My family’s been going down to Hot Springs, Virginia for many years now and while we love what the area has to offer in the summertime, my friends and I often prefer to go down in the colder months. Here’s a quick guide on some things to take advantage of during a snowy weekend stay…
Places to Stay
Top of my list (and I’m a little biased because I got married here almost 8 years ago) would be the Homestead – the sprawling, stately resort that Hot Springs is known for. The rooms are beautiful and there’s no shortage of things to do on the grounds. A less expensive option is the Vine Cottage Inn, which sits right next to the entrance to the Homestead. The rooms are charming and the owners, Jo and Jonah, are very warm and inviting. There’s also the Inn at Gristmill Square, which looks little a little mountain village and serves fresh-baked muffins every morning.
What to Do
Hit the slopes! The mountain isn’t huge, but certainly fun for a day of skiing, snowboarding, or snowtubing. We’re already looking forward to teaching our little one to ski here once he’s old enough. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key (and if road conditions allow), take a drive up Warm Springs Mountain to Ingalls Field Airport to get an aerial view of the valley. You also might want to browse the selection of beautiful pieces at the Gallery at Seven Oaks – the prehistoric pendants you can find there by McGraw Minerals Unique Jewelry and Gemstones are one of a kind.
To warm up from the cold, you definitely need to try the hot springs this area is named for. To get a full experience of “taking the waters” colonial-style, check out the Jefferson Pools. The rustic, open air bathhouses are like something out of a history book and soaking in the 98 degree water is very relaxing. If you want a more traditional spa experience, check out the Spa Garden on the Homestead grounds. In addition to the hot springs, spring-fed pool, and Finnish sauna outside, there’s a full Aqua Thermal Suite indoors with multiple hot and cold rooms that my friends and I love to take advantage of every time we visit.
Where to Eat
For a good hearty breakfast, check out the Country Cafe – the staff is friendly, the food is tasty, and the bill certainly won’t break the bank! For lunch, we like the recently-revamped Jefferson’s Restaurant and Bar at the Homestead – an upscale casual option with delicious farm-to-table food. And for dinner, try Les Cochons D’Or – a new addition to downtown Hot Springs with modern French cuisine. We tried it the last time we were in town and thought the dishes easily held up to some of our favorite DC restaurants. Another option is the Waterwheel Restaurant at the Inn at Gristmill Square, which features tasty seasonal dishes using local ingredients (we love their trout!).
What I Wore
One of my favorite things about going down at this time of year is embracing the laid-back, rustic mountain style. It’s the perfect excuse to bust out the Bean boots and fisherman’s sweater. I paired mine with skinny jeans, fair isle gloves, a fur pom beanie, much-loved Saddleback Leather bag, and furry bag charm.