An Experience At America’s Oldest Resort – The Omni Homestead
Now I don’t know about you, but I think it would be cool to travel through time, but alas, that’s not possible (at least that I know of 🤔), so here’s the next best thing. A trip “through time” to the oldest resort in the United States. The Homestead. This property is ten years older than the United States itself. It was founded in 1766. And while it has changed ownership and structures several times over through the centuries, it is still a historic resort from all those years ago. And it was an interesting time to say the least.
Truth be told, I had never heard of The Omni Homestead until I received a Save The Date for a friend’s wedding. Nestled in a remote area in the middle of the Allegheny Mountains, the property itself is stunning. The hotel is very grandiose, but my favorite part was the overall scenery. It was so lush and green. Plus, there are a large array of activities for the whole family to do. Options include everything from Horseback Riding, Falconry and Archery to Water Slides, Golf, Hiking and so much more.
The Cascades Gorge Hike
Since I was on a solo trip (the wedding was an adult-only affair and someone had to watch the kids, so my hubby stayed home with them), I opted to go on the resort’s Cascades Gorge Hike. Let me tell you, it was amazing and a highlight of the trip.
The Cascades Gorge Hike is lead by the Resort’s Naturalist Brian, who is very entertaining by the way. We trekked through waterfalls in this Tropical Forest of Virginia. You read that right… Virginia has a Tropical Forest. The Hot Springs in the area create a tropical microclimate. How interesting is that? And can I just say, I learned so much on this hike! Some examples. Did you know plants are actually classified as intelligent life? They communicate with each other. Or how about if you are infected by a poisonous plant, the remedy is typically within eyeshot? That is merely “the tip of the iceberg” so to speak of the facts our group learned on the hike.
In addition to the entertaining and educational nature of the hike, the surroundings were so beautiful and peaceful. There were several waterfalls along the way as we weaved from the base of the trail up to the golf course, and I can honestly say I left feeling re-energized.
If you ever make it this way, I highly recommend the hike. It did cost $31 a person (crazy for a hike, right?!) but I can actually say it was worth it.
The Homestead has several types of pools throughout the property, including a Lazy River, a Splash Pad, Water Slides and an Adult Only one. I spent most of my time in either the Lazy River or on the Water Slides. They also have poolside cocktail service (I definitely enjoyed a couple Strawberry Daiquiris). The only downside is there were several bees throughout the pool area, and I was even stung by one… Ouch!
The Hotel Room & Cleanliness
By now, most of you know that I am all about a clean hotel room. It is the main way I judge a hotel to be honest. And this is one of the areas where the resort fell short. The room itself was nice and spacious, but there were cashew nuts, straw wrappers and crumbs left on the floor (leading me to be concerned about the overall cleanliness of the actual room!). Can I just say… GROSS! Plus, what if someone staying in the room had a nut allergy? I did report the issue to management, and they were going to talk with their staff about the incident. But truth be told, it wasn’t just the rooms that needed some cleaning… Cobwebs could be frequently found in the hallways, on stairs and in corners.
Ok… I get it. This is the oldest resort in the country. But it is also 2019… Power shouldn’t be an issue. But oh was it. The power went out a couple times during my stay (a whole 36 hours on property) with the longest stretch being for around an hour because their generators are so old it takes that long to kick in. Pair that with the hallways that aren’t air conditioned and the heatwave that was sweeping through the region, it made for not the best accommodations.
As a whole, the food was pretty good. I enjoyed my Pizza, Strawberry Mojito (so refreshing!) and Calamari from Woody’s and the Poolside Chicken Fingers with my Strawberry Daiquiri were tasty.
The only disappointing meal I had was their breakfast buffet in the Dining Room. It was way overpriced for mediocre food. Seriously, my waffle and omelet were the most expensive things I ate the whole trip, and I can find better at an IHOP.
In conclusion, I did have an enjoyable trip to The Omni Homestead. Will I be rushing back? No. But I am glad I went and saw. Plus, the resort will be updated soon as The Omni has budgeted millions of dollars to renovate this property. I’m interested to see what they do with the place.