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The Bedford Post’s The Farmhouse.
Courtesy of the Bedford Post

Conceivably the most improbable interest is that of hotelier, a job that resulted from the desire to save a dilapidated inn located in the local horse-country enclave of Bedford, New York. Riding his horse past the two-century-old former coaching inn that dates back to the Revolutionary War times of the 1760s, he had the proverbial “aha” moment and, together with his wife, decided to rescue the historical building. “It was beautiful and cathedral-like and, when it went on sale, I felt an obligation to buy it,” he notes.

Just a short train ride from Manhattan, the welcome respite from the city houses the small luxury hotel (book early, as there are only eight rooms in the inn, making you feel like you are staying in a private home), yoga studio, reflecting pool, Zen garden, and two restaurants, The Barn and The Farmhouse. Bedford Post was inducted into the prestigious Relais & Châteaux group of properties in 2010.

Gere and Lowell teamed up with local developer Russell Hernandez and designed eco-friendly buildings filled with charming yet contemporary features — limed oak doors, soothing neutral tones, sisal-carpeted hallways, balconies that overlook the wooded property (visited by the occasional deer and fox), and fireplaces. Designed by Lowell and Tiffany Vassilakis, luxury Frette sheets and upscale antiques mingle with Pottery Barn nightstands and West Elm rugs. Inspired in part by the La Colombe d’Or in St. Paul-de-Vence, France, the large bathrooms with pedestal sinks, Carrera marble, and antique imported claw-foot tubs from Portugal are a standout. According to Gere on the design details, “It was important to us that Bedford Post embrace its Colonial roots without incorporating a heavy-handed period theme.”

Chef Jeremy McMillan presides over the kitchen that boasts farm-to-table offerings with a
  • Image about Richard Gere
"Our goal in creating Bedford Post was to develop a space for the community to come together to share both ideas and conversations."
© Nigel Parry/CPI, Wardrobe styling by Christine Hahn; Grooming by Birgitte for Rene Furterer; Brioni gray jacket and blue plaid scarf, Giorgio Armani v-neck sweater and shoes, Shot on location at Bedford Post
seasonal menu that trends toward contemporary cuisine. The Farmhouse is the more formal of the two restaurants. Tried and true signature dishes such as Johnboy’s chicken and the chef’s pastas are mainstays among the guests and local Bedford crowd, which often includes nearby resident and repeat diner Martha Stewart. Housed in the adjacent barn and yoga studio, the aptly named The Barn cafe offers breakfast, lunch, and brunch in a more relaxed setting. While Gere reportedly does not cook and recently started a “fairly strict vegetarian regime,” he does recommend the risotto and the “terrific chicken dishes.” Other rooms of note are the actor’s favorite private dining room where guests can reserve the Chef’s Table, and the geothermal wine cellar that houses more than 2,000 bottles of wine and seats 14 for private tastings and dinners (24 for cocktail parties).

While the restaurants are packed with locals, bringing the community together was another objective for the inn, as feeding both the mind and body is a priority. “Our goal in creating Bedford Post was to develop a space for the community to come together to share both ideas and conversations,” says Gere, who envisions hosting symposia headlined by speakers from the worlds of academia, spirituality, and the arts. “It’s my hope they will come and discuss and network at a very high level about how to have a positive impact on the planet.”

Acting, spirituality, and innkeeping aren’t the only passions in his life — Gere is an avid Yankees fan as well, which led him to pen a recent cover story on Yankee pitcher Mariana Rivera for Gotham magazine and throw out the first pitch at last year’s spring training. He also helped coach his son’s Little League team to a local championship. “Baseball players are very, very nice; I have never met a baseball player that I didn’t like,” he concludes. “They love kids and are very generous. And it’s not a violent sport … it’s a kind of gentlemen’s sport.” Ironically, Gere has yet to star in a bona fide baseball movie. Given the variety and longevity of his career, one will no doubt be on his multifaceted horizon.