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Warm Up at America's First Spa



    Scientists say that hundreds of miles down the fault-ridden hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a series of thermal springs form a belt of heat loss running along the eastern edge of the mountains (sorry we had to get technical) -- this is where Berkeley Springs, W.V., enters the picture. 

    Located just 90 minutes from D.C., Berkeley Springs is known as the country's oldest spa. George Washington apparently loved it here, and if it was good enough for the father of our  nation, it's probably just fine for you.
    This mountain spa community has some of the best natural hot springs in the country. The springs, at a constant 74 degrees, are formed when Water from a section of Cacapon Mountain merges into a single cluster of thermal springs, now located in Berkeley Springs State Park. 
    The Bath House, located in Berkeley Springs, offers a variety of baths and treatments, such as Roman baths (large, heated walk-in tubs), a jacuzzi, and whirlpool massages all using the naturally warm mineral water from the ground. The spring water is heated to 100-102 degrees (and yes, the baths are drained and cleaned after each guest).
    On the second floor of the Bath House, you'll find the Museum of the Berkeley Springs, which features exhibits of the famous warm mineral springs. The museum is open year-round. 
    If you're looking to make a weekend of it, consider choices from log cabins to small B&Bs. Lodging in Berkeley Springs isn't hard to find and it comes at prices that suit everyone's tastes. Stroll about town to shop at many of the resort boutiques, specialty shops and art galleries. We reccomend taking the walking tour (if it's not too chilly -- or you could always warm up again in the bath).