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Spa Town ; West Virginia ’s Berkeley Springs

By

Thomas R. & Deborah A. FletcherBerkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs West Virginia D-05-2369-

     Berkeley Springs, in West Virginia ’s Eastern Panhandle, is one of America ’s favorite spa towns.  Only 90 minutes from the Capital Beltway or two hours from Pittsburgh , the small town is a convenient romantic getaway.  It is a destination where folks have been “taking the waters” for centuries, venturing to the area for the “healing” warm mineral waters that gush forth from the earth.  The area springs were known and used by Native Americans centuries before the first European settlers discovered the region. 

Washington Street, late February, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2379            The springs were featured on some of the earliest colonial maps.  George Washington first visited the area in 1748 as a 16 year-old surveyor employed by Lord Fairfax—in 1776 he and a few friends established the town as “ Bath ” in honor of the English resort town of the same name.  In establishing the town, the Virginia Legislature (87 years before West Virginia became a state) stated that “the water shall remain free,” Bath was founded as the country’s first spa town.  Officially, the town is still called “ Bath ,” but is far better known by its Post Office designation of Berkeley Springs.      Washington Street, late February, Star Theatre, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2378

Berkeley Springs State Park—home to the warm mineral springs that put the area on the map—is a five-acre park located on the village green, in the heart of town.  George Washington’s Bath Tub—shaped from rock—surrounds a spring, one of the five main water sources within the park.  It remains a popular attraction.  Today folks can still enjoy the spring water for free—spa treatments however do cost, but probably not what one would expect. 

            Berkeley Springs isn’t a high-brow, high-dollar destination with more arrogant attitude than travel value.  No this is a real town, with spa prices for real people, not the rich elite.  The town’s five full-service spas offer about anything one could want from the Roman baths, to a Eucalyptus steam, to a full-body massage; a total of 53 various bodywork treatments are available.  Two dozen area lodging establishments ensure a wide selection of accommodations.Roman Baths, Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs West Virginia D-05-2387

The Berkeley Springs water flows from underground at a constant 74.3 degrees Fahrenheit (about 25 degrees warmer than normal for water flowing from an underground source).  The spring’s mineral content is due to the water’s passage through the silica sandstone of Warm Springs Ridge.  The first bath house in the area was built in the late 1700s, whereBerkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs West Virginia, Gerogre Washington's Bath Tub 1-2-176-11 today’s Roman Bath House is located (within the state park).  The structure one sees today dates from 1815, making it one of the town’s oldest buildings.  The Roman Bath House features nine rooms with 5’ x 10’ tubs that are filled with 750 gallons of steamy 104 degree Fahrenheit water.  Completely private, four feet deep, these tubs are just right for a couple to enjoy a hot, steamy romantic soak together.  Spa facilities within the park are open daily, with the exception of New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  Berkeley Springs State Park is on the National Register of Historic Places.Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs West Virginia, Gerogre Washington's Bath Tub  1-2-176-15

Berkeley Springs celebrates the annual Winter Festival of the Waters—a three month event celebrating the healing power of water.   There are several events designed to allow residents and visitors to escape from the winter blahs, including special spa events and the George Washington Bathtub Celebration held the weekend closest to the anniversary of Washington ’s first visit to the region March 18, 1748.  The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting held annually near the end of February is the centerpiece of the winter festival.

The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting is the world’s largest water tasting event.  Spring waters, tap waters, and bottled waters arrive from all around the world to compete.  Tastelessness is the most sought after quality.  The water should have no flavor, no particles—only pure refreshment.  A body of judges is trained in the ways of evaluating the various waters they will be rating.Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2401

Berkeley Springs is a perennial favorite on the annual list of “100 Best Small Art Towns in America ” by American Style Magazine.  The Morgan County Arts Council (MAC) established in 1977, has succeeded in establishing Berkeley Springs as an art town.  The council produces an array of events throughout the year from free summer concerts every Saturday in July and August, to an exhibit gallery with “art walks” to mark the opening of new shows.  MAC headquarters is in the Ice House, a 40,000 square feet former cold storage building for apples.  Instead of chilled fruit the building is now home to concerts, art classes, theatre, and an artists’ cooperative (www.macicehouse.org).Atasia Spa 41 Congress Street Berkeley Springs West Virginia  D-05-2407

Atasia Spa features a Eucalyptus steam that clears the sinuses and cleanses the pores like nothing we’ve experienced.  We highly recommend the Eucalyptus steam in preparation for a full-body massage.  Talk about feeling invigorated and rejuvenated, glowing even.

Berkeley Springs is an exceptional romantic getaway for a couple to be pampered and enjoy each other.  It is an historic town with warm mineral springs, spas, art galleries, historic homes and elegant Bed & Breakfasts.  A half dozen art galleries and antique malls offer excellent shopping opportunities.  Does it get any better than that? 

Stock photography by Thomas R. Fletcher at Alamy  

HotelsCombined.Com

IF YOU GO:

Coolfont Recreation Resort - Conference Center - Health Spa

3621 Cold Run Valley Road

Berkeley Springs , WV 25411

Phone: 1-800-888-8768

            304-258-4500

E-mail: info@coolfont.com

Web:    www.coolfont.com

 

Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2384 D-05-2384  Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Travel Berkeley Springs 

127 Fairfax Street

Berkeley Springs, WV 25411

Phone: 1-800-447-8797

http://www.berkeleysprings.com/ 

West Virginia Tourism  

2101 Washington St. E.

Charleston, WV 25305-0312

Phone: 800-CALL-WVA

(304) 558-2200

Fax: (304) 558-0108

Website: www.westvirginia.com 

Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs West Virginia D-05-2369 Berkeley Springs State Park,

# 2 South Washington Street

Berkeley Springs , WV 25411

Phone:  1-800-CALL-WVA

304-258-2711

Web:    http://www.berkeleyspringssp.com/

Atasia Spa 41 Congress Street Berkeley Springs West Virginia D-05-2407 Atasia Spa

41 Congress Street

Berkeley Springs, WV 25411

Phone:  877-258-7888

304-258-7888

Web:    http://www.atasiaspa.com/

 

Frankie Tan of Atasia Spa  massaging a client, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2413 D-05-2413 Frankie Tan of Atasia Spa  massaging a client, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Washington Street, late February, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2373 D-05-2373 Washington Street, late February, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Tari's Cafe, Washington Street, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2374

 Tari's Cafe

33 North Washington Street

Berkeley Springs , WV 25411

Phone:  304-258-1196

Web:    http://www.tariscafe.com/

Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs West Virginia D-05-2364 D-05-2364 Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs West Virginia D-05-2385 D-05-2385 The Roman Baths, Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Washington Street, late February, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2381 D-05-2381 Washington Street, late February, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia Washington Street, late February, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2375 D-05-2375 Washington Street, late February, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs West Virginia, Gerogre Washington's Bath Tub  D-05-2383 D-05-2383 George Washington’s Bath tub, Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs West Virginia D-05-2386 D-05-2386 Steam rolling off the spring waters in late February, Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
D-05-2424-b.jpg (120397 bytes) D-05-2424 Joe of   Washington Homeopathic Products, Fairfax Street, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia Washington Street, late February, Star Theatre, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2378 D-05-2378 Washington Street, late February, Star Theatre, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
The Country Inn at Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2362 D-05-2362  The Country Inn at Berkeley Springs, West Virginia The Roman Baths, Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2387 D-05-2387 The Roman Baths, Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Mineral Baths, Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2382 D-05-2382 Mineral Baths, Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia Joe of Washington Homeopathic Products, Fairfax Street, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2418 D-05-2418 Joe of Washington Homeopathic Products, Fairfax Street, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Washington Street, late February, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2379 D-05-2379 Washington Street, late February, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia Michael Beller, Sr VP National Geographic Channel judging the water, Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia D-05-2436 D-05-2436 Michael Beller, Sr VP National Geographic Channel judging the water, Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

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