Two years ago when my sister got engaged, she told my family it was the happiest day of her life. Last year, when my sister got married at Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Spa in Bedford, Pennsylvania, she said it was the happiest weekend of her life.
How could I experience that same level of contentment, I wondered? I quickly concluded that what was missing in my life—that seemingly endless void—could only stem from missing out on some key Bedford Springs activities during my sister’s whirlwind wedding weekend.
Self-actualization like that isn’t easy to achieve, which is why, when it happened, I convinced my friend, Caitlin, who also attended my sister’s wedding, that we had to go back. We had to return if for nothing more than our emotional sanity. Certainly, a day of spa treatments, wine, desserts and luxurious accommodations would qualify as exciting as getting engaged or married.
A rich history
Bedford is seemingly another quaint town in the pantheon of charming areas in the Allegheny Mountains. But in 2007, when Omni renovated Bedford Springs with a US$120-million restoration, the resort, founded in 1806 when the mineral springs at the site were used to heal, was able to maintain its obsolescent quality as a therapeutic resort but with all the necessary and updated modern-day conveniences.
Driving down a windy road to the secluded hotel, hidden in the mountains, it’s as if you’re traveling back in time. The verdant and plush landscape that highlight the hotel in the summer gave way to an idyllic winterscape, as soft snowflakes descended upon the grounds. At Bedford Springs, its rich and storied history is one it’s most defining qualities. Each corner of the hotel satiates a nostalgic longing. Photos of guests from the early 20th century line the walls, as old guest books and artifacts festoon corridors of the hotel, encompassing all the authentic past experiences. Guests also quickly learn 10 U.S. presidents (including Presidents Taylor, Buchanan, Taft, Polk, Harding and Eisenhower) sojourned to the resort for a respite from the hectic political life.
Like those noted past figures, for us, the weekend also was about isolating ourselves from real world stresses with a little rejuvenation. The cure-all for this, we learned, included homemade potato chips, cupcakes, Bloody Marys, a satisfying dinner and a spa treatment—maple sugar body scrubs that were great for many reasons, but most of all, because we ended up smelling like a really tasty breakfast of waffles and pancakes.