I love the history of this resort. It began in the 1700s as a place where people came to follow local Native American traditions of "taking the waters" using the springs of sulphur water. Years later, (some of which are supposedly still there today) cottages were sold, and a hotel was built on the property in 1858. It belonged to each the Confederate Army and the Union Army during the Civil War, reopened again as a resort, used as an army hospital during World War II, again reopened as a resort when it was then redecorated by Dorothy Draper. Apparently, it was a depressing time after the war and she wanted to change it with bright colors and mixing patterns (and 45,000 yards of fabric, 15,000 rolls of wallpaper and 40,000 gallons of paint). After nearly a hundred years and a bankruptcy, the CSX Corporation sold the resort to a local entrepreneur for an allegedly and measly $15 million (and a promise to pay off its $500 million debt with revitalization plans, a new casino and special events). If the Kellerman's Resort from Dirty Dancing and Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory conceived a baby on an LSD trip, then the Greenbrier would be that baby.
The first time I went to the Greenbrier, I had tagged along with my boyfriend on his work trip. (I tend to do that a lot. He loves it.) Located in, what is seemingly the middle of nowhere, West Virginia, it can be reached by car or even train. The place sprawls thousands of acres and I have yet to enjoy all of the amenities/activities. Hiking, off-road driving adventures, indoor and outdoor pools, bowling, gambling, arcade room, falconry, horseback riding, ice skating in the winter, restaurants and cafes, shopping, golfing, a spa, tennis matches, paintball, laser-tag, hunting, archery, fishing, canopy tours, glass-blowing, theater, fitness classes, afternoon tea time, and of course, the not-so-secret bunker tours. It really is endless.
It's easy to get lost in. One of my favorite things to do there is to just walk from room to room - admiring the colors, the decorations, the art, and the seating. Really. It's like this place was made for people to sit down, read, work, relax, and have conversations. Around every corner is another place to sit and enjoy; always different, and always with a bit of history behind it. There's even a wood-burning fireplace in the front lobby nearly large enough to stand in.