The Homestead -- From a Teen's Perspective

My family and I stayed at the Homestead Resort from June 2nd to June 4th this year to celebrate my parents' 25th wedding anniversary.  When my thirteen year-old sister and I looked out our car window as we entered the resort, our mouths dropped.  The place is beautiful!  To tell you the truth, I was a little apprehensive about spending time at possibly yet another resort that might cater primarily to adults.  However, this resort is different. The Homestead offers adults, kids and teens various activities and events to make everyone's stay both enjoyable and fun! 

The Homestead is a great place for families with teens.  Why?  Let's just say that they have something for every type of teen out there.  As a relatively picky seventeen year-old, it's often hard to find a resort that actually has activities and things that would be fun for teens. Many resorts do a good job of meeting the needs of adults and kids, but find teens difficult for some reason. The Homestead does a great job of catering to that group between adult and child.

One of the truly wonderful things about The Homestead is that they open their spa to teens. That was definitely one of the highlights of my stay. The Homestead offers great spa treatments, offering everything from luxurious facials to seaweed wraps, as well as the oh-so-fabulous manicures and pedicures. The Homestead Resort Spa The spa building itself is beautiful, and even comes complete with a spa garden. As you step into the newly renovated building, the trickling of a waterfall and sounds of classical music quickly soothe you. 

The Homestead provides two spa areas.  One is for adults and teens ages 16 and older, and the other is for teens and kids under sixteen.  The spa for adults and teens is fantastic! Before your treatment, you can choose between the complimentary sauna or steam room, and can relax in a lounge chair while drinking herbal water with lemon.  My 13-year old sister and I had facials and pedicures together in the Spa Suite, which made for a great bonding experience. I decided to get the Flash of Beauty facial while I was there, and was wowed by what a wonderful job the spa specialist did.  My sister had the Teen Facial, which did fantastic things for her skin. I highly recommend taking a visit to the spa, and hey -- while there, why not pamper yourself to a Swedish massage?

Another great activity is going horseback riding at the Homestead stables. Both Western and English saddles are offered. If you're the "not- so comfortable about riding on top of a horse" type or if there are really small kids in your family, you can opt for a carriage ride instead.  Arrange for riding at the Western Wear store, and a shuttle bus will take you to the stables within ten minutes. 

One of the many instructors will guide the way through one of their trails. Your riding guide adjusts your trail ride to your riding comfort level, so you can walk, trot, gallop, or canter -- it's all up to you!  In my case, I hadn't ridden since I was nine years old, so I was a little apprehensive about riding again.  My sister rides a lot, though, so she was a pro. Frank was the horse assigned to me, and boy, was he a troublemaker.  Of course, most likely that was due to the fact that I had no idea how to control a horse! I managed to lose the reins in the first five seconds of the ride, and not only that but, Frank kept putting his head down to eat grass by the side of the trail the whole time.  My sister's horse was perfectly well behaved. Nevertheless, after countless attempts to trot and canter, my sister, my dad, and I arrived back at the stables all in one piece.  As you can see I'm not really the equestrian type -- unlike my sister -- but I had a lot of fun horseback riding here.

Once finished horseback riding, it was time to catch some rays. My next move was to check out the outdoor pool. The new outdoor pool is perfect!  It's a great place for families to hang out during the day to have some fun in the sun.  The outdoor pool has a bar, a baby pool, and gorgeous locker rooms.  There are a lot of lounge chairs by the pool so you can sit down, relax, and get a great tan.  It's also the best place to have lunch on a sunny day.

The food at the Homestead is definitely great, so pace yourself. There are a bunch of different restaurants to choose from depending on your mood.  The main dining room is very fancy, and has an awesome breakfast buffet. That was probably the best breakfast I've ever had! The 1766 Grille and the Casino Club Restaurant are also wonderful places to eat.  The Casino is one of the least formal restaurants and a great place for lunch, and Sam Snead's Tavern is a good casual place for dinner. I highly recommend eating at the 1766 Grille at least one night during your stay.  Many of the salads, main dishes and desserts are prepared right at your table, and the waiters do an excellent job of putting on a show.

We visited the resort to celebrate my parents' 25th wedding anniversary, so we had a spectacular room. We stayed in a very spacious two-bedroom suite, and it was absolutely gorgeous.  The suite we were in had two bedrooms, entry foyer, a living room, two bathrooms, and a separate porch. The rooms in the resort are all beautifully decorated, and this one had great views of the outdoor pool, the Casino, and the driving range.  For a family with two teenagers, this was perfect. We all had plenty of privacy, while still being able to enjoy lots of time together.

I always have a hard time packing for a vacation, as I often either pack way too many clothes -- or not enough clothes.  The Homestead is one of those places that can require a lot of close, so I'll give you a couple pointers on what to bring to for your stay:

** Formal attire (suit or jacket and tie /dress or dressy skirt outfits) for dinner
** Tee shirts and shorts, or long pants if you're going in the winter
** Jeans (for horseback riding or hiking during the day)
** Bathing suits for the indoor and outdoor pools
** Casual attire (khakis/skirts) for lunch and casual day activities
** Ski clothes and warm outer wear (if you come during the winter)

The Homestead is a very unique resort in many ways.  This grand old resort offers spa treatments for ages 8 and up, beautiful scenery, great service and a friendly staff, good food and a wide array of restaurants, horseback riding, and many more activities that are fun for the whole family.  It's not the least bit stuffy or pretentious, and there are lots of activities that are perfect for teens.

If you love spas and pampering, this is definitely the place -- but if you're an active teen who loves tennis, golf, skiing and the outdoors -- you'll find this to be a great getaway as well. There's something for everyone here, which makes it a great vacation destination where all members of the family can have fun. I would definitely go back to The Homestead if I had the chance to, and I highly recommend this resort to other teens and families. If you go trail riding, say "hi" to Frankie for me, and keep him away from that grass!

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