Beaumont Inn, the Harrodsburg landmark that has been owned by the same family for 105 years, has been sold — sort of.
In fact, the award-winning inn and restaurant have just passed into the hands of another member of the family line that began with Annie Bell Goddard in 1917.
When Annie’s great-grandson Chuck Dedman and his wife Helen, after a long tenure as owner and operator of the inn, decided to quit and enjoy their golden years, they didn’t have to look far for a potential buyer.
When their son Dixon, who had run the inn with them since graduating from college in 2003, decided to focus on his fledgling bourbon business, it was Chuck’s cousin Milward who stepped in.
With no previous experience in the hospitality industry, on June 1, Milward and his wife Kathy became the new owners, paying nearly $2.5 million for the property and an undisclosed amount for hotel and restaurant.
So, did they get a family discount?
“Let’s just say we negotiated,” Milward Dedman laughs.
It looks like it will continue to be ‘all in the family’ at the Beaumont Inn for the foreseeable future, as Milward and Kathy will be joined by their children – son Ward, 31, and daughter Cawood Carey, 29.
“Ward will handle accounting and payroll, and Cawood will join Kathy in event planning and a total overhaul of the gift shop,” says Milward.
Dixon Dedman will remain as a consultant to help with the transition.
In response to what he’s going to do, Milward jokes, “I’ll do pretty much everything else.”
Plans for the future of Beaumont Inn
He acknowledges that they all have their work cut out for them, as they hope to return Beaumont Inn to pre-pandemic normalcy as soon as possible.
While 27 rooms are open (17 in the main hotel and 10 in Goddard Hall), much of the hotel complex remains closed. Greystone Lodge, the hotel’s main dining room and the Owl’s Nest pub, adjacent to the hostel, are currently closed.
“We expect the Owl’s Nest and pool to be open early to mid-July,” Dedman says.
“The dining room will take a little longer,” he continues. “It’s only open now for special occasions, but we expect it to be fully open by the fall.”
No need to panic, as Dedman assures that the classic Beaumont dishes that earned the restaurant James Beard American Classic recognition in 2015, are still on the Old Owl Tavern’s menu. The Tavern, a casual 90-seat restaurant occupies a former carriage house and is open to the public.
That means you can still enjoy slow-cooked baby back ribs, Kentucky country ham, southern fried catfish, classic Beaumont hot brown, and the all-time favorite “fried chicken.” with yellow legs” (for the ultimate, opt for the classic Beaumont Dinner – a combination of chicken and country ham.)
Add the house-seasoned green beans and fluffy corn pudding, and you might not have room for desserts such as bread pudding with hot bourbon sauce and the legendary orange-lemon cake. It would be a shame.
Dedman is quick to insist that almost everything at the Beaumont Inn will remain the same, from the menu to the staff, however, he has a few ideas for putting his own stamp on the property.
One is for Greystone Lodge, the limestone cottage directly across from the inn, the first floor of which served as Chuck and Helen’s home, while four guest bedrooms occupied the upper floor.
“We plan to convert the ground floor to event space and reopen the four rooms on the second floor,” he says.
Finally, his plans call for an expansion of outdoor seating.
“Currently our guests can enjoy their coffee or drinks on the large porch, but we don’t have any other al fresco dining options,” he says.
“Since we have such beautiful pitches, we would like to change that.”
What: Inn and award-winning restaurants
Where: 638 Beaumont Inn Drive, Harrodsburg
Hours: Old Owl’s Tavern open Tuesday through Thursday, 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
On line: beaumontinn.com