If you’re searching for a small-meeting venue that’s off the beaten path in more ways than one, there’s a 26-room luxury lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia that’s well worth a look.
An hour’s drive from the airport in Greensboro, N.C., and 90 minutes from the one in Roanoke, Va., Primland is a world of its own, encompassing nearly 19 square miles of pristine woodlands, with the lodge itself poised atop a ridge six miles from the main entrance.
Comfortably sophisticated in design and ambiance, this is a place where guests feel invited at every turn to relax. Books of all kinds lie open for browsing in the Great Room, replete with matching fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views. Stunning paintings of Aboriginal art catch the eye, and the ubiquitous use of beautiful local woods—chestnut, walnut, oak, pine—gives a feeling of warmth and welcome.
Then there is the dining. The resort is owned by a French family, and cuisine and wine are a holy art here. You’ll find no shortage of excellent selections from the two-story, glass-walled wine room, whether sampled at the casual pub just off the Great Room, or at the upscale Elements, serving imaginative new American cuisine with a focus on local ingredients and produce.
The 26 rooms in the lodge have nine different spacious layouts, each with the latest touch-control technology for lighting, TV, etc. In addition to several two-bedroom cottages along the golf course, there are three spectacular one-bedroom tree houses. These are not ordinary tree houses, for sure, but they are in trees and they do look down from perches as high as 2,000 feet above the valley below. Definitely an off-the-beaten path option.
Golfers will find the Primland’s 18-hole, mountaintop championship course an interesting challenge. (No retrieving your ball when you overshoot on some of these holes.). Golf Digest ranks it 13th in its list of top 100 public golf courses in America, the highest in the state. A sophisticated clay-shooting circuit with 10 different shooting stations is one of the many group recreation options available in addition to golf. Others are fly-fishing, ATV riding through the mountain trails, archery, wingshooting, and kayaking.
There’s also a lovely European-style spa with specialty treatments tapping American Indian healing traditions. Last but not least, my favorite experience: stargazing in the Observatory Dome, a silo-like structure that’s part of the main lodge. Given the mountaintop location, the observatory is ideally situated. The powerful Celestron Pro 1400 telescope beams images from deep space onto a large screen, and a professional astronomer is on hand to narrate, explain, and entertain. Groups of up to 20 can be accommodated in each hour-long program. It’s yet another off-the-beaten-path experience, something Primland is exceptional at delivering.