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The Greenbrier… “America’s Resort”

 

In search of an inspirational escape? Perhaps there's no better option than The Greenbrier, a virtual world away from the whirlwind of modern life. Time seems hardly to have passed here since the quiet years following the Civil War. Four o'clock teas, gala banquets and garden parties -- these hallmarks of a long-gone age may be striking as a first-time visitor to "America's Resort."

If you are a new guest to the resort, the columns looming above the front entrance are just a glimpse of what to expect. Designed by the son of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect of the U.S. Capitol, The Greenbrier is monumental in scale. Lobbies and galleries, one after another, invite you to wander deeper into its interior, to immerse yourself, to mingle, to rejoice in the graciousness of Southern hospitality.

Decorated lavishly in the 1960s by Dorothy Draper, the parlors, ballrooms and 710 guest rooms are outfitted to impress. And impress they do. The Greenbrier is among the world's most famous resorts -- one of the "known, proven hotels for executive entertaining," according to late Letitia Baldridge, Jacqueline Kennedy’s social secretary and queen of American public relations. Twenty-six presidents have visited the resort, as have royalty and foreign dignitaries such as Indira Gandhi, Prince Rainier, and Princess Grace of Monaco.

The Greenbrier's true dimensions will unfold as you wander its 10,000-acre grounds. Carriages (and sleighs in winter) escort sightseers among historic cottages, past five world-class golf courses and into the mountains of the Monongahela National Forest beyond. Its situation in the mountains was so desirable that a bunker designed to secretly house Congress was established beneath a wing of the hotel.

How can such a place remain seemingly untouched by time? Ingenuity and dedication play principal roles in the effort to remain constant. Behind the scenes, staff works around the clock to maintain a delicate order.

 

At the same time, much has changed. The Congressional Bunker began decommission in 1992 and opened for public tours a few years later. A casino was established, tying Greenbrier elegance with the art of gaming. On its Old White TPC Golf Course, The Greenbrier instituted the annual Greenbrier Classic in 2010, now part of the Professional Golf Association Tour. 

Though seemingly isolated, access to The Greenbrier is easy. Interstate 64 crosses the Alleghenies within a mile of the facility, and Amtrak maintains a passenger station here. Daily flights from Washington-Dulles international airports are provided to the Greenbrier Valley Airport.

Looking for an autumn outing or winter getaway? Might we suggest The Greenbrier. A kaliedescope of events and packages have been designed to take advantage of the changing seasons. Christmas is one of the most spectacular times of year. The resort is in astonishingly decorated through the holidays, and its shops and restaurants are busy with activity.