The Bedford Village Inn

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Discover the The Bedford Village Inn with its rustic farmhouse charm, community involvement and a tradition of excellent customer service by an attentive staff.

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The Bedford Village Inn, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2016, dates back to 1810.

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The Bedford Village Inn was built around a farmhouse that dates from Bedford’s agricultural heyday. The building’s excellent condition attests to years of gentle use, but the site has quite a history. “The Gordon Farm”—as The Bedford Village Inn grounds were called in early town records—was originally part of a large parcel granted to John McLaughlin, the first Town Clerk of Bedford. A savvy and well-placed speculator, McLaughlin subdivided the parcel, selling a fifty-acre corner to his neighbor Samuel Gordon. In turn, his younger brother John Gordon cleared the land in 1774, and raised most of his 14 children there. The oldest son, Josiah, joined the Continental Army at the start of the Revolutionary War, wearing a linen shirt made by his mother from flax grown and woven on the farm. Josiah became a gentleman farmer and businessperson upon his triumphant return, inheriting the farm his father created. He proceeded to build the present farmhouse in 1810. Incidentally, another of McLaughlin’s subdivisions—The Beard Farm located next door—supported a tenant of note during the early 1800s. In 1832, a “granddaughter of John Gordon” married Dr. Peter P. Woodbury, who practiced in Bedford for many years and even helped write an early history of the town. The Gordon Farm was then passed between the Gordon and Woodbury families up to 1940, when Judge Peter Woodbury sold the place to Henry and Olga Wheeler. The Wheelers bred prized Shetland ponies on-site until the construction of Route 101 cut the pasturage off from the farmhouse during the 1950s. The State built a pony-sized underpass beneath the highway, but it proved inconvenient for the Wheelers and their herd—they subsequently moved west to Jaffrey, New Hampshire, the following year. The Wheelers left both halves of the land to Ralph and Sybil Fletcher, who eventually sold the pasturage on the opposite side of Route 101.

During all this time, the original farm had grown from 50 to almost 350 acres. But with the decline in farming and the increased activity in local real estate development, the original estate was preserved at a mere five and a half acres by 1980. The farm was then purchased a few months later with the intention of renovating the house itself as a restaurant, while the livestock barn became an inn. Over the next three years, the owners worked with the Committee to Save Fletcher Farm—a coalition of like-minded citizens and Bedford Planning Board members—to rezone the facility for use as a “Class A Inn and Restaurant.” Delicate preservation work and new construction began in the summer of 1984, with the restaurant opening first in August 1985. The main inn then debuted a year later in October 1986. Meanwhile, the pastures were also re-landscaped, seeded anew, and fenced for the small herd of French Charolais beef cattle that contributed to the area’s bucolic charm. Named as “The Bedford Village Inn,” the entire complex stood as testimony to what could be accomplished when the entire community became inspired to protect a cherished historic structure. Semi-private dining rooms in the restaurant still contained the main house’s original working fireplaces. The barn itself had been transformed into three floors of entertainment and lodging space for the Inn—the original milking room was even turned into a lounge area for guests. Jack and Andrea Carnevale are the proud owners of The Bedford Village Inn today. Throughout their tenure, they have succeeded in attracting national recognition for the quaintness of the facility and the world-class cuisine served in their award-winning restaurant. Truly few places can match the majesty of The Bedford Village Inn. The Bedford Village Inn has been a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2016.

  • About the Location +

    Originally founded in the early 18th century, the pastoral town of Bedford is a quiet refuge in southern New Hampshire’s rolling, verdant landscape. Its earliest inhabitants hailed from Massachusetts, who had received exclusive rights to settle the land for their prior military service. For a time, the settlement operated with two informal names: “Souhegan East” and “Narragansett, No.5.” But in 1750, the residents decided to rechristen it as “Bedford” in honor of John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford. Lord Russell was an incredibly close friend of New Hampshire’s colonial governor, Benning Wentworth, which inspired the name change. Nevertheless, Bedford remained a bucolic, agricultural community for years thereafter until the community became a suburb of neighboring Manchester during the Industrial Revolution. Manchester itself is just as historic, having been created around the same time as Bedford and under similar circumstances. Indeed, the first group of settlers were veterans of Queen Anne’s War. Settling the area in 1722, they created a small town called “Tyngstown” after their commander during the conflict, Captain William Tyng. Unfortunately for the locals, the town charter had to be reissued by Governor Wentworth some three decades later. The new piece of legislation renamed the locale as “Derryfield”—a title that still exists today in certain destinations located throughout modern-day Manchester.

    Like Bedford, Derryfield remained agrarian in character for decades. But at the start of the 19th century, the whole community began to change significantly with the emergence of large-scale industry. Heralding its arrival was Samuel Blodget, who envisioned transforming the town into a prosperous manufacturing center on par with Manchester, England. (The English Manchester was then one of the leading industrial cities in Europe.) Tantamount to his dream was the presence of the Merrimack River, which could provide an ample source of energy for potential factories. He also envisioned using the river as a mode of transportation to ferry goods further south. In fact, Blodget even financed the creation of a canal that bypassed a series of treacherous local waterfalls. Inspired by Blodget’s plans for Derryfield, the residents decided to rename the town “Manchester.” Other industrialists soon learned of his activities and headed north to establish their own operations. Among the first was Benjamin Prichard, who created a water-powered cotton mill known as the “Amoskeag Cotton & Woolen Manufacturing Company” in 1809. Many more plants soon opened throughout the town, which produced a variety of goods that ranged from shoes to cigars. The economic landscape subsequently attracted thousands of immigrants to Manchester—especially French Canadians—who enlarged the community to that of a full-blown city.

    True to Blodget’s vision, Manchester had become one of America’s major manufacturing hubs by the height of the Gilded Age. Indeed, the city remained an important economic center in the Northeast well into the following century, too. But the metropolis eventually underwent a period of decline in the 1950s and 1960s, as many companies decided to relocate their operations elsewhere. Thankfully, a series of urban renewal projects revitalized Manchester’s historic downtown core, breathing new life into the city for the first time in generations. Manchester has since reemerged as one of the region’s most vibrant communities, as it is home to a bustling population of some 115,000 people. Despite its size, Manchester has nonetheless preserved its tranquil New England character. Indeed, Manchester has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, especially among the nation’s many cultural heritage travelers. Those adventurous explorers have especially enjoyed visiting such attractions as the SEE Science Center, the Currier Museum of Art, and the Millyard Museum. (Interestingly, the Millyard Museum occupies a part of the former grounds of the Amoskeag complex.) They have also like visiting the city’s numerous historical landmarks, such as the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zimmerman House. Manchester and surrounding communities like Bedford are fantastic places to experience a memorable trip.


  • About the Architecture +

    The Bedford Village Inn still displays the same Federal-style architecture that has defined it for the better part of three centuries. Historically speaking, Federal architecture dominated American cities and towns during the nation’s formative years, which historians best identify as lasting from 1780 to 1840. The name itself is a tribute to that period, in which America’s first political leaders sought to establish the foundations of the current federal government. Fundamentally, the architectural form had evolved from the earlier Georgian design principles that had greatly influenced both British and American culture throughout most of the 18th century. The similarities between the two art forms have even inspired some scholars to refer to Federalist architecture as a mere refinement of the earlier Georgian aesthetic. Oddly enough, though, the architect deemed responsible for popularizing Federal style in the United States, was in fact not an American. Robert Adams was the United Kingdom’s most popular architect at the time, with his work largely involved providing his own spin on the infusion of neoclassical design principles with Georgian architecture. (This is also the reason why some refer to Federal architecture as “Adam-style architecture.”) As such, his new variation spread quickly across England, defining its civic landscape for much of the Napoleonic Era. Despite the bitter resentments that most Americans harbored toward Great Britain at the time, their cultural perceptions of the world were still largely influenced by the old mother country. Adams’ new take on Georgian architecture rapidly spread across the United States, as such.

    Unlike many other popular American architectural forms, Federal style is easily recognizable due to its unique symmetrical and geometric design elements. Most structures created with Federal architecture typically stand two to three stories in height and are rectangular (sometimes square) in their overall shape. While the buildings normally extended two rooms in width, larger structures would usually contain several more. In some cases, circular or oval-shaped rooms functioned as the center living space. The outside façade of a Federal-style building was simplistic in their appearance, although some detailed brass and iron decorations made their appearance, too. Perhaps the most common form that the ornamentations assumed were elliptical figures, as well as circular and fan-shaped motifs. Architects concentrated those features around the front entrance, where cornices, iron molding, and a beautifully sculpted fanlight resided. (Fanlights are a regular design element for Federalist buildings, appearing in other locations throughout the top of the structure, as well). The exterior walls themselves were primarily composed of clapboard out in the country but consisted of brick in urban areas. Palladian-themed windows also proliferated throughout the façade, installed in a way that conveyed a deep sense of balance. The roofing was also hipped and contained simple gables and dormers that allowed for natural light to more easily infiltrate the upper echelons of the structure.


  • Film, TV and Media Connections +

    In Your Eyes (2014)


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