Last month, Aunt Esther and I went to the annual Pickens Pancake Breakfast otherwise known as the WV Maple Syrup Festival. It’s our tradition and even at 91, Aunt Esther insists upon going, meeting and greeting, eating her fair share of pancakes, sausage, coffee and, generally, being Queen Bee. As the oldest person there, she’s entitled. While we did eat breakfast at the old school, now community center and VFW Hall, we didn’t get to the sugar camp this year, even so, the weather was beeeyouuutifulll! The best it’s been in many a year and a record crowd in attendance. At least it seemed a record crowd.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. For a change of pace this year, I decided to take the long way home and sneak in an extra night prior to Pickens. Bath County, VA is as full of history and character as any in our Commonwealth and the Inn at Grist Mill Square is a delightful place both to stay and eat. When I arrived, I was directed to a parking space front and center and told, “we’re not that booked, so take a front row parking place.” Great!
I went to the front desk and offered my credit card. The woman looked at me curiously and said, “Oh, no need to bother with that now. We’ll settle all that when you leave tomorrow morning.” Uh, sure!
I was given the Silo Room and yes, it’s the old round silo and beautifully and simply decorated. The fireplace was already laid and ready for a lighted match with additional fire wood in the nearby basket.
The advertised room rate was for two people but, since I was solo, they halved the price. Again, great and excellent marketing as well. These are people who understand it’s best to sell a room at half price than not sell it at full price. A lesson some hoteliers would do well to learn.
The next morning, breakfast was delivered in a cloth covered basket and consisted of croissant, jam, butter, coffee in a carafe with sugar and cream and a small orange juice. Simple in content and size but plenty enough and I’m sure the presentation and locale added to the delicious factor. BTW, there were enough ashes and a couple of pieces of firewood left over so I had another small, but adequate, fire as I broke my fast. Absolutely delightful!
The reason I stayed at the Inn at Grist Mill Square was its close proximity to the Jefferson Pools, about a mile down the road. The Jefferson Pools have been restoring weary travelers since before Thomas Jefferson came and waxed poetical about the restorative and therapeutic value of the warm waters.
The bath for men, looks much like the bath for women, but was established some years earlier in 1761 when a circular building was built but for men only. The ladies voices raised in protest and in 1836 a separate building was built and opened for the ladies.
The men’s bath holds approximately 40,000 gallons of water that is, naturally, bubbling up from the ground at 98 degrees F. All buildings, pretty much, look quite the same now as then. When sections need to be replaced, they are replaced with new materials so there’s a cobbled together effect that’s charming and even quaint and are renown as the oldest spa structure in the USA.
The women’s bath is a bit larger than the men’s bath, holds more water, is about four feet deep and the water is so clear, it’s easy to see the stones at the bottom of the pool. With the gazebo roof, during winter snows, it’s possible to lie in the warm waters with snow flakes drifting round about.
There may be some who don’t believe in the therapeutic benefits of a warm, mineral water soak; I am not one. Truly, I believe in the restorative benefits and would love to live close enough to warm, mineral waters so I could soak daily. In talking with our vet, Dr. Anne, she told us the connective tissue in our bodies contains sulphur and it is this reason the warm, mineral bath water is so restorative. The mineral water contains sulfates, and other minerals, that are both beneficial and therapeutic. A soak in these waters, a mere $17 for one hour, left me feeling relaxed, flexible, calm and a general feeling of all round “all’s right with my world”. The flexible part is what amazed me. Some decades ago, I sustained an injury to my right knee and destroyed the ligaments and others bits that hold the knee together. When I move my knee, it sounds, and feels, like gravel and, most times, the knee cannot be bent. After a soak, the knee not only bent but without pain, something that’s not happened since the late 1960’s!
If you suffer from fibromyalgia or other auto-immune connective joint tissue pain, you really should consider a warm soak in some mineral waters. Thomas Jefferson suffered from what he called, “rheumatism” and he found the waters to be thoroughly beneficial.I’m sure there are doctors who would say these warm, mineral waters have no such restorative value but I’m also sure “there are more things, Horatio, in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy” as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5.
Go soak your head; there are warm, hot even, mineral baths the world over and, I promise, you won’t regret the soak.
Blessings ~ Inn at Grist Mill Square ~ Jefferson Pools ~ warm, mineral waters the world over ~ a cozy fire ~ breakfast in a basket ~ maple syrup festival ~ Pickens Pancake Breakfast ~ Aunt Esther ~
Thanks for visiting Thistle Cove Farm,