Gray's Journal

Friday, September 27, 2013

From Candy Bars To Coffee Bars: Keep Your Meeting Attendees Alert!

In honor of National Coffee Day on Sunday, September 29th, we decided to have a blog post all about coffee...and meetings, of course!

The smell of coffee is one of the most inviting sensory details you can provide at meetings. Not only will a smiling barista, high-quality brewed coffee, and espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos elevate your meeting to exceptional, it is becoming so widely popular at wedding receptions, business events, and parties alike.

Preparing for a coffee bar at your next meeting isn’t complicated-follow these tips to get started:

If you're at a venue like Graylyn, with a designated conference coordinator and hands-on chefs working to make your meeting a success, a personalized coffee break will be a piece of cake. However, some venues do not provide their customers with food and beverages, they must be catered. You may be able to locate a coffee caterer by doing a Google search for your area. It’s likely, though, that many professional baristas won’t have a website. Word-of-mouth is still the best way to find one; stop in at a coffee shop or two and ask for information on coffee caterers. You might luck out and get a bid on the spot!

Coffee bars vary in their offerings; the basic service usually consists of brewed coffee in regular and decaf and espresso-based drinks. Syrup flavors are often limited to chocolate, caramel, and vanilla. Cold drinks and frappe-like drinks may not be available, unless caterers are equipped with an ice bin and a blender. The more creative the coffee break, the happier your meeting attendees will be. And did I mention the caffeine surge that will keep them alert and full of ideas?!

You’ll need to ask the caterer for his or her requirements. Some coffee caterers will have a portable cart and may need nothing but a power outlet. Others may need a table, access to water, and at least two outlets. Graylyn's coffee break sets are large areas with plenty of space for those flavored syrups and creamers. Talking with your experienced conference coordinator will ensure that your barista-style break will be a success.

One exceptional way to set the bar up is to place it where guests will be queuing-this smooths out the waiting process. Beware, though; you might have guests rejoin the line for seconds!

So amp up your next meeting with a fantastic coffee break. You'll be doing yourself and your attendees a f(l)avor!

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

10 Things You Didn't Know About Graylyn

Step through the hand-crafted iron gates at the front door and watch Graylyn transform from an innovative hotel and conference center to a lustrous estate filled to the brim with charm and history. Inside these walls tells the story of a prominent Winston-Salem family, Bowman and Nathalie Gray, and their success with the tobacco industry, the establishment of their dream home, and raising their two children, Gordon and Bowman Gray Jr. But whether you're from Winston-Salem or an out-of-town visitor, there's always something to learn about this grand estate.

Here are 10 things you probably didn't know about Graylyn:

1. The iron work throughout the estate was crafted by a 19-year old apprentice by the name of Joseph Barton Benson.

2. The oldest architectural element in Graylyn is the 15th Century French carved stone doorway, which separates the vestibule from the larger entrance hall.

3. The 19th Century handcarved gessoed and gilded Persian Card Room panels were purchased by the Gray family from a mosque in Constantinople, Turkey.

3. An underground tunnel leads from the manor house to the Bernard Cottage. Legend has it there is another tunnel that leads across the street to the Reynolda House - home of R.J. Reynolds and his family.

4. When it was built in 1932, Graylyn had its own telephone system with fifty outlets, a radio system throughout the house, and a floodlight system for extra security (supplementing their watch guards).

5. The miniature furniture found in the Library was collected by Mrs. Gray. When furniture representatives came to the house with samples, she'd buy the furniture and request to keep the samples as well.

6. The Mews (French word for stables), resembles a Normandy quadrangle and which originally had caretaker's quarters, garages, implement storage facilities, a forge, stable and poultry house.

7. In 1935, there were 35 employees working for the Grays, including a greenhouse supervisor, watchmen and a poultryman.

8. Handpainted tiles from the Enfield Pottery and Tile Works of Enfield, Pennsylvania, are used in all the second floor bathrooms, the indoor swimming pool, and in many first floor and basement rooms.

9. Murals of undersea life surrounded the indoor swimming pool when the house was built. The walls deteriorated and the murals were removed in the 1940s.

10. Bowman Gray lived at Graylyn for only three short years. He died aboard an ocean liner in the Northern Atlantic Ocean while vacationing with his family in 1935.

To get the full historical tour of Graylyn, register for our monthly Tour Pour Du JourGuests will be taken back in time during a guided tour of the home while they enjoy Graylyn's select house wines. Learn about the Grays' beginnings in Winston-Salem, and how Graylyn is being used today. We will give you a look into the family's rich history, and even let you in on some of the mysteries that lie beneath the ground and within the walls. 

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Graylyn Welcomes 2013 Graylyn Scholar!

Graylyn welcomes its new Graylyn Scholar for the 2013 academic year, Paulomi Banerjee! Paulomi is a native of Cherry Hill, N.J., and attended Cherry Hill High East.

Begun in 1990, the Graylyn Scholarship is offered to one student each year and recognizes leadership and academic excellence, with funding provided by and in recognition of the Graylyn International Conference Center of Wake Forest University.

"I was very excited to be chosen for this scholarship," Paulomi said. "But when I realized there was only one person picked to be the Graylyn Scholar I was even more honored."

As a senior in high school, Paulomi served as class president. While it was difficult balancing both the duty of class president along with her academics, she said that she really enjoyed planning events including prom, school dances and homecoming. 

Paulomi's major is currently undecided, but she is leaning towards math and economics. She said she will also be getting into more clubs and extracurriculars as the year goes on but is enjoying her time just being a college freshman. 

Congratulations Paulomi, and welcome to the Graylyn family!

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