Snow Optional

The lack of a white blanket won’t put a wet blanket on your fun at these four well-rounded destinations.

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A snapshot from Wintergreen. (See more photos below.)

Drive time: About five-and-a-half hours.

There aren’t too many places where you can play golf in the morning and hit the slopes that same afternoon—except for the 11,000-acre Wintergreen Resort (Route 664, Wintergreen, Va., 434-325-2200,, a uniquely designed, amenity-loaded lodge, condo and villa complex that spans the eastern slopes of central Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Depending on how much you like heights, you can stay in the valley, only 600 feet above sea level, or way up on the mountain 4,000 feet above just about everything.

Wintergreen Resort accommodations range from cute and cozy studios ($145-$219), lodge units ($155-$235) and one-bedroom condos ($165-$249) to colossal, seven-bedroom vacation homes (use your imagination). Most come with fireplaces and kitchens. Ask about early- or late-season and midweek “Lodge & Lift,” “Beat the Blues” and “Ski & Tee” winter packages.

Dining at Wintergreen can be easygoing or elegant. Go Southern-style at Copper Mine Bistro (434-325-8090) with country ham, biscuits and gravy. Or select a sophisticated crab, spinach and Swiss omelet. Entrées range from $5.25 to $11.25.

Dinner also has a Southern accent at the upscale Devils Grill Restaurant and Lounge (434-325-8100), where the shrimp and grits are sensational.

Entrées run $19-$34. For a more moderately priced meal ($12-$22), try a tuna steak or petit filet at Stoney Creek Bar & Grill (434-325-8110).

Yes, Virginia, there is a zip line at Wintergreen—a 900-foot one that’ll send you flying at speeds up to 40 miles per hour for $10 a ride. As for snow sports (434-325-2200), you’ll find 26 slopes for skiers and boarders, ranging from bunny slope to double black diamond. Full-day adult lift tickets cost $47/weekdays, $67/ weekends; half-day $34, $57.

Skiers and boarders can sharpen their freestyle skills at Wintergreen’s two terrain parks. And tubers can top out at 40 miles per hour on “The Plunge.” With 10 lanes, you won’t be spending much time on your feet during your two-hour session ($18 midweek, $27 weekends).

Wintergreen boasts 45 holes of championship golf over two courses, but only the one in the valley, Stoney Creek (434-325-8250), is open in winter. With its mountain views, natural springs and lake, this Rees Jones-designed, 27-hole, par-72 course is as scenic as it is challenging. Fees are $49-$69 (including cart).

’Tis the season for cranberry and peppermint—so celebrate with a facial, manicure and/or pedicure made from these ingredients at Wintergreen’s spa. Or refresh with a dip in the fitness center’s indoor pool.

Design your own tour of the many excellent, family-owned boutique wineries and breweries within an easy drive of Wintergreen, including Veritas Vineyard & Winery (151 Veritas Lane, 540-456-8000, While you’re there, try the Scintilla, a sparkling blend of cabernet franc and chardonnay. At Flying Fox Vineyard (27 Chapel Hollow Road, Afton;, 434-361-1692), sample the merlot/cabernet-franc/petit-verdot blend they call Trio. Tastings at most wineries are $5.

If beer’s your beverage of choice, head to the 2010 World Beer Cup Championship-winning Devils Backbone Brewing Company at the base of Wintergreen Mountain (200 Mosbys Run, Roseland, 434-361-1001, or Blue Mountain Brewery and Hop Farm (9519 Critzers Shop Road, Afton; 540-456-8020,

Blue Ridge Pig (2198 Rockfish Valley Hwy., Nellysford, 434-361-1170) may be nothing to look at—and you have to wonder how the guy behind the smoker got the name Strawberry—but who cares when the brisket, pulled pork and (especially) ribs may be the best you’ve ever tasted. A great meal can be had for $10 or less.

Destination No. 2 on page 2 ...