Resort's guides, gear make activities a snap

September 13, 2009 

  • Take Interstate 40 West to Interstate 77 North. Go to N.C. 89; drive east on N.C. 89 to Mount Airy; take N.C. 103 North (becomes Va. 103). At Claudville, take State Road 773 West to State Road 763; follow SR 763 to Primland's south gate.


    The Lodge: $199-$475; the Pinnacles Suite is $1,200.

    Cabins, cottages: $250-$775: Friday-Saturday; less other days of the week. Accommodations range from three to seven bedrooms.


    Golf: $200 per round; includes cart.

    Hunting: Half-day bird (wing-tail) hunting: $369 per person, guide included. Wild turkey hunt package: $750-$1,300 per person, including lodging, all meals.

    Deer: $1,800 package includes three nights of lodging, all meals and harvesting up to three qualified bucks.

    Shooting clay pigeons: $15-$59 per person (two-person minimum), depending on number of stations and shotgun shells; packages, instruction available.

    Catch-and-release fly-fishing: $155 per angler (half-day), $250 (full day; includes guide and lunch).

    Four-wheel ATV tour: $130 per person (two-person minimum); includes three hours of riding; guide provided.

    Horseback riding: $100 per guest (two-person minimum); three hours of riding; guide provided.



Shoot clay pigeons? Not since two winters ago in Wisconsin. Fly-fishing? I've seen guys on TV waving those wands over streams. All-terrain vehicles? Never ridden one -- but they looked like fun.

Because most outdoor activities at Primland are guided or partly guided, you can try something you may not know beans about. Plus, the resort can provide all the equipment.

On our August visit, guiding the Charlotte slickers was soft-spoken and slow-burn Carl McDaniel, 45, a Virginia Tech forestry grad who joined Primland in its lumber days and now is supervisor of hunting and outdoor activities.

Saturday afternoon. We hopped in a Primland SUV and headed to the shooting stand, near the resort's south entrance.

On the way, McDaniel explained what we were about to try is "golf with a gun." The "course" consisted of 14 stations, each with a shooting stand (ground level or elevated), usually planking edged with a porch-type rail.

Some machines launched the bright-orange clay disks high in a clearing; others sent the clays rolling across the line of fire like jack rabbits.

The shotguns, earplugs and shells were all Orvis, as is most of the equipage here. Primland is endorsed by that sporting-goods manufacturer -- a seal-of-approval that draws serious sportsmen.

Sunday morning. McDaniel and Carl Haas took us fly-fishing.

We got three-day Virginia fishing licenses and were fitted for waders. We drove down the mountain ridge and a few miles off the property, to a public-owned stretch of the Dan River. The river is only a foot or two deep along here, and perhaps 18 to 24 feet at its widest. It's the home of small and wild brook, brown and rainbow trout, and the stream was as clear as tap water.

Fly-fishing rods are long and technologically simple. The trick is to stand where the fish aren't -- and use the long rod to whip the end of your line to where they might be. This is, of course, easier said than done. And the lushness of the brush along the riversides complicated matters. When our lines and flies (invariably) became permanently lodged in branches, the two Carls pulled replacement gear from their well-stocked jackets and offered tips.

Sunday afternoon: Down to the Primland motor pool, for helmets, goggles and ATVs from their 15-vehicle fleet. There are 90 miles of trails at Primland, and over three hours, McDaniel took us single-file over perhaps a third.

The ATVs were easy to use and given the varied terrain, this was quite fun. We rode to the Primland kennels to visit the bird-hunting dogs and rode up and down balds and peaks.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service