Weekender: A Visitor’s Guide to Primland Resort
Rest, relaxation, and candied bacon in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Primland Resort is just two and a half hours from Charlotte by car, but it’s not easy to get to. The secluded mountain estate sits on 12,000 acres in southwest Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, about 40 minutes north of Mount Airy. Once you reach the north gate, you’ll drive another 20 minutes through winding mountain roads (pack Dramamine if you’re prone to motion sickness). You’ll probably lose cell service, but when you pull up to the cedar lodge with a silver silo, you’ll know you’ve found the right place.
Founded by late French billionaire Didier Primat in 2009, Primland became part of the Auberge collection of hotels last spring. (The resort’s formal name is “Primland, Auberge Resorts Collection.”) The Lodge has 26 rooms and suites, plus two restaurants, a spa, indoor pool, and observatory for nightly stargazing. The property also boasts 10 cottage units, 11 mountain homes, and three treehouses, as well as an 18-hole golf course and 18 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
Everything about the resort feels indulgent, from the warm buttermilk biscuits to the plush robes and slippers. But it’s not a place that screams luxury—at Primland, it’s more like a whisper. You always return to a tidy room with fresh towels and turn-down service, and you never have to lift a suitcase or carry your own golf clubs. Come here to disconnect and bask in nature when you crave some solitude, or pack your day with outdoor activities if you can’t sit still. Treat yourself to a hot stone massage when you need to relax, and whatever you do, don’t skip the Pig Candy.
Most of the walls, floors, ceilings, beams, and furniture are made of repurposed wood from old tobacco-curing barns in Virginia and North Carolina, giving the air a faint smell of hickory. The Great Hall has a two-story wine cellar and twin fireplaces with oversized couches where you can enjoy a mug of coffee or glass of wine. Suites at The Lodge have king- or queen-sized beds, separate living rooms with a wet bar, and cavernous bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs. Book one of the free-standing Pinnacle or Fairway Cottages for a big group or more seclusion. For a romantic getaway, reserve or one of the three Treehouses, perched on the Dan River Gorge. These adults-only units have king-sized beds, en suite bathrooms, and private decks with views of Kibler Valley.
Primland is a foodie destination, so plan to eat well. Start with the Pig Candy—or, as the staff calls it, “devil’s food.” This signature snack is a Mason jar of thick bacon strips with a spicy brown sugar glaze, which you can order in your room or from any of the on-site eateries. The Lodge has two restaurants, one formal and one casual. Elements is open for breakfast and dinner and serves farm-to-table fare in a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows and floating glass-encased fireplaces. At 19th Pub, get Smoked Duck Sliders, Chicken Wings, or a Primland Burger to refuel after golf, or sip a cold beer or moonshine cocktail on the terrace. Stables Saloon is on the second floor of Primland’s former horse stables and serves family-style Southern food with live bluegrass music. On Friday nights, enjoy fireside s’mores outside The Lodge.
Outdoor enthusiasts have their pick of RTV tours, fly-fishing, mountain and road biking, horseback riding, archery, kayaking, hiking, disc golf, and clay shooting. Most of these activities begin at Primland’s Outdoor Center, about a 10-minute shuttle ride from The Lodge. If you came for the golf, head to The Highland Course, ranked No. 28 on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 greatest public golf courses. When you want to unwind, visit the Auberge Spa on the ground floor of The Lodge. Massage therapists and estheticians use Native American-inspired healing rituals (think organic plants and essential oils), and encourage you to lounge in the relaxation room with herbal tea and house-made granola after your treatment. If you brought the kids, check out the indoor pool and hot tub, and stop by the game room to play foosball or Jenga. After dinner, head up to the Observatory Dome on the top floor of the silo. The space is equipped with Celestron CGE Pro 1400 and CPC 800 telescopes for stargazing.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
All outdoor activities require reservations, but check the weekly event calendar for on-site activities that you don’t have to schedule in advance. The resort hosts events like trivia night, live music on the patio, and movies on the driving range.
PRIMLAND’S PIG CANDY
We nabbed the coveted recipe so you can make the addictive treat at home.
*Recipe yields 5 pounds; feel free to halve or quarter to serve on a smaller scale.
10 pounds bacon
½ gallon pure maple syrup
2 cups brown sugar
Cayenne pepper to taste
1. In a large mixing bowl, generously coat thick slab bacon with maple syrup.
2. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, and place a baking rack on top.
3. Spray baking rack with nonstick spray.
4. Lay bacon flat on the baking rack.
5. Sprinkle brown sugar to evenly coat the bacon.
6. Dust lightly with cayenne pepper.
7. Bake at 350 F, rotating the pan every 10 minutes for 40 minutes to an hour, or until bacon is crispy and caramelized.