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.