Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Best laid plans

Anyone who has read this blog for some time knows that Wife and I love to travel, whether it's a real vacation that lasts a week or more, or just a weekend or few days away. We like to go back to some of our favorite places but we also enjoy visiting new ones.

This past weekend it was The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. We left Friday afternoon and drove most of the way, spending the night about an hour and a half out. We arrived about 11 a.m. Saturday.

The Greenbrier is a large resort nestled in part of the Allegheny Mountain Range, built in the late 1800s, and calls itself "America's Resort." I found it to be a bit like stepping back in time. The hotel is a huge white structure with massive columns which, at first glance, looks a bit like the White House.

The inside is massive and the recurring decorative theme is floral which is a bit dated, but as I said, going there is like stepping back in time anyway, so it works. It's all very crisp and clean and everyone who works there epitomizes southern charm and hospitality.

We were able to take advantage of a special themed weekend -- "Antiques Roadshow," which we saw hardly a sign of -- which allowed for some great rates.

It is a beautiful setting and there are three golf course that are part of the compound. There are great places to eat and there's a casino that was added about ten years ago, as well as upscale retail shops. There are great walking paths all around the grounds.

Wife and I likened it to being on a cruise ship (although everything is a la carte, pay as you go, and it ain't cheap), where everything you would want to do is right there on site but you're not floating and don't have to worry about getting seasick.

Wife and I began enjoying the lovely surroundings upon our arrival. We went to a cooking demonstration, right up Wife's alley, walked around and through the massive lobbies with the repeated floral patterns, comfortable groupings of chairs and sofas and big fireplaces.

I went to a class where I learned how to tie a bow tie. We talked to an author who was signing copies of his book.

After lunch we took a walk around the grounds. It was cool-ish, with temps in the high 50s, but the sun was shining and it was beautiful.

As we were walking, one of the resort employees greeted us, commenting on the beautiful weather.

"Can you believe how beautiful it is today?" she said. "Hard to believe they're predicting 6 - 8 inches of snow!"

With the kind of winter this country has had this year, we had watched weather forecasts before we left. Everything looked good. Our plan was to stay until mid-day Monday.

After talking to the employee we began to watch updated forecasts. Every weather map we looked at showed a big part of West Virginia as part of a band of snow and ice that would hit about 2 p.m. Sunday and last through 2 p.m. Monday, with all of the trimmings -- accumulations of snow and hazardous road conditions.

We could not risk getting stuck. As much as we hated to do it, we packed up and left about 3 Sunday afternoon, just as the snow was starting and temperatures were dropping. We drove in snow for about two hours until we got out of the band of the storm.

As disappointed as we were, we managed to pack a lot into the time we were there. Sunday afternoon would have been leisurely. We probably would have each found a comfortable chair by a fireplace and sat there with books. We would have had afternoon tea, gone from there to Happy Hour and from there to dinner (as we had done on Saturday). It would have been dreamlike to wake up to all the snow Monday morning.

But we both had too much on our plates at home to risk getting stuck or delayed. We followed the prudent path and cut if short. Got home late Sunday night.

Sometimes following that prudent path is just the right thing to do.

We still look back on the weekend with fondness and will add The Greenbrier to our places to revisit.


Kelly said...

My college sorority (of which I'm afraid I'm not a good or active alumna) always held their national meetings there, so I have seen a number of photos of the location. It looks beautiful!

I hope you get to return soon and make up for the time you had to sacrifice.

Debby said...

Who was the author? What was the book?

Sounds like a beautiful weekend, even if you had to cut it short!

quid said...

I loved my one visit to the Greenbrier. Sounds like you had a great visit, despite winter!