26 Jun A Scenic Stay at Shenandoah’s Skyland Resort
Before last weekend, I had never stayed at one of Shenandoah National Park’s lodges, opting instead to “rough it” and camp outside with friends. After one glorious night at the historic Skyland Resort… well— sorry, friends— I don’t think I could ever go back to camping again!
Here in the heart of Shenandoah National Park, honestly it’s a luxury just to have a roof over my head and a private shower. But Skyland Resort takes it way past the basics.
There’s a lot to love. Namely:
Located at mile 41.7 along Skyline Drive, Skyland puts you mere minutes away to many of Shenandoah’s best hikes and overlooks… perfect for those early mornings where you want to get outside and still beat all of the crowds driving in from D.C. or southern Virginia.
At 3,680 feet elevation, Skyland is situated at the highest point on Skyline Drive. In 1888, this historic resort’s location was specifically chosen because of its sweeping vistas. Stellar views abound.
I found the vibe at Skyland Resort to be quiet and serene. It was easy to feel the peace that comes with being surround by nature moving all around you. On the other hand, in the common areas like the Pollock Dining Room and the Mountain Tap Room have a fun energy– particularly this time of year, as the Appalachian Trail hikers stop through and swap stories over a cold beer or a mug full of Skyland’s popular (and potent!) Prohibition Punch.
Skyland features 179 rooms spread across a smattering of buildings, as well as 12 historic cabins.
My room was in the renovated “Pinnacles” building and I loved the rustic-yet luxurious feel. (NOTE: By July 4th, five buildings on the property will have renovated rooms.) Old “bones” with fresh new floors, bedding and furniture felt perfectly in sync here. Nothing too fancy, just right.
My favorite parts of my room were the comfy bed and my own outdoor seating area. The seating area wasn’t private, but it was mine. And though sleeping in is typically my favorite part of the weekend, I couldn’t wait to wake up early and sit outside. Which I did. (And narrowly missed being surprised by a baby black bear.)
Weekend rates run from around $125-$190/night. Considering Skyland’s location, the amenities and the level of comfort, I think it’s a fantastic deal. I’m already planning my next visit.
Note: You will also need to pay a $15/car fee to get into Shenandoah N.P.
I would have been happy just to come to Skyland Resort just for the opportunity to get to stay in such a beautiful place. However, I was visiting Skyland specifically to attend their special Shenandoah Seasonings Vintner Dinner: a monthly summertime culinary celebration featuring a local winemaker, his best wines and a gourmet menu that’s perfectly paired to complement the wine’s best flavors.
For June’s Vintner’s Dinner, Gadino Cellars winemaker Bill Gadino and his wife Aleta poured up their best varieties.
Here’s the menu… (and be prepared to drool. It was amazing!):
Appetizer: Grilled Citrus Scallops Micro Greens & Citrus Butter
2013 Pinot Grigio
Salad: Smoked Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing & Fresh Raspberry
Entrees: Maine Lobster with Crabmeat Stuffing, Risotto and Drawn Butter
2011 Estate Chardonnay
Dessert: Chocolate Peanut Cake with Bitter Chocolate Sorbet and Peanut Brittle
While the food was well prepared with creative touches like smoked salt accompaniments, the best part was getting one on one time with Bill Gadino, who was as entertaining a character (full of stories, jokes and musical talent) as he was talented a winemaker.
While these Vintner’s Dinners are a limited offering, just its existence shows that Skyland is really working on revamping its culinary reputation. Even if you aren’t able to participate in a dinner, visitors can dine in the Pollock Dining Room and enjoy their meal while looking out huge windows that afford panoramic views of the surrounding valley.
There does seem to be a charming retro-ness to the Dining Room, and the resort as a whole. A stay here is reminiscent of a simpler time. A quieter time. And for this city girl who’s been moving at a rapid-fire pace, it’s all I needed to help me slow down.