First off, let me say that the place is amazing. It exudes class, style and a tremendous 200+ year history . It’s also back into private ownership again after some number of years of mismanagement, sub-contracted operation, etc. The result is a definite return to its roots. A stay there is full of wonderful little touches in terms of service, grace, and atmosphere. Their top-notch chefs have returned and, from what I gather, virtually all of the operations are internal now as they once were. The staff there seem very happy and quite proud of the resort’s tremendous heritage.
The original intention was a couple of nights there visiting some friends (whose idea it was to arrange this getaway), visiting just prior to the busy season where the rates were more in our range. There is a casino opening by June and a new six year deal with the PGA for a tournament being played in August, so things are about to get a LOT busier and, we suspect, a good deal more expensive.
The craptacular aspect of the trip, however, was my dear wife eating a bad crab cake on the evening before we were to leave (a restaurant local to home… NOT the Greenbrier). She ended up barfing, moaning and wishing for her own death some hours before we were supposed to hop in the car and head for this mini getaway. I kept delaying, hoping to talk her into going later that first day. While the barfing had stopped by then, she was too sore, tired and generally ragged out to be up for the trip and nearly threw me out of the house to go. We had reservations that couldn’t be canceled by then and friends already on the way there with similarly non-cancelable reservations. So, feeling like a complete a-hole, I rolled on over the mountains to spend a few days in peaceful luxury and fine eating while Elisabeth hung out with the cats, watched lousy TV and gingerly started eating again.
I’ve got to leave you with the wikipedia entry for the time being. It does a nice job of explaining the new ownership as well as offering some history on the cold-war bunker that is a fascinating part of the Greenbrier’s history. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to shoot any photos in or around the bunker save the one 30-ton blast door in the room with the extra-horrifying wallpaper.
I’ll update this post or possibly write another soon offering more details about my experience there, including two stellar dinners and a nice chat with the chef who came out to thank us for sending him our compliments. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this first batch of photos and encourage everyone to take a trip there. You won’t regret it.
Oh, and in case you thought I could write a post without mentioning the iPad… get real. This was my first trip with just cameras, an Epson P-3000 for storage and the iPad. No laptop. Worked great. Having the camera connection kit would have been nice, but I hear those are already starting to ship out this week. Here’s hoping I have mine before this weekend since we’re headed to one of my favorite places in the world: Williamsburg.