GRistmill Guide to History
Bath County is steeped in history and beginning your history tour should start at the Inn with its rich historical significance in the Warm Springs Valley. Our very own Waterwheel Restaurant is a renovated mill that sits on a site that dates back to the late 1700s! This is the third mill on property built way back when in 1900.
After waking from a restful night’s sleep enjoy breakfast in your room as your plot out your day. The first stop should be at the Historical Society Museum* just a short walk or drive from the Inn. Here you can start your journey into Bath County’s rich past. After learning all you can from the museum head to the famed Homestead Resort. The property this grand old hotel sits on was once owned by none other than George Washington himself! He sold the land to Captain Thomas Bullitt in 1766 who constructed a hunting camp on what is now this famous resort’s property. Walk in and around the resort to see all of the history that resides inside those gorgeous walls.
Head out Jackson River Turnpike to Gathright Dam. The Gathright Dam and Lake Moomaw Project provides flood protection of industrial, commercial, and residential properties along the Jackson and James rivers with immediate impact on Covington, Virginia. It was built in the late 70s and is monitored by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Have lunch at one of the many picnic areas that surround the Dam visitor’s center.
From the dam take a leisurely drive to Route 60. Turn left in Callahan and follow that route to Humpback Bridge, the oldest covered bridge in the state. After visiting the bridge make your way back to Warm Springs via Route 220. Stop at Falling Springs Falls to look at this breathtaking 80-foot waterfall. As you head back to Warm Springs via Route 220 how many historical markers can you find on your way?
Complete the evening full circle with a great meal inside our renovated Mill. A favorite of locals and visitors since the early seventies, this is the perfect way to wind down after a long day.
After waking to breakfast in bed, plan to start your day at the historic Warm Springs Pools. The pools houses are reopened in December (after a 6 year hiatus)!! These are considered to be America's oldest spa structures. They are a Virginia Historic Landmark, and a Bath County treasure! See why folks have been coming here for over a century to "take the waters". You'll want to carve out an hour for the soak (50 minutes total soak time). Price is $25 per person and reservations are required. They will be open from 1am-6pm Wednesday-Sunday (call 540-839-3777 to make a reservation).
Once you are done grab a sandwich from the Milk House Market and take in another Bath County historic site. The Old Homestead Dairy Barn. Now a community center for the Homestead Preserve home owners. The Milk House offers wonderful sandwiches and daily soup specials. If it's warm enough you can enjoy a sandwich al fresco.
Begin your adventure online by clicking here to be taken to a full list of all the historic places in Bath County. Map out your day based on all the great places you’ve yet to visit.
*Advance notice/reservations required.