Summer 2012 travel blog


This was a busy day - as there is a forecast of rain tomorrow. We took a very circuitous route to the greenbrier resort in white sulphur springs. The nuvi put us on a county rd 13 that is single lane and goes around and around. We did see several deer as we weren't on a major road! We had time to check out the Greenbrier, a AAA 5 diamond resort built in 1916 by the C&O railroad. There is a golf course, spa, and casino, 721 rooms. This area has been a destination since 1778 due to the healing properties of the sulfur springs. We weren't allowed into the casino just to look, as we weren't hotel guests.

The bunker tour was 90 minutes, very interesting and involved quite a bit of walking. In 1962 the govt. built a shelter that would house all members of congress in event of a nuclear attack - so the govt could continue to operate. It was secret and part of the west Virginia wing added to the hotel. Part of the facility was used as a convention center at that time -to hide it in plain sight. Behind 3 blast doors, are 112,544 square feet of storage including 2 auditoriums set to house the house and senate, dormitory rooms, cafeteria, power plant, dispensary clinic, operating rooms, dental facilities. All buried under a hillside and walls 5 feet reinforced concrete. The facility was in a constant state of readiness for 30 years until Ted gup exposed it in a Washington post article titled a last resort. It was decommissioned by 1995 and has been open for tours since. About 67% of the bunker is now being used as secure data storage and we had to turn over cell phones and cameras before entering the bunker.

We then drove to Beckley to take a tour into an 1890 coal mine. The mine operated 20 years and the tour guides were retired miners who explained how coal was mined -lying on their sides or on their knees to work on low seams of coal. The complex included a coal company school, church, miner's home, Superintendent's home and bachelor shanty. The interpreters in these buildings actually grew up in coal camps and provided their insights too.

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