© Becky Linhardt 2014
The Beaumont Inn has extended the warm welcome of Southern hospitality for decades. “My Dad was second generation and I have the pleasure to have my son, Dixon involved in the business now,” said owner C. M. “Chuck” Dedman. The history of the family-owned and operated country inn in Harrodsburg, Kentucky is extensive and documented with displays and antiques through the Main Inn building. For the Dedman family hosting guests at their inn is a tradition that goes back to 1918 although the elegant Greek-Revival style brick building of the Main Inn dates back to ante-bellum times when it was a college for women.
Grand two story tall white columns mark the entrance to the recently renovated and redecorated Main Inn that houses guest rooms, the Beaumont Inn Restaurant, Old Owl Tavern and the Owl’s Nest Lounge. Additional guest rooms are available in Goddard Hall, a charming two-story white frame building with Chippendale style galleries, and Greystone, a Colonial Revival style mansion built of Kentucky hard limestone. Beaumont also has two cottage style suites in the Bell Cottage.
In all the property has a 33-acre park setting with rolling lawns, mature trees, and benches for solitary reading or romantic conversations. There is a sunny outdoor pool for summer relaxation and year round you have the option of scheduling a massage in their spa pavilion.
Guest rooms are beautifully appointed with a mixture of new poster beds and antiques from the Dedman family and the college. The super comfortable King-size beds are set very high which is quite elegant. “We have had some requests from our guests for lower bed tops and are seeking box springs that are not as high,” said Chuck Dedman.
Socializing occurs in the double parlor near the front door or in the James Harrod Room down the hall that is occasionally reserved for private Bourbon tastings conducted by Dixon Dedman. Soon those tastings are expected to include the newly released small batch (1500 bottles) Kentucky Owl Bourbon.
“My great-great grandfather was forced to cease production during Prohibition. They never re-opened but with the revived interest in Bourbon my Dad decided to re-enter that family business,” said Dixon Dedman. Framed advertisements for the original Kentucky Owl brand can be found in The Old Owl Tavern and in other buildings on the property.
Harrodsburg is central to Bluegrass horse farms, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, historic Shaker Village and more so while guests enjoy a leisurely breakfast (included) from a breakfast buffet that is supplemented by custom orders for egg dishes and corn cakes they may be planning a day exploring the area – including the many sites to see in the center of Harrodsburg. An easy walk will take you to the charming Main Street with its revitalized commercial district.
A favorite stop is the Kentucky Fudge/Dedman Drugstore that has a beautifully restored 1900s soda fountain that serves ice cream, sandwiches and salads in the seating area that has replaced store aisles. The original wood and glass wall cabinets remain and are full of interesting items. Down the street The Old Country Store has rustic-style baskets, textiles, and crafts for your home. There are also numerous antique shops and boutiques on Main Street and throughout the area.
Harrodsburg is a small town looking forward in both the business and arts areas. Ragged Edge Community Theater has productions scheduled in the restored Harrod Theater but in the summer the thespians move outdoors to the James Harrod Amphitheater. Centre College is nearby and that may influence the more contemporary crafts and fine art by local artists that can be found at the Arts Council of Mercer County Studio and Gallery in their spacious and sunlit storefront on Main Street.
Historic Harrodsburg has pride of place as Kentucky’s oldest settlement (1774) and has developed a Walking & Driving Tour brochure that is filled with places to see throughout Mercer County – homes, churches, schools and even an old jail to drive by as well as some places to stop for a while such as Old Fort Harrod State Park where there is a full size replica of the fort built by James Harrod and the early settlers in 1775.
Patty Hall and other history interpreters are continually updating the information they know about the early settlers and the fort. “I have been researching native medicinal plants and trying to add some to the gardens, mad-dog plant for rabies bites and others to soothe fevers that plagued the early settlers,” said Hall. Many of the interpreters also practice the crafts of those earlier days – making soaps, rag dolls, and moccasins that are sold in the Gift Shop. You could spend as much as a half a day wandering in and out of the various log buildings and the talking with the interpreters about the hard life experienced by early settlers.
At the end of the day it is a pleasure to return to the Beaumont Inn and their Southern hospitality with its layers of creature comforts and to experience their special Fried Chicken, Country Ham and more prepared as only regional cooks can do it – “just right.”
Beaumont Inn: 638 Beaumont Inn Drive, Harrodsburg, KY 40330
800-352-3992 or www.beaumontinn.com