By Charlene S. Mixa
A Spectacular Retreat & the Awesome Palmer Signature Course
Among lush rolling hills overlooking Stonewall Lake the Stonewall Resort is among West Virginia’s premier hotels. Named for General Stonewall Jackson, the resort is located in the area of the General’s boyhood home. Set in the 2000-acre Stonewall Resort State Park, the resort offers spacious guest rooms and excellent restaurants along with virtually endless leisure and recreation activities. It’s Arnold Palmer 18-hole championship golf course continues to receive national acclaim since opening in May 2002.
Our visit to the Resort is primarily for golf. On arrival we admire the Adirondack-style lodge and how it blends beautifully with the lush natural surroundings and the Stonewall Lake, West Virginia’s second largest lake. The lobby is a spacious, open room with huge windows providing stunning views of the lake and the rolling terrain. Rich wood beams, a huge stone fireplace and rustic décor create a dramatic, yet warm, welcoming area.
On the way to our room down a long hallway, the bellman points out the spa and salon, as well as the elegant and inviting indoor-outdoor pool. Our spacious hotel-style king room is well-appointed. Plush white linens on the king bed give a pristine feel, while the couch, entertainment unit with TV, and table and chairs make it comfortable. The large bathroom with the granite countertop is a plus.
We elect to dine at Stillwater’s, the more upscale of the resort’s restaurants known for serving the finest traditional and regional cuisine, along with their own New Appalachian creations. Our meals are delicious and the service is superb. During dinner, we spot guests boarding a boat. Our waiter explains that the “Little Sorrel”, named after General Stonewall Jackson’s horse, has a complimentary evening excursion on Stonewall Lake. Sounds like something we should add to our schedule.
Now we are off to explore the property. Patio dining is available outside of Stillwater’s with great views of the lake and the rolling hills of West Virginia. Inviting guests to relax and enjoy the views, a large fire pit is surrounded by Adirondack chairs. The fitness center is adjacent to the indoor pool with magnificent windows creating an open feeling and a canal to the outdoor pool. Driving to the hilltop where the golf course is located, we delight in the panoramic sunset views of the resort, the lake and the lush hills of the park, as well as the golf course.
Today is all about golf! With the rave reviews of this Arnold Palmer Signature golf course we prepare to take it on. Warming up at the full practice area with driving range, short game practice area and putting green, we work on our game. As we tee off on No.1 a Par 4, the yardage book in the cart gives us great information on the hole, distances and recommendations for playing it. It is a must to review for each hole.
Palmer had a field day in designing the course as every challenge is offered. Uphill, downhill, side-hill and blind shots combine with marshes, creeks, divided fairways and major elevation changes to create an exhilarating and exciting course. Not to be forgotten are plenty of bunkers, undulating, sloping greens and tall golf ball-grabbing rough. Yet, the course still strikes the perfect balance between difficulty and playability. It is in absolutely excellent condition and the staff is terrific.
Each hole is unique and requires playing close attention to the terrain, distance and proper club selection. It’s an up and down day, as we conquer some holes with pars and other holes conquer us. Winding along the rolling mountains, it offers some great view of the resort, lake and park. We concur with the numerous accolades the course has received, including the 2010 rating in Golfweek of the “Best Courses You Can Play in West Virginia.” Enticed by the course, it’s a quick lunch at Lightburn’s Restaurant and we are back for another round. Now with “course knowledge,” can we master this fabulous Arnold Palmer Signature Course? A fun second round but we decide Arnie’s Signature course still won.
Hot and tired after 36-holes of mountain golf, a dip in the pool is a perfect cool down before dinner. While we relax by the pool, the Little Sorrel cruises by for its afternoon excursion. Sorry, we missed it but maybe next visit. Refreshed, we enjoy dinner again at Stillwater’s then have a quiet evening chatting with other guests as we relax on the deck.
If you are looking for a great golf course and resort, the Stonewall Resort will definitely meet your expectations. The resort is warm, staff gracious, and the golf course fantastic all set among beautiful natural scenery. There is much more to do in the surrounding Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park including hiking, biking and boating This spectacular retreat is ideal for golf vacations, family vacations, special occasion and business meetings.
If you go:
Stonewall Resort, 940 Resort Drive, Roanoke, WV 26447; 888.278.8150; www.stonewallresort.com
West Virginia Tourism; www.wvtourism.com