We’re continually on the hunt for experiences that add richness to our lives. In the spirit of the revival of road trips, we are proud to begin a regular, monthly section to feature destinations within driving distance of Charleston. We feel that our smart and savvy readers will find these trips enriching and entertaining.
Hot Springs, Virginia
The Omni Homestead Resort. Photo by Melody Pitman.
The Inn at Grstimill Square. Photo by Melody Pitman.
Where to Stay
Hot Springs is most-known for its 18th century historic Omni Homestead Hotel. This full-service resort is steeped in Southern traditions and professionally decorated. The Omni Homestead’s hotel rooms are comfortable and offers shopping, dining, and entertainment options. White rocking chairs line the long front porch and invite guests to enjoy the scenic views. Families should take advantage of the resort’s activities, state-of-the-art arcade, and outdoor pools with water slides and a lazy river. Afternoon tea is served daily from 3-4 PM in the Great Hall, free of charge. Rest and rejuvenate at the Omni Homestead Hotel, just as 23 US Presidents have.
Another great option is the Inn at Gristmill Square in the nearby town of Warm Springs, 10 minutes away. This 19th century bed & breakfast is comprised of five rustic buildings with 17 rooms and suites. Treat yourself to a stellar soaking tub in the Silo Room, home to the round bedroom. The lovely inn keepers will make sure your stay is memorable, even delivering an adorable country style breakfast to your room each morning.
The Fort Lewis Lodge in Hillsboro is a distinct country retreat where you can really get away from it all. This plantation style setting includes hand-hewn log cabins, a main lodge, and larger houses to accommodate families. Outdoor activities are included and available on the property, including a large fishing pond.
Where to Dine
Hot Springs has some tasty restaurants with excellent cuisine. The Waterwheel Restaurant (located at the Inn at Gristmill Square) offers dinner plates that will knock your socks off. Not only does the classy restaurant offer a casual, elegant experience, but the food is top-notch with favorites such as French Onion Soup, Pappardelle Bolognese, and Faroe Islands Salmon.
Drive 20-30 minutes across the lush Blue Ridge Mountains to have dinner at the Fort Lewis Lodge in Millsboro. Reservations are required but the drive alone is well worth it. Served buffet style in a tasteful dining hall, guests will have home-cooked choices of fresh made salads, grilled meats, succulent shrimp, and comfort food favorites. Their desserts are something to write home about!
Hot Springs has a long history because of their iconic, crystal clear mineral water Jefferson Pools. These pools offer natural healing properties and are glorious to soak in. The pools remain at a natural body temperature all year long. “Taking in the waters”, as they call it, costs $17 per adult. Thomas Jefferson was a big fan of the Hot Springs and spent 3 weeks there..
Hiking, biking, and fishing are popular activities in Hot Springs and its neighboring towns. River rainbow trout and bass are the most sought after catches. Swimming holes are another fun activity and inner tubes may be rented for your enjoyment.
Music lovers will appreciate the Garth Newell Music Center, a concert venue for classical, jazz, and chamber music.
Antique shopping is a popular form of entertainment in this charming town. Hot Springs is home to art galleries and stand alone spas, as well. Golf enthusiasts will love the Homestead Old and Cascades Golf Courses 18-hole golf courses at the Omni Homestead Resort.
Weekend Trip to Hot Springs, VA
Hot Springs may be just what the doctor ordered to get your body rested and ready for spring-time. The drive alone is exquisite and you may be tempted to stop along the way to take photographs. The sprawling Blue Ridge Mountains make it easy to relax and unwind in this little slice of paradise. Safe travels and we hope you enjoy the desirability of Hot Springs, Virginia.