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Panorama OverlookWashington's favorite horseback ride when he visited the springs takes the tour traveler west of town about three miles to the panoramic overlook at Prospect Peak. The view is virtually unchanged, with the Potomac River nearly a thousand feet below. The ancient hamlet that Washington knew as Great Cacapon is also visible just upstream where the wild and scenic Cacapon River joins with the stately curves of the Potomac. Further west along the bends of the Poromac, Washington owned riverfront acreage which he prized for its virgin walnut forests.

Washington tried to exploit the way west that he saw from the overlook, although his Powtomack Navigation Company eventually failed. The C&O Canal was the successful 19th century version and its mule towpaths are visible along the north bank of the river in Maryland. Washington never even imagined the B&O Railroad that parallels the canal on the opposite bank in West Virginia and became the real way west.

Paw Paw Tunnel When visitors follow the blue trail markers with Washington's profile, west into the West Virginia mountains, curving through spectacular mountaim scenery, they eventually reach the old railroad and canal town of Paw Paw with its amazing, handcarved tunnel now part of the C&O Canal National Park and open year 'round for hikers and bikers.

Following the trail east of Berkeley Springs along state route 9, visitors find Spruce Pine Hollow, a public roadside park. James Rumsey had a small sawmill and bloomery on the Meadow Branch along the boundry of today's park. James Rumsey's brother owned the land on the boundary of today's park. Stone ruins and a flume remain of the sawmill. Boards for Washington's summer home in Berkeley Springs built by Rumsey may have been sawed here.

As the route continues east into the other two counties of the Panhandle, travelers will find homes built by Washington family members and friends, as well as a memorial to James Rumsey's successful steamboat trial. The most intimate connection remains Berkeley Springs where George not only owned land, slept and ate but also bathed, leaving his ring around the tub in the Berkeley Springs State Park.

For more information on the Washington Heritage Trail, call Travel Berkeley Springs at 800-447-8797.

© 2000-2001 Jeanne Mozier

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Washington Archives
Travel Berkeley Springs
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Berkeley Springs, West Virginia 25411
Phone: 800-447-8797
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