Oglebay Resort in Wheeling…West Virginia’s Friendly City!
Let me start off by saying that I am in love with historic Wheeling, and its Oglebay Resort, where over a 100 years ago a tradition of generous hospitality began at the summer estate of Earl W. Oglebay. Upon his death in 1926, Mr. Oglebay willed his property to the people of Wheeling, for as long as they “shall operate it for public recreation.” In July 1928, the property was accepted as Oglebay Park on behalf of the people and placed under the governing hand of the Wheeling Park Commission.
Wheeling, founded in 1769, lies along the Ohio River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the very northern part of West Virginia. Wheeling was the first state capital of West Virginia. Due to its location along major transportation routes, including the Ohio River, National Road, and the B&O Railroad, Wheeling became a manufacturing center in the late nineteenth century and by the early 1880s, trade along the Ohio River made Wheeling a popular frontier town. National Road, the nation’s first roadway, was created by an act of Congress and reached Wheeling in 1818 from Cumberland, Maryland. National Road was the most important avenue of commerce and, as such, Wheeling became known as the “Gateway to the West”. For our frequent flyers, Wheeling is located just sixty miles from Pittsburg International.
We’ve decided that we have to come back to Wheeling sooner or later because we made the mistake of booking only two nights at Oglebay Resort. Though we’d arrived on an early Sunday afternoon and were able to checkout Wheeling’s beautiful historic district before check in and got later real close up to the historic suspension bridge on the day of our departure, we deeply regret not having had more time. Here in the charming town of Wheeling, and the truly amazing Oglebay resort, is so much more to do, discover, and experience, no matter what time of year, that we will return someday. www.wheelingcvb.com/attractions
We’d heard of Oglebay (pronounced Ogle-bee) through my husband’s golf buddies. Oglebay is home to the illustrious Arnold Palmer designed Klieves Course and the ever-popular Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed Speidel Course. The Speidel Golf Club pays homage to two golf legends, Palmer and Jones and since Oglebay also features “The West Spa”, a luxurious 5,000 square-foot spa sanctuary, I was delighted that my husband would ‘disappear’ for 18 holes in the rolling hills of Wheeling.
We checked into a nicely furnished, comfortable room on the 4th floor of the Wilson Lodge with a balcony overlooking the beautiful hills and the lake below. It was a gorgeous day with still summer-like temperatures and we had plenty of time to unpack and familiarize ourselves with where to go and what to see. Oglebay is a year-round resort of about two thousand acres of exceptional beauty and numerous recreational activities for families, couples, golfers, and non-golfers, like me.
The 270-room Wilson Lodge at Oglebay offers well appointed accommodations, features The West Spa, several dining venues, and 22,000 sq. ft. of meeting and wedding space. The beautiful gardens of Oglebay feature seasonal floral displays from April through October, and in November and December, Oglebay glows with the Winter Festival of Lights. Oglebay also has specialty shops, downhill skiing and snowboarding, stables, tennis, fishing, pedal boats & aqua cycles, an indoor & outdoor pool, environmental education center, two museums, resort shuttle, and a 30-acre zoo. No kidding.
Along the way we checked out one of Oglebay’s 54 cottages (ranging from two to eight bedrooms — perfect for families and smaller golf groups) while admiring all that nature has to offer, including two fawns snuggling on the manicured lawn by one of the cottages. These two adorable dotted dear babies didn’t seem to have a worry in the world.
We were a little tired and decided to dine on our first evening at Glassworks Grill in the Wilson Lodge, quick and casual in a bar-like setting my husband had an eclectic ala-minute burger creation and I, a creative salad with a fabulous fresh blueberry dressing that I will try to recreate at home. We went to bed early as we both had 9am appointments the next morning, I, at the West Spa and my husband his T-time. I don’t know if it was the fresh mountain air, or the ever lingering scent of millions of blooming flowers, or the excitement of discovering another part of our beautiful country, but we slept like logs through the night.
The next morning I stepped out on the balcony with my cup of tea and my iPhone for a live Facebook chat with my friends and readers. It was a short chat, the fresh mountain air was crisp and I wore very little. Btw, I always bring my favorite tea bags, honey and fresh milk in a cooler with me, spoiled brat, says my husband. Later we enjoyed a nice, hot breakfast from the well attended buffet at the Ihlenfeld Dining Room in the Wilson Lodge. There were other early risers, golfers— thank goodness my husband likes to talk about golf while I enjoyed the views over Schenk Lake, located in the heart of Oglebay Park. The lake provides a variety of activities for guests of all ages!
The West Spa! My appointments were perfectly timed to keep me busy while my husband was golfing. Lucky me, as The West Spa at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center managed by Ms. Jessica Johnston recently made the list of the top 100 spas in the country. I was scheduled for a Massage Experience with Ms. Monica. Advertised as: “Melt into deep relaxation with our unforgettable, exclusive massage which offers a combination of Swedish and Deep Tissue, a sampling of Pink Himalayan Salt Stones, and a variety of techniques such as stretching and range of motion”, it was all that and more. People, I am fortunate to have experienced great messages all over the world, this combination and the positive energy of Monica was indeed an Experience! —Next, a luxurious mani/pedi with a warm Paraffin Treatment, the “Healing Ritual”, advertised as “A delicious treat for the hands and feet that will focus on much-needed exfoliation and hydration using an exfoliating seaweed scrub. After your nails are perfectly prepared, enjoy a massage to seal in moisture, and then indulge in a deeply hydrating paraffin dip, leaving your hands and feet buttery soft. Complimentary polish is included.” Ms. Millie, as well as Ms. Monica, both are incredibly talented professionals.
My morning at The West Spa was the start of a beautiful day at Oglebay. After I’d showered, I took a nice walk through nothing but nature up to the Oglebay Garden Bistro for lunch as my husband still had another 4 holes to go. He’d called me and assured me that he was enjoying himself tremendously and reported that the Robert Trent Jones course was in good shape and the greens in excellent shape. The charming Garden Bistro overlooks the Terrace Gardens, and many of the fresh seasonal ingredients are grown here. “Our unique menu features regionally sourced produce, free range chicken and eggs, grass fed beef, and handcrafted bread. We also offer a selection of gluten free and vegetarian cuisine.”
I was asked to: “Grab a seat on the porch and enjoy the views!” Indeed, the panoramic views of Oglebay’s manicured landscape are a beautiful setting. As many of you know, I am a foodie and I can assure you that I had a blast with my Blueberry & Spinach Salad with Poppyseed dressing and our dinner later here as well.
Finally my hungry husband showed up and after he was fed we both walked up the hill to check out the Oglebay Mansion Museum. For the history buffs, Oglebay Institute offers educational tours of the elegant estate of Cleveland industrialist Earl W. Oglebay, who purchased the mansion and surrounding acres in 1900 to serve as a summer home. The Mansion Museum was the first museum in West Virginia to be accredited by the American Association of Museums and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. —At the Carriage House Glass Museum we saw the largest piece of cut lead crystal ever made, The Sweeney Punch Bowl created in 1844. Standing five feet tall and weighing 225 pounds, this remarkable piece of Victorian artistry is world renowned.
Oglebay is a beautifully landscaped, 2,000-acre public park, studied by planners worldwide as the only self-supporting public municipal park in operation in the United States. It stands as a successful tribute to Earl W. Oglebay, a notable achievement of the Wheeling Park Commission, and a credit to the many benefactors and organizations involved in its growth. While Oglebay is operated mainly through guest revenues, the park offers more free activities than any other operation of its type in the country. www.oglebay.com
Until next month from another interesting location.