Ranked 12th in Travel + Leisure's World's Best Family Hotels and Cruises, The Homestead has been pampering guests—including 22 U.S. presidents—with an assortment of leisurely activities since its pre-Revolutionary War construction in 1766. This Groupon includes one night of well-appointed slumber for up to two guests in one of the historic resort's luxurious classic rooms, featuring down pillows, featherbeds, and midnight golf tips from the ghosts of former boarders. The sun porches and authentic fireplaces in some rooms reflect influences of quieter times, whereas WiFi and flat-screen TVs keep guests technologically apprised of happenings in the outside world. Honk your golf cart's horn in triumph after launching a dimply ball off the nation's oldest first tee in continuous use at the Old Course (an extra round of golf may be purchased for $35). The hilly, par 72 course was originally completed in 1892 but has received fairway contouring and silicone calf implants to keep golfers on their toes. Patrons allergic to grass or 9 irons can partake in a slew of indoor excursions, such as complimentary afternoon tea in the Great Hall, free film showings in the historic theater, and spirited rounds of sphere hurling at the on-site bowling center.
The course at Botetourt Golf & Swim Club skims through the densely forested terrain of the Roanoke Valley, revealing dramatic glimpses of the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains as players contend with its string of pristine trials. Opened in 1962 with just nine holes, the course celebrates half a century of expansions and improvements that have culminated in its current status as an 18-hole championship track. Golfers today send drives hurling through hilly terrain carpeted with lush sod and roll their putts over undulating greens in pursuit of a par of 71, all while the freshly shorn flags of conquered pins dangle from their belts.
Course at a Glance:
As a professional golf instructor, Leslie W. Mercer worked tirelessly to make the game accessible to everyone. His daughter, Anne Marie, opened The Highlands Golf Park in 1997 to ensure her father's efforts–and more importantly, perhaps, his love of golf–made an impact on future generations. To this day, The Highlands remains a family affair. Anne Marie's daughter, Gretchen Scheuermann, now runs the park and guides golfers as a LPGA Class A teaching professional.
The Highlands Golf Park provides a robust golfing experience to match its rich history. A versatile driving range is the centerpiece of the facility's practice features. Carved into the natural landscape, the range boasts 44 grass and mat tee stations, areas for pitching and chipping, and lights for practicing at night or after accidentally popping the sun with an errant tee shot. Away from the range, players can soak up tips during lessons or polish up their short game by putting through the 18-hole Pirate Pete's Mini Golf Course.
Curlicues of painted flame seem to crackle white hot from the mouths of dragons that come to life on the walls beneath the black lights at Glow-A-Rama. The echo of clacking billiard balls drifts past the painted knights, monsters, and underwater vistas, reaching the ears of players batting ping-pong balls back and forth. Patrons tap incandescent spheres across the 18-hole mini-golf course, which was designed and constructed by the owner and is free of the sand traps that slow traditional golf and attract nesting Jimmy Buffetts. Black lights also extend into the game room and party rooms.
Birthday-party guests master the lost art of golf bowling, which involves tapping a golf ball into 10 glowing, diminutive pins. Around Halloween, visitors run the spooky gauntlet of a haunted house festooned with shimmering graveyard murals and pictures of the wolfman without his makeup.