Boar’s Head Resort is more than a hotel. Steeped in history, Boar’s Head resides on 600 acres and is conveniently located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just minutes away from the University of Virginia (UVA) and downtown Charlottesville.
Cover photo courtesy Boar’s Head Resort
Owned and operated by the UVA Foundation, Boar’s Head Resort has a close partnership with the university and benefits from fundraising efforts that finance ongoing renovations in keeping with world-class standards.
The only AAA Four Diamond Resort in Charlottesville, Boar’s Head offers 168 elegant rooms and suites and more than 20,000 square feet of meeting facilities. Southern hospitality, elegant lodging, fine dining, luxury spa services and an array of sporting activities in nature will transform any stay into an experience. The experience will be a memorable one thanks to the completion of a $15.5 million renovation project with more upgrades to come.
The renovations, designed by Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry of Atlanta, include a relocation of the hotel’s main entrance and porte cochère for better access and flow. According to Russ Cronberg, Boar’s Head general manager, the new entrance opens to a completely reimagined lobby and the roomy lounge areas are now adorned with artwork from area artists.
“Our guests walk into a totally transformed area filled with natural elements, bookshelves adorned with historic reference materials and updated furnishings, making it a truly unique gathering place,” he said.
In addition to the lobby and entrance renovations, Johnson Studio transformed the Mill Room restaurant. While retaining its signature feature of old beams and fireplace, the restaurant now offers an extensive wine cellar and a spacious bar area in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. The adjoining terrace room offers intimate and formal dining. The restaurant also has a separate entrance that allows diners to bypass the registration area.
According to Shawn Jernigan, director of food and beverage, this new space is a carefully curated mixture of old and new.
“History still runs deep in this space. We now have increased natural lighting that illuminates the existing 1834 wood beams that provide a focal point for the room.”Shawn Jernigan
The Mill Room’s massive hand-hewn beams are from pines harvested in Thomas Jefferson’s time—a fitting use of materials for a site with such a long and distinguished history.
“The marquee element of this project is a glass-backed bar that enlivens the main restaurant seating areas, giving the space an open and airy feel,” Jernigan added.
The newly designed restaurant seats 200 guests and has an upgraded porch, with a private dining area and flexible banquet space for larger gatherings. The menu reflects a modern farm-to-table concept. Meat, produce and dairy are purchased from local farms. At the entrance of Chef Dale Ford’s kitchen is a tall rack filled with various greens still growing in hydroponic containers; as orders come in for salads, greens are plucked from the rack. The resort also offers two other venues for dining—Racquets Restaurant at the Sports Club and Birdwood Grill, which is currently closed for renovation.
Boar’s Head’s Pavilion has a large banquet/conference room and a smaller executive boardroom; it can serve large groups for weddings and conferences, and is also equipped with business centers and serving areas for food preparation.
The spa offers massage, body and nail treatments, as well as skin and facial care. It also advocates natural and preventative healing using plants and herbs. The spa combines this practice—and some of the same plants used by Jefferson—with the latest technology.
The Boar’s Head Sports Club offers top-notch facilities for a variety of exercise opportunities. These include indoor/outdoor tennis courts, squash center, three outdoor pools, 25-foot indoor climbing wall and fitness center.
The nationally acclaimed tennis program was recently ranked as one of the top 25 tennis resorts in the world by Tennis Resorts Online; since 2002, Boar’s Head has been named a Top 50 U.S. Tennis Resort by Tennis Magazine. Leagues, programs and instruction are available for both tennis and pickle ball.
Built in 2013, the McArthur Squash Center hosts many national events. Last year, it underwent a multimillion-dollar expansion and hosted the World Masters Squash Championship, the event’s first time in the United States.
Birdwood Golf Course, UVA’s official home course, closed on Nov. 25, 2018, for significant renovations. The UVA Foundation hired Ryder Cup Captain and PGA Hall of Famer Davis Love III and the Love Golf Design team to develop a plan to take Birdwood to the next level. Scheduled for completion in 2020, the $11 million renovation will provide an elite golf experience for members, resort guests, the university and local community.
“People are going to love the new Birdwood course because it is a new golf course,” said Love. “There’s actually new holes on new land and holes going in different directions. Plus, there’s a new putting course, a new short course, hitting bays and new practice areas for the University of Virginia’s men’s and women’s golf teams.”
The new championship golf course will feature 24 new holes with five sets of tees to accomodate all skill levels. Birdwood offers a swing studio, where golfers can have their swings analyzed and receive instruction. The studio can also be used for competitive play.
“We’re taking what’s already a really good golf course—a great golf course and great piece of land and making it even better. Just as we’ve cleared the land, it’s really opened up views that are unbelievable.”Martin Winters, Boar’s Head Director of Golf Operations
Birdwood was designated a wildlife sanctuary by the International Audubon Society in 2003. The renovation of the manor house on the property built by William Garth in 1818 is expected to be completed in approximately three years. The manor house will provide another venue for events and weddings. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Boar’s Head Outfitters program differentiates the resort from any other hotel property in the area. Guests and locals are invited to explore the resort’s trail system and participate in guided paddle-boarding and kayaking tours on nearby rivers and lakes.
“We started Boar’s Head Outfitters just under two years ago, and outdoor recreation has become one of our core competencies,” said Joe Hanning, marketing and communications manager. “Kayaking and paddle-boarding tours on Beaver Creek Lake, for example, are fantastic and give people breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge. The program is open to hotel guests and the public and gets people outdoors.”
Boar’s Head Outfitters also offers a “Mountain Man” experience with ancient weaponry such as archery and tomahawk throwing. The resort owns its own hawk, Wiley, for falconry.
“We’re really proud to have Wiley on the property,” Hanning added. “Falconry is such an art and lifestyle that requires devotion and skill. Guests and locals have a great opportunity to appreciate the birds of prey and reconnect with nature.”
Other Boar’s Head Outfitters family-friendly activities include paintball competition, scavenger hunts (geocaching), mountain biking and hot-air balloon rides.
Experience the nature of Boar’s Head Resort. Visit boarsheadresort.com for more information.
Joe Shields is editor in chief of The Virginia Sportsman. He is a writer and marketing executive based in Charlottesville, Virginia. His writing and photography have appeared in The Virginia Sportsman and other publications. Whether fly fishing or surfing, he loves the outdoors and celebrates sporting life and culture in his narratives.