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Mountain Lake resort reopens this weekend

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Mountain Lake Hotel in Pembroke reopens as Mountain Lake Lodge the weekend of May 3-5 following an extensive, multimillion-dollar renovation that added new amenities and attractions to the property’s 2,600 acres.

The lodge is offering a sneak peak of its new look during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and media tour at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1.

The renovated lodge features 43 rooms in Main Stone Lodge, 16 in Chestnut Lodge, nine mountain homes in Blueberry Ridge, eight historic rustic cabins and nine front lawn cottages. New bedding, carpets and fixtures have been added to rooms, and the lobby also was renovated. Guests are welcome to bring pets.

The Mary Moody Northern Endowment owns the mountaintop property, while Mountain Lake Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, protects the land and wildlife resources in what is essentially a nature preserve.

Other new additions include the Harvest Restaurant and Stony Creek Tavern serving locally sourced food.  With the addition of two new facilities opening in June, Mountain Lake Outfitters and Mountain Lake Treetop Adventures, the resort plans to offer many outdoor activities including hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, archery, geocaching and tubing. Mountain Lake Treetop Adventures also is equipped with an aerial adventure course featuring a zip line and high ropes.

“In renovating our property to be a comfortable, value-oriented outdoor adventure lodge, we wanted to restore the comfort and charm of the property and introduce new attractions and amenities while retaining a nonprofit ownership committed to ensuring Mountain Lake’s natural surroundings are available for future generations,” Mountain Lake Lodge’s new general manager, Jeff Burrell, said in a statement.

The property will employ about 120 people. It is well known as one of the filming sites for the 1987 movie,  “Dirty Dancing.”

According to lodge officials, the property’s hallmark Mountain Lake is starting to fill up from the spring thaw. Work was done over the winter to stabilize and restore the lake’s natural water level.

Scientific research conducted by Radford University and Virginia Tech over the past several years revealed holes caused by a shift in sediment that increased leakage and resulted in falling lake levels. With a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, crews used an environmentally safe process using natural materials to accelerate the filling of the holes with natural sediments taken from the lake basin. Reducing water leakage through the holes will help the basin retain more of the rain and snowmelt and naturally restore the lake.

“Historically, Mountain Lake has been a significant natural asset that was a draw for people seeking a unique experience with nature,” Burrell said. “The lake has been an important recreational feature for decades, contributing to the scenic value of the property. We’re excited to see the geological work, under the guidance of our two local universities, starting to take effect with an ever-higher lake levels.”

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