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15 Great Escapes: Get Starry-Eyed

Along with horseback riding, sporting clays, golf, and tennis, Primland offers high-tech stargazing.

Photograph courtesy of Primland.

Primland, a resort on 12,000 acres in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, exudes the air of a country manor, but one that’s decidedly 21st century. Along with horseback riding, sporting clays, golf, and tennis, it offers high-tech stargazing.

Although the night sky shines brightly whenever you get away from the city, Primland intensifies the dazzle with a powerful telescope—a Celestron CGE Pro 1400—in the property’s observatory. Depending on the season and cloud cover, the resident astronomer may spotlight Saturn’s rings or a blazing Venus (the result of sulphur gases) or zoom in on glowing constellations and distant nebulae.

That’s not all that sparkles at Primland. The vistas of ridge tops delight, Elements serves tasty American cuisine, and the spa soothes with massages. The lodge’s 26 guest rooms, decorated in an upscale, unfussy decor, start at a generous 528 square feet, while “mountain rooms” outfitted with iron beds and vine wreaths offer more of a cottage feel. If you’re seeking a romantic idyll, stay at the Golden Eagle Tree House; this red-cedar aerie perches among the limbs of a giant oak overlooking the Dan River Gorge.

It’s worth the extra effort it takes to reach Primland, a five-plus-hour drive from DC. From both Roanoke Regional Airport and Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, the drive is two hours. Rooms start at $285.

Primland, Meadows of Dan, Va.; 866-673-7802.

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