Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ahhhh, Vacation!!

This week, J & I have been on vacation and have just had an absolutely wonderful week! We started off our week with a bus tour to three Western Pennsylvania wineries! It was hosted through my college alumni association, and we had a great time!  We visited , , and!/thistlethwaite.vineyards?sk=wall.  We bought several bottles to enjoy at home! Our tour included lunch at Lunch was delicious--grilled chicken breasts, mashed potatoes (which J & I hadn't had any potatoes for at least a month due to our low-carb diet) and veggies.

Sunday (our actual anniversary), we headed out to Bedford, PA for our anniversary getaway! We took the more scenic route of Route 31 through Mt. Pleasant, PA and Somerset, where we stopped off at (of course) another winery. My cousin had had his wedding reception at several years ago, so we stopped off there to do a tasting and left with two bottles!

As we got closer to Bedford, we drove into a bad storm:

We arrived in downtown Bedford and sat it out a few minutes in the car til we got a little break, then made a dash for the pizza shop nearby for a couple of pizza slices for lunch. Spent some time in one of the antique shops then headed to our final destination, the Bedford Springs Resort & Spa. (  Here is the resort view when you come around the bend:

Front view:

We lucked out with one of the rooms to the right, that had the porch and rocking chairs. The hotel has been beautifully restored, and our experience here was nothing short of amazing and wonderful! The rooms are beautiful, the staff is first class, and the food--phenomenal! 

I took advantage of the daily afternoon tea in the lobby while Jody relaxed in the room. While I was out, this was delivered to our room:

What a lovely surprise! We decided to save it for dessert after returning from our anniversary dinner, which we planned at the Jean Bonnet Tavern ( We had a slight glitch when we went to go to dinner, as a valet had left our headlights on and they were having trouble getting it started. While we were waiting, Jody took this photo of me in the lobby of the resort:

After a short wait, the valet were still unable to get our car started. But Joy, who headed up the valet team that night, was just wonderful. She is VERY good at her job and runs a tight ship, which I admire! She had one of the staff drive us to the Jean Bonnet for our dinner and she herself picked us up when we were finished. We had a delightful dinner, and before heading back to the resort, had our server take this photo of us:

Upon our return to the resort, we enjoyed our anniversary dessert with a bottle of wine and watched a movie before retiring for the night, as we had a full day planned for Monday.

Monday, we started off with the breakfast buffet at the Crystal Room, one of 3 restaurants in the resort. It was DELICIOUS! We took off shortly thereafter for a hike on one of the resort trails. We opted for the longest and most challenging, a 4.5 mile hike. We are certain it had to more because we felt like we were hiking FOREVER! While this will sound like one of your grandfather's "I walked 8 miles to school with no shoes and it was uphill--BOTH WAYS!" stories, this rugged-terrained trail literally was mostly uphill...even when we descended and thought we were at the beginning of the end, we were then redirected uphill for the rest of the trail! By the time we got towards the end, my poor old dancer knees were screaming with pain. So much that, when the torrential downpour from the previous day opted to return at the end of our hike, we just walked slowly and got drenched.

After a hot shower and a quick nap, we headed to the spa for our appointments. J was scheduled for a manicure, and I was set for the zensational pedicure. First, we split up and took advantage of the Bedford Bath Ritual, which you can read about on page 3 of the spa brochure:

We relaxed in the lounge for a bit, then enjoyed the pampering our services provided, and finished off our spa experience with a glass of wine in the relaxation lounge.

We then got ready for dinner in the Crystal Room, which we were really excited for. This is an absolute must if you are in the area, even if you don't stay at the resort (but we absolutely recommend you do!). For a fixed price of $42 per person, you cannot beat this dinner! All we had to choose was our entrees, (
J opted for the filet mignon, I chose the spinach ricotta ravioli.

We headed to the front of the restaurant to get our appetizers and salads. We were floored by the options, and honestly could have made a meal just from salads and appetizers. Breads & (delicious) local cheeses, 3 lettuce mixes to choose from as well as various salad toppings and dressings, crab cakes, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, pork, beef tenderloin, shrimp cocktail, the choices were more than bountiful! As you can see, we did not hesitate to try everything:

Then came our dinners:

Of COURSE we saved room for dessert! Jody chose NY cheesecake and chocolate torte:

And I chose bread pudding and strawberry chocolate mousse:

As if that all wasn't fabulous enough, our server, Liz, poured us each a glass of complimentary champagne, which we took back to our rooms to enjoy on the porch.

Tuesday morning, we got up early to take advantage of the pool before having to check out at noon. This is the hallway by the pool:

and this is the gorgeous pool, which we were fortunate enough to have all to ourselves since it was early in the morning:

We enjoyed breakfast again in the Crystal Room, then relaxed in the room and on the porch, savoring the last hour of our stay.

Quickly going back to our lunch at Nemacolin on our wine tour, the lunch was delicious, and while Nemacolin is an impressive resort in size, things to do, and some of the decor, we left there with absolutely no inclination to stay there at all. To us, the charm factor is zero, where the Bedford Springs Resort & Spa is an 11 on a scale of 1-10!

While the Bedford Springs Resort & Spa is not inexpensive, the history of the resort, the beauty of the resort itself (we referred to it as the Titanic on land), in addition to the exceptional service and overall experience makes it an absolute on our list of  "repeat performances." We will definitely stay here again, and cannot stop raving to anyone who will listen about how extraordinary our experience was. We will absolutely consider making the 2-hour drive to Bedford to make a day trip just to do some shopping and have dinner at the Crystal Room.  Even if it is something you have to scrimp and save for to experience a 2-night stay like we did, it is absolutely worth it.

Many kudos to the staff of the Bedford Springs Resort for making our first anniversary celebration almost as memorable as our wedding day!