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Travel: The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier is spread out over 6,500 acres, has 721 rooms, and hosted 26 U.S. Presidents as far back as Martin Van Buren. Uploaded by planetware.com.

The Greenbrier’s classic exterior doesn’t immediately bring to mind a world-class resort; its architecture perhaps calls to mind a Government building on the mall in Washington, D.C. But this property has been serving visitors in one form of other since 1778. And once you’re there, the resort’s history is as evident as the discerning service you’ll enjoy at every turn.

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The resort’s statistics alone are staggering: 6,500 acres, 721 rooms, 10 lobbies, more than 40 meeting rooms, 1,800 employees. Against a backdrop of the Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier has welcomed kings, princes, Hollywood’s brightest, and 26 presidents, as far back as Martin Van Buren.

There’s not much in the vicinity of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, but that’s okay – The Greenbrier gives you plenty to do. Three championship golf courses that have hosted the Ryder Cup and the Solheim Cup. A spa that includes the healing springs that brought the hotel into existence. Indoor and outdoor pools. Billiards and bowling. Hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and whitewater rafting. And, coming in the spring of 2010, a Monte Carlo-style casino.

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A part of the Greenbrier’s unique history is an underground bunker that was designed as a destination for the U.S. Congress in the event of a nuclear attack. The bunker, constructed between 1959-1962, was a classified secret that wasn’t revealed to the public until 1992. For a fee of $30, the general public can take a tour of this relic of the cold war era.

The Greenbrier experienced financial problems in recent years, but now has a new owner and is experiencing something of a renaissance. If you go, you’ll enjoy elegant decor with Southern hospitality in what is rightly considered one of America’s finest resort hotels.