The Bedford Village Inn History
The Bedford Village Inn and Restaurant was built around a farmhouse that dates from Bedford’s agricultural heyday. “The Gordon Farm,” as the BVI grounds are called in early Town records, was originally part of a large parcel granted to one John McLaughlin, the first Town Clerk of Bedford. A savvy and well-placed speculator, McLaughlin subdivided his parcel, selling a 50-acre corner to neighbor Samuel Gordon.
Gordon’s younger brother John Gordon cleared the land in 1774 and subsequently begat most of his 14 children here. Eldest son of John Gordon, Josiah, joined the Continental Army at the start of the Revolutionary War, wearing a linen shirt made by his mother from flax grown and woven on the farm. Upon his triumphant return, Josiah became a gentleman farmer and businessman and built the present Federal farmhouse in 1810.
Incidentally, another of McLaughlin’s subdivisions, the Beard Farm next door, supported a tenant of note during the early 1800’s; Mr. Zaccheus Greeley, father of Horace Greeley, who attended the #1 School located near the corner of Bedford Center Road and Chandler Road at the time.
In 1832 a “granddaughter of John Gordon” married Dr. Peter P. Woodbury, MD, who practiced in Bedford for many years and helped write an early history of the town in 1850. The Gordon Farm was passed between the Gordon’s and Woodbury’s until 1940 when Judge Peter Woodbury sold the place to Henry and Olga Wheeler. The Wheeler’s raised prized Shetland ponies here until the construction of Route 101 in 1953 cut the pasturage off from the farmhouse. The State built a pony-sized underpass beneath the highway, but it proved inconvenient for the Wheelers and their herd, so they moved west to Jaffrey, NH, the following year.
The Wheelers left both halves of the spread to “Gentleman Farmers” Ralph and Sybil Fletcher, who subsequently sold the old pasturage on the opposite side of Route 101.
During all this time the original farm had grown from 50 to almost 350 acres. With the decline in farming and the increased activity in residential and infrastructure development, the original farm estate was preserved at 5 ½ acres by 1980. In 1981 the “farm” was purchased with the intention of renovating the house as a restaurant and the old livestock barn as the Inn.
Over the next 3 years, the owners worked with the Committee to save Fletcher Farm, a coalition of like-minded citizens and Bedford Planning Board members, to rezone the property for use as a “Class A Inn and Restaurant.” Two years of delicate preservation work and substantial new construction began in the summer of 1984 with the result that the Restaurant opened in August 1985 and the Inn opened in October 1986.
The Bedford Village Inn and Restaurant stands on the entry to Bedford as testimony of what can be accomplished from joining the commitment of many townspeople, the high standards of a skilled architect and builder, and the constant attention to detail of a talented staff. The wedding of old and new adds grace with function and defines the special appeal of the BVI.
Jack and Andrea purchased The Bedford Village Inn in 1990 and throughout their ownership the BVI has attracted local and national recognition for the elegant charm of the facility and world class accommodations and cuisine.
This award winning property continues to prosper under the guidance of Jack, Andrea, and Jon Carnevale.
History provided by: Doris Peck Spurway, Bedford Historical Society