Steve Pike Anywhere: Primland Resort

Primland is a refined mountain getaway with world-class outdoor activities spread across nearly 12,000 acres, boasting beautiful accommodations, fantastic dining options, golf opportunities and unmatched natural beauty.

MEADOWS OF DAN, Va. – There’s something to be said for luxurious seclusion. Here are two words: Primland Resort.

Perched some 3,000 feet on a Virginia mountain with stunning views of the Valley of Dan, Primland Resort here in Meadows of Dan is a 12,000-acre playground where guests can do everything from play a terrific Donald Steel golf course, explore the back country on RTV’s, practice yoga against a mountain sunrise, and study the stars inside an observatory.

And that’s just Day 1. Okay, maybe Day 1 plus a few hours, but you get the idea. Here’s one more thing. Guests don’t have to do anything if that’s their want. Just sit on the terrace with a good book and/or a moonshine cocktail and take in the vistas of the Blue Ridge mountains, particularly as those vistas begin to unveil Fall’s bright colors.

“There’s a sense here of relaxation and home and comfort,’’ said General Manager Steve Helms, who was born and raised in Meadows of Dan.

That sense of home and comfort actually begins on the winding drive up the wooded mountain road and explodes upon entering the front door of the 26-room Lodge. With a wooden interior that pays homage to Primland’s past as a timber farm, the Lodge expands out through large picture windows that have unobstructed views of the Blue Ridge and the 18th hole of the outstanding Donald Steel golf course.

Take a walk onto the porch and look to the right to see the Pinnacle Cottages – two-story chalet-like cottages with expansive porches that overlook the Valley of Dan. The cottages are ideal for small business groups, larger families and even golf buddy trips.

Want a bit more seclusion? Primland has four treehouses that overlook the Valley of Dan. Each treehouse sleeps two (no children allowed) and has private decks that overlook the Valley. The treehouses each are an easy walk or shuttle ride to the Lodge. And if you don’t want to leave the treehouse views, there always is room service.

“The cottages and treehouses allow us to bring in larger groups,’’ Helms said. “Our groups are very diverse, which is good for us.’’

The Lodge, treehouses, cottages – and even the fairway homes – each help set Primland apart. Resort Founder Didier Primat created Primland as an outdoors destination where guests can experience authentic adventures in a luxury setting.

Primland is the ultimate luxury mountain getaway with many accommodation options, and stay-and-play packages to enjoy that will help you create your perfect Blue Ridge Mountain vacation as the seasons change.

The golf course – carpeted with Bentgrass – is a good place to begin those adventures. The Highland Course, designed by Steel and shaped by Martin Ebert, plays more than 7,000 yards from the tips, but can be comfortably played from any of the six tee boxes. The first hole, a downhill, 536-yard, par five, offers some stunning views of the green on approach shots and sets the tone for what’s to come. There isn’t a weak hole on the course as it winds through dense forests (particularly on the back side), along ridges and down valleys.

Steel, an Englishman probably best known on this side of the pond for his courses at Cherokee Plantation in Yemassee, S.C., and The Abaco Club on Winding Bay in The Bahamas, basically won the design job over more well-known architects because he saw the potential on creating a mountain-top course.

“All of them wanted to shape it into the hunting fields below,’’ Brian Alley, director of golf and recreation at Primland Resort.

Open to the public as well as resort guests, the Highland Course is a “must play’’ for mountain course enthusiasts – and golfers in general.

“I think people appreciate how special this place is,’’ Alley said. “They experience great views, a great course and great service. Overall, we just want them to have fun playing golf. This can be a tough course – you can hit it sideways and make big numbers – but you’ll want to do it again.’’

Indeed. You can play another round or experience other of Primland’s outdoors amenities. An RTV ride, for example, is a good way to get feel for Primland’s rugged mountain terrain as you’re led through the dirt and gravel back roads that looked to same to moonshine runners decades ago.

An refurbished moonshine still, in fact, sits in a park area near the Lodge and serves as the centerpiece for outdoors events.

Those who want a less bumpy ride can rent bicycles at the resort’s Outdoor Center, just a few miles down the mountain from the Lodge.

The Outdoor Center also is Primland’s headquarters for other outdoors adventures, including fly fishing, horseback riding, sporting clays (with 14 stations) and even tomahawk throwing. The resort every Fall and Winter also hosts Driven Pheasant Shooting events, as the Blue Ridge Mountains, with their hilly topography and woodlands, are idea for hunts that make you think you’re in the United Kingdom.

The real treat, however, is indoors, well, sort of indoors. That silo-looking building adjacent to the Lodge is the Observatory Dome. The stars shine like billion-year-old diamonds in the dark Virginia sky. You can see them from nearly any place at Primland, but the best place, by far, is the Observatory, which has a Celestron CGE Pro 1400 telescope provides extraordinary glimpses of objects beyond our solar system.

There’s also a smaller Celestron telescope in the Great Hall that guests can use on the terrace for views of closer celestial bodies. The giant gas planets of Jupiter and Saturn, for example, are now on display in the evening hours, so there’s not a better time for guests to take advantage of the Observatory.

Reservations are needed to get into the Observatory and the cost is $35 per person, but the experience, like each experience at Primland, is well worth the price.

The Observatory is a great capper to an evening that begins with dinner at Elements, the resort’s fine dining restaurant. The farm to table menu includes dishes such as lamb and elk, as well as a terrific Veal Chop with butternut squash. Be sure to ask for the Moonshine cocktail tasting. Elements also serves daily breakfast and a Sunday brunch.

The resort’s other eatery, the 19th Pub, is a good place to unwind after a round or just to enjoy a Happy Hour beverage. The 19th Pub serves lunch and dinner (go for the Pig Candy with Virginia maple syrup and cayenne), and is a popular early evening gathering spot for guests and golfers.

It’s just another spot at Primland that feels like home.

Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career includes covering Major League Baseball, the NFL and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the web site for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California. He lives in Delray Beach, Fla, and can be reached at

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