Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cinderella (that would be me) Has Arrived...

I spent a weekend at the Greenbrier Resort in the mountains of West Virginia. Being a history buff of sorts I have read and seen many things about the Greenbrier. Suffice it to say that NOTHING prepared me for this place.

We planned our visit around the start our favorite NFL team’s training camp schedule (New Orleans Saints) and my husband’s 43rd birthday. Both events fell on Friday July 25th. We arrived in time for the late afternoon practice and were fortunate enough to see some of our favorite players for autographs and pictures. As far as we were concerned... we did what we set out to do (cross that of the bucket list)... we could have turned around and gone back home at that point, but our room was already paid for so we were staying. LORDY,  I am so glad we stayed!!! To say that the entire "open to the public" event for the Greenbrier was well thought out is an understatement. Whoever was in charge... congratulations... you pulled it off. Even the tailgate picnic which sold 5000 tickets was well done. I might could have done a better job... but I doubt it. (just kidding) The facility is beautiful and we enjoyed every second.

We drove to the gate and the guard gave us a fancy pass that allowed us to park on the property and distinguished us from others that weren't staying at the resort. We drove up to the hotel porte-cochere and I couldn't help but hold my breath. It had to be the most beautiful place I had ever been. Sometimes I can be otherworldly sensitive to a place steeped in history. It was gleaming white against the clear blue sky and the green of the mountains. Originally known for the sulfur spring on the property, which is still there, the hotel was built in 1858 prior to the civil war. During the war it was used as a hospital and began under the confederate army but by the end of the war it was in Union hands, who almost burned it to the ground. What is it about them wanting to burn everything? GEEZ!  
This man has greeted folks for 56yrs

And here come the bell men. We get out of the car and stretch our legs and these guys are buzzing all around us. They wouldn't let us lift a thing. Our room was not ready yet so they put our things in storage until we received the call and they would meet us at the front desk. Now, I am not stupid. I know these people are working for a tip. And believe me – we tipped them well. $20 bills falling out of our hands like water through a colander. So while we were waiting we started wandering around checking out everything. The Draper d├ęcor was amazing. Sometimes it was a little hard on the eyes but definitely a signature for the place. Bold amazing color combinations that made me think that if Dorothy Draper had twins they would be Laura Ashley and Lilly Pulitzer.  
Between wandering around, lunch, outdoor pool time, bowling alley and dinner all around the NFL team tailgate picnic on Saturday we were exhausted but smiling and so very very happy. Mainly because the football gods were smiling on us and since we were the first in line to check in we were given the first available room... at the very end of the hallway  in the west wing on the floor with ALL the football players. We had to walk past all their rooms to get to ours and my crowd was thrilled to see all these guys in the hallway. Picking out who we knew... and trying to figure out the rest. They were all so kind and friendly. Quick to stop and take a picture with my kids and that is probably the one thing they will remember the most. Such a wonderful group!
It was an amazing time and I truly feel like in a past life I must have been extremely wealthy because I felt so at home there. Everyone made us feel like royalty and we left on Sunday morning wondering how in the world we could go back home to our 100 year old farm house! The flowers could rival Disney World in the spring. The ambiance and treatment we received was above and beyond anything I had ever experienced. I fit right in … like an old shoe. More like a glass slipper… but it fit!! Oh sweet Jesus I am HOME!

We are going back. My daughter wants to make this an annual family trip. Saints Training Camp at the Greenbrier. My only thing is that we have to stay longer. At least 4 days to really enjoy our time there. So much to do and not enough time to do it all! The most wonderful thing is that they have so much to do there is never any waiting for an activity. My children could stay at that dreamy outdoor pool all day and so could I… with people waiting on me the whole time. Running into the football players in the hall was quite a treat too!  Thanks Cam Jordan!

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