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Photo of fully clothed man sitting in outdoor stone tub
Celebrating the only monument to presidential bathing, Gat Caperton plays a modern day George Washington for the March 1998 Winter Festival event

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Winter Festival of Waters (Berkeley Springs)
A Local Legacy

George Washington -- surveyor, farmer, hero of the Revolutionary War, first president of the United States, and founder of the country's first spa. That's right -- a spa!

In 1748, when George Washington was a young surveyor, he visited warm springs on the frontier. The area was already well known to the Indians, who traveled from as far away as Canada and the Carolinas to bathe in the warm water bubbling up from the mountain springs. In 1776, Washington and some friends established the town of Bath, West Virginia, for the purpose of entertaining those who came to bathe.

Although the town's official name is still Bath, since the early 19th century it has been known as Berkeley Springs. It is still an oasis for those in search of a spa or a mineral spring. Every winter the town hosts a three-month celebration of the healing power of water. One of the events is the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Competition. Water from around the world is tasted at this competition, including tap water from more than 50 municipal facilities.

Other events include George Washington's Bathtub Celebration. There are readings from George Washington's diaries about his visits to Bath. People are taken along Washington's favorite walkways around town, to the bathtub monument in the state park and to the inn where Washington slept. So head to Berkeley Springs and see the place where George Washington bathed.

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