By Guest Blogger Lauren Iley-Spear

Mountain Lake Lodge is a beautiful rustic resort, about two and half hours from the Triad, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Pembroke, VA. I was looking for an easy two-night trip for the end of October for my family, where we could spend time outdoors with our eight and three-year-old. I happened to catch a special on Travelzoo’s Top 20 that offered reduced room rates with $50 daily resort credit, and noticed that the resort served as a film location for Dirty Dancing. Feeling full of nostalgia for 80’s dance movies, I was excited to book our trip to “Kellermans.”

Accommodations and Dining
We reserved a family suite in the Main Stone Lodge, which includes two separate rooms with a queen bed and two twins, and a shared bathroom. The arrangement was perfect for our family of four, and we were just down the hall from the lobby and the restaurant. No mini fridge or microwave, but we made do with non-perishable snacks and a hotel ice bucket.

We used our $50 daily resort credit on food. Harvest is the main restaurant and serves a basic farm-to-table menu. It is the more formal of the two options; however, they offered a workable kid’s menu and the restaurant staff was accommodating and kind to our very vocal three-year-old. Stony Creek Tavern is the more casual dining option. It serves as the hotel’s main bar, and offers a living room style lounge, where our kids could comfortably wander and play games while we ate.

Activities
Mountain Lake Lodge offers several under two-mile hikes of varying difficulty. I highly recommend the .5 mile hike up the mountain to Bald Knob Lookout. The overlook offers beautiful panoramic views at 4,000 ft. elevation. It was slightly frightening with kids, as several cliffs were steep drops, but there were plenty of spots from a safe distance to enjoy the mountains and grab a snack.

There is an Adventure Center located on the property that offers reasonably priced group activities (rope course, archery tag, escape room, skeet shooting) on weekends. During the summer months, the lodge offers a large aquatic area. While it was closed during our October stay, we did notice that the hot tub stays open and wished we had brought our swimwear.

The resort property is beautiful, and my kids loved going on walks to explore the grounds. Mountain Lake, famous for the lift scene in “Dirty Dancing”, is not much of a lake currently. It uniquely sits on a fault line and naturally dries out periodically, but it does make for a beautiful meadow. You can also spot the cinderblocks that Patrick Swayze stood on while filming the lift scene.

If you are a fan of “Dirty Dancing,” finding the filming locations is a fun treasure hunt. There are stands with descriptions and pictures of iconic scenes, like “Baby’s Cabin,” the “Gazebo,” and the family dining scenes at Kellerman’s. My daughter and I had a fun time spotting a fan who walked the property taking selfies with a Jennifer Grey cut out!

On the last night, we cuddled up and watched scenes from the movie, and my 8-year-old would excitedly shout “We were there!” If you are a super fan, the lodge offers several Dirty Dancing Themed Weekends, where you can have the time of your life!

Our stay at Mountain Lake Lodge ended up being a fun and affordable find on Travelzoo, and I imagine we will be returning for another summer or fall weekend trip soon. You can check out more information at www.mtnlakelodge.com.

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