to hope that one day I will still be able to do the same for my children and now, grandchildren.

    August 23, 2015 at 8:26 pm
  42. Erin

    My most amazing family vacation was our trip last year to Hawaii. We saw amazing beaches, mountains, cultural dances and more. However, they all pailed in comparison to the most beautiful thing we saw on that vacation…an email we received from our adoption agency. On that trip we found out we had been chosen by a birth family and were expecting a son! We left Hawaii Friday night and were holding our beautiful son Saturday. Best.trip.ever!!!!!

    August 23, 2015 at 8:21 pm
  43. Rita Milam

    My fondest vacation memory would be visiting the Florida beaches for the first time with my beloved husband and falling in love with the ocean, the sandy white beaches, and the waterfowl and sea life indigenous to the area!

    August 23, 2015 at 8:20 pm
  44. Barbara Johnson

    As a kid we did not go on family vacations.. After I was married we went camping as a family along with my husband’s brother and his family. We camped out with tents. The men set trot lines for the fish we fried up at night. Our children played the entire time with cousins. We made memories that are precious as my brother-in-law and sister-law are no longer with us.

    August 23, 2015 at 8:15 pm
  45. duchick

    Our favorite family vacation was the Disney Cruise during its inaugural year of 1998. The kids were then 8 and 6. Of course, seeing all of their Mickey Mouse friends in person and bigger than life was incredible! Every detail on that ship was over the top and we felt like we were special guests of Mr. Disney himself. It truly was a trip of a lifetime.

    August 23, 2015 at 8:07 pm
  46. Gina Costello

    I never went on a family vacation.when I was young or with my family.

    August 23, 2015 at 7:45 pm
  47. Sally H

    My fondest family vacations were always to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Macon, Georgia. They had been there since the late 1920’s when Grandpa bought 16 acres to farm and build a house on. My Dad and his two siblings were raised in th old house and in the 1950’s, my Grandparents built the “new” house. My brother and cousins were given the run of the 16 acres..from exploring the streams to playing hide and seek in th old outhouse to climbing the pecan trees that lined Rivoli Road. I travelled there every Christmas and summer from wherever my parents were living at the time…it wasn’t Christmas unless we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s!

    August 23, 2015 at 7:41 pm
  48. Joy Prater

    What an amazing place this would be to share with my sons, both USAF veterans. They’ve made me so proud by willingly putting their life on the line to protect my freedom and rights.

    August 23, 2015 at 7:37 pm

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