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Wintergreen Resort in Virginia is all about nature, golf and skiing

By Katharine Dyson

There aren't many places in the northeast or even in the country, quite like Wintergreen Resort in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. With 11,000 acres of valleys and mountains covered by a blanket of deciduous hardwoods, Wintergreen is a four-season playground for skiers, hikers, golfers and those who simply love to get close to nature. Families love it.

Hard to believe this land was purchased in 1969 for a mere $89,000. About three hours from Washington, two hours from Richmond and a quick 40-minute drive from the Charlottesville Airport, you can leave your home in the morning and be on the course or the slopes by early afternoon.

Last year Wintergreen was purchased by Jim Justice, a low-key, down-home billionaire (if there can be such a guy) who has been making waves in the resort industry by acquiring prestigious properties like The Greenbrier Resort and The Resort at Glade Springs in West Virginia. When he bought Wintergreen, it is estimated that he paid between $12.5 and $16.5 million for the sprawling property. "I've played all over the country, but that's the most beautiful course I've ever played," said Justice, an avid golfer.

Justice has indicated he might create a trail of the Virginias tying all three resort courses together along with other courses he has acquired for a total of nine golf tracks.

At Wintergreen you get two very different golf experiences. You can play Stoney Creek's three nines in the Rockfish Valley where it can be 80 degrees then on the same day you can drive up to the top of the mountain, an elevation change of 3,300 feet, and see the temperature gauge on your car drop typically by 10 degrees. Once on top, you can tee off down the long sloping first tee of the Devil's Knob Golf course, a spectacular Ellis Maples-designed track with plunging elevations and incredible views stretching out to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Thick stands of trees line fairways while houses tucked back into the shrubbery seldom intrude.

Between the two courses, there are 174 bunkers and a variety of grasses. Stoney Creek's three nines, Tuckahoe, Monocan and Shamokin, were designed by Rees Jones with the first one, Monocan opening in 1988. Playing Tuckahoe, the newest of the trio. you won't find any better playing surface than the Cavalier Zoysia that carpets the fairways and tees. "We are the farthest course north to use this grass," says head superintendent Fred Biggers, who is more than enthusiastic about its attributes.

Unique to Wintergreen, the Nature Foundation functions as a research and education facility and maintains an extensive trail system for bikers and hikers. Trillium House features interactive exhibits, a Birder's Gallery, gardens and a Native American dwelling and a number of educational programs are offered throughout the year.

Stay in a Lodge rooms or book one of the 270 villa-style accommodations or mountain home. Groups can check into a multi-bedroom home like a seven bedroom, seven bath house with a huge living room and kitchen and wrap-around decks.

On site facilities include an Aquatic & Fitness Center, miniature golf, tennis, and the Adventure Center with zip lining, tubing and you can indulge in traditional as well as innovative treatments at The Spa at Wintergreen.

Wintergreen Performing Arts sponsors several popular cultural events including the Summer Music Festival, Shakespearean dramas, art exhibits and innovative workshops. Oktoberfest celebrates German culture and food in a beer garden setting while the Festival of Wines introduces wines from all over Virginia.

Several wineries and breweries are located in the region including Devil's Backbone Brewing Company, Blue Mountain Brewery, Wild Wolf Brewing Company, Flying Fox Vineyard and Wintergreen Winery.

In the winter, Wintergreen turns into one of the most popular ski resorts in the state where some of the best snow-making equipment in the country assures the 25 trails will be skiable. And even in the winter, there are days you can ski in the morning on the mountain and play golf in the afternoon in the valley. Sweet!

Revised: 10/07/2013 - Article Viewed 30,682 Times - View Course Profile

About: Katharine Dyson

Katharine Dyson Katharine Dyson is a freelance golf and travel writer, author, and columnist for several national & international publications and websites as well as guidebook author and blogger. Realizing that a golf and travel writer is the most underpaid, over privileged profession on the planet, she embraces the life style traveling all over the world to play golf and check out resorts. She is a member of the Golf Writers Association of American, Golf Travel Writers of America, the Society of American Travel Writers, and Metropolitan Golf Writers Association.

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