A West Virginia Historic ResortWords by Courtney Kellar
Prior to my visit, all I knew about West Virginia was that it is mentioned in my favorite John Denver song and is home to the iconic Greenbrier resort. While John Denver was obviously absent, The Greenbrier certainly didn’t disappoint. “America’s Resort” has a reputation that spans 240 years, since it began welcoming guests in 1778. Part of its repute is that The Greenbrier is hard to get to, but this is a common misconception. It’s an 80-minute drive from Roanoke, a three-hour drive from Washington D.C. and there’s an Amtrak station right on-site in White Sulphur Springs.
With the unmistakable interiors by Dorothy Draper and her protégé Carleton Varney, The Greenbrier feels like a life-size dollhouse with its bold carpets, wild wallpapers and striking fixtures. Its interior design is just one piece of the resort’s history. In fact, I can’t imagine a place more steeped in romantic tradition for a destination wedding couple. Grooms sip cocktails in the Lobby Bar underneath an original chandelier from the film “Gone With the Wind,” while brides write a pre-wedding love note in the Victorian Writing Room to be placed in the North Parlor’s “Love Clock.” After a ceremony in The Greenbrier Chapel, enjoy a breathtaking reception in the Cameo Ballroom. The shade of pink on the walls was specifically selected because it is the most flattering for brides.
The Greenbrier continues its over-the-top offerings when it comes to on-site happenings. While famous for golf, there are more than 55 other activities that will keep any and all wedding guests satisfied. I would waste my word count listing them all, so you’ll have to take my word for it. In addition to wedding couples and honeymooners, The Greenbrier is a literal heaven-on-earth for sports fans. Pete Sampras is the Tennis Professional Emeritus and Lee Trevino is the Golf Professional Emeritus. The resort also boasts a world-class Sports Performance Center that has hosted both the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans for their summer training camps. Greenbrier guests can attend practices and scrimmages for free and can rub elbows with some of the NFL’s biggest stars.
The Greenbrier has recently undergone a renaissance of sorts with nearly $300 million dollars of improvements since being purchased back in 2009. There is also a ski resort in the works that’s expected to be completed for the winter 2018 season.
I’m a romantic at heart and a history nerd, so I know that I’ll be back to The Greenbrier one day, hopefully with my own family in tow for some old-fashioned fun.
Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): The Greenbrier Resort (1st, 2nd, 3rd & 5th) & Courtney Cox (4th).
This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2018 issue. You can order a copy here.
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