This Hotel is for Dancing...Not Sleeping
My friend, N, and I have been talking for at least a year about taking a trip to the Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, VA. We wanted to go because it is the hotel where the 1987 classic, Dirty Dancing, filmed many of its exterior shots.
These days, the Mountain Lake Lodge seems to do most of its business by catering to fans of Dirty Dancing. The gift shop is populated with branded clothes and trinkets and they host three or four Dirty Dancing weekends each summer. N and I happened, by sheer luck, to be there during a Dirty Dancing Weekend.
The hotel sits on top of a mountain, at 3800 ft, and is incredibly beautiful. We stayed in the Chestnut Lodge, which was equipped with everything but air conditioning (the cool mountain nights make it not truly necessary - although, it was still a bit missed). On Friday, we had dinner in the tavern at the Main Lodge, where N enjoyed a Baby's Watermelon Punch. On Saturday, we joined nearly every other resident of the hotel for a "movie tour" of the grounds followed by a screening of the film (the most striking difference between the silver screen and the real life resort? The shocking way the lake has depleted in the more than 30 years since the filming). After the film, the hotel hosted a trivia game (where I won a mug!!). It was so much fun.
For dinner on Saturday, we made reservations in the dining room (where Baby neatly lets the waiter, Robbie, know that he should stay away from her sister). It was there, in that dining room, that we spotted at least one couple dressed as Baby and Johnny from the final scene. I can only hope they were headed to the barn for the dance later that evening, where they thrilled the gathered crowd by perfectly performing the famous lift.
If you're a fan of the film, I would highly recommend a trip the the Mountain Lake Lodge. It was delightful, beautiful, relaxing, and would be a perfect place to get away with your family. I hope to go back some day myself...and when I do, I'm gonna be ready to meet my very own Johnny Castle.