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Read Chuck's Blog from 2010 & 2011
March 6, 2013
Special by Dixon Dedman
It would be a gross understatement to say that we have a lot going on here at the inn. In fact, we have a ridiculous amount of “irons” in a ridiculous amount of “fires” right now. Mom and Elizabeth are busy with updating many of the rooms: new window treatments, wallpaper, paint, upholstery, carpet, fixtures, etc etc etc. Sometimes I think they’re just playing their own little version of some Home Makeover show. We’ve also updated the televisions in each guestroom – all flat panels. Dad and Lloyd are gearing up for the upcoming mowing season, prepping the garden, taking down trees, still splitting truckload after truckload of firewood, and occasionally sitting around their new wood stove they installed in the “Work Shop.” The biggest project we are undertaking over the coming weeks is to equip each guestroom in Goddard Hall with individually controlled heating and air conditioning units. When I was a kid and they closed the Inn for most of December, January, February, and most of March, this would have been easily accomplished and done without much trouble. But now, we’ll be coordinating with the HVAC guys and electricians on a daily basis, working around our corporate travelers and weekenders until we have this feat accomplished – the plan is to be done by April. It may cause a few headaches, but it will be well worth it when finished.
So, what am I doing? I want to share a couple things. One thing I decided to do this winter which I am really excited about was to give Chef Jerry and Chef Natalie a little assignment. As always, I will tweak the menus around the first of April. So, I have challenged our creative team, myself included, with the following exercise: Create a menu for both the Main Dining Room and The Tavern as if we were opening both these venues on April 1st for the first time ever. I challenged them to take a completely fresh look at what they would want to serve and how they would want to serve it with no regard to their past experience creating and executing menus for our restaurants. What happens to me after working with my father over the past ten years or so and trying to weave two menus together to co-exist as they are produced and executed out of the same kitchen is that you start to think too much about how it would work, or why it wouldn’t work, instead of great idea, great concept, let’s make it work. Now, don’t get me wrong, because as my grandfather would say: Don’t shoot the horse that brung ya! By that I mean, never fear, we aren’t all of a sudden going to be serving sushi or Pacific Rim-inspired cuisine. But, we are thinking outside the box, which I hope will inspire us to push the limits of said box a bit further.
What else have I been doing? The answer might surprise you – unless you know me. I’ve been drinking Bourbon! I cannot begin to describe how “Bourbon Tourism” is exploding in the Bluegrass these days. The numbers are staggering, but suffice it to say that people are coming in droves to participate in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Experience. About eighteen months ago or so, I started offering individual Bourbon Tastings. Read more on the website, and guests contact me via email or voice mail and we set up a time to meet and do these tastings.
The idea came from the fact that I was spending so much time talking Bourbon with our guests after or before they had been venturing out on the Bourbon Trail®. The Distillery Tours do a great job discussing their products, what it takes to create these products, the many hoops they have to jump through to simply make a Bourbon, but what I found was that there is a great demand for the opportunity to sit down and not only talk Bourbon, but talk different Bourbons. What I mean is, when you go to the different distilleries, obviously they’re talking their Bourbons. My goal was to give our guests the opportunity to sit down with several bourbons from different distilleries, with different flavor profiles achieved through tweaking different parts of the distilling and aging process, and taste them side by side. I also wanted to create another tasting that would offer guests an opportunity to sample some of the Ultra Premium Bourbons that we are able to acquire through allocation via our distributors, but that at the price tags they are offered, they might only be able to try one. For instance, ordering 23 Year-Old Pappy Van Winkle comes at quite a cost, but if you do the Ultra Premium Tasting, I offer a small tasting of six rare and ultimately rather expensive Bourbons that you’re just not going to be able to go buy off the shelves of your – or our for that matter – local package store.
Make no mistake; I claim to be no Bourbon Guru or Master of anything. But, over the last ten years or so I’ve been very fortunate to develop good relationships with many of the Master Distillers and other very knowledgeable people in the Bourbon world. I like to share a lot of the stories and information that I’ve gleaned from them that you don’t get in the different distillery tours. I’ve really come to enjoy walking people through the different nuances of Bourbon, the history and the passion that many people have for Bourbon. Maybe I’m channeling this love of sharing with guests about this native spirit back to my great-great grandfather, C.M. Dedman, owner and operator of Kentucky Owl Sour Mash Bourbon Whiskey. I do know these tastings become more and more popular all time, and that there’s little else I’d prefer to do than sit down with some friends, talk Bourbon and sample many of Kentucky’s finest!
January 31, 2013
Thanks to all who made 2012 a most memorable year for all the right reasons. Business was up generating strong revenues and solid financial strength which supported employee stability and positive investment in our local economy and community. Our Corporate partners, Corning Inc., Hitachi Automotive, Wausau Paper and others were with us week in and week out, and for this we were so grateful. Our non-business guests also came out to play be it bourbon tastings, horses, festivals, antiques, sporting events, reunions, romantic getaways or whatever and we welcome you back in 2013 to make new memories. Of special note, a huge thank you to Centre College of Danville, Kentucky and the Vice-Presidential Debate Commission for twelve glorious days in October as we were once again engaged to host the Commission members (including moderator Martha Raddatz) for this historic event. It truly was an awe-inspiring experience into our country’s political process.
With the dawning of the New Year, we set our attention to the usual paint, plaster and repair which characterizes our winter season. In addition, we went to work designing a new look in bed linens, completed the addition of all flat screen TVs, new wallpaper in several guestrooms and bathrooms, several new window treatments and upholstered chairs, updated bathroom amenities, acquisition of four new pieces of kitchen equipment and most exciting, the signing of the contract to individualize the HVAC system in Goddard Hall. Target date for completion of all is set for April 1.
No update would be complete without a note about the current queen of Beaumont Inn. I quote a fraternity brother of mine, Dr. Ralph Cooper of Bowling Green, Kentucky who wrote of his initial sighting of the queen during breakfast following an evening’s Holiday Gathering of fraternity brothers here at the Inn. Dr. Cooper relates, “We were present in The Beaumont's dining room Monday morning when we witnessed the grand entry of The Queen of Everything, aka Simms Dedman, Chuck and Helen's grandchild. It was a wondrous sight to behold. Held aloft by her father Dixon, the beautiful toddler regally surveyed her many subjects. As royalty should, she beneficently acknowledged and welcomed the unending oohs and aahs of the adoring crowd, all of them beckoning Dixon to bring Simms to their table. With a grandmother's extrasensory perception, Helen suddenly appeared to whisk Simms into her arms. Simms and Helen dutifully made their rounds from table to table, and then Simms retired to her throne where she further entertained supplicants before the wait staff entreated her jovially in taking her breakfast order. While awaiting her vittles, she was passed around to immediate family and friends, being treated to laughter-eliciting tosses into the air and stomach blubbering--all to her delight. Eventually the chef came out and personally presented Simms with her made-to-order corncakes. When we exited, she was still in her throne (that being her Dad's lap) with Dixon cutting her food and feeding it to her dramatically...the world at her feet!!” (I guess you can tell she rules the roost around here!)
The mention of breakfast above reminds me of a question often asked of what to do with the scraps from the “Holiday” country ham. Here is a suggestion for a quick and hearty breakfast to use up these leftovers which I often make at home. You will first need to pick through the ham scraps to discard those fatty or gristle pieces. Finely chop the lean ham pieces and refrigerate for later use.
Country Ham and Cheese Omelet Recipe
- Grease one 12 ounce egg dish lightly with butter
- Two farm fresh eggs beaten in dish
- Add ¼ cup chopped country ham, ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese, ¼ cup milk or cream – stir well in dish
- Cover with paper towel and microwave approximately two minutes or until done.
- (When I begin to feel guilty about the calories, I substitute light butter, low calorie cheese and 2% milk. This does not happen very often so I always add a side of fresh fruit and fresh juice to make me feel better!)
November 13, 2012
Special by Helen
We found another great antique shopping experience. A few weeks ago Chuck and I ventured out to the Athens (pronounced with a long A) Schoolhouse Antique Show which is on the north side of Lexington. “The Rose family started the Lexington’s Antique and Collectible Show and Sale in the spring of 1985, which took place in an old tobacco warehouse on Angliana Ave. The tobacco warehouse, built in the 1930’s, was used to house/sell tobacco November through February. The antique show operated after the tobacco market closed for the season. Held the second weekend April through October, the small show grew to over 200 dealers from all over the country. When the tobacco industry changed the warehouse was torn down, but a new home was found at the historic Athens Boonesboro Schoolhouse.” The dealers put on this monthly show with Colonial to Depression era antiques, fine art, pottery, quilts, textiles rugs, and the list goes on and on. No, I didn’t buy anything but I keep thinking about what I wished I had bought—maybe next month! It is a beautiful setting also with lunch options which we need to try next time. Check out the dates on the website www.antiqueskentucky.com and plan your next visit to go exploring.
PS We have a new antique shop in town—Bluegrass Artworks, Lexington Avenue, right across from the Mercer County Public Library. Dr. Jim Tanner is very knowledgeable collector with beautiful antiques.
October 19, 2012
Special By Helen
We had a great summer, I think?! It seemed to go so fast and I love summer. I love summer foods: fresh homegrown tomatoes, okra, green beans, corn, kale, squash, and anything cooked on the grill! I love summer clothes: flip flops and shorts. I love drinking morning coffee, eating supper and reading on the screened-in porch. I love swimming, running (well, sort of running) and playing tennis in the summer.
Enough already, right? But what we did do a lot of this summer was work in the garden at home and the Inn. Well, both looked great at the first of the Spring, green, growing, weed-free, then the hot, dry summer hit. Tomatoes, 67 plants, at the Inn didn’t like the dirt where they were planted. The squash and cucumbers didn’t like the drought. The crows got the corn (we were told if you stake out a dead crow in the cornfield they will never bother you again. Crows may not but Humane Society might!) But we did well with the green beans---I canned 36 quarts. And oh my gosh, we had so much okra we just quit picking it. I pickled 48 pints, froze so much gumbo our freezer won’t hold anything more and Chef Jerry came up with many different okra dishes. My friends started running from me when they saw me with a grocery sack filled with okra. We even thought about serving it at breakfast but……
We had never planted sunflowers before and they loved the hot summer! They attracted beautiful birds and amazing how many seeds come from that blossom.
Speaking of canning and pickling, did you know Chuck’s great grandmother was the first county extension agent here in Mercer County. She went out to all the farms to show the women how to safely can vegetables and meats. Maybe she inspired me!
We are so pleased with the “buy local, serve local initiative” that we started listing what we have been using/selling for several years. Here’s the list:
- Corn meal mix, Weisenberger Mills, Midway
- Brown Sugar Syrup, Sheila Poynter, Beaumont kitchen
- Country Ham, Meacham Hams, Sturgis
- Local produce in the summer
- Marksbury Farms Meats, Stanford
- Farm fresh eggs, Harrodsburg
- Sweetgrass Granola, Stanford
- Green Tomato Relish, made by Chuck Dedman
- Mom Blakeman’s Cream Candy, Lancaster
- Rebecca Ruth Bourbon Balls, Frankfort
- Ruth Hunt Blue Mondays, Mt. Sterling
- Kenny’s Cheese, Sturgis
- Howard’s Creek Beer Cheese, Lexington
- Great variety of Kentucky Bourbon and Beer
Beaumont Inn Gift Shop represents many local artists.
We had a great summer of food, family visits, gardening, and enjoying watching our granddaughter, Simms, grow and learn. She is on the verge of walking and talking and so much fun!
Now I am loving cool evenings, warm days, Keeneland, fire in the fireplace and hot soups and baked chicken, canned green beans, sweaters and sweatshirts. Maybe its Fall I love!
Elizabeth, Simms and Dixon
Simms and Helen ready to hike!
Next year's country hams are just in and tucked away in the aging house by master ham man, Lawrence Watts.
September 8, 2012
What a great summer we’ve had here at Beaumont Inn. So much so, I know I have neglected this blog and feel a bit embarrassed it has been so long since an update has been published. But busy is good, so let’s not complain too much and bring you up to date on some of the “goings on” we have enjoyed.
The month of February found Helen and I on St. George Island, Florida with our first ever long absence from the Inn. This, of course, was made possible by Dixon taking the lead of the day to day operations where he excels in a very professional and hospitable manner. He was definitely born to be an Innkeeper. We spent our off time reading, walking the beach, cycling and setting a new record of consuming 57 dozen oysters in just 28 days! I have to admit, we were ready to get back to our beloved Kentucky Country Ham and Yellow-Legged Fried Chicken. We did have a visit by both the Dixon Dedmans (Dixon, Elizabeth and Simms) and the Adam Bowlings (Becky and son-in-law, Adam) while on the Island which made it a little bit more “absent friendly” from our Kentucky home.
We returned home to help the Big Blue Nation root our basketball Wildcats to the National title in New Orleans and to plot our strategy for the summer garden at the Inn. More on that later.
April had our attention as we (Dixon, Elizabeth, Helen and myself) adopted a few changes in menu, such as a switch to a plated Sunday Brunch away from the large weekly buffet. This has proven a great decision and I hope you will have the opportunity to give it a try if you haven’t already. Be sure to try the Eggs Beaumont, my favorite! (This menu as well as all our menus are found on line.) We also completed several Inn updates during this time such as flat screen TVs, duvets and new bath soap and shampoo dispensers in several rooms.
Next our attention turned to prepping the Inn’s vegetable gardens, readying the swimming pool for the season and finalizing our staff for the summer push. As usual, what a wonderful variety of summer festivals one can experience in our immediate area. Just to mention the unexpected, what a surprise to have Doc Severinsen perform on our front lawn during the Great American Brass Band Festival! How cool was that?
Our local community theatre group in conjunction with Old Fort Harrod State Park revived our outdoor theater under the stars for three July weekends by producing the frontier themed play, The Battle for Kentucky, in the James Harrod Amphitheater. We hope this will be a catalyst for future performances for our summer visitors and community members alike.
A hot and drought-conditioned summer proved very tough on the gardens, but they still responded with a bounty of fresh vegetables; green beans, squash, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, corn, okra, herbs, etc... It was a great season of eating fresh from the garden! We continue to purchase fresh garden vegetables from our local farmers and fresh farm eggs from JoAnn McCoy, our egg lady extraordinaire. And of course, we have just recently staged our Country Ham aging house with next year’s hams, a great batch ready to slumber awhile as they mature in flavor and texture. Sweet dreams!
Harrodsburg’s Main Street now offers the new Arts Council of Mercer County Gallery and Studio. A great new stop for you on your next visit. Also, be sure to view our new James Harrod mural on the rear of the County Court House off US 127 at the US 68 intersection. The first of many “artsy” additions to come downtown. If cycling or paddling is your thing, then we have something else new for you. Our Community Advancement Partnership organization has sponsored the formation of a local cycling club, Pioneer Cycling Club, and a local paddling club, Pioneer Paddlers. In the future, they will offer weekly scheduled activities in hopes of attracting other such outdoor enthusiasts to join them for these events. Stay tuned for more information on their upcoming schedules.
And last but not least, please refer to our website for Dixon’s personalized Bourbon Tastings. What a great way to finish off a day of exploring Kentucky’s Bourbon Distilleries. This new Inn experience has been so well received that oftentimes, he has had a waiting list of tasters wishing they had reserved their seats well in advance. Please note advance reservations are required as these are personalized tastings for each individual request dependent upon Dixon’s schedule. So neat, no pun intended!
We are officially only a few days away from autumn. Fall Harvest Festivals, Keeneland Thoroughbred Racing, Autumn Colors, and College Football fill the calendar. Pack away the bathing suits, white shoes and sun bonnets; park the kids with your mother-in-law and slip away for a Beaumont rendezvous! We’d love to have you visit!
May 29, 2012
Helen: Stanford, KY Day Trip
I have another great day trip for you! Just south of Harrodsburg is Stanford, Kentucky (approximately 20 miles) a true Kentucky treasure. It is the second oldest settlement west of the Alleghenies (you know Harrodsburg is the first!) formed much like Harrodsburg around the pioneer fort—in this case, Logan’s Fort. As you turn off US150 into Stanford you will be pleased to see many stately homes and attractive architecture. You really kind of lazily wind your way onto Main Street which has gone through some terrific restoration in the last few years. Newly opened Bluebird Café is the place to have breakfast or lunch. It is a Kentucky Proud restaurant serving fresh Kentucky products in a restored 19th century store complete with the tin ceiling. Before or after eating you will need to stroll down the street. Visit Jackie Ray’s treasure shop, one of those antique shops that has a very eclectic selection—even a bovine head with big horns. Stop in Kentucky Soap and Such for goat milk soaps, lotion, hand soap, etc. Wonderful!
I love their courthouse, big brick columns, very grand building. As you stroll down Main, look for Mill Street. You will see a row of newly restored cottage homes that make up the Wilderness Road Guest Houses. Cottages complete with all the amenities of a hotel but you get the whole house! www.wildernessroadguest.com
Now before you leave to go visit the William Whitley House, my favorite house museum, just a few miles down the road, stop in Coleman’s Drugstore and have an orange aid. Quenches your thirst after the stroll. It is a lovely 19th century drugstore where I feel sure if you sat for awhile you could learn the who, what and where of Stanford.
I think you will enjoy your day!
January 30, 2012
Helen: Perryville & Preservation
Have you been to Perryville, Kentucky lately? Well, if you haven’t put that on your to do list the next time you visit! It is a budding success story built on relationships. Perryville, just 9 miles west of Harrodsburg, in Boyle County, is the site of a Civil War Battle fought October 8, 1862, known to be the bloodiest battle of the War. (Aren’t they all the “bloodiest?”) A very popular re-enactment is held every year. This year, October 5-7, 2012, the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of the battle will be celebrated with many interesting events.
Now back to the success story. Not only does Perryville have the Battlefield State Park, but it is also home to Merchant’s Row, pre-Civil War avenue of homes and store fronts. Over the years many attempts were made to restore and preserve these treasures but not until the last few years have the “stars become aligned.” Through the partnerships of the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association, City of Perryville, Boyle County Government, Kentucky Heritage Council, National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Main Street Program of Perryville the Row is becoming a vibrant commercial district. New life was given to these already existing partnerships when local citizens and former citizens of Perryville became involved in the Main Street program. Through the leadership of Vicki Goode, Lisa Bottoms, and Robby Mayes storefronts were repaired, painted and rented. This little street boasts an antique shop, wedding shop, gift shop and hopefully, soon, a bakery. These folks wanted their unique town to be “all it can and could be.” It is well on its way because of hard work, organization and working together. Hmm, what an example for the Federal Government?! For more, go to www.betterindanville.com.
Just last week I was in Frankfort for the Kentucky Main Street awards. The opening ceremony was the drum core of Kentucky State University. It was fantastic! Young men and women performing in perfect precision. Now you are thinking why would that be something a preservation organization would be interested in? How is that performance preservation? Well, it is a preservation of a culture we are losing. In the town where I grew up we had an all African American high school and two African American colleges. I honestly don’t know if they had sports programs but I do know they had the most entertaining marching bands. Streets were packed whenever there was a parade because these bands entertained every step of the way, dancing, drum rolls, and somehow playing music the whole time. There are very few African American schools or colleges left since integration, which is the right thing but somehow, that talent, culture and entertainment needs to be saved. Sure did bring back great memories for me!
January 19, 2012
Okay, we’ve closed the books on 2011 and are up and running for 2012. Thanks to all who visited with us this past year as we know you had a choice for travel destinations and appreciate you choosing to spend some time with us. We hope you found your visit to be a memorable one and we look forward to your return.
Our 2012 rates, package and events information are now posted on our website, and we hope you will take a look and find something that strikes your fancy for the coming year. There are a few new events this year and the ever popular Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Kentucky Wine Trail are fast becoming the #1 travel attraction for our area. We will be posting a few new “Bargain Specials” in the future so don’t forget to check in from time to time to our website or follow us on Facebook to take advantage of these great opportunities.
Our winter work is underway with kitchen maintenance, deep cleaning and paint/patch work taking place around the Inn. Helen has been busy scheduling re-carpeting, new upholstering and drapery replacements where needed. Dixon has been on the search and acquisition of new flat screen TV’s for many of our guestrooms as we continue to prioritize our upgrades and move forward as funds allow.
New for 2012 is the change from our Sunday Brunch Buffet to an order off the menu Brunch which has proven very popular for the first couple of Sundays. We decided to give it a trial run for a few months and then determine which course to chart. So, if you are able to partake, give us your feedback and let us know how you like it! You can check out the menu on our website.
You will also notice a new enthusiasm throughout our quaint historical community as many downtown projects are initiated and/or completed over the next few months. As “investors” with many, many other town leaders and promoters, we are so excited about this new movement to enrich, restore and rehab our downtown community. Through CAP, our Community Advancement Partnership, some 40 to 50 organizations and individuals have joined together to raise awareness and energy for structural investment in our downtown community. From our new Public Library and Judicial Center to a multi million dollar model block project centered around our local YMCA to the half a billion dollar expansion investment by our three largest local industries (Corning, Hitachi, Wassau Paper), these projects have created new jobs and sustained hundreds of others. In addition, in the planning are numerous streetscape improvements and beautifying art projects such as large downtown murals depicting our rich history. These are exciting times!
Don’t forget about our special Winter Rates, so make plans to come visit with us soon!
Read Chuck's Blog from 2010 & 2011