Frances “Baby” Houseman and Johnny Castle inspired many as they danced their way into a summer romance in the Catskill Mountains. To experience something akin to the adventurous summer at Kellerman’s Resort may have been a dream for fans of the film, but now that dream can become a reality. Prepare yourself to walk, eat, sleep, and of course dance, on the same grounds as Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze did while filming the 1987 classic, Dirty Dancing!
Fans of the ’80s film can now venture to the same settings where Dirty Dancing was shot. For a few weekends every summer the lodge where parts of the movie were filmed hosts Dirty Dancing themed weekends. If you think that sounds like the ideal summer getaway, then brace yourselves for this next tidbit: Superfans everywhere can also get more of the Dirty Dancing experience at a festival honoring the film. Hosted in Lake Lure, North Carolina, where other parts of the film were shot, the Annual Dirty Dancing Festival is not to be missed. We urge you to put on your dancing shoes and make arrangements to attend one (or both!) of these fun, interactive summer getaways!
Get The Dirty Dancing Experience
The idea of a Dirty Dancing summer camp for adults seems far fetched. In fact, it sounds downright too good to be true, however, we can assure you it is real -- and it’s an experience no Dirty Dancing enthusiast should miss out on.
Fans can get dressed up in their favorite Dirty Dancing attire and discover the magic behind the film at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Every year, there are four Dirty Dancing themed weekends with itineraries full of Dirty Dancing-inspired activities. Some of the activities include group dance lessons, a dance party at Mary’s Barn, and a scavenger hunt. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served at the lodge’s on-site cafe, Harvest.
Accommodations offer guests the chance to stay at the main stone lodge shown in the movie, front lawn cottages, or historic rustic cabins. There is additional lodging and individual homes are available for booking as well.
Rates start at $350 a night for a double-occupancy room. Although three of the four weekends for 2019 have passed, there is still one last chance for a 2019 Dirty Dancing weekend starting on August 23. Act quickly before it’s completely booked, or at very least get Dirty Dancing camp on your agenda for 2020!
The Real Kellerman’s Resort
Many people who’ve come to love the film will remember the location as Kellerman’s Resort, but the location’s real name is Mountain Lake Lodge. The resort gets a lot of its traffic from fans of Dirty Dancing hoping to hunt down the iconic resort shown on film. Since the 1850s, however, the lodge has been servicing guests and enjoying a steady stream of business since it’s close to the Appalachian Mountains and Virginia Tech according to Baltimore magazine.
Heidi Stone, Mountain Lake Lodge’s general manager, attempted to lessen the lodge’s reliance on traffic from the film by incorporating some renovations and adding an adventure center that includes a ropes course, archery tag, and a very large inflatable slide -- the tallest inflatable slide in the U.S. However, overall, she acknowledges the importance of the film for their business, “People are coming here, essentially, to see Kellerman’s,” Stone told Baltimore magazine.
The article on Mountain Lake Lodge goes on to say, “wherever you look, there are reminders -- some subtle, some not -- of the resort’s cinematic legacy: a large sign reading ‘Kellerman’s Mountain House’ stands proudly on the front lawn; a glass cabinet inside the main lobby showcases movie merchandise; signposts scattered around the grounds point out the locations of crucial shots; and one TV in the bar plays the movie on a continuous loop.”
Even the lodge’s employees are required to watch the film before being hired just in case visitors decide to pick their brains on the lodge’s connection to the film.
One can only imagine how tiresome the film references become for employees, but that is quickly replaced by seeing eager guests.
“It’s like taking a kid to Disney World. You may have been there 25 times, but the kid hasn’t, and they’re like ‘Whoa!’” Stone told Baltimore.
Can’t Get Enough Of Dirty Dancing?
As many of the dates for the fun-filled Dirty Dancing weekends at Mountain Lake Lodge have passed, perhaps you’re wondering if there are other ways you can transport yourself back in time to the world of Baby and Johnny. Well, you’re in luck -- there is more Dirty Dancing fun to be had!
Lake Lure, a town in North Carolina, puts on a Dirty Dancing festival every year in honor of the beloved film. Why this town of all places? Well, the parts of the film that weren’t shot at Mountain Lake Lodge were filmed here! The 2019 festival is being held on September 13 and 14 and this year marks the festival’s 10-year anniversary.
When, Where, And What Happens?
Friday night’s events will span from 5 to 11 p.m., beginning with a kick-off party full of live music, entertainment, and, of course, dancing lessons. At 8 p.m. there will be a free screening of Dirty Dancing. There will also be a tribute to the festival’s 10th anniversary, recognition of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan), and a time to honor the festival’s special guests and remember the late Patrick Swayze, who had pancreatic cancer.
Saturday’s events will span from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will include a full day of live music, watermelon races, games, competitions, contests, dance performances by the Asheville Ballet, and more dancing lessons. To end the celebration, brave souls can line up to re-enact Baby and Johnny’s water scene by participating in the Lake Lift Competition.
The festival’s website has a listing of the live-entertainment lineup. Be sure to take a look and get inspired!
Tickets for the event are on sale now and are sold by the day. Tickets for Friday night’s festivities start at $10 for adults, $5 for children, and group prices (for 10 attendees and up) are $8. Tickets for Saturday’s festivities are $25 for adults, $10 for children, and group tickets are discounted to $22.50 (for 10 attendees and up). A percentage of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan).
So, before the summer is out, pack your bags -- don’t forget your dancing shoes -- and dive into the world of Dirty Dancing while participating in these unique experiences at iconic locations!
Headed to Lake Lure? Great Smoky Mountains National Park is less than an hour and 30 minutes away, so why not pencil in one (or more!) of these eight beautiful Smoky Mountain hiking trails for even more nostalgia-inducing scenery?