News

Entry Thumbnail

About the Basin, Peculiar Potomac Edition – George Washington’s Bathtub

George Washington’s Bathtub

George Washington’s Bathtub in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is touted as the “only outdoor monument to presidential bathing.” However, (spoiler alert!) Washington never actually used the tub. The stone “bathtub” was built to symbolize the bathing conditions of the 1700’s. In his quest for better health, Washington visited the hot springs on many occasions.

It is unclear how effective the the hot springs were. In a letter from 1761, Washington said, “I think my fevers are a good deal abated, though my pains grow rather worse, and my sleep equally disturbed.” Washington enjoyed the hot springs frequently, despite his disturbed sleep. He even bought a property close by in the appropriately named town of “Bath”. The town continues to be a popular destination for a spa retreat.

At less than 5 acres, the stone structure in the shape of a bath is located in one of the smallest parks in the West Virginia State Park system. Nonetheless, the park boasts a museum, a Roman bathhouse with spa services, and a public drinking fountain. People come from miles around to fill jugs with the natural spring water.

There is a yearly celebration of the unusual monument, known as George Washington’s Bathtub Celebration, held in mid-March. But if you can’t wait that long to explore this roadside attraction, check out the most famous (and only) presidential bathing monument this weekend for the monthly Art in the Park at Berkeley Springs Park on Sunday. You can support local artists while you explore the curious sites the Potomac watershed has to offer.

Do you know a spot in the Potomac watershed that is wacky, curious, or just a bit odd? Let us know by emailing info@icprb.org and it may be featured in a future Peculiar Potomac Edition of About the Basin.

Entry Thumbnail

About the Basin – Green Ridge State Park

Green Ridge State Park

About the Basin has featured many luxurious camping spots; large, resort-style houses in state parks (read: Westmoreland State Park) and glamping with all the amenities (read: Cacapon State Park). The park in this About the Basin offers a different take on camping. A 4WD car is recommended, the most luxurious items you will find are a picnic table and a fire ring, and park staff offer A LOT of advice on bears. It is basic, bare-bones, rustic camping. It is Green Ridge State Park in Flinstone, Md.

Although camping amenities may be limited, the options for entertainment are not. As the largest contiguous block of public land, Green Ridge has a lot to offer. There is hunting, fishing, and a shooting range for the sportsmen among us. The 50+ miles of hiking provide many camping opportunities for avid backcountry backpackers. The hiking trails seem limitless, as many connect with Buchanan State Forest and the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historic Park Trails. A 12-mile mountain bike trail, geocaching, and paddling are also an option for recreation. There is even a canoe campsite available on a first-come, first-served basis. Some of these activities require permits, so make sure to stop by the visitor’s center before hitting the trails. A detailed map is available (and recommended, since cell service is spotty).

All of this is only a 2-hour drive from the DC Metro area. If you are looking for a rustic weekend away, Green Ridge State Park is where it’s at.

Entry Thumbnail

About the Basin – Westmoreland State Park

Westmoreland State Park

Westmoreland State Park is located along the shores of the Potomac River in Montross, Virginia. The park was one of six Virginia State Parks that opened in 1936 through the Civilian Conservation Corp program. Many of the park’s roads and trails were built by hand during that time.

Westmoreland is about a 2-hour trip south of Washington, D.C., and it is worth the drive. But don’t just go for a day, stay for a night or two. Better yet, stay for three nights. That is the only way to experience all this park has to offer.

Grab a Discovery Pack filled with identification guides and sieves from the visitor’s center and head down to the beach to try your luck at dinosaur hunting. Fossilized shark teeth are a common treasure found on Westmoreland beaches.

But that’s just day one. After you’ve gathered up all your shark teeth, join park staff for a variety of classes for the young and the young at heart. A fossil hike along the beach provides an introduction to the ancient history of the Potomac River. A program on crabbing will introduce you to crabbing techniques used by watermen on the Potomac. They also offer classes on ice cream making, sharks tooth necklace making and more. Join them for their next Fossil Hike on May 26. The park also participates in Clean the Bay Day on June 2 with a large, organized cleaning effort of the park and its beaches (or find a location closer to home to join Clean the Bay Day efforts).

Exhausted from your day of dinosaur chasing? The park offers everything from basic tent camping to luxurious cabin glamping and everything in between. Did you bring the in-laws, the grandkids, and all of their friends? The waterfront Potomac River Retreat sleeps 16  with 5-bedrooms and 5-baths.

There is something for everyone at Westmoreland State Park. When you go, share photos on social media with #PotomacLove and show us how you are enjoying the river this summer!