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From the looks of it, most of the Northern New England states will hold festivals to celebrate the maple syrup running on the weekend of March 21 – 23. This is the time of year when the sap starts running through the New England maples, and sugar houses open up to not only sell but demonstrate how to make maple syrup. March 21-23 is the weekend to schedule your sweetest visit of the year to one of the Distinctive Inns of New England. Not only are you very likely to be served some of that fresh maple syrup, created from trees nearby, but you will also enjoy a fun itinerary including visiting sugarhouses across the state. Each of the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England offer sweet maple treats throughout the year, but visit on the weekend of March 21-23 and you’re in for a treat in many of the New England states.
According to the Vermont Maple Sugarmakers Association, Maple syrup is nature’s sweetest gift to mankind. It’s packed with a powerhouse of naturally occurring minerals such as calcium, manganese, potassium and magnesium. Maple syrup also has powerful antioxidant qualities, trumping tomatoes, cabbage and cantaloupe for healthy qualities. Best of all, when it comes to natural sweetening, maple syrup is more nutritious than all other common sweeteners, contains one of the lowest calorie levels, and has been shown to have healthy glycemic qualities. Best of all, according to the Vermont Maple Sugarmakers, researchers have found that pure maple syrup contains numerous healthy phenolic compounds, commonly found in products such as blueberries, tea, red wine and flax-seed. So next time, you reach for that glass of pinot noir for dinner during your DINE getaway, follow it up with a sweet maple syrup-filled dessert and you can rest assured you’ve done something good for yourself!
Distinctive Inns of New England innkeepers have created a number of delicious maple-syrup filled recipes for you to try at home, taking maple syrup to the next level.
Maple & Moxie Chile from Manor On Golden Pond
4 ea. onions, small diced
2 ribs celery, small diced
2 ea. carrots, finely grated
1 bulb fennel, small diced
1 ½ T kosher salt
4 oz. unsalted butter
3-4 T vegetable oil
1 lbs. smoked ham, peeled and small diced
2 ounces chili powder
1 ounce paprika
2 T ground cumin
2 T ground allspice
3 T garlic powder
¾ c all-purpose flour
1 quart tomato juice
1 liter Moxie (a New England regional soft drink)
1 c red wine vinegar
1 pint maple syrup
½ T ground thyme
20 – 25 lbs lean, flavorful beefsteak, such as tri-tip, flank, skirt or sirloin flap, well-trimmed.
Combine onions, celery, carrots, fennel, salt and butter in a large, non-reactive pot and sweat over low heat until very tender and aromatic, 30 minutes or more. Over a hot grill, sear all of the trimmed beef so that it is richly browned, with pronounced grill marks. The intent is only to sear the outside: it should remain very rare. As it comes off the grill, rest in a watertight container to retain all of the juices it releases.
In a large, separate pot, heat 3-4 T vegetable oil to medium-high. Add the diced ham and sauté until deeply browned, almost burnt. Remove from the heat. Combine the chili powder, paprika, cumin, allspice, garlic powder, and flour. Whisk to combine before sprinkling over the browned ham in an even layer. Return the ham and spices to the flame, stirring to coat. When the pan is moderately hot and the spices are becoming aromatic, carefully whisk in the tomato juice in a thin, steady stream, carefully deglazing all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the Moxie, wine vinegar, maple syrup and thyme. Stir to combine and reduce the heat to low. Add the accumulated juices from the resting beefsteak to the pot, and dice the very rare steak into ½ inch cubes. Add the diced steak to the pot also. If necessary, add water to the pot as well so that all of the steak is submerged.
Stirring often to prevent scorching, increase the heat to medium-high, bringing the chili to a gentle boil.
(Reduce the heat to medium low and maintain at a simmer until the steak is tender and the chili is thick and a deep red-brown color. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve immediately.
Maple Pecan Sundaes with Candied Bacon from Chesterfield Inn
4 bacon slices
2 Tablespoons maple sugar or brown sugar
¾ cup maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
½ cup pecan halves, toasted
vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil. Set rack in pan, lay bacon slices on rack. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon maple sugar evenly over bacon. Bake until sugar is melted, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle remaining sugar over bacon. Bake until deep brown and glazed, 12 to 14 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Broil bacon until sugar bubbles, watching closely so that it doesn’t burn. Cool on rack. Cut into ¼ inch dice.
Combine maple syrup and cinnamon sticks in medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce thickens and reduced to 1/2-3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks. Mix in lemon juice and ginger. Let stand at room temperature. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Garnish with toasted pecans and candied bacon.
Of course, rather than create all the muss and fuss in the kitchen, why not leave the maple syrup recipes to Distinctive Inns of New England? Come visit your favorite DINE inn for a romantic March getaway, and enjoy a weekend filled with healthy phenolic compounds and distinctive hospitality.
Last week we introduced some of the themed packages offered by the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England, focusing on romantic getaways and weekend retreats. Because we all know the way to your loved ones’ heart is through their stomach, we’ll focus on some of the fabulous culinary vacations and wonderful foodie experiences at DINE Inns.
Wine and Dine in Coastal Connecticut
Come discover Coastal CT’s Vineyards along the Connecticut Wine Trail, dine at your choice of local restaurants and sleep in total comfort at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina. Visit our favorite winery or stay longer and explore other fine wineries along the Connecticut Wine Trail. The Inn at Harbor Hill Marina’s Wine & Dine Package is packed with value and includes:
- A 2-night stay at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina
- Breakfast each morning overlooking our marina on the Niantic River
- $50 dining certificate to your choice of three local restaurants
- A gift bag with wine glasses and certificate for a wine tour & tasting at Jonathan Edwards Winery
- Complimentary bottle of wine during your wine tour
- A visit to nearby Divine Wine Emporium which offers wines for sampling, a lesson in selection and a complimentary gift.
- Complimentary snacks and beverages throughout your stay)
- Lodging Tax included in overall costs.
The package price from $425 – $860 per couple is based on choice of room and date.
Take me to Italy!
Not only will you enjoy Italian food, you’ll be in the company of innkeepers who’ve relocated from Italy when you enjoy the Camden Maine Stay’s Italian Culinary Getaway. Surround yourself with the beauty of coastal Maine in Camden where “the mountains meet the sea”. Then end your day in one of the most popular restaurants in town, 40 Paper Italian Bistro & Bar where you will enjoy a full à la carte dinner. When you return back to the inn you’ll be surrounded by artworks and antiques from Italy, and if you ask nicely, perhaps Roberta or Claudio will teach you a few choice Italian phrases!
The Camden Maine Stay Italian Culinary Getaway package includes:
- 2 nights lodging with full gourmet breakfast
- A four course à la carte dinner for two at 40 Paper Italian Bistro & Bar. The dinner will include: Appetizer, a Flatbread Pizza to share, Main course with a Pasta dish and Dessert. You will also be offered a 20% off any bottles of wine
- Beverages and gratuities are not included.
Package price (per couple) varies based upon date of arrival and room choice from $345 to $615.
Make mine Mediterranean or Mexican
The Gateways Inn Weekend Culinary Experiences offer a tasting trip to a different international destination each weekend. Head to Lenox, then take a culinary tour of a different country each weekend at the Gateways Inn & Restaurant. Your culinary experience begins on Friday with a meet and greet social hour at 6pm. followed by a group dinner with wine in the restaurant. On Saturday morning enjoy our full European style breakfast, then don your aprons and roll up your sleeves to start chopping, slicing and dicing as you prepare the first of two themed meals of the weekend. There will be a short refreshment break during this session and when you are done, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor for a gourmet lunch. The next culinary adventure will begin in the afternoon with dinner menu preparation. Here again there will be a short refreshment break during instruction before you sit together with other classmates at 7:30 to enjoy the gourmet dinner you helped prepare, accompanied by wine. Sunday will be bittersweet with departure at 11:00 after a farewell breakfast.
Included in the Weekend Culinary Experience package is:
· Meet and greet social and group dinner on Friday
· Hands on cooking instruction with The Gateways Restaurant Chef and Sous Chef
· Refreshment breaks during morning and afternoon cooking sessions
· Group lunch featuring items prepared during morning session
· Group dinner featuring items prepared during afternoon session
· Souvenir apron
· Notebook with recipes
· Wines with dinners
March 21-23; Mediterranean/Mid-Eastern
April 25-27; Mexican
This package is $350 per person for full participation in addition to room charges and taxes; $150 per person for participation in meals only (Plus room and taxes).
Visit the Specials and Packages page on www.DistinctiveInns.com and you’ll find packages listed not only by theme but by inn. You can search by your interest in outdoor fun or romantic getaways, for example, or search the packages for each DINE members easily from this page. We look forward to welcoming all foodies and fun-seekers for a package or stay at any of the 11 DINE inns soon.
The fact that the 11 DINE inns are distinctive is a great reason to book a stay with one of these special and romantic New England Inns. Yet, for some, it’s the packages offered by these inns that entice couples to plan a getaway. Distinctive Inns of New England offer a myriad of special getaway packages. Everything from monthly specials recognizing groups that deserve a break to romantic getaways, culinary vacations and outdoor fun are within easy reach.
The search for the perfect New England escape package starts on the Specials & Packages page of DistinctiveInns.com. From there, choose from romantic getaways, monthly specials, Hot Deals, Weekend Specials, Outdoor Fun, Spa Packages and Culinary Vacations. There are simply too many packages to list here, so here’s a sampling.
Click on Hot Deals and you’ll find this great deal from Deerfield Inn in the Massachusetts Pioneer Valley is making it possible to stay a little longer. Book three nights at the historic Deerfield Inn between January 2-April 30, and the third night is FREE – you just pay $6 in taxes! Mention this special when calling 413-774-5587 or enter “Third Night Freebie Special” in comments line if making your reservation online. Not available with any other specials or offers.
Click on Monthly Specials and you’ll find that the Chesterfield Inn is giving away stays to five deserving farmers. Here’s their offer: The former farm-girl-turned-innkeeper at Chesterfield Inn knows how hard our farmers work! To reward those that supply farm-fresh food to their communities, the Chesterfield Inn will give away five one-night midweek stays to farmers and/or farm-hands. Anyone involved in the farming of produce, beef, goats, or chicken, are invited to apply. Send a five sentence response complete with full contact info (name, address, phone, email) to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first five to be received will receive a complimentary one-night stay along with a farm-fresh breakfast the next day! Be sure to include DINE March is for Farmers Promotion in the subject line. Free stays offered on a space available basis; proof of employment required.
And here’s an incredible Hot Deal from Cape Cod’s Captain’s House Inn to honor the legacy of the inn. Captain Hiram Harding, who built the Captains House Inn in 1839, would have turned two hundred this year! In honor of his birthday, the Captain’s House Inn is offering rooms for 200 cents. Stay any two nights during the month of March, and receive the third night for just two hundred cents. Please mention this special when booking. Special cannot be combined with other offers.
When it comes to romantic getaways, there are quite a few packages offered by DINE members. Try the Two-Night Romantic Getaway Package from Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, VT. What could be better than sneaking away for a couple of nights with your special someone? If you added afternoon tea & pastries daily, breakfast each morning, a candlelit dinner for two on one of those nights, some bubbly, chocolates, and romantic music, do you think that would make it even more special? Rabbit Hill Inn does… and it’s all available in this special package. Package pricing for two: starts at $495 for classic rooms to $885 for the Jon Cumming Suite. Prices vary by date.
How about a weekend getaway? DINE offers a variety of Weekend Specials. The Manor on Golden Pond suggests a perfect itinerary for some weekend R&R. With the Manor Magic Package comes a two-night stay, breakfast & afternoon tea every day, a candlelight dinner, and a bottle of champagne to welcome your stay. Relax with your darling experiencing the magic of simply getting away on your romantic weekend retreat. Package pricing for two starts at $470 for classic rooms to $870 for suites.
This is part one of our DINE Blog series on packages offered by the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England. Stay tuned next week to learn about more perfect package ideas offered by our eleven New England inns. If you’re working on scheduling your next getaway, be sure to visit the DINE availability chart for a quick reference to online availability and booking at any of the Distinctive Inns of New England. We look forward to welcoming you to Distinctive DINEing!
Introducing Erik and Sarah Lindblom from the Captain Jefferds Inn, Kennebunkport, ME
Throughout last spring, we introduced the innkeeper owners of each of the Distinctive Inns of New England one by one on the DINE blog. Knowing that the people behind the 11 inns that make up DINE are such an important part of the experience, we wanted our DINE blog readers to get to know a little more about each member. After all, when it comes to entrusting your romantic getaway to an expert, it helps to know a little bit about their qualifications! Since our Meet the Innkeepers blog series last spring and summer, Erik and Sarah Lindblom of the Captain Jefferds Inn have joined the group. Thus, here’s your chance to learn a little more about them!
Erik Lindblom was born and raised in Redding, CT and graduated from Redding High School. Sarah was from nearby Danbury, CT. They met at the Spinning Wheel Restaurant where Erik was the Manager and Sarah was a server in-between attending Russell Sage College in Troy, NY. As Sarah describes their initial relationship, “it was hate at first sight!” The two weren’t immediately attracted to one another, however as Sarah put it with a wry smile, “there’s a fine line between love and hate, and eventually we crossed over the line.”
Erik and Sarah dated for a few years while Sarah finished college and then became a physical therapist. Eventually Sarah and Erik were married and lived at the restaurant with Erik’s two sons from a previous marriage, Jonathan and Ron. Erik continued managing the Spinning Wheel until it was sold, at which time Erik was not only forced to re-invent his career but his homestead too. With the restaurant went the family apartment, so part of the re-invention was a move into the Librarian’s Quarters at the Mark Twain Library in Redding. The other part of the re-invention was Erik’s move to become a painting contractor. “With a paint brush, step ladder and my Mom’s connections he went to work,” shared Sarah! Little did they know his design and painting acumen would come in handy one day after they bought an inn.
All the while, Erik dreamed of owning an inn or B&B on the coast of Maine. They were introduced to the allure of the Maine coast during beloved vacations to Port Clyde, Maine, and Erik never shook his desire to own an inn nearby. So strong was this interest that Sarah and Erik enrolled in the first-ever innkeeping course offered by now-veteran B&B consultants Bill Oates and Heide Bredfeldt. Erik and Sarah searched for their ideal inn for years thereafter, and upon returning from one inn-searching tour, Sarah felt sick and soon learned that a baby was on the way. About 8 months later, Erik and Sarah’s daughter, Kate was born and the innkeeping dream went on the back burner until she graduated from college.
Meanwhile, Sarah explained that after the library, the couple bought a farm in Bethel, CT and moved the family there where Sarah describes a 4-H lifestyle. There were sheep, cows, goats, rabbits, gardens, canning, three children and two parents employed full time. Clearly their skills in multi-tasking were established and then well-honed on the farm. Once again, this was a great preparation for innkeeping.
Sarah and Erik pose in the living room of the Captain Jefferds Inn.
After their daughter Kate graduated from college and the boys were on their own starting their own families, Erik and Sarah returned to their B&B search. They made their first offer on the Captain Jefferds Inn in 2003, but the financing fell through and the search for a perfect inn continued in the Midcoast region of Maine. However, the Captain Jefferds never left their minds. A few years later, when the stars were better aligned, they revisited in April, 2005, made another offer, and this time the offer was accepted. How’s that for fate?
Erik immediately put his design and painting talent to work, stripping off black and yellow floral wallpaper and creating the subtly inviting tones that are seen throughout the inn today. Throughout their years of ownership, gardens have been established, water features were added and updates have continued regularly. Sarah put her marketing and community leader skills to work, eventually serving as the Kennebunkport Chamber President. Both skill sets have served the inn well.
When asked about innkeeping, Sarah’s answer is surprising. Sarah enjoys working with the staff and offering deserving people opportunities. She thinks this joy dates back to her days as a Girl Scout leader when she would tell the girls in her troop to live their dream. Both she and Erik like pleasing guests, and helping travelers laugh and relax. Sarah tells a story about a mother-and-daughter guest pair who arrived from the Bronx one summer weekend. The mother’s make-up, hair and lavish styling were the first clue to her personality. She arrived demanding amenities, and quickly summed up and declared that the inn was simply not for her, much to the chagrin of her daughter. She begrudgingly consented to staying one night. The next morning she came downstairs without the make-up and fancy clothes and surprised Sarah and Erik by saying “I was wrong. My daughter and I stayed up talking all night long, which we’ve never done before. It was the most memorable day I could have had.” In a much more humble tone, she asked if they could stay after all. Creating memories and an environment for families to reconnect is the kind of intangible reward money simply can’t buy for innkeepers. Sarah said she’ll never forget how it felt.
While innkeepers have little time for hobbies, Erik loves gardening. His kitchen garden is filled with basil, lemon balm, dill, rosemary, chives and edible flowers for the breakfast plates he creates. On the rare days he can get away, Erik also loves fishing.
Erik and Sarah are among the group of innkeepers that make DINE inns so distinctive. Kind, welcoming and generous with their hospitality and hearts, Sarah and Erik join all of the Distinctive Inns of New England in welcoming guests to their exceptional inns. Visit the DINE blog for a complete series of Meet the Innkeepers profiles.
Erik and Sarah outside the beautifully decorated Captain Jefferds Inn.
You may recall a December post in the DINE blog about honoring under recognized groups throughout 2014. We announced back then that Distinctive Inns of New England was planning a series of promotions to honor deserving groups of people who work hard throughout the year yet are rarely recognized. We all know how important vacations are, especially a romantic New England getaway for those who work so hard all year. This year, the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England have promised to help everyone from clergy to care givers have the chance to enjoy a very special culinary vacation and a romantic getaway in 2014.
During the month of March in honor of those who help to feed America, select properties of Distinctive Inns of New England have created some very special offers for farmers, farm hands and those involved in the production, growing or forraging for food. Knowing how hard it is for farmers to get away, participating DINE inns are hoping that a March getaway might fit the growing schedule, and have offered everything from free nights, to specially priced dinners and more. Each of these special offers is intended to offer a little R&R to farmers who really deserve it. Please note: In each case, proof of occupation must be presented in order to take part in any of the following offers, which are available throughout March, 2014 only. These offers may not be combined with any other special pricing, promotion, coupon or gift card.
Captain’s House Inn, Chatham MA
The Captain’s House Inn is sweet on farmers! Farmers and farmhands (all those working on farms) will be offered a $25 gift certificate to the Candy Manor in Chatham as well as a jar jam from the inn’s gift shop produced at Chatham Jam and Jelly if a two nights or more stay is booked anytime throughout March, 2014. The Candy Manor has been a landmark in Chatham since 1955 and is family run. Chatham Jam and Jelly is also a Chatham institution and is family owned. Their inventory is immense with every flavor of jam you can imagine. Farmers and farmhand guests must mention this add when booking and cannot be combined with other offers. Proof of employment required.
Inn at Harbor Hill Marina, Niantic CT
Innkeepers and guests at the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina are big fans of local farmer’s markets and of restaurants that specialize in farm-to-table food and know that those in the farming industry work harder than many of us. As March is Farmers’ Appreciation month at Distinctive Inns of New England, and Inn at Harbor Hill Marina is offering all farmers and farm hands a Buy One, Get One night free promotion. With spring just around the corner, this two-night stay is opportunity to relax and rejuvenate before the busy farming season starts. Whatever your interests – museums, shore walks, wineries or just sleeping by the Connecticut shore – Inn at Harbor Hill Marina would just like to say “Thanks” for all you do and are happy to help you plan your getaway. This Buy One, Get One night free promotion is valid for any night Sunday – Thursday stay during the entire month of March and open to all farmers and farm hands with proof of employment. Call (860) 739-0331 to book a stay.
Chesterfield Inn, Chesterfield NH
The former farm-girl-turned-innkeeper at Chesterfield Inn knows how hard our farmers work! To reward those that supply farm-fresh food to their communities, the Chesterfield Inn will give away five one-night midweek stays to farmers and/or farm-hands. Anyone involved in the farming of produce, beef, goats, or chicken, are invited to apply. Send a five sentence response complete with full contact info (name, address, phone, email) to email@example.com. The first five to be received will receive a complimentary one-night stay along with a farm-fresh breakfast the next day! Be sure to include DINE March is for Farmers Promotion in the subject line. Free stays offered on a space available basis; proof of employment required.
Manor on Golden Pond, Holderness NH
The Manor On Golden Pond thinks it is time for farmers to hit the hay and grab some R&R for yourselves. The Manor’s “barn” door is open to Farmers and Farm hands to come and enjoy a two night stay for the price of one. Each day will start with a hearty country style breakfast that will leave even the most robust appetites completely satisfied. So put up your saddles and come on down for some luxurious pampering in this countryside setting. Your days can be spent hiking the mountains of New Hampshire, horseback riding through the mountainous trails, enjoying a winter sleigh ride through the woods or just cozying up in our voluminous beds. Room rates start from $220 per night with breakfast and afternoon tea included. May not be combined with any other offer. Open to Farmers and those working on farms of all kinds; proof of employment required. Call 800-545-2141 to book your reservation.
Rabbit Hill Inn, Lower Waterford VT
Farmers don’t always get the recognition they deserve. Rabbit Hill Inn wants to thank those who tackle the toughest jobs in the searing heat and bitter cold to put quality food on our tables and provide our chefs with the finest foods for our guests. To all those who work on a farm, Rabbit Hill Inn offers the Farmers Break Package valid on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Thursday nights in March.
Package rate is $300.00. This midweek package includes:
- Overnight stay in a luxury or superior room (on a best room available basis)
- 3-course dinner for two (featuring local farm ingredients, of course)
- Hearty full breakfast
- Afternoon sweets
- State taxes & all gratuities
This package reflects a savings up to $136.00. Multiple midweek nights are allowed. To make reservations, call Rabbit Hill Inn at 802-748-5168 and mention Farmers Break when booking. Pub charges not included; proof of employment required.
Deerfield Inn, Deerfield MA
Any forager, grower, farmer, brewer, producer, and anybody who finds, makes, grows, or produces anything that we put in our bodies will receive 25% off a stay, and 20% off their meal during the month of March. They must bring a card, or photo, or proof of working the land when they arrive to stay or sit to eat. Call the Deerfield Inn at 413-774-5587.
If you know a farmer, farm hand, rancher, or others involved in providing sustenance to New Englanders, be sure to forward this information to them. Meanwhile, even if you’re not a farmer, you’re welcome to enjoy the best night’s sleep you’ve had in a long time at any of the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England. Be sure to set aside some time for your getaway, because like farmers, we know you work hard too!
We’re on the cusp of the month dedicated to love, so we thought a little insight into what make your Valentine happy might be helpful right about now. And since Distinctive Inns of New England innkeepers consider themselves experts on many things…including love…here’s the perfect time to give a little amorous advice. Let’s face it, the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England have a monopoly on romantic getaways, and are all about creating the ideal intimate experience. So let’s get started with some ideas while you still have a few weeks left before Valentine’s Day.
What does your Valentine really want?
The answer to this question might come as a surprise. Much to the chagrin of retailers, when women are asked what they really want for Valentine’s Day the answers usually revolve around kindness and gratitude. A few years ago, we asked our fans via Facebook what they want for Valentine’s Day and most responded they hoped for small tokens of appreciation or special surprises. One response came from an innkeeper on Cape Cod who explained that her best Valentine’s Day gift came from her husband who surprised her with a beautiful box filled with special messages of endearment and a heart shaped stone from the beach nearby. Others commented on how much they’d love that.
In a Forbes.com story entitled “What Do Women Really Want For Valentine’s Day?” most women echoed the sentiment of our Facebook fans. “If I could have anything this year, it would be nothing more than a heartfelt ‘thank you,’ since it’s one of the many things men have difficulty communicating,” said Jenna Walsh, an account executive in Boston, according to the article. Meanwhile, Marissa Hermo of New York City explained she’d like her partner to let her “talk for a few hours and really listen”. Others like Jocelin Engel wish their partner would simply say “I love you.” Facebook fan, Carole Ballard, co-owner of Thurston House B&B said “I have always told my dear husband if he bought me anything like expensive jewelry or flowers on Valentine’s because he had to, I would kill him! I much prefer the little flower picked when coming in from the yard or the little note left in my suitcase when I travel alone.”
And what do men really want? Surprisingly, they want a little gratitude and time to do the things they love too. While time with their mate is important, men report that the chance to spend a little time in their man cave watching sports without a hassle would top their list. And since the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, any of his favorite foods, prepared just the way he likes them are also among top sellers for a great man-Valentine too.
At Valentine’s Day the stakes are high. Blow it, and you’ll be paying for it for a long time. Get it right, and you’re golden for the month! Here’s some advice for both men and women.
Like it or not, women expect something on Valentine’s Day and the more thoughtful the better. And guys – if you bring home sexy lingerie on Valentine’s Day, you’d better understand she means it when she says “you shouldn’t have!” That’s a gift for you, not her.
While women like their men to be mind-readers and know exactly what they want, for most men clairvoyance is simply not in their genetic makeup. Ladies, if you want something, you need to spill the beans, and the more detail the better. The conventional wisdom among women is if they ask for a gift and get it, then it “doesn’t count”. Women want their men to figure it out themselves. So girls, if a romantic escape to one of the Distinctive Inns of Rockland is what’s on your mind, don’t expect your man to know that. Perhaps forward this blog with a “hint-hint” message, and a link to the DINE website.
And men, the same goes for you. We all know what you’re really thinking you want with that gift of sexy lingerie. You might go wrong with a gift from Victoria’s Secret, but you won’t go wrong with the gift of a romantic escape. If you really want to surprise her, purchase a gift certificate to any of 11 Distinctive Inns of New England and wrap it up in a beautiful box. In the end, it’s a gift for both of you!
Monday, January 27 is National Chocolate Cake Day; a deliciously little known holiday with a big pay-off! We can’t think of a better way to improve on Monday than chocolate cake! To celebrate we’ve presented some the best chocolate cake recipes from Distinctive Inns of New England. We’re willing to bet if you visit any of the 11 DINE inns on Monday, you’ll find something chocolate! Try one of these chocolate cake recipes, and let us help you improve on your Monday!
Chesterfield Inn Chocolate Tissimo Cake
20 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 lb. unsalted butter
14 oz. granulated sugar
15 eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbl. Grand Marnier
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate in double boiler. Cool slightly.
Cream butter and sugar. Add cooled chocolate mixture. Blend well.
Add yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and Grand Marnier.
In separate bowl, beat egg whites just until stiff, but not dry. Fold egg whites into chocolate-egg-butter mixture until completely incorporated. Reserve two cups of batter. Keep reserved batter covered, at room temperature.
Butter and then sprinkle with sugar, the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan. Pour remaining batter into pan.
Bake for 55 minutes. As cake cools, it will sink in middle. When cool, spread reserved batter in depression in center. Makes one 10 inch cake.
Here’s one with a surprise ingredient!
Rich Chocolate Beet Cake ~ A Decadent Dessert Recipe from Rabbit Hill Inn
Says Rabbit Hill Inn, hear us out on this one! If you like rich chocolate decadence – this is it! Don’t be turned off by the beets! Chocolate and beet have been making culinary music together for many a year. You must try it to believe it! If you wish to embrace the sweet beet just a bit more, try the Beet Sorbet recipe (seen below). This cake & sorbet combo is terrific. Pastry Chef, Phyllis had fun plating this dessert. She whimsically calls it “The Heart Beat”. As a bonus… it’s a heavenly gluten free chocolate dessert recipe, and makes a great Valentine’s Day dessert too!
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp Vanilla
Combine & bring to boil in a sauce pan. Remove from heat.
8 oz unsweetened bakers chocolate – chopped
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate – chopped
1 cup butter
> In a double boiler, melt these 3 ingredients together until smooth
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cooked shredded beets
In a large bowl – Beat eggs and sugar until thick and yellow. Add beets. Combine all three steps into the large mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.
Place batter in a lined and oiled 8″ pan. Bake in a water bath at 350 for 25 minutes (or until just set). Cool. Then refrigerate until firm. Cut cake into desired shape (like the heart shape seen above).
Beet Sorbet Recipe – Food processor needed
Step one – prepare simple syrup
2 cups water
10 oz sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
Combine and boil for a few seconds. Remove from heat and cool
8 oz beets, previously cooked
1 cup of simple syrup (from recipe above)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Puree until smooth. Then strain.
Spoon puree into desired ice cream form for preferred shape. Freeze in your ice cream freezer as per directions. If you do not have an ice cream freezer, simply pour puree mixture into a steel pan, cover w/ plastic wrap, and freeze (3-4 hours). Remove from freezer and keep at room temperature until partially thawed. Process in a food processor to break up the sorbet and give it texture. If you have a mold, use it now, or refreeze in pan for 2 hours, then use a scoop or spoon to form.
Add a serving of this sorbet to your plated chocolate cake.
If chocolate, beets and Grand Marnier are not in your cupboards, leave the cooking to us! Your New England romantic getaway is just a click away. Visit the DINE availability calendar and book your next winter getaway.
We’re on a recipe roll in the DINE blog. In last week’s blog posting, we created a compendium of links to recipes featured from DINE innkeepers. This week we’ll continue our focus on food with a spotlight on one of the healthiest ingredients you can find – ginger. Good for what ails your stomach and offering strong anti-inflammatory compounds, many of the 11 DINE member inns offer wonderful recipes featuring this power-packed ingredient. That means even if it is sweet and yummy, you can feel good about eating ginger treats at any of the 11 DINE member inns.
There are too many to list in one blog posting, but we’ve included three fabulous recipes for sweet treats featuring ginger. They’re easy enough to complete at home, but next time you don’t feel like baking, let one of the Distinctive Inns of New England do the baking for you. Whether served at breakfast, afternoon tea or a welcome reception, you’ll top off your romantic New England getaway with a fabulous sweet treat, and if you’re lucky, it will be one of these ginger concoctions.
Caramel Ginger Banana Wrap With Espresso Cream from Rabbit Hill Inn (serves four)
¼ cup butter
4 ripe bananas, sliced
1 ½ cups sugar
2 Tbls minced ginger
2 cups heavy cream
5 egg yolks
2 Tbls espresso powder
1 tsp cinnamon
4 plain tortillas
4 cups canola oil for frying
1 cup vanilla or cinnamon ice cream (optional)
4 sprigs fresh mint (optional)
12-18 edible flowers (optional)
2 Tbls powdered sugar
- In a hot sauté pan, add ¾ cup sugar and butter and cook over medium-high heat until golden brown.
- Add bananas and ginger and remove from heat.
- Stir in ½ cup heavy cream and let rest until cool enough to handle.
- Spoon banana filling into tortillas and roll as you would a burrito. Use a toothpick to secure.
- Fry in canola oil at 330° to 360°F for 1-3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain well.
For Espresso Cream:
- Bring 1 ½ cups cream to boil. Remove from heat and temper in egg yolks.
- Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and espresso.
- Allow mixture to marry and infuse for at least 30 minutes
- Strain and chill.
- Pool cream in center of plate.
- Slice wrap in half on a bias and place on cream.
- Garnish with ice cream, flowers, mint, and powdered sugar.
- Serve warm.
Gingered Pear Crisp from Captain’s House Inn Yield: 6 servings/ (Serving size is about 1 cup)
¼ Cup Golden Raisins
¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Grated orange rind
1 tablespoon Fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon Chopped peeled fresh ginger
½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
4 cups Chopped peeled Bartlett pears (about 4 pears)
¼ Cup All-purpose flour
½ Cup Regular oats
¼ Cup Packed brown sugar
¼ Teaspoon Ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons Chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons Chopped pecans
- Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring to combine. Add pears, toss gently to coat. Spoon pear mixture into a shallow 2-quart baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray.
- Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until resembles coarse meal, and stir in nuts. Sprinkle flour mixture over pear mixture.
- Bake at 375oF for 35 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Spiced Pumpkin Creme Brûlée from Chesterfield Inn
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 cup light cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar for caramelizing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, egg, cinnamon’ and ginger in a medium bowl. Whisk in cream until well combined. Divide mixture evenly between 6 ramekins. Place ramekins in shallow roasting pan. Pour boiling water into pan, half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until custard barely moves when you jiggle the ramekin, about 30-40 minutes.
Remove ramekins from roasting pan and let cool. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle tops of custard with sugar to cover completely. Turn upside down to remove excess sugar. Ignite blowtorch and caramelize sugar until evenly melted. Serve immediately.
Winter is the perfect time for that delicious and romantic New England getaway. Don’t forget to make plans to visit one of the Distinctive Inns of New England for you next escape.
Note: Photos via Google Images.
Why is it that winter brings out the hibernation instinct, which leads to more time in the kitchen? It’s uncanny. Every winter we gravitate to the kitchen for comfort foods. Soups, casseroles, warm beverages. That’s what we seek in the cold winter months. Surely there is some kind of scientific theory for this, but DINE innkeepers know that if that’s what their guests want, that’s what they’ll give them. Fear not, comfort food is never far away when you visit a DINE member inn!
Throughout the years we’ve maintained this blog, we’ve posted many recipes. Many of our member inns post recipes on their own websites too. Bookmark this blog posting, because it will serve as a great resource with links to many of your favorite DINE recipes all in one convenient location. Here goes…
Recipes on DINE websites & cookbooks
Captain Jefferds Inn: Hot Spiced Cider, Lemon Zingers, Baked Eggs Florentine and a video on how to create delicious wonders.
Chesterfield Inn: Yumm…Carrot Muffins, Chocolate Bourbon Bread Pudding and more. Click on the recipe card on the right side of the screen.
Gateways Inn: Look forward to recipes for Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Cake, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts, and much more!
Manor on Golden Pond: Go here for Corn and Crayfish Chowder and a link to their award-winning chili plus more.
Grafton Inn: Wild Mushroom & Spinach Risotto, Maple Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake and Clementine and Maple Roast Goose are among the many delicious recipes here.
Rabbit Hill Inn: There’s a virtual cookbook of recipes here. Maple Caramel Upside Down Cake, Shrimp, Crab and Asparagus Crepes with Orange Sauce, Grand Marnier Chocolate Cobbler and many additional recipes for winter comfort food.
Inn at Harbor Hill Marina: Visit the inn and you’ll find a cookbook filled with their favorite tried and true recipes.
For years we’ve been featuring recipes on the DINE blog. These are among the favorite of all postings. Here are some links to some of our popular compendiums of recipes on the DINE blog.
Soup’s On: Pumpkin Apple Soup from Captain’s House Inn and Curry Carrot Broccoli Soup from Rabbit Hill Inn.
Halloween Food: A pictorial essay on fun takes on Halloween treats.
Better Breakfast Month Recipes: Eggs Florentine from Camden Maine Stay Inn, Cream Scones from Chesterfield Inn, Spinach Tomato and Goat Cheese Frittata from Cliffside Inn plus more.
Yummy Cakes for the Fall: Easy Pumpkin Cake from Rabbit Hill Inn, Apple Walnut Struesel Cake with Cinnamon Custard from Captain’s House Inn.
Cool Summer Cocktails: Strawberry Mojito and Rum Punch from Chesterfield Inn, White Sangria from Champney’s Restaurant & Tavern at Deerfield Inn plus more.
Springtime and Easter Recipes, perfect for Entertaining: Crispy Duck Breast with Orange Asparagus Bulger from Rabbit Hill Inn, Maple Pecan Sundaes with Candied Bacon from Chesterfield Inn, plus links to many other springtime recipes.
Chocolate Fun Facts & Recipes: A great recipe for Chocolate Salami from Rabbit Hill Inn plus tons of choco-trivia.
Pancakes: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina’s coveted Ricotta pancake recipe.
There are many more recipes located on the DINE blog. Be sure to scroll through postings and you’ll be sure to find inspiration for your dining table this week! Better yet, plan your next getaway to any of the 11 DINE properties and let us do the cooking for you!
The outdoor temperatures throughout New England may be hitting a winter low, but inside the 11 Distinctive Inns of New England, life is aglow. From hot tea to crackling fires, we’re celebrating winter with romantic New England getaways, spa vacations and more. Mother Nature just delivered a winter package of snow at all 11 DINE inns, so this is the month to get out and enjoy winter fun, then come back in for the perfect warm up!
If only we had a dime for each time we heard complaints about the winter weather! New England’s winters are cold. There’s no getting around it. Rather than complain about it, we like to embrace the winter. As the sign says, we simply “put on our big girl panties and enjoy it!”. There’s nothing better than a winter walk on a quiet beach or a hike through the woods on a winter day. For the more adventurous, strap on a pair of skis or fly over a canopy of trees on a zipline. The best part about New England’s winters is that all of these adventures are within easy reach in DINE country.
Here are three ways to embrace winters in #DINEcountry:
Stroll hand in hand through the woods: Whether visiting Rabbit Hill Inn, Chesterfield Inn, Manor on Golden Pond or Camden Maine Stay Inn, you’ll find beautiful wooded trails within a short drive. Bring your snowshoes or walking sticks and follow the animal tracks. Better yet, take a guided full moon snowshoe tour to add a little romance to the trip.
Take the Cliff Walk or Beach Walk: Newport’s famous Cliff Walk is just steps from the Cliffside Inn, and the winter views from here are tremendous. From Captain’s House Inn, Captain Jefferds Inn or Inn at Harbor Hill Marina, the beaches of Cape Cod, Kennebunkport and the Connecticut Shoreline are within a short drive. There’s something very peaceful about a deserted beach in the winter as the ever-changing tides remind us that some things are always changing and others never change.
Take a Guided Tour: Visit any of the DINE inns in Northern New England and you’ll find XC Centers nearby offering guided snowshoe, animal tracking and XC Tours. Time your visit for a full-moon night, and you just might find the perfect moon-lit romantic tour. The Grafton Inn’s Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center offers a wide range of winter programs and guided tours too.
Take the dog for a walk in the snow: A number of DINE inns offer pet-friendly room. Stay at the Cliffside Inn, and your four-legged friend will have a friend. Koty, is the Cliffside Inn’s mascot and assistant innkeeper and loves to welcome friends to their cottage pet-friendly rooms. Chesterfield Inn also offers pet-friendly rooms too.
Go sledding or skating: Ignite your inner kid and grab the sled or ice skates for a spin down the hill or across a frozen pond. You’ll relive the carefree days!
The best part about these winter adventures is the chance to return to the inn and warm up by the fire. Sip on a hot toddy at the Gateways Inn Piano Bar or Champney’s Restaurant and Tavern at Deerfield Inn. Snuggle up to the fire; many rooms offer private in-room fireplaces. Or step it up a notch and enjoy a couples massage after a day of outdoor adventure. R&R feels great, especially after a day outside.
There’s plenty of time to fit in an outdoor adventure at any of the eleven DINE inns. Click here for an easy link to access availabilty at all DINE inns in one easy location.