While Danish multinational Rockwool’s planned heavy industrial facility is wreaking havoc in Jefferson County, in Morgan County, Berkeley Springs is moving in the other direction — back to its bread and butter — tourism and recreation.
Check out the recent developments.
The Berkeley Springs Brew Pub has opened at Coolfont.
Coolfont is about to reopen.
Cacapon State Park is about to undergo a major renovation.
The old train station is about to be renovated.
The Country Inn is well on its way back to being the institution that anchors the town.
Rumor has it that the site of the old Black Dog might become a coffee shop again soon.
The diner across from the old Earth Dog is being renovated.
Ambrae House has been transformed into a deli — selling wine, beer, cheese, meats and sandwiches.
The Naked Olive is expanding into the former smoke shop.
Another brew pub is planned for the old antique mall in town.
Morgan on Main has opened where the old Inspirations restaurant used to be.
Rumor has it that a beer garden might open at the vacant lot on Fairfax Street.
The Troubadour is booming under new management.
And remarkably, a new cheese shop across from Berkeley Springs State Park is thriving.
Who would have thought?
Regina Aamacha, that’s who.
She’s the owner of Fleur De Lis Cheese Shop.
And she’s busy non stop.
She sells out of her cheese from around the world — every week.
How could it be that a cheese shop is thriving in Berkeley Springs?
“People just love cheese,” Aamacha told This Week in Morgan County with Russell Mokhiber. “Cheese is like wine or chocolate.”
What kind of cheese do you sell?
“I sell mostly imported, but I have several domestic cheeses as well,” Aamacha said.
Aamacha also sells meats in her shop, including a venison pate with chestnuts and black currants from Italy.
“People come into my shop and buy cheese for two people,” she says. “That’s about a quarter pound of cheese.”
She also sells wines from around the world.
“I’m very particular about wines too,” she said. “I learned about wine from cheese. I studied cheese first and then went to wine.”
Aamacha also sells bread.
“I have several sources for bread. They are usually crusty on the outside. I also have a whole grain bread with pumpkin seeds and cranberries that is made by a local baker in Berkeley Springs.”
Aamacha doesn’t get her cheeses delivered to Berkeley Springs. She has to travel every week to pick them up.
“I drive to Delaware,” she says. “I meet a truck that comes down from New York. I also drive to Dulles Airport. And I drive locally to farms to pick up cheese from local producers.”
“The thing that impresses people about the cheese shop is the selection of cheeses. When they come in they see I have cheeses that are hard to get, that are sought after by people who are cheese people or chefs, or people who have been to other countries and been exposed to the great cheeses.”
Aamacha says about 80 percent of her customers are tourists and twenty percent locals. With tourism declining over the winter, what will Aamacha do to supplement her income?
“I’m going to have wine and cheese classes on the weekends,” she says.”I’m also going to do platter design classes.”
Aamacha is also a singer and she’ll be singing at the Berkeley Springs Brew Pub. She also sings at the Country Inn and at the Ice House.