The expansion of facilities at Cacapon Resort State Park is expected to have a promising impact on tourism at nearby Berkeley Springs, a resort town in West Virginia's eastern panhandle best known as the site of the nation's first public spa.
Laura Smith, of the Berkeley Springs Visitor Center, says shop owners and restaurateurs are particularly keen to see the addition of 78 guest rooms to the park lodge's 48 current rooms, an increase that will notably help attract more group travel to the region.
"We're particularly excited to see the increase in conferences that can be accommodated here," Smith said. "We expect this to significantly increase traffic into our shops and restaurants and, of course, to our spas."
Three spas now draw thousands of visitors to Berkeley Springs each year — the original Berkeley Springs, center of Berkeley Springs State Park, the adjacent Country Inn, and the Bhuddist-influenced Atasia Spa.
Justin Wolfe, director for Atasia Spa, said he's particularly excited to see more customers, may of whom drive the two hours from Washington, D.C., and other nearby cities.
"The majority of our business is from the D.C. metro area, as well as from Baltimore and Pittsburgh," Wolfe said.
"They come to Berkeley Springs to escape from the craziness of D.C. life, and we're more than happy to welcome them."
The $25.38 million project will also include the addition of a spa, a dining room, lounge, and indoor pool, the creation of a conference space, and the renovation of the main lobby and all existing guest rooms.
Construction is already underway and is being performed by Paramount Builders of Saint Albans, West Virginia, and is expected to be completed by 2020. The project is being funded by bonds financed with excess lottery revenue.
Park superintendent Scott Fortney said construction is sure to attract more people to the area while building on hospitality for guests who have been vacationing at the park since it opened in the 1950s.
"This addition will easily bring many more new visitors to our park while improving the experience for our loyal guests and locals. Additionally, the renovations being planned and completed at nearby Berkeley Springs State Park will help to make Cacapon Resort State Park a full-service resort experience."
The park also has 31 cabins, a 12-room inn, a large conference room, a restaurant and many outdoor opportunities, including golf, lake and hiking opportunities.