Friday, July 9, 2010

The grandest of openings

Arriving at Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.
On Saturday, June 26th, Watch Hill summer residents donned their finest black tie and period dress to celebrate the grand reopening of the famed Ocean House, an 1868 Victorian seaside landmark that entertained Society and Film Stars in its heyday (Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. made the film "American Aristocracy" on the veranda of the Ocean House in 1916).
After a six-year, $147 million replication down to the minutest detail (5,000 of the original architectural elements were "harvested" and placed back into the new building), this opulent hotel has opened its doors once again.
Marisa, Walter, Jr. Lindsay, Walter, and Leslie Tomensen
Georgie Lewis, Eugenie Daniel, and Adie and Mamie Von Gontard
Reha and Kathleen Kocatas and friends
Read, Kathy, Eliza, and Bill McKendree
Chuck and Deborah Royce with Dennis and Leigh Algiere
Michael Kovner with Lucy and Nat Day
Bob Hardwick leading his 19-piece orchestra
The Ocean House features 49 hotel rooms, 22 apartments, 5 restaurants, a private beach, croquet, and the luxurious OH! Spa. On Saturday night, guests dined, danced to Bob Hardwick and his 19-piece orchestra and watched fireworks illuminate the Atlantic as the Ocean House came to life once more.
Lynne Wheat and Thomas Peterffy
Heidi and Tom McWilliams
Sabrina Forsythe and Michael McCarty
Iliana Moore and Christina Evans
Bob Liebrich, Deborah Royce, Tina Barney, and Chuck Royce
 Sandy and Tina Whitman
Alexandra and Tess Porter
Patricia and John Chadwick
Chad and Jackie Royce
Alexandra Porter, Susan Sterling, Bill Goodrich, Deborah Royce, and Sabrina Forsythe
Jenny and Chris Clark
Sophie and Tom Wynne
Philip Watson and Alease Fisher-Tallman
Michael Kovner and Jean Doyen de Montaillou
Jason and Julie Miller
Louise Mayer and Meredith George
Wesley Royce and Whitney Krueger
Bill Evans
Cindy Rinfret and Basil Mavrolean
Last Friday at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, the resort’s owner and Chairman, Jim Justice hosted an enormous star-studded party to a gala marking the opening of the Casino Club, the brand new $80 million casino Justice has created for the guests, with interiors designed by New York’s Carleton Varney.

Carleton is also the successor of the late legendary designer Dorothy Draper who did the interiors a half century ago. Since the late 18th century, The Greenbrier hospitality, architecture and interior design, impeccable service and outstanding amenities have made it a draw for guests all over the country and the world.
The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
The black tie event brought out governors, sports figures, prominent businessmen and their families including Edwina Sandys and Richard Kaplan, Jimmy and Charlene Nederlander, as well as Debbie Reynolds, Raquel Welch, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Jessica Simpson, Christine Ebersole, Barbara Eden, Shaquille O’Neal and Brooke Shields, to name just a few. The evening featured (after the ribbon cutting) a performance by Lionel Richie.

My friend Joanna Molloy, who attended, was so excited she sent me an email about the experience:

The Greenbriar is a huge elegant old plantation on 5,000 acres (!) in the non-coal part of the state. I think the PGA will hold a tournament there in a couple of weeks.  

It looks like the White House x 10, with tiled indoor pool, outside infinity pool, rafting trips, a fabulous golf course, and tennis. Everywhere there were photographs of distinguished guests down through the years including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, all the Presidents, Princess Grace; Whitneys, DuPonts.
Jim, Cathy, Jill, and Jay Justice
The next day they had a 4th of July parade with vintage convertibles. Debbie Reynolds in red and a red, white and blue scarf was in the lobby recalling how she and Eddie Fisher honeymooned there – there is photo of them riding bicycles and looking impossibly young (although I must say she looks fantastic now).

She and Carleton Varney in the lobby broke into an impromptu version of her first hit record “Abba Dabba Honeymoon,” and he knew all the words. Debbie said it was amazing because in the movie (“Two Weeks With Love”) she sang it with another Carleton (Carpenter).
Jim Justice, Brooke Shields, Cathy Justice, Jessica Simpson, and Debbie Reynolds
Brooke Shields, Jack Nicklaus, and Debbie Reynolds
Lionel Richie
Debbie, who lives in a house at the foot of her daughter Carrie Fisher’s driveway in Beverly Hills, has the largest collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world including Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” and Marilyn Monroe’s white dress which blew up over the subway grate in Billy Wilder’s “Seven Year Itch.”

Charlene Nederlander wore an incredible white lace Valentino with a diamond brooch the size of my palm, and Pat Kerr had a heart-shaped diamond on a chain the size of a walnut (I had to be careful nobody knocked my eye out).” The whole weekend was fantastic, and The Greenbrier breathtaking, and it’s only a 55 minute flight from New York. You must go!
Beth Ostrosky Stern
Barbara Eden and Shaquille O'Neal
Jennifer Garner
John and Katherine Smoltz
Carlton Varney and Christine Ebersole
Jack and Barbara Nicklaus
Michael Buffer and Guest
Ann Magnuson
Steve and Jane Beshear
Jane Seymour
Joe and Gayle Manchin
John Phillips
Charles Barkley
Miss West Virginia Cali Young
Raquel Welch

Photographs by Cutty McGill (Ocean House)
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