Historical Mountainside Resort Fed by Mineral Springs
In the late 18th century, Dr. John Anderson purchased a 2,200-acre plot of land in the Allegheny Mountains. The physician hoped to reap the curative benefits of the many natural springs in the area. His first guests stayed in tents, but shortly afterward he used locally quarried stones to build a lodge that serves as the foundation for today's Omni Bedford Springs Resort. During the past two centuries, 10 U.S. presidents have stayed at the hotel—a National Historic Landmark that recently underwent a $120 million renovation. But even with its newly restored wings and plush furnishings, the Omni's main draw is still its eight mineral springs, some of which feed the heated indoor and outdoor pools.
Inspired by the local Native Americans who first discovered the springs' healing properties, the 30,000-square-foot Springs Eternal Spa uses natural mineral water in every one of its treatments. Bedford Bath rituals alternate dips in hot and cool mineral pools equipped with massaging jets. The service also includes a ginger body polish and steam therapy infused with indigenous botanicals. Other treatments, such as massages and body wraps, employ local herbs, and many culminate with a stint in the private spa garden.
Five restaurants present guests with a wealth of options at mealtime, ranging from fine dining to a casual poolside grill. Lit by chandeliers, the stately Crystal Room features farm-to-table entrees and Pennsylvanian Dutch buffets. Come nightfall, guests can gather around a stone fire pit on the lawn, nibbling on marshmallows toasted over the flames or using them to construct 3-D models of constellations spotted above.
Bedford, Pennsylvania: Rustic Mountain Town Convenient for Hiking and Fishing
Cradled amid the verdant Alleghany Mountains, the rural town of Bedford is a gateway to the outdoor adventure abundant in south-central Pennsylvania. In addition to 25 miles of hiking trails accessible from the Omni, the nearby Blue Knob State Park contains a vast network of gently sloping loops and steady uphill climbs. Multiuse trails are open for mountain biking, horseback riding, and seasonal cross-country skiing. Warmer months invite trout fishing in one of the park's streams.
Bedford celebrates its rich heritage every summer by recreating colonial life at Old Bedford Village—a cluster of more than 30 buildings including schools, a theater, and a tavern. Inhabitants dress up and speak like early American settlers and demonstrate quilting, blacksmithing, candle making, and other crafts. Visitors can glean some trade knowledge by taking classes, impressing friends later by weaving a basket shaped like George Washington's powdered wig.