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Author Topic: The Bedford Springs Hotel . . .  (Read 5726 times)
Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2014, 01:40:20 AM »

Two hundred years of the resort’s history are on display everywhere.  The group of photos shown below is in the Great Hall and shows some of the typical activities of the day.  The photo on the top left is labeled “Miss Ford’s Hay Ride.”  The photo on the bottom right is labeled “Miss Hiles’ Willow Party.”  The other right side photos reference something called a “Tally Ho Party.”  A Tally Ho is a type of stagecoach from that era that would have been used to transport arriving guests to the hotel from the nearest railroad stop  -  essentially a 19th century shuttle van.



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Another of the hotel’s most prized possessions is the large collection of original ledger books from back in the day.  The names of prominent figures from industry such as Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, and John Wanamaker are contained therein.  Bedford’s proximity to Washington DC made it the location of choice for politicians who wanted to escape the misery that was life in the big city during the hot summer, (remember, in the 19th century, there was no air conditioning, electric fans, or anything resembling a modern bathroom).  Presidents Harrison, Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Buchanan, Eisenhower, and Reagan all stayed at the resort.  The pages below show where “Mr. James Buchanan” stayed for one week and accumulated $30.33 in charges.  



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Another ledger shows where “Hon. James Buchanan” visited again, but only amassed a bill of $14.12.



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This ledger page must be from a later time period.  Board rates appear to have gone up to $3 per day.  



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The various ballrooms, some of which are named after the Presidents who have stayed at the hotel, are located on the upper level of the Colonial Building.





Access is via a large and intricate set of stairs known as the Grand Staircase.








Entrance to the Colonnade Ballroom is flanked by a collection of hats from various eras.


« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 11:25:55 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2014, 01:41:00 AM »

The Eisenhower Ballroom happened to be open.








The décor is, visually, what you would expect from an historic property.  But under the surface lies everything you would expect of a 21st century meeting facility.





The Eisenhower Ballroom overlooks the front of the property.





Up close, the view from the windows is fine, (like that shown above).  Take a few steps back, however, and the view becomes distorted.  This is because most of the windows in the Colonial building are original to the 1842 structure.  Restorers gently removed all of the old windows and refurbished them for reuse. 





The optical distortion can be seen when looking out the window from the other side of the room.


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« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2014, 01:41:54 AM »

Access to the Colonial Building’s full-width second floor balcony was next to the Eisenhower Ballroom.  I probably don’t have to tell you that the view was pretty amazing from that vantage point.





Previous images of the front of the Colonial Building may give the impression that this balcony would extend to the roof that covers main entrance to the lobby.  While the structures are connected together, there is no access, (i.e. the balcony doesn’t extend over the entrance). 





I don’t know how many rocking chairs were used in the hotel’s restoration.  But they were everywhere !





Besides being scattered throughout the public spaces, there was a rocking chair outside of each guest room along the front of the historic wings.





In the photo below, the end of the Evitt House appears on the far left.  The recessed building is the Stone House.  The next building is the Swiss Cottage.  And the last building (under the dormers) is the Anderson House.





The photo below looks to the other side of the property.  The golf course can be seen in the background.  The large lawn seen in the photo was not always a lawn.  Photos from yesteryear show a miniature golf course and a large in-ground pool in this location at various times throughout the resort’s history.


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Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2014, 01:42:56 AM »

Situated between the Colonial Building and the new Springs Eternal House sits the hotel’s library.  This area was filled with the resort’s history.



(uploaded at full resolution, although the photo didn’t turn out quite like I wanted !) 



(Ditto, not quite what I had envisioned, but you get the idea.)


The Grandfather Clock seen above and below is original to the hotel and was built by Jacob Diehl, a Bedford clockmaker from the early 19th century.  And it still works !





The photos below were all dated 1895.  Subjects include another photo from the previously mentioned “Miss Hiles’ Willow Party,” and the “Pushers,” (all references to Steppenwolf aside, I’m not sure what they were “pushing”).  Also shown is a photo of “Miss Weiss’ Morning German.”  The word “German” in this context refers to a large social gathering or party.  And check out the tiny waist on the young lady in the bottom photo on the left side of the book !



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The puzzle table and chess board are unique additions to the library.








I’m not sure what books are kept in the library.  But I want to say that there is a lot of history here as well.  I like the built-ins also.





Grab a book from the shelf and relax on the lounge chair in the corner.





I’d be asleep on the lounge.  So if I’m going to read, I should be upright at the corner chair.


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« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2014, 01:43:57 AM »

The resort is full of smaller, more intimate seating areas, all of which are decorated with historical photos.  The area below is located in the hallway that leads guests from the library to the Spa wing of the hotel. 





One of the photos tells the story of “A New Folly at Magnesia Springs,” from 1875.



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“Che Sara Sara” is a Latin phrase that means “What will be, will be.”  The famous adaptation of the phrase is that of the Doris Day song from 1956.  The plaque below describes the history of the phrase as it relates to the hotel.  The phrase is associated with the family crest of the Duke of Bedford, (the town’s namesake).  Anna Russell, the Duchess of Bedford in 1839, is credited with creating the “afternoon tea” ritual.  The Duchess thought the time interval between the mid-day meal, (luncheon), and the evening meal, (dinner), was too long, and created “afternoon tea” to fill the gap.  In this case, Che Sara Sara is the name of the snack shop in the Spa wing of the hotel.   



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The hallway shown below leads guests to the pool, (on the left), and the Springs Eternal Spa and Fitness Center, (on the right).





And just like every hallway in the hotel, it is lined with seating and historical photos.



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Entrances to the Spa and Fitness Studio are located here as well.





During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, water from the Bedford Springs was bottled and available for purchase.  A collection of original bottles is on display outside of the Spa. 



(uploaded at full resolution)
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« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2014, 01:44:35 AM »

This small seating area was decorated with original postcards from the hotel. 



(uploaded at full resolution) 


The Springs Eternal Spa occupies the first floor of the Springs Eternal House.  Guest rooms occupy the upper floors.  The stairway to the upper floors was styled to resemble that of the Great Staircase in the Colonial Building. 








This is yet another small seating area complete with lounge chairs that is located on the second floor. 


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« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2014, 01:46:09 AM »

The second floor of the Springs Eternal House is actually ground level in the back of the building. 





This is where the outdoor pool is located.





A kids play area, called the Resort Rascals, is here also.





The Barclay Wing sits on top of the hill.  I’m not sure how this building is currently being used as it isn’t listed on the hotel’s website.  I’ll have to do some research.





We continued our our trek around the outside of the Springs Eternal House and headed down the hill returning to the front garden areas by the Pool House.





The double doors on the left side of photo below access the long hallway mentioned earlier, (in between the spa/fitness center and the pool). 





I really like the floor-to-ceiling windows/doors of the beautifully restored Pool House.





Outdoor seating appears to be a design priority and is featured everywhere on the property.





And with that, my self-guided tour of the Bedford Springs Hotel had ended.  There is no question that the $120 million spent on the project succeeded in bringing the once endangered National Historic Landmark back to life.  However, questions were raised regarding the financial viability of the overall project.  This is small-town-America Bedford Pennsylvania, not New York City or Washington DC.  Would the spa and golf resort aspect coupled with the historical significance of the hotel itself be enough to draw visitors ? 

As of this writing, we are now 7 years after the fact, and all appears to be well.  Reviews of the hotel have been overwhelmingly positive.  US News & World Report ranks the hotel #4 on their list of the Best hotels in Pennsylvania.  Yelpers seem to like the food, especially the steaks at the 1796 Room.  Golfers are raving about the golf course, (Tim McDonald from Worldgolf.com compares Bedford Springs to The Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland !).  And spa goers appear to be extremely happy.  The Springs Eternal Spa has won a couple of Reader’s Choice awards from Spafinder.com.  I hope the success continues.





I want to thank everyone for reading and hope you enjoyed it .  .  .








For further reading .  .  .
The Omni Bedford Springs Resort website
Bedford County history as described in 1876
Bedford County history as described in 1928
Palace in the Wilderness article, Valley Homes & Style, June 10, 2014
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Rather B.Blown
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« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2014, 11:18:50 PM »

I'm just now getting a chance to read this and it might take me a little while. However, after reading the first post I thought of something you might like. Have you ever been to Warm Springs Ga? There is a state park/historic site there that is interesting. Its called The Little White House. In the 1920s FDR heard about the buoyant, 90 degree mineral springs and it was suggested that it might cure his paralysis ( Polio). After a trip it did seem to help and a couple years later bought the resort and 1200 acres. Eventually while he was Gov. of New York he built a house there too. He spent a lot of time there while president and actually died there, had a stroke while having a portrait painted of himself. Its probably 100-125 miles from Athens, would make a nice day trip.

http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/presidents/roosevelts_little_white_house.html

http://gastateparks.org/LittleWhiteHouse

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Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2014, 11:37:31 AM »

Thanks Lee !  I'm not familiar with the place and have never been there.  Sounds like a good weekend road trip .  .  .
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