There are many inns that declare to have a historical past. But The Omni Homestead Resort really made historical past. The Homestead is the primary resort within the United States. In reality, it began in 1766—10 years earlier than America even turned a rustic. It’s on 23,000 acres within the coronary heart of the Allegheny Mountains in Bath County, Virginia, and it’s a proud member—one of many first—of the Historic Hotels of America.
It all started in 1764, after the French and Indian War. Colonel George Washington gave a 300-acre land grant to Captain Thomas Bullitt to reward him for his providers. What did Bullitt do? He introduced his militia to the recent springs in what’s now Bath County, Virginia. In 1766, the primary resort on the property, the Homestead, was constructed and named for the homesteaders who camped out within the space and constructed the resort. What actually introduced the placement nationwide recognition was in 1818 when Thomas Jefferson spent three weeks soaking in these swimming pools to assist alleviate his rheumatism. Now, the 18th and 19th century buildings are named after him.
Julie Langan is aware of all of the legends and tales. She’s the director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. “These are the oldest and most authentic bath houses in the entire United States,” stated Langan. “They continue a tradition of therapeutic bathing that started in Europe and goes all the way back to the Roman times and still operating today.” The males’s tub home is the oldest of the 2, and nothing has been modified. “These bath houses haven’t been improved,” Langan continued. “There aren’t fancy bathrooms, there’s no air conditioning, they are the real deal. They’re rustic.”
“It’s a national treasure,” stated Langan. “But what really, to me, is so special is how authentic it is. This is how it was built and this is how it’s always been. So you’re going back in time every time you come here and take these waters. It’s like you’re stepping a couple hundred years back in time. And most of the time they weren’t wearing clothing while they were taking these baths. That’s why there’s a men’s and a women’s.”
The centuries-old custom continues on the Jefferson swimming pools. But that’s not the one historic exercise they’ve saved alive on the Omni Homestead. The historical past is in all places you take a look at the Homestead, even right here on the capturing membership, which dates again to 1933.
The Homestead’s Old Course has its personal particular historical past. It could seem like many different golf programs you’ll discover throughout the nation, however this Tee can boast one thing no different course can. It’s the oldest frequently in use golf Tee within the United States. The Tee additionally boasts visits from U.S. Presidents Truman, Taft, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Bush. These days, the course continues to be in full swing.
But a part of the Homestead’s historical past features a fireplace that almost destroyed your entire resort. It occurred in 1901 when a blaze raced via a lot of the property. One of the few buildings that remained standing was the on line casino. It was in-built 1893, and at present the constructing serves as a restaurant. It’s not an actual on line casino, however historians will let you know that various fortunes have been received and misplaced right here over time in legendary—supposedly pleasant—gents’s card video games.
Where did the fireplace begin? In the pastry kitchen, in fact. But by 1902 it had all been rebuilt. The Homestead wasted no time rebuilding it, and at present, 114 years later, the unique brick ovens are nonetheless up and working. If you’re fortunate, Executive Chef Greg Barnhill can be making donuts utilizing a recipe that’s been round since 1902.
Unlike the donut recipe, the donut bread pudding recipe could not date again to 1902. But you already know what does? The oven it’s cooked in. Every day, the bakers on the Homestead prove 1,000 donuts and may make as much as 2,000 donuts on a busy day. Plus, 10 to 15 kilos of that go towards donut bread pudding each week. So belief me, nothing goes to waste.
Consider this: if the donuts have a heritage that dates again greater than a century, the remainder of this historic resort is effectively value visiting.
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By Peter Greenberg for PeterGreenberg.com