Posts Tagged Graves Mountain Lodge

Apple Harvest Festival at Graves Mountain

Saturday, William and I went to the Apple Harvest Festival at Graves Mountain in Syria, Virginia.  It’s happening October 15-16 and 22-23, as well.  Admission is free, and parking is also free.  There was a big crowd, and people seemed happy with the event.

This man is making apple butter over a hot fire. It takes 12 hours to cook.

Graves Mountain is less than 2 hours drive from the Washington, DC area.  The festival is not really my favorite time to go there, because of the crowds, and the staff is so busy.  I like to go when the pace is more relaxed.  Still, it’s a nice way to spend a Saturday or Sunday.  The festival is a popular event and features live bluegrass music, food for sale, apples (pick your own or  buy there), apple butter, and a collection of vendors.  We also saw a small Civil War “re-enactment” area that was interesting.

I didn’t find the vendors all that interesting — it was pretty much the same stuff you see at every fair and outdoor festival.  However, the bluegrass music was fantastic and worth the trip.

Wagon rides are $2, there are pony rides, and visits to the educational farm is $1 (worth it).  The line for the wagon rides was pretty long, as were the lines to get food (brunswick stew) or drinks.  We wanted to sample the apple fritters but the lines were really long.

Fortunately, we had made reservations at the Lodge for a barbecue lunch.  I’ve been to Graves Mountain a lot, so I knew what to expect.  The cold salads on the buffet included a green salad, a very good mustard vinaigrette,  cole slaw, three bean salad, that jello fluffy salad I am always afraid to try.  The hot items included a wonderful minced pork barbecue in a spicy sweet sauce, chicken casserole (I didn’t have that), lima beans, and macaroni and cheese, as well as a few other items.  Everything was good except for the macaroni and cheese.  My son was happy with the wonderful home made rolls, apple butter, and barbecue.  Dessert was a dry but tasty apple cake topped with vanilla ice cream.  For $11.95 (half price for kids under 17), I was happy, and very glad I didn’t have to stand in a long line for food at the festival.

It's fun to rock for a bit after a big meal and look at the mountains

If you go, be prepared to wait a bit in the queue to park, and I would advise that you bring cold water or drinks with you, as the lines are long for drinks.

It’s a pleasant way to spend a few hours.  I don’t think this is an “all-day” event.  The drive is very pretty.  Oh, a quick reminder: cell phones don’t work there, and your GPS probably won’t work, either.  It’s a good idea to print directions before you go.

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Thanksgiving Celebration Idea: Graves Mountain Lodge

Graves Mountain LodgeA couple of years ago, my family all got together for Thanksgiving: my mom, my sister, her girlfriend, and my son.  We decided to spend Thanksgiving at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia.  We had all been there several times before, but we hadn’t had Thanksgiving dinner there in maybe twenty years. We went a couple of years ago, and really enjoyed it.

If you’re looking for a delightful and delicious way to spend an old fashioned Thanksgiving, you can’t go wrong here.

Graves Mountain Lodge is located in the mountains (naturally) and it is beautiful.  You can just enjoy dinner, or stay over.  If you stay over, meals are included in the hotel rate, which is a little over a $100 a person (but remember, it includes three big meals); with discounts for children.  Otherwise, Thanksgiving dinner is $39.95 plus tax, and half price for children, and you should call for reservations for the early seating (11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.) or the evening seating (5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.).

But if you can, I think you should stay over.  There are several cabins and a hotel to stay in. We stayed in the Hilltop Motel, and it was comfortable, and the views are lovely.  There are rocking chairs to sit in on the porch.  It’s a little rustic (there are no phones in the rooms and there is no cell phone service), but I love it and I doubt you’ll find another place quite like it.

The dining room at Graves Mountain LodgeAs a guest, you take all your meals, family-style, in the main Lodge.  Thanksgiving dinner included home made rolls (with their own delicious apple butter), and an all you can eat buffet of salads, turkey, ham, fried oysters, sweet potatoes, and pie for dessert. The people who go to Graves Mountain Lodge are sociable — and tend to be repeat visitors — and I think you will enjoy the conversations at the table.

There isn’t too much to do after dark — it gets a bit dark and cold for walking.  But they did have a hay ride, and we did that.  We were very cold, but the stars were thrilling.  The hayride culminated at a bonfire and we were given marshmallows to roast, before turning back.  We just spent the rest of the time talking and being together.

Checking out "fried eggs at Luray CavernsThe next day we decided to explore nearby Luray Caverns (highly recommended) and the kitchen packed us box lunches to take with us.  On the way back, we stopped at a little diner for pie.  It’s right at the foot of the mountain, you can’t miss it.  Try to save room for that wonderful pie. If the Caverns aren’t you’re thing, you can drive into Syria and explore the antique shops, or take a hike in the nearby Shenandoah National Park.

That night we returned to a fresh trout dinner.

You have to experience Graves Mountain Lodge.  It’s a little like stepping back in time.  I think you will love it.

Follow Graves Mountain Lodge on Facebook.  Call for reservations 540-923-4231.

Tasty yeast rolls at Graves Mountain Lodge

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