Maybe it’s the glimpse of gorgeous mountain vistas while teeing up on a quiet green. Or the gurgle of water after releasing your first catch back into the stream. Or the thrill of the covey rise, seconds before pulling the perfect shot. Whether you’re a sportsman with sights set on a European-style hunt or a bachelorette planning an adventurous hoopla, sporting paradise awaits in the hidden hills of Meadows of Dan, Virginia.
Primland is a 12,000-acre outdoor escape tucked inside the Blue Ridge—one of a dozen or so globally renowned resorts run by the offspring of Swiss billionaire Didier Primat. A lover of the outdoors, Primat transformed the former logging land into a high-caliber recreational retreat, complete with an Orvis-endorsed wingshooting lodge and a prestigious golf course. Though Mr. Primat passed away just before the launch of the 26-room luxury hotel (The Lodge), Primland now offers a smorgasbord of cottages, mountain homes, and more, with enough activities to fill the heart of any outdoor enthusiast.
Planning a couple’s getaway? Rent a cozy treehouse with room service and a spectacular ridgeline view of the Dan River Gorge. Family vacation? Grab a Pinnacle Cottage suite with adjoining rooms and book a mountain-bike tour. River wanderer? Wade into some of the area’s best fly fishing. Shooting aficionado? There’s sporting clays and wingshooting, and did I mention the European hunts, complete with tweeds, handlers, and beaters?
The list of outdoor opportunities seems endless, but it’s the customizable experience that makes an escape to Primland truly grand. My husband and I enjoyed a two-night stay in early March, and while the chilly weather made a few outdoor options less appealing, our stay was still chock-full of fun (one morning a snowfall transformed the entire property into a magical wonderland). After only a short four-hour drive from Greenville, we checked into a Blue Ridge Suite in The Lodge, the pinnacle of Primland with stunning views of the surrounding valleys.
Our first adventure was on four legs—we saddled up on a few faithful steeds and explored the property by horseback. My boy Charlie was determined to lead the pack, and as we climbed up the mountain trail I couldn’t help imagining this same scenario occurring 100 years prior when lumber barons and bootleggers roamed these woods. We retired to The Lodge lobby for the rest of the afternoon—think cozy chairs and roaring fireplaces—then headed to our room to dress for Elements, the resort’s farm-to-table dining experience. Not only were we treated to a scrumptious menu—the wine, whiskey, and moonshine (an area favorite) made it difficult to choose. Knowing our Observatory tour was next, we kept it light. Housed in the top wing of The Lodge, a planetary-caliber telescope provides guests with celestial sights on a clear night. Our guide zoomed us in and out of galaxies and supernovas, providing an interactive astronomy lesson for all ages.
After a cozy night on a comfy king and a hearty breakfast with excellent service, we donned helmets and hopped in an ATV. Primland may seem to be in the middle of nowhere, but we charged up a trail that led to a wide view of the North Carolina piedmont. Our guide deftly pointed out a small silver cluster—the metropolis of Winston-Salem. We also caught a glimpse of area wildlife: both deer and turkey roam the estate, and when in season, guests can book a fair-chase hunt. For those preferring upland game, pheasants, quail, and chukar are released for a guided wingshoot.
I, however, had my sights on the spa, and after lunching at the 19th Pub restaurant at The Lodge, I headed downstairs for Native American healing rituals and European spa techniques. An hour massage was the ideal way to relax after our activity-filled stay, and an evening hike along a nearby trail provided ample views of the Appalachian terrain. As we strolled back inside for dinner, a few snowflakes began to fall, and by the time we left the following morning, the entire property was blanketed in white.
Winter, spring, summer, fall—Primland abounds with the best scenery (imagine the rolling hills bedecked in fall colors) and outdoor opportunities. My only regret is that we didn’t manage a moonshine tasting at one of the old stills preserved on the property. Rumor has it the guide might be a former bootlegger. And we didn’t make it to the the disc-golf course. Oh, and the tomahawk throwing. It will just have to wait until our next visit.
Rates vary. Packages available. 2000 Busted Rock Road, Meadows of Dan, Virginia. (866) 960-7746, primland.com