Primland We Loved Ya

A few years ago our friends the Toms came home from this resort in the mountains of Virginia that we had never heard of raving about what a fun time they had. Then our friends the Prebles did the same. More and more friends had visited this place, yet in all the years we never saw one bit of marketing, not an ad, or an email, or a pop up on travel sites.

Apparently being a best kept secret is how Primland wants it.

When we realized that we had only a few days all summer to take a break with Carter before she goes off to Cheerio for the whole summer we decided that the resort that is only two and a half hours away was the perfect answer.

We arrived at the 12,000 acre resort along the south side of the blue ridge parkway. The gate was very unassuming, but once the voice on the other side of the speaker verified we were guests the doors swung open. We were instructed to follow the signs to the lodge. Thank goodness the signage was good because as we drove the winding roads climbing higher and higher up the mountain we did not see another car or person for the seven mile drive to the lodge.

As we rounded the final switch back the lodge came into view. It was a large, not huge shingle building where four men were waiting out front to greet us. We were staying in one of the pinnacle cottage which were another small drive from the lodge. Our suite was a huge two rooms with two big porches over looking the most astounding view across a valley to another mountain.

Primland was originally a hunting lodge and property of 3,000 acres bought in the seventies by a French family who, over the years amassed the current property four times its original size. They lumbered the property at first, but in 2006 changed the focus to a resort.

We we fascinated with the economics of such a huge property can work with a gorgeous golf course, big hunting operation, fishing and many other outdoor activities and only 26 rooms in the main lodge, five cottage of about 4-6 suites in each and a handful of fairway houses. So of course all three of us asked every worker we encountered all about the operations.

What we found out is that the family who owns it is not concerned with making a profit, “just don’t lose money.” What a model. It certainly pays off for the guests. To that nothing is inexpensive, but it is anything but crowded. While we we there there were only about fifty guests spending each night. The staff was all a twitter about the 150 guests that we’re coming for the holiday weekend. Seems like it is not what they are used to.

There were a few things that made us realize that there were not many of us there. Like one morning it appeared they were short staffed in the kitchen. Our exasperated server was furious that it took them so long to poach me two eggs so she comped our whole breakfast. Carter and I had scheduled some spa treatments and when one of the staff showed up sick so Carter’s massage was canceled. The spa director, who was also a massage therapist, gave Carter a free half hour massage when they couldn’t get another therapist to come in.

Those things were minor in the enjoyment of our vacation. Carter announced it was her favorite vacation we have taken. That is a high bar. We will definitely go back. I think we will stick to the non-holiday visits so we don’t stress the staff.

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