This little West Virginia town has long been a tourist draw.
George Washington was an early fan of its therapeutic springs. His nephew had similar strong feelings after a 1796 visit, declaring, “Bath, a celebrated watering place.”
Now even more people will experience what makes Berkeley Springs special, thanks to a visit by French television network TF1.
Jeanne Mozier spent a day with two journalists showing them the town, as well as some nearby landmarks including Cacapon State Park.
Mozier is vice president of Travel Berkeley Springs, the local Convention and Visitors Bureau, and has been involved since it began in 1990.
“Basically I’ve always been the kind-of media person, handled the press and also now do the social media. And Travel Berkeley Springs is who got the email from them.”
She set the agenda after learning the feature will focus on local winter beauty, and especially the part water plays in it.
“They were looking to a ‘postcard’ piece on a beautiful winter place, and chose Berkeley Springs,” said Mozier, who has spent decades helping showcase the town.
“They are the biggest network in Europe, and like to do something inspiring to slip into the hard news programming, especially this time of year.”
Although there was no snow, the local landscape looked especially pretty in the soft winter sunlight, and that impressed the visitors.
“It was just so exquisitely beautiful at Cacapon. We went to the second or upper lake, and the light was just perfect,” she said.
“They were just thrilled with how gorgeous it is, and got so much footage there.”
They also visited the Panorama Overlook, an iconic site on the Potomac River often featured in photos and artwork.
It is located about three miles outside of town on U.S. Route 9 west, and remains popular with visitors throughout the year.
Another big hit was Berkeley Springs State Park, complete with its iconic springs and baths.
“They were especially interested in the parade of folks coming to take the water at the public pump in the middle of the pump.
They talked to at least three different sets of people who came in with big jugs to fill up, and absolutely loved that experience,” she said.
A visit to the Berkeley Castle, as well as meeting renowned artists Jan and Sandy Heath of the Heath Gallery rounded out the visit downtown.
National attention isn’t unusual.
The Morgan County community has been featured many times by news organizations, books and publications.
It has also been honored as “best town” in several different categories, including top art destination and historic community.
There’s also been international acclaim.
For example, the Panorama Overlook’s scenic view of three states and two rivers was rated by National Geographic as one of the five best in the Eastern United States, she said.
Sharing the local vision is important, but not difficult.
Other local nonprofits including the Morgan Arts Council, Chamber of Commerce and Museum of the Berkeley Springs take an active role in spreading this message.
“This is a special, magical place and that’s the vision everyone should have of it. So we do our best collectively to share it, and folks respond.”