A Travellerspoint blog

January 2018

The Greenbrier Resort

23-26 January 2018

overcast 20 °F

Thankful to be back in the United States and eager to see my parents again I took a road trip up to the historic hotel, The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. I made an overnight stop in Knoxville to break up the 8 hour drive and do some shopping.
We all arrived at the Greenbrier within 15 minutes of each other and it is certainly something to see when you first pull up. Even during winter it looks magnificent tucked in to the mountains. We checked in to the rooms famously decorated years ago by a famous designer, Draper. They are a bit much on the eyes these days but the entire hotel is very colorful and the staff is friendly.
Late afternoons are filled with tea and cookies which hit the spot at that time of day.
We walked around a bit to include the little chapel that is just adorable and still smells like wood.
And the location of the sulphur springs that first brought people to the area for its healing powers.
The winter package my Dad booked allowed $100 a day to apply to food, drinks or activities and we spent our first bit at Drapers for dinner. It’s a diner sort of place where I got a crab cake and some fabulous macaroni and cheese with bacon!
The Greenbrier also has a theater that plays movies every night and Mom and Dad were introduced to the minions with Despicable Me!
Day 2 starts with a buffet breakfast and our introduction to Thomas, our server who tries to bring Dad some trout for breakfast. He tells us about his ugly wife and that if he quit working he would die so he just keeps coming to work 5 hours a day for the breakfast service.
After getting full bellies I convince them to go on a walk on one of the easy trails on the property. They make it 2.5 miles and we are invigorated by the cold weather.
Our limbs come back to function with some hot chocolate upon return and we have some cheese and crackers for lunch. Because I was gone for Christmas we open presents before Mom and I go to the spa for our hot stone massages. This is simply marvelous and I smile like an idiot while my face is down in the massage table. We are done in time for tea and cookies before going to dinner at JJ’s Sports club. It is downstairs and a bit dark but we enjoy beer and a philly cheese steak. Mom and Dad secretly loved the minions so we head back for Despicable Me 2 😊
For the third day Mom and Dad are not so interested in walking so I go on a run of the trail myself. I love the clean and cold air before filling up on breakfast. The Greenbrier has a Christmas shop so mom and I take the shuttle and spend some time poking around the shop before taking a nap and having cheese and crackers for lunch again.
The Greenbrier was used in the past as a fallout shelter for a nuclear attack and they now give a tour of the bunker for 1.5 hours and $40. It is quite interesting to hear about how the shelter was kept secret for 30 years before a journalist spilled the story. The workers of the Greenbrier just thought an addition was being completed when it was actually going underground. It was to hold 1,000 people for 60 days and have everything needed to include riot gear, food, water, dining hall, hospital area, work out equipment and dorms. One of the stand out facts was that the medication most stocked by the pharmacy was antidepressants! We were not allowed to take our cameras or phones on the tour so no photos ☹
One thing they did mention on the tour that had nothing to do with the bunker was that the chandalier hanging in the bar area was from the set of Gone with the Wind, in Twelve Oaks.
The crystals at the bottom were even shaped like oak leaves in honor of Twelve Oaks.
For our last dinner we went to Prime 44 West which is a fancier place but I had heard rumors of the lobster mashed potatoes and I had to have them. Dad had the hugest piece of prime rib I have ever seen and I had lobster bisque, lobster popcorn and lobster mashed potatoes 😊 It was all washed down with Moscato, what could be better.
And then guess how we closed out the night…..Despicable Me 3! Mom and I went, Dad went to the casino and won over $1000.
The next morning I was leaving to drive to Jackson, Mississippi so I left early after one last breakfast and photo with our favorite server, Thomas.

Posted by ErinDriver 14:33 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Weekend in Chicago for the F^3 Half Marathon

sunny 45 °F

An easy 6.5 hour drive from Fort Campbell puts me in Chicago at dinner time on Friday night. I checked in to the Best Western Grand Park Hotel which was pretty awesome but does gouge you for parking. It is centrally located within walking distance of Soldier Field and the museums which is nice. They give me an upgrade in my room to a corner looking over Lake Michigan. It has a lovely doorman who suggests I get dinner at Lou Malnati’s and I take advantage of being in Chicago and have the deep dish pizza. The hotel gave me a coupon for free bruschetta which was fantastic.
The F^3 Lake Half Marathon is what brought me to Chicago and it had a late start at 1000 on Saturday morning. The race was well organized, allowed me to do race day packet pick up and even gave me a $6 military discount. The start was at Soldier Field and runners were allowed in the United Club right up until the start of the race so we weren’t waiting in the cold. It turned out to be a beautiful day for a run with a temp in the 40’s at the start.
The entire race was along the river on a running/biking path. It was a bit narrow at times as the route was out and back so at some points along the way runners were passing going opposite directions.
After a lunch of left-over pizza and a shower I walked over to the Shedd Aquarium. I had to stand in line longer than expected but was pleasantly surprised to be given a free ticket with my military ID. (regular price is $40). One of the neatest and most unusual things in the whole aquarium was the art work done out of recycled trash found in the area waters.
The rest of the aquarium has a variety of wildlife from all over the world. It was crowded on a Saturday but still a pleasant experience and I saw some things I have never before seen.
After a short nap it was time to eat again and I went with the second recommendation I got yesterday, Giordano’s was a short walk from the hotel and also famous for its Chicago style pan pizza. I couldn’t pass up what its known for so had another pan pizza with a beer from Chicago, Goose Island 312.

Posted by ErinDriver 18:07 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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