Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Historic WV Greenbrier - America's Resort

If you've never been to or heard of the West Virginia Greenbrier Resort, well, go grab yourself a nice, tall glass of sweet tea, sit back, relax, and enjoy this armside tour.  All of the photos within this post (and there are lots!) are mine, taken while at the resort on various occasions (except one, as noted in its caption). No compensation was received for this post of any kind.

little history:  the Greenbrier Resort,  dates from 1778, when, even then, it was recognized as a luxury resort, offering the so-called healing waters from the springs for which its location was named – White Sulphur Springs (WV).
The notorious spring at Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, WV
The majesty of the National Historic landmark’s architecture saw many U.S. Presidents as its guests. Ownership has transferred several times in its more than 230 year history, most notably owned by the CSX Railway and its predecessor companies, Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and Chessie System, for almost 100 years.  During U.S. wartimes, the Greenbrier was owned by the government (World War II) and/or occupied by military (including both sides during the Civil War), used as both hospital and military headquarters.
The Greenbrier Resort front entrance, shortly after the new Casino Club was built underground, beneath the front lawn shown in the foreground.
Summer cottages at the Greenbrier Resort
The U. S. Government approached the Greenbrier during the 1950's for its remote locale, to house a totally self-sufficient “bunker” bomb shelter, built underground alongside an above ground addition.  It served as a former top-secret relocation facility for Congress during the Cold War – in the event of a nuclear attack on our nation.  It was "de-bunked", or decommissioned only in 2009.  Tours are still open of the once-secret facility.
The Bunker at The Greenbrier Resort (photo credit: Greenbrier.com)
The Greenbrier Bunker's exterior "secret" entry, built beneath a visible, exterior addition to the resort.
After World War II, the C&O Railway purchased the resort back from the U.S. State Department, and embarked on a huge renovation of the facility, commissioning the legendary Dorothy Draper for the interior design.  It is Dorothy Draper's style of bold, vivid colors and oversized patterns that has become as notorious to the name Greenbrier as the healing waters for which the structure was first built.
Upper Main Lobby, The Greenbrier
Main Lobby, The Greenbrier, where afternoon tea is offered daily
Garden Lobby

Fast forward to 2009, and a native West Virginian (Jim Justice) purchases the Greenbrier outright, saving it from bankruptcy, and embarks on a complete renovation of the facility in an effort to restore its five-star quality appeal.  The signature Dorothy Draper interior design of the Greenbrier’s earlier (late 1940’s) renovation lives on through Carleton Varney, her protégé and business successor.  Mr. Varney paid homage to Ms. Draper with interior updates, particularly in the gloriously decked-out new casino (built underground, beneath the front grounds, so as not to disturb the architecture’s original footprint – brilliant!).
Fountain inside the casino at the Greenbrier
There is also a casual cafe named after the celebrated designer, Dorothy Draper, on the grounds.
Mr. P. in a booth at the Dorothy Draper Cafe
Dining has a long tradition at the Greenbrier's main dining hall, where the attire remains formal for multi-course meals.
Main Dining Hall at the Greenbrier
Paradise Alley, outside the Main Dining Hall at the Greenbrier
As the new owner, Jim Justice managed to relocate a leg of the PGA Tour to the Greenbrier in 2010, multi-million dollar housing developments are going up in the surrounding community, and the Greenbrier history is at its new dawn. Legendary Lakers NBA basketball star (and another native West Virginian), Jerry West, has a namesake steakhouse restaurant on the grounds in the latest renovations, called Prime 44 West (after West's retired jersey number).
Entrance to Prime 44 West 
There are many new retail shops within the resort, including Varney at Home (Carleton Varney home furnishings), upscale clothing and accessories, gourmet kitchen, and even a toy store for the little ones.
The retail shops at the Greenbrier
Besides the outdoor pool facility for warm weather months, there is also a wonderful indoor pool and spa, at the ready for rejuvenating and relaxing.
The indoor pool at the Greenbrier.
The Salon Vivace at the Greenbrier
Guest rooms at the Greenbrier have all been updated with luxurious details, including thick robes for guests. Even the hallways received a fresh dose of Draper pattern and color.
Guest room hallway at the Greenbrier
Guest room at the Greenbrier
The rest of the photos here are to give you a glimpse into just a few more of the public spaces within the Greenbrier's resort, of which there are a total of ten lobby areas, and more than 40+ meeting areas. Enjoy!
The Cameo Ballroom at the Greenbrier
Wall Painting in the Cameo Ballroom at the Greenbrier
Closeup of Chandelier in Cameo Ballroom at the Greenbrier
Clock Lobby at the Greenbrier
Lobby Bar
Pagoda Chandelier in Clock Lobby Bar
From Celebrity Corridor, looking toward Victorian Writing Room at the Greenbrier
The Victorian Writing Room at the Greenbrier
Victorian Writing Room Chandelier
Celebrity Corridor Chandelier
Garden Lobby, toward Terrace, at the Greenbrier
Spring Room at the Greenbrier
Spring Room Bar at the Greenbrier
I hope you've enjoyed this pictorial tour and brief history of the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia.  It is truly worth trying to make at least a weekend getaway at this fine resort.  It is so steeped in history, yet refreshed and renewed with all the updates and activities available.  There's golf, tennis, horseback riding, walking trails, and so much more to do!  There's even a bowling alley within the facility! The resort offers wonderful packages for various getaway options, and you can find those at this link:  The Greenbrier.
I'll be writing a related post on the Greenbrier later in the week, creating a tablescape in the famed Greenbrier china I've been collecting, piece by piece.  It's fun and functional restaurant ware.  I hope you'll return, and join me at the table!

(Thank you, Dawn, at We Call It Junkin's History and Home, for featuring this post!)

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