The Nation’s First Spa
A short drive from Harper’s Ferry leads to Berkeley Springs, or what many people believe to be the nation’s first spa. After a tiring week of work, visit Berkeley Springs State Park and unwind in a warm bath filled with natural spring water followed by a delightful massage. When your cares have been massaged away, test your luck at Charles Town Races & Slots. Visitors love watching thoroughbred horses pound down the track vying for the win and playing one of over 3800 slot machines.
A Famous Tunnel
While adults love the fun and excitement at the track, the Paw Paw Tunnel is an attraction the whole family can enjoy. By 1836, the C&O Canal Company had grown tired of navigating every bend in the windy Potomac River and decided to build one massive tunnel under Sorrel Ridge to help speed shipping. For over 14 years, men labored to remove the countless tons of shale to form the canal tunnel. When they finished, the tunnel stretched for 3,118 feet and required an astonishing 6 million bricks to line the tunnel walls. Presently, the tunnel’s towpath is open to bikers and hikers, (canal boats were long ago replaced by trains), but because of its great length, even in the daytime it can get pretty dark in the middle, so bring a flashlight.
Belle Boyd House
For a tale of intrigue and espionage, look no further than the Belle Boyd House. Belle Boyd, a native of Martinsburg, was an actress turned Confederate spy running coded messages to General “Stonewall” Jackson, another West Virginia native. Belle’s childhood home in Martinsburg now serves as a museum for artifacts from the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War.
Yet perhaps the greatest attribute of the Washington Heritage Trail is that visitors can see much of the same countryside that George Washington fell in love with over two centuries ago. Towns like Harper’s Ferry and Shepherdstown have made extensive efforts to preserve their historic character so that future visitors will become interested in the vibrant past that surrounds the Washington Heritage Trail. From the awe-inspiring view on Jefferson’s Rock to the bubbling water of Berkeley Springs, visitors are sure to have a wonderful time retracing the steps of our nation’s first President.