The Homestead, Hot Springs VA – Nov 2016

It was Dad’s Birthday Extravaganza! We went to the Homestead because I won a contest and the grand prize was a weekend away!


I didn’t ask him if he wanted to go for his birthday, I TOLD him we were going away! We left Friday morning and arrived in Hot Springs (named so because of the natural springs that run through the county) in the early afternoon. The Homestead is celebrating 250 years and every day at 2:50, they serve tea and cake in the lobby. We arrived just in time to partake in the celebration. Visit for some history on the property.


After cake, we explored some of the property. This is the lobby.


Some of the rooms on the main floor.

Mom spinning around the massive grand ballroom.

My boss was at the Homestead for a conference the week before and left me a note in the library. Needless to say, my boss is awesome and it was a lot of fun going on a little scavenger hunt!

We then walked around outside. This is the main entrance in the front.

The front porch had rocking chairs :)

This is the back of the property with the pool, spa, and mini golf.

We relaxed and chilled next to the fire pit on the patio of Jefferson’s Restaurant  before we went to dinner.

I decided I looked really good that night and snapped a picture in the bathroom :)


Dinner was at Sam Snead’s Tavern in the little town down the hill. We started with the spinach & artichoke dip which just might have been the best I’ve ever had! For my main course, I had the trout, which was too mild for my taste (I like fishy fish). We split the cinnamon donut bread pudding. AMAZING!

The Homestead played movies in their theater every night, but the movie selection didn’t appeal to us so we headed up to the room to watch TV.

I woke up early the next morning and went down to breakfast. The all-you-can-eat-oh-my-god-I-could-eat-my-weight-in-breakfast-food-buffet in the main dining room is legendary and it did not disappoint! I had cinnamon waffles topped with whipped cream and strawberries, bacon, fruit, and smoked salmon. Oh, and half of a crab cake eggs Benedict. No regrets!! Other than the fact that I had a 3-hour hike ahead of me and didn’t feel the greatest while I waited for the shuttle. But it eventually settled by the time we started.

I was told that I HAD to go on the hike led by Brian and now I see why. He was a comedian for a time and had a lot of one-liners! He started the tour showing his expertise in bird calling.  He also showed us how an acorn cap can not only be a life-saving whistle, but can also be used for bird and frog calls :)


He also showed us the damage beavers can do. The tree in the middle with the gash in it is the start of what they can do. The stump at the bottom is the end result. He said a beaver can knock down 500 trees in a year!


The hike was amazing and spectacular! That’s all I can say about it. Well, I can say I think he said we passed something like 12 waterfalls.

Proof I was there!



Brian pointed out this is a rattlesnake orchid. I’ll have to come back in the spring and see it in bloom.




There were several places on the hike that had rocks instead of stairs. That’s why they recommend intermediate hiking ability!

We ended up on the Cascades Golf Course. The building in the background is Rubino’s, a restaurant that used to be the home of someone that I can’t find any info on now. The building was moved, section by section, from Italy.

After the hike, I met up with the parental units and we went to the equestrian center to go on a private, hour-long, horse drawn carriage ride around the property. It was very peaceful, quiet, and serene.


The Homestead has so many activities! They also have archery, hiking trails, and golf. This is the falconry center and they also have horseback riding.

Family portrait :)

We didn’t realize just HOW BIG the horses were until we got out of the carriage!

After the carriage ride, we went straight to miniature golf. My family is extremely competitive when it comes to mini golf. That doesn’t mean we are particularly good at it. Let’s just say by the 14th hole, Mom was kicking the ball into the hole and Dad and I pretended not to notice! But we had a blast and laughed the whole time. The birthday boy won, but only by one stroke! I should have been given an allowance for toting around 15lbs of cameras!

After mini golf it was time for cake! Once we finished our cake, we went back up to the room to get ready for dinner. It was in the main dining hall and required all men to wear a dinner jacket! Very fancy! I had the Chateaubriand which was fantastic!

After dinner, we pretty much fell asleep, it was a full day!

The next morning we had the breakfast buffet again. I had the legendary donuts which lived up to their reputation. The scrambled eggs were delicious, the bacon was crispy, but no smoked salmon! That was disappointing :(

As we headed home, we took a different route in order to stop by the Falling Springs waterfall.


It was worth the detour!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! I hope you had fun, I certainly did!



Pumpkins 2016

Well, pumpkin (singular) this year.


This was part of my decorations outside. I have so many Halloween decorations, but not enough for one whole, complete and concise motif, so I do small groupings. This ended up being the best one this year. One little girl even backed away and her lip quivered when her dad pointed it out to her.