History Comes To Life In Old Bedford Village
About 10 minutes drive from the Omni Bedford Springs Resort is this fantastic living history village.
At the entrance to the village is a beautiful 126’ long Claycomb Covered Bridge. In 1975, it was moved to the Old Bedford Village and placed over the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River. I love covered bridges! There are not many left in my home state of Maryland, so whenever I see one I always stop to appreciate the rustic charm.
Photo above: courtesy of the Bedford County Visitors Bureau
As you cross under the bridge with your sweetie, be sure to stop in the middle for a kiss! In many parts of rural America (including Pennsylvania and Virginia), kissing in the middle of the bridge is supposed to bring good luck! For kiddos, these covered bridges are also known as "wishing bridges" - anyone who can hold their breath the entire length of the bridge is said to have a wish granted. It’s a fun way to set the mood for a visit to the historic village!
After you cross cover/under the covered bridge entrance, you will come to a picture perfect village of log cabins, workshops and even a cozy tavern where you can grab an afternoon snack.
The village portrays the life of late 18th and early 19th century Pennsylvania. During the summer, there are events almost every weekend with museum volunteers and employees dressed in period costumes and demonstrations of early handcrafts. Other special events throughout the year include civil war reenactments, a fall festival, and an old fashioned Christmas celebration.
This quaint reconstructed village is full of olde tyme charm and history. It was originally an archeological site that was once occupied by a Monongahela (Native American) village, but it now consists of 38 log cabins that were donated by Bedford County, Pennsylvania families and were relocated to the village. So much Pennsylvania family history to relive!
Old Bedford Village was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 4, 1984. You can find an interactive map of the Village showing each building and its assigned number and location here.
The village tour starts with a beautiful view of the pond.
As you will see, our day started out with blue summer skies, but the clouds were rolling in. By the time we had gotten half way around the village, it had started to rain. Luckily, we could pop into one of the open cabins for shelter and some history lessons!
We toured the village backwards and went left to #38 Broom Shop instead of taking the outer loop near the #5 Christ Church. This worked out fine. There is no right or wrong way - but our tour may look a little different from yours if you are following the map in order of the numbered buildings ;)
Throughout the walk, we happened upon several stray and friendly cats. Beware - the broom shop-owner REALLY did not want them in his shop! They will try to follow you in. So cute!
#35 Village Tinsmith Shop - I thought it was interesting that frame buildings coexisted with log structures in early Bedford County.
#33 Gilson House - this building is an old farm house that was located on the property when Old Bedford Village bought this land in the early 1970s.
# 29 General Store - the General Store, which also houses the Post Office, is a reconstruction. However, the counter and Post Office box come from the original Shipley store in Rainsburg. Here, you can purchase candy and other goodies. The cookies are a popular choice.
#28 Antonson's Blacksmith - the blacksmith shop represents one of the most important trades in early America. They furnished the tools necessary for many other trades.
#30 Old Bedford Village Press - this building houses printing equipment dating from the 1890s. The oldest press, called a Washington Hand Press, dates back to as early as 1827.
#26 Fisk House - this two story building was built in 1840. Of special interest is the wrap-around porch. This is the only house in the village that has this feature.
The Barn is not numbered, but is located behind the pond near buildings #25 Egolf Farm House.
I heard that these big beautiful draft horses can sometimes be found roaming the village. I wish I had some carrots or apples with me! I didn't think to see if they sold any in the #29 General Store?!
#22 Dr. Nycum's Office - this was first constructed as a two-room office for a Doctor in 1850. Dr. John Nycum was the last to use it until 1931. Doctors usually visited their patients at their homes, so the office was used primarily for mixing medicines and storing supplies.
Painted in this Key West lime green, it seemed sort of out of place in the old village.
#21 Village Chandler - is a reproduction of an old shop building, but it is built from original lumber from the period. The chandler was a craftsman who made candles and soap. I must have forgotten to photograph this one because of our activity....Here, we paid a small donation to make our own candles by dipping the wicks into the hot wax. It was considered women's work in the olden days and it took forever!! Since we were trying to beat the storm, we left our miniature dipped candles with the shop-owner so she could finish them for us.
#20 Eight-Square School - was used from 1851-1932. This was a really cool uniquely shaped one-room school. This school could seat 70 students, but highest enrollment was never more than 50. The octagonal shape of the building allowed it to be heated more easily than a rectangular building and the many windows allowed light to spread evenly throughout the room.
Here is what it looked like on the inside.
#13 Pendergrass Tavern - this tavern is a replica of the tavern that operated just outside the walls of Fort Bedford.
Stop in for a cold drink (non-alcoholic) on a warm day or grab a sandwich for lunch.
#11 Shaffer House - the Shaffer house was known as "log mansion" in 1813. Compared to other log cabins in the village, you can see why. This house is much larger than the others! Personally, though, I think these Shaffer's spelled their last name incorrectly (my maiden name is spelled "Schaefer") LOL ;)
Below is a downstairs view of the large Shaffer house living room.
#9 Kniseley School - single room school houses like the Kniseley School were symbolic of education in rural Pennsylvania. This school open from 1869 to 1932.
I wish I could remember which building the toymaker was in!! We learned so much and had so much fun playing with the carved wooden toys! We had a quick summer downpour when we entered that building so I was already distracted, but then I was totally enthralled playing with the old handmade toys and learning about the pedal bike he used to carve the wood - which must have been why I forgot to take any photos!
#5 Christ Church - built in 1980, the church was inspired by the 1806 log church near Schellsburg. You can actually rent the church for a wedding!
Sean and I felt moved when we visited this beautiful old church. We ended up making a wish in the church's wishing well.
The Old Bedford Village is open every day except Wednesday during the summer months. In the fall, it is only open Thursday - Sunday. So be sure to check the times before you visit. Admission is $10.
We loved our visit to the old Village! We were there on a Tuesday in August and not all of the buildings were open. I'd like to return and plan a visit around one of their special events or on a weekend when there are more employees and open buildings.
Now, there is an interactive app you can listen to while touring the Village! Download the app here.
Outside of the village, the actual historic town of Bedford has several cute boutiques, a few delicious cafes and restaurants, and some great hiking trails - making it a great place to visit in Pennsylvania!
Have you been to the Old Bedford Village?