Most people are familiar with The Homestead Resort, located in Hot Springs, Virginia, but some are not aware of what the surrounding area of Bath County has to offer. Laced with hiking trails, dirt road paths, and plenty of good restaurants, Bath County is a perfect spot for a weekend escape or week-long vacation.
My family has a farmhouse located about a quarter mile from the actual hotel, in the heart of Bath County. I have grown up knowing the routes of the long dirt roads throughout the small town of Bath County. I could tell you the name of the New Orleans Saints tight end that graduated from Bath County High School (John Phillips), the best pizza place in town (Cucci’s), and all the names of the Homestead employees that my brother and I have befriended over the years. Ladonna (Homestead shuttle driver) was always there to let us in on the town gossip (and take us wherever we needed to go), Tim knew the best restaurants, and Jason hooked us up with free ice-cream coupons. Ladonna also introduced me to the local Valley Market, where my family and I go frequently for extra groceries, Bath County High School merch, and anything else we may need. My mom, Mary Beth Baber, is so grateful for the memories we have at the Homestead, saying that it has “been our home away from home for the past ten years.” Beth Norfleet, mother of Carter Norfleet (‘18), agrees with my mom, stating “the Homestead was like a second home, full of familiar, friendly faces.” So much of my childhood was spent swimming in the creeks surrounding Hot Springs, swinging from hidden rope swings at the Falling Springs, and hiking each and every trail we could find.
My personal favorite spot in Bath County is about a ten-minute drive from the resort and a perfect spot to cool off on a hot day. Falling Springs features an eighty foot waterfall that you can climb down and stand under, as well as many swimming holes with rope swings. I have spent countless summer days with my friends swinging for hours from the swimming hole at the top of the waterfall. Laney Reed (‘18) also loves the Springs, saying “even though there is so much to do at the resort, the waterfall is a nice break from the hotel.” Another perk of this waterfall is the amazing playground located about five minutes down the road at a local elementary school. Surpassing the Mary Mumford Elementary School playground any day, the Valley Springs Elementary School playground is a force to be reckoned with.
Another spot where my family and I have spent countless hours over the years is Lake Moomaw. Just 45 minutes down the mountain, Lake Moomaw is a great place to go if you’re looking to venture from the resort for a day. The lake is virtually the same as a beach, with sand, tubes, beach chairs and even a water trampoline! Bath County is not only home to Lake Moomaw and other amazing waterfalls and lakes, but there are also some wonderful hiking opportunities.
The South and North Trails surround the Homestead property, featuring various views and paths for hiking. Our family and friends who go up to Bath County have mastered the “South Trail” hike by Sam Snead’s (a local tavern). Totaling at a six-mile roundtrip, this hike is very tiring, but the view at the top is very rewarding. My friends and I often bring our Eno hammocks up and tie them between the trees, making for a perfect spot to watch the sunset/rise.
Bath County is not only known for its natural wonders; the town has many restaurants as well, ranging from pizza and french fries to filet mignon and mashed potatoes. Our go-to restaurant in Bath County is the local pizza joint, Cucci’s. Whether it be after a Bath County High School football game (which we regularly attend), on our way into town, or by delivery, we can always count on Cucci’s for the best cheese pizza around. If you’re looking for more than Italian food, I also highly recommend Lindsay’s Roost. With fries and hamburgers that rival McDonald’s’, Cook Outs’ and even Five Guys’, Lindsay’s Roost is certainly worth your time if you’re ever in town. Alex Baber (St. Christopher’s ‘20) also thinks that “Lindsay’s Roost is a must have if you’re ever in Bath County.” He also recommends trying the chicken and waffles if you ever stop in for breakfast.
As well as great pizza and hamburgers, Bath County also hosts a weekly farmer’s market every Saturday in the center of a grassy plot behind Lindsay’s Roost. The Farmer’s Market includes llamas, pigs, cows, fresh fruit, vegetables, and some of the best barbecue chicken I have ever tasted. Whenever my family, friends and I head up to Bath County, I know I can always count on great food, incredible views and even better company.
All photos courtesy of Caroline Baber.