Holiday fun: Oglebay Resort’s Festival of Lights [classic article]

Immerse yourself in the holiday season at Oglebay Resort. Set on 1,800 acres, the resort features beautiful with hills, far-reaching vistas and historic buildings.

There’s a wide range of accommodations from private executive homes to the Wilson Lodge, which offers a “big family” feel. A fun option for groups is the rustic but comfortable cottages, some of which are pet-friendly. With huge, wood-burning fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, full kitchens and privacy, you can enjoy all of the amenities of the resort and have your own party, too. (Note: The deer are unafraid of humans and congregate near the cottages.)

Since Oglebay Resort has so many promotions and packages, it’s best to check their website for rates. It’s about a five-hour drive from the Baltimore metro area to Wheeling, West Virginia.

Where to eat

No need to leave the resort. Oglebay has a full selection of dining options from casual to elegant.

The Glass Works Grill in the Lodge serves classic pub fare and comfort food, but with a thoughtful, food-lover’s touch.

View holiday lights and the winter scene through Jeffersonian windows at the Ihlenfeld Dining Room, where breakfast buffets, family-friendly dinner buffets and fine-dining a la carte menus are served. The restaurant is a steak and chop house, with beautifully presented accompaniments and fine wine collection.

The award-winning Festival of Lights is a six-mile car ride though 300 acres of intricate holiday light arrangements, including many that move. Different sections of the resort have a different holiday feel, including home-like, good old-fashioned, childhood favorites and elegant Christmas gardens. The festival runs nightly through January 8, 2012.

Oglebay has several upscale shops, including an extensive collection of West Virginia made art glass, gourmet foods, and during the season, Christmas items – including items to make your own Oglebay-like light displays.

The Good Zoo on the premises has 30 acres of wild animals, including exotic species from around the globe. Model train enthusiasts will enjoy the collection at the zoo entrance highlighting trains that were so important to the area’s commerce.

The Mansion Museum is much more than a collection of Victorian housewares: there’s a “Main Street” depicting historic Wheeling, as well as other important historic items of the area. Each exhibit has been decorated to celebrate the holiday season.

Oglebay has many things to do for active folks: horseback riding, golf courses and ranges designed by Arnold Palmer and Robert Trent Jones, miles of walking trails, an indoor pool and a luxury spa.

If you’re craving some late nightlife, Oglebay is only a few minutes from Wheeling Island Casino and Racetrack.

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