9.15.2020

NC Travel after COVID: Fall in Love and Feel Safe with The Chetola Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains

185 Chetola Lake Dr, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, USA

Travel in 2020 has been a downer. For many, it has been non-existent. With hotels and restaurants closed, COVID quarantine restrictions, many traveler's plans were scrapped, or people were afraid of traveling. My own family vacation to France and Germany came to a screeching halt. No flights going to France made that decision automatically for us. Still, even if traveling continued all summer during this health crisis, I do not believe we would have continued with our plans to Europe at all. More than likely, we would have canceled them on our own. 


Lucky for me, I live in North Carolina. I have a beautiful state to explore in my own backyard. North Carolina ranked sixth in the nation for overnight visitation in tourism last year. In fact, North Carolina was on an upward swing in tourism spending in all 100 counties. 



The lake on the Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC
The Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC



Unfortunately, no one could predict the massive tourism halt that COVID caused in 2020.  Hotels and restaurants were closed to guests for months. When they slowly started opening at 50% capacity, they were faced with the public hesitation about travel in general and the additional responsibility of extra sanitation and safety diligence. 


Chetola Resort Lodge




During quarantine, I launched a new Live Interview Chat from my home office on OutaboutNC Instagram. Each week, that interview segment became my weekly dose of joy and my new connection to NC.  When Governor Roy Cooper announced the state could operate in Phase 2 of COVID Restrictions, I interviewed management with the Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock. It was one of the first hotels in North Carolina to undergo the new "Count on Me NC" NCRLA Safety Certification. 





After that interview with Chetola, I had the itch to travel and look at something besides my living room.  Will was more skittish about travel than I was. However, he was sad about missing our trip to Europe.


Leigh Powell Hines, founder of OutaboutNC/HinesSightBlog Visits the Chetola Resort during COVID



After some sweet talk-coaxing, I convinced Will that getting away would be excellent for our family's mental health.  Let me rephrase that. I did say it would be good for our mental health, but I also flat out announced I would take the Chetola Resort up on its offer for a press trip. He could stay home and work or go with us to the mountains, but COVID would not stop me. I felt confident in the steps the resort put into place after my interview.  I also was so tired of cooking in quarantine that the thought of getting room-service was really appealing. 

My list of pros for visiting the Chetola Resort was strong. 


I stressed that the hotel was taking a full 24-hours between guests to clean rooms during COVID. This top-ranked North Carolina mountain resort, located on 78-acres between the mountain towns of Boone and Blowing Rock, has received many housekeeping accolades throughout the years, so cleanliness has always been a resort strength. Still, that strength is even more critical in 2020 and is at the top of every guest's check-list due to the COVID circumstances. 


The Chetola Resort recently received the AAA "Best of Housekeeping" Award.  Following CDC guidelines, masks were also required in all public spaces. Temperatures of all guests were being taken at the entry gate before checking-in


The resort's Timberlake restaurant served at 50 percent capacity, offering take-out, room service, and outside seating.  The hotel also had a list of restaurants at the Front Desk that offered outdoor dining and take-out in Blowing Rock and Boone. 


Another strong pro travel point I gave to Will was there were activities for us to do on the property, so it would definitely feel like a vacation. The pro there for safety is that there was a lot to do outside while staying on the resort property.  If we didn't feel safe leaving the resort to go into Boone or Blowing Rock, we would be entertained with tennis courts, resort activities,  hiking, and swimming. 


The Blowing Rock-Boone area is also an easy drive two to three-hour drive from Raleigh. It is shorter in length than a trip to the Asheville area. 


And last, but certainly not least, our dog, Andy, could go with us to Blowing Rock for this get-away. The Chetola Resort is pet-friendly in the newly-renovated Chetola Lodge only. The condos available for reservations through the hotel reservation system and The Bob Timberlake Inn do not allow pets.  VRBO rentals on resort property for individual condos could possibly allow four-legged friends if you want to stay on the resort property in a larger space. 



Pet-friendly Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC

Andy our poodle loved the Chetola Resort.  


I could not think of one negative con to put on the list for not making the trip. However, we did agree that if either one of us did not feel comfortable about something while staying at the resort when it came to COVID safety, we would leave even if on a press trip. 


Luckily for us, there was not one concern during our three-night stay at the Chetola Resort, and we had the best family vacation that we've had in a very long time. It was relaxing, and just like its name in the Cherokee language was meant to be,  Chetola is a truly a "haven of rest." I think everyone needs to visit the North Carolina mountains and enjoy this resort in any season. 


The Chetola Lodge is my Preferred Lodging Choice



I like the location of the Chetola Lodge, which is the resort's pet-friendly option for guests. There are 42 modern, nicely decorated, and also in this building is resort ware and local sundries, including the best cider from Appalachian Mountain Brewery. The lodge is adjacent to the Bob Timberlake Restaurant and all the resort amenities such as the indoor pool, the spa, and recreational activities ran by the hotel. 




The Bob Timberlake Inn is operated more like a Bed and Breakfast manor above the resort's restaurant in the estate's old manor house. It's a romantic hideaway for couples only featuring a complimentary cheese and wine reception plus a butler's pantry for ice cream and drinks.  The inn rooms depict artist Bob Timberlake's craftsman furnishing style and feature period furnishings from the 1920s to the 1940s. 


The Chetola Premier Condominiums make up the majority of accommodations on the scenic 78-acres. One hundred one to four-bedroom-condos are individually owned, and many are available for both nightly and weekly rental through both the resort. 




Chetola Resort Condos


Condos are dotted throughout the estate, and some condos are a mile or so away from the restaurant and resort activities.  All condominium guests have access to resort amenities, but they do not have housekeeping services. Condos under the resort's management are not pet-friendly. 


Check-In and Housekeeping During COVID


The Chetola resort has implemented a touchless check-in service since reopening after COVID, and the housekeeping staff does not enter your room once you have checked-in. Each morning, I greeted housekeeping in the hall, got fresh towels, and replenished coffee supplies. Our room was spotless, and I did not have one concern about cleanliness. 


I loved our balcony overlooking the resort lake, and all of you know that this type of vacation is my cup of tea. We are not very active. Some may call my family boring, but we had enough adventure and relaxation mixed in with this stay, and we left feeling relaxed and rested as opposed to being on the go. 


The Spa at Chetola Has Medical Grade Ventilation Fans in Treatment Rooms

Spa services are back open at Chetola. This was my first time visiting the spa on the property, even though it was my third time staying at the resort. The Chetola spa is tucked away adjacent to the indoor pool. It's full-service but small in capacity even before COVID.  In 2020, spa capacity is so low now for that safety reasons that you feel as if you have been whisked away like a Hollywood Star, and you are the only person they are pampering. The resort is spacing out their appointments, so that will be the case. It is truly a magical experience, and probably at the top of my spa experience list. 


The spa at the Chetola Resort


The Chetola Resort spa menu is extensive, and they are offering their full-spa menu except for a couple massage.  Spa guests are asked to receive spa services in a mask. 


When this spa first opened, it was built as a medical-grade spa, and that is now a blessing for the resort because the ventilation is top-notch, which is another plus that makes guests feel more comfortable post-COVID.


This spa experience was so great that I think it would make the perfect girlfriend getaway for a spa weekend. Blowing Rock is known for its adorable shops, great food, and add a visit to this spa and resort, then you will have a perfect getaway. 


On-Site Chetola Resort Recreation


Archery lessons at the Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC



The Chetola Resort offers so many fun activities for the family such as campfire s'mores, paddleboat rides, archery lessons, disc golf, tennis, pickleball, lake fishing, and hiking. My family loved the archery lessons. While the girls toured all the accommodations on the property with marketing, Will and my son got in a game of disc golf.  That was also great exercise because the course took them throughout the resort's sprawling condominium area. 


The premier condo area at the Chetola Resort in Blue Ridge Mountains


Chetola Sporting Reserve


The sporting reserve within the Chetola Resort
The Chetola Resort Sporting Reserve is off-site of the main property and is about a 30-minute drive away from the resort. 

The Chetola Resort operates a state-of-the-art sporting reserve about thirty minutes away from the resort. To get there, you basically go up a mountain then back down a steep cliff. I did not visit the reserve, but Will and my son decided to reserve a spot for shooting. They loved the experience. Will thought there was a lot of value for the approximate $200 cost for the two of them. I think this activity was a highlight for some father and son bonding. Meanwhile, Andy, my daughter, and I tried the paddle boats and kayaking. 


Recreational activities at Chetola Resort


The Sporting Reserve features clay shooting, rifle and pistol range,  archery, Orvis endorsed fly fishing and special events. The sporting reserve also coordinates snow skiing, tubing, zip-lining, golf at Hound Ears Club and white water rafting. 


Timberlake's Restaurant at the Chetola Resort 

Chetola Resort Timberlake's Restaurant serving casual, comfort-style food.



I like to save the best for last when I write about hotel stays. Guests need to eat, and when a resort restaurant is good, that makes a hotel stay even better, especially in this post-COVID travel time.  For us, dining at Timberlake's was an easy choice, especially because Andy was with us on this trip.


Patio dining with a dog in Blowing Rock at Chetola Resort


 As sweet and cute that he may be, Andy is, unfortunately, a high maintenance traveler and barks when he is left alone in a room. We had no choice but to take him with us wherever we dined.  


Under the culinary leadership of Matt Rivers, Timberlake's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It has a very casual, comfort-food style, and Bob Timberlake, a foodie, gave his seal of approval before putting his name behind any menu item.  We ate two dinners and one lunch at the restaurant. One last dinner at the resort was a carry-out meal that we ate on our porch. 





I was extremely impressed with the food, and that's nothing new for me because when I visited the resort years ago, I felt the food was very memorable then.  I plan to share one of Matt River's recipes on this blog soon for the home chef. 


The special lunch order request for the delicious Korean BBQ short ribs


The Korean BBQ short ribs was a clear family favorite entree.  I had it with delicious collards and golden roasted potatoes. My youngest child, after tasting my entree,  loved the short ribs so much that we had to ask if they would make a lunch portion for her.  It's also important to note that our waitress had no idea that I was there working with the resort for an editorial review. She immediately asked the chef if that was possible. He had not even met me yet, but Chef Rivers was so thrilled that some child would want his Korean BBQ shortribs for lunch that he gave her a huge portion.


I personally think the gesture speaks volumes about the resort's customer service. Staff from housekeeping to the front desk make this resort so special. Resorts can have the most beautiful views and facilities, but if customer-service is off then a guest's stay is off. I feel 100 percent confident in recommending this resort to vacationers.  The  Chetola Resort is a family-owned resort, and by its customer service, it shows.  They treat their staff like family and the attitude is passed on to its guests. 


The sesame ginger dressing was divine. It was so good that I almost licked the bowl. 


I must point out that this area of the North Carolina mountains has great food in general. Some of the meals I had at other area restaurants are some of my best tasting meals in 2020.  Be sure to watch my live interview with Chef Matt Kelly on Timberlake's patio. He shares some hints about how he makes his Korean BBQ and the sesame dressing I adored. 


Resort Packages at the Chetola Resort 

Many resort packages are bundled together for travel savings. We experienced the resort's doggone friendly package. At the front desk, there was a welcome sign for all the guests with four paws. Typically, pet owners are assigned to the first floor of the lodge for easy access. 




When the doggone friendly package is active (it goes in and out on the calendar and is a popular summer package), the pet-fee is waived, and dogs get a complimentary bandana, leash, doggie treats, and pup bags in a cute fire hydrant dispenser. 


Dogs and humans have plenty of places to walk on the resort



Whether you escape for two-nights or a week, you will fall in love with the Chetola Resort. I did. 


The Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC, a Western NC mountain town on the Blue  Ridge Parkway, is pet-friendly




Read some of my older Blowing Rock area posts when my kids were a lot younger. 


Check out more recent  posts about this beautiful area in the NC Mountains from my friends at NC Tripping.com

13 Wonderful Hikes Near Blowing Rock, Boone, and Banner Elk

17 Beautiful Waterfalls near Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk

Glen Burney Trail in Blowing Rock

A Weekend in Blowing Rock: 25 Things To Do, Hotels, and More


We visited the Chetola Resort in July 2020. My editorial writing is funded through my Beautycounter affiliate website. Join my new VIP group on Facebook for Deals and Sales. It pays to shop clean. 


Fall in love with two of my favorite Beautycounter products: Vitamin C-Serum and The Overnight Resurfacing Peel


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