Being here in Bedford is like stepping into a simpler way of life. Bedford is a beautiful small town in Pennsylvania's Allegheny mountains and a wonderful place to vacation away from everyday big city life, traffic, hi-rises, and congestion. It is a town with no parking meters, and its downtown streets are lined with century-old buildings used now as antique, craft, and gift shops--all within walking distance from each other. There are places to swim, boat, fish, hike, bike, and camp, located within minutes of Bedford. For example, Shawnee State Park with its beautiful mountain lake, offers all these activities, just 20 minutes from Downtown Bedford.
Bedford is filled with history and historic houses. The "Espy House" on 123 E. Pitt Street, built in 1771, served as President George Washington's headquarters during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. It is one block from our shop.
About the Whiskey Rebellion in a few words: It was a rebellion against federal tax on whiskey. The "Whiskey Boys" who rebelled were not alcohol consumers, but farmers who preferred to convert their grain into whiskey that was easier to transport. Responding to the crisis, President George Washington called for the enlistment of an army, and he actively assumed his presidential role as Commander in Chief of the armed forces, personally riding with Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, and a 12,000-man force. This is the only time a U.S. President has commanded his troops in the field. He suppressed the Whiskey Rebellion "without one shot having to be fired." The few "Whiskey Boys" who were caught were allowed to sign an oath to obey the law, and were let go free. Two were imprisoned, but they were later pardoned by President Washington... Must have been much simpler and easier to solve problems in the good old days...
Bedford also has many other historic buildings. The courthouse, built in 1828, is the oldest in the state in continuous use. The only movie theater in Bedford, Pitt Theater, in a beautiful stone building on 134 E. Pitt Street, is the longest continually run (since 1939) theater in Pennsylvania. Another historic building is Jean Bonnet Tavern (6048 Lincoln Hwy), a stone farmhouse built in 1762, which served as a stagecoach stop. It was there that the farmers held their gatherings during the Whiskey Rebellion.
Accommodations and restaurants are plentiful in Bedford. The historic Bedford Springs Resort, two miles south of our shop, is a wonderful place. The resort was originally built by Dr. John Anderson, a local doctor who in 1798 purchased a 2,200 acre property on the site of curative mineral springs. Construction began in 1804 and was completed in 1806. More recently, in 2007, it was renovated at a cost of $120 million and is currently named Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Spa. Even though it is an upscale resort and spa, accommodations are not much more expensive than Washington, DC, and New York hotels. And you'll be staying where several US Presidents--William Henry Harrison, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan (who used the resort as his "Summer White House"), William Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and other presidents have stayed, as well as many other famous persons such as author Nathaniel Hawthorne, pioneer auto-manufacturer Henry Ford... Check the hotel's website www.omnihotels.com/hotels/bedford-springs for its very interesting history.
There are also several chain hotels (Fairfield Marriott, Quality Inn,,,), privately-owned motels, and bed-and-breakfasts in town.
If you are visiting on a Friday, the Bedford County Visitors Bureau on 131 S. Juliana Street offers free very interesting guided walking tours of Downtown Bedford (from the third week of May thru end-October) that start at 3:30 pm on Fridays and last till about 5 pm.
And when you visit Bedford, please make sure to wear comfortable shoes.