A fountainhead of warm mineral waters frequented by Native Americans long before Europeans arrived in the New World, are at the heart of the mountain spa community of Berkeley Springs in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. First noted as Medicine Springs in 1747 on a map drawn by Thomas Jefferson’s father, the waters for many centuries have drawn visitors seeking health and relief from the stress of everyday life.
George Washington first visited in 1748 and made the area his favorite getaway through the 1760s. In 1776, Washington’s family and friends drew up a plat of 134 lots, named the streets, and incorporated The Town of Bath, invoking the muses of the renowned English spa. Yet the magic of the springs prevailed, and the town and surrounding area are known around the world by their name — Berkeley Springs.
The waters flow at a constant 74°F from the base of Warm Springs Ridge. You may still drink freely and fill your jugs at the public tap guaranteed by the Virginia law establishing the town in 1776. You can wade in the ancient stone pools in one of the country’s smallest state parks. The town has endured cycles of notoriety, fashion, war and modern progress, but remains today the Country’s First Spa, a noted art town and friendly haven surrounded by West Virginia’s splendid outdoors.