55 in 55: Cats and baths in Morgan County | 55 Counties in 55 Days

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I had spent most of the previous day and half the night sweating outside. Since there was little I could do to clear my own anger, I started my day in Morgan County with a reasonable distance from polite company.

After a cup of coffee and a scone at the Fairfax Coffee House in Berkeley Springs, I strolled across the street to Berkeley Springs State Park. I’d seen a few people kick their bare feet or wade into the spring water channels and thought, “Well, maybe I could just fall in.”

Trying to be inconspicuous, I found the sign saying spa options, including a shower and bath.

That sounded amazing. Not only was I on the playful side of things, but I was in pain from the previous day’s hike. When the park’s offices opened, I marched in and asked what I had to do to get a hot tub.

The woman at the front desk took me to the Roman bathhouse across from the park, which was about half the price.

“And you have 10 more minutes,” she said.

I thanked her for the tip, went through the park again and went inside.

“We can bring you in at 12:15 pm,” said the receptionist.

I should have made an appointment so I went back to the park office. Their fees were higher, but there was no waiting. Within a few minutes they had a room ready and I was turned over to Cheryl, the lifeguard.

With sleepy New Age music playing in the background, it led me into a locker room where I could stow my clothes and put on a cotton bathrobe. Then I was shown into a small, private room, the steps of which led to a basin of warm water.

When Cheryl closed the door, she said she would knock when my time was up.


West Virginia is full of breathtaking views and astounding vistas like this one at Cacapon Resort State Park.

After hanging up the robe, I slipped into the water and dipped my head. As I floated, I felt the knots in my muscles loosen. It was wonderful.

The ladies at the front desk must have pityed me and my camping problems because I’m pretty sure I spent more than 20 minutes in the water.

After the bath, I visited the Give Purrs A Chance cat protection and adoption center. I met Kate Fleece, Susan Hosford, and about two dozen of the 39 cats currently living on the property.

“We used to be a cat café,” Susan told me. “But there were problems with the health department, so we gave up serving food.”

Cat cafe

The Give Purrs A Chance cat protection and adoption center has around two dozen cats on its premises.

Instead, they charge $ 10 to hang out with the cats. They also sell art, books, and t-shirts. People can donate too.

“Everything is there to support the cats and help them find a home,” she said.

As of May 2017, the two reported having adopted 1,250 cats.

I was on the verge of going out of the house with a cat to go to the newsroom, but I was told repeatedly that the newspaper doesn’t need a full-time pet.

Other restaurants

  • Berkeley Springs Brewing Company (Berkeley Springs)
  • Ellen’s Tea Room (Berkeley Springs)
  • The Naked Olive Lounge (Berkeley Springs)

Pit stops

  • Cacapon Resort State Park (Berkeley Springs)
  • The Granary Connection (Berkeley Springs)
  • MAC Ice House (Berkeley Springs)


  • Apple Butter Festival, 9.-10. October (Berkeley Springs)