The Homestead

Do you ever need that weekend away to simply relax?  I do! I love that over night or long weekend when you get away from home, sleep in, and simply enjoy some needed peace and quite.  The Homestead, also now known as the Omni Homestead, is one of my favorite places for a quick trip away to recharge.

Nestled in the Virginia mountains, it has been there in one form or another since 1766.  Known for the hot springs in the area it was a place to “take the waters” – and you still can!

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The rooms are beautiful, the people phenomenal and the food a gourmand’s delight.  And, oh, did I mention the spa?  You can hike, swim or ski, depending on the season, golf, enjoy zip lining, falconry, hiking, or, my personal favorite, curl up with a book or a deck of cards in the library or on the front porch.  Then there is the great hall where you can enjoy the fire places.  I’ve enjoyed many an afternoon playing cards – yes, I mean playing with an actual deck of cards – with my Mom and enjoying a refreshment.

The spa is excellent; the garden pool, adult only, features a lovely heated pool and hot tub along with one of the original hot springs.  The aqua thermal suite is the perfect place for an afternoon and then a massage.  There is also a gym, indoor pool, and, in the warm weather, a family pool with a lazy river.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the food.  It is spectacular.  I feel like I roll away when I leave the table.  The breakfast buffet leaves nothing to the imagination.  Dinner options do not disappoint.  The wedge salad at Jefferson’s is a favorite.  I’ve eaten in the dining room, formal, Jefferson’s, casual, room service, and Sam Sneeds.  Each meal was to die for.

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Packing for a day at the beach

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My love affair with the beach began while I was still in diapers.  Born in Eastern North Carolina with a Dad who grew up spending summers frequenting Cherry Grove, Myrtle Beach and OD and a Mom who spent her childhood summers in pluff mud, salt marshes along Sullivan’s Island and Folly Beach, it was natural that I’d be whisked to the Atlantic Ocean before I could walk.  So what do I pack for a day at the beach?

The chair is key.  I love a good sand chair, one that is perfect to sit in the water with the tide.  Umbrella and straw mat are other necessities.  I typically grab a grass mat at the local beach store. They tend to cost around $3.00 and are great for lying on to sunbathe.  They also serve as a place for the cooler, beach bag and other assorted items to avoid dumping everything in the sand.  As gorgeous as the Carolina coast is with that sugar white sand, I try to avoid bringing it home with me.

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Next up is a cooler packed with ice, drinks, sandwiches and a spray bottle of water.  There is nothing better to cool off with than ice water.  I love Evian but there are multiple options that include just a drugstore pump spray filled with water.  I keep a bottle of Evian in the refrigerator so I always have one cold for tennis and the beach or pool.

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My beach bag filled to the brim with all those things one needs – sunglasses, sunscreen, towels, goldfish, my kindle and my iPod.  This year I’ve got a new beach bag, the Goyard Belharra.  I am loving it.  It is easy to stuff with everything I want for a day walking along the beach, reading in the sun, and swimming in the ocean.  See my post from last summer for What’s in My Beach Bag.