A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Massanutten Holiday

My step-mom recently gifted us her deed to an Eagle Trace timeshare at Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville, Virginia. My wife, daughter, and I just returned from a restful week's stay at the resort. It rained on and off towards the end of the week, but we managed to squeeze in some swimming, tennis, and miniature golf whenever the weather cleared.

From Aberdeen, the trip is about 5-6 hours. We took the GSP to I-287 to I-78, which we followed to Harrisburg, PA, where we turned south on I-81 to Harrisonburg, Virginia.

While we were there we upgraded our timeshare to a 2 bedroom Week 5 (late January early February) condominium at the new Woodstone at Massanutten facility. This gives us prime access during the ski season at Massanutten. We're not big skiers, so we'll probably split our unit and rent half and exchange the other half using RCI.

The heavily wooded mountain has loads of deer, chipmunks, and woodchucks. They say there are bears, too, but we fortunately didn't run into any. A couple of times I saw what appears to have been a Northern Harrier flying low through the trees near our condo.

We drove to the beautiful overlook by following Del Webb to the top of the mountain. You can park your car at the top and take one of two marked trails. You'll want to have good hiking shoes and bottles of water if you plan to hike the 4 hours to the ski area and back. We didn't have the chance to make the hike; the vista on the left is from another person's stay in 2004.

My daughter and I became acquainted with some interesting microbrews during our stay. On Saturday there was a beer and wine tasting event at the ski lodge. Then on Thursday there was a Beer Tasting Dinner at the conference center. Between times, the three of us visited the well-stocked and adroitly tended bar at the Fareways Restaurant off Del Webb Drive. Among our favorites were Starr Hill Brewery's Jomo Lager (Charlottesville) and Rogue Dead Guy Ale (Oregon). We skipped the Wine Tasting Dinner and the Murder Mystery Dinner because the dinners were rather exclusively priced and those meals included foods that members of the family were allergic to.

If you're interested in spending a free weekend at the resort, send me an email and I can sign you up. You'll get a $100 VISA gift card. You'll have to let a salesperson give you a personal tour so they can promote their timeshares, but you'll have the rest of the weekend to enjoy the resort. You'll have free lodging and use of the gym and pools but will have to pay for things like horseback riding, go karts, miniature golf, a huge indoor/outdoor water park, tubing, and a world-class spa. If you're unfamiliar with timeshares, they'll be more than happy to explain the pros and cons.

Caveat emptor: Massanutten sales staff are very good at selling their properties, so buyer beware. My neighbor at Eagle Trace this week was visiting as a guest of an owner and ended up buying a timeshare at the Summit. The Timeshare Users Group can give you some independent information on sales practices and will try their best to dampen your enthusiasm for buying a timeshare from the resort. I find they tend to be overly zealous against the sales process. I recommend that you do some research before you go and decide for yourself.

Visitors check in at Woodstone Center off Resort Drive. Woodstone at Massanutten is south and east of Resort Drive, just east of the center. Eagle Trace and the Summit are accessed by taking Massanutten Drive, just west of the center and north. (You'll want to use directions from the website because GPS devices can lead you astray. There is also a resort map online.)

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