Did someone say road trip!? I found myself at the tail-end of February, winter creeping slowly to a close, and no plans to ski in sight. In an effort to fix these prospects I found the perfect place in northern Virginia. Massanutten Resort is a fantastic, family-friendly, four-season property offering a range of activities throughout the year. The weekend I decided to go was during the resort’s second annual celebration of the Snow Moon Festival – winter activities would be plentiful! Located between two larger mountain ranges, including the Blue Ridge Mountains, Massanutten Mountain meant one thing for me: a chance to hit the slopes this winter!

Day 1

Reaching Massanutten, Virginia is easily accessible by driving. Juliet and I decided to drive from New Jersey and made it to our destination in six hours including time for a lunch break. Driving south, the closer we got to the Shenandoah Valley we were able to see beautiful stretches of mountains in the distance that ran parallel to us for most of our journey.

We entered Massanutten by way of Harrisonburg, a great city with an exciting downtown and home to James Madison University. When we were planning our trip we heard a lot about Harrisonburg and decide to venture back to the city for our first night in the area.

Arriving at the resort you are greeted at the welcome center with superb hospitality and the check-in process is a breeze. We were staying at Regal Vistas, and were supplied with two key-cards and a garage door opener – perfect since snow was in the forecast for the weekend!

The condos at Regal Vistas at Massanutten (Resort ID: #C152) are the newest addition to the lodging options at Massanutten and are truly a spectacular accommodation choice for your stay. Each condo has two bedrooms and can sleep six guests. There is a master suite complete with whirlpool tub in the bathroom, there is also a second bathroom in each unit for other guests to utilize. In your condo you can enjoy all the comforts of home while on vacation including amenities like an in-unit washer and dryer, two electric fireplaces, and a private deck. The spacious kitchen is ready for your use and comes outfitted with all the cooking and grilling utensils you might need during your stay. As if all of this wasn’t enough for you to enjoy your time here, each condo supplies you with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, keeping you in the mountain-fun mindset throughout your stay.

Pro Tip: Each Regal Vistas condo has a connection to the unit next to it! If you are traveling with a large group or are hosting a family reunion at Massanutten, booking two units you can now accommodate 12 guests!

For dinner on our first night we decided to explore Downtown Harrisonburg. We were feeling adventurous and wanted to try as many places as possible and attempted to do a progressive dinner: Food.Bar.Food. was our first stop for appetizers. This restaurant specializes in global comfort food, the entire menu sounded delicious but we sampled crab rangoons and fried green tomatoes. Moving to a spot just around the corner for dinner we settled on a restaurant called Rocktown Kitchen. Specializing in featuring menu items that utilize locally sourced ingredients, Rocktown did not disappoint with a burrata appetizer, shrimp cocktail, and a large salad entrée. With an excellent meal and a long day of travel behind us we ventured back to Massanutten for the night.

Fun Fact: Harrisonburg is less than 20 minutes from Massanutten and is home to many restaurant, breweries, and other great spots to check out, some with very interesting histories. During our exploring we found out that Rocktown Kitchen is located in a building that was once the ice house for Harrisonburg and supplied the local area with ice!

Day 2

After a quick breakfast at a local café we were off on a mission to gather supplies for our kitchen so that we could cook in our unit during our stay. There are plenty of markets nearby and all easily accessible. If you are driving to Massanutten as we did, feel free to leave the groceries at home and do a quick food shop once you arrive in the area – the valuable car space can now be used to transport your skis! While we were out we luckily came across a ski shop where Juliet could pick up some mittens for our skiing adventures we had scheduled for the next day; can’t go to Snow Moon Festival unprepared!

Pro Tip: The areas surrounding the resort are home to several markets including a Target and Aldi. If you need to stock up your unit’s kitchen for the week or if you forgot something at home these stores have you covered!

Back at the resort we wanted to check out some of the activities that are offered throughout the year at the property. Did you know that Massanutten Resort is home to an indoor water park?! Rain or shine (or snow!) the indoor water park is open year round and always kept at 84 degrees. There is also an outdoor water park open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Children of all ages will delight in the indoor water fortress, inflatable adventures, body slides, pools, lazy river floats, and hot tubs. You can even take your aquatic experience to the next level and learn how to surf on the resort’s FlowRider® Endless Wave.

For more fun, Diamond Jim’s Arcade is also open all year and is conveniently located in the same complex as the water park. Here you can play classic arcade games, try your hand at new pursuits and win prizes! Guests are encouraged to use the rechargeable arcade cards for a cashless environment – this makes moving from one game to next quick and easy.

After a day of indulging our younger-selves at the waterpark and arcade, Juliet and I had dinner at one of the property’s restaurants: the Campfire Grill. The Campfire Grill is the perfect mountain lodge restaurant with rustic décor and outdoor fire pits. We enjoyed a delicious meal all while listening to live music! Some highlights from our meal included the skillet cornbread that is made-to-order and served piping hot in a cast-iron skillet right to your table. For a grown-up version of the classic treat dinner was finished with a s’more martini complete with toasted marshmallow garnish – yum!

Day 3

We were up bright and early because this was the day we were finally going skiing! This morning we had ski lessons scheduled and Snow Moon Festival events would be in full swing all day up on the mountain! Eager to not miss a minute we quickly got into our skiing finest and ventured to the slopes!

Pro Tip: If you travel to Massanutten to ski but find yourself without skis, boots, helmets, etc. have no fear! There is an excellent rental program on the mountain and the crew there will have you outfitted with the necessary gear in no time. The resort also offers a great lesson schedule with classes and individual lessons suitable for all ages!

Juliet and I decided to take a private lesson for the two of us. Jeannette was our instructor and she was excellent at teaching us the basics and getting us used to being on skis. After a few trial runs she declared us ready to go it alone – and we were off! After several hours of runs, with only two falls, we took a break and grabbed some snacks at the Umbrella Bar. At this outdoor bar with a giant retractable umbrella shaped roof you can feast on mountains of nachos and other snacks including dishes featuring barbecue meats smoked on site. There are also plenty of beverages to suit your après ski needs served both hot and chilled to your liking.

Snow Moon Festival was gearing up and there were plenty of activities to fill the afternoon. After refueling at the Umbrella Bar, the area surrounding Base Camp just off the mountain was hopping! Live music was scheduled throughout the day and you could sample the ales and beers from local breweries as they hosted “tap-takeovers.” We made ourselves comfortable near a fire pit overlooking the slopes and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.

One of my favorite activities from the weekend was Northern Lights Snow Tubing. Massanutten is home to many snow sports, including skiing, ice skating, freestyle skiing and snow tubing! Snow tubing is fun for the whole family and with group tubing, achieved by tying individual tubes together, or racing in side by side tracks the entertainment is endless. When the sun goes down the snow tubing tracks are illuminated by color-changing lights and music blasts from speakers, creating a winter wonderland dance party as you sail down the hills.

Pro Tip: Check availability for snow tubing as well as specially designated Northern Lights Snow Tubing sessions to ensure you are able to participate in this not-to-miss adventure. We also recommend buying your tickets ahead of time as time slots fill up quickly!

The events of the Snow Moon Festival culminate with a parade, the lighting of a torch, and a fireworks display on Saturday night! The Torchlight Slope Parade begins soon after all the lights on the mountain are turned off. Then high atop one of the more challenging runs, expert skiers begin their descent down the mountain in the darkness while carrying long poles on the ends of which are lit red flares. From the comfort of Base Camp festival goers are able to watch the skiers gracefully make their way down the trail. At the base of the slope the skiers set light to the Snow Moon Festival torch, signaling the start of a fireworks display! After the Torchlight Parade revelers are invited to the Live at the Lodge Party featuring live music from local artists.

Day 4

The first event of our final day in Massanutten is one that is exclusive to Snow Moon Festival. Each year a select brave few sign up to take: the Polar Plunge. Benefiting Therapeutic Adventures the Polar Plunge fundraiser has participants jump in to a 45 degree pool and swim across it if they dare. I elected to participate in the event and thus kicked off my day with a brisk swim! As previously mentioned the Polar Plunge is part of the Snow Moon Festival, and supports a wonderful cause. If you find yourself in Massanutten during the Festival be sure to consider signing up!

My reward for braving the cold pool was a brunch buffet at the Campfire Grill. Here you can enjoy breakfast favorites and even build your own waffle at a station complete with whipped cream and fruit toppings. During brunch we were able to enjoy a view of the snow flurries that were passing through the area, fitting for the final day of Snow Moon Festival.

After breakfast we decided to check out the resort’s spa. After a long day of skiing yesterday a little pampering was in order. The Spa at Massanutten offers many beauty and spa treatments including manicures, pedicures, massages, facials and aroma therapy. Be sure to enjoy the hot paraffin wax treatment during your manicures, it was a first for me and truly wonderful for my dry winter hands.

To round out our weekend at Massanutten we decided to explore the surrounding area for our last night. We learned during our stay that Virginia is home to many wineries and breweries. Nearby in Mt. Crawford is CrossKeys Vineyards, located a quick and scenic 15 minute drive from the resort. The sprawling estate that is home to the winery overlooks their acres of vines planted on rolling hills. CrossKeys offers daily tastings year round and you can dine at the Bistro on most days, including a Sunday brunch. After being guided through our tasting from the lighter crisp white wines to the deliciously rich reds, we were able to gain deeper insights to the winery by going on a tour. Here we were invited on a tour to see where they make the wines as well as the aisles and aisles of barrels that store the finished products. Our trip to Massanutten was drawing to an end, but like the delicious finish of the dessert wines we just sampled we ended our time here on a sweet note.

Final Thoughts

Massanutten, Virginia is the perfect winter escape for families and Massanutten Resort is the ideal base camp for your stay. Offering activities that range from the indoor waterpark and arcade to snow sports like tubing and skiing there is sure to be an adventure for everyone during your stay. If you would like to plan your visit to coincide with the annual Snow Moon Festival be sure to check out the resort’s website for event details. For some activities it is helpful to purchase your tickets ahead of time to ensure you are able to partake in those more popular events. With access to great area attractions including Shenandoah National Park, Harrisonburg, and many wineries and breweries to tour your itinerary for any visit is sure to be endless.

Massanutten Resort is a four season resort so stay tuned, we just might plan a visit to explore the activities available in the spring and summer!