Mambo in the mountains at the resort from ‘Dirty Dancing’

Baby’s corner (aka Mountain Lake Lodge) is only a four-hour drive from NoVA.

Mountain Lake Lodge
Photo courtesy of Mountain Lake Lodge

In the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing, Baby (played by Jennifer Grey) and her family go on vacation to a resort in the Catskills. However, the mountains in the movie are actually the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the resort is really Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke.

Many of the movie’s exterior shots were filmed at Mountain Lake Lodge, where Grey, Patrick Swayze (who portrayed Johnny, Baby’s caustic dance partner-turned-love interest) and the rest of the Dirty Dancing cast shimmied and mamboed. In addition to the resort, cabins and gazebo serving as the summery, romantic backdrop for the movie, the classic scene where Baby and Johnny practice the climatic lift in their dance routine in the lake was filmed at Mountain Lake Lodge.

Everything is now in full bloom at our chestnut lodge cottages!

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Since the movie’s release—30 years ago next month—Mountain Lake Lodge has only increased in popularity. It leans into its role in movie history by hosting Dirty Dancing weekends four times per year. During that time, the lodge transforms back into the Kellerman’s Mountain House of the film, and Dirty Dancing-themed scavenger hunts, Baby and Johnny look-alike contests and reenactments of classic scenes—including the iconic lift—all take place and draw thousands of guests each year.

But even if guests choose to visit the lodge one of the other 48 weekends of the year, they can still recreate the magic of Dirty Dancing for themselves simply by immersing themselves in the ambiance Mountain Lake Lodge exudes and immortalized on the screen.

Josef Koefer, the lodge’s marketing manager, describes it as a rustic mountain getaway but with an adventurous twist. While Dirty Dancing fans will quickly recognize elements from the movie—the dining areas where Baby and her family ate, recliner beach chairs, stone fireplaces and, of course, the mountain views—there’s a modern-day twist to be found, too. The 2,600-acre resort boasts a treetop adventure course, bubble ball and zorb racing (seriously, Google it) and a farm-to-table dining experience helmed by chef Michael Porterfield (who gave Swayze a ride to Blacksburg on his motorcycle during production). While Mountain Lake Lodge might offer all the comforts of a modern resort, you still might want to find a dancing partner to nail that lift before you close out your stay.


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