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Mountain Lake Lodge, Dirty Dancing, and Pembroke VA!

Updated: Apr 15

Mountain Lake Lodge near Blacksburg or Pembroke Virginia: History, biology and Dirty Dancing. Buckle up folks, here's a whimsical jaunt down memory lane!

Mountain Lake Lodge is a beloved gem nestled near Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains of Blacksburg Virginia. It has a story as rich and thrilling as the panoramic vistas it offers. Our journey begins in the 1800s, when it was simply known as Salt Pond Mountain, a natural treasure brimming with potential. It wasn't until 1936 that the resort as we know it was born, christened as 'Mountain Lake Hotel'. The magic truly rolled in with the 20th century, as the hotel transformed from a quiet mountain retreat into a raging hotspot for passionate nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike!

Now, let's leap into the 80s. Mountain Lake Lodge shimmied its way into the spotlight, featuring as Kellerman's Mountain House in the iconic movie, Dirty Dancing. Almost overnight, this filming location, the resort into a pop culture sensation. Visitors flooded in, eager to recreate the steamy dance sequences and passionate romances woven into the fabric of this magical place. Embracing its newfound fame, the resort continues to offer Dirty Dancing-themed weekends filled with dance lessons, screenings of the original film, and watermelon tossing. This classic movie features Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. Be sure to stop by the gift shop where you will find an array of Dirty Dancing souvenirs. This may not be the Adirondack mountains, like the movie portrays, but you will feel like you have taken an upscale Adirondack getaway. It is truly a beautiful place.

Today, Mountain Lake Lodge stands as an exquisite blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, ever ready to enchant its visitors with its unique charm and unforgettable experiences. Its journey from a serene salt pond to a vibrant cultural icon, and even a cinematic superstar, is a tale as captivating as the resort itself. So, come and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry that is the history of Mountain Lake Lodge. Today’s Lodge has partnerships with many businesses and colleges in the area like Radford University and Virginia Tech.

As you step into the world of Mountain Lake Resort, be prepared for the drive up the mountain. I did it, so that proves it is not terrible. But you go way up a curvy mountain road. I videoed the drive up and back so you can watch the videos here.

You will be dazzled by this ideal place, the breathtaking array of natural attractions that make this place a true paradise for nature lovers! Stroll down our nature trails, miles of trails on-site, and you may spot a deer prancing in the undergrowth or hear the sweet trill of a bird hidden among the leafy canopies.

Step into the beautiful gardens, bursting with vibrant blooms and plants that paint a dazzling tapestry of color against the clear mountain fresh air. Whether it's the gentle whisper of the wind through the pines, or the grandeur of the panoramic vistas from the mountain's peak, Mountain Lake Lodge is a symphony of natural wonder that will touch your heart and soothe your senses. The outdoor swimming pool, in front of the main lodge is a great place to visit during the summer.

The resort itself has the main stone lodge, plus many cozy cottages and cabins for you to choose from. Rooms for 2 or cabins that hold 8 people. But they do have multi-unit cabins to hold larger families, perfect for family reunions. The Main Stone Lodge has guest rooms and suites, plus the wood-burning fireplace in the lobby, grand ballroom, meeting rooms, and dining area are located. Friendly staff members will greet you when you are checking in.

Mountain Lake Lodge is a great place for corporate retreats, destination weddings, team building trips with great event spaces. Plus, the Farm to table restaurants on site like Harvest, Salt Pond Pub, Stony Creek Tavern and Mary’s Market and Cafe give you plenty of variety of food options while you visit.

Mountain Lake Lodge, a creation of nature's artistic hand, owes its unique allure to fascinating geological factors. Nestled in the heart of mountains formed by centuries of tectonic movements, the resort is a treasure trove of geological wonders. The lake itself, was once a silvery mirror reflecting the sky, owed its existence to glacial action during the last Ice Age. As glaciers sculpted the landscape, they left behind a basin that was filled with crystal-clear mountain runoff, but now it is basically nonexistent. There are other geological factors at play here. In the 1990's the lake started losing water, then at one point was completely dry. A few years ago, it started gaining water again, but it is definitely not the lake it once was during the filming of the water lift scene in Dirty Dancing.

Things to do on your activity-filled stay at Mountain Lake Lodge.

  • Bubble Ball- which opened April 15th. It appears like so much fun the be protected by the ball as you bounce around. Costing $25 per person.

  • Archery-Learn the art of archery tag. If you are a beginner or pro, shooting at targets are a fun thing to do.

  • Guided Gator Tours- They have nothing to do with Alligators. Gator tours of the property take you everywhere, from the paths in the woods in a side-by-side ATV and beyond on this 2600-acre nature preserve. These are guided so you will not get lost on the mountain. Self-guided tours are also available.

  • Escape Rooms- located in Blacksburg, great for a group where you are timed to and work together to see if you can escape. The cost is $30 for hotel guests.

  • New River- Visit the nearby New River, located just a few miles away. There are many activities to do on the river.

  • Virginia Tech- The Virginia Tech Campus is located less than 30 minutes away, take in a football game if you arrive in the right season or just explore this beautiful campus. The Blacksburg/Christiansburg area has plenty of large city offerings. Also 1 hour away from Mountain Lake Lodge is Roanoke Virginia, one of the largest cities in the Southwest area of Virginia.

  • The Cascades- The Cascades in Pembroke Virginia is a must see while in this area, it is a hike, but worth it. Just 10 minutes away in Pembroke, Virginia. Pay attention to the last half of the video and I will point out where to take a right to see the Cascades. This is a 66-Foot-tall waterfall, and if you walk up the trail above and behind the waterfall you will find another waterfall. The Bald Knob hike can be rough as it is a 4-mile hike round trip, and it is considered moderate. There is a gravel road to the left of the hiking trail that can be taken, it's just an uphill climb, but technically wheelchair safe. and wide, just an uphill climb. Parking costs $3.00 The area has miles of pristine trails on-site.

The Cascades
The Cascades

But don't let that dampen your spirits! This mystery only adds to the resort's charm as scientists, geologists, and curious minds flock to uncover this geological conundrum. Is it an underground channel that's been awakened, a seismic shift, or perhaps the earth playing a magic trick? While they work to solve this enigma, you're invited to join the adventure. Who knows, you might stumble upon clues that lead us to answers. Strap on your explorer's hat, grab your magnifying glass, and let's unravel the mystery of the disappearing water together! There are theories that say that the water goes underground and enters into a neighboring creek that flows into the Cascades waterfall, but scientists believe that this is a natural cause, and the lake will refill, we are just at a time in the history of the lake that is considered to be a low point.

Clover Hollow Bridge
Clover Hollow Bridge

Covered Bridges of the area.

Just a stone's throw away from our marvelous Mountain Lake Lodge, you'll discover a hidden world of rustic charm—the covered bridges of the region! These charming structures, artfully crafted from timber and stone, are a delightful nod to our historical past. Whisking you away on a journey through time, each bridge tells a story of the pioneering spirit that built these lands. As you walk across creaky wooden planks and under sturdy beams, you can almost hear the clip-clop of horses' hooves and the rumble of vintage wagons.

There are 4 in the area, one even near the bottom of Mountain Lake Road, it's called Link Farm Covered Bridge., you will see it as you drive up to Mountain Lake Lodge. The best covered bridge is just up route 460 a few minutes, towards Newport Virginia. (You can take route 604/601 near Link Farm Covered Bridge), It's just a curvy old windy road. Route 460 East to route 42, then turn on 601 for 1 minute or 2. This is called Clover Hollow Covered Bridge. Clover Hollow Covered Bridge has had lots of work done to it, and the work was partly sponsored by Virginia Tech and the community of Newport Virginia, which is not far away. These covered bridges go across Sinking Creek. Could this be where the Mountain Lake disappears????? Sinking Creek??? Makes you wonder.

On the trail to Cascades Waterfall
On the trail to Cascades Waterfall

Adjacent to what was known as the lake area, the forests sprung from fertile soil enriched by volcanic ash from eruptions eons ago, allowing diverse flora and fauna to flourish. The intriguing rock formations scattered across the resort ground bear remarkable imprints of time, with layers showcasing millions of years of sediment deposition. You can even reach the Appalachian Trail, part of the Appalachian Mountains from here.

Every stone, stream, and speck of dirt at Mountain Lake Lodge and area nearby tells a tale of the Earth's dynamic past, adding an extra layer of enchantment to your experience in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I hope you have enjoyed my little blog post about this wonderful area with glorious views, and it makes you want to visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. So, get out there, explore, and have the time of your life at Mountain Lake Lodge and the surrounding area.

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