At this time a year ago, people were really happy to say goodbye to 2020. The excitement people had for moving on from that awful year should have been an indicator that 2021 would be filled with wonderful new things.
The global pandemic didn’t magically disappear, but restrictions on travel and gatherings eased. People were eager to travel to safe — meaning less crowded — places. Visitors came to Bath County for relaxation, scenic beauty, outdoor fun, great food and old-fashioned hospitality. Bath County has a special relationship with its visitors. We were delighted to welcome travelers.
While many people experienced the pent up demand for travel, local businesses obviously had a pent up demand for improvements and expansion.
Here is just some of what happened in Bath County during 2021:
Renovation, Restoration, Preservation
• After being delayed by the pandemic, the plans to restore the Warm Springs Pools are back on track. A contractor has begun work on the historic structures. A re-opening is planned for late 2022.
• The Omni Homestead Resort announced an ambitious plan to renovate nearly every aspect of the property and restore it to its grandeur as one of the finest resorts in America.
• After several years of work and planning, three new roadside historic markers were unveiled in Warm Springs. The effort was led by Preservation Bath, a group of volunteers dedicated to keeping the region’s historic site and stories alive.
The Joy of Art
• The Bath County Art Show returned. It was the biggest and best show in its 56-year history with artists, guests and buyers from all around the Commonwealth and beyond.
• Garth Newel Music Center continued streaming performances online. By fall, the campus was abuzz with live performances, albeit with limited tickets and social distancing. Look for more live music in 2022.
• At the height of fall foliage, the Plein Air Festival saw artists all around the county painting and sketching the landscape and icons. Sometimes it’s hard to decide which is more beautiful, the actual scenic views or the art it inspires. Next time you’re in Warm Springs, stop by Warm Springs Gallery to see some local art and decide for yourself.
Food & Drink
• Foodlore Fridays was bigger and better than ever. The popular event, which began in 2020, ran from July through October. It featured more products, more guest chefs and, of course, welcomed more visitors.
• In December, the first annual county-wide Restaurant Week encouraged visitors and residents alike to dine in local restaurants.
• Bacova Beer expanded into additional space that includes a kitchen. They now offer delicious pub food, appetizers, sandwiches and flatbread pizzas.
• As 2021 comes to a close, Les Cochons D’Or in Hot Springs is expanding into neighboring space. Look for details on their plans in early 2022.
In the News
• It’s hard to keep anything secret in our modern, technology-obsessed world, especially something as exceptional as Bath County hospitality, food and scenery. During 2021, the county was featured online, in print and over the airwaves. You may have seen coverage in these media outlets:
What a year it was. What does all this mean for the year ahead? Well, as a county that features a winery, cidery, craft brewery and impeccable restaurants, we tend to see the glass as more than half-full. We’re looking forward to a fantastic 2022.
To plan a trip to Bath County, visit DiscoverBath.com