Week of June 17-23, 2013
It's a birthday cake weekend as West Virginia turns 150 years old. Cacapon State Park is birthday celebration central all weekend long although there are other activities around the town. The big noise -- and light -- is Saturday at 9pm when there are fireworks at the park preceded by a 7pm concert of the Stevens Family at the Lodge.
You can probably see the fireworks exploding above Cacapon Mountain from Troubadour Park and dance along while the Flashbacks perform vintage rock'n roll starting at 9pm. Even more entertainment Saturday night in town. The Shifters have a CD release party of "I Wanna Land," their own original songs, at the Fairfax Coffee House starting at 8pm. Earth Dog Cafe presents Jaded Past playing from 9pm to midnight.
Leonardo DiCaprio brings the decadent opulence of the 1920s to the Star Theatre in "The Great Gatsby" at 8pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You can always stop by and get take-out popcorn on Saturday night to take to the fireworks.
The exact 150th birthday of West Virginia is Thursday, June 20 and it is marked in several places. The Bath Landmark Commission celebrates by dedicating historic plaques on more than 70 structures around town. The brief public ceremony is 10am at the pink Victorian on Independence St. next to the Wilkes St. Wine Shop. All the rest of the birthday fun is at Cacapon State Park. At 1pm you can decorate your own WV ornament at the Nature Center. It's Birthday Cake time with the cake cutting at 2:30pm sharp at the lodge. Hayrides leave the lodge at 4:30, 5 and 5:30pm. That evening, local Democrats invite everyone to the Nature Center Pavilion for a free picnic with food, music, prizes and a pie auction. The fun concludes around a Cacapon Campfire at 8pm.
Friday, the first day of West Virginia's next 150 years is celebrated with a dedication to the arts at the Ice House downtown at 10am. The brief ceremony by the Morgan Arts Council will have refreshments.
The weekend concludes on Sunday morning with the Berkeley Springs Farmers Market in the center of town from 10am to 2pm. Nothing says happy birthday WV better than a sweet local strawberry or juicy tomato.
Make exploring West Virginia the theme of your trip this birthday weekend. Splash in the warm mineral springs at Berkeley Springs State Park and have spa treatments there or at several locations around surrounding streets. Authentic WV cuisine using local products is being created for the 21st century every weekend at several prime restaurants in town including Tari's Cafe, Lot 12 and Panorama at the Peak. Check the whole dining list and explore menus to determine which of more than a dozen tasty places to eat you should select. Pick several!
You must go home with a memento of your WV birthday weekend in Berkeley Springs. Spend Saturday and Sunday roaming historic streets and dropping in on all the shopkeepers. You'll find lots of choices for the treasure to take home from logoed WV products and wearable at Berkeley Springs Memories to local art and books. Antiques are a favorite shopping treat and we have two malls and several independent shops to tempt you. While you are shopping at Portals check out guest reader Lady Angelique.
Best of all is driving the West Virginia countryside. Stop first at the Museum of the Berkeley Springs in the park then set off to follow the Washington Heritage Trail from Spruce Pine Hollow and hiking trails on the east to the Paw Paw Tunnel on the west. Panorama Overlook on Rt 9 west of town is the best view in the region and should not be missed. The ride is exciting whether on four wheels or two, motorized or pedal.
There are hundreds of different pillows on which to rest your head and spend the night and all of them come attached to WV hospitality. Some have lacy Victorian surroundings while other are rustic cabins and still others are fully equipped, multi-room vacation homes or Best Western Inn with a heated outdoor pool.
Healing and reinvigoration were a century-old skill when Berkeley Springs joined the new state of West Virginia in 1863 and we've been practicing it every since. Come begin the next 150 years of West Virginia history with us -- celebrating all its wonders.