BY KRISTIN ALLEN | PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE GREENBRIER
Just two years after members of the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, The Greenbrier Resort first drew travelers seeking the healing powers of the area’s sulfur springs. The resort in West Virginia’s majestic Allegheny Mountains later rose to prominence among our nation’s elite as a retreat from the oppressive summer heat of lower elevations. Since its beginnings, The Greenbrier has shared many of our nation’s milestones, serving as a hospital in both The Civil War and World War II, and most notably with the construction of an escape bunker at the height of the Cold War to be used by Congress.
The Greenbrier has been a getaway for 26 presidents, the Vanderbilts, Kennedys, Astors and Hearsts, with a steady guest list of celebrities, dignitaries and the occasional royal. Nearly 240 years after its opening, The Greenbrier is known as “America’s Resort,” a distinction earned by its unique heritage and enduring hospitality.
Though still a sought-after retreat from the heat, with a PGA Golf Course and myriad of summer pursuits, The Greenbrier truly shines during the holiday season, so much so, the resort has earned another nickname,
“The North Pole of the South.”
The property is decorated for the holidays beginning November 1st, a task Betsy Conte calls
“ginormous…but so much fun.”
Conte, Director of Social Activities at The Green- brier, oversees holiday decoration, which includes more than 100 trees, 2,000 poinsettias, 120,000 Christmas lights and a lobby display composed of over 1,000 pounds of chocolate.
The holiday décor is done utilizing distinct colors of red, white, green, blue and yellow, to work in concert with the hotel’s legendary décor by The Dorothy Draper Company. In tune with the resort’s legacy, Dorothy Draper, arguably the founder of America’s first interior design firm, was charged with decorating the resort in 1946. Today, her sig- nature mix of bold colors, dramatic stripes and chintzes serves as a perfect backdrop for holiday décor that is simply spectacular—but the décor is just the beginning.
Holidays at The Greenbrier are the things Bing Crosby movies (he was once a guest) and Christmas Carols are made of. In fact, horse-drawn sleigh rides complete with jingle bells are available daily. Each evening, hot chocolate and cookies are served in the lobby, while smores are served adjacent to fire pits across the property. Kid-friendly activities include cookie decorating, photos with Santa, ice skating, nightly holiday movies and more, not to be overlooked by the real possibility of snow on the ground.
There is truly something for everyone at the resort, an understood necessity at a time when extended families come together. Highlights over Thanksgiving range from the Golden Feather Fetch Family Scavenger Hunt and a 5k fun run, to a traditional Thanksgiving Day feast, the elegant Annual Gobbler Gala and the first of many Christmas tree lighting ceremonies. Jump right into Christmas with weekend caroling, trolley tours, a Jingle Bell Parade, the Annual Gingerbread Ball and even on-site shopping.
Hunters will appreciate the area’s world-class waterfowl hunting. Additional winter resort diversions include off-road driving, mountain hikes and fishing, as well as an on-site movie theater, kids’ adventure zone, ropes course, indoor pool, spa and so much more—55 activities to be exact.
The Greenbrier represents its legacy well with its opulent décor, red-jacketed coachmen and formal dress code at dinner.
IT’S A NOSTALGIC PLACE TO SPEND CHRISTMAS, PERHAPS JUST LIKE THE ONES YOU USED TO KNOW. Rest assured–Bing would approve
For reservations at The Greenbrier, visit greenbrier.com or call 855.453.4858.