Mountain Lake Resort: I Had The Time of My Life
If you haven't heard of Mountain Lake before then you're probably wondering why I had the time of my life. Actually, the answer is pretty simple: Mountain Lake is also where the movie Dirty Dancing was filmed. That's right! Located in the mountains of Virginia (about twenty minutes from the Virginia Tech campus) is a wonderful resort that will provide you with the perfect getaway opportunity and supply you with a unique glimpse into one of the most loved films of all time.
Mountain Lake is exactly that-- a lake on top of an extremely large mountain, approximately 3400 feet above sea level. The resort is located literally in the middle of nowhere. A winding two way road leads you to the resort-- and may not be accessible in the winter months. The resort has been established since the mid 1800's and the current structure was built in the early 1940's. Currently the resort operates from May to November (but if you can get there-- you can still explore the area). Before going into detail about the resort and creating this beautiful picture of a resort looking over a stunning lake there is something you need to know: the lake is disappearing.
The lake which gave the resort its name is disappearing at a rapid pace. According to the official Mountain Lake Website since 2000 the lake has dropped an astonishing 15 feet. The reason you ask? The lake itself formed because of the water flowing into it from rain, snow, and other creeks. When the area experiences a "dry" season the levels drop because the water is continuously moving out through other creeks and rivers. The most interesting fact is that during the eighteen and nineteen hundreds the lake didn't see this type of fluctuation. During recent years "researchers have uncovered what has proven to be an ancient pattern of cycles that leave the water level of Mountain Lake both "up" and "down" for extended periods of time" (Mountain Lake website).
The resort offers two different types of lodging. Of course you can stay in the hotel itself or one of the many cottages surrounding the lake. The cost for staying at Mountain Lake is quite expensive. Expect to pay anywhere from $150.00 to $300.00 a night in the hotel and anywhere from $149.00 to $585.00 in the cottages. The cottages offer lodging from one to five rooms. There are special packages for family's and winter excursions, which can be viewed at their website. Meals are included in the cost as well as gratuities are included.
I can't say I've been lucky enough to spend the night, but I have made plenty of day trips. Their website states they charge $3.00 for parking, but I've never seen any signs asking for parking fees.
Being on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere could seem pretty boring, but not at Mountain Lake. There are tons of things to do! Of course there are activities like hiking and biking trails as well as tennis, basketball, croquet, volleyball, and bad mitten. There are also huge life size checker and chess boards that can bring entertainment to the whole family. Heated indoor pools, massages, hot tubs, billiards, wildlife viewing and attractions (such as white water rafting) are available as well.
Like I stated before, Mountain Lake is the location where the movie Dirty Dancing was filmed. Once you arrive at Mountain Lake you'll immediately see all your favorite scenes from the film. There are self guided tours that you can visit on your own time that will explain which scene was filmed at that specific location. Recently, with the passing of Patrick Swayze, Mountain Lake created a beautiful memorial at the gazebo where so many scenes were filmed. There is also a gift shop filled with memorabilia that no die hard fan would want to miss.
Whether you're interested in a weekend getaway, a great scientific mystery, or some thrilling memories back to you're favorite film-- one thing is for sure you won't be seated in a corner.