Omni Bedford Springs Resort: A “Should Visit”
There are places that you hear about, think about and places on your “perhaps to go list” aka your bucket list. Oh my, I confess, this Driving Diva’s list is very long, but as documented in Romancing The Roads Vol. I & II, I have gone to a whole lot. [Hope you do too.] Many places have been visited and many are yet to be visited. Several weeks ago, I had an unexpected opening in my agendas of daily must dos and minutia and was able to go to Omni Bedford Springs Resort, Bedford, Pennsylvania.
Aside from a 16 + mile back up on I 95, due to a Greyhound bus catching on fire [ no one hurt] the trip went smoothly and the Bedford discoveries were delightful. Where is Bedford, Pennsylvania? It is in south-central Pennsylvania, 3 miles off the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Exit 146. Approximately less than 3 hours from Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Biltmore and 4 ½ from NYC.
Following signs for Bedford, you soon find yourself in a charming, small town. More on the town below. I was on my way to the historic OMNI BEDFORD SPRINGS RESORT. I had seen pictures and brochures of this impressive, big resort but now I would see it in person. Thank goodness, there are directional signs to the property. Following the signs you suddenly see a big impressive white building in front of you and you smile approvingly.
This property, more important the springs, in 1796 was discovered by Dr. John Anderson who so wisely purchases the sizeable property – 2,200 acres. Of course the Native Americans who lived in the area had been using the springs for years. Word spread quickly about the purported mineral values of the springs. People came from all over. Dr. Anderson “housed” the visitors in tents and history states that he also would dispense prescriptions as needed. And so it started.
In those early days, it was not an easy trek to Bedford. The 21 miles from Cumberland [a nearby city] to Bedford was arduous. With the anticipation and desire to “take the waters” guests persevered to reach Bedford Springs. It was an obvious that a hotel be built and Dr. Anderson decided to do so in 1806. The Stone Inn was built next to The Springs. Accurately named, as it was built from stone quarried from on top of the mountain.
And so Bedford Springs Hotel, now titled RESORT began. Prominent people came to “take the waters” and it gained prominence as a real luxury destination. With the continuing throngs of guests, more additions were made. One of the first golf courses was designed and built and then in 1905 the indoor pool was opened fed by spring waters In 1984 Bedford Springs Resort was designated a National Historic Landmark.
1986 the property closes and in 1998 it is purchased and in 2007 after a $120 million restoration The Omni Bedford Springs Resort is opened. Omni did not miss installing modern conveniences, and state of the art technology as well as upscale conveniences.
The grand white huge Omni Bedford Springs Resort is a “should visit”. Today, this grand white edifice is immediately impressive from one’s first look. It is snuggled by lots of very green trees that cover the near hillsides. After checking in and arriving at your room [mine had a balcony] be sure to make reservations for dinner. I ate the first night in the Crystal Room. This is a beautiful white on white room with sparkling crystal chandeliers and sconces.
The next night I enjoyed dining in the 1796. Food was delicious. There is also the casual Frontier Tavern. The Crystal Room is open for an ultra-breakfast, but there is the Che Sara Sara which I highly recommend. This is what is referred to as a “get and go” [for the lack of a better term] establishment. Here you can get a delicious cup of coffee or tea, juice, servings of fruit and various choices of muffins. I recommend taking your breakfast into the Grand Lobby and sitting comfortably by the fireplace or anywhere and enjoying starting the day- slowly. This Che Sara Sara is the ideal spot for various munching as also available are salads, sandwiches, etc. It is open from 6AM till 10pm. The hostess at Che Sara Sara is upbeat and fun. She also stated to me that she makes a special Bloody Mary. I found out that this “beverage” is a favorite of many. Casual tea and small sweets are presented in the afternoon in the Grand Lobby.
Of course there is The Spa – need I say more. There are shops of many varieties, your choice of indoor or outdoor swimming pools. Golf is exceptional and there is the driving range as well as all the usual resort sports. Of course a delightful occupation is just relaxing.
A very important part if any resort is the staff. Here at The Omni Bedford Springs Resort everyone is exceptional – in many ways. Helpful, knowledgeable, enjoyable and just very topnotch.
As with any grand hotel the improvements are ongoing. The Omni Bedford Springs Resort is not flamboyant, nor gaudy. If a huge, magnificent white edifice can be called rather cozy then apply that adjective to this resort. You will enjoy.
A sidebar of recommendations while in Bedford Springs. Bedford, the town, is very charming with an excellent selection of stores – several delicious chocolate shops with absolute delicious handmade chocolates and sweets, small eateries, an Italian food shop …and much more. It is a quiet gem of a little town with so much to offer – residents and visitors.
My July visit to Bedford Springs proved a bit different as the temperature suddenly dropped to “very cold” and there were torrential rains. Always carry that warm jacket and raincoat. [More on travel takes in another blurb] Regardless the actual town is a delight and you will enjoy. Of course The Resort has many to dos – regardless of weather.
Go and visit, enjoy and enjoy some more… Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Bedford, Pennsylvania.
Stay tuned. This Driving Diva has some delightful discoveries to share and to tempt. FUN!
Omni Bedford Springs Resort, Bedford, Penn 15522: 814-623-8100
Gerry Hempel Davis worked for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, was the youngest female in the control room of the Ed Sullivan Show, and was for several years a contributing lifestyle correspondent for The Today Show. She is the author of the authorized history of The Today Show as well as The Moving Experience. In recent years Gerry Davis has logged over 100,000 miles on America's highways and byways, stumbling upon sites that range from the sublime to the ridiculous. She’s written three books on her road trips including ROMANCING THE ROADS: A DRIVING DIVA’S FIRST HAND GUIDE: Vol I
(East of the Mississippi) and Vol II (West of the Mississippi).