Wanderlust Wednesday: The Homestead with Garden & Gun

I invite you to experience my wonderful weekend with me. I just returned home from an incredible trip to The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia hosted by Garden & Gun. I had been to the Homestead many times before with my family growing up. Although I have many fond memories of the resort, this was my first trip there in over 20 years. The Homestead was so much more than I remembered.  Bigger, and so much better.  I encountered many modern updates that have been blended so well with the fabric and history of America’s oldest resort.  The Omni Homestead and Garden & Gun team hosted a dreamy weekend.

The combination of Garden & Gun and the Omni Homestead was perfection. In celebrating 250 years of this iconic American resort, exquisite events were produced, wonderful new friends were made and new experiences were shared. My husband and I were new to the Garden & Gun weekend trip, and immediately met so many new, interesting, and friendly people with common interests.

The events, activities, and parties were exceptional.  I hope the images below can give you an idea just how special this weekend was for us.  The Homestead provided one of the ultimate settings for Garden & Gun entertainment.  The flowers food and fun were incredible. I did not mention the music, music, music. The first night featured the Harley Boone Band from Richmond, VA,  a wonderful classic country band. We danced, sampled many of the foods from the Garden & Gun Southerner’s Cookbook, and enjoyed libations late in the evening.  Our evening continued on with our new friends to the newly updated Jefferson Pub.


in between events, we seemed to have a new gift each time we returned to our room. Everyone knows I love a present.


A look at the beautiful opening party with exquisite flowers, fantastic food, and lethal libations.




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The next morning featured a hike through the Cascades Gorge with naturalist Brian La Fountain was incredible. It was truly an education in natural history, outdoor safety ideas, and a ton of Joan Rivers inspired humor.  I highly recommend this adventure at The Homestead.  He is even filming own show with National Geographic. He introduced us to this precious butternut Caterpillar. 



Brian did force us to kiss in front of the waterfall for a picture. It was beyond humiliating.


Again we return to our room to find another treat. Wonderful Westrock coffee, signature Garden & Gun travel mugs and the Homestead’s world famous donuts. The maple doughnuts will occupy my dreams for many months.


We attended a lovely luncheon created and inspired by Julia Reed, famous author and chef. She used her intensive studies of Thomas Jefferson to produce an incredibly original menu for the event. Each guest left with a copy of her new book: Julia Reed’s South, Spirited Entertaining and High-Style Fun All Year Long. It is a wonderful and entertaining book full of diverse menus.  Each section is based on one of the many fabulous dinners or parties Julia has created for her ever expanding group of fun friends.  She and David diBenedetto also had a lively conversation about her illustrious career and entertaining.


We later explored the hotel and including this old school lobby bar.



We wandered through Hot Springs, a quaint little village. 


We popped over to the spa facilities and one of the many pools on-site. There are various temperature natural hot springs all over the properties that you can relax in.


Tea is served each day at 2:50 PM in honor of 250 years of the Homestead.


One of the many highlights of this weekend was the Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon tasting. I’m not particularly a bourbon drinker but I may have been converted. Unfortunately, this brand has a cult (Rock Star?) following and actually acquiring a bottle is a feat in itself.  Preston Van Winkle, who hosted the tasting event, was very clear that production will not increase to meet demand.  I think you need to make friends with as many liquor store owners as possible.



Of course there were more gorgeous flowers and delicious nibbles.


Immediately following the tasting, we were whisked away to the Omni Homestead Shooting Club.  Another amazing part of the property with yet another a picturesque view of the nearby mountains. Just in time for sunset.


Cigars were being rolled.


Gorgeous flowers were abundant.


Cocktails were flowing liberally.


Of course a vintage Land Rover was packed for the perfect picnic on the side of the skeet range.



Another memorable meal was served with watermelon cloches, a salad wall, Brunswick stew, quail and so much more. Of course, there was a delicious cornbread and biscuit bar as well. 


The band for this event was Another Roadside Attraction from Roanoke Virginia. They were a mix between an alternative folk band and Circus carnies. They were soulful energetic and incredibly entertaining.


We were treated to a little playing of the saw as well as some juggling.


When again joined our friends back at the hotel bar as many gathered watching football exuberantly. More treats and cocktails were waiting back in our room.


Overall, it was one of the most memorable weekends I have had a very long time. What I have found is that in attending a Garden & Gun weekend or event, the planning is so exquisite and well thought out you feel so well taken care of. I generally plan all are vacations and make all of the plans. It was so nice to have a well-thought-out schedule of the events that were all like attending your close friends most fabulous parties.

Now I just want to go to every single event they offer.

The Homestead certainly exceeded all expectations and we will certainly be coming back to visit again soon. I know the winter has a totally different feel.They offer skiing and ice-skating. I see a winter break in our future at the Homestead.


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