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Westglow Resort & Spa is housed in a 1916 Greek Revival mansion and wrapped in Blue Ridge Mountain views.
WESTGLOW RESORT & SPA
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BY JULIE REED BELL
BLOWING ROCK, N.C.--On Travel + Leisure's most recent World's Best Awards list for top destination spas, you'd expect to find familiar brand names like Canyon Ranch. But the No. 2 spot on this coveted lineup might surprise you: Westglow Resort & Spa in Blowing Rock, N.C., 100 miles from Asheville and 200 miles from Raleigh.
Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, Westglow was built in 1916 by American artist and writer Elliott Daingerfield.
The Greek Revival home, ringed on all sides by the Blue Ridge Mountains, is named "Westglow" because of the incredible views. Daingerfield described them as "never glaring, always glowing throughout the shadows, clouds or mist."
After a tricky drive careening around mountain curves, a hairpin turn into a formal driveway opens up to a stately mansion and ridge-upon-ridge views as Daingerfield's description comes to brilliant life.
Guests lounge on the west portico sipping wine and watching the sun set behind the grandeur of Grandfather Mountain. You feel suddenly cocooned and set apart from the rest of the world.
Westglow remained in the Daingerfield family until 1978, when fitness devotee Glynda Valentine bought the residence and turned it into a spa.
In 2005, Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer purchased the 20-acre estate, and in 2006 it first appeared on Travel + Leisure's destination spas list, coming in at No. 15. In 2009, Westglow joined Relais & Chateaux, an elite association of luxury hotels and restaurants.
The Schaefers expanded the resort beyond the manor house, adding more lodging at Cedar Lodge, a rustic triplex across the road, as well as a Life Enrichment Center with spa facilities and exercise rooms.
Westglow offers plenty of opportunities for both relaxation and fitness and outdoor activities.
There are guided hikes on nearby mountain trails (led in the morning by Valentine), a lap pool, tennis court, exercise classes and gym with weight-training and cardio equipment.
Spa fitness packages include weight-loss programs and wellness services like stress counseling.
Hiking, biking and luxury camping are available, too, along with activities arranged through local outfitters such as canoeing, kayaking, fly fishing, golfing, horseback riding, rock climbing and whitewater rafting.
Private personal trainers as well as Pilates and tennis instructors are also at hand.
WHAT: Westglow Resort & Spa: 224 Westglow Circle, Blowing Rock, N.C.; westglowresortandspa.com, 828/295-4463. All-inclusive packages include accommodations, three gourmet meals, an hourlong spa treatment, use of all spa amenities, fitness and relaxation classes. HOW MUCH: Rates per night, per person. High season, May-October, Sunday-Thursday, $575 single, $425 double occupancy; weekends and holidays, single occupancy, $625, double occupancy, $450. Rates lower for lodging only and for November-April stays.