Bergton, VA

Bergton, VA : All the Info on My Great Hometown

I believe Bergton, VA in Rockingham County is among the best places in the world. There’s just something about this quiet mountain community that fills a special place in my heart. My family has lived here continuously for eight generations, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the area.

 

Bergton, VA Mountains

 

Why is Bergton so Great?

Bergton, VA is great because it has a lot of down-to-earth, friendly people. For the most part, they are reasonable, sensible and practical. People live modestly. There’s no reason to make a big show of yourself in Bergton because we know you. We know you, we know your parents, we know your grandparents. We know your roots. You can do all the grandstanding you want, but no one cares, and no one is going to be impressed. So save it for another time and place. It’s not going to go over well in Bergton.

 

I like the mountains and clean rivers around the area. It’s the appeal of the natural world that’s present everywhere in the community. The George Washington National Forest pretty much surrounds Bergton. Historically, Bergton has been a little bit insulated from the rest of the world. Primarily there is one road in and the same road out. You won’t accidentally wander into Bergton. You must make a special effort to get here.

 

The History of Bergton

 

Tribes of American Indians/Native Americans passed through or lived in the area before European settlers. You might still uncover arrowheads when you dig postholes or plow a field. They are not super common, but we have found a few on our farm.

 

 

European Settlers arrived in the 1700s. Most of these were from Germany but there were Scots-Irish as well. Bergton folklore says that Hessian soldiers were the first Germans to settle in the area. I can understand that because Bergton looks a lot like Hessan in Germany. It’s like the settlers were going home. They were living in a place that looked a lot like home. It had similar mountains, forests, rivers, and streams. It was about the same climate and had the same four seasons. Many people spoke German, some until the mid-1900s. The name Bergton comes from the German “berg” meaning mountain and “ton” meaning town.

 

Bergton was originally called Dovesville, but the name was changed in the early 1900s. You might still find old envelopes with a Dovesville address on them. The post office required a name change because of a similar town (another Dovesville or a Covesville or something like that) elsewhere in Virginia. This would have been before zip codes, so there was some mail confusion.

 

Believe it or not, George Washington came through Bergton, VA surveying the area when he was 16 years old. I’ve heard that he stayed in Turner Sandy’s place along what is now Rt. 259. (That’s a local reference that only long-term Bergton folks will understand.) I guess George Washington is the most famous person to spend any amount of time here.

 

Tony Wilt, the Virginia House of Delegates representative, grew up on his family farm in Bergton. They raised sheep. I helped them bale hale occasionally. Tony’s dad Jim still owes me for one evening of work when I was about 14. I should probably remind him – it has been a few years, and it might have slipped his mind.

 

I can’t think of any other famous people who were from Bergton right now off the top of my head. My great-great grandfather Silas fought in the Civil War, but he wasn’t famous. There were several Bergton boys who fought in the Civil War. Folklore says they were not popular with Stonewall Jackson. Whenever the troops would get near the area, the boys would run off to their farms. I can understand that. I would prefer the farm field to the battlefield myself. I think my great-great grandfather was one of the ones that got homesick for the farm.

 

Our family found Bergton/Criders in the late 1700s and has been here now for eight generations. Eight consecutive generations of farmers have lived within a couple of miles of the original homestead site. The original home of our first family settler still stands, and it is in relatively good condition. It is on private property however, and it is not very accessible. I doubt if any other Bergton family has been in this area longer than eight generations, although it might be possible. The long-term family names include but are not limited to Yankey, Smith, May, Dove, Brown, Lantz, Wilkins, Fulk, Moyer, Halterman, and Ritchie. Local historians will prove me wrong about this, I’m sure.

Bergton, VA Facts and Figures

 

I laugh sometimes when I read information about Bergton, VA. Much of the information is false or inaccurate. Bergton has about 500 people. Some websites say 5,000. Hahahaha. Nope. Must have been reported by a bunch of bots that have never been to Bergton.  What we lack in numbers we make up in quality.

 

 

We used to have an elementary school, but it closed. Too expensive to run with a declining enrollment. The students were bussed to Fulks Run Elementary School instead. There are several former old school buildings still standing. There’s the Bennetts Run school which housed all grades, the Mountain Top School on the Shenandoah Mountain, the Caplinger’s school in Criders and the old Bergton School which is the current main building of the Bergton Fair. The most recent Bergton Elementary School is now the Bergton Community Center. The school sure looked a lot bigger when I was six years old.

 

 

Bergton is a rural community, so most of the people used to be farmers. There are fewer farmers now. There are not a whole lot of businesses in the area. The Capon Run General Store employs a few people. There are a couple of people that work at the Bergton and Criders Post Office. I can’t think of any other businesses that are not one-person, self-employed type deals. Tim Dove has a busy auto repair business. Bo Baker will repair your tractor. Jessie Propst repairs small appliances. I believe there is a taxidermy shop, but I have never been there.

 

 

So the only restaurant in Bergton is at the Capon Run General Store out on Rt. 259.  It also has the only gas station.  There are no banks in Bergton, but the General Store has an ATM.  

 

 

 

Points of Interest / Events

 

The Bergton Fair is – by far – the biggest event in Bergton. Ten thousand people or more show up for the fair in August. It draws people from all over the Va-Wv area. It’s a lot of fun, and you should come.

 

If you want to picnic or swim in the river, Blue Hole Recreation Area is the place for you. There are several Blue Holes in the county. This is the Bergton Blue Hole. I have gone swimming at Blue Hole maybe 100 times – but none recently. Many years ago, there used to be sort of a hippie commune in the Bergton area. One afternoon after making hay all day, my dad took us all to Blue Hole for a swim. We had a bunch of boys – maybe six of us or so. When we got there, there were about a dozen or fifteen nude people – men and women – lounging around the area. We sat on the rocks a while, then dad decided we should all go to Green Valley Grocery (no longer standing) for ice cream instead. When we got to Green Valley, Deyerle Moyers was sitting at the counter. We said – “Deyerle, you’re never going to guess what we just saw.” He said, “A bunch of naked hippies at Blue Hole!” Hahahahaha. How did he know? Anyway, you can camp at Blue Hole and cool off in the swimming hole there. I’m not sure how big the swimming area is now. It has been through a flood or two and a cleaning or two, so I’m not sure what it’s like. You could probably go tubing down the river there too.

Farm Road in Bergton, VA

Phone Service

 

One thing to remember when you are in the Bergton area is that there is limited cell service. T-Mobile is the only cell provider in town. You can dial 911 if you run into trouble, but otherwise you must have T-Mobile (used to be Sprint) to make a call. And back in some of the mountains, you may not have any service at all. Good luck.

 

 

Places to Stay

 

There are no hotels or motels in Bergton. The closest would be at the Lost River Grill and Motel in Lost River, WV. The Guesthouse at Lost River, WV would be about the same distance from Bergton.

 

There is a new campground in the area – Rivers Edge Campground. I’ve never been there, but Bergton folks say it is a good campground with nice people running it.

 

 

Other potential camping sites would be at Trout Pond, WV and Lost River State Park in Lost River, WV. Lost River State Park has nice cabins to stay in, but reserve early, because they fill up fast.

 

 

There are various listings of Bergton and Criders Air B& B sites. I don’t know anything about any of them.

 

 

 

Things to Do

 

Hunting and Fishing are popular in Bergton. I don’t know the laws though, so be sure you know and understand them. You need to have a license for both activities. If you decide to cross the nearby state line into West Virginia, then you will need a WV license, of course. There are public streams and national forest and an occasional landowner who will let you hunt on their land. If you find a nice hunting spot but the landowner will not let you hunt, please respect their decision. Some hunters have no regard for the land and property they are hunting on. We have had folks cut down our cattle fences, kill numerous animals, knock down our gates, leave all sorts of trash everywhere. It’s really unbelievable what some people will do.


4-wheelers / All-terrain Vehicles (ATV) are legal on roads in WV, and they often make their way over the mountain dirt roads and into Bergton. As far as I know, ATVs are not legal on Virginia roads, but it is still fairly common to see them especially on the weekend and close to the dirt mountain roads.


There are hiking trails through the George Washington National Forest. The maintenance of these trails varies.

 
Some people ride horses in the area. I don’t know much about it. There are horse stables at Losr River State Park.


Occasionally, cyclists ride in the area. I created a page that has information about what I call the Bergton Loop.

Biking in Bergton, VA