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A Greenbrier Weekend

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Okay, so I broke one of my rules and had to swap some workouts. My friend Andrea came into WV for the weekend and we met down at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV. This meant 2 things - that rule of not eating out more than 2x/wk? Yeah, that one had to go. And the one about sticking to my scheduled workout, no matter what?! Uhm, sorry...that one went too...BUT! I swapped my workouts for something else and managed to keep myself in a pretty healthy state all weekend.

First of all, let me say that I felt two things immediately upon arriving at the Greenbrier.

1) INTIMIDATED! The place is huge and beautiful. Everyone knows you by your name (because they make sure to put it somewhere they can see it - like on the sticker in your car...of course, for me, this meant being called Ms. D- by everyone as my friend had made the reservation in her name. *lol*). I knew I'd need to have cash to tip people and then on my first encounter I simply forgot (was trying to juggle baggage, phone, and speaking with the gentleman helping me with the bags). OOPS! (Don't worry, I didn't forget the next time.) Anyhow, I could tell this was a fancy place. This is where the celebs come for the Greenbrier classic, where Presidents and foreign diplomats have stayed for ...well, forever, it seems! It's not generally a place the average WVian gets to visit, let alone stay at!

2) Did I just walk onto the set of Dirty Dancing?! While the place didn't look exactly like that, it had that aire about it. It's an all-inclusive type resort. You put your bags down and then your car never leaves the parking lot. Everything is on site. There are activities planned for nearly every minute of every day - from croquet to tennis clinics to horseback riding to fly fishing to spa visits to shopping, dining...the works! I parked my car Friday afternoon at 3pm. I didn't see it again until Sunday at noon! *lol*

The Recap:

Before I could leave, I had to get Ethan to the eye doctor. Just as I suspected, my boy's vision is WAY off. 20/50. He needs glasses. We got them ordered. He's flitting between being scared of being teased and thinking it's cool because it make him unique. I'm just worried that he doesn't lose them or break them (these are pretty difficult to break though...the girl folded them in half to demonstrate!).

I left just after noon or so. Three hours later, I arrived in White Sulphur Springs, avoided the valet like it was my job, and parked my car. I waited near the registration desk for my friend to arrive 30 minutes later and then we were off.

The hotel room had two plush double beds. COMFY! With about a dozen pillows each! *lol* The TV was on when we walked in (which kinda irked me...conserve, people!). The hall to get to the elevator to the 6th floor we were in was so long I thought the dude was back at registration laughing at us because he told us to "simply follow the corridor until you come to the elevators" (yeah, three miles later! *exaggeration, of course*). Our bathroom had a vanity with lighted mirror (yay!), double sinks, and a bidet. Yep, a friggin' bidet. With instructions on how to use it (which we didn't *lol*). We knew what we were getting into right there. We unpacked, I changed out of my jeans (dress codes, people, no denim after 7pm!) and then headed downstairs for tea. Yes, tea. With a dance and piano playing throughout. (Good tea, too! We both went British and splashed in a little milk for good measure. And they had little biscuits too. One was even shaped like a mouse!)

A waltz before tea...


That one on the left in the middle? That's the smallest freshly made Chocolate Chip Cookie I've ever had!

Heard nearby - a grandmother to her grandson (about 5) -
Grandma: "Hey, look! It's a mouse."
Boy looks.
Grandma: "Want to bite it's head off!?"
(I nearly snorted tea out of my nose...)

There are shops all along one corridor, there's a casino, and several restaurants. I told Andrea that I needed to workout because I hadn't done that yet, but by the time we rolled around to that, the fitness center was closed...but the pool wasn't. It was a super long pool. The largest I'd ever been in. And, thankfully, they had roped off a lap lane for people like us. We did 8 of the longest laps of my life, stopping to take breaks here and there and talk and catch up. No pics, sorry. We spent a lot of time just chatting and catching up. Andrea took more pics than I did and the fact that I don't have pics of everything shows just how much fun I was having.

Other cool things about the pool area? There was a lifeguard on duty. There were actual full changing rooms with a bathroom area that included a shower and toilet, and then a changing area with a vanity. You can come without anything other than your clothes and bathing suit (no wearing that around the hotel!) because they provide everything you might have forgotten. Towels, of course, but also hairspray, aerosol deodorant, shaving cream, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, rubbing alcohol (? not sure why), q-tips, combs (individually wrapped), razors, mouthwash, hair dryer, styling gel... *gasps for breath*. :) There is also something called a "bathing suit dryer" which spins your bathing suit around in this little tub super fast to get the water off it. SO cool! I want one! Also in the locker room? A scale. :) I weighed myself immediately and saw that it was giving me a reading similar to the one at home. I continued to weigh myself every single morning to gauge my progress over the weekend. (Actually lost a couple ounces according to that scale.) Also, they had scales in the bathrooms of each hotel room...that go up to 300. *pounds head on mirror* SO close!

So after swimming, we showered and got all dressed up fancy to go down to a restaurant called Prime 44 West, dedicated to Jerry West, a WV native and the guy my husband calls "Mr. NBA". *lol* We had set our reservations at 8:45pm (late, I know, but we had a late night planned anyhow). The food was pretty good. Nothing over the top OMG amazing. The steaks? Not a single one under $50. NO WAY! I had a vegetarian Wild Mushroom Tart that was $36, some brussels sprouts (my first time ever - they were good!), some mac-n-cheese that was just alright, and my favorite - Lobster Bisque soup. YUM! (But I did get a portion of shell...which after paying nearly $20 for a bowl of soup, I think is pretty outrageous!) Then Andrea ordered some pistachio creme brulee (sp? and I've never had either pistachios or creme brulee, so more firsts for me), which was pretty darn good, actually, with some blueberries on the side.

All dressed up for dinner at Prime 44 West...in the really cool elevator!

After dinner, and 2 glasses of wine each, we were a little tipsy. (Oh yes, there was wine!) So we giggled our way to the casino where I lost myself just 5 bucks (because that's all I played! *lol*) and we walked around a bit and talked and walked outside looking at the lights and such before heading upstairs and planning our next day.

A crappy picture of us outside by the back tree. There was another tree out front, but it had a slight problem...

"Who ate my tree?!"

*lol* Yep, it's still funny...even sober.


So we had a full day planned Saturday, or so we thought. We did end up with a little downtime, but we just took a nap so we could keep going. First things first? Breakfast!!! OMG I was so hungry when I woke up both days...no clue why (okay, well I know why I was super hungry Sunday, but that comes later). My one major complaint about the resort? For some reason they don't believe in breakfast. The room service menu included $5 bagels, $4 bowls of cereal and some friggin' oatmeal. And like 12 different kinds of juice. *shrug* Not one egg. No pancakes. WTF, dudes!? I went downstairs to the coffee shop and got myself a bagel, a banana, and some coffee! (Yay for coffee!!).

About 9:30am we started to head downstairs to meet the shuttle that would take us...to the other side of the resort grounds for... A TENNIS CLINIC! *lol* Seriously, was the most intimidating and the most fun thing I did all weekend. Here are Andrea and I, with like NO tennis experience (I kept telling her that we call it "That game where we chase the ball around the court that we missed") with 2 people decked out in tennis gear. I'm just glad I was able to ignore the 8 year old girls killing it in the tourney next to us! *lol* I learned a lot in that hour. Mostly that I do really suck at tennis, but I can get better. I wasn't watching the ball enough for one. By the time we ended the volley session, I was able to aim the ball back at our instructor a little better. And then it was serving time... *evil laugh* Okay, so you know most people, if they suck at any part of tennis more than another, it's generally serving (and backhand, but let's forget I even mentioned that because we sucked so bad he didn't even want to SEE our backhand swing! *lol*). Well, I must be strange (no comments, please! ;) ) because that's the part I'm good at. He saw 4 serves from me, corrected one thing about my swing (adding in a backstroke at the beginning), which I picked up immediately, and he saw that I was hitting it inside the correct box on the court each and every dang time! He firmly announced that *I* was going to be their designated server. :) At the end of our clinic, he turned to me and said, "Okay, Esther. One shot. You get one serve. You get it in, and *I'LL* pick up all the balls." All 3 other girls laughed and said, "You can do it!" And can you believe, I friggin' hit the thing in? (We still helped him pick up all the balls.) He said, "I can't believe it!" I told him it was an ugly serve, but he said getting it in was all that mattered.


I can now check a tennis lesson off my list, but...I want more! I talked to the people there about some people here in Charleston that might be able to give me lessons, so I'm going to look into that soon. I think I might be able to be semi-good at it! (And then I can really smoke my step-brother! HA!)

After tennis we tried the spinning bikes, basically because neither of us had been on one. I lasted 7.5 minutes...she lasted about double that. My legs were jello! (Not to mention my knee did it's famous pop out-in routine on the tennis court). We headed back to the hotel (we walked, cuz we're cool like that) and then showered and got dressed for lunch. We ate at this place called Draper's...mainly because I'd seen the night before that they had Chicken Pot Pie and I thought it'd probably be delish. (Honestly, mine is better! *lol*) It was a 45-minute wait, but we just headed over to the coffee shop for a cooking demonstration before we went back to be seated. (My other complaint is our waiter sorta kinda sucked...but whatever. I was too tired and hungry to care by that point.)

My girl, Andrea, at lunch.

Chicken Pot Pie...and french fries. Oh, I didn't mention those? Oops! *lol* Didn't much matter since this was to be my High Calorie Day (but probably wasn't anyhow...never finished by pot pie and only ate 1/2 the fries and we didn't eat dinner that night because we were still so full!).

Andrea had Apple Pie a la Mode for dessert. The little individual apple pies were adorable!

And me??

I had a perfectly Eloise at the Plaza moment. *big grin*

After lunch there was really only one thing left to do (after tea, of course). SLEEP! *lol* We took a nice long nap in our comfy beds before getting up to get dolled up again for a comedy act we were scheduled to see that night.

Dude on the left was hilarious! Dude on the right? It was painful to watch. He was afraid of his audience. He assumed they were all ritzy rich people and his old "I'm poor" jokes wouldn't work. I just wanted to yell up at him, "Just do your regular routine!" but I didn't want to be THAT girl. Still, it was sad and I felt like he just needed a hug after. :/

Even though Andrea and I tried to find something more "adult" to do after that...we'd done pretty much everything by now (and we had no intention of drinking anymore after the night before! *lol*). So we went back in the theatre, grabbed a cup of popcorn, and watched The Muppets! *lol* (Corny, but good.)

We crashed right after.


It was check out day but, thankfully, they don't make you check out until noon, and we had one last thing to do. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of our next event, and I'll explain why in a second. However, I did snap some of the rooms we wandered through while we were waiting for tea the day before. Warning - pictures can't do this place justice. Here's one.

This isn't even one of the designated "ballrooms". I wish you could get a sense how HUGE this chandelier is. WOW!

So, what were we waiting for? The bunker tour! Turns out Eisenhower's administration commissioned a fallout shelter to be built at the Greenbrier during the height of the Cold War. Everything was top secret...and the cover story? A construction of a new "wing" of rooms at the Greenbrier...the wing we actually stayed in! All weekend we were sleeping over top of this bunker, a fallout shelter built to house all the members of Congress and one staff member each for up to 75 days in the event of a nuclear bomb from our Russian friends. The thing was kept secret (officially, though the locals knew something was up) for over 30 years before a reporter cracked the story and the government admitted to it and (after 3 years of declassifying parts of the information), turned it back over to the Greenbrier.

I couldn't take any pictures of the three floor bunker that was built in the side of a hill because CSX IP is using it now to store valuable data for the top Fortune 500 companies in the nation - no cell phones, no cameras, nothing that might possibly interrupt the signals being sent out. The hour and half tour was awesome! It got you thinking about what other secrets our government keeps. They were going to house the members of Congress dorm-style, serving them in a dining room only built to serve 1/3 of them, requiring 3 turns of service for each meal (which meant they put the most uncomfortable tables and chairs in there). It had 3 huge water housing units in the lowest portion, along with three ginormous drums of diesel fuel to run the diesel generator back-up system, and a huge incinerator which was to be used to destroy all personal items and clothing members of Congress and their staff arrived with (putting them all in army fatigues) as well as the destruction of human remains, if necessary.


Wiki's info on The Bunker.


A link to a PBS feature on The Bunker.

After our tour, we checked out, dropped our bags in the car and I went back in to buy some goodies for the boys and Hubs. Then we ate in town at a local pizzeria (April's Pizzeria), which was SO good, before heading our separate ways.

It was a good trip. And I ended up working out, eating semi-healthy while still indulging, and losing some weight to boot!

Yesterday I caught up with the boys, got the puppy in to get his nails clipped, gave him a flea bath, took everyone to dinner, and we took turns playing video games the rest of the day.

Oh, and I headed to the gym for another weigh-in. 301.4 was my official number after a round of 45 minute NTC circuit training (which OMG I can feel today!). I dropped .6% body fat in a month...and now my target weight is set even lower. *bangs head on desk* *lol* I'm still aiming for 230 for now, though. (Think they have my target at 215 now.) So, all in all, not a bad weekend. It was hard to get back to the daily grind today...but I'm working it out. Going to try to hit Zumba tonight and see if I can last all the way through this time (we'll see...at least 30 minutes though!). I'm having dinner with a friend, so I may miss it, but I've got my Zumba at home too, so no excuses for missing a workout!

Have a great week everyone!
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