If you’re looking for a winter getaway – whether it be this year or next – I have the perfect place for you! Over the past several years my family and I have made it a tradition to visit The Greenbrier during the holiday and winter season. When the weather cools and the leaves begin to fall – The Greenbrier Resort & Hotel becomes a magical place to visit. Its landscape transforms into a timeless rendition of the holidays with beautiful decorations that accent the one-of-a-kind interior decor by the world-famous Dorothy Draper. Its transformation is not only beautiful – it becomes the perfect cozy setting to delight in all things winter!
Each year my family and I enjoy countless activities, delicious dining and festive moments that would be a crime not to share with you! So without further ado, let me tell you all about one of my favorite winter destinations!
The Greenbrier Resort & Hotel
Let me first start by giving you a little background information. The Greenbrier Resort & Hotel is a historical landmark nestled in the beautiful Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. The breathtaking resort has been welcoming guests since 1778 and continues to lure you in with its timeless traditions and surroundings. The resort offers an 11,000 acre retreat with 710 rooms, including 33 suites and 96 guest and estate homes. The luxury of its surroundings has hosted 28 of our country’s presidents and many celebrities and business leaders throughout the years.
Wintertime at The Greenbrier
The resort itself offers countless activities for everyone – including children. Although the majority of activities are offered year-round there are seasonal options that are a must-try during the winter! Listed below are my favorite things to experience during your wintertime visit!
Things to Experience
Bundle up and enjoy the outdoors and festive views while gliding into wintertime on the new ice-skating rink located on the Rhododendron Patio. The rink’s festive atmosphere provides the perfect backdrop while Ice Skating or enjoying hot chocolate around the outdoor fire tables. The patio seating area was the perfect place for me to warm my hands and indulge my sweet tooth when not on the ice. If you are visiting with little ones – no need to worry – the resort provides all of your ice skating gear including helmets and skating assistance for children!
If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing – get cozy under a warm blanket with hot chocolate in hand while taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage or sleigh. The Carriage Rides are perfect for couples or even groups of people. You will enjoy the sounds of sleigh bells and the scenic views during a 25 minute trip around the resort. My family and I were able to enjoy the crisp outdoor air while learning interesting facts about the resort and its surroundings.
Enjoy the beautiful decor and seasonal decorations during the daily Afternoon Tea. The tradition of having afternoon tea dates back to the 1930’s and is served daily starting at 4:15 p.m. Indulge in freshly prepared pastries in the Grand Upper Lobby of the hotel while enjoying life entertainment.
An incredibly neat fact about The Greenbrier Resort and Hotel is that it is the home of a Declassified Bunker. The Bunker is found beneath the West Virginia Wing of the resort. It was created as an emergency Cold War fallout shelter. The Bunker was once a top secret U.S. government relocation facility for Congress (how neat, right?). Without giving too much else away – you can schedule a tour during your visit – an absolute MUST!
The resort offers a number of classes and workshops to experience during the winter months. I recommend checking out The Hot Toddy Mixology Class, The Holiday Wreath Making Workshop and The Gingerbread Workshop. If workshops and classes aren’t your thing you can also enjoy bowling at the Bowling Alley, games at the Arcade or a refreshing swim in the Indoor Pool.
After you have enjoyed all of the day’s activities – the fun is sure to continue into the evening hours. So, before calling it a night – enjoy a favorite winter or holiday movie at The Greenbrier Theatre or try your luck at The Casino Club! You can play your hand a one of the many Black Jack Tables or bet on the countless Slot Machines. While there, enjoy a complimentary champagne toast at 10 p.m. followed by a night of dancing at 42 Below!
If you choose to plan your trip as part of your Christmas or New Years celebration – the resort offers specialty events for both adults and children. A complete list of activities offered can be found HERE and HERE!
Where to Dine
A favorite pastime of mine is dining out and The Greenbrier does not disappoint when it comes to its multiple dining options. The resort has a little bit of everything – whether you’re looking for fine dining, a slice of pizza or a sweet treat – there’s something for you! When visiting, I always make sure to hit my favorite dining spots while savoring some The Greenbrier’s signature dishes!
Draper’s is definitely a must-try when visiting. It’s usually the first place I grab a bite to eat when I arrive. The cute diner located within the hotel next to the Casino is a casual dining spot that makes me feel like I’m in a scene from the movie Pleasantville. The Diner offers appetizers ( The Draper’s Deviled Eggs are a must!) sandwiches (I recommend the Fried Green Tomato), soups, salads and entrees. And what diner would be complete if it didn’t offer sweet treats at the Ice Cream & Desert Bar!
The Main Dining Room hosts both daily breakfast and dinner. The Breakfast Buffet is one of my absolute favorites. You can enjoy endless buffet options and anything off the menu with your morning coffee or tea. I highly suggest you try the signature Greenbrier Peaches and the Lox and Toasted Bagel! Both are delicious! When the sun starts to set, the dining room transforms into a fine dining experience. Guests dress to impress in their dresses, coats, and heels for the evening in a dimmed light atmosphere decorated with beautiful chandeliers. Prior to dinner I suggest having a drink at the Lobby Bar and snapping a photo with the professional photographer during the daily Open Portrait Sessions in the lobby.
Prime 44 West embodies a fine dining experience in a classic steakhouse atmosphere. The restaurant is named after the West Virginia native and NBA legend Jerry West. The menu offers delicious options from both land and sea with a few of my favorites being the Maryland Style Crab Cakes, Filet Mignon and the Lobster Mashed Potatoes. In fact, the Lobster Mashed Potatoes are so delicious they have been featured on The Food Network.
Do you have a major sweet tooth? If so, The Candy Maker is sure to satisfy you! This fantastic little chocolate shop is nestled next to Fizzy’s Land of Oz, the resort’s toy store (without a doubt a strategic move by the resort). The shop offers many handmade treats including novelty chocolates and gifts. Each visit my family and I stock up on the delicious hand-dipped chocolate strawberries! A decadent that is hard not to love.
Although I have only listed a few of my favorite places to dine – I assure you there are many options and you will easily find your favorite, too. Some of the other fabulous options to explore are – Twelve Oaks, Sam Snead’s, In-Fusion, The Forum, JJ’s Sports Lounge, Cafe Carleton and Rhodendron Spa Cafe.
In addition to the numerous dining options to enjoy, there are several options to enjoy for quick bites to eat and cocktails. The Greenbrier Gourmet & Coffee Bar, The Pizza Shoppe and the Ryder Cup Snack Bar are great for on-the-go moments.
Things to know Before Your Visit
There are a few things to know before your visit. The resort has a Dress Code for many of its dining options and activities. I suggest planning your wardrobe accordingly to avoid any inconveniences. I also suggest packing warm clothing for outdoor activities. Even if you don’t plan to partake in any outdoor adventures, it’s very likely you will want to walk around the resort’s campus to view the beautiful decorations and scenery.
The Greenbrier Hotel and Resort is a magnificent place. If you are unable to visit this winter I hope you are able to make a visit in the future. I promise – it is an experience that you not forget!