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Editor’s Review of Wintergreen Resort
As Washingtonians, my family and I have been enjoying mountain getaways at Wintergreen Resort for more than 25 years. Wintergreen, situated in Nelson County, VA -- a three-hour drive from Washington D.C., two hours from Richmond and less than an hour from Charlottesville -- offers spectacular Blue Ridge Mountain views, two golf courses, hiking, boating and skiing, as well as creative children's programs and family-friendly accommodations.
The resort sprawls on 11,000 mountaintop, slopeside and valley acres. Of the resort's 1,080 condominiums and townhomes and 350 houses, about 300 units are in the rental pool. Personally, we prefer to rent a Wintergreen condo, rather than a house, ... more because the condos, especially those built on the mountaintop along the ridgeline, often come with better views. All the units have kitchens -- studios feature kitchenettes. That makes it easy for us to save money and time by preparing breakfasts, snacks and simple dinners.
And, we like the space provided by Wintergreen's accommodations. Separate bedrooms for the kids afford us (and them) privacy. The living room gives us a place to gather in the evening and work on jigsaw puzzles, a family tradition, while sharing the day's adventures.
Each time we drive up the mountain to check in at the Mountain Inn, we pause at Founders' Vision Overlook. From there, we savor the expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountain peaks. On a plaque, Don Faulkner, one of the founders, inscribed his vision for Wintergreen: "forever our island of re-creation within a sea of mountain wilds and nature."
When developers began construction at Wintergreen in the 1970's, they reserved 6,000 acres for conservation. Unlike many mountain resorts, Wintergreen still maintains a woodsy feel. For the most part, builders have set houses and "neighborhoods" back from the road, preserving trees. Also, the George Washington National Forest abuts two sides of the resort, providing more natural views.
Wintergreen is best known as one of Virginia's top ski resorts. (That's right -- Virginia really does offer good ski resorts.) At age 5, my daughter learned to maneuver Potato Path, the beginner run, and as a teenager, my son perfected his downhill techniques on Lower Cliffhanger, Big Acorn and other black diamond slopes.
My husband and I, however, prefer the resort in fall, spring and summer, when we go swimming and horseback-riding and play tennis. In autumn, Wintergreen's hillsides billow with ribbons of red, orange and yellow leaves. In spring, wildflowers bloom, and in summer, the mountaintop -- at an elevation of 4,000 feet -- is a welcoming 10 to15 degrees cooler than the valley.
Whenever you and your family visit, you will find much to do at this laid-back, family-friendly resort. less
- Convenient condominium accommodations
- Year-round family activities
- Ski programs and childcare in winter and nature and children's programs in summer
- Water Sports
- Children's Program
- Game Room
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
For $14 per hour, a baby sitter will watch your child in your rental condo or house, but arrange this service in advance.
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When our children were young, in winter, we preferred the convenience of ski-in, ski-out condominiums near the Mountain Inn, but in summer, we rented lodging near the Wintergreen for the views and quick access to the pools. In winter, the resort operates shuttles on a regular basis that carry guests from the ... more mountaintop to the chairlifts near the Mountain Inn. While the shuttle runs in summer, the schedule is less frequent.
For panoramic Blue Ridge views, select one of the mountaintop condominium "neighborhoods," perched on the ridge. They include the ledges, cliffs, vistas, overlook, high ridges and highlands. Although the Seasons' 3,600-square-foot townhomes offer four to five bedrooms and luxury kitchens, the two units currently built sit in a parking lot near the Wintergarden Spa. You could do better for good views and quiet.
Something else to note: All the units at Wintergreen are individually owned. That means they are individually decorated. Most owners who place their condos and homes in the rental pool select a "neutral" decor. With the economic downturn, some owners who have never rented their units may have joined the program. Remember, too, that development at Wintergreen began in the 1970's. Some of the original units look their age, especially if they have older bathrooms and kitchens. Be as specific as possible as to the location, decor and upgrades that you prefer.
Rollaways and cots are available, as are port-a-cribs suitable for tots up to 20 pounds. Generally, Wintergreen rents a one-bedroom unit to two people maximum. Discuss fees, if any, if you have a toddler. The smallest accommodation a family with two children and two parents would need to rent is a two bedroom unit. less