The Jean Bonnet Tavern: Historic, Haunted, and Delicious!

The historic and supposedly haunted Jean Bonnet Tavern along the Lincoln HIghway in Bedford County, PA.

The Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford County not only serves up delicious food and beverages in a colonial American setting, but it is rumored to be the most haunted restaurant in Pennsylvania!

Page from the "ghost book" at the Jean Bonnet Tavern detailing some of the paranormal activity that has been observed there.
Page from the “ghost book” detailing some of the paranormal activity that has been observed at the tavern.

Located at the intersection of Routes 30 and 31, the Jean Bonnet Tavern has stood at this historic fork in the road since 1762.

Stained glass window at the Jean Bonnet Tavern with the year 1762 incorporated into the design.
Stained glass window with the year 1762 incorporated into the design.

The Jean Bonnet Tavern and Forbes Road

The path of present-day Route 30 follows what was known at the time of its construction as Forbes Road, built in the late 1750s on orders from British General John Forbes as part of his plan to move troops and supplies westward across the Allegheny Mountains, to capture Fort Duquesne from the French.

British officer reenactors at Fort Ligonier Days.
British officer reenactors at Fort Ligonier Days.

Forbes Road extended from Fort Bedford, a few miles east of the Jean Bonnet Tavern, to Fort Ligonier in present day Westmoreland County, and eventually to Fort Duquesne, which ultimately WAS captured by General Forbes, renamed Fort Pitt, and is now known as Pittsburgh.

Fort Ligonier on a late summer morning.
Fort Ligonier on a late summer morning.

Forbes Road was the only east-west route between eastern PA and the “Ohio Country” at the time, so countless soldiers, settlers, and travellers of all kinds passed by and through the doors of the Jean Bonnet Tavern in those colonial days.

Photo of the Jean Bonnet Tavern in the 1800s.
Photo of the tavern in the 1800s (public domain image).

Apparently some of those travelers liked it so much, they never left!

Apparitions have been captured in photos at the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford, Pennsylvania.
Apparitions purportedly captured on film at the tavern.

Even the first President of the United States has historical ties to the Jean Bonnet Tavern.

PA historical marker outside the John Bonnet Tavern.
PA historical marker referencing President George Washington and his ties to the tavern.

The Jean Bonnet Tavern and the Lincoln Highway

In the 1920s, the Lincoln Highway became the first transcontinental automobile route linking the east and west coasts of the United States.

Lincoln Highway historical marker outside the Jean Bonnet Tavern.
Lincoln Highway historical marker outside the Jean Bonnet Tavern.

The Pennsylvania portion of the Lincoln Highway was built over top of the old Forbes Road, creating a new generation of travellers who would stop off at the Jean Bonnet Tavern for food, drinks, and lodging.

Photo of the Jean Bonnet Tavern from the early 1900s.
Photo of the tavern from the early 1900s (public domain image).

How to Find the Jean Bonnet Tavern

The Jean Bonnet Tavern is located at 6048 Lincoln Hwy, Bedford, PA 15522.

The Jean Bonnet Tavern along the Lincoln Highway in Bedford County, PA.
The Jean Bonnet Tavern as viewed from the Lincoln Highway/Route 30 in Bedford County.

The tavern is equidistant from downtown Bedford to the east and Shawnee State Park to the west, so it makes a terrific spot for lunch or dinner when exploring the many other other historical sites in Bedford County.

A map to the Jean Bonnet Tavern and nearby attractions in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
A map to the Jean Bonnet Tavern and nearby attractions in Bedford County.

Dining at the Tavern

Having grown up in neighboring Somerset County, I’ve dined at the Jean Bonnet Tavern countless times, and always found the food and service to be first rate.

Dining at the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Dining at the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford County.

The ambiance is colonial American, from the furnishings to the decorations.

Dining room in the basement of the Jean Bonnet Tavern.
Dining room in the basement.

The downstairs dining room features a wood burning fireplace that’s been warming visitors for nearly 260 years!

Fireplace in the basement dining area of the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford County PA.
Fireplace in the basement dining area.

Meals are served with period-correct looking plates and silverware.

Food is served on vintage-looking plates at the Jean Bonnet Tavern.
Food is served on vintage-looking plates.

Even the placemats offer up a history lesson while you wait for your food to come out.

History of the Jean Bonnet Tavern on the placemats in the dining room.
History lesson on the placemats in the dining room.

The Ghost Book at the Jean Bonnet Tavern

The one thing you MUST do when dining at the Jean Bonnet Tavern is ask to see the “ghost book”, which chronicles some of the reported hauntings, apparitions, and other paranormal activities observed here over the years.

Ghosts of the Jean Bonnet Tavern book you can look at while dining at the tavern.
The “ghost book” you can look at while dining at the tavern.

In all my years of dining here, I’ve never personally experienced anything I’d consider “paranormal”, but I do try to keep an open mind to the possibilities.

History of a hanging that took place at the Jean Bonnet Tavern in the 1700s.
History of a hanging that took place at the tavern in the 1700s.

As you read through the ghost book, you’ll discover that hangings have taken place at the Jean Bonnet Tavern, and at least one skeleton was discovered buried beneath the floorboards, so certainly all the elements are in place for a good ghost story, if nothing else!

History of a French spy allegedly executed and buried beneath the floor of the Jean Bonnet Tavern.
History of a French spy allegedly executed and buried beneath the floor of the tavern.

The Cabin Shoppe

The Cabin Shoppe next to the Jean Bonnet Tavern is housed in an authentic 1700s log cabin, relocated to the Jean Bonnet property in 2005.

Approaching the Jean Bonnet Tavern, with the gift shop on the right hand side.
Approaching the tavern, with the Cabin Shoppe on the right hand side.

The Cabin Shoppe features artwork, crafts, jewelry, and assorted Bedford County mementos created by local artisans.

The gift shop next to the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford County PA.
The Cabin Shoppe next to the Jean Bonnet Tavern.

This is also where you buy the goat feed (more on that next).

Outside the gift shop at the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford County Pennsylvania.
Front porch of the Cabin Shoppe.

Feeding the Goats

No trip to the Jean Bonnet Tavern is complete (at least not in my family) without feeding the goats who live next to the tavern!

Feeding the goats at the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford County PA.
Feeding the goats that reside next to the tavern.

For the health and safety of the animals, you should ONLY feed them goat feed from the Cabin Shoppe, which is very reasonably priced at $1.00 for a decent-sized bag.

Goat feed is available at the Cabin Shoppe next to the Jean Bonnet Tavern.
Goat feed is available at the Cabin Shoppe.

Final Thoughts

If you love historic architecture, a good ghost story, and great food, it’s hard to beat the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford County.

View of the Jean Bonnet Tavern from the Route 31 side.
View of the tavern from the Route 31 side.

Personally, I love the idea of sitting down for a meal next to a fireplace where someone else did the same thing 260 years ago!

Fireplace in the basement dining room at the Jean Bonnet Tavern.
Fireplace in the basement dining room.

And YOU become part of that 260 year legacy when you dine at the tavern.

Ordering up lunch at the Jean Bonnet Tavern.
Ordering up lunch at the Jean Bonnet Tavern.

As for the ghosts, I’ve yet to see one, but there’s always next time!

Ghost story involving horse thieves hung at the Jean Bonnet Tavern.
Ghost story involving horse thieves hung inside or near the tavern.

To view the menu, hours, and more general information, please visit the tavern’s OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

The Jean Bonnet Tavern at the intersection of Routes 30 and 31 in Bedford County PA
The Jean Bonnet Tavern at the intersection of Routes 30 and 31 in Bedford County.

Nearby Attractions

The Fort Bedford Museum was built in 1958, 200 years after the original Fort Bedford was constructed during the French and Indian War.

Fort Bedford Museum in downtown Bedford Pennsylvania.
Fort Bedford Museum in downtown Bedford.

Old Bedford Village in Bedford County is a living history museum that gives you a glimpse into what life was like in western Pennsylvania from 1700 until 1899.

Blacksmithing demonstration at Old Bedford Village.
Blacksmithing demonstration at Old Bedford Village.

Shawnee State Park in Bedford County opened to the public in 1951, and has been a magnet for tourists ever since!

October at Shawnee State Park.
Shawnee State Park, just west of the Jean Bonnet Tavern along the Lincoln Highway.

Dunkle’s Gulf Station along the Lincoln Highway in Bedford is a throwback to the early days of American automobile transportation, and is still in operation to this day!

Dunkle's Gulf Station in Bedford Pennsylvania
Dunkle’s Gulf Station in downtown Bedford.

The Bedford Coffee Pot is a unique 18 foot-tall “novelty structure” built along the Lincoln Highway near downtown Bedford.

The Bedford Coffee Pot, August 2021.
The Bedford Coffee Pot, August 2021.

The 1806 Old Log Church is the oldest standing church in Bedford County, and lies a few miles west of the Jean Bonnet Tavern along the Lincoln Highway.

Fall foliage in Bedford County at the 1806 Old Log Church.
The 1806 Old Log Church in Bedford County.

The Abandoned PA Turnpike is a popular hiking/biking trail, featuring two lengthy tunnels and a trailhead near Breezewood in Bedford County.

Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike Rail Trail at Rays Hill Tunnel.
Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike Rail Trail at Rays Hill Tunnel in Bedford County.

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Rusty Glessner is a professional photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

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