When I saw this article in the Guardian about celebrating the 20th anniversary of Dirty Dancing at the Mountain Lake Hotel, the Virginia resort that stood in for the Catskills in the classic film, it left me feeling a little nostalgic. Not only for the always-quotable scenes from the movie ("Nobody puts Baby in a corner!"), but for my own time at Mountain Lake, which I visited in college with a group called the Appalachia Volunteers.
While most of my classmates were building homes and cleaning up parks throughout the region, our team had the run of the 2,600 acre hotel property, clearing the shoreline of the lake and helping to build the wilderness trails and bocce ball court. Mind you, we also made a point to re-create as many of the scenes from the film as possible, (the gazebo on the property was actually built for the film) which was a huge part of the fun.
But while the press clips about Mountain Lake tend to stress the Dirty Dancing-themed weekend packages, which include dance lessons and trivia nights, most overlook all of its outstanding outdoor features. Aside from the vast lake, which offers boating, fishing, and swimming (and the occasional practicing of dance routines) the hotel also has a wilderness conservancy and biological station on the property, 20 miles of hiking and biking trails, and several education programs for students through seniors.
And of course, after you leave, you also get the pleasure of telling people you've "had the time of your life."
Photo: Mountain Lake Resort