IN THE BEGINNING: THE BEDFORD SECRET
It was the best-kept secret. I moved into a small town to do a little business, and I saw right away that people were coming up to see this small town. Bedford! It was such a secret that many people weren’t sure what town it was, or even what state it was in. Was it Katonah? Was it Bedford Hills? Bedford Village? Was it in Connecticut? Was it in New York? How do you get there? What was the secret of Bedford? Some people knew. And those who knew, knew to come. They knew because they knew people who lived here, or had heard from people who lived here, and had lived here for some time in perfect serenity. They came for the quiet weekends. They came to study nature and get more in touch with the natural world. They came to take care of their horses, or to get into horses, or, many of them, to give their children the opportunity to get into horses and riding. They came to live in a town where it didn’t matter if you lived in a barn or a mansion or an apartment—as long as you lived in Bedford. For whatever reason people came to Bedford, Bedford never disappointed anyone. On Sunday mornings when you drove down Guard Hill Road—still a dirt road—you could see people walking their dogs, with their children hand-in-hand. You could see horses and riders moving slowly until they crossed over into one of Bedford’s wonderful fields. And then you could watch them riding more freely, horse and rider as one in an expanse of green, and you could see what life was like on a beautiful Sunday morning here in Bedford. When they came, and even after they began to get a sense of Bedford, they still weren’t certain what to look for. They didn’t know what was even available. Of course there was nothing new. Everything here had been built before the newcomers arrived, Sometimes long before. Houses had been lived in. Many of the houses displayed what I call “genteel shabbiness.” Lovely, charming, but real—houses for people to live in and raise their families, not sterile museum showplaces. And they knew that was what they wanted. They all wanted what the people who came here before them, some of them over two hundred years ago. There are families here that have been here for ten or twelve or even fourteen generations and have never moved. I often say they are like the Indians: They never leave the reservation! Oh, they come and go—and they go all around the world. They travel for pleasure and business, sometimes both at the same time. But they always come back to Bedford. They come back to their little house or their big house, and they always found it just as they had left it. They were back in Bedford. They had come home. It’s a wonderful place to live! It’s a wonderful place to raise your children. It has a wonderful school district and wonderful churches. It has a grand hospital system and lots of doctors. It’s Bedford—a surprising little town that still surprises and delights, no matter how long you’ve been here. Believe me—I’ve been in business here for forty years and I can honestly say that not much has changed, although people have tried. On occasion, frankly, I too have tried to change Bedford. And every time there came a point when I would say to myself: Why? Why am I trying to change something that is so magnificent that others still want to come here? But remember. Bedford is no Scarsdale, no Larchmont. There are no show-off houses and no show-off people. In Bedford there are just people who want to live beautifully, quietly, elegantly. I hope this book shows you some of the magic of Bedford, and introduces you to some of the wonderful people who do so much to make Bedford so magical. As I’ve said to so many people over the years, I now say to you: Welcome to Bedford!