From the moment our alarm goes off in the morning, my wife and I run like a well-oiled machine as we wake, dress, and get the kids ready to be sent off to school. I wake them up, she gets them dressed, I pack the lunches, and whoosh, just like that, they are out the door. However, the cost of being so regimented is that if you don’t stop every once in a while, it’s easy to lose touch with one another. Suddenly, instead of a loving husband and wife, you’re just a couple of cogs in…well, in a well-oiled machine.
It was this epiphany that inspired me to plan a weekend escape for the two of us. I wanted someplace romantic, someplace luxurious, and above all, someplace we could both just relax and enjoy each other. And I found all of those things and more at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
With our customary efficiency, my wife and I packed up the kids, loaded the car, dropped them off for a visit with their grandparents, and officially began our vacation weekend. As if on cue, just minutes after we crossed into West Virginia, John Denver’s voice came on the radio, singing about the very country roads we were traveling.
Coming from Washington D.C., we’d decided to take the scenic route, across Route 39 on down U.S. 219. We weren’t disappointed; the views were stunning. As we drove into the Greenbrier Valley, we pulled off at one of the many Greenbrier River access points and had a picnic lunch. Afterward, we took a short walk to soak in the beautiful environment up close before hitting the road for the last stretch.
The very best
We enjoyed the drive, but the iconic entrance of The Greenbrier was still a very welcome sight. From the large white columns, reminiscent of the White House, to the manicured grounds and incredibly accommodating staff, it was clear that we had come to an extraordinary place.
Wanting to treat my wife to the best, I opted for one of the resort’s Windsor Club rooms, named in honor of the Duke (formerly King Edward VIII) and Duchess of Windsor, who were frequent guests at The Greenbrier in the 1940s and 50s. My wife and I may have never reigned over an empire, but to say we were treated like royalty would be an understatement—cocktails and desserts in an exclusive lounge, and an entire concierge staff at our disposal were just a few of the lavish aspects.
Taking a suggestion from one of the staff, we decided to stay on property for our first night and have dinner at Prime 44 West. Both of our steaks were cooked to perfection, but the real star of the meal was the Sticky Toffee Pudding we had for dessert.
Thanks to an attentive staff member who heard my wife mention it was a special romantic weekend trip for us, we were greeted with a bottle of champagne on ice when we returned to our room.
The next morning, my wife and I decided to part ways for a few hours to enjoy our “self-selected” activities. For her, a morning spent getting pampered at the spa was just too good to pass up. For me, I was sold as soon as I read the words “ancient sport of falconry.” After all, how can you go wrong by participating in a 4,000-year-old sport that was a pastime of royalty!
We met for a quick lunch at Café Carleton, and then headed to explore downtown Lewisburg, just a short drive from The Greenbrier. We had a blast casually strolling from boutique to art gallery, and simply enjoying the fact that there wasn’t anywhere we had to be. At Bella, we found a few specialty foods to take my parents as a “thank you” for babysitting, and at Serenity Now, we were able to find gifts for our kids and even our dog. By the time we were done shopping, we were starving, and, luckily, we stumbled upon Stella’s, a charming restaurant in a restored home from the 18th century. The entire farm-to-table meal was spectacular, and the wine selection, outstanding.
Returning to The Greenbrier, we had just enough energy to end the night on the dance floor at 42 Below, a tribute to the resort’s historic Old White Club.
The next morning we both slept late, a sure sign of a relaxing weekend. And, while it was not easy to say goodbye to the beautiful surroundings and acknowledge our luxurious weekend had come to an end, we were leaving feeling refreshed, relaxed, in love, and ready for the country roads to take us home.