100-year-old inns: A country inn marks a century of service – Part 1
by Kathy Witt
Back in the day (the day being 1919), there were no computers for scrolling through pictures of hotel rooms, choosing the most coveted one and then booking it. Smartphones were called “rotary dial telephones” and were of no help in navigating the best route to this beautiful haven. And gas-powered motor cars weren’t that far removed from their “horseless carriage” days. As this century-old inn attests, much has changed since 1919.
FORMER SCHOOL FOR YOUNG LADIES
In a place where young ladies once matriculated, spirits aficionados are now studying the flavor profiles of Kentucky’s finest bourbons. Over 100 years ago, the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, KY was the Greenville Institute before becoming Daughters College before it was bought by one of its graduates, Annie Bell Goddard, and turned into an inn. Her 1880 diploma hangs in one of the inn’s 31 guestrooms.
Several generations later, Goddard family descendants remain at the inn’s helm, with fourth generation Chuck and Helen Dedman and their son, fifth generation Dixon Dedman (host of the Innkeeper’s Personalized Bourbon Tastings), continuing to refine what those before them established – the art of Southern hospitality.
Now Kentucky’s oldest Southern country inn, it is a James Beard Foundation America’s Classic Award recipient and an official stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. On the National Register of Historic Places, it is, as a 1927 advertisement proudly proclaimed, a true “mecca of the epicurean.”
The inn comprises several buildings: the Main Inn, built in 1845; the circa 1931 Greystone House; Goddard Hall, built in 1935 and named for the inn’s founder; and Bell Cottage, home to the inn’s spa. All sit in picture-postcard splendor amidst centuries-old trees.
Old Owl Tavern and the Owl’s Nest Pub round out dining options that begin with the Main Dining Room – home of the famous Classic Beaumont Dinner: “yellow-legged” fried chicken, two-year-old Kentucky-cured country ham, Beaumont Inn corn pudding and house-seasoned green beans, traditional dishes given pioneering food critic Duncan Hines’ own stamp of approval back in 1949 when he called Beaumont Inn “the best eating place in Kentucky.”
Photos courtesy of Beaumont Inn:
In 2019, Harrodsburg landmark Beaumont Inn adds another benchmark to its long and storied history as a beacon of hospitality: one hundred years in service.
The Beaumont Inn serves traditional favorites, including its famous “yellow-legged” fried chicken.
Beaumont Inn guestrooms are tastefully appointed, many with antiques from the original furnishings.