Saturday, October 01, 2016

Wedding Weekend at The Greenbrier - Day 1

Hotel front last night

The drive up to The Greenbrier in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, yesterday was uneventful other than a torrential rainstorm that left me white knuckling the steering wheel on Interstate 81 in among the large number of 18 wheelers.  Once we got back onto Interstate 64, thankfully, the traffic - and the rain - let up. Last night as part of the weeding weekend for the daughter of friends we had the good fortune to have the welcome cocktail party moved to the Presidential Suite in the Windsor Wing of the hotel.  The suite is named after the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and is wonderfully elegant.  The husband and I had our photo taken under the portrait of the Windsors - who one of the husband's clients actually met many years ago.

I had always known that the place was historic, but the public rooms of the hotel are almost museum in terms of near priceless pieces.  Interesting items ranges from 18th century portraits to the chandeliers that were in the set for "Twelve Oaks" in the movie, Gone With the Wind.  Below is a sample of the elegant public rooms.

After a leisurely breakfast in the gorgeous main dining room - and me, of course, checking on office e-mail from yesterday and drafting a couple of documents - we had a historic tour of the hotel and the bunker that was build in the 1950's at the height of the Cold War that was to house the President and Congress in the event of a nuclear attack on Washington, DC.   Our tour guide, Linda was wonderful. Here's a taste of the history from the hotel website:
The Greenbrier is a National Historic Landmark and world-class resort that has been welcoming guests from around the world since 1778. The natural mineral springs that drew our first guests over 235 years ago continue to lure visitors to our 11,000 acre luxury retreat today. With a guest list that includes 26 of our country’s 44 Presidents, America’s Resort has long been a favorite destination of royalty, celebrities and business leaders.  . . . . This renowned property offers 710 rooms, including 33 suites and 96 guest and estate homes. The Greenbrier has 10 lobbies, 40+ meeting rooms and a complete conference center facility. 
The Greenbrier offers exclusive services and amenities such as championship golf, fine dining, more than 55 activities, designer boutiques, our world-renowned mineral spa and a 103,000 square foot gaming and entertainment venue. 
Construction began in 1958 on the 112,544-square-foot bunker, which was built 720 feet into the hillside under The Greenbrier's West Virginia Wing.  Once complete in 1961, the facility was maintained in a constant state of readiness by a small group of government employees working undercover as Forsythe Associates, a company hired by the resort for audio/visual support services.
During its Eisenhower-Era use, The Bunker provided the following:
  • Four entrances; three to The Greenbrier's grounds and one to the main building
  • 25-ton blast door that opens with only 50 lbs. of pressure
  • Decontamination chambers
  • 18 dormitories, designed to accommodate over 1,100 people
  • Power plant with purification equipment and three 25,000-gallon water storage tanks
  • Three 14,000-gallon diesel fuel storage tanks
  • Communications area, including television production area and audio recording booths
  • Clinic with 12 hospital beds, medical and dental operating rooms
  • Laboratory
  • Pharmacy
  • Intensive care unit
  • Cafeteria
  • Meeting rooms for the House and Senate, the Governor's Hall and Mountaineer room
Today's wedding events begin at 5:00 pm with a pre-ceremony toast followed by the wedding ceremony, and cocktail hour and reception dinner.    One last photo of the husband in the hall leading to the Presidential Suite.

No comments: