By J.S. Fletcher and Kathy M. Newbern ©2013
Located in the Allegheny Mountains of southwest Virginia, The Omni Homestead Resort is a world-renowned, year-round destination and a prime spot for fall leaf season, and one of its popular recreational activities – a Segway tour – is a prime way to get some fresh air and zip around the property’s wooded trails while rustling a few leaves in the process.
A Segway is a two-wheeled, self-propelled, self-balancing transportation device. The name itself has been trademarked by Segway, Inc., of Bedford, NH, and the machines have been around since 2001. The Homestead Resort dates a few more years back than that: 225 years to be exact.
The first Homestead hotel, situated on a colonial land grant of 300 acres containing seven mineral springs, opened in 1766. Seeing today’s resort signage publicizing that year is actually hard to believe, yet it’s true.
After the French and Indian War in 1764, Captain Thomas Bullett, a militia man and surveyor who served under Col. George Washington, was granted the land. By 1766, he opened an 18-room wooden hotel, that he named The Homestead in honor of the Homesteaders who built the resort and bathhouses. Today The Homestead Resort still uses those waters in its Canyon Ranch Spa and mineral pools.
Numerous seasonal activities are offered by the resort, including world-class golf on a couple of historic courses: the legendary Cascades Course, and The Old Course where golf legend and local hero Sam Snead learned to play. There’s also horseback riding, hiking, biking, tennis, fly fishing, shooting sporting clays, kayaking, canoeing, paintball, archery, snow skiing, ice skating, falconry, and Segway tours.
Kathy had been on a Segway, but Fletcher had not, so it was great to get personalized instruction that included a video presentation before the hands-on began. Our instructor and guide went out of his way to get us set up and ready to handle the machines, taking time to make sure we knew what to do and where we’d be going.
Of course, Kathy was zooming around right way, but Fletcher had to get adjusted to the balancing act and moving back and forth, turning and, most importantly, stopping. It was a blast, from the learning stage (a lot of fun going around the paved lot, steering between the cones) to the actual riding around on grassy areas like the gentle slope of the ski area behind the office and the asphalt trails that loop around the property.
Overall, we got to see some colorful fall scenery as well as the golf course and main building of the resort. The whole thing took us about two hours, and we were having so much fun that the time just flew by. Do take a look at the slideshow and video that accompanies this story to get a feel for what we experienced.
The Homestead turns heads, from its signature tower to its rocking chair porch to its bustling driveway, and many of those heads will be looking at you if you cruise by on a Segway.
Segway Tours are seasonal and are scheduled several times a day, normally at 8:30am, 11am, and 2:30pm. You must be 12 years of age or older and weigh between 100-260 pounds. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Allegheny Outfitters 540-839-7760.
For reservations or more information on the Omni Homestead Resort, go to www.thehomestead.com or call 540-839-1766.
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Luxury Travel Examiner Kathy M. Newbern and spouse, J.S. Fletcher, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourSpaReport.com and YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.