6 Ways to Celebrate a Traditional Christmas at Omni Bedford Springs Resort

During the Grand Illumination Ceremony at Omni Bedford Springs Resort, this "little" beauty is lit for the first time each holiday season.

I’ve written several times about how utterly amazing Omni Bedford Springs Resort is. I’ve talked about how it’s one of our fave places on this side of the country, how it’s perfect for both families and couples, and even how amazing the food is. But, we’ve never had a chance to celebrate our anniversary there – until now. It was an obvious choice for this time of year compliments of its traditional holiday decorations and decked out halls – literally. So, in honor of our 11th wedding anniversary, we hit the road to visit Bedford, PA. Here’s ways to have a traditional Christmas at Omni Bedford Springs Resort!

Walk slowly though the lobby and halls - they're decked out with traditional Christmas decorations!
Walk slowly though the lobby and halls – they’re decked out with traditional Christmas decorations! Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Being absolutely truthful here, a visit to Omni Bedford Springs Resort anytime of year is a great idea. We’ve had the pleasure of visiting during the summer as a family and celebrating Mr. Locke’s birthday. On both visits I was enthralled by the property’s rich American history (10 U.S. Presidents have vacationed there, the first trans-Atlantic telegraph arrived there…the list is endless.) and the way it keeps its culture alive through its design and decor. But when it’s time for Christmas, the decorations are really amped up! Christmastime is when the magic of the resort really kicks in, so why not celebrate our anniversary and the winter holidays at one time, right? My thoughts exactly.

1. Count the Nutcrackers

My teen daughter has always collected nutcrackers. One year, when making her Christmas wish list, a nutcracker was the only thing on it. So, you can imagine our delight when we found out there’s over 500 nutcrackers at Omni Bedford Springs Resort. In the past years, it has placed all of them throughout the resort’s floors and on window sills. This year was a bit more scaled back but there still were plenty to check out.

Adding your holiday wish to Omni Bedford Spring's Yule Log is only one of the ways to celebrate a historical holiday on-property. Photo Credit: Karyn
Adding your holiday wish to Omni Bedford Spring’s Yule Log is only one of the ways to celebrate a historical holiday on-property. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

2. Sign the Yule Log

A fun tradition at Omni Bedford Springs is to sign its Yule log. Located in the long hallway near its 1796 Restaurant, all you have to do is ask a staff member for a marker and add your well wish for the holiday season. Since we were celebrating our 11th anniversary, I had to add our hashtag. This year’s yule logs will be saved until next year and burned during the 2018 Grand Illumination festivities.

Traditional afternoon tea is a must when visiting Omni Bedford Springs Resort.
Traditional afternoon tea is a must when visiting Omni Bedford Springs Resort. Photo Credit: Steven Locke

3. Relax with Traditional Afternoon Tea

One of my favorite parts of visiting Omni Bedford Springs is the fact that, each afternoon from 4pm – 5pm, there’s traditional tea in the lobby. Free for all guests, we were able to choose from a variety of teas (and one of my fave brands, Tea Forte!) and relax near one of its two lobby fireplaces. I really enjoy the laid back break and time to sit with my family and chat before dinner.

Plus, there’s something to be written about enjoying afternoon tea. My mother, a true creature of British habit, had afternoon tea everyday for as long as I can remember. On days when our daughter would have play dates, I’d pick her up and she’d be dressed in one of Ma’s dresses – complete with long gloves, frilly hat, and a teapot! Having afternoon tea brings back so many happy memories of those days.

Walking up and down the Lobby Staircase at Omni Bedford Springs Resort is the perfect way to see the historic holiday decorations!
Walking up and down the Lobby Staircase at Omni Bedford Springs Resort is the perfect way to see the historic holiday decorations! Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

4. Promenade Down the Grand Staircase in Your Finest

In the lobby a hundred years ago, the Grand Staircase was THE place to see and be seen. Ladies dressed in their finest would gracefully and grandly descend the multilevel staircase in the hopes of catching the eye of a gentleman. Fast forward to present day when the staircase is still a prominent feature for the resort – and one that I happily love to descend myself.

It's fun to dress up in your finest (or ugly Christmas dress!) and head to the Pedestrian Overpass for Christmas photos!
It’s fun to dress up in your finest (or ugly Christmas dress!) and head to the Pedestrian Overpass for Christmas photos! Photo Credit: Steven Locke

If you like the thought of bundling up, there’s another on-property staircase worthy of checking out: the Pedestrian Overpass. It leads to a few of the eight natural mineral springs that flow on the property’s 2200 acres. A n ideal spot for weddings and photos, the Overpass is also ideal for resort photos, especially at night.

Omni Bedford Springs Resort's Executive Chef and team creates this year's giant gingerbread house.
Omni Bedford Springs Resort’s Executive Chef and team creates this year’s giant gingerbread house. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

5. Guess the Hours to Create the Gingerbread House

And once you’ve given it your best guess, make one for yourself! The first three Saturdays in December at 10am and 3pm, guests can take lessons on gingerbread house creating with the resort’s culinary team. Once finished, your resort room will smell delish – and you can take it home with you.

I couldn’t resist sharing a bit of gingerbread house history with you. Starting in the 16th Century, German fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel” described an elaborate house made from bread and sugar decorations. In the 17th Century, only approved gingerbread makers were allowed to make the decorated structures except during the Christmas and Easter seasons. The tradition was brought to the U.S. compliments of Pennsylvanian German immigrants wanting to keep the history of the gingerbread house alive. These days, larger-than-life houses are constructed – true eye candy!

Five Golden Rings, one of Omni Bedford Springs Resort's 12 Days of Christmas Cocktails.
Five Golden Rings, one of Omni Bedford Springs Resort’s 12 Days of Christmas Cocktails. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

6. Try to Remember the Lyrics to “12 Days of Christmas” – and then Try a Drink in Honor of Each

I think I get to “on the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” before I begin adding the incorrect gifted items. No matter, it’s easy to take a look at the resort’s Frontier Tavern Restaurant 12 Drinks of Christmas cocktail menu for reference in case you’re like I am. Each of the 12 days gives a delicious homage to the true love’s gifts and Mr. Locke’s fave was Five Golden Rings. Look tasty? Here’s the Five Golden Rings recipe compliments of the Omni Hotels Blog:

  • 1.5 oz. Maker’s Mark Bourbon
  • .5 oz. Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
  • 2 oz. apple cider
  • .25 oz. brown sugar syrup
  • .25 oz. fresh lemon juice

Combine, shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass with golden sugar rim.

Looking for traditional Christmas customs in Pennsylvania? Here's six ways to celebrate a traditional Christmas at Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, PA!


Thanks to the gang at Omni Bedford Springs Resort for the hospitality during our visit! We enjoyed every second and I’d happily recommend the resort to anyone and everyone looking for a luxury stay in Central Pennsylvania. 

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