We made our first and last trip to Berkeley Springs yesterday, Saturday March 7 2009.
We arranged to meet a couple from Virginia there to see the town and explore the shops - neither couple had ever been to the town before.
When the other couple arrived, they pulled over to the side of the road to call us on their cell phone to arrange a place to meet. They were sitting there for no more than a minute when they were approached by a policeman who told them "sitting there is the same as parking.... you gotta feed the meter".
They tried to explain that they were just trying to find another couple who was coming into town from a different direction but he wasn't interested. At that moment my friend's call connected with us and he explained that he was on the side of Washington St. but needed to move. Simultaneously his wife turned around and saw the policeman behind them writing down their license number. I told him I was pulling into a bank parking lot and would wait for him there.
We met up at the parking lot, less than a block from where my friend had been sitting, to discuss where we wanted to go (my wife had read about a restaurant there she was very excited about trying). As we talked we observed the same policeman coming up the block writing ticket after ticket and keeping a close eye on our two cars.
We decided that this was not going to be a good day to be in Berkeley Springs. Another destination both couples had wanted to visit someday was Shepardstown WV. We programmed the GPS's, set off for Shepardstown and spent a wonderful day there (and collectively spent a great deal of money on meals and other items).
While eating a fantastic dinner at the Bavarian Inn we commented on the Berkeley Springs experience. My wife and I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world to cities and towns both large and very small, and my friend is a commercial charter pilot whose job takes him to a new cities and towns every week. We both agreed that we have never been anywhere that we just would never have any desire to go back to, until yesterday.
If the town is trying to promote business and tourism, it seems like a public parking lot would make sense, or some other solution that would not berate potential tourists before they even get a chance to get out of their cars.
Anyway, for what it's worth, Berkeley Springs is permanently off our list of places to go..... we won't be trying it again.