Bedford is a small town less than an hour from New York City. It’s made up of three quaint hamlets — Katonah, Bedford Village, and Bedford Hills — each with its with its own history and recreational and cultural opportunities. Katonah, which has many boutiques and small restaurants, was moved to its present location in the late 1890s to make way for the Cross River Reservoir. Bedford Village, the original town settlement, with more small shops and eateries, is listed on state and national registers of historic places, as is Bedford Hills, which is centered around its historic train station. The entire town is a popular tourist destination for couples and families, with the occasional celebrity spotting. Domestic diva Martha Stewart, clothing designer Ralph Lauren, and billionaire businessman George Soros all have homes here.
Though others are close by, there is only one lodging option in Bedford, and it’s a beauty: The Bedford Post Inn (954 Old Post Road, 914-234-7800, www.
bedfordpostinn.com, from $395) is a Relais & Châteaux property created from an old Post Office building by actor Richard Gere, his wife, Carey Lowell, and partner Russell Hernandez. This cozy eight-room inn exudes rustic elegance with Carrara marble baths, gas fireplaces, original exposed beams, wood floors recycled from area buildings, and exquisite grounds. Nearby is The Kittle House Inn (11 Kittle Road, Chappaqua, 914-666-8044, www.kittlehouse.com, from $147), a dozen rooms in an 18th-century building with modern amenities such as high-speed Internet access. Business travelers may opt for the Holiday Inn (1 Holiday Inn Drive, Mount Kisco, 888-465-4329, www.holidayinn.com/hotels/us/en/mount-kisco/mtkny/hoteldetail, from $155), with a business center, free Wi-Fi, and indoor pool.
The gazebo by the railroad tracks is a great spot to eat takeout from the Wooden Nickel Deli (123 Katonah Ave., 914-232-3493, www.woodennickeldeli.com, breakfast from $2), best known for its bacon-egg-and-cheese on a roll and sandwiches such as the Manhattan Special, a grilled pastrami on rye with coleslaw and pickle. You can grab a meal 24/7 at the popular Bedford Diner (710 Bedford Road, 941-241-4808, www.bedforddiner
.com, from $2.79), an old-school eatery where waiters wear shirt and tie, service is quick, and food is served in abundant portions. Erica Wallace gave up a career in pharmaceuticals to open Erica’s Kitchen (1 Court Road, 914-205-3900, www
163268220360699, lunch from $8) serving regional farm-to-table sandwiches, soups, stews, and prepared dinners, and selling local products such as Battenkill Valley milk, Argyle yogurt, and Mama O’s kimchi. Contemporary American fare can found at the handsome brick-front Meetinghouse Food and Spirits (635 Old Post Road, 914-234-5656, www.meeting
houserestaurant.com, dinner from $16) where the signature Meetinghouse burger is a best bet. The place for upscale dining with fresh and local food is The Farmhouse (954 Old Post Road, 401-234-7800, www.bedfordpostinn.com/farmhouse, dinner from $25), where executive chef Jeremy McMillan creates can’t-miss fare such as fagotelli stuffed with Parmigiano fonduta that explodes in the mouth with cheesy goodness. In warmer weather, eat on the patio by the outdoor station where McMillan smokes meats and poultry.
Lace up the hiking boots at the James Ramsay Hunt and Mary Welsh Parker Memorial Sanctuary (North Salem Road, 914-232-1999, www.bedfordaudubon.org
/sanctuary/sanct04.html, free), a holding of the Bedford Audubon Society, with trails through a variety of habitats popular with birders and butterfly lovers. History buffs can hit the John Jay Homestead Historic Site (400 Jay St., 914-232-5651, www.nysparks.com/historic-sites
/4/details.aspx, $7), home of one of the country’s founding fathers, coauthor of the Treaty of Paris, and the first chief justice of the United States, a 62-acre site of formal gardens, woodland walks, and antique buildings. Next up at the Katonah Museum of Art (134 Jay St., 914-232-9555, www.katonahmuseum.org, $10 admission) is “Beyond the Bed: The American Quilt Revolution,” tracing North American quilting history from the 19th century to the present; six quilts displayed were included in the book “The Twentieth Century’s Best 100 American Quilts.” The museum also hosts children’s programming. Need nuts, bolts, camping gear, toys, Carhartt work clothes, and nearly anything else? Visit Kelloggs & Lawrence (26 Parkway, 914-232-3351, www.kelloggsandlawrence.com), serving the area’s hardware needs since 1887, a throwback where you’ll also see old photos of Katonah being moved in the 1890s, and where you can grab a walking-tour flier to check out nearby historic homes. Shop inexpensively at The Preppy Turtle (2 Depot Plaza, 914-666-8500, www.the
preppyturtle.com), a consignment shop selling clothes, toys, handbags, and jewelry. James (21 Babbitt Road, 914-514-8981) is a high-end store with creations by local artisans and fair-trade items such as Rwandan peace baskets and Kenyan dolls. Consider the Cook (26 Bedford Village Green, 914-234-8880, www.consider
thecook.com), owned by Dina Clason, is where to get items such as Le Creuset cookware, Wusthof knives, foodstuffs, crystal, and funky serving trays.
A popular spot to catch the game du noir on its nine plasma TVs is Oliver’s (128 Bedford Road, 914-232-0946, www
.oliversny.com/ordereze/default.aspx), a restaurant with an adults-only pub component popular for watching sports, eating, imbibing, and enjoying Wednesday trivia nights. Catch new flicks at Bedford Playhouse (33 Old Post Road, 914-234-7300, www.clearviewcinemas.com/
location.asp?house=27&date=2/8/2013, tickets $11.25), in the heart of Bedford Village. A cultural haven in the area is Caramoor (149 Girdle Ridge Road, 914-232-5035, www.caramoor.org, ticket prices vary), a Mediterranean-style villa built by Walter and Lucie Rosen and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, home of opulent gardens in summer and music throughout the year. Upcoming shows include the Amphion String Quartet March 16 and acoustic guitarist and singer Tim O’Brien April 13.
Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at