Tag: almost heaven

Visit Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

For years we’ve driven through the tiny hamlet of Berkeley Springs, WV on our way to visit family in Pittsburgh. We’ve said repeatedly that “one day” we’ll stop and explore. We finally decided to stop waiting for that one day to come, and put a visit to Berkeley Springs on our itinerary. We’re so glad we did.

Berkeley Springs has an eclectic vibe and is a haven for artists and art-lovers. Pop into most any store and you will find local art of every description for sale. Washington Street/522 is very walkable, and filled with quirky and interesting shops.

I loved this shop. They have great jewelry, clothing and home goods. I’ll take one of everything, please!

If you’re just passing through, we recommend stretching your legs in the heart of the town, Berkeley Springs State Park. During the summer months, the natural spring water pool is open to the public. There are a couple of bathhouses in the park and you can make an appointment for a soak at one of them, have a sauna or book a massage. Before you leave the park, be sure to pay a visit to George Washington’s bathtub. Yes, Berkeley Springs was even a spa destination for the Father of His Country.

We recommend having lunch or dinner at Tari’s Cafe. It’s a just short stroll from the park. Tari’s is a combination restaurant and art gallery. We chose it because they advertise as gluten-free friendly and our server was certainly knowledgeable about the ingredients in their food. The food was amazing and the service was prompt and friendly. Mark ordered the French Dip (hold the baguette) and went crazy for it. Tari’s showcases glass artwork, so the environment is not super kid-friendly. Honestly, I was a little nervous that I would accidentally hit/buy something with my pocketbook on the way past a display shelf. I’m not the most graceful thing.

Instead of stopping for coffee at a franchise, we opted to caffeinate at Fairfax Coffee House. With exposed brick walls and wood shelving, the Fairfax has a cozy, general store feel. It’s full of local art, most of which is for sale. There are pastries (some are gluten free) and frozen treats on offer, as well as the requisite coffee house drinks. When we tried to tip the barista, she said “Oh, no. We’re tip free here.” Even the restroom is graced with unconventional art and signage.

If you’re there on the weekend, take in a show at the Star Theatre. With a 90 year history, it’s pure nostalgia. The concession stand features popcorn prepared in a 1949 Manley Popcorn Machine, topped with real butter.

Berkeley Springs is a two hour drive from Baltimore or D.C. and a popular, weekend tourist destination. The first time we stopped for lunch was on a Wednesday, and I commented to our server at Tari’s that the town seemed deserted. She said “Yeah. We’re a Thursday through Sunday kind of town.” If you need lodging while in the area, try The Country Inn of Berkeley Springs or Cacapon Resort State Park Lodge, which is a ten minute drive from town.

Pro Tips:
Berkeley Springs police have no chill. No, I don’t know this from first hand experience, but we literally have never gone through there without seeing someone pulled over. Fair warning.

Because Berkeley Springs is a tourist destination, weekend parking is in high demand. We’ve had fairly good luck trolling side streets for an open spot. I’d rather walk a few blocks than feed the meter.

Shop owners take a break after the tourists go home each week. Many of the shops are closed on Monday. Some don’t re-open until Thursday. We recently visited on a Tuesday and very few shops were open along Washington/522.

We love this quirky, little town.

To learn more about Berkeley Springs: https://berkeleysprings.com/
This post is not sponsored, I just enjoy sharing good things with my readers.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.

Hiking The Sunrise Carriage Trail in Charleston, WV

I’m just gonna come right out and say it. I love this trail because it is more about history and scenic views than serious hiking. We’ve already established that I’m not a hiker. Carriage Trail (as the locals call it) is an urban stroll along the old drive to Sunrise; the mansion home of West Virginia’s 9th Governor, William A. MacCorkle.

Don’t expect a typical rocky, rooty, woodland trail. This 1.3 mile out and back is a wide, gravel drive bordered by impressive stonework, beautiful plantings and lush woods. There are several places to rest, and interesting, historical monuments along the way. With just over 200′ of elevation gain/loss it’s a fairly easy hike, and makes an enjoyable, family outing.

In the second year of the Civil War two women convicted as spies by drum head court martial, were brought to this spot, shot, and here buried. In 1905, when building this road to Sunrise, their remains were disinterred and re-buried opposite this stone. W.A.M.

We parked at the lot by the Kanawha River and began our ascent to Sunrise. The sounds of the city mostly died away as we walked further into the woods. Well behaved dogs on a leash are welcome here and we explored with our local guides, my sister-in-law, Wanda, and her adorable dog, Alice.

Some online reviews of Carriage Trail said that it gets very crowded, but we only saw a few people on the trail. Workers in downtown Charleston could hike this on their lunch break. I can imagine this trail is popular with locals because it is short and picturesque with convenient parking just below Bridge Road.

Governor MacCorkle was injured in an auto accident along with his 35 year old daughter, Isabelle, who died from her injuries. He erected this memorial to her. A few years later, MacCorkle died of pneumonia. His ashes were buried at Sunrise and then later moved to a cemetery across the Kanawha River.

At the top of the trail, we found ourselves in a beautiful neighborhood of older homes, with Sunrise mansion on a bluff overlooking the city. Sunrise is privately owned and not open to the public, but you can stroll the grounds and get a sense of the property’s grandeur.

This is the rear entrance of Sunrise, the ‘back porch’ if you will! The front of the mansion overlooks downtown Charleston with sweeping views of the city.

Governor MacCorkle collected some of the stones for Sunrise during his travels and they are engraved with their place of origin. He named Sunrise after his boyhood home in Rockbridge County, VA; so you know we had to find the Virginia stone!

This trail has something for everyone: history, wildlife, natural beauty and even a ghost story if you’re up for that!

We loved our time on Carriage Trail and highly recommend it. It’s fairly convenient to I-77, I-64 and other major routes through Charleston. If you are just traveling through the area, stop nearby for a bite to eat (we recommend The Market or Lola’s on Bridge Road), visit the trail and recharge a little. Or stay, and explore all that Charleston has to offer.

For more on Sunrise Mansion and The Carriage Trail:
http://www.nrtdatabase.org/trailDocuments/3793_65_Brochureelectronicversionwithcolorphoto.pdf

This is not a sponsored post. I’m simply linking to businesses that I have visited and enjoyed. They’ve been Arthurized, and I hope you will like them too.

Disclosure: In addition to occasional sponsored posts, Arthurized Home uses clickable affiliate links. That means that I may receive a small commission from sales at no extra charge to you. As always, my opinion is 100% my own, and I only recommend things that I truly love or use myself. Thank you for patronizing the brands that support Arthurized Home!

Copyright 2019 © Arthurized Home – All Rights Reserved. This post is the original content of Arthurized Home. If you’re reading this on another site, it’s unArthurized.