Berkeley Springs "church ladies" become calendar girls

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — A group of women in Berkeley Springs who recently produced a 2016 calendar said they were inspired by “Calendar Girls,” a racy British film about a group of refined women who wanted to raise money for charity by posing for a calendar in the somewhat altogether.

The women from the nondenominational Unity Church of Berkeley Springs came up with an idea for the “Church Ladies Scrapbook Calendar 2016″ featuring themselves as models similar to those in the British film, with one exception.

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Two Berkeley Springs restaurants featured in 101 unique places to dine

Restaurants across the state of West Virginia are celebrating restaurant week.

Along with special lunch and dinner deals, the Wild, Wonderful West Virginia tourism office also released a list of 101 unique places to dine in the state.

One of the lucky features is Lot 12 Public House, an upscale restaurant in Berkeley Springs.

“We have the upscale cuisine, in a comfort setting, in a crazy unique town like Berkeley Springs,” said chef and owner Damian Heath, when asked about why his restaurant might have been selected. “So it’s just a little gem to find in Berkeley Springs.”

The restaurant opened 16 years ago, and is named after one of the plot of land – Lot #12 – which was given to Capt. John Swann of Washington County, Md. by the Trustees of the Town of Bath in 1777.

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WV Travel Team: Quirky, cool Berkeley Springs

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — Full disclosure right up front: I live here. Have lived here for nearly 40 years.

I’ve written so many words about Berkeley Springs that it’s hard to imagine there is any West Virginian not familiar with the country’s first spa, tucked away in that protruding thumb of the state known as the Eastern Panhandle.

How many other places are there where people have been coming to “take the waters” for their health for nearly 300 years — not counting the native tribes?

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Berkeley Springs has been voted as the #8 Best Southern Small Town as chosen by USA TODAY and it's readers.

It was a very close race between the top two finishers, but in the end, Natchitoches, La. (population 18,275) took home top honors. “Nack-a-Tish,” B&B Capital of Louisiana and quaint setting for the ensemble-cast classic, Steel Magnolias, is the oldest town in the state of Louisiana.

Runner up for Best Southern Small Town is Abingdon, Va. (population 8,206), located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and home to the Barter Theatre and Virginia Creeper Trail.

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Living in Berkeley Springs

Berkeley Springs comes out of nowhere. You’re driving through the Eastern Panhandle and bam, there it is—colorful storefronts, historic buildings, a state park with a charming gazebo and a wealth of history—all in a quaint and walkable downtown. Eclectic stores line the streets offering local art, new age products, and antiques while spas and health shops dot each block.

“Having nice shops in the heart of downtown is so important,” says Jeanne Mozier, vice president of Travel Berkeley Springs. “About one-third of the people who come here literally say the same thing: ‘I’ve driven through your town so many times and promised myself that this time I was going to stop.’ It’s really important for all of the things on Main Street to look inviting.” (more…)

Three places to fall for West Virginia

For much of the year, West Virginia lives up to its “almost heaven” moniker, serving up its beauty on meandering country roads, through rocky rivers and over high mountain peaks. But it’s never closer to heaven than in the fall, when its sugar maples prepare to shed their leaves and the view is all amber and gold peaks as far as the eye can see. (more…)

Sweep the theater floor

So, Oscar night came and went. Or as I like to refer to it: The Awards Ceremony for Films I Haven’t Seen.

Don’t get me wrong. Like most red-blooded Americans, I love going to the movies. I love the two-hour escape they provide from the everyday. I love the giant tubs of popcorn, replete with the faux-butter topping. I even love the endless stream of previews that make the most lame of pictures seem like another must-see.

But here’s what I don’t love: the price of admission.

At some point in my life, going to the movies simply became a luxury I could no longer afford. Actually, I know the exact point: when I moved from South Florida back to my native New York in 2010 and was suddenly confronted with the reality of tickets that can run nearly $15. Add in those $7 tubs of popcorn (and those $5 cups of soda) and the total cost for my family of four to see a flick is now in triple-digit territory. With various discounts, I can see a play (albeit an Off-Off-Broadway play) or even a major-league baseball game for less. (more…)

Personal Journey: A need for natural beauty and healing waters

After the unexpected death of a close family member, an uncomplicated, therapeutic vacation was in order. Knowing my husband was a fan of hot springs for their healing qualities, I proposed several locations: California, Colorado, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Berkeley Springs, W.Va. The last was selected because of its easy three-hour drive west down the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-81. Our must-haves included: natural beauty, the waters, and a significant divergence from our daily lifestyle. A consultation of my “late-in-life bucket list” happily revealed that Monticello was within easy driving distance. (more…)