I wrote a rave review the last time we were at Avalon for the music festival. This time my experience and impression was a lot more mixed, unfortunately.
On the pro side, the resort is very beautiful and peaceful in the daytime and fun and exciting at night with dances and live bands. It's still a hidden gem. We enjoy the camping which is very reasonable and the nude pool and hot tub are enjoyable as well. Most of the people are friendly and it's a great place to get naked and enjoy the great outdoors and nature. It's family friendly and refreshing to see grandparents with their grandkids enjoying themselves together at a nudist resort. The kids seem very comfortable with their bodies and were a joy to watch dancing and hula hooping on the lawn. I find this more healthy and wholesome than most family activities.
On the negative side we were there for the much hyped FaerieFest which was not very well attended at all. The best part about it was the advertisement which featured glossy flyers that were magical and enticing. Great PR job, but It just didn't live up to expectations. There were a few vendors selling jewelry and such and the food was mediocre at best, and costly for what was offered. It's much better to bring your own food and cook out there. The photographer had a nice set up and we enjoyed that, and the drinks were decent but expensive. The FaerieFest didn't seem to have much to offer other than a little music and They did not follow the schedule at all and the faerie parade consisted of two people. Events were scheduled on the lawn until 9 PM when the dance started but there was absolutely nothing going on after 6 PM, despite a good number of people sitting on the lawn waiting for nothing. The only thing I saw was the faerie fire ring put on by one fairy dancer who did her best to entertain single handedly most of the day and evening. There was no advertised sing along or Dragon Dance or Faerie Flight. Most people felt let down by the lack of planning for this event. It had great potential but didn't live up to it at all. I hope they improve in future years because it could have been fun with better planning and more vendors and activities that really took place.
The ugly and real turn off for me was the fact that Avalon advertises as pet friendly and we even called ahead to make sure that our dog was welcome. I was assured he could attend the FaerieFest if he was on a leash. I even expressed misgivings about bringing the dog but was reassured it was fine and he was welcome at the festival. My dog is only 6 pounds and we had both a leash and a dog carrier so we could carry him since he has paralyzed back legs. He is a good camper and an easy dog, and we went out of our way to pack for both him and ourselves for two days of camping. We also purchased a lot of fairy finery and gave up other plans to attend this event with high hopes. It was out of town and it took a while to get there. Imagine our shock and dismay when we arrived and we were immediately told NO PETS were allowed at the FaerieFest after we had just gotten permission to attend with our dog!! It was too far to go back home and leave the dog at that point. We were upset and it was a real dilemma. The staff didn't seem to care and were not willing to bend their new rule which was added onto the the rules list after the fact. We were told they just changed the rule since there were a lot of people at the festival (which was not true either. The turn out was very very small.), but the day before I was told it was fine for my dog to attend and no one ever told us otherwise until we were at the gate being denied entry. We even offered to carry the dog in our shoulder pouch/carrier the entire time. But they would not help us out at all. We were there at 11 AM for the festival and they told us the dog could come in with us on the lawn and to the festival at 6 PM. We were really disappointed that we would have to sit it out for 7 hours by our tent until we could attend the event. But we did just that since there were scheduled activities on the list for the FaerieFest until 9 PM when the dance started. At 6 PM we finally were able to get into the festival with the dog and NOTHING was going on. None of the scheduled events even happened. Many were waiting on the lawn for absolutely nothing. What a disappointment and false advertising!!! There was no Faerie Flight, no sing along, no dragon dance, and only a short 10 minute fire dance by one fairy dancer. PERIOD. Most of the vendors had packed up and were gone too.
The staff did not really help us out at all. Some kind guests offered their condo for our dog however, and said they were also put out by the new rule about no dogs without any notice. We did not take them up on it since we were not sure how our dog would react to a strange house with two strange dogs, but the guests were more understanding and nicer about it than the staff!! The staff did offer to watch our dog for a "few minutes" while we went into the festival but within a very short time they came and got us and told us our dog was very unhappy tied to the front gate where they just ignored him. I had just purchased a $4 drink was unable to even drink it outside the gate due to them coming in to get us immediately. Another nicer staff person (who was better than the rude gate staff) also offered to help watch our dog for half an hour while we went into the festival but she was too busy to watch him for long and again we were frustrated and just gave up and sat by our tent waiting for 6 PM. The solutions offered by the staff were insulting. They suggested we put the dog in the hot car on an almost 90 degree day, or tie the dog up by our tent and let him bark and disturb fellow campers, or that they refund our money and we drive for hours all the way back home after packing up our car for a two day camping trip, and spending money on costumes and accessories for the event, which was a birthday gift to one of us. I am not the type to demand all venues be pet friendly and in fact I typically leave my dogs at home. But when a resort advertises as pet friendly and flat out tells you that your dog is welcome on a leash, I expect them to honor their word and their policy. That is my point. They changed their usual policy on a whim without notice after people came there with their pets and then had to sit around outside the gate and miss the event. That is unacceptable and very thoughtless and unfair to paying guests.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Avalon is nestled in a lovely valley in wild & wonderful West Virginia. As soon as you arrive, your tension and stress from the outside world begins to melt away. Whether you sit on the green grassy lawn or play volleyball or tennis, you will find your daily cares slipping away. Or you may decide to sun by the pool or soak in the spa to begin your relaxation. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Avalon Hotel Paw Paw