The stately Harrodsburg landmark known as the Beaumont Inn now has its sixth generation of family members working there, after a recent change in ownership that kept the historic inn all in the family.
Milward and Kathy Dedman officially bought the circa-1845 bed-and-breakfast inn June 1 this year from cousin Dixon Dedman. Bourbon enthusiasts may know Dixon from his former ownership and blending wizardry with Kentucky Owl and his most recent venture, 2XO Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Dixon began working at the inn at age 8 and operated it for a decade. Milward, who’s originally from the area and once served as Mercer County judge executive before accepting a position in state government, said that, in 1919, his great-great grandparents and great-grandmother founded the inn, which once served as a school and a famous springs.
Now his grown son and daughter oversee the inn’s marketing, gift shop, payroll, finance, purchasing and groundskeeping.
“We were looking for opportunities for our children,” who live in Harrodsburg and wanted to work close to home, Milward said. “We had tossed around some opportunities but had never found the right fit,” Kathy added.
Their chance arose when they heard late last year the inn may become available soon and, after making inquiries with family, put the wheels in motion. And their wheels haven’t stopped turning since, as they’ve been working to bring the inn back to full operation after a pandemic-induced hiatus of some dining and other amenities.
Though the inn was closed during the peak of the pandemic in the summer of 2020, it is thought to be the oldest continuously family-operated inn in the United States, Milward said.
The property has three dining areas — the inn’s main dining room, and the adjacent Old Owl Tavern and Owl’s Nest. Until recently, the main dining area was only used to serve breakfast for overnight guests.
A Friday buffet resumed in early August, including the inn’s signature yellow-leg fried chicken and homestyle sides like whipped potatoes and corn pudding. New menu items include fried banana peppers, fried pickles and seasonal salads, Kathy said.
Milward said seasonal soups and salads will debut this fall and winter, adding that weekly specials are posted on the inn’s Facebook page each Monday and that the Sunday buffet will resume in the future. And Kathy said that special meals will be served Thanksgiving, Easter and Mother’s Day. Reservations are already being taken for Thanksgiving.
The inn is also renowned for its bread pudding with bourbon sauce. It’s also gaining a following for a new sweet treat served at the Old Owl Tavern — banana cake with cream cheese icing and caramel drizzle.
In addition to the guest rooms in the main inn, four additional rooms at Greystone House will reopen in September for a total of 34 rooms between them.
Event space is also being made available at Greystone House, located across the street, and the whole house can be rented as well, Milward said.
Kathy said the inn is a special place not only for the family but also for the many couples who have traditionally celebrated special occasions there.
“We have so many older folks who come to celebrate their anniversaries here, who have come here for 40 and 50 years,” she said.