Tucked away from civilization, in a valley between two humble ridges, a small Pennsylvanian town has aged well, much like the Appalachians. This is Bedford.
Bedford has a past steeped in history, lore, and legend. During French occupation of American soil, Fort Duquesne was won over, and a road was built to connect it to a new fort, Fort Bedford, which grew in population and size. President George Washington marched an army into Bedford and stayed there during the nation’s first major tax crisis: the Whiskey Rebellion. The first trans-Atlantic telegraph, sent by Queen Victoria, was received by President James Buchanan at Bedford. America’s first Olympic-sized pool? Built in Bedford.
Located 100 miles from Harrisburg and 120 miles from Pittsburgh, Bedford is isolated enough that it retains much of its original architecture and small-town atmosphere. Antique stores and old-style shops line the streets, vineyards are nestled among the hills, farmer’s markets pop up on weekends, and war reenactments are staged several times a year.
The Bedford County Airport (HMZ) is small, with one runway 5,005 feet by 75 feet, and parking. It is perfectly functional and picturesque. According to airport manager Ray Jennings, locals and visitors alike enjoy flying in and out during the fall, while the trees are changing color.
“The airport attracts people year-round, off and on. A lot of the people come for the golf course at the Bedford Springs Resort,” said Jennings. “Its fairways are like the greens at other places.”
The resort, even without the golf course, is something to behold. Eight mineral springs were discovered on its site 200 years ago. Residents reported that by drinking and soaking in the water, they were relieved of aches, pains, and ailments. Word spread about the magical healing springs, and soon tourists were coming in throngs.
An entrepreneurial spirit and a vision to capitalize on this jewel of the Appalachians led to the establishment of a vacation site that evolved into the Bedford Hotel Resort of today.
The resort recently began a $120-million renewal and expansion campaign, including construction of a 20,000-square-foot conference center and 30,000-square-foot spa. People interested in nature and recreation can enjoy the resort’s 25 miles of hiking trails and trout fishing. Management will even pick you up at Bedford County Airport.