Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

On a warm winter day in February, my little sister, niece and I decided to take a drive and explore a little town we'd heard about recently, Berkeley Springs!
Berkely Springs, WV. is a small, historic town about an hours scenic drive from Frederick, MD.  The little town boasts one of the oldest spas in the South.  The Native Americans "took the waters" for their healing benefits, as did George Washington and several thousand others over the years.  Now Berkeley Springs is a State Park and folks from near and far can come enjoy the 74 degree warm springs that flow at nearly 1,000 gallons per minute!!!
In the summer visitors can enjoy the spring channels as well as the outdoor pool, and during Spring, Fall and Winter visitors can step inside one of the bath houses where friendly staff will tell you about the springs while filling large and small tubs (your choice) with further heated, pumped in, natural spring water for you to soak in intervals of 30min.  $25 per 1st Adult, $15 for each Adult after, feel free to call the Bath Houses or visit their website for more information.

Hanging in the bathhouse is this old photograph of children taking the channel waters in the summer time.  Too Cute!

This set up is in the Main Bathhouse.  A row of whirlpool tubs, sectioned off by walls and curtains for privacy, allow you time to soak in the pumped in natural spring waters and heat it to your desired temperature.

There are also massage rooms on the opposite side of the building.

In the Roman Bath House across the park, you'll find a different set up.  Here you'll find larger, deeper tubs, almost like private pools within slim rooms where you can also have natural spring water pumped in and heated for your soak.  You can certainly soak solo or invite a friend or two to soak.

Here is one prepared for a couple that was heading in as we were touring the facility.

George Washington's Bath Tub seemed a bit small for someone so tall and grand, but nevertheless, here it is:)  I'm sure it looked drastically different and a bit more luxurious in 1748!!!

You can also drink the water, in fact, it's highly recommended:)

Just past the park, you'll find the rest of  Downtown Berkeley Springs, a charming town with a melting pot of charming shops and restaurants.  Several antique stores, art galleries, a glass blowing studio, a cigar shop, an Olive Oil lounge, and a Himalayan Trading Post make up most of the commerce along the main drag where the springs are located.  

Tari's was our pick for the perfect lunch during our afternoon out!  Tari's doubles as a restaurant slash art gallery and of course I nabbed a photograph before leaving!  Iron work, paintings, and photographs make up the bulk of art you'll see on the inside.

I chose the Moroccan Chicken Naan Wrap and was sure glad I did!  This hearty sandwich was bursting with spices and the salad was the perfect accompaniment!

After lunch my little sister and her daughter and I enjoyed sharing a huge, soft, creamy slice of this Lemon-Berry Marscapone Cake, it was absolutely delicious, one of the lightest desserts I've ever had in my life!

Alexis Approved!

In fact, she was so thrilled with her experience she was inviting others in to do the same:)

Next, we ventured up to Berkeley Castle!  It had beckoned us all day, starring down on us from high above on the hill.

Berkeley Castle was the Wedding Gift of Colonel Samuel Taylor Suite to Rosa Pelham after his second attempt at winning her hand in marriage, five years prior she had turned the poor fellow down, but this time he persuaded her with the gift of a Castle in the town of Bath!  Colonel Suite hired famous architect A.B. Mullett to complete his grand vision and in 1885 the work began!  It took about 100 German masons to complete the castle and in 1891 it was finally finished!
The sad part- Colonel Suite died just before the castle was finished and in his will he stated that Rosa was to complete the task to inherit his fortune.  She did, and went on to throw lavish parties for her friends and family, but her extreme spending caught up with her and in 1909, at just 50 years old, her funds were depleted and the castle sold at public auction! 

The castle saw the auction block many more times over the years and lived many different lives!  Andrew Gosline finally purchased it and made it his business to restore the castle back to Rosa's time including filling it with period pieces and restoring it to it's former glory!

Sadly, it is closed to the public, but that didn't stop us from peering at it through the iron gates and snapping a few pics!  Afterall, how many castles are there to peek at nearby!

It was a wonderful trip and we'll be back, with our bathing suits of course!


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