Gray's Journal

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Graylyn Grounds Supervisor Kevin Cook Wins Employee of the Year

Kevin Cook is Graylyn International Conference Center’s 2019  Employee of the Year. Cook received the award on Friday, January 4.

Each year, Graylyn presents the award to an employee who has demonstrated an outstanding work ethic and made substantial contributions to Graylyn over the past year.

“The Employee of the Year recipient sets the bar for all Graylyn employees. Kevin is truly an outstanding employee,” said Wake Forest University Vice President, Hospitality Services, John Wise. “When it came time to select a winner, Kevin was at the top of everyone’s list. We are so very fortunate and thankful to have him on our staff.”

Cook has been with Graylyn for over 17 years. While completing an internship with the Wake Forest University Grounds department in 2002, he was offered full-time employment at Graylyn and has worked the grounds ever since.. Cook is part of four-person team that maintains Graylyn’s  sprawling 55 acres.

Cook is also a member of the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS), earning his Certified Grounds Manager certification in 2013.
“I feel honored to have received this award. I look at the past winners and the example they’ve set, and it really means a lot that I was chosen. If possible, this makes me even prouder to be a part of the team at Graylyn,” says Cook.

But he’s the first to point out that working at Graylyn is truly a team effort.

“My favorite part about working at Graylyn is the people I work with. They make all the difference. They are a talented group and I am fortunate to be on such a great team. I truly enjoy working outside and working with people. The most rewarding part is being able to see the fruits of our labor!”


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Graylyn Hosts the Children's Center at annual Holiday Party

Each year, Graylyn hosts students and staff from the Children's Center for a holiday party. The children and their teachers join the staff of Graylyn for Christmas Carols, cookies, a special reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas, and even a special appearance from Santa himself.

Bringing holiday cheer for kids has been a long tradition with the estate. On Christmas Eve, Mrs. Nathalie Gray had an annual Christmas party for every child in Winston-Salem. Her invitation included every boy and girl, regardless of color. For many children, this was their principal Christmas celebration. There were large Christmas trees, rooms beautifully decorated, gifts and refreshments distributed by Santa Claus.

The Children's Center, located on the corner of the Estate, and Graylyn have been keeping this tradition alive for over 25 years.


Monday, December 3, 2018

A Perfect Holiday Breakfast Treat: Graylyn's French Toast Muffins

Chef Rollins has prepared the perfect sweet treat for your holiday table! These Graylyn french toast muffins are likely steal the show of any holiday breakfast or brunch. An added bonus? They make great gifts for friends and family. We’ve rounded up everything you need to make a dozen large muffins in just an hour! (Note: you will need to prep the bread cubes and refrigerate them sit overnight) 


1 pound loaf of Texas toast bread, diced into one inch squares
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1-½ cups half-and-half cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup of granola raisins


1. Set the cubes of bread in a container. In a large bowl, beat together 1 cup of brown sugar, eggs, milk, cream, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Pour over bread cubes, cover. Refrigerate overnight. 

2. The next morning, preheat oven to 350. In a small saucepan, combine butter, the other cup of brown sugar and corn syrup; heat until bubbling. Pour over bread and egg mixture.

3. Scoop bread mixture into buttered muffin pan and top with granola. 

4. Bake uncovered, for 45 minutes. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Graylyn Holiday Tradition

Each year since 1990, local artist Julie Perry has created hand made porcelain ornaments for the Graylyn Estate. Each annual ornament features an architectural or interior design element original to the home.

The 2018 ornament depicts the wading bird featured on the tapestry that covers Mrs. Gray’s 16th century chair. This chair is one of the oldest pieces in the Gray Family’s priceless collection, and can be found under the circular stairway.

Perry begins the process by creating an original sculpture which she then casts in plaster to form a mold. Every ornament goes through two firings in an electric kiln. She then paints each detail on every ornament by hand. She makes around 100 ornaments each year for guests and friends of Graylyn to purchase and add to their trees. 


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Breakfast with Santa at Graylyn!

This annual event is sure to keep Graylyn on the nice list. Bring your family for a delicious holiday breakfast, festive activites, a photo opportunity, and most importantly, quality time with Santa himself! Reservations can be made between 8am-10:30am on any of the following dates:

Sunday, December 2
Saturday, December 8
Sunday, December 9
Saturday, December 15
Sunday, December 16
Saturday, December 22
Sunday, December 23

*$25 per adult
*$13 per child 12 and under
*Children 4 and under are free.

For reservations, please call 800-472-9596 or click here.

*Subject to tax and gratuity. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Meet Lindsey Wilson, the Graylyn Scholar for the class of 2021

The Gray family was dedicated to education, community, and preservation. Today, Graylyn, strives to honor that commitment by contributing a portion of its business success to local schools, student scholarships, and historical preservation efforts. Each year, Wake Forest awards the Graylyn Scholarship to an incoming student of outstanding academic quality who would otherwise be financially unable to attend the university.

Meet Irmo, South Carolina native Lindsey Wilson, Graylyn scholar for the class of 2021. Wilson, a graduate of Spring Valley High School, has yet to declare his major, but is considering pursuing a degree in psychology.

“I just want to help people. I feel like the emotional aspect of our lives is something that we don’t address as much as we probably should,” said Wilson. “I would like to do something that would help people with that aspect of their lives, and I feel like majoring in psychology is a good step in going about doing that.”.

Wilson is very grateful to receive the scholarship because otherwise he would not have been financially able to attend Wake Forest. The relationships he has already forged among students, faculty, staff, and even the provost are already proving to be an invaluable component of his educational experience.

“On the first day that I moved in, the provost literally came into my room and introduced himself! If I see him walking around on campus, he’ll wave and say hi. He knows who we are. It’s really unique,” said Wilson.

In addition to their full scholarships, Graylyn scholars are also encouraged to apply for up to $5,000 in research grants each year. Next summer, Lindsey is hoping to receive a grant to assist a linguistics professor who works with the Cherokee in the area, documenting the history and fundamentals of their language. The following summer, he hopes to travel to Japan to further his research in linguistics.

When you host a meeting, hold a special event, or stay overnight at Graylyn, you are not only receiving a luxury experience, but you are investing, in part, in Lindsey Wilson’s education and the education of other Graylyn scholars. On behalf of these very grateful and well deserving students, thank you!


Thursday, October 18, 2018

"Dorothea Lange's America" Living and Learning Package

Experience “Dorothea Lange’s America” Living and Learning Package through December 30, 2018. With this overnight package, guests will receive a luxury overnight stay at Graylyn, and be able to explore the work of one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, now on display at Reynolda House American Museum of Art. The package also includes:

  • Overnight accomodations
  • $75 Food and Beverage Credit for Dinner
  • Full Breakfast Buffet
  • Butler Tour of Graylyn
  • Two Tickets to Reynolda House Museum of American Art
  • At-leisure shopping at Reynolda Village
  • Graylyn shuttle to Reynolda 
  • Complimentary onsite parking and WiFi
  • Gray Family Traditions: Complimentary refreshments including Mrs. Gray’s Butterscotch Cookies every afternoon, and ice cream celebrating Mr. Gray’s love of the sweet treat. 
  • PLUS, November 14 - December 30, see the historic Reynolds mansion decorated for the Christmas.

(Image: "Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California", 1936, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection. LC-DIG-fsa-8b29516)

Dorothea Lange’s Legacy
The twin cataclysms of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl inspired a group of socially conscious photographers to capture the mass exodus of Americans from their homes and farms. Photographer Dorothea Lange rose to preeminence with empathetic images of migrant workers, suffering families, and tortured landscapes that seared the effects of the Depression into American conscious.

“Dorothea Lange’s America” tells the story of heartbreak, resilience, and determination through beautiful lifetime prints by the legendary documentary photographer, including photographs by Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, and Russell Lee.

(Image: Dorothea Lange, “White Angel Bread Line,” San Francisco, 1933. © The Dorothea Lange Collection, the Oakland Museum of California. Gift of Paul S. Taylor.)