Warm Springs, Virginia has a surprising number of attractions for a small mountain village. The Anderson Cottage is a great base for exploring Bath County and the surrounding area, but you can easily keep yourself busy just exploring on foot. Below are our recommendations for the best things to do when visiting.
Bathe at the historic Jefferson Pools
No visit to Warm Springs is complete without a soak in the natural, warm springs after which it is named. Similar attractions may boast luxury amenities, but nothing compares to the history of the Jefferson Pools. Also named the Warm Springs Pools, the Men’s bath-house was erected in 1761 and the Women’s bath-house in 1836, making these some of Bath County’s oldest structures. The wear of age is visible, but the experience is unmatched. Soak in the 98 degree springs and feel your troubles wash away.
The pools are open daily from 10am to 6pm weather permitting. Family and co-ed soak is from 10am to 1pm, after which men bathe in the men’s pool and women bathe in the women’s, bathing suits are optional. Cost for a one-hour soak is $17.
More information can be found at the Omni Homestead’s website.
Enjoy the hammock at the Anderson Cottage
After a soak in the pools, you’ll be ready for a nap, and if you’re a guest at the house, you can’t miss out on the hammock. Stretched below the trees, the hammock is the perfect place to settle down and enjoy the cool mountain breeze and relaxing sound of the creek that runs behind the property.
Enjoy dinner at the Waterwheel Restaurant at the Gristmill
While new restaurants have popped up in nearby Hot Springs, the best place to eat in Bath County is still right here in Warm Springs, and only a 5 minute walk from the Anderson Cottage. The Waterwheel Restaurant offers fine-dining in the historic building which once housed the village mill. We recommend the Onion Soup Au Gratin and the Highland County Mountain Trout.
Reservations are highly recommended, though seating at the bar is first come first serve. Call (540) 839-2231 or book online at Open Table. Menus can be found at the Inn at Gristmill Square website.
Hike to Flag Rock for the best views in Bath County
Wake up to beat the heat and enjoy a vigorous hike to Flag Rock. From the house, it’s a 10-15 minute walk to the start of the trail and the hike itself is an energetic 3 hour climb up Warm Springs Mountain. Rated “strenuous,” those who aren’t up to hiking the whole way can drive up the mountain for a shorter walk to the overlook. Enjoy a breathtaking 360 degree panorama from the summit, with the valley of Warm Springs to the west and Millboro Springs to the east.
Visit the Nature Conservancy website for more information, and see great pictures on the Flag Rock Overlook Facebook Page.
Grab a sandwich at the Milk House Market at the Old Dairy
End your hike back at the Old Dairy, which has been wonderfully restored by the Homestead Preserve. The area once provided the Homestead Resort with dairy, butter and cheese, and has now been converted to a recreation center. The Milk House Market has coffee, delicious sandwiches and a specialty store.
Read more about events and recreation at the Natural Retreats website.
Relax at the Warm Spirit Spa
Complete your relaxing Bath County experience with a visit to the Warm Spirit Spa. Just five minutes walk from the house, the spa offers massages, facials, and Ayurvedic services. You might not expect it from a small business in our tiny little village, but their therapists are truly world class!
For information and appointments, call (540) 839-6600. Their website is coming soon at www.warmspiritspa.com.
Discover new artists at the Warm Springs Gallery
Another hidden gem, the Warm Springs Gallery features local painters, print-makers and fine craft artisans. The gallery is a hub of activity, hosting seasonal exhibits and regular events and workshops. Their annual Plein Air Festival is one of the Fall’s best events. They have also recently opened an artisinal gift shop and Tea Room serving tea and sandwiches for lunch.
You can find out more at the Warm Springs Gallery website.
Learn local lore at the Historical Society
The Anderson Cottage and the Bath County Historical Society have a long relationship. If you want to learn more about the history of the local area, you must visit the their Museum and Research Library which is housed next to the Bath County Courthouse.
Open Friday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Call (540) 839-2543 or visit the Bath County Historical Society for more information.