The adventure below is the latest in a series sharing my quest to explore Pennsylvania by visiting each of the sixty-seven county seats and eating a hot dog while in town.
Our next stop along The Lincoln Highway (US Route 30) is Bedford in Bedford County. Bedford got its beginning as Raystown in 1750 when Robert MacRay opened the first trading post in the area. A fort was constructed and named after British Lord Bedford (the British built the fort) and Forbes road was built in 1759 to connect Fort Bedford to Fort Duquesne later named Fort Pitt. There was a lot of confusion over the naming of stuff in those days. Anyway, in all the confusion Forbes Road became-wait for it- US Route 30. No kidding! I couldn’t find any definite reason for the change in the town name from Raystown to Bedford. Sorry! Raystown Lake isn’t too far way over in Huntingdon County if that makes you feel better!
And-drum roll-George Washington slept here (No! Really!). On his way to put down a contentious uprising over a tax (taxation without representation) on whiskey President Washington stopped in Bedford.
Here is a very quick history lesson on the Whiskey Rebellion. The new government needed money to pay off the war debts and declared a tax on whiskey. At the time it was easier for farmers to turn their corn into whiskey for shipping over the mountain then it was to ship corn. Also, whiskey was used extensively like money to pay farm workers and others. Anyway, the western counties of Pennsylvania as well as many in Kentucky resisted the tax violently. So, George Washington became the only sitting President to lead an army against some unhappy American citizens.
Bedford County was created on March 9, 1771 being named in honor of the fort built at Raystown on the Juniata River after a powerful British Lord. Got it?
Of course, I was looking for a hot dog, not history but didn’t have any good leads. So, I stopped at Denny’s where I was told they didn’t have a hot dog meal. Sitting in my car in Denny’s parking lot I got out my GPS (which had been acting stupid all day) and typed in Bedford Diner and the address. There were no results for the Bedford Diner. I tried a couple other inputs before I looked up in exasperation. No kidding, there through the windshield was-you can’t make this up- The Bedford Diner. So much for technology. Well, let me tell you, I had a great time at the Bedford Diner. Stepping inside the place Stacy, who was waiting on a customer, invited me to sit anywhere and assured me they sold hot dogs. My server, Erlene, (try text-ing that name and see what fun you have with spell check) and I could not find hot dogs on the menu. So, we made up a hot dog meal and she disappeared into the kitchen to place the order. My meal looked great when it arrived (dogs on toasted buns) and it tasted great too. Erlene is a transplanted Californian who has been working at the restaurant for two and a half years. I learned that her Mom Carlynn also works at the restaurant. During a recent visit back to Southern California Carlynn decided she did not need to go back to that overcrowded fast paced world again. So much for the lure of California’s golden beaches! I finally found an opportunity to grab a photo of Stacy after I asked her if the sign -the one that reads; “Don’t ask me to think, I was hired for my looks”- was about her. She shared with me that the rest of the crew thought she was the reason for the sign as well. Actually, I think the sign is only half correct. She is pretty good at thinking too!
Here is a bit of history that you won’t find in a history book. Back in the old days (the 70’s) when the Bedford Diner was a Donut Shop and Old Bedford Village was just a couple of ancient structures scattered around an empty field my Jane and I used to come to Bedford for weekend get-a-ways. It’s true. We stayed at The Janey Lynn. I think we payed about $29 for a room back in those days too! Those are great memories.
See you next time.