The Lake at Chetola ResortThe leaves are turning color a little late this year, working their changing tones down the country from the north. Before it gets too cold, it’s time to hit the road again and spend time with friends and family in a truly relaxed setting, enjoying the seasonal modifications of nature’s palette.

Though I personally love to travel in a most luxurious style, there are times when family travel is the way to go. On a recent trip to visit my niece and nephew, I wanted to have these two teens stay with us for a few days, but where could we safely put them?

The answer was very simple: a condotel, though these are not easy to find outside the major tourist destinations. All-suite hotels provide a solution too, but like condotels, they’re not easy to find, at least not ones of high standards. Even the good all-suite properties leave me a little dry. Designed mostly for business travellers, they lack that “home” feeling I crave when traveling with my family.

In Blowing Rock, North Carolina, a small mountainous burgh only a short drive from Boone, and just off the scenic Skyline Drive, is Chetola Resort. With a full hotel and The Bob Timberlake Lodge, Chetola provides traditional and upscale hotel service, but it also offers condos. Luxurious, elegant, comfortable and relaxing, these condos offer every possible amenity a family could need on a vacation.

Our three bedroom condo had that home-like feeling I craved. It was our home away from home, with granite topped kitchen, three full bathrooms, a dining room, relaxing living room with big-screen television and believe it or not, a den, complete with billiards table and wet-bar. Yes, a billiards table.

After a brief stop at a local supermarket in Boone, we were well supplied for everything we needed in our condo. Food and beverages provided for our breakfasts, snacks and even dinner, while soap and softener made it possible to use the capacious stacked washer/dryer to do our own laundry. And if you’re wondering what the vacation bit was, let me say, the resort itself provided the most relaxing part. Sitting on the large back patio overlooking the mountains and forests brought a level of relaxation not found in the big cities. Blowing Rock, though a small community, has many boutique shops that are fun and local art resources are great. Parks, skiing (in winter), hiking, tourist attractions and community activities abound in the region, so we had plenty to keep us busy.

The most important part of this vacation though, was not activities, it was family. Spending time with the kids, sitting in the living room watching television, sharing a home-cooked meal, and yes, doing the laundry as a family activity was great. It brought us the unique feeling of being family, a rare commodity today.

Chetola, an historic inn once the home of a Coca-Cola founder, provides an excellent restaurant with a superb chef, spa and amenities, along with special programs. One of them makes a variety of Porsches available to you for rental. There’s a stocked lake for trout fishing, a waterfall and babbling brook, expansive conference facilities and so much more.

Naturally, if you don’t feel like getting up and making the bed or doing the dishes and laundry, the hotel can optionally provide full housekeeping services. Yes, I did give this a long thought, and was just about to pick up the phone, when I thought… Hmmm, laundry is a family activity.

We really enjoyed our three nights together as a family. Thanks exclusively to the wonderful place we stayed, Chetola Resort.

Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock
The Bob Timberlake Inn at Chetola Resort
PO Box 17
North Main Street
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
800-243-8652 or 800-CHETOLA
Local: 828-295-5500
Fax: 828-295-5529

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