Escape from Paradise with Ingrid Lemme-Chalut
Magical Primland, Meadows of Dan, Virginia
I know through my Facebook page that many of my avid readers also read and/or watched the acclaimed book and Golden Globe nominated TV-series “Outlander”. We ourselves, like many others, had gotten very attached to the love story of Claire Randall and Jamie Frazer, set in the majestic Highlands of Scotland, and almost grieved when the series had come, for now, to an end…As we drove through one of Primland entrance gates and for twenty minutes up a winding mountain road with breathtaking views of the Southern Virginia Mountains, we realized that Primland was not just another golf destination. This Primland looked like Jamie’s home country and when we sat down for dinner that night and looked out over The Highland Course, I thought I am falling out of my shoes. The Highlands.
Donald Steel, the renowned golf course architect, carved the 18-hole course from the natural landscape of these mountains. He said: "When I first saw Primland, it reminded me of the highlands of Scotland.” We agree, as The Highland course showcases Primland's breathtaking mountain views at every turn. Ranked by GOLF Magazine as one of the "Top 100 Courses You Can Play," the Highland Course attracts players of all skill levels and trusting my husband, it is the prettiest golf course he ever played on, besides, he lost only 3 golf balls.
But there is so much more to Primland then world-class golf, tree houses, a sanctuary like spa, fabulous cuisine, the views of the peak studded Meadows of Dan below, the star studded skies above and the caring staff that all make this an unforgettable place of peace and natural beauty. Less than two hours from Winston-Salem, NC -- a story to be told…
I, personally, don’t care about golf but I am married to a golfer, and therefor I am the one who always gets to choose our next adventure, making sure that there is enough for the both of us to enjoy. I love eco-conscious places with spas, enjoy farm to table cuisine but I am also looking for adventures, like for instance an RTV ride on trails spread over 12,000 acres of private Primland land. A lover of the outdoors, Didier Primat had acquired thousands of acres of land in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1970s, which he eventually developed into Primland. An observatory built right into the top of the silo that anchors the corner of the lodge was added later and the Tour of the Universe should be on your late night entertainment list. Primland has an amazing stargazing program and employs a passionate hobby astronomer. Primland’s location at the top of a mountain and far away from light pollution makes it the ideal place to stargaze.
We resided at The Lodge. Our accommodations, one of the 16 Blue Ridge suites, was located on the third floor, with easy access to a soaring Great Hall with twin fireplaces, a two-story wine room, a refined spa, fitness center, private theatre, observatory dome, and a game room. The bedding, heavenly 400-thread count Frette sheets and lush down duvets. The wood paneling at The Lodge was harvested from trees on the property. The bathroom features imported glass mosaic tile and the clean lines of Dornbracht fittings, a fine German company. All Blue Ridge suites feature a master bath as well as separate living and dining areas and standard amenities include robes and slippers, BVLGARI bath products, and a fully automated shade and lighting dimmer system.
For guests looking for a more secluded experience, they may choose one of the cottages or Tree Houses, intimate cabins built around the solid branches of the treetops, each giving way to sweeping views of the Kibler Valley and NC’s Piedmont from private decks.
-- We got dressed up for a dinner for two at Elements the first night.
The maître d’ seated us by the flickering fireplace, the large windows displaying killer views of The Highlands. The menu was innovative and well thought through, every course showcasing the natural abundance of the Virginia Highlands in elegant, locally farm to table inspired dishes. We hear that Primland’s Chef Ernest works closely with local growers and purveyors and hand-selects the freshest, organic and sustainable ingredients. Every bite from the little amuse to the luscious dessert was a celebration of the palate. Executive Chef Ernest Bledsoe served as executive chef for The Swag, a Southern Living Collection Hotel, before joining Primland. We were unfortunately not able to meet him personally but he was well represented by his Sous Chef on his day off.
The next morning we woke up above the clouds, an experience that will stun most flatlanders and even well traveled visitors like us who’d thought we’ve seen it all. A sumptuous ala-carte breakfast was served at Elements early the next morning where the lovely Ms. Cricket was already expecting us as my husband’s T-time was scheduled for 8 a.m.
He was excited; could be that he maybe felt a little inadequate, as he would be accompanied by 2 PGA pros, the front nine holes with Craig Gunn, the Head Teaching Golf Professional. He is a past Virginia State Open Champion. My husband feels that Craig was able to help him achieve a better lower body action. The back nine he got to play with Brian Alley, the Director of Golf and Recreation and the Head Golf Professional, PGA himself. Brian is a key member of the golf staff since The Highland Course opened in 2006. My husband who thinks of himself as an average golfer was very impressed with the patience and professionalism of these two accomplished pros.
While my husband was playing The Highlands, I got to experience The Spa. The destination Spa at Primland is a light filled place of relaxation and rejuvenation and for the lack of better words, amazing! The wisdom of Native American healing rituals is here combined with European spa wisdom. “Most of the treatments are inspired by Native American beliefs and legends, based on the concept of the Native American medicine wheel, and are intended to work in line with energies of nature, turning, as do the seasons, in an ongoing cycle.” From soothing massages to rejuvenating body treatments, nurturing facials to yoga, meditation to the ultimate in fitness, The Spa at Primland offers a specialized, personal experience for all who are so inclined. Oh yes, I was so inclined. The music in The Spa was carefully selected to soothe the senses and I realized that each room featured its own soothing music experience. I had a heavenly one-hour whole-body massage with Ms. Tiffany that included the use of smooth hot stones with organic essential oils and allowed me to drift away. Before Tiffany started she’d asked me to pull a card of a stash that had been displayed on the massage bed. The card would be revealed after my treatment and it turned out that I’d pulled the card of the spider. Later, after my massage over a cup of herbal tea in the quiet room I got to read about the wisdom of the spider. “Spider… weaving webs of delight, weave me a peaceful world. Carrying creation in your web, waiting to be unfurled!”
After lunch with Golf-pro Brian, I got to do some serious RTV trail ridin’ with two mountain men, my husband Marcus and our guide Marcus! 80 miles of trails over 12000 acres of mountain and valley terrain! No, we didn't do ‘em all, but we had one hell of a ride and one hell of a good time and we got a glimpse of how BIG this Primland place really is.
Primland is a place where rustic meets luxury, and we got to dine real rustic on our last night at Stables Saloon on the second floor of a former horse stable. Every week during the summer season, the Stables Saloon hosts a bona fide Casual Southern Style Dinner, southern cuisine, buffet-style and a part of the Crooked Road Music Heritage. Primland proudly serves as an official venue to this special celebration and as part of the festivities; one gets to enjoy live Blue Grass music, and maybe some homespun outdoor recreation like corn hole. We had a great time here at the Stables Saloon with young families with children all digging into Chef Catherine Turner’s country buffet. We also like to thank Deborah Weber, the Stables Supervisor for a fun time in this secluded setting and her Midnight Moon apple pie moonshine (no kidding).
Virginia is for lovers and Primland is for all who love life, golf, a good time and appreciate good food in an amazing setting. https://primland.com
Until next month from another interesting location! Love, Ingrid
As featured in The Montauk Sun: www.montauksun.com/escape-from-paradise-with-ingrid-lemme-chalut-12/