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Omni Bedford Springs Resort

Omni Bedford Springs Resort

Address: 2138 Route 220
Phone: 866-623-8176
Web Address: http://www.omnibedfordsprings.com

Click picture to enlarge PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaPennsylvania

Bedford, Pennsylvania

THE RESORT: The grand Bedford Springs Resort, set on 2,200 acres and minutes off the Pennsylvania Turnpike has a fascinating history. Original construction began in the 1790's near seven natural springs. Believed to have "curative powers" the springs were the primary draw when the hotel opened to colonial travelers in 1804. Aaron Burr was one of the first guests and in the 1850's Presidents Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, James Polk and Zachary Taylor were frequent guests as were Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun. In 1858, the hotel was the summer White House for James Buchanan. The golf course was designed in 1895 by Spencer Oldham, redesigned in 1912 by A.W. Tillinghast and later by Donald Ross. In 1986 after years of neglect and poor management, the resort closed and remained so for 21 years until it was purchased by Bedford Resort Partners for $8 million. Four years and $120 million later, the resort re-opened and has been restored to its earlier splendor. The re-design has thoroughly modernized the resort while retaining the charm of the original building. The grand lobby is dramatic and beautifully decorated with elegant furnishings and pictures and artifacts from the resort's storied history.

THE ROOMS: There are 216 handsomely decorated rooms and suites, with most guest rooms at a comfortable 350 sq. ft. or more. Many have a balconey with rocking chairs looking out over the beautiful gardens and mountains. My room had peach walls, high ceilings, crown moldings, Berber carpeting and a dark wood armoire and desk. The plump bed was triple sheeted with luxury linens, a goose down comforter and a colorful woven coverlet. Other amenities include a standing Chevalier mirror, 32 inch flat screen TV, CD/MP3 player, IPod docking station and free wireless. The large bathroom was decorated in crisp white marble in a herringbone pattern with green Dal ceramic tiles and had a pedestal sink and rainshower showerhead. Towels and bathrobes were fluffy and soft.

THE RESTAURANTS: There are two casual cafes, The Turtle Shell, at the outdoor pool that serves hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, salads and soft drinks and alcohol and the "Che Sara Sara" Cafe serving coffee, muffins and other "to go" items. The 1796 Steak & Chop House is the resort's classic steakhouse set in an upscale 18th century tavern ambiance. The menu includes 21 day dry aged steaks, chops, fresh seafood and game.

I actually like the ambiance of the Crystal Room better and the food there was terrific. One end of the room is anchored with an open kitchen and dark hardwood floors are offset with beige walls covered in historic photographs, stark white/beige chair covers in muted striped and checkered patterns, white tablecloths and gleaming tableware. Candles and small table lamps cast just the right amount of light on the room to create a sense of intimacy. There were so many things that looked good, we tried three wonderful appetizers; “Scallops N’ Grits” with Gorgonzola and bacon, a Cuban pork spring roll served with Lancaster ham and a spicy mustard and braised beef short ribs with a confit of cipollini and fresh horseradish. For entrees we had Old Bay dusted twin crab cakes with a spiced sweet corn chowder and grilled pork medallions served with stone ground mustard and herb gnocchi. Good wine list with most regions represented, some interesting choices and very fair pricing. Appetizers: $7-$13, entrees: $21-$38. The Crystal Room also serves a wonderful breakfast (have the oatmeal brulee or the Grand Marnier French toast and lunch each day.

There is usually live music in the Frontier Tavern after dinner or grab a drink and head outside to the fire pit and enjoy the evening.

THE SERVICE: The staff is well trained, friendly and efficient. Your car is met upon arrival, luggage collected, your car taken. Check-in was swift and pleasant. Turn down was accomplished unobtrusively, wake-up call on time. Dining room service was professional and our server was also a lot of fun. Overall, a top notch experience.

THE RATES: $189-$379, suites from $1,249

WHILE YOU ARE THERE: Nearly $9 million was spent to update and improve the golf course and it is an enjoyable and interesting track, cut through the woods and nestled in the valley. There is a magnificent indoor pool (the nicest I have ever seen), fed by natural mineral springs and a new outdoor aquatic center with a large pool and snack bar facility with dramatic, sweeping views of the the golf course. On property, there are hiking trails with distances from under a mile to nearly four miles, fly fishing on the Shobers Run Town Creek, a terrific 30,000 sq. ft.spa, Springs Eternal and a fitness center. Nearby, there is horseback riding, canoe/kayaking and local sites like covered bridges, museums and Old Bedford Village.

DRIVING DISTANCE FROM: Pittsburgh:1 hour 55 minutes, Washington, DC: 2 hours 36 minutes, Philadelphia: 3 hours 25 minutes, Cleveland: 4 hours, New York: 4 hours 37 minutes

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