by ANNE BRALY
I’ve always thought the town of Meadows of Dan, Va., had a magical ring to it. Located in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s a town filled with history and beauty. But the gem of this enchanting town land is Primland Resort, a 12,000-acre piece of paradise.
Remember summer camp? Primland is a magical kingdom that welcomes guests of all ages to relive those adventures or experience them for the first time. Tucked into the mountains along the Virginia-North Carolina border, Primland, with its sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from every angle, offers a wealth of fun in the outdoors, as well as activities centered around those of a more-sedate nature.
HOW IT BEGAN
French-Swiss billionaire Didier Primat, whose family found their fortune in the oil business, is the man responsible for the development of Primland. The terrain is rugged, where deer, wild turkey and bear make their homes in hard-to-reach forests. Primat bought the land in 1977 and three years later started a lumber business after finding its scrub oak particularly good for the wood bundles you pick up at convenience stores.
While the property had rustic cabins on it when Primat bought it, he added more and continued development with a golf course, lodge, restaurants and other amenities that captured the attention of Forbes, adding it to their list of four-star resorts around the world. Though Primat passed away in 2008, his children continue their father’s mission to offer outstanding service, accommodations and unparalleled experiences.
In June 2021, Primland Resort and Auberge, a hotel management company with luxury properties around the globe, partnered to further enhance the Primland experience.
“It means a lot to us that they have chosen Primland as their latest addition,” says Steve Helms, vice president of Primland. “Primland’s owners were drawn to the fact that each of the resorts in the collection very much have their own identity and all provide an unmatched quality of service. Our regular guests will still see the many familiar faces they have built bonds with over the years and now those team members have additional back up to make them even stronger.”
Primland celebrates the outdoors — a playground for golfers, hikers, hunters, off-roaders, archers, anglers, paddlers and marksmen.
- For golfers: There are untold numbers of golf courses in Virginia, but only one can make it to the top, and you’ll find it at Primland. The Highland Course is a link-style course designed by renowned British course designer Donald Steele. It’s a beautiful course cut through the mountains that’s always in pristine condition and never too crowded since tee times are set 15 minutes apart – plenty of time to play and also to enjoy majestic views from every hole. The fairways are wide, and the greens are big and undulated, offering a challenge to even the best golfers.
- For the shootist: Primland partnered with Orvis to create an outstanding shooting experience – sporting clays with 14 stations; seasonal deer, pheasant, quail and turkey hunting with dogs at the ready; and five-stand, a sport that marries sporting clays with skeet and trap shooting. The resort targets marksmen of all levels to test their prowess. Guides are on hand to offer instruction. Bring your own gun or carry one provided by the resort.
- For the equestrian: Horseback riding through the trails around the property is one of the most-popular activities of all. Make reservations for a group trail ride around the miles of property around the resort’s lowlands. The Orvis facility and stables are several miles from the Lodge but still on property. Drive yourself or take a convenient shuttle down the mountain.
- Go fish: The mountain streams and stocked ponds around Primland, as well as the Dan River, are an angler’s dream. Experts can teach you what you need to know and guide you to the best fishing holes. Prime time for catching that prize trout is April through November. Rental rods and reels are available for full- and half-day fishing trips.
- Ready to ride? Experience the thrill of four-wheeling your way up and down the mountainsides at Primland in one of the resort’s RTVs – rugged terrain vehicle. Follow your guide through shallow streams as you traverse miles of mountain trails for the ride of a lifetime.
ELSEWHERE AROUND THE PROPERTY
Staying fit is not a problem at Primland. Walkers and runners can take advantage of miles of marked trails surrounding the property. You can also work off last night’s dinner in the fitness center with its weights and treadmills.
There are tennis courts near the resort’s north entrance; a field for archers near the south side; a reservoir deep in the gorge for paddle boarding and kayaking; and a spa for relaxing after a full day of fun.
A resort of this caliber demands a spa of the same ilk. And Primland delivers with massages – with enhancements if you choose — that will leave you feeling like Jell-O; a pool to swim a few laps; steam room; nail and salon services; facials, wraps – everything a body needs to complete a spa experience.
A GOOD NIGHT’S REST
Overnight accommodations at Primland include charming cabins and cottage equipped with one to seven bedrooms and all with dramatic views of either the mountains or golf course – or both. There are “treehouses” perched along the sides of the mountains with jaw-dropping views of the valleys below There’ also a magnificent, Swiss-chalet-like lodge, the central point of activity of life at Primland with 26 rooms and suites; two restaurants, Elements and 19th Pub; the pro shop, spa and indoor pool. A large deck for dining al fresco and making s’mores by the fire at night wraps around the back of the lodge and is a meeting place for friends and families to gather and share the events of the day.
Rooms in the lodge and cottages are fitted with luxury linens and lovely amenities in large bathrooms. Mood lighting in each room is controlled by high-tech panels – press the button for reading, watching TV or total darkness. Some cottages have full kitchens; others half-kitchens; suites have mini bars. There are a range of choices depending on your needs. All, though a welcoming turn-down service at day’s end.
A FEAST OF FLAVORS
Primland has four dining venues spotted around this massive resort, all with a different menu of experiences and a variety of tastes and settings.
Elements is the main dining room, offering breakfast and dinner, where floor-to-ceiling windows offer expansive views of the golf course and mountains. Enjoy an early-morning stack of buttermilk pancakes or, for dinner, prime steaks and seafood. Reservations are required
19th Pub is a busy place lunch through late night. It’s the main bar with a good pub menu of burgers, fish tacos, a tremendous club sandwich and a cold beer or iced tea on a hot summer day. Hominy and shrimp is a favorite on the dinner menu. And, for dessert? if they’re not sold out, peanut butter pie — made with Virginia peanuts.
Stables Saloon, open on weekends June through October, offers toe-tapping fun and a taste of the South with live music and mouthwatering brisket, fried chicken and more. The Saloon offers regularly scheduled bluegrass concerts and is a stop along the Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.
Schlumberger Wine Cellar is a feast for the senses. Spend a memorable evening in a secluded room on the bottom floor of the Lodge, well away from the busyness of the day. Surrounded by varietals from around the world, these wine dinners offer an intimate experience. The cellar seats just 14 people, and dinners can last several hours. It’s the ideal way to celebrate an anniversary, or, if you want to impress your business clients, a really nice cocktail party.
Once you enter the gates, it’s another four-mile drive along a narrow, two-lane road, so enjoy the scenery – just watch out for deer and other wildlife. They are abundant.
Primland awaits just a few miles outside of the charming town of Meadows of Dan and its antiques shops, lavender farm, country stores and little cafes. Major interstates, such as I-81, I-40 and I-77 will get you close to Meadows of Dan. Or, take the Blue Ridge Parkway that lies within a stone’s throw of town.
For more information and reservations, visit www.aubergeresorts.com/primland