Tomorrow I will be a guest judge at the 24th annual International Water Tasting in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia — a historic spa town near the Maryland border.
How did I win such a prestigious position? I’m glad you asked, if only hypothetically for the purposes of continuing this story.
In October of 2012, I visited West Virginia for the first time as an adult. I had been to the Mountaineer State a handful of times as a kid. But my perspective and opinions traveling as an adult has changed so drastically that any thoughts I had 15-20 years ago really don’t count. Suffice it to say, all you needed was a clean looking Applebee’s and a flat road to impress little suburban Joe. Sad, really. Luckily I’ve since blossomed into the cultured individual I am today.
I got onto Big Water’s radar about 18 months ago after a piece I wrote concluding that West Virginia should be amazing — but it isn’t. The fine folks behind the International Water Tasting wanted to prove that West Virginia, indeed, is amazing, and would do so by making me a judge of fine waters. Unfortunately the dates didn’t work out, but they assured me that they would be in touch the following year.
Sure enough, they were. But incidentally they were not alone in their determination to show off West Virginia for the awesomeness that it is. West Virginia Tourism sought to bring me down for a weekend in a Fayetteville cabin with New River whitewater rafting and ziplining adventures. Oh, and there was beer. I was happy to oblige.
But whereas I battled the waters of West Virginia, I had yet to taste them. Given recent coverage of Charleston’s water woes, why would you? After all, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol infused H20 sounds confusing and unappealing.
Well, this is the International Water Tasting dammit. I would be a fool not to take Berkeley Springs up on this adventure. Plus, as I discovered during the trip to Fayetteville, West Virginia is indescribably beautiful. She’s arguably one of the most underrated states for adventure travel, and there’s plenty of adventure to be had with Green Ridge State Forest and Rocky Gap State Park — to name just a couple — spitting distance away.
Read what happened at the 2014 Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting here.