Hot Springs: An Elegant Fall Weekend Escape to Virginia

Two thousand acres of foliage and one new world-class spa make for a perfectly pampered Southern getaway this autumn.

Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia

How to get to Hot Springs: You can drive to Hot Springs in six and a half hours. Alternatively, fly (90 minutes) to Roanoke–the resort can arrange transportation from the airport (another 90 minutes).

Where to Stay in Hot Springs: The iconic Omni Homestead Resort, hidden in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains, looks like an Ivy League campus. And there’s an air of prestige here: Jackets are mostly required, high tea is set to piano, the rooms ooze with Southern charm, and past guests include 22 presidents. (Standard rooms start around $230.) The new 60,000-square-foot Canyon Ranch SpaClub is the only one of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic.

What to Eat and Drink in Hot Springs: At the resort, the breakfast buffet is sinfully Southern, with buttery biscuits and cheesy grits, while lunch at Canyon Ranch Café is organic and light. Sam Snead’s Tavern, a chip shot from the property, is cozy (and close) enough for nightcaps. Purchase a s’mores kit from room service ($18.95); it’s big enough to share at the nightly bonfire on the Casino Lawn.

What to See in Hot Springs: More than 100 miles of woodsy trails are at your feet (or bike, or horse); the Cascades Gorge Hike has waterfalls. Book a trap, skeet or clays lesson at the Historic Virginia Gun Club. Thanks to the expert instructors, even first-timers will feel the thrill of hitting targets.

Where to Shop in Hot Springs: Forgo the cluster of souvenir stores for a bag of cakey coconut macaroons fresh from the Homestead pastry shop. Find them (and get your Starbucks fix) at Martha’s Market near the lobby.

Where to Relax in Hot Springs: The Canyon Ranch SpaClub is an epicenter of wellness, complete with top-notch fitness instruction and nutrition counseling. But H2O is the main draw: Soak in a walnut bathtub filled with healing waters piped in from the local natural springs, or detox in Aquavana, home to holistic European-influenced lounges, showers and scented steam rooms. Can­yon Ranch massages deserve their legendary status, but the vanilla-and-apricot Southern Harvest wrap is a fave.