If there's anything new going on at Capon Springs in 2020, it's that very little new is going on, and traditions are being held onto with even more endearment.
Celebrating its 88th year, the esteemed resort in eastern West Virginia will reopen again in 88 days, and horse-drawn carriages will wander the grounds, and writers and artists will hold their retreats, and families will gather in the dining hall for meals as they have for generations.
"Things have a way of staying the same here, which is, of course, why people keep coming back," says general manager Jonathan Bellingham.
In fact, things have stayed so much the same that the resort only began to advertise itself in recent years. Visitors have been gathering at its springs since the 1700s, and guests have become so generational that promotion was never necessary.
And while its springs and luxury spa and historic grounds might be expected to come with a substantial price tag, a week or weekend there is by no means excessive, which is part of the charm of the resort. Its grace is restrained rather than opulent.
"In truth, we are continuously working with our guests to make improvements, many of which are subtle, so though the resort is indeed timeless, there's often something new in the works," Bellingham says.
Near the source of the Cacapon River, the name of which is derived from a Native American word that may translate "healing water," Capon is a place of healing. Its springs have attracted guests in search of better health for more than 200 years.
Though seemingly hidden and protected from metropolitan growth, it's a drive of fewer than 30 minutes from I-81 at Strasburg, Va., and fewer than two hours from downtown Washington, D.C., and Charlottesville, Va. It's 3.5 hours from Pittsburgh and four from Charleston, West Virginia.
Despite its proximity to Washington and the metropolitan east, you'd be hard-pressed to guess it here in the lee of Great North Mountain, which blocks light pollution and affords star-spangled skies that welcome star-gazing events.