Dirty Dancing in Pembroke, VA

Although Dirty Dancing was filmed on a shoestring budget, it went on to become one of the most famous movies of all time! All of the scenes were filled in two locations – North Carolina and Virginia. You can read my earlier blog about the North Carolina scenes here.

The location I will write about in this blog is my favorite – Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, VA. This was the real-life location for Kellerman’s Resort where Baby and her family stayed and where Baby and Johnny fell in love.  When you pull in there will be a parking area for “day visitors,” you can park here.  Right next to the parking lot is a small store called “Mountain Outfitters,” make sure you go in and go to the basement to see all the Dirty Dancing swag!

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The first scene of Kellerman’s Mountain House was taken from this very spot as Baby’s family was driving down this road. The exterior of the hotel looks almost the same as it did in the movie.

The staff have marked out filming locations around the site and if you go inside the lobby they have handy maps that will direct you to all locations.  The staff was so friendly and even offered to walk me around to some of the locations and give me more information!

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Here are my photos from each site:

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“Who is that?” This is where Baby stood on the porch and looked into the restaurant where she saw Johnny for the first time. This porch was also used for the scene where the Housemans ate breakfast. 

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View looking out from the porch. That is Baby and her Family’s Cabin directly in front (white w/green roof).
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The only filming that took place inside the hotel was the kitchen and the restaurant scenes, and guests can even sit at the same table that Baby’s family did in the movie. The white shutters seen around were installed by the film company in 1986. The lights, ceiling fans and even the tables have been untouched since 1986!
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“Front Lawn Games”. Many of the outdoor events were filmed on this lawn including volleyball and the bunny hop. Many of the guests staying at Mountain Lake Lodge during filming participated in this scene.

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“Wrong Way Johnny!” After smashing his window, Johnny drives his car on this one way road in the wrong direction. Patrick Swayze did not drive the car in this scene, the real life owner of the vehicle did. The car was owned by a local resident and was rented from him for filming.
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“Pre-Watermelon”. Leading up to Baby finding Johnny’s cousin on the bridge to help carry watermelons, the movie company made a transition from here to Lake Lure, NC where Baby carried a watermelon.

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“The Gazebo”. Three scenes were filmed in this gazebo. The first is the opening scene of Penny providing dance lessons to guests. The second is when Baby ran to find Johnny and his cousin to help Penny. The third scene was when Mr. Houseman was upset with Baby. He sat at the gazebo and looked out at the lake.

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“Where’s Penny?” In this scene, Baby leads Johnny and his cousin over these white posts and into the kitchen to find Penny. The white chained posts were installed by the movie company in 1986 and are the same ones you se here today.

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“The Lift”. The famous lift scene was filmed here on the east side of the lake. The cinder blocks used for the platform for Patrick Swayze to stand on are still there today. Not sure if I believe this, but that’s what the sign says and there were cinder blocks there. Unfortunately the lake is dried up making the recreation of this scene impossible!
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Of course I had to go stand on the cinder blocks! 

Fun Fact: The movie was supposed to have taken place in the summer but it was actually shot in October, so it was freezing! The water was so cold during filming there are no close up shot of this scene in the movie b/c Baby’s lips were blue. I have heard that they asked them to re-shot the scene and they both said no!

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“Baby’s Cabin”. The Virginia Cottage was where the Houseman Family stayed while at Kellerman’s. After filming, the stairs were moved to the left side of the cabin. The film crew used the inside of this cabin for filming scenes such as late night talks with Lisa, Baby waking up her father, and Johnny visiting Mr. Houseman. a caption
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This 3-bedroom cottage rents out to up to 10 guests at a time. There were actually people staying in the cabin, but I did not realize that until I had already climbed up to the porch to take pictures!

Don’t forget to visit the Outfitter store to get your Dirty Dancing Swag!

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