Stargazing and relaxing at the Bedford Post Inn
Celebrities are a dime a dozen in Bedford, where the Clintons, Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren own homes — but a luxury inn is a rare find. Until recently, unless you could score a guest room in a boldfaced name's manse in this whitewashed, historic town, there really wasn't anywhere to stay overnight.
That changed with the eight-room Bedford Post Inn, which also happens to be owned by a celebrity couple — Richard Gere and Carey Lowell — who took a dilapidated farmhouse and turned it into a Relais & Chateaux hideaway.
Questions abound: Do guests get to interact with Gere, of "Pretty Woman" fame? Or catch a glimpse of "Law & Order" star Lowell? Well, the couple calls Bedford home, so there's always a chance ...
Intent to try my luck, I booked an overnight getaway with my husband, Jeff.
We pulled up to The Bedford Post Inn complex, a pale yellow farmhouse that houses guest rooms, the Farmhouse Restaurant and an abutting house that includes a casual dining cafe (The Barn) and a large yoga studio.
I didn't expect to see Gere clearing brush outside, but once inside, I kept an eye out for the movie star.
A capable concierge took us up to our room, the Queen Deluxe ($495 plus tax), which had a high ceiling, serene decor and lots of rustic wood. The gray marble bathroom, nearly as large as the bedroom itself, featured a shower big enough for a couple to dance in and an antique claw-foot tub. Even the custom organic toiletries (a brand named Sponge) worked the woodsy palette.
Wine and appetizers are set out on weekends from 4 to 5 p.m. We had free rein over bottles of Oregon red and white, served with a plate of lip-smacking mushroom pate crostini in a small parlor. I skimmed a magazine that announced Richard Gere's appointment as "Ambassador" for the Relais & Chateaux Hotel group. Exactly what does a name-brand hotel Ambassador do? No sign of Gere, so I wasn't able to ask him.
I had called ahead with a challenge for the chef of the highly rated (and pricey) Farmhouse Restaurant: Jeff is a gluten-free vegan. "No problem," I was told.
I paced myself through a varied and toothsome five-course tasting menu ($75, with $10 from the tasting menu donated to a different charity each month), and Jeff was pleased with his gluten-free pasta and mushroom dish.
Several other tables were occupied, so it took me a while to realize that a party of eight at the central table included none other than the Inn's owners -- a blue jeans-clad Gere, Lowell and their business partner, Russell Hernandez, out for a Sunday evening meal with their children.
While leaving, the silver-maned and bespectacled Gere flashed us a mesmerizing smile and broad wave. "He's one good-looking guy," said Jeff. I had to agree.
IN THE MORNING
The artisanal croissants, scones and muffins offered in The Barn Cafe were drool-inducing (and included with room), but I opted for the hearty farm breakfast and cleaned my plate by the heat of a blazing fireplace.
That wasn't the best choice before taking an advanced yoga class (also complimentary with the room).
"Just do what you can," advised manager Rebecca Jacobs, handing me a mat. The instructor, Courtney, was gamely forgiving of my ineptitude. Had I known that inn-owner and former Bond Girl ("License to Kill") Lowell was doing the Downward Dog right behind me, I might have felt more intimidated -- but the group of mostly local, lithe women was welcoming. Afterward, I introduced myself to Lowell as a guest of the inn.
"How was it?" she asked, genuinely interested. My brush with fame was complete.
If your sole intention for staying at the inn is to interact with -- or just spy on -- its famous owners, you may be disappointed. But if you are looking for a romantic hideaway long on style, short on drama, with the possibility of bumping into a celeb or two, then it's worth the $650-plus (for room and dinner for two) that you'll end up spending as a guest in this special place.
IF YOU GO
RATES: $395-$650 a night, includes afternoon wine and cheese on weekends, breakfast and yoga class.