A Celeb Hideaway
West Virginia gets a bad rap. Sure, some of the gas stations off I-64 are a little run down, but as I pulled into the drive of The Greenbrier Resort, I felt like a Kennedy on summer holiday.
Photos courtesy of The Greenbrier Resort
Standard rooms start at $379 per night during the peak season (April through October).
For more than two centuries, The Greenbrier has hosted some of the most famous families, celebrities, and dignitaries. Though not nearly as graceful or well dressed, I could feel my footsteps follow those of Princess Grace of Monaco as I toured the grandiose lobbies, parlors, and ballrooms. Designed by legendary interior designer Dorothy Draper, each room has a very specific purpose.
Visitors began frequenting the area in the late 1700s to escape the sweltering heat of the South and experience the magical healing powers of the sulphur springs nearby. But while the springs enticed visitors of last century, today’s guests are more interested in its cosmetic qualities, such as the fragrant Pinnacle Facial at the Greenbrier Spa ($195).
Packages range from golf and swimming to horseback riding, croquet, and hunting. Your taste buds will be satisfied by one of a dozen dining options on the property, including daily tea and a concert in the main lobby from 4:15 to 5 p.m. —Nicole Ewing
300 W. Main St., White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., 800-453-4858, www.greenbrier.com
Go, See, Do
Greenbrier Bunker Tour
One of our nation’s best-kept secrets hides under the West Virginia Wing of The Greenbrier. From 1958 to 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower commissioned a top-secret U.S. Government Relocation facility, Project Greek Island, to support Congress and staff in the event of a national emergency. It was only uncovered by the Washington Post in 1992 and is now open for ninety-minute tours. The Greenbrier Bunker Tour, $30 per adult, $15 per children ages 10-18;
Foursome for golf and dinner at Sam Snead’s
The Greenbrier offers three eighteen-hole championship courses on its 6,500-acre property. The Old White, The Greenbrier, and The Meadows courses are just challenging enough to warrant a post-bogey cocktail at Sam Snead’s at The Golf Club, but also comfortable for novice players and juniors. Greens fees range from $95 to $225. Call 800-453-4858 for tee times
Day trip to historic downtown Lewisburg
If your credit card tires of the dozens of designer boutiques and jewelry or art shops on property, try a day trip to Lewisburg. The quaint mountain town is just ten minutes down the road from The Greenbrier and strikingly reminiscent of Asheville or Boone, with organic cafes and independent art galleries on every corner. The Stardust Cafe on East Washington Street is a lovely stop for a curry chicken wrap and iced tea.
The Great Outdoors
About an hour away from The Greenbrier and less than three hours from Charlotte, The Resort at Glade Springs is another peaceful getaway framed by the picturesque Allegheny Mountains. While its history lacks in comparison to the books on The Greenbrier, Glade Springs rivals its older brother with comparable dining, spa treatments, golf, and pricing. Packages, such as the Bed & Breakfast special, start at $99 per person, per night. Other packages encourage you to enjoy your surroundings, for example by whitewater rafting ($161 per person) where you’ll paddle for dear life down the New River. For more snowy activities, Winterplace Ski Resort (www.winterplace.com ) is a simple twenty-minute drive from the property. But what should really be on the top of your to-do list is a hike with your family, traveling companion, or significant other. The mountains truly are majestic. —N. E.