During my recent trip to Winston-Salem I had the opportunity to stay overnight at the Graylyn International Conference Center. I had such an amazing time that I had to share my experience. Graylyn was built as a private residence by Bowman Gray, a tobacco magnate, and completed in 1932. With over 46,000 square feet and 60 rooms it was the second largest private residence in the state. In 1946 the house was donated to the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University and used as a psychiatric hospital until 1959. Gordon Gray repurchased the house in 1972 and donated it the same day to Wake Forest University. Graylyn was transformed into an international conference center in 1993 and has been used by dignitaries and celebrities around the world. I can see why because once I entered the doors I didn’t want to leave.
As soon as I had been checked in I headed to the formal dining room for a delicious buffet lunch. I knew I would be sampling doughnuts later in the day so I had a small lunch of salad and soup. While I was eating the butler, Jerry, provided me with some background on the estate and when I asked for advice on the best places to take pictures, offered to show me some of the best areas on the grounds.
The entire staff was so friendly and attentive to every detail of my comfort. They made me feel at home (or as much at home as one can feel in a huge home like this.) I knew I could get used to living like this!
And the bedroom! All I can say is wow. The bed was so soft and comfy, with no kids or cats waking me up in the middle of the night. The desk had an internet connection, allowing me to quickly check my email, plus the chair and ottoman provided a wonderful place to sit, relax and watch television or read a book at the end of the day. Not that I had time to do that, but it would have been fun.
Since I am a history buff, I loved the antique design of the bathroom but appreciated the modern amenities that were included.
One of the employees asked me if I had a chance to check out the fully stocked ice cream freezer on the second floor. I hadn’t but I couldn’t resist. It was filled with almost every type of Good Humor bar imaginable. (Yes, I had to taste one after I found them.)
Later that evening I joined The Butler’s Tour hosted by Larry the Butler, a former history teacher. He walked us through several rooms of the house, explaining the history and telling us stories of notable celebrities who had visited as well as the story of the ghost dogs who haunt the estate.
The library was amazing because it once belonged to King Louis XVI of France and was disassembled from the Hotel d’Estrades in Paris and shipped to Graylyn where it was restored panel by panel. It still had a bullet hole in the wall where the king’s mistress had attempted to shoot the queen but missed. (I forgot to ask what happened to the King’s mistress after the shooting. I am guessing it was not good.)
Having visited Graylyn I am anxious to return. While the rooms are a little pricey, it’s a unique experience. Graylyn also hosts a murder mystery weekend which sounds fascinating. Learn more about the Graylyn Internal Conference center by visiting their website.
I was invited to attend the Krispy Kreme 2013 Bloggers Summit in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and lodged at the Graylyn Conference Center as part of the event. All opinions are my own and I was not asked to post. I simply wanted to share my experiences.