advertisement

The most famous of the thermal springs are the Jefferson Pools, in a grove of trees in Warm Springs, just south of the intersection of U.S. 220 and Va. 39 (tel. 540/839-5346). The crystal-clear, 98°F (37°C) waters of these natural rock pools circulate gently and offer a wonderfully relaxing experience. The octagonal white clapboard bathhouse covering the men's pool was built in 1761, and the women's building dates to 1836, and they've been little changed since. The only luxuries you'll get at the pools are a clean towel and a rudimentary changing room. Use of the pools costs $15 an hour. Reservations aren't taken for the pools -- just walk in. They are open June to October daily from 10am to 7pm. Call for winter weekend hours.

There's music in the mountain air on summer weekends at the Garth Newel Music Center, on U.S. 220 between Warm Springs and Hot Springs (tel. 877/558-1689 or 540/839-5018; www.garthnewel.org). The center's summer-long music festival has been drawing critical acclaim since the 1970s, and concerts now go into the autumn months. Long known for classical music, it now features jazz, blues, and other varieties -- all performed by small ensembles. Garth Newel also sponsors a series of Music Holiday Weekend Retreats in spring, fall, and winter. Accommodations and dining at the on-site Manor House are part of the package. Call, write, or check the website for details.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.