Legendary West Virginia springs attracting new audiences

Legendary West Virginia springs attracting new audiences
Nothing compares to an old-fashioned bandstand, still at the center of activity at Capon Springs.

Legendary springs across West Virginia are attracting new audiences among health-conscious people longing for a return to simpler times.


Once supposed curative, "healing" springs have attracted travelers in search of better health since the 1700s, says Jonathan Bellingham, whose family has managed for four generations.

Guests relax after a session in the spa at Capon Springs and Farms.

Now, these bubbling springs—which notably include Capon and and at White Sulphur Springs—are attracting guests who want to avoid the rat-race and are in search of healthy living options.

"They're looking for a return to an old-fashioned, back-to-basics lifestyle," says Bellingham, who recently returned from judging a drinking-water competition, during which concerns about the availability of good water came into focus.


"It's interesting that the water many corporations are now working to produce is essentially the water that we enjoy naturally here at Capon Springs," he said.

For more than 250 years visitors have been visiting Capon Springs in hopes that its waters would cure ailments and restore health.

While consumers today are not so apt to believe the springs themselves are curative, they are convinced that good water is essential to good health.

"As much as we emphasize all there is to do here at Capon Springs & Farms, the water is still at the heart of everything," Bellingham said.


Bubbling into a spring house at the base of a jagged sandstone outcrop, the Capon Springs water feeds fountains across the resort as well as its and . It's served on tables at meals, and the resort staff encourages guests to freely take home water.

Mineral waters at Capon Springs & Farms flow freely year-round.

While Capon Springs has long attracted an established audience of Washingtonians, many of whom have visited the springs for generations, Bellingham says he's tracking a notable increase in new guests who are looking to escape metropolitan life.

"West Virginia does have an aura of wild and wonderful, and I think more guests are escaping here," he says.

A drive of less than an hour and 30 minutes from the Washington beltway, Capon Springs is an easily accessible retreat, and Bellingham says he expects West Virginia to continue to grow as an escape as city life becomes more complex.


Forests cover 78 percent of the state.

Thinking of buying forest in West Virginia? It makes good economic sense, according to one of the state's leading timberland brokers. In one of the most wooded states in the U.S., buyers are investing in greater numbers for good reason, says Richard Grist, a certified state forester and the owner of Foxfire Realty, which specializes in rural real estate.

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