In 1987, the low-budget release 'Dirty Dancing' came out of nowhere, becoming a massive box office hit and the gold standard for musically-themed romance movies. Set in 1963, the film follows 17-year-old Frances "Baby" Houseman (Jennifer Grey) as she vacations with her parents at Kellerman's Resort in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Bored and looking for something to do, Baby discovers that the resort's dance instructor, Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) has an off-hours habit of dancing ... dirty. Baby soon finds herself entangled in Castle's world, much to the chagrin of her disapproving father, leading to the film's famous climax, where Johnny and Baby dance to Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes' 'I've Had The Time of My Life.'
In 1987, the low-budget release 'Dirty Dancing' came out of nowhere, becoming a massive box office hit and the gold standard for musically-themed romance movies. Set in 1963, the film follows 17-year-old Frances "Baby" Houseman (Jennifer Grey) as she vacations with her parents at Kellerman's Resort in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Bored and looking for something to do, Baby discovers that the resort's dance instructor, Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) has an off-hours habit of dancing ... dirty. Baby soon finds herself entangled in Castle's world, much to the chagrin of her disapproving father, leading to the film's famous climax, where Johnny and Baby dance to Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes' 'I've Had The Time of My Life.'

Location as Character: The film wasn't shot in New York; it was filmed at Mountain Lake Resort in Southwest Virginia. While they traded the Catskills for the Appalachian Mountains, the film's setting needed to provide two key elements: a feeling of isolation, where the characters are forced to interact with each other because of this, as well as a retro feel to the establishment. Mountain Lake Resort was built out of an antiquated stone, with a pronounced red roof, creating a more authentic '60s feel.

Historical Significance: While the location might have appealed to budget-conscious director Emile Ardolino, they shot the film over 44 days during the tail end of summer -- and in this part of Virginia at this time of year, the weather can be a bit unpredictable. The cast was plagued with 105-degree days at the beginning, but autumn quickly rolled in, thus making the leaves change colors. Set designers had to spray paint tree leaves green to keep with the short, summer time frame the film depicted. It was also chilly during the filming of Baby and Johnny's famous dip in the lake scene; it was actually shot in October, so Swayze and Grey had to appear like they were enjoying a summer romp in a lake, when in reality they were suffering brisk temperatures.

Fun Fact: Mountain Lake Resort doesn't shy away from its 'Dirty Dancing' affiliation. Each year, they host several 'Dirty Dancing' weekends, where you dine in the Hotel Dining room, get dance lessons, enjoy a barn dance and have the opportunity to beat other 'Dirty Dancing' enthusiasts at trivia.

Directions: Should you want to try your hand at dancing dirty, the closest airport to Pembroke, Virginia, is Roanoke Regional Airport, which is about 75-minute drive. From there, drive south on Interstate 81, take exit 118 B, towards Blacksburg/Virginia Tech. Follow US460 for 18 miles to Route 700, Mountain Lake Road. Mountain Lake is a winding 7 miles down.

Visitor's Info: Mountain Lake Resort is open year-round, with plenty of outdoor activities available, including paddle boat, whitewater rafting and golf, and is situated on the Appalachian Trail-perfect for avid hikers.
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