MEADOWS OF DAN, Va. -- The Blue Ridge Mountains surround Primland, almost hiding it from the rest of the world.
Perched high atop a mountain ridge, the Lodge at Primland feels like a modern castle overlooking its expansive kingdom of 12,000 private acres where only two gated roads allow guests in and out.
"When you look at the tips of mountains, you wonder about the people who inhabited them, the Indians, the settlers. You wonder if anybody has ever put a footprint on some of them," said Robert Marek, a golfer from Roanoke.
Primland's reputation as a luxury escape attracts a diverse clientele of golfers, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, star-gazers, families and couples. Here are 10 reasons why:
1. See the skies
By night, reach for the stars with a "Tour of the Universe." The Primland Observatory, atop the silo of the Lodge, houses the largest telescope on the East Coast.
It isn't just for star-gazing. It sees galaxies and stars millions of light years from earth.
2. Behold the Highland golf course
Golf Digest ranks the Highland Course at Primland Resort by Donald Steel No. 1 among Virginia's public courses and No. 13 nationally, thanks to soaring views of the surrounding countryside and large, interesting greens.
It is a tough test, but the visual stimulation keeps the focus off the scorecard.
3. Dine in delight
The Lodge features fine dining at elements. The 19th Pub, a bar just outside the pro shop, cooks up diverse dinner and lunch menus, including braised short ribs, Kobe beef and shrimp and grits.
The Stables Saloon, built atop the old stable a short ride from the main lodge, feels like an old-western cowboy joint. Comfort food, such as an outstanding Maple-Basted Berkshire Pork Loin and Linguine Pasta, will satisfy any appetite.
4. Hunt in heaven
During hunting season, getting a birdie means something altogether different.
Primland serves as a private hunting ground for turkey, deer, bobwhite quail and pheasant. Guided hunts ensure safety and, hopefully, success.
5. Sleep in a treehouse
The Golden Eagle Tree House, made of red cedar, was designed and prefabricated in France by renowned tree house architect La Cabane Perchee.
Amazingly, not a single nail was driven into the tree when it was built in 2011 on its perch hanging 2,700 feet above the Dan River Gorge. The interior features a large studio setup with a king bed, soaking tub and flat-screen TV.
6. Explore nature
Outdoor lovers can shoot sporting clays, kayak, ride ATV trails or go hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and even geocaching.
Even something as simple as a nature walk can introduce the wonders of mountain living.
7. Be fly
A six-mile stretch of the Dan River near Primland is rugged, remote and stocked with wild trout. Guided fly-fishing is a catch-and-release program.
A more forgiving location is nearby in the Kibler Valley. Families can fish at three ponds stocked with trout, bass and channel catfish with rental equipment and bait.
8. Visit the spa
The Lodge's American Indian-themed spa will melt your cares away.
During the Signature Massage, you'll choose an animal medicine card, a sort of Tarot card using animal symbolism for advice on life. The treatment mixes hot stones with traditional massage.
9. Climb a tree
Adventurers can try tree climbing, a physically demanding but rewarding experience.
This new program isn't made for some 10-year-old climbing up a few branches. It's a new way to test endurance and strength.
It is completely safe with guides using repelling ropes for security.
10. Get away from it all
Just walking in the front door of Primland feels like an escape. The Lodge is exquisitely decorated with spacious suites and rooms.
All told, the Lodge at Primland, the Fairway Cottages, the Mountain Homes and the Golden Eagle Tree House hold no more than 100 guests at a time. Those who visit have plenty of fresh air and space to breathe.