Cara Ellen Modisett.
Primland's golf course
A view of Primland's golf course.
To say I was surprised when your letter of Sept. 1 arrived telling me I was chosen as the Grand Prize Sweepstakes Winner of Blue Ridge Country magazine’s GETAWAY TO PRIMLAND (as advertised in the July/August issue) is quite an understatement. I had read the article in that month’s magazine and love to enter contests although I rarely win a prize, much less one of the magnitude of a getaway to Primland.
My husband (Bill) and I were planning a trip to Statesville, N.C., to attend his 58th high school reunion on Saturday, Sept. 25, so decided to visit Primland on our way back to West Virginia. We made reservations for Sept. 27 and 28.
We left Statesville at 10:00 a.m. Monday morning and exited 1-77 at Mt. Airy and traveled north on Route 52 to stop at Cana for fruit and produce. We started driving through light fog and by the time we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Fancy Gap, the fog was becoming heavier and continued that way until we exited at Meadows of Dan. We found our way to Primland and checked in. The young lady who greeted us said there were deer and other wildlife, including a mother bear with two cubs, and to be careful if we saw her. It was slow going to find Otter Lodge since the fog made it look more like evening than afternoon. After locating Otter Lodge and checking out every nook and cranny, we decided to drive to The Lodge since we would be having dinner there. The Lodge was about two and a half miles from Otter Lodge. When we walked in The Lodge, we were greeted by Brooks Bradbury although, at that time, we were unaware he was the general manager. He showed us around and we told him we won the getaway and had our picture taken with him.
When we came back to The Lodge for our 6:30 p.m. dinner reservation, it was even more difficult to drive and when we finished our delicious dinner and left for Otter Lodge at 8:00 p.m. it was almost impossible to see the road. The valet offered to have someone drive us back to Otter but we thought it wouldn’t be that difficult to drive only two and a half miles. We had forgotten we were in a mountain woodland resort with no street lights – only reflectors on the sides of Didier Primat Parkway – and it was a long, slow drive back. Just as we arrived there, it began raining with a vengeance. We turned on the gas-log stove and enjoyed a cup of coffee before retiring for the night. The rain tapered off about midnight and Tuesday morning we were pleasantly surprised to find the fog had been blown out during the night, giving us quite a view from our screened porch.
After breakfast, we drove around to see the sights that had been covered with fog the day before. We had a 1:00 p.m. reservation to go on an ATV tour but left early to see what was on the part of Didier Primat Parkway where we had turned off to go to The Lodge. The views going down the mountain were amazing – Pilot Mountain was visible. We continued on to the South Gate and asked if we were at the correct place for the tour. We were, and the guide, Marcus Heath, was available since we were the only two going. I had never ridden on an ATV, much less driven one, so they gave us a Polaris “Gator” which was like a small truck but had the capability to go anywhere an ATV did. Marcus showed my husband how to handle it but since he was raised on a farm in North Carolina, drove a school bus while in high school and traveled mountain roads in West Virginia for his job in Union Carbide’s Cross Country Pipeline Group, he had no trouble orienting himself with the Gator.
The three-hour tour was exciting, interesting and informative. Marcus took us by the fields where sorghum and millet are grown for the pheasants and quail, past the kennels for the bird dogs and pointed out stands for the hunters. We drove up and down hills that I wasn’t certain we would make it over (but we did with no problem). He kept looking for wildlife but they were evidently resting that day. We rested on top of Dove Mountain where we could again see Pilot Mountain and he told us about Primland and the Primat family. We asked about how he became employed at Primland and he told us about being raised in that area, which explained his familiarity with the terrain. On the way back to Otter Lodge, we did see several deer but not the mother bear and her two cubs.
We left after breakfast on Wednesday and returned to Saint Albans that afternoon. We thoroughly enjoyed our two-day stay at Primland. Everyone was so friendly and helpful, the food was delicious, Otter Lodge was very comfortable and the views were spectacular. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to visit such a mountain paradise. I began subscribing to Blue Ridge Country after seeing a copy in our hotel room while we were in Roanoke for the birth of our grandson; he is now a senior in high school and I still enjoy the magazine very much.
Linda T. Troutman
Saint Albans, W.Va.