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Is the resort from Dirty Dancing still open?

Well, sort of. Kellerman’s Mountain House in the Catskills? It’s actually Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia. This mountain resort is still open for business and hosts special Dirty Dancing-themed weekends several times each year. You can walk in the footsteps of Johnny and Baby and even carry a watermelon!

A friend tipped me off on a previous Big Trip that the filming location of Dirty Dancing was actually along our route. I immediately googled it and added it to our itinerary for the very next day.

I have loved Patrick Swayze and Dirty Dancing since it first came out, in 1987. Though I have exactly zero dancing talent, I have always secretly dreamed of being a dancer. Baby didn’t know how to dance when she arrived at Kellerman’s Resort but look how amazing she was dancing in the final scene with Johnnie!

The Mountain Lake Lodge is open year-round and you are free to walk around the grounds to see the various filming locations. The hotel has placed informational signs with photos and information from the film in the different key spots.

woman in pink dress stands in front of stone lodge next to sign that reads Kellerman's Mountain House
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BUT…

Why be satisfied with just a quick peek at the hotel? Why not also attend a Dirty Dancing theme weekend at the resort?! We discovered this option on our first visit and my daughter told me that she wanted to return for one of those weekends as a high school graduation gift.

She did not forget and five years later, we had the time of our lives, living our Dirty Dancing dreams at Kellerman’s aka Mountain Lake Lodge.

Highlights of the Dirty Dancing Weekend

Enjoy dinners in the main dining room

If you’re lucky, you might even be seated at the exact table location that Baby’s family used in the movie! We lucked out and had dinner at that table. Even if you get a different table, you’re still eating in the same room from the movie!

dining table in front of sign showing scene from movie shot in this exact spot
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Breakfast and Lunch are in Mary’s Barn.

Costume Contest and Dancing

On the first evening, there is a costume contest. Which character would you dress up as? I was impressed by the variety of costumes but my favorite was of course the amazing replica of Baby’s famous pink dress from the final dance scene, created and sewn by my daughter. A-maz-ing!

woman in pink dress stands outside a stone lodge
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After the contest, there are professional ballroom dancers to give dance instructions while you dance the night away.

The second night features even more dancing at another dance party but no costume contest this time.

Watch Dirty Dancing

There are a couple of screenings of Dirty Dancing during the weekend. Watch it again for the thousandth time or watch it for the first time! (My youngest hadn’t seen the movie before the weekend. She said that things made a lot more sense after seeing the movie. Haha!)

Dirty Dancing Trivia

Study up so you can earn bragging rights during Dirty Dancing Trivia!

Dirty Dancing Scavenger Hunt

Enjoy finding scenes from the movie as you complete the Dirty Dancing scavenger hunt.

wooden gazebo
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wooden cabin with green roof in background and sign in foreground says Baby's Cabin
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Lawn Games

Is it a vacation at Kellerman’s without lawn games? Enjoy some games out on the front lawn.

Stock up on Dirty Dancing Souvenirs

There’s even a gift shop next to the lodge so you can stock up on cute Dirty Dancing sweatshirts and other fun souvenirs.

Take a hike

There are a few trails around the lodge to enjoy a nice hike. My girls climbed up the hill behind the lodge and the view is pretty great up there!

Where did the lake go?

You may have noticed in the pictures above that the lake from the movie is gone. For the longest time it was a mystery why it disappeared (and then came back and then disappeared again).

green field surrounded by hills is site of former Mountain Lake
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The video below does a great job of explaining the mystery of the disappearing lake. There is also a long scientific explanation on Virginia Places. I didn’t realize that there are only two lakes in Virginia that aren’t man-made. Apparently we don’t have the right geography for lakes to form – the water erodes the land into streams instead of pooling into a lake.

And because I love a podcast… Here’s the Stuff You Should Know Short Stuff episode about the Disappearing Dirty Dancing Lake.

Tips

Bring snacks. The hotel is a 30-minute drive, up a winding mountain road so you won’t be able to go out to grab a quick bite. There is a restaurant on site but you may want to have some food on hand to snack between meals.

Cell phone service can be spotty. (see above – winding mountain road) Plan to unplug and enjoy the quiet of nature and fresh mountain air.

Book early if you want to attend a theme weekend. The 2022 dates are already sold out and it’s only February! I recommend calling the hotel to find out when the booking window opens for these special Dirty Dancing-themed weekends.

Take lots of pictures and have fun!!

woman in pink dress poses on wooden bridge
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Visit the other Dirty Dancing filming location

The scenes in the staff quarters and the hotel ballrooms as well as some exterior shots were filmed near Lake Lure, NC. An old summer camp there was used for the staff quarters and the ballrooms. Unfortunately, all of those buildings are gone now. There isn’t much to see in Lake Lure as far as actual filming locations but they do host an annual Dirty Dancing Festival which raises money for pancreatic cancer in honor of Patrick Swayze.

Here’s a video with Dirty Dancing Festival highlights…

One thing Lake Lure still has is a lake so if you want to re-create the lake lift scene, you’ll have to do that in North Carolina.

Watch The Real Dirty Dancing on Fox

Remember those secret dancing dreams of mine? I live them out by watching dance competitions on tv such as Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. Well now I can watch the Real Dirty Dancing! Even better, it was actually filmed at Mountain Lake Lodge!

Here’s a preview-

What’s interesting about this one is that none of the participants are professional dancers. Celebrities, yes (of course!). Dancers? No. In the other dance competition shows I mentioned, at least one of the dance partners is a professional and can guide and teach the rookie.

Want more Mountain Lake Lodge and Dirty Dancing?

Check out this video and blog post to get even more insight into visiting Mountain Lake Lodge and Dirty Dancing film locations.

Sonya from House of Kerrs enjoyed a family stay at the lodge during a non-themed weekend. Check it out here – Memorable Stay at Real Life Dirty Dancing Hotel

Jeremy and Cara from Magic Geekdom visited both Mountain Lake Lodge and Lake Lure. I love how excited Cara is seeing the hotel. I felt exactly the same way!

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