On our first full day at the Homestead, we started our day off with breakfast in the Main Dining Room, which with the exception of this little cafe/market (Martha’s Market) and room service is the only place open for breakfast.
Unlike in the evening where formal dress is preferred the Main Dining Room with it’s high ceilings, and opulent chandillers, has a more relaxed atmosphere where guests can enjoy food from the buffet. You can choose from anything from fresh fruit, cereal, fresh pastries and other hot dishes. Or… If you can’t get you day started with an omelette or waffles, you can visit the station on the far end of the room and have your omelette made to order.
After breakfast we looked through the Tower Corridor shops that are directly up from the Main Dining Room. You can purchase anything from home decor, bed/bath, clothing (both dressy and casual) and even sweets.
When it was nearly 10, we headed to the Lobby to check out the daily History Tour. If you’re lucky enough, you can sit next to one of the two fireplaces if the weather is especially cold out, and it was quite chilly. The high was only in the forties, and I was adoring my thick Cableknit Turtleneck Poncho (Gap) that I’d purchased just before the trip.
The tour begins in Jefferson Parlor where the guide and resident historian walks you through the founding of The Homestead up until the precent day as you view the various paintings on the panels that cover the walls of the parlor.
While we stayed for most of the tour (you can opt out at any time) I would recommend this tour for serious history lovers.
Since we planned to check out Warm Springs and the town of Hot Springs before lunch, we opted to go to Martha’s Market for an iced tea (note in Virginia unlike the Carolinas, tea is not sweetened unless requested) and sipped our teas over a game of checkers in the Washington library.
If you’re looking for a place to relax aside from the many lobby, definitely stop in the library where you can lounge while reading a book or play checkers or chess at either end of the room. If people watching is something you enjoy, I’d definitely go with the main lobby (Great Hall.)
While there are quite a few activities to enjoy around the estate, if it’s chilly out, you might want to check out Downtime (accessible by stairs) just inside the Jeffersons Bar/Restaurant… but be sure to purchase a game card before you head downstairs.
After deciding that we would have lunch at Jefferson’s after our trip up the road to Warm Springs, we had the valet bring the car around and headed out into the sunny, but extremely chilly day. (When they said it would be windy, they really weren’t kidding.)
On our way back to The Homestead, we stopped of on the main street of Hot Springs.
After lunch we ‘retired’ to the Great Hall/Lobby at took up residence just one set of couches away from the fireplace. While their are heaters around the lobby, it does little to keep the cold out as guests go in and out of the doors. Thankfully just prior to the 250th anniversary celebration, I snagged us the best seats in the house which were located around one of the two fireplaces.
At 2:50 on the dot, the current head of the hotel gave a brief speech and then all those gathered in the lobby headed over to the tables that were laden with slices of delicious cake, hot coffee, or iced tea/water for those who preferred something cool to enjoy with their cake.
As I mentioned before every day a different cake is served at 2:50 (in honor of 250 years) so by December 31st, the Homestead will have creating 365 different cakes for it’s guests.
Several games later, we went with our tradition of ordering room service at least once during our vacation.
Be sure to stay tuned for tomorrows post where I share about our Spa day at The Omni Homesteads Spa.