Nearly 800 participants are already registered for the 81st annual Meeting and Business Summit of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, which opens Aug. 30, at The Greenbrier.
This meeting is the largest gathering of business, education and policy leaders in West Virginia.
The highlight this year is the special presentation from Vice President Mike Pence, which will be the first time a sitting vice president of the United States has spoken to the gathering of business, education and policy leaders.
“We are very excited to host Vice President Pence at the West Virginia Chamber’s Annual Meeting and Business Summit,” said Steve Roberts, chamber president. “Issues important to West Virginia are receiving a high level of interest from the President and Vice President Pence. We are honored and humbled he is coming to our state to talk with us and to bring additional attention to the vibrant opportunities for West Virginia’s future. Together, we are working to build prosperity for West Virginia and its people.”
During the course of the three-day meeting, WVU President E. Gordon Gee and Marshall University President Jerry Gilbert will speak to the crowd.
“Both President Gee and President Gilbert have a unique insight into what is needed for our students to be successful and the importance of higher education in West Virginia’s economy,” Roberts said.
Few destinations have a heritage as lushly storied as The Greenbrier — an enviable “birthdate” shortly after the birth of the nation in 1776 and amenities enough to brag about, all protected within the verdant peaks of the Allegheny Mountains. And hospitality worthy of the title “America’s Resort” has to surpass that of the most sought-after locations in the world.
The resort’s staff and surrounding community’s rally toward recovery after deadly 2016 floods makes the pristine presence of the grounds and gracious hosting of the 2017 Greenbrier Classic PGA Tour all the more amazing, adding another chapter to its continuing story.
As the first guests traveled to White Sulphur Springs to benefit from The Greenbrier’s “curative waters,” it would have been hard for them to imagine its legacy would extend 238 years into the future. The determination of the resort past changes in ownership, fiscal and natural disasters can be attributed to many factors, including a community of West Virginians dedicated to seeing the legacy continue. Under private ownership by the Justice family since 2009, the resort that has hosted 26 presidents, many heads of state and decades of celebrities is flourishing, unfolding a vision for a new generation of guests.
Visitors still enjoy the benefits of the resort town’s celebrated springs. The waters are today used in the 40,000-square foot spa facility with services including sulphur soaks, massages, specialty manicures, pedicures and more. But the spa is only the beginning (or perhaps the ending) to a diverse experience blending old-world class with new world preferences.
The resort’s 710 rooms on 11,000 acres with 20 on-site dining and lounge venues assure uncompromising choice, including more than 55 indoor and outdoor recreational activities such as off-road driving and falconry to complement 38 retail shops offering visitors metropolitan quality — from the carefully selected toys at Fizzy’s Land of Oz to the impeccable quality of Yarid’s shoes and Bellissima women’s clothier.
The character of The Greenbrier is kept intact through its iconic elements of architectural detail along with the bold — yet enduring — Dorothy Draper florals paired with signature green and white striping, which is maintained by her protege, resort decorator and curator Carlton Varney. For epicureans, The Greenbrier still prides itself in a main dining room featuring world-renowned cuisine, as well as 20 additional restaurants, cafes and lounges. Top attractions on the property include the photogenic Springhouse and the “hidden” bunker, a once top-secret government relocation facility for Congress, now transformed into historic 90-minute walking tour.
More recent memorable moments for The Greenbrier include the opening of The Casino Club, hosting celebrity guests Jennifer Garner, Jessica Simpson, Debbie Reynolds, Shaquille O’Neal and Brooke Shields, among others. The Casino Club is America’s only private casino, featuring gaming tables, slot machines and simulcast racing.
Golf has played a critical role in defining The Greenbrier and has done so increasingly as the site of The Greenbrier Classic, a PGA Tour, FedExCup event. The resort has five championship courses, including the recently restored post-flood Old White TPC and Oakhurst Links, the first golf course designed and built in America. The Greenbrier’s impressive list of golf greats and Greenbrier Sporting Club members includes Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson.
The Sports Performance Center at The Greenbrier is where top NFL teams gather for off-season conditioning. This year, the Houston Texans training camp presented by XFINITY runs July 26 through Aug. 17, including joint practices with the New England Patriots Aug. 15-16. Practices at The Greenbrier are free and open to spectators.
The Greenbrier also is a popular wedding destination for couples drawn to its history and luxury. The newly constructed Greenbrier Chapel, designed to blend with the historic buildings and natural landscape, brings the all-inclusive resort concept to matrimony.
The Greenbrier ups the ante for the Mountain State, exemplifying fluency in finery, yet an uncompromising can-do spirit.
“The Greenbrier is a wonderful treasure for the state of West Virginia,” said Dr. Jill Justice, president of The Greenbrier. “I am proud it is a shining example of what is good in the state. Our ladies and gentlemen strive every day to showcase or natural beauty and authentic southern hospitality.”