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“We’ll be back!”

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Shadow Mountain Escape
Ranked #2 of 15 Speciality Lodging in Luray
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
NE Pennsykvania
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“We’ll be back!”
Reviewed 2 July 2012

This year was our 5th return to SME for our annual family reunion. We rented the Bear Dance Lodge which includes Butter Fly and Bumble Bee cabins plus the Butter Fly loft for our 16 family members. Obviously there must be something special here to keep us coming back. Virginia’s slogan is “Virginia is for Lovers” I believe you will find LOVE at Shadow Mountain Escape. Here are some of the things I found.

HOSTS – You will not find more pleasant, accommodating people than Ralph & Karen Riddle (no I am not a relative). The owners live on the property so they will be there to greet you and make sure you are settled in. Karen will delight you with her baked goods. Ralph has taken our grandkids fishing – he knows his stuff. When not needed they stay in the background and let you be on your own to enjoy the experience.

LODGES – In a word charming. Open timber frame construction tastefully decorated with old world furnishings. The buildings are well maintained – this year there were new refrigerators and ranges in both cabins. Plenty of TV’s, DVD players and roll out beds. The Bear Dance Lodge is a cleverly designed structure: 2 two story cabins are joined together at a central tower so that you can have privacy if you want or leave the doors open if you don’t. When you rent both cabins you get the added advantage of the observation tower and La Cantina a European style room in the basement. The Butter Fly loft offers a nice setting for a couple – Queen sized bed, sitting area, bath and kitchen. I seen but have not rented the Lady Bug cabin which is adjacent to owners home and does not have kitchen facilities. All the cabins are nicely spaced from each other – I’m guessing at least 300’ apart.

Up until this year, if I was forced to name a minor inconvenience, I would have said the lack of a shady spot and a place to hang-out if it happened to be raining. Ralph solved this issue by building a large, beautiful covered patio at the entrance to Bear Dance Lodge. Bistro tables and chairs adorn the setting. For those who smoke this is ideal. Wonderful just got better – thanks Ralph.

GROUNDS - 15 acres, 10 of which are well maintained lawn scattered with trees. There is a fish pond, nature trail, and campfire area. The area is secluded - very relaxing. Flower baskets surround the cabins. You will see deer every day.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS – First and foremost is the Shenandoah National Park: you are less than 4 miles from the Thornton entrance which is at the heart of the park from Skyland to Big Meadows on the Skyline Drive. Trails go up to Stonyman & Hawksbill and down to Dark Hollow Falls and others. Don’t miss Limberlost. The Shenandoah Valley is noted for numerous wineries and distilleries: you will find lists in your cabin. You can canoe, kayak, or float on the Shenandoah River. For horseback riding I recommend Jordan Hollow Stables in Stanley. The quaint town of Luray deserves a visit for restaurants, antiques and atmosphere.

Note: See my review - “Family Reunion? This is the place!” - June 2008.

Room Tip: all rooms good
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank Grahamboat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (36)
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English first
hunan6
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2012

My wife and I just returned from a getaway to Shadow Mountain Escape to celebrate our fifteenth anniversary. We found out about this hidden gem on google, read the reviews on trip advisor, and decided to book it. Wow did it live up to our expectations (and then some)! As so many others have said, the facilities are marvelous, the natural environment is breathtaking, and Ralph and Karen's hospitality is unparalleled.

What initially attracted us to S.M.E. was the promise of its secluded, Alpine-style cabins. They were spectacular. The exposed timber frame was charming, and really left us with a sense of awe for what they have accomplished here. We selected Ladybug cabin as it was the only one available for the two nights we were staying. We were a bit nervous as it is so close to the owners' cabin, but this was not at all an impediment to either our privacy or our enjoyment. It does sit close to the road, but the property is so remote that the road received very little traffic. The decorations, many of which are either imported from Europe or custom made, add much to the charm of the architecture. Furthermore, the unit was both well-equipped and immaculately cleaned. Ladybug does not have an oven, but the microwave and small fridge suited us fine as we weren't there to cook anyways. We did enjoy a marvelous light dinner at Gathering Grounds in Luray.

As for nature, it would be hard to find a more ideal spot on the east coast. S.M.E. is 5-10 minutes from the Thornton Gap entrance to Shenedoah National Park. A $15 pass is good for ten days. We very much enjoyed the easy access to hiking, and Ralph and Karen are great resources on hikes for all abilities. Even though the property is an easy drive to the quaint town of Luray, as well as abundant dining and shopping options, it is very tucked away off of Route 211, and it borders park property. Subsequently, wildlife abounds, and the nature trail on site is a great way to take it in. One could easily spend their entire time on property walking, reading, and enjoying the tranquil surroundings.

Finally, and perhaps most of all, I want to echo what so many others have said about Ralph and Karen's hospitality. As we drove up, we were met by a most warm greeting from Karen. She gave us a great tour of our cabin, and had prepared for us a complimentary celebration package of AMAZING baked goods. She also prepared a nightly campfire at which we enjoyed getting to know other couples who were there. Throughout our visit, the Riddle's seemed to be there whenever we needed them, yet stay away enough to give us the privacy for which we came.They love what they do, and it shows in the splendor of what they have created here.

I cannot say enough about how much we enjoyed our stay here. We were looking for something more unique than a chain hotel, yet something more private than a stay in a bed and breakfast. Shadow Mountain Escape was perfect. We look forward to returning for many anniversary celebrations in the future.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank hunan6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fairfax, VA United States
1 review
Reviewed 22 May 2012

My husband and I came to Shadow Mountain Escape to celebrate my birthday and have a mini getaway for just the 2 of us. This place is only 1.5 hours away which was perfect in case of an emergency (we had a 7 month old being babysat at home).
It was a great natural escape from the city atmosphere. The owners were very friendly and had great advice about what to do, while giving us enough space (we are not bed and breakfast people).
The cabin/rooms themselves were very charming along with a deck with views of the woods. I would recommend this place to anyone who likes the outdoors. We will be back!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Caitlin F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, MN
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2012

We stayed in the Butterfly cabin and just loved it. All this gorgeous woodworking, but all new, clean, and uncluttered. The bed was so comfy. We enjoyed our walk around the property as well, and of course it's very convenient for hikes in the Shenandoah and also for Luray Caverns, which we visited as well.

We were also very pleased with how accommodating Karen and her husband were. We brought our 18-month-old with us, and even though Shadow Mountain is mostly a romantic couples resort, Karen was happy to welcome us and even loaned us a pack n play. She also gave us an early check-in with no difficulty. We would definitely come back here.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank hazelbigwig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Luray, Virginia, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 April 2012

For seven years I have been surprising my daughter and son-in-law with reservations at Shadow Mountain Escapes-I booked for their honeymoon and every year after for their anniversary! The cabins are on the edge of the Shenandoah National Park and provide a great romantic escape for them! The special celebration touches that the Riddles provide are priceless!
HOT TIP: Find a babysitter so you can enjoy the romantic escape.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Lisa W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durham, North Carolina
Level Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2012

We could not have asked for more during our trip to Shadow Mountain escape in February. We went up for our anniversary weekend and has an absoluetly amazing time. From how beautful and unique the cabins and property are to the hospitality and little extras from the owners really made our trip complete. They even made us a delicious little red velvet cake and other homeade goodies to enjoy. We highly recommend going on the nature trail and even taking the owners recommendation to hike up church bell hill. We did and it was breathtaking. We even renewed our vows at the top of the mountain. There is no better way to put it than we could not have asked for more. What they have up there is a little piece of heaven :)

Room Tip: Each of the cabins are unique and offer something different. We stayed in the bumble bee cabin which...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank slandis2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
arlington, virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 26 January 2012

My wife and I spent a long weekend here in January 2012 and had an excellent experience in the LadyBug cabin. We love hiking in the Shenandoah's and getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and thought we'd give this place a try. It's on the short list of places we'd like to go back to. Overall, I'd recommend spending some time on their informative website picking out a cabin that best fits your tastes. The experience promised was exactly the experience delivered. Some special points warrant mention:

Karen (owns the cabin with her husband Ralph) was one of the friendliest and enthusiastic folks I've met. Upon arrival, she had freshly baked cookies, chocolate brownies, biscotti, as well as a bottle of freshly carbonated spring water (from a well on their property) ready for our enjoyment. After a quick walkthrough, she brought us some kindling for the wood stove and marshmallows for the campfire she was going to set-up for us at sundown. The wood stove added a great ambiance to the cabin and roasting marshmallows over a campfire in the crisp mountain night was a great way to kick off our experience.

The cabin itself looked almost brand new. The downstairs was a large dining area with mini-fridge, microwave, and wood-burning stove. The upstairs was a large bedroom with beautiful views of the surrounding mountainside and a private bathroom. The exposed timber frame is quite a sight to behold and complements the decor of the cabin well. The only thing I missed was a nice big tub to soak in, but I understand some of their other cabins do have this feature. I might have to give that a try next time.

We had a great time walking around both the nature trail that goes around the property and taking a longer hike down Jewell Hollow Road that forms the border with Shenandoah National Park. For meals, our favorite part was taking a short drive into downtown Luray. Uncle Buck's is a great little diner for breakfast and the rest of Luray has a bunch of interesting little stores that warrant an hour or two of exploring.

In summary, this place delivers a quiet, peaceful retreat that seems ideal for couples looking to get away for a long weekend. The website sets high expectations and delivers on them.

Room Tip: Check their website to find one of the three cabins that best fits your taste.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank schlies2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Shadow Mountain Escape

Property: Shadow Mountain Escape
Address: 1132 Jewell Hollow Rd, (bordering the Shenandoah National Park), Luray, VA 22835-5710
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Virginia > Luray
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 15 Speciality Lodging in Luray
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Virginia's "Simply Charming" authentic timber frame cabins bordering the Shenandoah National Park - Luray, VA. A truly unique romantic couple's escape conveniently located in a woodland park setting on the "Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop"... only a few minutes from the Shenandoah National Park entrance, Luray Caverns, Lake Arrowhead and a wide variety of other attractions. Discover the ambiance of a rare timber frame tastefully arranged with quality furnishing including antiques and European décor. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Shadow Mountain Escape Hotel Luray

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