Go jump in a lake!

Leave a comment Standard

Ohhhhhhh believe me, I want to! I’m sitting on a darn good discounted stay at our favorite getaway, and it’s burning a hole in my pocket and has got me daydreaming….

I am lake person; not a beach person. In fact, I will fully admit that the idea of a beach vacation is not my idea of relaxation. The (my) problem is that I cannot sit still, I don’t like to be hot, and I burn to a crisp. And don’t get me started on sand. It’s insidious. I will say that I’ve had some great times at the beach:  Surrounded by my best gals or my family and some cold adult beverages = winning. It’s just that much like the ocean calls Moana, the lake is where I’m most relaxed (a state that doesn’t come easily to me). #tightlywound

My hope is that this piece will inspire anyone reading it to #gotoWV (state tourism hashtag for the win!) and visit one of our favorite places here in our beautiful state: Stonewall Jackson Lake & Resort. We have spent countless days there enjoying all that lake, resort and area have to offer, both on and off the water. We have even spent holidays there (Mother’s Day, 4th of July, and Easter) and gosh they do them well! Added bonus: the Easter Bunny knows where SJR is! *Wink wink.*

It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, which I think is part of the charm. A beautiful Adirondack-style resort in Lewis County, it takes us about 2.5 hours to get there from Huntington; the perfect distance for a weekend trip. So, what do they have? A little bit of everything: fishing, hiking, swimming, water recreation, activities and recreation specifically for kids and holidays, great views, a campground, a boardwalk, a marina, segways, wildlife, biking, golfing, a spa, great food, cold beer, nice wine…. Have you started packing yet? I have.

Even though right now we are probably heading out of peak season, the fall foliage is stunning, and nothing would be more breathtaking than a jaunt around the lake on their double-decker excursion boat, the Little Sorrel. We ride it every time we go, and the kids always manage to somehow get behind the helm. Brave captains! Sometimes, on special occasions, they will serve food and drinks (i.e. Mother’s Day).

For water recreation, of course you can take your own boat to the marina, or you can rent one of their water craft such as a kayak or paddle boat, or even a SUP, aquacycle, or CraigCat. The kayaks, SUPs, and paddle boats are part of the Outfitters Pass you can purchase, and you basically walk out the back of the resort and jump on one and go. Life jackets provided! The motorized watercraft are available over at the marina.  The have an indoor/outdoor pool and it has always been impeccably clean during our visits. In fact, the whole resort and grounds are quite well-kept.

img_0432-1

There are three restaurants on property, two of which are in the lodge itself (Stillwater’s and T.J. Muskies). The other dining option, Lightburn’s, is fancier and up at the top of the hill overlooking the property and golf course, and it is seasonal in operation last I checked. Of all three, it is probably the priciest.  Stillwater’s has the BEST buffet and brunches you’ll ever eat; we were particularly impressed with their Easter spread. T.J. Muskies is more of a lounge experience with good pizza and burgers and a good selection of snacks and drinks for “pool breaks.” They also often have entertainment in T.J. Muskies in the form of local musicians or comedy acts. If you find you have indulged a little too much, take a hike on one of their trails! Stonewall boasts 16+ miles of trail ranging in distance and difficulty. I recommend the Chipmunk Point route for beginners or families with little kids.

Some additional info:

  • You have options for accommodations: the lodge, cabins, or camping. Pro tip: The lodge often runs really great deals, and even further discounts for WV residents!
  • Definitely get a s’mores pack for beside the fire pit! It’s a cute touch and fun for all, but make sure it doesn’t get dropped. (Looking at you, Caroline.)
  • Check out nearby Weston to visit a winery and/or a “haunted” Asylum. (I’d recommend wine before the ghost tour, but that’s your call my friend.)
  • When you are at SJR, you are officially in the “Mountain Lakes” region of West Virginia. Pro tip:  download the “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia” app from the App Store to get more details on local adventures, history, and cultures.

All in all, this is an easy and fun trip that will help adults relax and allow families to enjoy the true beauty that is our Wild and Wonderful state of West Virginia! Be sure to visit their website and sign up for their emails as these often include some great discounts and information about upcoming events and specials!

See you at the lake!

img_0431-1img_0430-1img_0425

De-stress tip: Un”wine”d from time to time

Comments 2 Standard

First of all, if you don’t like/care about/want to hear about wine, this one isn’t for you.

I, however, love wine and love to take trips with my girls where we relax, catch up, sample some good wine, and eat some good food. After all, it’s nice now and then to not have to sneak-eat the last cupcake to avoid sharing it with a kid or shove an entire Uncrustable in your mouth as someone clings to your leg. Amiright?!

One of my absolute favorite “Mommy Juice” trips is a quick haul down I-77 through Virginia and right into North Carolina’s Yadkin River Valley. This area is chock full of wineries and vineyards, and in my opinion is one of the best kept little secrets in our area. In this area, you’ll find a lot of sweet wine options, but there are plenty for us dry-wine lovers too. There is also the occasional craft beer selection, which often balances out the wine in between tastings.

img_7166

Accommodations: You simply must stay in the Hampton Inn in Dobson. Not only is it wine-themed with its own little wine bar, it is newer, clean, and has a shuttle to the Shelton Vineyards about a mile down the road. (ALWAYS have a designated driver once the sampling begins!) This hotel is also in a great location for access to many wineries in the area. Location, location, location!

More on transportation because, I cannot say it enough: designate a driver! We have img_7169actually enlisted the services of a shuttle/van to take us around touring the area. The Hampton Inn shuttle only goes back and forth to Shelton, so that’s a good place to start/end your daily tour for that convenience, as well as their amazing on-site restaurant. The shuttle service we used was Grape Escape Tours, and it was perfect. You can tell them your wine preferences (dry, sweet, etc) and they will recommend a tour. They had a basket of snacks in the van, too, which was a nice touch. Our driver was a very nice and patient lady who took pictures of our group at the various stops. As you can imagine, as the day of “tasting” went on, dealing with us gals on the loose probably got interesting. I know from the pics that our smiles kept getting bigger and bigger. (Gosh, I wish I could remember her name…. she was just so patient. So very, very patient. Bless her.)

Here is a list of the places I’ve been in the area that I would highly recommend:

Shelton Vineyards: This is a Napa-style winery and vineyard. Take the tour and do the VIP tasting! It is worth the extra money for this awesome experience. While you’re there, eat at Harvest Grill. The food is amazing and the entire property is just breathtaking. Wine recommendation: Family Reserve Claret (or really anything from the Reserve collection).

img_7167

Grassy Creek Vineyard: This is an old stable converted into a winery! The cool factor is definitely “up there” and it just has a very chill vibe. The two men who run the joint are great to chat with and they also have events from time to time on the property. They also have a fun little gift shop selection. Wine recommendation: Red Barn Blend. It’s a crowd pleaser!

Elkin Creek Vineyard: This place is quaint and cozy and just plain old special! The girls and I had a blast sampling here, and next time I am definitely going to try one of their brick oven pizzas. Wine recommendation: Adequate Red (trust me when I tell you it is MUCH better than “adequate”)

img_0397

Round Peak Vineyard: This is a great “first stop” as it is north of the hotel exit (but again, remember to designate a driver!). They have wine and craft beer, but no matter what, do not miss the view from the back patio! Take your beverage out back and sit and enjoy the immediate relaxation that comes with knowing you are on holiday. This place is definitely a “must see.” (featured picture at top of post is a glimpse of the view from the patio)

222 Public House (now Angry Troll Brewing @ 222): This wasn’t quite a brewery last time I was there, but they had an awesome vibe and great food and cold beer. What more could you ask for? Definitely try the nachos!!

img_0401

Whew! This one is making me nostalgic for some girl time!! Hopefully my girls will read this and agree… it is time to getaway!

img_7171