I grew up an only child, so I can only imagine what it is like to be the younger sibling. In my family, it is hard to be the parent of a highly competitive, elite athlete, so I struggle to begin to imagine what it would be like as the little brother who has to fight for every accomplishment, because things just are harder for him.
Why, am I telling you this?
Because, my husband and I were presented with a rare opportunity to take our youngest son, on a quick, solo getaway while our oldest was at camp.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure that a whirlwind trip, in the middle of a very busy season for me at work was going to be very enjoyable, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It was the best experience that my husband and I have had with our son, in a very, very long time.
And that’s where the Omni Homestead Resort comes in.
Nestled, in the Allegheny Mountains sits the Omni Homestead Resort, in Hot Springs, Virginia.
Hot Springs, Virginia is a map dot town and with a population of under 10,000 residents and the biggest employer of the town, is actually, the resort.
Yes, in other words, the most beautiful resort that you can possibly imagine, is in the middle of nowhere Virginia.
This sprawling hotel has 483 guest rooms and is brimming with history just waiting to be shared. It has been good enough for 23 different US Presidents to come to stay and rest for a night or two. Built in 1766, this hotel has seen so many things with stories that are just begging to be told.
And during our time, our family got to add to the stories and memories that have been made with the Homestead as the backdrop for them.
Room Types at the Omni Homestead Resort
We were fortunate enough to stay in an Executive Suite which featured, 2 queen beds, a small hallway with the bathroom separated, the sleeping room and a large living area with a couch, another TV and a small table.
Obviously a larger space like the suite that we were in, is going to come with a bigger price tag, so I recommend thinking about the amount of time that you plan to spend in your room, if it is just a place to house your luggage and give you a spot to lay you head for the night, you might not need more room to spread out.
On the other hand if you enjoy being able to separate and create a bit of space then perhaps it is worth it to splurge and get the larger room.
It is a hard call to make because I loved our room and the layout and wished that when the boys were younger we had the opportunity to stay in more rooms like that because often parents find themselves in bed far earlier than the plan to be because of the logistical nature of a standard hotel room.
Activities at The Omni Homestead Resort
I was totally floored by the huge amount of activities that were offered by the resort, so if your family enjoys filling every minute of time with adventure and experiences while you are on vacation, then you’ve come to the right place.
If your family’s speed is more along the lines of relaxing with a good book in a hammock or poolside, then you guessed it, you’ve come to the right place.
While we were guests of the resort, we experienced a half day fly fishing excursion, soaked in the warm springs pools, got competitive while enjoying archery and rounded things out with a golf clinic.
Fly Fishing at the Homestead Resort
The Cascades Stream, where we were taken to fish, sits on property owned by the resort meaning, that you won’t be struggling to get the best fishing spots to yourself.
We had the most patient guide, Matt, who took his time teaching Bryce, our son, the best techniques for casting, helping all of us untangle our lines, switching out flies and taking us to different spots along the stream where the fish might be biting more.
But more than those things, which were so much fun, and relaxing and at times it felt like the fish were downright taunting us, he took the time to get to know us, and engage Bryce, who often can be very quiet and doesn’t chat much with people that he doesn’t know.
Once we wrapped up our fishing for the day, he took us on a very short hike to see some beautiful and very impressive waterfalls.
A half day fly fishing trip, which is what we did and is 4 hours runs $250 per person and is $175 for each additional person.
There are also 2 hour trips as well as an 8 hour trip as well.
The Warm Springs Pools
If you haven’t taken a closer look at all of the benefits of soaking in a hot spring, it is something that I highly recommend.
Soaking in the springs or “taking the waters” is a practice that dates back to 1761. There are many, many health benefits to soaking in a mineral hot spring.
Here are just a few of the benefits of a soak in a hot spring:
- Hot springs can help boost your blood circulation: Hot spring water is flowing with calcium and sodium bicarbonate, which can boost overall oxygen flow and circulation once absorbed into the body.
- A soothing soak can aid in natural pain reduction and rehabilitation. Buoyant, warm, mineral-rich waters that allow ease of movement and slight resistance are a favorite therapeutic tool. They can also help increase flexibility and circulate lactic acid out of sore muscles.
- Healing hot spring waters can also improve skin irritations and conditions. The elevated levels of sulfur in hot spring waters offer antifungal and antibacterial properties that can soothe and even help heal the skin.
- Soakers enjoy reduced stress levels. The many minerals in hot spring waters can help decrease daily stress.
- Detoxify, naturally. Warm hot springs cause your body to sweat, helping to clear clogged pores and increase healthy circulation.
My husband and I loved the time in the Warm Springs Pools, my 12 year old, wasn’t sold on it. Understandable though, typically kids see water and think of jumping in, splashing and swimming, but that isn’t the reality of what happens at the warm springs.
Fun fact, it is referred to a warm springs pool instead of a hot spring because technically, they are located in the town of Warm Springs, Virginia which is about 5 miles from the Homestead.
Family soaks are offered, as well as adult only soaks.
The soaks last for 50 minutes and is priced at $30 per person.
My family and I have participated in archery before, in fact a few summers ago, we purchased bows for our boys but admittedly they sat collecting dust in our garage after we got past the initial excitement of having something new to play with.
We had an hour to hone in our archery skills and received some excellent instruction from Tom. I have to admit in these situations we tend to get pretty competitive as a family, so there was a little bit of friendly trash talk.
The archery range overlooks what becomes the ski and tubing slopes in the winter.
Archery sessions last 1 hour and are $45 per person.
This was the activity that Bryce was looking forward to the most and it seemed like we saved the best activity for last.
We had the pleasure of having a golf clinic or in other words a group golf lesson with the three of us, taught by Mark Fry.
Mark was everything that I could have hoped for this golf clinic. He was incredibly patient with Bryce and he worked in a variety of ways to help him understand what he was explaining to him to do technique wise.
What Mark didn’t know, because we didn’t share this with him, is that Bryce has some very, very severe learning disabilities and he has struggled his whole life to be able to process instructions that were being given verbally to him. So the fact that Mark, not knowing Bryce’s history, adapted to him and helped him more than Mark could ever imagine.
The Golf Clinic lasts for 1 hour and is $75 per person. Private Golf lessons are also available and are $150 for the hour.
Additional Activities at the Omni Homestead Resort:
Beyond the activities that we participated in there are so many more that are offered at the resort such as:
Bike Rentals (mountain bike or ebike)
Lawn Games (croquet, cornhole and the playground)
The Homestead s’mores express
Hiking (guided and self guided)
Homestead history tour
Adventure Kids (ages 5 – 12)
Virginia Wine Experience
The Shooting Club:
5 – Stand Shooting
Trap or Skeet
Here’s the best part, if you know that you are going to want to add several of these activities on to your trip, the Homestead has you covered with the Grand Family Vacation Package which includes the breakfast buffet daily and complimentary passes for a dozen of their most popular activities.
Dining Options at The Omni Homestead Resort
There are several different dining options available at the Homestead.
That being said, there was one restaurant that we fell totally in love with.
My youngest is on quite a bit of medication for various medical issues that he has going on and it can often be a struggle to get him to eat anything, and cleaning his plate or even eating just a few bites is a challenge.
That was not an issue in the least when it came to dinner there. He scarfed down an 8oz filet mignon and then polished off most of a huge dessert.
Claiming that it was the best meal of his life, in fact the only thing he’s cared about in terms of communicating with his brother while at camp is that he had just eaten the best steak he’s ever had.
He wasn’t wrong.
My husband and I both have lots of background in the food service and we’ve eaten at our fair share of fantastic restaurants and by the end of our meal we all were in agreement that it was hands down one of, if not the best meal that we’ve ever had.
There are other restaurants, like The Dining Room, where we had an extensive breakfast buffet to choose from in a beautiful setting.
Martha’s Market is a fast casual restaurant just off of the Grand Hall that offers grab and go options as well as coffee and doughnuts, which are not to be missed!
Poolside, there were food options that were being brought out by extremely helpful waitstaff that were ready to greet customers who were soaking in the sun.
If you have the chance to plan a visit to explore the history of this huge resort, while making memories of your own as a family, I urge you to take the opportunity.
More over, having the chance to reconnect with our younger son, in a one on one setting indulging him in all of the things that he enjoys the most, outside of our own home was something that I will forever cherish.
Here’s my advice. Life is short, make the time for one on one trips, even if it is a staycation in your own town to spend uninterrupted time with your kids.
Take the vacation days from work, the emails, projects and stress will still be there waiting for you, trust me. For the most part, in most industries, the sky is not going to fall if you turn your attention away from your inbox for a few days.
And if you can spend your much deserved time away at the Omni Homestead Resort, I promise it will make your time together as a family absolutely unforgettable.