The Great American Getaway Guide to Bedford

Home to Fort Bedford from the French and Indian Wars; the Espy House used as George Washington’s headquarters during the Whiskey Rebellion, and the Bedford Springs Resort that served as President James Buchanan’s summer White House, Bedford is a region steeped in American history. With a bucolic countryside interspersed with small towns that are classic “Small Town America” and punctuated by the county seat with its vibrant downtown, there is perhaps no better place for a relaxing Great American Getaway.

Located just a 2-hour drive from Pittsburgh, a 2.5-hour drive from Washington, D.C., a 3.5-hour drive from Philadelphia, and a 4.5-hour drive from New York City, we have put together a 48-hour getaway guide that maps out some of our favorite and top picks to see, do, and devour to help you pack the most into your trip to Bedford County.

Please note, this itinerary is meant to serve as a general guide. Before you depart on The Great American Getaway to Bedford, we highly recommend you check the websites of our suggested places to visit for any seasonal hours of operation and available offerings.

Day One

Afternoon — Arrive in downtown Bedford and enjoy the ultimate cool casual lunch at Bad Boyz Bistro. Their mouthwatering burgers, amazing salads, creative appetizers, and delicious entrees are each inspired by and named for infamous “bad boys” of movies, politics, and sports.

After lunch, stroll down Juliana and Pitt streets where you’ll find unique shops and plenty of history. Espy House on Pitt Street, which served as George Washington’s headquarters during the Whiskey Rebellion, is open only for private tours upon written request. The house is filled with historic documents and period furniture and often plays host to special tasting events throughout the year for Espy House’s Barrel Club Members where you’re welcome to become a member!

The Espy House
Espy House

Venturing south on Juliana will take you by the county’s courthouse, which was built in 1828, and Veterans Grove at the corner of Pitt and Juliana streets, with monuments to those heroic Bedford County residents who served during World War I, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars, with a Civil War Monument located just across the street. Be sure to stop in the Visitors Center on Juliana Street where the friendly staff can guide you to tour brochures, history of the area, and some great countryside driving tours.

Soldier statue at korean war memorial
Veterans Grove

Evening — Check in to your chosen accommodations (keep scrolling for our picks at the bottom of this page) and then enjoy dinner at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort. The resort’s outstanding dining options include Tillie’s on the golf course, The Crystal Room, the upscale 1796 Room, and the more casual Frontier Tavern.

Bedford springs Resort
Omni Bedford Springs Resort

After dinner, stroll through the magnificent resort. You’ll find historic artifacts and interior design and appointments that are well preserved from the past two centuries.

Day Two

Morning — Begin your first full day in Bedford on a sweet note with scones, pastries, and coffee from HeBrews Coffee Company. This authentic west coast-style coffeehouse features world-class espresso, teas, and smoothies along with a delicious selection of pastries.

Then, take a 30-minute drive west on Route 30 to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Stoystown to honor and learn about the extraordinary courage of the 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93 whose actions thwarted the hijackers' attempt to target Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001. The Visitor Center provides interactive exhibits detailing the story of Flight 93, while the 93-foot-tall Tower of Voices memorializes the “voices” of the 40 passengers and crew members with its forty wind chimes.

Flight 93 National Memorial
Flight 93 National Memorial

On your drive back to Bedford, you could take a side trip to the often referenced — but seldom found — Gravity Hill. Located in the suburbs of New Paris, Gravity Hill is a place where gravity appears to have gone haywire causing cars to roll uphill and water to flow the wrong way. We highly recommend you pick up the directions brochure beforehand, as it’s easy to get lost on the back roads!

Afternoon — Grab lunch at The Kitchen at Bella Terra Vineyards’ downtown Bedford location where you’ll find the boutique winery’s menu filled with creative fare, including shareables, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, and few delicious entrees.

inside The Kitchen at Bella Terra Vineyards
The Kitchen at Bella Terra Vineyards

Afterwards, take a trip back in time to rural Pennsylvania before it was transformed by industrialization and technology at Old Bedford Village. You’ll relive simpler times watching historical interpreters in period garb demonstrate the trades and crafts of villagers in structures that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Evening — Enjoy a late dinner at The Golden Eagle Pub. Established in 1796, this historic building offers both fine food and lodging, with the upstairs dining room providing a more formal atmosphere while the downstairs serves up classic Irish pub fare. You can sip on beers on tap or one of their many micro-brews, and there’s an excellent whiskey bar on the first floor.

buildings on main street
The Golden Eagle Pub

Day Three

We have two suggested “tracks” for guests on Day Three: a spa day or an outdoor adventure.

*Track One: Spa Day

Morning — Start your spa day with a decadent breakfast at Omni Bedford Springs Resort’s The Crystal Room. This beautiful room is one of the oldest restaurants in America and the resort’s main dining room, offering personalized service and innovative cuisine inspired by locally grown produce. The re-envisioned restaurant has a breakfast buffet and a la carte dinner daily, all wrapped in a sophisticated, upscale, yet traditional ambiance.

For your spa treatments, Bedford Springs’ renowned Springs Eternal Spa is a delightful mecca of wellness. Inspired by the numerous natural mineral springs utilized by local Native Americans for centuries, soothe your aches, pains, and stresses away with their line of local botanicals and massage and beauty treatments, or simply unwind in the spa garden. The spa is extremely popular so reservations up to two months in advance are strongly encouraged.

Another spa option is Southern Salts in downtown Bedford. In addition to standard spa treatments, this holistic wellness center offers halotherapy (dry salt therapy), red light therapy, and yoga and meditation. They also offer organic Kombucha from a nearby purveyor with selections that change monthly.

Afternoon — Enjoy a relaxing lunch at Jean Bonnet Tavern and share in the long tradition of hospitality, good food, and good drink at this 1760s historic landmark. The flavor of the Jean Bonnet Tavern is traditionally inspired, yet eclectic. Delicious foods are carefully selected and expertly prepared.

Note: We recommend you contact the Welcome Center for maps of the park prior to your visit.

jean bonnet tavern
Jean Bonnet Tavern

*Track Two: Outdoor Adventure

Morning & Afternoon —Fuel up for your great outdoor adventure with a hearty breakfast at the Denny’s in Bedford. Order a coffee, some eggs or pancakes, and then sandwiches and dessert to go for a picnic and walk around Shawnee Lake.

Drive to Shawnee State Park, nine miles west of Bedford along Route 30. Walk along the beautiful Lake Shore Trail, a scenic 3.5-mile trail with easy terrain. Picnic tables are located all along the trail, so you can enjoy a pleasant outdoor lunch overlooking the gorgeous lake. If you’re visiting any time between late May and mid-September, pack your swimsuit to enjoy a swim in the lake. The sand and turf beach has modern bathhouses for your convenience and vending machines are available if you need a snack.

Shawnee Lake
Shawnee Lake

Add A Day

Not ready for your Great American Getaway to Bedford and its surrounding area to end? Extend your stay to for even more fun in PA. Ohiopyle is less than a 1.5-hour drive west, with Ohiopyle State Park offering biking and hiking on the Great Allegheny Passage and some of the best whitewater rafting in the eastern U.S. Just a short distance from Ohiopyle are two homes designed by renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright—Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob.

If you love golf, skiing, or a host of other amazing activities and events packaged together with Forbes FIve-Star and AAA Five-Diamond Award accommodations and dining, Nemacolin is only minutes from Ohiopyle. Route 381 cuts right through Ohiopyle connecting it to the National Road, Route 40. A short drive on the historic highway will lead you to Nemacolin with other fun stops including the Fort Necessity Battlefield and Christian W. Klay Winery.

Places to Stay

Omni Bedford Springs Resort — Located in the scenic Allegheny Mountains, the Omni Bedford Springs Resort is the perfect place to stay during a Great American Getaway. It is a resort of “firsts” featuring the first indoor swimming pool, one of the country’s first golf courses, and its spa treatments were inspired by the natural healing of springs first used by Native Americans. Guest rooms and suites embody the heritage of Pennsylvania coupled with modern amenities and expansive balconies. Six welcoming indoor and outdoor dining venues offer the finest local produce and signature drinks, served alongside spectacular views.

The Chancellor’s House B&B — With gorgeous wooden moldings, high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, wide center halls, carved staircases, hardwood floors, and wide verandas, the lovingly restored Chancellor's House B&B boasts all the beautiful architectural features you’d expect in an Italianate Victorian home built in 1875, and seamlessly blended with central air conditioning, recessed lighting, private baths, a state-of-the-art kitchen, , cable TV, and high-speed wireless internet. Pause before you enter to admire the wide wrap-around front porch, complete with several rocking chairs just waiting for you to settle into with a good book.

chancellors house
The Chancellor’s House B&B

The Golden Eagle Inn — Built by Dr. John Anderson in 1794, The Golden Eagle Inn was the first brick building built in Bedford. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is also one of the oldest buildings in the downtown. Enjoy one of their 11 beautifully appointed bedrooms, each decorated and named to reflect the town’s history, with breakfast included with your stay. In the evening, step into The Pub or Whiskey Bar for a delightful nightcap, the perfect ending for your Great American Getaway in Bedford.

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