The story below is an excerpt from our May/June 2016 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, log in to read our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app. Thank you!
The epitome of Southern hospitality, the Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia, has welcomed guests since 1766. Older than the American Revolution, the iconic resort celebrates its milestone 250th anniversary this year with memorabilia, concerts, fireworks, fireside chats and a different flavor of cake each day.
Native Americans first inhabited the area revered for its geothermal springs, but The Homestead story begins after the French-Indian War, when a rustic wooden lodge was built for travelers on colonial land granted by George Washington. From its humble 18th-century beginnings, The Homestead evolved through renovations and addition of the trademark tower in 1929, into a legendary retreat now known as Omni Homestead.
Hosting generations of families and famous guests, including 23 U.S. presidents, The Homestead is known for its signature mineral pools that maintain a constant warm temperature. There’s even the chance to soak in the spring-fed pools where Thomas Jefferson once bathed for therapeutic treatment.
Outdoor recreation has long been part of the resort experience with golf, tennis, fly-fishing, falconry, equestrian, sporting clays and more. Fitness and leisure activities have been added in recent years, including the new state-of-the-art spa, offering unique features such as the River Reflexology Walk. The two-acre Allegheny Springs Water Park and DownTime game area are a mecca for families, as are many scenic hiking trails and the naturalist-led Cascade Gorge excursion.
New attractions, including casual dining choices, point Omni Homestead to the future, but many time-honored traditions, such as afternoon teatime and nightly movies in the 1920s theatre, emphasize the resort’s enduring appeal. So with a nod to history, tea and birthday cake are served every day at 2:50 pm in the Great Hall—featuring New Age creations such as Red Velvet Cake with Strawberry, Lemon Cake with Raspberry Pistachio, and Guinness Cake with Whiskey Ganache. And, here’s to many more!