The Orvis Board of Directors meeting was held in Roanoke last week. Afterward, they spent a few days at Primland, one of our endorsed hunting lodges located on the front range of the Blue Ridge in southern Virginia. Since their return, I have heard nothing at the lunch table but praises for Primland, and in particular the new lodge.
Unquestionably this is one of the most impressive lodges in the country, not only from an architectural standpoint, but also because of the site.
I was there last year on a hunting trip and I can understand the collective praise for this place. Sitting on 12,000 acres of magnificent Blue Ridge topography, Primland is extraordinarily diverse with most of the accommodations perched high on the ridges with spectacular views, the kind of views that are measured in states.
The new lodge itself is 72,000 square feet and is a remarkable combination of Appalachian mountain culture applied with an ultra modern brush stroke. It’s the kind of place that elicits a bit of awe at every turn and is where a hunter can bring the spouse and hunt guilt free knowing the spouse is being pampered to no end with myriad opportunities to do other things from horseback riding to world-class spa treatments at the new spa that opened in May.
“This is a true destination spa that offers a combination of American Indian and European methods,” said Steve Helms, Primland Vice President. Based on the Cherokee culture and offering more than 40 treatment options, the 8,000 square foot spa like everything else the Primat family, owners of Primland, do is world class. World class is terribly overused, but in this case is highly applicable.
“We’re also opening a new system of trails using the old Appalachian Trail that ran through Primland from 1936 through 1948. After the war they moved it over to the Jefferson National Forest, but we’re revitalizing the original and integrating it into our trail system for hiking and mountain biking.”
Orvis Vice President Bill Wood said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a place quite as beautiful as this. Between the rooms and the view, it is hard to imagine anything better. Every aspect of the décor from the bathroom to the balcony was the nicest I’ve ever seen.” Bill chose to shoot the clays course, which is considered one of the best in the country. Following a circular road in the valley, the stations are cut out of the mountain laurel and rhododendron understory combined with open field shots, offering as pretty and challenging a course as one could ask station to station.
Both Orvis Vice Chairman Dave Perkins and CFO/COO Rob Bean echoed these sentiments unsolicited, which is high praise, particularly from Dave who has been about everywhere one can imagine to hunt and fish. Dave has seen the best and for Primland to elicit this kind of praise says a great deal, not only about the hunting operation, but the lodge, the property and the experience in general.
The pheasant and chukar hunting is done in the valley through rolling agricultural fields surrounded by hardwood forest. The guides and the dogs are exceptional and the early release program offers strong, hard-flying birds. It’s as good a release program as there is. Primland is relatively easy to get to and once you enter the gates, the rest of the world drops away like the ridges and hollows on which it sits.