Nearby the grassy field of Big Meadows is a rustic lodge that welcomes visitors from all over the world to Shenandoah National Park. Big Meadows Lodge offers a variety of lodging options ranging from cozy cabins to lodge rooms and suites.
The original lodge was built in the late 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps. private contractors, and mountain labor. It was created using stones cut from Massanutten Mountain, making the resort a relaxing, yet historic getaway.
Visitors can choose from 25 rooms in the main lodge or the additional 72 rooms in cabins, multiunit lodges, and modern suites. I had the opportunity to spend the night at Big Meadows Lodge and my unexpected stay turned out to be one of the most enjoyable nights I had at Shenandoah National Park.
When I first arrived at the park, the weather was not on my side. Blankets of fog and heavy rain were constant and not about to let up. Though unplanned, I decided to see if Big Meadows Lodge had a warm and affordable room for me to dry out and relax.
When I walked in the doors I immediately felt at home. The lodge is warm and inviting, with walls of chestnut and oak, big chandeliers, and an immediate view of the valley below. I walked up to the front desk and was greeted by a very friendly woman who took the time to ask where I was from, what I planned on doing at Shenandoah, and helped me find a room in my price range.
For $100, I stayed in an adorable room within the main lodge. The room wasn’t that big but it gave off that cozy, lodge vibe – equipped with a quilted bed, a stone fireplace, and wooden walls. It had a huge closet and a good size bathroom with a large shower. As soon as I walked in I wanted to get out of my wet clothes, take a hot shower, and curl up with a good book. But instead I ventured back to the lodge to grab a bite to eat.
The restaurant in the lodge is one large room with high ceilings and a wall made entirely out of windows – giving visitors a great view of the landscape. The staff was once again friendly, chatty, and helpful. And the food was just as enjoyable - nothing like a warm, home-cooked meal on a rainy night! I tried the meatloaf, served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. It was the best meatloaf I have ever had (unless my mother is reading this in which case hers is the best and this is a close second).
With a full belly I decided to relax in the great room for a bit before I hit the hay. Next to the restaurant is a large room that is open to all visitors. At night there is a fire to sit by, rocking chairs along the windows and porch, board games, puzzles, and couches to relax upon. It was an inviting room full of kids working on a puzzle, couples playing checkers, and old friends catching up about their day. I think what I enjoyed the most is how friendly everyone was. I met a man who was picking up his kids hiking the Appalachian Trail, a boy learning how to play Risk with his dad, and a couple who came up for the weekend for a simple getaway. It was lovely to be surrounded by others in such good spirits.
Feeling pretty wiped out I left to get some sleep but a sign on the way out caught my attention: Live Entertainment. The sign pointed to the bar located in the basement so I decided to check it out. What I found was a room of about 10-15 guests spread out in big chairs and tables listening to live music. The man at the microphone was talented on both the guitar and harmonica. He had a Johnny Cash vibe in his sound and even invited the bartender to join him for a few songs. Guests were singing along, clapping, and having a great time.
After a few songs, I decided to finally get some sleep. My room was nice and warm, and I enjoyed a comfortable night’s sleep.
In the morning, I went back to the lodge’s restaurant for breakfast and I have to say this was my only negative experience. Of my sunny-side-up eggs, sausage, and biscuit, I enjoyed the biscuit and left the rest. The eggs were beyond undercooked and everything felt cold, like it had been sitting under a hot lamp waiting for someone to eat it. I was surprised considering what a fantastic dinner I had eaten there the night before. But you can’t win ‘em all!
Though I was originally disappointed to lose a night of camping, my night at Big Meadows Lodge turned out to be a great experience. I would definitely stay there again and recommend it to friends and family. When you plan a visit to Shenandoah National Park, consider a night at Big Meadows Lodge – you will feel right at home.