Did you know the Bedford Inn was built in 1883. In 1870 a wealthy stockbroker from Philadelphia, named Joseph Page, came to Cape May, NJ in 1870. He purchased 801 Stockton Ave along with the lot that the Bedford Inn now sits upon. In 1881, while he was doing renovations to 801 Stockton Ave, he had the Bedford Inn constructed as what they called a side-by-side “Mother-Daughter twin”. It was constructed for the use of his many children and their families. He was also one of the first people in Cape May, NJ to rent a property out at this seaside resort. The newspaper of the time reported that this twin cottage was built with the most modern of conveniences of the time, heat, running hot and cold water and of course water closets which were connected to the main sewer. At the time, construction of the Bedford cost around $7000.
After Joseph F. Page Sr. died in 1896, the Bedford passed into possession of his children. One of his sons, Edward Delano Page, was a regular summer resident of Cape May, NJ till his death in 1921. Edward was also a successful stockbroker who was an avid yachts-men. He participated in yacht races not only in Cape May, NJ, but up and down the east coast. Besides being a member of the Corinthian and Rittenhouse Yacht Clubs, he was also a very active member of the elite First City Troop of the same city. Annie C. Page, Edward’s wife, took ownership of the homes (805 Stockton and 807 Stockton) when Edward passed away in 1921. In 1922, Annie Page, transferred ownership to Miriam L. Baer (Eastern Half) and Elsie N. Aiken (Western Half).
Commercial use of the house began, first as rooming houses and then later as small vacation apartments. The large building on Stockton Avenue became known throughout Cape May as a place with “clean, comfortable and quiet vacation rentals” and was called The Chelsea. Overlooking the ocean only 300 feet away, it was and ideal location for vacationers.
In the following years the building suffered under the brief tenures of many different owners on both sides of the building. In 1966 two couples came from Indiana, Mr and Mrs Ford and Mr and Mrs Bedsworth, and by combining their names came up with the Bedford Inn. In one of those odd coincidences and unbeknown-st to either couple, there had previously been a different building in the same block of Stockton Avenue known as Bedford Inn.
The Fords and Bedsworths opened up the walls by creating archways on the first two floors and a doorway at the top of the third floor stairs. Rooms and hallways were partitioned and the house was divided into six apartments for the purposes of short term rentals. After just one summer the Bedsworths returned to Indiana and the Ford family continued to rent the apartments each summer until the autumn of 1975 when they sold it to the Schmucker family. The Schmuckers had already owned a business on Stockton Ave, the Sand Castle Guest House, which was subsequently sold in 1982. In 1999, Cindy’s son James stepped in and helped his mother run the inn. They were joined by Cindy’s other son, Kurt, in 2004.
Cindy ran the inn for almost 30 years until 2005 when Archie and Stephanie Kirk purchased the Bedford. Renovating each year adding the elegant chandeliers, the stunning murals in the dining room painted by James McLaughlin and refinishing the beautiful hardwood floors made with NJ yellow pine. Now, Archie continues to welcome guests to the Bedford Inn as the innkeeper and host creating that “welcome home” atmosphere that long time guests keep coming back to. Whatever would the Page family think???