Last weekend I went with my oldest and the wild child to West Virginia. Our cousin was graduating, and we wanted to be there to celebrate with the family. It took us about 6 hours to get there, and it is a very nice drive. Although spring hasn’t sprung yet, you can imagine how beautiful this part of the country is. But the part of the trip I want to write about is our visit to the Greenbrier Resort built in 1778.
Some of you may know the Greenbrier because of what is underneath it, the “Bunker”. Back in 1958 under what would be the new West Virginia Wing construction began on an emergency Cold War fallout shelter for Congress. In 1992 a reporter published an article revealing the secret. He basically said that it wasn’t viable anymore as there wasn’t enough time to get anyone there if there was an emergency. We had seen a show on TV about this, so the girls and I decided to take the tour as long as we were in the area. Little did we know the experience we were about to have.
We came to the gate and were greeted by a very nice security guard. He gave us a pass and we drove up the hill. When we went around the curve at the top our breath was taken away. The grandeur of the Greenbrier is something else.
We drove down the road, and found a parking place. But we weren’t sure how to get back to the main entrance, so we flagged down some men in a golf cart. They were very nice and offered to call for the shuttle to pick us up. Just a few minutes later the shuttle pulled up and drove us to the north entrance with instructions on how to get where we needed to be. We walked past some shops to the lobby area and up some stairs to where we were to check in for the tour. All I can say is ‘wow’!
It literally transports you back in time. As we walked through the rooms I could see people in the early-mid 1900’s enjoying a quiet visit at this wonderful resort. Known for its Sulphur Springs, many people would come for the healing properties the water was believed to hold. At first the place was a bit intimidating, but as we started to interact with the staff, that quickly changed.
We checked in, and they took my cell phone and gave me a ticket to claim it back after the Bunker tour. While we waited for the tour to start, we walked around the great rooms, taking in the history of the place. The bathrooms too were wonderfully decorated and maintained in that early-mid 1900’s style.
I won’t go into details about the tour, but it was very interesting and I would recommend doing it. But what I would definitely recommend is having lunch at Draper’s. You could eat at the Main Dining Room, but they do have a dress code for there. Some people might be put out by that, but it is all part of the experience. We were not dressed for it, so chose Draper’s which is more casual. We walked into a flowery pink décor, and were cheerfully greeted with such friendliness. The waitress asked for our drink order, and as usual after a lot of walking, I had the craving for sweet tea. Well they don’t serve sweet tea, exactly. What they do is bring you a small pitcher of simple syrup to put in your tea so the sweetness is perfect for you 🙂
You will note that the pictures taken in Draper’s aren’t that good. With only my Blackberry cell phone to take pictures with, this is the best it gets.
The oldest has a few dietary needs, and the waitress was quick to ask, and went to talk to the chef. She came back with a few suggestions that were not on the menu, and they made her something appropriate and delicious.
We started with an appetizer of fried green tomatoes and pickles. Up until now I have never tasted a fried pickle I liked, and found nothing special about the fried green tomatoes I have had before. These were fabulous! The wild child and I had the same thing, Apple-Brie and Bacon Burger. This consisted of a freshly made burger, with Brie cheese, Apple Smoked Bacon, topped with Granny Smith apple slices, and Honey-Dijon mayo, which was also fabulous!
It was really the total experience that made this all so fantastic. The staff, the atmosphere, the food, the place, all of it put together just made us continually say how wonderful it all was. But it didn’t stop there. After eating we went to check out the stores. Even though most was pricy, and we certainly didn’t look like we would spend $600+ on a purse, the staff was nothing but courteous and friendly. At one point we saw the Gallery store and went in. On the wall were paintings selling for $23,000 or more. The owner for over 30 years came up to us and I mentioned that the wild child was the artist. We spent the next half-hour talking with her about art and what the wild child could do to get hers out there. Later we went into the pottery/jewelry store up on the hill and the owner there was just as nice. She gave the wild child all sorts of advice on jewelry making and where to get the best supplies to work with. She saw my camera and asked my advice on getting one and what she should look for.
Just before leaving the store the owner told us that the Greenbrier staff is taught to treat each guest as the most important one there. No matter what they are wearing, or how they look. She said you can never tell a book by its cover, or how much a person has by what they wear. I can vouch for every employee we encountered that they did treat us that way, and I was very impressed.
I would never have second thoughts about going back to the Greenbrier. In fact I will someday make a point of it. I want to stay there with Hubby and have the total experience of what they are, and the reason they have been around for so long.