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.
- 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