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Long Weekend: The Homestead

Cradled by the Allegheny Mountains in Hot Springs, Va., this historic hotel, with giant redbrick wings separated by an iconic clock tower, has been welcoming guests since before the Revolution to take the waters

By: Tom Cunneff

Where to Play:

Cascades: Sam Snead helped build this Golden Age William Flynn course and honed his Hall-of-Fame game on it as its first head pro. The front nine is built into the hillsides, while the back features one of the most unusual and fun finishes in golf with two par 3s bookending two par 5s.

Lower Cascades: Though it lacks the history and hoopla of its namesake, this Robert Trent Jones Sr. design, which opened in 1963, is both beautiful and challenging with elevation changes and a stream that flows through the valley holes. The fairways are wide so golfers can keep the driver headcover off, but the greens are quite undulating and quick, especially downhill.

Old: History abounds at the Homestead and nowhere is that more so than at this course, which has the oldest tee (the 1st) in continuous use in the U.S., dating to 1892. Donald Ross expanded the layout from six to 18 holes in 1913. William Flynn, and later Rees Jones, also had a hand in the design, which features six par 3s, six par 4s and six par 5s.


Where to Eat:

Main Dining Room: America has become such a casual society it’s nice to know some formality still exists, like at this grand restaurant distinguished by stately white columns and where jackets are required for men. The white-linen service concludes with silver finger bowls. The breakfast buffet each morning is also quite good.

1776 Grille: Waiters prepare the French and American cuisine tableside, adding a real theatrical flair to the dining experience, which features dishes like lobster thermidor. The large windows provide mountain and garden views that are as good as the food.

Sam Snead’s Tavern: This cozy pub owned by the resort is located just off property on the backside of the hotel in the charming little downtown and is full of memorabilia from Slammin’ Sammy’s career. The menu features hearty steaks, fish, and soups.


What to Do:

Fly Fishing: The Allegheny Mountains are full of picturesque streams loaded with wily fish, so stop by the Allegheny Activities store located right in the shop corridor near the lobby and sign up for a two-hour to full-day session with an Orvis-trained guide. Advanced reservations are recommended.

Gun Club: Just a short ride from the hotel, the club features a world-famous sporting clay course that extends for almost a mile through the woods with a scenic journey simulating game birds and rabbits. There are also four skeet fields, a trap and five stand, a .22 rifle range, and excellent certified instructors like David Judah for newbies.

Jefferson Pools: Named after the author of the Declaration of Independence and Virginia’s most famous son who spent three weeks here in 1818, these soothing hot springs are just five minutes from the resort. The constant temperature of 98 degress and unique mineral content provide a natural elixir to whatever ails your body.

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