It’s May 28, 1905.
You’ve decided to take your family away for a week’s respite.
It’s been a long winter and the children seem pale and sickly and your wife appears tired as well and you probably don’t feel as exuberant as you should.
“We’ll go to the springs for some recuperative waters and leisure time,” you say to your wife.
The family is excited, a week without chores for the children, and for mother, the Ladies Aid Society and the daily responsibility of running a household (someone else can cook and do the dishes and make the beds for a change — even if there is the help of a housekeeper).
You’ve arranged to take the week off from your job, probably as a banker, lawyer or some other prestigious profession, perhaps even a military officer.
You pack the family and their necessary travel belongings into a carriage and head to the railroad station.
A four-hour ride in a rail coach later you arrive at the Cumberland station where another carriage awaits to take you and your family to the springs some 30 miles away.
Finally, you arrive — much of a day later — in time for the evening meal in the main dining room.
Your coachman disgorges his passengers — several others, besides yourself and your family — at the front entrance of the hotel, where you are met by a bellman, who helps you to register in the lobby, the center piece of which is a crystal chandelier.
The coach, minus the passengers has moved on down the driveway to the back of the hotel where passengers luggage is off loaded and awaits the appropriate room designation.
Once registered you hand your key for Suite 200 to the bellman, who takes your luggage up to the rooms — a parlor flanked by two sleeping rooms.
There a maid opens your bags placing things in bureau drawers and hanging other items.
Meanwhile, the children are very hungry so you make your way to the formal dining room, though 12-year-old Sarah and your wife insist on freshening up first so they go off to find a powder room for the purpose, their skirts swishing as they walk.
The long slim skirt and bustle is still in fashion but not for Sarah whose skirts are shorter, though still mid-calf, and with petticoats.
You and 10-year-old Ben are seated in the dining room, also replete with chandeliers, damask tablecloths and napkins as well as sparkling crystal and china, and you begin to check the menu for likely choices.
Dinner is multi-course with waiters hovering nearby throughout and by the time it ends, darkness has fallen and it is time to retire.
You and Ben take one sleeping room and your wife and daughter the other.
Wash basins and towels are located in each room as are other necessary conveniences.
Upon awakening in the morning, you venture out onto the porch overlooking a parkland of gardens and strolling guests.
Several have already been across the bridge to the magnesium spring to drink of the water flowing from the lion’s head next to the Greek Temple.
Looking around you see that some other guests are seated in the rocking chairs that furnish the lengthy porches of the resort.
The aroma of breakfast calls, so you gather up the family from their various morning absolutions and return again to the dining room.
Poached eggs might be on the menu this morning, says Mother, as Ben wrinkles his nose even though he is aware you are giving him a disapproving look.
After breakfast, the concierge points out that there is a game of croquet on the lawn.
“Perhaps, Miss Sarah would enjoy a horseback ride this afternoon,” he says.
Ben asks when the new swimming pool will be open and begs to be allowed to go swimming in the first Olympic-size pool in the nation.
“The tennis courts are open,” says the concierge, as you decide to join a group of businessmen in the smoking room and the rest of the family heads off to decide on their day’s pursuits.
On the grand staircase, as they return to the room to change their attire, Mother, Sarah and Ben meet old friends who are attending the garden wedding of their niece who has chosen the resort’s ballroom for her reception.
“The wedding was so lovely,” said the lady, as Ben and Sarah wait somewhat impatiently by their mother’s side.
They chat for a moment and the lady says she will likely see her friend for afternoon tea in the lobby later.
Finally, Ben can go look for his bathing outfit. His mother agrees that he can swim but only if she can watch from the mezzanine a floor above the white-tiled pool.
As they arrive at the pool house, they hear music.
The resort has its own small band that plays within several venues of the resort, including a balcony off the solarium overlooking one end of the pool.
Mother calls Ben from the pool just before lunch.
They return to their rooms and learn Sarah has found some new friends who wish to go riding with her.
Ben tells his mother that one of the boys at the pool told him that a senator’s son jumped from the balcony at the end of the pool into the water and made a big splash the day before.
As they go off to find you, by which time, you have tasted the waters of all seven springs, lunch is being served in the dining room, after which you have promised some other gentlemen to join them for a game of cards in the taproom.
It’s the first day of your week’s holiday and you are beginning to relax amid the serene hills and valleys of Bedford Springs, Pa.
OK, it’s a fantasy. This is May 28, 2006.
But soon the fantasy will become a reality ... a 21st century reality in which the healing waters will once again flow at the Bedford Springs Hotel, restored to its original glory with all of the necessities of modern times retained within the serenity of rural Pennsylvania.
The resort is scheduled to reopen Memorial Day weekend, 2007, after being closed for more than 25 years.
Mona Ridder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s May 28, 1905.