Hidden Gem Series: The Resort at Glade Springs

An unexpected hidden gem in West Virginia

Regardless of your perception of West Virginia, I can sadly guarantee that it does not include the gracious splendor of the Resort at Glade Springs. Folks travelling the dramatic Blue Ridge Mountains see many things, but too few have yet to discover this oasis.

Elmer Coppoolse purchased the resort development about a decade ago, and recently worked with Greenbrier owner Jim Justice to forge a co-ownership arrangement.  Justice has added fresh funds to ‘The Glade’ and the results are delightful. It shouldn’t be long until the secret is out, and The Glade will become a favored destination for golfers, river rafters and family gatherings.

We were in the sweltering heat of southwest Virginia, dodging the myriad but rare power outages and trying to stay cool. On the blue highways we saw lots of tree damage, and on TV we saw Tiger Woods miss the cut at the Greenbrier Golf Classic. But upon arrival at The Glade, we discovered cooler temperatures (because of the 3000 foot plus elevation) and some residual excitement about the Greenbrier.  Qualifying rounds had been held earlier at The Glade, and some of the co-ownership status has begun to burnish The Glade.

Working on my short game amidst the splendor of the fairways

There are three impressive 18 hole courses at The Glade. Over the back 9 holes on the Cobb course Elmer treated me to the history of The Glade.  The complex is both a resort and a community of homes.  The latter comprises many professionals working in nearby Beckley, WV.  Their homes on the grounds of The Glade range from truly elegant to delightfully affordable.  Most homes have golf course or lake or gorge views, some a combination. The resort provides a spa (where my wife and daughters enjoyed being pampered while Elmer and Mike James the resident PGA expert tried to fix my short game). The spa is co-located with a generous activities center; it is clear one could leave the kids to fill their time with the basketball court, bowling alley, cinema, arcade, health club and indoor pool…all safely under one roof.

The Manor House provides spacious accommodations, perfect for families

The variety of lodging options caters to a variety of visitors: the single family (we were in one of the Manor Houses); the couple seeking a tasteful suite; the extended family wanting to take over one of the Chestnut Hill Lodges for a reunion; and the ski group wanting to bunk affordably.  The Winterplace ski slope is down the road only eight miles, which accounts for the year round draw.

Our Manor House accommodations were two spacious bedroom suites, which opened into a common kitchen / great room. The furniture was comfortable and new, with luxurious bedding. The bathrooms were large and well appointed.

There are a wide variety of activities on offer. Over the course of our packed 3 day stay we enjoyed only a fraction.  The most exciting was certainly white water rafting.  The Glade offers shuttles to the New River, about 40 minutes away.  We chose the lower New River, which is a bit more aggressive than the upper portion. Easily the nation’s most ironically named waterway, the New River is the second oldest river in the world (after the Nile). Both of these ancient rivers flow north, an anomaly for their regions.  Class VI Tours has been offering river trips on the New River for several decades, and their professionalism is evident.  We spent most of the day under the expert care of Shane, who offered insight and instruction in equal measure.  Although I did not agree with the sentiment, I certainly grinned at the T-shirt of one of the city slickers in another boat: “paddle faster, I hear banjo music.”  The exhilaration of shooting the rapids was balanced by the laziness of floating solo in the calmer, wider parts of the New River.

Back at The Glade, we enjoyed an equestrian ride and had some huge fun at the newly installed laser tag field.  We rounded out our athletic endeavors with some beach volleyball and biking.  On our next stay at The Glade we will want to dive into other activities like paintball, ziplines, fishing, canoeing, geocaching, sporting clays, cave tours, rock climbing and rappelling.

The Club House

Cuisine does not take a back seat at The Glade.  We dined twice at Bunkers and once at Glade’s Italian Grill.  Both are located in the main clubhouse, and the latter features a newly revamped menu.  The variety and delicacy of the ‘stile famiglia’ was impressive.  Our daughters finally found a fried calamari they could love.  We nearly finished the seemingly endless chopped antipasto salad (hearts of palm, artichokes, etc.). The eggplant rollatini was delicate and lightly breaded, with rich marinara sauce. The signature 12 oz meatballs were larger than snowballs, and far more tasty. Broken into chunks, they worked well with the spaghetti al dente.  With barely enough room for dessert, we sampled panna cotta, tiramisu and a sinfully rich zeppole.

We strolled back to our suite at the Manor House, and marveled at the lack of mosquitoes (another advantage of the mountain elevation).  We stopped along the way at the nightly bonfire, where guests were preparing s’mores.

If you can find it, this is a hidden gem tucked into the hills of West Virginia

If I need one word to describe The Resort at Glade Springs, it would be unexpected.  Elmer admits that this is his exact conundrum, once folks experience his resort they are easily converted. My family is now certainly in the ranks of believers.

The   Resort at Glade Springs Daniels, WV 1.866.562.8054 www.gladesprings.com
Class VI-Mountain River Lansing,   WV 1.888.383.9985 www.class-vi.com


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.