Don’t Shoot! I am a Hiker…and “Tom Cruise Slept Here! “
An Excursion to Lexington, Virginia, USA
Don’t Shoot! I Am a Hiker
Just got back from a 2 day getaway to Lexington, Virginia, USA. We were given a gift certificate for a Bed and Breakfast a few years ago from my parents and we finally got the chance to use it this week. It was a well needed time alone together, albeit quick. For Thanksgiving we hosted 17 refugees from Bhutan via Nepal, one ESL guest from Brazil along with family and friends. Great feast and much fun, but it was time for us to use that gift card.
I got online and searched all the listings with Bed and Breakfast.com and found one that fit all of the criteria my husband really wanted. Quiet, mountains, wilderness, fireplace and hiking. Since we only had a one night stay over, we could not drive too far. We found just the right place in Lexington, Virginia called House Mountain Inn. House Mountain Inn | Welcome to Destination Relaxation.
Front of House Mountain Inn
Hike, Eat, Read, Sleep, and Be Allowed to Do Nothing!
These were our goals for the 2 days. From our home it took us about 2 1/2 hours driving. Once we pulled up the steep and windy mountain road ( well paved and with guard rails) and saw the lodge, we knew it was what we were hoping for. We met the owner, Mr. Irvine, who was working on the grounds and he talked to us a bit and walked us in. He introduced us to Tim Grue, his son in law. The resort is a family owned business and was started in 2003. Check in is at 3 pm , but he let us check in earlier. As we walked in through the large double wooden doors, it felt as if we entered into a resort in Montana or Colorado.
House Mountain Inn is located west of Lexington, Virginia, and is better than your average uncomfortable and overstuffed Victorian B+B. The 15,000 sq. ft. timber logs lodge is nestled into the slope of Big House Mountain in the Allegheny Mountains and set on a 1000 acre preserve. The great room is beautiful and spacious with a large stone fireplace with comfy couches and chairs in front of it. There are numerous wild animals of the region mounted on the walls and displayed throughout the lobby, such as fox, wild turkey, deer and bobcat. A very large moose head is mounted above the fireplace mantle. All of this adds to the mountain lodge style. The inviting dining area blends into the great room and includes pine cabinetry with granite counter tops. Here you can help yourself to coffee, tea, snacks and includes an small fridge, and microwave to use when you’d like.
Tim spent a lot of time with us while showing us our room, the lodge and all of the details of the place and what we could do. Come to find out, we were the only guests of the entire resort, being that it was a weekday right after Thanksgiving. So technically, our gift certificate afforded us a practical castle to ourselves! Tim told us we could look around the resort at all of the 9 guest suites and large dining and restaurant area. each nights stay includes a hearty gourmet served breakfast ( from your choice of delicious options from a menu). We also could have had a dinner included in the stay with local ingredients as part of the meal. And from 4-5 pm they offer wine, cheese and crackers by the fireplace, complimentary with your stay.
View from the Front Porch
We opted to head out right away and hike up the mountain. At the entryway we saw a sign on the door stating that we needed to wear orange vests before entering the woods. It was hunting season. Conveniently on a coat rack by the door were vests for us to borrow ( and a animal fur stole, just in case you needed a scarf ). In a wood barrel you had your choice of walking sticks ( that we forgot to grab). I had on regular comfortable sneakers..not exactly hiking boots. The only item I had that was practical for our climb, was a water bottle. We love hiking, but have much to learn in being better prepared. We brought along some apples and cheese. I really needed a proper back pack and real shoes that work for climbing up and down a mountain.
Important Advice During Hunting Season
We hiked up about 2 miles up to get to the observation tower. It was a steady incline for the most part and I found my heart racing and I got out of breath frequently. The trail was clear and wide. So it’s manageable if you are in good shape ( I was not conditioned very well for the climb, but did fine on the way down). Once we got to the tower ( a small portion is a side trail to get to the observation deck..a VERY steep portion ), we took a break to marvel at the gorgeous view. There is a picnic table and a couple rocking chairs to rest on after the rigorous climb. The day was sunny and clear, so it was ideal for us to take in the scenic vista. After having and apple and drinking lots of water, we worked our way down back to the lodge. Being careful and putting on our feet brakes so we did not topple down the mountain!
View from the Tower
Observation Tower of House Mountain Inn
Tom Cruise Slept Here
When War of the Worlds by Steven Spielberg was being filmed in 2004, Tom Cruise and his crew booked the entire House Mountain Inn for a whole week. Tim showed us the suite that he stayed in. Never thought that a place we picked out from a list of so many B+B’s would have been chosen as the place to stay in Lexington for Tome cruise. We are so used to visiting places that claim” George Washington slept here”, so I thought it amusing and we took pictures of the room he stayed in. After our hike, our dinner ( that we picked up at Macado’s because we wanted just a sandwich and soup after all that fresh mountain air) and some touring of the historic part of Lexington, Virginia , Tim told us he was locking up the Inn and that Breakfast would be ready at 9 a.m. Coffee, tea water , muffins and fruit would be out for us earlier. So we settle in by our gas fireplace for the evening ( white cotton and terry cloth robes hanging in our closet if we so desired) and complete peace and silence. The television in the suite offers DIRECTV and as we scrolled through to see if there was anything worth watching ( we don’t have any cable channels at home), what do we find? Four of Tom Cruise’s movies to choose from.
Tom Cruise Slept Here
Wine and Cheese by the Fire
The Kids Would Love This Place
This typically happens where ever we go. On the rare chance that we have some time alone together ( we have 7 kids, remember), the whole time we are away, we comment on how much the kids would enjoy the destination also and that we want to go back and bring them next time. The area had lots of outdoorsy activities, historical interest sights and hands on educational opportunities. Sam Houston ( Remember the Alamo) Sam Houston Birthplace. grew up nearby, the Virginia Military Institute. and an old mill house museum of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the mechanical farm reaper. Also, while driving on the way to the Inn, we saw a large flock of sheep ( and we stopped by the farm to meet the owner ), alpaca , horses ( Virginia Horse Center Foundation ). and cattle farms. So we hope to go back and bring the kids. They would enjoy it all and we now can recommend this area and the Inn to other families.
Big House Mountain
Sam Houston Slept Here Too