Berkeley Springs Stories and Tips

The Spa at Berkeley Springs State Park

Of course the highlight of a spa weekend has to be a visit to the spa. We try to plan our spa visit early in the day on Saturday. The park opens for business at 10 a.m.

There are several options for your treatment. The most popular is the "relaxer." It consists of a soak in one of the private Roman baths and a half-hour or one-hour Swedish massage. Steam treatments are also available, and if the Roman bath is not appealing, there are enormous claw-footed Victorian bathtubs available for soaking. When you report for your appointment, you’ll notice that the ambience is pretty Spartan. The spa resembles a clinic more than anything else. Stash your clothes in the locker, wrap up in the huge sheet, and your attendant will take you to the private Roman bath which has been prepared for you.

The Roman bath is 800 or so gallons of warm spring water, more than enough for the average adult to float comfortably. The rooms are dim and quiet, and there’s a pitcher of cool spring water to sip as you enjoy your bath. It’s entirely possible to drift off to sleep in the peaceful, comfortable environment. The attendant will check on you (quietly) from time to time, and after your allotted 20 minutes -- not a minute more -- you’re ready for a massage.

The massage therapists are trained by the state of West Virginia in Swedish techniques. They’re more than happy to focus on whatever trouble spots you point out, or you can just enjoy a full massage. When your half-hour or hour is finished, you can shower the massage oil off in more of the spring water, or you can wear it with you and just finish off with a light dusting of powder. Either way, you’ll be relaxed and refreshed by your treatment.

The park offers several other options for enjoying the spring water. There’s a medium-sized swimming pool, chlorinated and mostly populated by youngsters. The original Roman baths are also open in a separate building. These can be rented by the half-hour by individuals or groups, but no massage or other treatments are provided. Finally, be sure to bring a couple of clean containers to take some of the pure spring water home with you.

IF YOU PLAN THIS TRIP: Reservations are mandatory, and spots go very fast. Call 1-800-CALLWVA.

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