Just Our Speed: A Relaxing Weekend in Bath County, Virginia

The forecast called for rain and dreary skies, but when it came time for our spring, weekend getaway with friends, the sunshine decided to join us. The Homestead Preserve is no exception to the majestic, rustic beauty of western Virginia’s landscapes, and our crew relished the chance to enjoy some relaxing quality time together.

Twelve adults, two kiddos, and two dogs all adored the River Ridge Ranch property from the moment we arrived and were warmly welcomed by the Natural Retreats staff. "A little slice of heaven" just might be a fair assessment. We had space to spread out and play ball with the dogs, read those books we've been letting gather dust on our bedside tables, walk over to the horse pasture so the kids could watch in awe, venture down to the beautiful river's edge, and enjoy laughter over home-cooked meals. We hiked, roasted s'mores, played out in the fields, and cooked some bang-up meals in the fantastic, well-equipped kitchen.

A favorite mini-adventure during the weekend was a group hike in Douthat State Park. The rangers were friendly and helpful in recommending the Blue Suck Falls Trail, a 3-mile, moderate hike that led us past the falls and up the mountainside. We stopped at a few lookouts and enjoyed the view of those classic Allegheny Mountains, just beginning to hint at springtime, with occasional bursts of green speckling the hibernating wilderness. Needless to say, naps were enjoyed by all after such an eventful day!

We would be remiss to visit Warm Springs without checking out the famed Jefferson Pools, an experience that left our bodies and souls feeling light and refreshed. During our hour float, we envisioned historic figures and locals bathing in the springs. If only the old wooden walls and rocks of the bath house could talk, what amusing stories would bubble up? We topped off our afternoon with a trip to the Milk House Market for some Homestead Creamery ice cream. Ah, simple pleasures do the heart well.

Trips like these are a breath of fresh air, a premonition of springtime. Togetherness in the changing of seasons waters the seeds of gratitude in our hearts. We hope this vacation tradition with friends continues as our lives change, families grow, and time moves us forward. Perhaps in 10 or 20 years, we’ll look back on these memories with joy and a few more lines and stories etched on our faces. I certainly hope that’s the case.

Kelly's Homestead Preserve Favorites


River Ridge Ranch

Complete with five bedrooms, 400-private acres, and access to the Cowpasture River, the River Ridge Ranch was the perfect retreat for our group getaway.


Blue Suck Falls in Douthat State Park

Enjoy the lush greenery of the state park and admire the stunning views along the way. Tuscarora Overlook is the perfect spot to take a break and stare in awe.


Homestead Creamery in Bath County

Made local in southwest Virginia, the Homestead Creamery provides everything dairy, from milk to ice cream, and can be purchased in the Milk House Market. There's nothing sweeter than buying local.


Jefferson Pools

Soak in the natural waters of the Jefferson Pools and feel rejuvenated and relaxed. The water filters in from the mountain springs and has been a local favorite since the 1700's.

Want to check out more photos from Kelly's trip? Visit her blog Kelly Dean Photography!