Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Greenbrier Gun Club

On Saturday morning during our Greenbrier Birthday Weekend, Katie and I headed to the mountains and shot some guns. Girls Gun Club went on the road while the guys went on a history tour of the hotel. How cute is that? 

Katie and I chose to shoot on the sporting clay course vs. skeet shooting. Sporting clays, as you may remember from the 2016 original GGC, are basically like golf with guns. You walk to each trap, get 25 shots total for the whole course, and go to five traps. We were the ONLY TWO PEOPLE ON THE WHOLE COURSE. It was amazing and we love, love, loved our instructor Jimmy Fraley. I can't even begin to explain the difference between the Greenbrier Gun Club and the Point at Pintail, but you know I'm going to try. Bear with me. You know by now that you need a passport to get through these posts. 

Jimmy set us up, reviewing the safety rules and going over the basics with us. Katie and I were both outfitted with our own guns, to carry, and practice gun safety from the get go. Truly, it changed everything. We loaded our own guns, emptied our own guns, and opened the guns when we walked to each trap, practicing gun safety at each step. It made me so much more confident around the guns to be honest. In 2016 our instructor had one gun for five women, loaded the gun each time which felt vastly different than this noble time in West Virginia. 

Katie hadn't shot since she was in camp. I hadn't been since 2016. 

Jimmy was really proud of Katie's stance and wanted me to make sure I got a video of her shots. 

He was a patient coach.

He also was hilarious, in his Jimmy'isms. I can't remember ever laughing so much in a two hour period. Re-watching some of these videos has me cracking up. He warned if the clay was a bear, we'd have problems...because we missed. He poked fun in the most delightful way. But he did not in any way baby us, because we were women. Even more than my first experience, he really trusted us. It was awesome.

Jimmy and I bonded over our arthritic matching fingers!

And it was colder than you know what. He was also proud that we didn't complain how chilly it was. We were also taught how to catch the shells against our torso. One day I'll get good at catching them mid-air, like Olympians.

We used a 20 gauge Beretta, over under, which I think is called a Silver Pigeon. Katie made a great point that there really should be a candle made to smell like gun powder. 

I got 16 out of 25. And this time I shot two double traps. I was so proud I texted my uncle and cousins to brag. And had to tell my Girls Gun Club travel buddies on a group text.

This is a video of one of my double traps. 

Jimmy was our biggest cheerleader.

Back at the lodge, the fire was blazing and our favorite Garden & Gun magazine with the southern women feature, was on the table. Alcohol is not allowed before shooting, for obvious reasons, but I really should have brought my flask to warm up afterwards. We were wind burned for an hour after, and it was the kind of cold that keeps your legs red for a few hours too. Snuggling up by the fire was such a treat after the chilly morning. 

If this is your jam, follow my Girls Gun Club board on Pinterest. One of my dreams is to start a destination travel company for women who like to shoot, love art, cooking, artisan flours, local flowers and studing history. Can you imagine touring Ireland or Scotland, then settling in for the night in a black tie gown for dinner, a la Monarch of the Glen? Getting an artist to speak about working with the First Lady? Arranging flowers in the morning, and using house milled flours in the afternoon to bake bread? A girl can dream right? 

For those who want more inspiring stories about women, go to Second Life. I just found this podcast and have been binge listening to it on my way to work. I started with Kerry Diamond, Ellen Bennett, and Nancy Silverton

Thank you so much Greenbrier Gun Club for taking such good care of us. Seriously, it was such a good time. Being with friends and feeling empowered by something you enjoy is such a simple pleasure. I called the Greenbrier to get the names to thank the great staff. The precious woman Kim, who answered the phone was delightful. She said, "Oh Jimmy Fraley? He and I were in the same home room." Jim Thomas was the manager of the gun club and was also quick to respond to my questions about what kind of guns and bullets we were shooting. Jimmy, we can't thank you enough for treating us like competitive Olympic champions. Can't wait to come back again.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Greenbrier Birthday Weekend

When E proposed, I had suggested that we go to Mackinac Island for our honeymoon. I'm a Michigan girl after-all and had dreams about it since I first hearing of it from my beloved DeNooyers. E was very skeptical. Dressing for dinner wasn't his idea of fun. But once we heard the clip clop of the horse and buggy's and got to The Grand Hotel, our first week together as husband and wife turned into one of the most idyllic vacations we've ever spent together. When visiting Katie and Tony on our January trip, I looked at the calendar to realize that we could all celebrate our birthday's together. The 8th of February, is Tony's birthday, mine is the 7th. I suggested we visit The Greenbrier and a caper was hatched. It was a great excuse to visit, yet another, Dorothy Draper designed, historic hotel. Last March, we traveled to The Colony Hotel together and it felt like the perfect fit to check this box off the Dorothy Draper bucket list. Eric knew the desires of my heart and made it happen. I think he actually likes dressing for dinner now. Thank you Babe!

A short four hour drive south brought us to this pretty place in the middle of the freezing cold winter. We were hopeful for snow. Not a flake, just 24 degrees with the purest sunshine. Winter is my favorite season.

The iconic spring house can be seen in the logo, on the rugs and of course on the campus. Turns out my great, great grandmother Amanda Green would go to the Hot Springs in Virginia and White Sulfur Springs for vacations. It was a place for healing.

The fireplaces were ablaze in the lobby, and we spent our first moments enjoying the glow by the Gone with the Wind chandelier in the bar off of the lobby. 

We tried some local bourbon.

Actual chandelier from the set of Gone with the Wind. So many feelings about this movie, but I'll just leave this little fact here.

E walking down the un-changed Draper hallway.

Who takes photos in the powder room of a fancy I love this pattern. It was in our bathroom at the Grand Hotel, but with a Kelly green back ground like this scarf that I now desperately think should be in my wardrobe. We missed the Carlton Varney weekend by just a few weeks. I can't buy the scarf because I now own all of his books...this one was the greatest because it has our Woodfill Suite. 


Our first room situation was a little dodgy. We called the front desk and were immediately moved. We've only had to do this once before, but both working in the hospitality industry made us know that our room wasn't right, and we should request a new one. However, the most beautiful arrangements were waiting for me in the first room. 

The hotel also took care of moving all of our stuff, including the flowers to the new room. There were really quick and handled us with the such care. That's all anyone really wants, right? To get what you pay for. Don't settle friends. Especially during really special occasions. 

The large bathroom suite made it all worth it.

That night Katie and Eric planned a birthday dinner for us at one of the many restaurants on property, Prime 44 West.


Afterwards we were ready to try our luck in the Casino. How much do I love my Katie? Always up for the next adventure. 

I think I loved the Twelve Oaks decor at the bar in the Casino the most. I love masculine wood details and off course horses. Tony won that night!

The next morning was cold and gorgeous. We took a quick stroll after Katie and I spent time shooting guns that morning at the Greenbrier Gun Club. It was the highlight of my year! Girls Gun Club at the Greenbrier. More on that soon. 

We headed up the hill to The President's Cottage for a little history.

And we packed the day even fuller with a horse and carriage ride. If it had snowed this would have been a SLEIGH RIDE. Y'all! Can you imagine? We were thinking of falconry, but passed to be inside. Brrr.

It was cold, cold but lovely to see the golf courses.

And then to a very competitive bowling match between us. E and Tony tied. I may have beat Katie, who asked for bumpers to be added. I think she was jealous the 5 year old next to us had a higher score than hers. JK Katiecakes.

And that night we had our fancy dinner in the Main Dining Room.

Sunday morning we toured another cottage that you can rent. I heard Jennifer Garner likes this location. 

And then we all went on a bunker tour, before being told to leave fast due to ice storms and wind coming our way.

This room and fireplace was my favorite spot, only to find out it was also Dorothy Draper's as well. We learned that on Sunday during the bunker tour.

All I really wanted to do all weekend was to play Scrabble with my best pals. Mission accomplished and Katie finally won!

Tony read the paper.

Then we hugged Mr. Mosley goodbye and were on our way before the ice storm.

What a glorious, fast weekend. We packed so much into that weekend. It was amazing. Thank you Katie and Eric for planning every detail and letting Tony and I feel spoiled fresh. Love you both too pieces. Happy Birthday to you too Tony. Thanks for letting me share in your celebrations.