Native Americans visited the warm mineral waters prior to any European settlers. As a surveyor, at age 16, George Washington frequented the area, then known as Medicine Springs as its waters were thought to have healing properties. In 1776, George Washington’s family and friend drew up a plat, named the streets and incorporated the town as Bath.
The town changed its name to Berkeley Springs in 1802 when the Virginia Postal System was established. There was already a Bath, Virginia in Bath County. The town is a good mix of a quaint small town and artistic center. There are a fair amount of artisans in the area that sell their wares in local stores. By day it is a bustling little town. At about 6pm in the evening, it is fairly quiet, except for a few local bars and pubs and the movie theater that has $4 admission to new movies and boasts the best popcorn in 3 states. The Nomads visited and we concur that the popcorn is pretty good.
Within the Town of Berkeley Springs is a national state park called, you guessed it, Berkeley Springs Park. It is located in the heart of downtown just opposite the courthouse. It is a small park with at least 4 separate springs feeding different pools and streams that you can wade or sit in. One is even an outdoor monument to presidential bathing, located in the park, called George Washington’s Bathtub. In addition to the springs, there is a pool, Roman bath house, water faucets that you can fill containers with spring water for a donation and even a time capsule. It is a very relaxing and serene little park.
Adjacent to the park is a The Country Inn of Berkeley Springs. It is built in a manner than reminds you of an old German Style building. Also, believe it or not, on the hill overlooking the town is a castle. You read that right, a castle. It was built in 1885 by a businessman named Samuel Taylor Suit. He called it a summer cottage. Everyone else who sees it calls it a castle.
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is a quaint little town. If you want to visit a place with a small, home town feel that is still fully vibrant, give this town a visit. Safe Travels.