December 6, 2011
By: Christopher Roney
Here’s an interesting tidbit, courtesy of Dan Lewis of Now I Know: Having hosted 26 U.S. presidents, the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia is a traditional home away from home for America’s Commander-in-Chief. However, with fears of the Cold War looming, it became much more than that. When it sought to expand into a new “West Virginia” wing, Congress stepped in and had them construct a secret bunker underneath to house them in case of impending nuclear war. Not only that, in order to remain in a state of emergency readiness, Congress set up a nearby dummy corporation to house the staff that would support them in case of emergency. Ultimately, it was discovered in 1992 by the Washington Post and Congress had to discontinue it as a site, since its usefulness depended on its secrecy. They had even had it constructed such that broadcasts out mirrored the backdrops of their broadcast offices in DC, so that it would appear as if they had not relocated. It was never used, and now the Greenbrier is only prepared to offer service to presidents and other luxury-minded travelers in peacetime. So I’d advise checking out The Greenbrier on your next vacation, both for its quirky top-secret government hideaway and for the wonderful accommodations that lured generations of presidents in the first place.
June 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
The Greenbrier is back. Saved from bankruptcy by local boy Jim Justice (a West Virginia coal baron), The Greenbrier is back in the spotlight after a mega-makeover by Dorothy Draper Inc. and the debut of a 90,000-square-foot casino. The West Virginia resort, a National Historic Landmark, continues to charm its guests with its stately architecture ad some 50 recreational activities including a spa and golf course. The latest from The Greenbrier? In a nod to the glamorous age of rail travel (à la the Orient-Express), the resort will launch a luxury train service from Union Station in D.C. to White Sulphur Springs starting in July 2012. Resort guests will travel in style aboard "The Greenbrier Presidential Express"- for a mere $650 roundtrip fare. The Associated Press reports that owner Jim Justice is spending $15 million on the train project: "The train’s 15 cars include a VIP suite car with private rooms, parlor cars, dining cars and an open-air car with safety railings. It will be powered by two diesel electric C39-8 locomotives."