By Camisha L. Jones
Want to spice up your holiday vacation? Bored with the standard winter break activities? Whether you desire a romantic getaway, an escape with friends or a family retreat, Virginia has many destinations that offer fun and relaxation.
Mountain resorts aren’t just for snow and ski enthusiasts.
A visit to Wintergreen, Massanutten, or the Homestead offers much more than just skiing. Each of these locations offers lodging, dining, and entertainment all in one place.
Just ninety minutes from Richmond, Wintergreen is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to various snow sports, the resort offers paintball, a climbing tower, golf, tennis, a spa, an indoor pool, a therapeutic soak pool, outdoor hot tubs, steam rooms, a sauna. There is also a fitness center, kinect systems, xbox stations, Nintendo Wii stations, a mechanical bull, foosball, a pool table, air hockey, skee ball, a toddler inflatable and a theater airing sporting events and videos. Weather permitting, thrill seekers can take advantage of The Zip and glide down 900 feet at speeds up to 40 m.p.h. Rigley’s Fun Park is available for kids ages 2 and up and allows fun snow activities for them.
Located two hours from Richmond, Massanutten has not only snow activities but also a waterpark, weekly activities, health classes and a spa. The indoor activities at the water park include video games, a frog pond for the kids, tubing, a hot tub, waterfalls and water slides. The resort also has regular activities like bingo, magic shows, comedy nights, karaoke, live music, movies, poker and trivia games. There are classes for those who are health conscience including water aerobics, yoga, zumba and even one to learn the choreography of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. If you’re looking for relaxation, the resort has a spa offering services such as manicures, pedicures, facials, scrubs, wraps and massages. Situated near Harrisonburg, Massanutten is only an hour’s drive from Luray Caverns and several vineyards.
The Homestead is located in Hot Springs. Visitors will enjoy the scenic view of the Allegheny Mountains. In addition to skiing, snow boarding, ice skating, snowmobiling and snow tubing, the Homestead features an indoor pool, golf, fishing, horseback riding, bowling, movie nights, paintball, volleyball, darts, and foosball. The spa offers various services such as massages, body treatments, skin therapies, manicures, and pedicures. Depending on the weather, visitors can enjoy a soak in the mineral-fed hot springs pool which have been said to have restorative powers. If you are traveling with kids, the Homestead Kids Club provides supervised fun for kids ages 3 to 12.
Consider a cozy cabin retreat.
There are many cabins throughout Virginia but particularly in Luray/Page County. Named the “Cabin Capital of Virginia,” the area has nearly 600 cabins. One such cabin community is the Appalachian-Adventures Lodging. Located adjacent to Shenandoah National Park and near Luray Caverns, this community is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. These 3 bedroom cottages come with hot tubs, Jacuzzis, and fireplaces. Special discounts are available on outdoor activities to accompany your visit.
Not into the mountains? You don’t have to go far to enjoy a unique get-away.
Virginia Beach provides many options. The Founders Inn and Spa in Virginia Beach is offering discounted spa treatments on Tuesdays throughout December. For example, a 50-minute Swedish massage is $50 instead of its regular cost of $85. The spa offers massages, facials, wraps, scrubs, nail treatments, waxing and services for men. Purchasing any spa treatment provides you with full access to the gym and indoor pool for the entire day of your appointment. A Jacuzzi is also available on site. While you’re in Virginia Beach, consider taking a boat tour with the Virginia Aquarium. You just might catch the site of whales as they pass through the city following their migratory route. Also, until January 1, visitors can drive along the boardwalk at night to view the “McDonald’s Holiday Lights at the Beach.” Admission to the light show, hot chocolate and cookies for two are complimentary with a travel package at the Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront from now until December 31.
Williamsburg is another place to consider. Great Wolf Lodge is 67,000 square feet of indoor entertainment. Staying in one of its suites gives you access to a spa, a waterpark, an arcade and several dining options. While in Williamsburg, consider a visit to “Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration.” Continuing until December 31st, the amusement park will feature special shows, light displays, gift ideas, Santa’s workshop, and a 50 foot tall, light-animated Christmas tree. The park will be closed on December 25th.
To keep your getaway cost-effective, be sure to keep an eye on Living Social and Groupon deals. Subscribing to either will give you access to daily deals on not just getaways but also other discounts from local businesses. Upcoming deals from Living Social on trips in Virginia include a one or two night stay for two people at A Williamsburg White House Bed and Breakfast, a two night stay at the Blackthorne Inn in Upperville and a 1 night weekday stay at L’Auberge Provencale in Boyce.
“Winter is a beautiful season to travel in Virginia – there is so much to do,” says Tamra Talmadge-Anderson, Director of Public Relations at the Virginia Tourism Corporation.