What’s New in Berkeley Springs September 28-October 4, 2020

Fall is definitely making its presence known with cool nights, light fog in the mornings especially tucked into hollers and along the mountaintops, and best of all, the beginnings of leaves turning into their fancy foliage.  There is a reason why historically summer guests in the know did not leave the springs until October.

If you cannot come for a glorious Fall weekend, come for an equally splendid day trip.  “Lonely Planet”  just named Berkeley Springs as one of the 14 BEST day trips in the entire Northeast from Maine to Virginia!   https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/best-day-trips-northeast-usa.  More on why, later.

We have several interesting events this weekend — two on Saturday.  The Country Inn is staging a slightly pared down Oktoberfest featuring Bavarian cuisine and beer including brats, German meatballs, schnitzel, and of course Bavarian brews. From 4-7pm, Matt Otis and The Sound performs outside in the garden. Reservations are recommended.

A special photo show opens at the Ice House with an outdoor reception on Saturday from 7-9pm in the Ice House Culture Park.  The show is on display in the Ice House Theater with hours the same as the galleries: Thursdays through Mondays 11am-5pm.  Nearly two dozen portraits photographed by Mark Schwenk are on display, many of familiar local faces along with their “word of power.”  The  project is focused on depicting the word, capturing the essence of power in the portraits and using that to empower healing.  Although actual portraits will not be sold and removed from the show, they will be available to be ordered.  All proceeds from the sale of portraits benefits Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center’s (EPEC) undertaking to acquire a new shelter for victims of domestic violence.

One more incredible event on Saturday at 2pm at Cacapon State Park — Snakes Alive! presented by Jim Fregonara, WV DNR, Wildlife Biologist returns to Cacapon State Park. This is a perfect opportunity to get an up-close look at these sometimes misunderstood creatures: Timber Rattlesnake, Copperhead, Black Ratsnake, Cornsnake, Milksnake, and Eastern Gartersnake.

Now that’s a selection of Saturday special events that may not happen anywhere but here in Berkeley Springs.

Friday night a six seat/four course fabulous wine pairing dinner is available at Ravenwood Pub.  Each of the three wines chosen has their own perfect menu.  Call immediately if you want to attend: 727-742-8332.   You can also get these wines and the matching cheeses at Fleur de Lis Cheese Shop across from the Park.  On the craft beer scene, Berkeley Springs Brewing Company has Mountain Man Marzen on taping is brewing Apple Butter Ale to be ready for early November release. And then there is always the spring water for drinking at the public pump in Berkeley Springs State Park — sorry, couldn’t resist sticking that in since we’ve been talking about beverages.

On the shopping front we have some bittersweet news. Starting next Wednesday, the venerable Mountain Laurel Gallery is having a storewide sale of 20% on all merchandise through November 11 as part of an owner retiring/store closing event. They have exquisite Amercan arts and crafts available.

Other shopping is always fun in and out of Berkeley Springs from down the road Country Traditions and Vintage Kitchen to Christmas every day shiny decorations at Berkeley Springs Memories and perfect for Fall clothes at Inspired Chaos.  There is local art at the Ice House Gallery, antiques, gourmet oils and all kinds of gifts throughout the rest of town.  Visit all the storefronts as well as the Farmers Market on Sunday from 10am-2pm.

Let’s talk spas! Soaking in the warm healing springs in the Historic Roman Bath House at Berkeley Springs State Park and splashing in the luxurious tub with a stunning view overlooking town in the Country Inn’s Renaissance Spa were the highlighted reasons for Lonely Planet honoring Berkeley Springs as one of the 14 best day trips in the northeast.  There are other spa treats as well.  More baths, massage (including underwater!) and steams at the park’s main bathhouse and lots of massage and skin treatments at Renaissance.  And then there is Atasia Spa with massage, baths, steam, rubs and scrubs, pedicures and reportedly one of the best facials on the planet.  RNR Spa has an assortment of treatments but the cutting edge treatment location is Berkeley Springs Healing Center with everything from acupuncture and Reiki to healing treatments you’ve never imagined.  On Sunday at 11am, the Healing Center does a free meditation — this week with Reiki Master Joanie Blinn.

There are choice dining locations indoors and pick up from fine dining at Lot 12 and favorites at Tari’s Cafe to the wide-open spaces at Coolfont Resort with its world class bartender and breakfast and lunch at Charlotte’s Cafe.  For a breakfast experience you’ll talk about  back home for weeks, try Southern Belle and their pancakes and best breakfast potatoes ever — so good one local claims she doesn’t even need catsup. Angus and Ale is back open as is Naked Olive Lounge. Something for everyone.

For outdoor lovers, there are three special hikes this weekend at Cacapon State Park.  At 11am on Saturday you can sample a new route on the Laurel Trail with new views along the way. That evening at 6:30pm is an evening stroll with sunset and twilight sounds. Then on Sunday at 10am it’s a Birding Hike with a WV Master Naturalist.

Whew!  This is all plenty to do this weekend.  Pick the perfect place to stay and every memory will be one you cherish forever. You can choose in town at The Country Inn adjacent to the springs or just up the hill at Highlawn Inn B&B with a special package that includes coupons for Atasia Spa and Tari’s Cafe.  In the countryside there is endless space and choices that range from riverside cabins to ridge top vacation homes.  Check Berkeley Springs Cottage Rentals or our list of individual places.  Finally, if you’re lucky, you can snag one of the 34 newly renovated cabins at Cacapon State Park or a whirlpool tub room overlooking the lake at Coolfont Resort.

Hop on in your car and hustle over the mountain to Berkeley Springs, closer than anywhere for an ideal getaway.  We’re safe and ready to keep you that way too.

Don’t forget you have til October 11 to  VOTE for your favorite businesses  —  https://wvliving.com/best-of-west-virginia-2020/?fbclid=IwAR0PPTqrYyB_bd997E5aL_cEWJkHd487eXWIQGLPQs-XGU7T6W03BGMv0vQ#//

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