Massanutten, Virginia: Population = 2591, elevation = 1384 feet, average January low temp = 22.2, Average July high temp = 86, average sunny days = 178, annual snowfall = 24.6, annual rainfall = 35.5, air quality index = 85, water quality index = 70, comfort index = 46
We were a little confused by where exactly we were going for this week. The ad in RCI said McGaheysville. When we got there though, the directions led us to Massanutten. As it turns out, McGaheysville is the closest town to Massanutten. Massanutten is both a town and a resort. I guess there are enough full-time residents living in and around the resort area to make it a town in its own right.
Since the RCI sale price for the week was so low ($235 a week!!), we were expecting another tattered old cabin in the woods with few neighbors or amenities. Instead, we found ourselves in the midst of a huge resort that covers most of a mountain. Amenities include a ski resort (chairlift rides and mountain biking in the summer), two golf courses, several bars and restaurants, kayak and canoe excursions, arts and crafts classes, a spa, go karts, a water park, racquetball, tennis, hiking trails, zip lines, pools and hot tubs, horseback riding, shows, concerts, and more. There are about 3,000 units to time share, rent, or, as we soon found out, buy.
During the checkin procedure, we were directed to another desk for our parking pass. Before we got the parking pass, we got the offer; if we would attend a sales presentation, we would get activities cards good for $200 of free or discounted activities. This is not our first rodeo, so we took the cards. Wednesday at noon, we met the two guys for the pitch. First to the waterpark for a look around and a free buffet lunch. Then to an apartment building with display units. Then back to the pressure cooker conference room where this week’s crop of gullible tourists were being played. We listened to the BS, watched as they drew numbers and diagrams, and smiled as they slowly dropped the price and points and deals. Dealmaker A dropped out, to be replaced by dealmaker C, an older and more experienced hand. When they finally accepted that we were not budging, they sent us on to a cute little folksy lady who was actually dealmaker D. She had one last offer for us, but we shot that down too. Free at last…
I am devoting a lot of time and text to the timeshare sales pitch here, I know. If you have never seen one though, I want to warn you about it. There are two basic flavors: weeks and points. With the weeks, you get one week a year at a specific resort that you can either use or trade for a week at another resort. With points, you buy so many points that can then be used to obtain weeks at any of the seller’s resorts. Either way is not worth it. To get weeks, you buy more weeks than you would use in a lifetime, and you have to pay yearly fees and trading fees, and many other fees. With points, you never really know what they are worth. It depends on the resort and area and the time of year. And you still pay all those fees before you can use anything. Trust me, you can do a lot better for yourself by just booking a resort when you need one.
That being said, I have to admit that the Massanutten Resort is beautifully located in the Shenandoah Mountains, the units are mostly very comfortable, and there is a lot to do. But if you ever go, just rent, don’t buy.
Next up: Virginia Beach, Virginia