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Louisville Couier-Journal: Beaumont Inn is a Southern Beauty
Harrodsburg Herald: Dedman Named "Hotelier of the Year"
Kentucy Magazine: Readers' Choice For Favorite Restaurant in Kentucky
Louisville Courier-Journal: Down-Home Brunch: A Sunday Treat
Keeneland News: Yellow-Legged Chicken Named Best in Kentucky
Louisville Courier-Journal: Griddle Corn Cakes for Breakfast
Louisville Courier-Journal: Tavern Soars With Flavor
Southern Living Magazine: Stay Awhile at Beaumont
Travel + Leisure: Country Kitchens
Food Network's "The Best Of" Films
USA Today: The 50 Great Plates of America
Gourmet Magazine: Country Dinners for Thanksgiving
Beaumont Inn is a Southern Beauty,
Few of Kentucky's charming antebellum hostelries, complete with real Southern cooking, have survived into the 21st century. Happily, Harrodsburg's charming Beaumont Inn, which housed a girls' school in the 19th century, has.
The Dedmans of Harrodsburg have been involved in such time-honored Kentucky activities as distilling whiskey and curing hams for several generations. Chuck and Helen Dedman and their son, Dixon, are the current, fourth- and fifth-generation proprietors of the Beaumont Inn, which their family has run as a hotel and restaurant since 1919.
It's my favorite place to take friends born above the Mason-Dixon Line, who may not be convinced that Kentucky is part of the South.
If the combination of stately white columns, antiques-appointed rooms, a real, honest-to-goodness parlor (with a Steinway dating from the school's day) and pictures of Confederate generals on walls in the entranceway don't sway Yankee opinion, a meal in the dining room certainly does.
Country ham, fried chicken and a house specialty, Robert E. Lee orange cake, are timeless. And yes, breakfast served to overnight guests features biscuits and gravy, grits and wonderful, cooked-to-order, corn griddle cakes.
Thanks to a local wet vote a couple of years ago, you don't have to smuggle your bourbon nightcap into the inn anymore, either. In fact, the Dedmans added a casual Old Owl Tavern to the complex in 2004.
This is a fine time of year to relax on its patio overlooking the tree-shaded property with one of Dixon Dedman's expertly mixed Old-Fashioneds. The garden shrubs are leafing out, and paths winding through the property are perfect for an after-dinner stroll. The nights are cool enough to make sleeping on one of the antique four-posters especially restful.
There are actually three other historic buildings containing guestrooms on the Beaumont property. But I favor the main house, with its duel staircases leading to the upper-floor bedrooms. If my room is in the right location, I can smell that real Southern breakfast cooking when I wake up.
Dedman Honored by "Hotel" Peers, Harrodsburg Herald, November 3, 2005
Chuck Dedman, Innkeeper at Beaumont Inn, received the Garner B. Hanson Outstanding Hotelier of the Year Award at the Traverse Awards Gala held during the Kentucky Toursim Industry's annual conference in Lexington on October 25.
The award is named after the late Garner B. Hanson, a leader in his community, industry and church. "Hanson set a lot of good standards and the award is given to top hoteliers in the state. Chuck Dedman has an outstanding history, and his and his family's involvement in the community certainly epitomize the standards the award represents," said Ray Gillespie, executive director of the Hotel and Lodging Association.
Dedman said he was surprised and honored to receive the award from his peers.
Beaumont is the oldest family operated inn in Kentucky. Dedman is the fourth generation of his family to be innkeeper at Beaumont and operates the inn with his wife, Helen Williams Dedman. Their son, Dixon, is the fifth generation to work at the inn and operates the Old Owl Tavern at the site. The Dedmans' daughter, Rebecca, is employed as guest services coordinator at Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles.
In addition to operating the inn, Dedman has served on the Mercer Chamber of Commerce as chairman, board member or member for over 20 years; has served as the chairman for the board for the Fort Harrod Drama Association and has been involved with the Harrodsburg/ Mercer County Tourist Commission since its inception and currently serves as chairman of the board.
Readers’ Choices—The Best Of Kentucky, Kentucky Living Magazine, August 2005
The votes are in for the best of our great state. In March, we asked readers to send in their votes for 18 Kentucky “Best Ofs,” from fishing spot, to antiquing, to barbecue. There were a lot of great choices, and the results feature some old favorites and a few surprises. Here are your selections for The Best of Kentucky, along with some close second choices that deserved recognition
Beaumont Inn, Harrodsburg
Readers chose the beautiful and historic Beaumont Inn as a close second for favorite non-franchise restaurant. Phone (800) 352-3992, www.beaumontinn.com.
Down-Home Brunch: Harrodsburg Inn is a Sunday Treat, Louisville Courier-Journal, July 15, 2005
My ongoing quest for great Southern food in great Southern places leads me to one of my favorite meals: Sunday brunch.
I don't know about you, but my body knows when it's Sunday. I don't know how , but it knows that 2 p.m. on a Sunday is a time to stop what you're doing, lie down and nap. It doesn't tell me this any other day.
It also knows that Sunday food needs to be special . Pop- Tarts are fine on Monday, a granola bar will do the trick on Thursday, but Sunday morning needs multiple courses, loads of fresh fruit, breads, mountains of eggs and starches, and at least one or two things with the word "cured" or "smoked" in them.
There are countless great places to get Sunday brunch - out-of-town visitors routinely point out to me what a great restaurant region this is. But for class, comfort and outstanding food, allow me to recommend the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, Ky., a 150-year-old building that once was Daughters' College.
Today it is a great place to spend a weekend, impeccably decorated and filled with antiques and interesting things .
Sunday mornings at the Beaumont see the staff serving up a buffet with all of the requisites listed above, and then some.
One wonderful thing about the dining room is subtle, but it has a pronounced impact on your mood: Contrary to the modern trend to pack in as many patrons as possible, there is ample space between tables here.
You can comfortably walk about the room without worrying about slamming your plate into some nice gentleman's head. You can push away from the table at meal's end, lean back and relax, and not intrude into the personal space of the diners behind you . (The only downside to this, if indeed it is a downside, is that reservations are strongly recommended.)
But most important, the food: I've talked about fried chicken and its spiritual and psychological importance before, and the Beaumont's chicken lives up to the ludicrously high standard I've set. It is buffet chicken, mind, so you're always better off with the dark meat.
Other beauties on the buffet include roast beef, the usual assortment of breakfast goods, excellent corn pudding and incredible country ham. And I say this without a bit of exaggeration: If the squash casserole were the only item on the buffet, it would be worth the trip.
Hopefully the weather is nice on the Sunday you decide to visit, because the grounds around the inn make for a great place to meander and burn off some of the recently ingested calories. It's a gently rolling area with a generous number of chairs, benches and wooden swings. You might find yourself impossibly comfortable, gazing at a blue sky and wondering why Monday insists on coming so quickly.
A Kentucky Classic, Keeneland News, Summer 2005
By by Robert Bolson
Why did the chicken cross the road? In the commonwealth, a practical answer could be this: to avoid the cooks grasp. After all, this is the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the late Col. Harland Sanders, known worldwide for developing his famous finger lickin good chicken, is certainly the states most famous and prolific chicken cook.
Long before Sanders perfected his well-guarded recipe in Corbin in the 1940s, mothers, grandmothers, and other Kentucky cooks from Paducah to Pikeville had been serving mouth-watering southern fried chicken to their families, friends, and other delighted guests. But rarely will you ever find two fried chicken recipes exactly alike. Chicken recipes can be as unique as Kentucky's many fine bourbons and as secret as the exact amount of gold stored in Fort Knox.
According to The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, southern fried chicken (chicken parts, traditionally bone-in, floured or battered, then fried in hot fat) is perhaps the best-known and best-loved southern dish of all.
Richard Lobb, director of communications for the National Chicken Council in Washington, D.C., notes, Kentucky is practically the homeland of fried chicken.
Several weeks ago I set out on a cholesterol-craving, unscientific, yet exciting, quest to find out just how good is Kentuckys fried chicken. My plan: sample all of the fried chicken I could locate in the vicinity. Conventional chain restaurants offering assembly-line fried chicken were strictly off-limits, as was any other fried-chicken dish not containing the traditional chicken bones.
I wanted classic fried chicken, the kind my grandmother and mother used to prepare in a black, well-seasoned iron skillet ... crispy, crunchy, plump, and juicy, and fried to golden perfection.
Armed with only my pen, my notepad, and my opinionated palate, I visited 10 Central Kentucky establishments noted for their fried chicken.
For a fried chicken lover, it was a labor of love.
Beaumont Inn is Kentuckys oldest family-operated inn. Constructed in 1845, the building that is now the Beaumont Inn was a school for young women. The school, known as the Greenville Institute, was owned and operated by Dr. Samuel Mullins until it closed in 1855. Today's Beaumont Inn has welcomed guests since 1919.
Beaumont Inn offers its famous yellow-legged fried chicken served with green beans, whipped potatoes, and corn pudding for $14. The chickens legs supposedly begin to turn yellow when the chickens are fed only corn, but the National Chicken Council could not confirm this particular piece of chicken lore. Beaumont Inn serves only fresh chickens from the region. The chicken, fried in pure lard, is served piping hot, moist, and meaty and with a divinely light and flavorful crust. If you're still extraordinarily hungry, the staff will bring you even more of this fabulous fried chicken. Just ask. For an elegant, yet relaxed dinner in a soothing Southern setting, it is hard to beat Beaumont Inn.
And the winner is...
So after two weeks of chasing the best chicken in the Bluegrass, it was finally time to make my decision. Whose was the best? The answer was actually rather easy. One particular restaurant stood out from the crowd: the Beaumont Inn. Bite for bite, Beaumont Inn's fried chicken cannot be beat. The crust is light, crisp, and full-flavored and the meat, deliciously moist and oh-so succulent. Each mouthful is something to savor. If I didn't know better, I would have sworn my grandmother was back in the kitchen.
For my taste, I can't wait to return to Beaumont Inn and feast upon its yellow-legged fried chicken.
Gossip, Goodies, and Restaurant News, Louisville Courier-Journal, June 24, 2005
By Susan Reigler
One of the perks of an overnight stay at Harrodsburg's venerable Beaumont Inn is the big Southern breakfast in the cozy, floral wallpapered dining room. It's included in the room rate, and the apron-wearing, coffee-toting women who circulate among the antique tables encourage guests to make frequent visits to the hot buffet. Cheese grits, smoky bacon, fluffy biscuits (ready to be split open to receive a ladle of creamy sausage gravy), juice, eggs and fruit all grace the buffet.
But the specialty of the house, as any guest learns as his or her coffee mug is topped off, is a plate of griddle corncakes. Lace-edged and just a little grainy, they are wonderful served with a topping of melting butter. There's maple syrup on the side if you need more sugar in the morning.
The griddle cakes are all the more special because, unless you are a guest of the inn, they are unobtainable. Breakfast, unlike lunch and dinner here, is not open to the public.
Anyone who can't get away very far or for very long this summer might consider a "hot corn griddle cakes getaway" to the Beaumont Inn, 638 Beaumont Drive in Harrodsburg, Ky. For information about room rates and availability, call (800) 352-3992 or visit www.beaumontinn.com .
Newly Added Old Owl Tavern Soars with Flavor, Louisville Courier-Journal, December 25, 2004
By Susan Reigler, Courier-Journal Critic
The Dedman family, the proprietors of the historic Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, Ky., have a wonderful Christmas present for their patrons: They've added an inviting casual eatery to the site.
The Old Owl Tavern opened this fall with a full bar - a feature possible after this year's wet/dry vote in the city ended Prohibition in Harrodsburg 71 years after Congress repealed it.
The restaurant has exposed brick walls and wood beams. Mounted black-and-white photos of distilleries, including one once owned by a Dedman forebear where now-extinct Kentucky Owl Sour Mash Whiskey was made, line the walls. Windows look out over the manicured grounds. There's even a covered porch above a shaded glen that will be wonderful when the weather warms up again.
This time of year there's a wood fire crackling in the fireplace at one end of the tavern, and a friend and I took a table near it during a recent weekend lunch visit. We relaxed with well-crafted Old Fashioneds, made with the house bourbon, Buffalo Trace, and contemplated our lunch choices. (The only distraction was loud pop music on the sound system that didn't seem to match the rest of the tavern's atmosphere.)
The Old Owl shares the kitchen with the dining room of the Beaumont. This made our lunches a tad long in coming, even though we were almost the only lunch customers, since the main dining room was busy. But the sandwich-anchored tavern menu is much more casual. Among the choices are a bacon cheddar burger, Philly cheese steak, pulled pork barbecue and a Hot Brown, plus a couple of entree salads. Some appetizers and a couple of pasta entrees are added at dinnertime.
We tried the New Hot Beaumont ($8) and the Southern fried catfish ($9), each of which came with a choice of two sides.
The New Hot Beaumont is a variation on the Hot Brown and a very good one. It's made with roast pork loin and sliced tomatoes stacked on toast points and smothered in a savory Dijon cream sauce. It arrived bubbling in its dish. Country-style green beans and a very good fresh potato salad were the sides.
The grease-free catfish was battered in cornmeal and delicately flavored. A crisp salad of mixed greens and addictive, thinly sliced onion rings complemented the fish.
We didn't think dessert quite achieved the standard set by the rest of the meal. The apple dumpling was wonderfully warm and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but it struck both of us as being cloyingly sweet.
Stay Awhile at Beaumont Inn, Southern Living, May 2004
Beaumont Inn has been a tradition for more than 80 years, and very little has changed. Oh the amenities certainly have kept up with the times. The wonderful antiques-appointed rooms offer all the modern electronic conveniences that today's travelers expect. But the courteous service, the sumptuous food, and pastoral surroundings hark back to a slower time, promising weary visitors a restful spot to escape a busy world.
Owners Chuck and Helen Dedman are the fourth generation of their family to host guests here. "People come back year after year," says staffer Linda Nichols. "Return guests enjoy finding the same foods and hospitality that have made the inn so popular."
Just ask anybody about the Kentucky ham or fried chicken, and smiles quickly follow. "People love the Sunday brunch too," says Linda. "They find it hard to pass up our biscuits and gravy, corn pudding, or the Robert E. Lee Cake (a white cake with a light citrus filling)."
They also find it hard to pass up the inn's great location. Situated just 2 miles from Old Fort Harrod State Park in Harrodsburg, Beaumont provides a great base from which to explore the fort, the first permanent English settlement west of the Alleghenies. From June to August, one of the best outdoor dramas in the state takes the stage in the fort's amphitheatre, where Daniel Boone-The Man & The Legend gives audience members a look at Kentucky's earlier days.
Also nearby-only 7 miles or so-awaits Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. The wonderful restored community places guests into 2,800 serene acres of stunning countryside, complete with 34 of the original buildings.
So make a beeline for Beaumont Inn. Wander the tree-covered grounds. Browse the extensive gift shop. Take a refreshing dip in the pool.
Country Kitchens, Travel + Leisure, June 2003
In Harrodsburg, we stopped at the Beaumont Inn, an 1845 Greek Revival mansion run today by descendants of the inn's original owners. The next few hours melted one into another as Mary and I explored immaculate hallways filled with antiques and family curios, rocked in the shade of magnolia trees, and sipped cocktails in our bedroom. At dinner (I wore by blazer), white-aproned waitresses scooped corn pudding and sliced orange-lemon cake made from recipes unchanged for four generations - it was easy to image Annie Bell Goddard, the long-dead Beaumont Inn founder, still in the kitchen, giving each bowl of frosting the index-finter test.
After dinner, we played bingo in the front parlor, and before saying good night we drank a Beaumont Cocktail, the inn's bedtime tradition. This was promised land.
Beaumont Inn to Be Featured on "Best of", The Harrodsburg Herald, November 8, 2001
Lights, camera, action... and out from the dining room comes a plate of piping hot fried chicken, country ham, corn pudding and other southern favorites.
The often praised food at Beaumont Inn got another accolade last week when a crew from "The Best Of," a Food Network half hour magazine program, taped a segment on "Southern Comforts" at the Inn.
"We were looking for a place for our 'Best of Southern Comforts' when the decision to visit Beaumont Inn was derived," said show host Jill Cordes. "A lot of times we like to get out of the big cities and head into the country."
"It has great history and great food, and those two ingredients combined make a great story," said Cordes.