La Costa

Jefferson Pools

History of the Waters

Legend has it that these magnificent, crystal-clear warm springs were discovered hundreds of years ago by Native Americans as they journeyed through the valley.

But even outside of the legend, archeologists have found evidence of at least 9,000 years of human use of these local waters.

Early colonial records show that brothers Thomas and Andrew Lewis surveyed this valley and its surroundings. Thomas and his son John obtained a 140- acre parcel of land that included the warm springs. It was the same Andrew Lewis who was an early partner of Thomas Bullett, who obtained a 300- acre parcel of land that included the hot springs. Bullett acquired the land from his partners, and became famous as the builder of the first hotel in 1766, on the site of the present Omni Homestead Resort.

The Jefferson Pools consist of two main buildings. In 1761, the octagonal Gentlemen’s Pool House was built for use by ladies and gentlemen alike, though at alternate times from early morning to late evenings. The circular, Ladies' Pool House was constructed in 1836, at last giving ladies a pool of their own.

The large octagonal, white wooden building is the Gentlemen’s Pool House, which, along with the pool inside it, was built in 1761. It is the oldest spa structure in the United States. President Thomas Jefferson, who suffered from rheumatism, visited these very pools in August of 1818. The Omni Homestead archives contain the original guest books documenting Jefferson’s 22- day visit, during which he found great relief in the warm mineral spring waters. The Gentlemen’s pool itself is similarly octagonal and about 120 feet in circumference. It holds about 43,000 gallons of constantly flowing spring water. During his visit, on August 13, 1818, Jefferson enjoyed breakfast at The Homestead, soaked in the springs, and took his dinner. He recorded that the entire day’s activities cost him $2.12 and wrote to one of his daughters praising our springs as among the best in America. That is why the pool houses are named in his honor.

The United States Geological Survey determined that these springs have a remarkably uniform rate of temperature and flow and are unaffected by changes of the seasons – their waters are natural body temperature all year and flow at the astounding rate of 1,700,000 gallons per day. The mineral content of the waters is so high that you float easily and so crystal clear you can read a book through them

  • Jefferson Soak - Soak in these legendary mineral spring waters for an hour and you will understand why Jefferson was drawn to the healing powers of the hot springs in Virginia. This restorative mountain spa treatment has found favor since ancient times and is sure to become your favorite, too. $17

  • Visit Our Gift Shop - Take some of the Virginia hot springs home with you! Our exclusive Jefferson Pools products, crafted from the natural spring waters of the Jefferson Pools and pure mountain ginseng, are available in our Gift Shop, along with a variety of special gifts perfect for family and friends. Gift certificates are also available.

Hours of Operation:

Open Thursday through Sunday
Family soaking (swimsuits required): 12pm-2pm
Adult soaking (swimsuits optional): 2pm-5pm