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Kindred Spirits

There is something about Anne Shirley, from L.M. Montgomery’s first novel Anne of Green Gables, that makes it impossible not to love her instantly.  Having lived on Prince Edward Island for nearly seven years, I thought it was time I find out for myself what so many around the world have already discovered.  Now into book three, Anne of The Island, what I love most about Anne’s character is her ability to bring out the best in people.  Coincidentally, one of our member inns is quite connected to the setting for the novel series. Like Anne, innkeepers Dan and Becky James of Kindred Spirits Country Inn also know how to bring out the best in people and share their love for family, nature, peace, creativity, and imagination!

Kindred Spirits Country Inn began with the purchase of the former Links Inn in 1986 from Al and Sharon James.  The Inn continues in the James Family with its purchase by Dan and Becky James in 2012.  The Inn is located in beautiful Cavendish -  just over the fence from Green Gables Heritage Place, the inspiration for the setting in L.M. Montgomery’s classic tale, and a short walk away from the breathtaking Cavendish Beach.  Surrounded by outstretched maples and manicured gardens, the cottages and rooms invite you to linger awhile as you enjoy the peace and beauty of the real ‘Avonlea’.

The name of The James Family property, ‘Kindred Spirits’, comes from the first Anne of Green Gables story and is used to describe the closest of friends.  There is a lovely quote from the book that really sums up how they feel after a few years of innkeeping, “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”  Innkeeper Becky James shared this lovely story that exemplifies what the Inn is truly about and what makes the hospitality industry so intriguing for her and her husband Dan

“Last summer we had two different families checking in at the front desk.  We were chatting with the first family and asked them where they were from.  They told us they were from New York City.  The couple behind them chimed in that that is where they were from too.  As they got talking, they realized they live just a few houses down from each other.  It took a trip to PEI to meet!”

You could almost drop that scene directly into a L.M. Montgomery novel, don’t you think?

If you have never had the pleasure of visiting our beautiful Island, pick up one of L.M. Montgomery’s novels, with Anne Shirley as her main character, and let the words used to describe the Avonlea landscape take you away so that you may dream of one day seeing it for yourself.  Come and stay at Kindred Spirits to meander down Lover’s Lane at Green Gables and gaze down into the trickling brook, peek under the tall ferns for Lady’s Slipper flowers, or just enjoy the silence and beauty that surrounds you.  No matter the time of day, Lover’s Lane is beautiful morning, noon, and night.

If that is not enough for the imagination, take a 15 minute jaunt down what is known locally as Hamie’s Lane – a beautiful trail where you will end up at the ocean, but not without passing baby goslings in the Lake of Shining Waters and breathing in the intoxicating natural woodlands and wild flowers – one can take forever to get to the ocean. However, you’ll be surprised how quickly your pace increases once you catch a glimps of the deep blue of the Gulf and the inviting dunes!

Whatever brings you to PEI, Cavendish is a destination worth touring, so why not stay directly in the heart of the village.  Anne’s house is just over the fence from Kindred Spirits.  The nostalgic house , the beautiful Lover’s Lane, the Haunted Woods, and the Bubbling Brook are only moments away.  The beauty  of a childhood story, the oneness with nature, the wholesomeness of good times and family, and the remembrance of a simpler way are all embodied in the accommodations and activities of Kindred Spirits.

Do you have a favourite Anne scene or quote from the novel series?  Perhaps you have visited Green Gables Heritage Place and have a story to share.  Let your creativity flow and share with us today!

Happy Holidays From The Inns of Distinction!

At this time of year when the air is filled with music and the smell of holiday cooking, our thoughts turn to family and good friends who add joy to our lives.  It is a time to reminisce, and we have been doing a lot of it lately.

The joyous and blissful festival of the holidays reminds us of beautiful moments and happy memories celebrated with all our guests in the past year, giving each of us innkeepers another chance to relive them and look forward to adding new memories in 2015.  Thank you to all our guests who made 2014 so memorable!

The stockings have been hung with care, the cookies have been baked and decorated.  The tree has been trimmed, the presents have been wrapped.  The only thing left is to wish all of you a happy holiday season and a happy new year from all of us with the Inns of Distinction!  However you may celebrate, we send you our best wishes of the season!  May your new year be filled with much joy, happiness, and health.  We look forward to seeing many of you again in the coming year!

The Innkeepers of The Inns of Distinction

Farm To Fork

Inn at Bay FortuneMany people today are more and more willing to try flavours from other countries and cultures around the world.  In part, this is due to the convenience of travel, making the world a smaller place and making previously exotic ingredients more readily available.  The desire to make each other’s cuisine at home and the demand for ethnic cuisine in North American towns and cities is growing.  Here on Prince Edward Island, you don’t have to look far for food culture, and you don’t have to go far to find the ingredients as many local farmers are now growing a greater variety of ingredients to meet increasing local demand.  Our picnic basket has developed quite a refined palate over its journey around the Island – from exquisite breakfasts to delightful afternoon treats.  The basket has had a wonderful adventure to this point, but it was looking forward to its next objective – appearing at an inn known as being a fine dining culinary destination.

Our picnic basket arrived on the beautiful veranda at The Inn At Bay Fortune.  The Inn is best known throughout Canada for its “Farm to Table” philosophy and innovative use of Island products from both local farmers and fishers and also from its own garden.

In meeting innkeeper David Wilmer, the basket learned that the Inn was originally the private summer home for Broadway Playwright Elmer Harris, who purchased the property in 1908 and built what is now the Main Inn as his summer home in 1913.  The Inn also has its own connection to Anne Shirley, as it  was also the former summer home of actress Colleen Dewhurst (Marilla in the Anne of Green Gables TV Series).  In 1988 David and his family bought the property and renovated it into an inn  and restaurant, now in its 26th year of operation.

The Inn is also proud to be the home of the former TV cooking show “The Inn Chef”, which featured Inn at Bay Fortune chef emeritus and popular Food Network Canada host Chef Michael Smith.  The television series began airing in September, 1998 on the Life Channel .  the show was in production throughout the summer of 1998 at the Inn.  Another season taping began in April, 1999, and again in 2000.  A total of 65 episodes were filmed at The Inn At Bay Fortune.  The series showcased the kitchen gardens of the Inn with an interesting format demystifying the creation of haute cuisine and making it accessible to the home cook.

From The Inn At Bay Fortune and a variety of locations throughout Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, host and chef Michael Smith created imaginative , artistic menus catering to the connoisseur, the traveler, the comedian and just about anyone who loves food.

Gardens at the Inn at Bay FortuneThe first step in being a foodie is to be curious about food.  It’s no great secret that the picnic basket is a foodie – after all, it is what it contains best.  Ever the wanderer, the picnic basket definitely got around and into the thick of things quickly at the Inn.  First it checked out the kitchen –  hanging out at the Chef’s Table, then into the walk-in cooler to check out what was in store for dinner.  One of the things that can make or break a good meal is the quality of produce you use and it isn’t hard to find good produce on Prince Edward Island, especially when it is grown and picked fresh from the garden directly outside your kitchen door. Later that day, the picnic basket was out in the garden with Chef Dana Wood to see what might be good on the menu for the evening entrees.  The garden was bountiful, as Chef Dana and his kitchen crew stuffed the picnic basket  with more than one could eat at a single sitting.  Guests taste-buds were going to be singing!

Picnic Basket in the Inn at Bay Fortune KitchenNext the basket was given an opportunity of a life time in helping Chef Dana select the wines that would be paired with the menu for the evening.  It got a little overzealous, as it couldn’t resist the vast selections it found in the wine cellar.  The basket was caught sneaking into the wine cellar and filling its woven-self full of wines from the nova Scotia winery Benjamin Bridge.  An excellent choice!  Perhaps it was doing a bit of research before offering feedback to Chef Dana.  Hmm, we’ll go with that.  Chef was starting to think this picnic basket was a foodie, as it nearly spent all of its time perched comfortably in the kitchen – asking about seasoning food, observing knife techniques, and carefully watching how to artistically plate the food.

As exciting as it was for the basket to be a part of the kitchen service for an evening, it quickly learned from Chef Dana that you can’t learn everything there is to learn about food in one day.  You continue to learn everyday and if you keep everything balanced and absorb all things in moderation, you will be a foodie in no time.  Don’t be afraid to try new things, you never know where they will take you!

Do you consider yourself a foodie?  What is the most exotic ingredient you have consumed?  Share with us your story by commenting below.  We can’t wait to read your stories!

Start Your Day The B&B Way!

Breakfast, or the act of breaking your fast, is said to be the most important meal of the day and innkeeper Eileen Byart of the Charlotte’s Rose Inn agrees!  We wrote about Eileen’s artistic passion for gardening in our previous blog and now it’s time to talk about her other passion, cooking!

Not all seasonal foods can make an appearance at every meal of the day and hold their own, but apples have that great ability!  Eileen loves creating morning masterpieces in the kitchen for her guests, and her guests equally love eating them!  This Cinnamon Apple Puff is a particular favourite -  it was the most popular breakfast among guests this year.  With the numerous requests for this recipe, Eileen wanted to send it from her recipe box to yours!

 

Cinnamon Apple Puff

Ingredients

  • 1 large Granny Smith apple (peeled, cored and sliced very thin)
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cinnamon sugar
  • Liquid Gold’s Meyer Lemon Fused Oil ( available in PEI or online from Liquid Gold and All Things Olive)  or lemon juice for garnish
  • icing sugar for garnish

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 475 F.  Grease four 4 inch ceramic ramekins.  Saute the apple slices in 1 Tbsp. of butter for 5 – 10 minutes until tender.  Divide the slices evenly between the ramekins.
  2. Mix the eggs, milk, flour and sugar until well blended.  Pour over the apple slices.  Put the
  3. ramekins on a tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, dot with
  4. remaining butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Return to oven for 5 minutes. Watch
  5. carefully as they will puff up.  Serve with a dash of the olive oil and dusting of icing sugar.

Make this holiday season merry, bright, and manageable with this deliciously simple breakfast or brunch dish.  It has such a wonderful apple flavor!  Make it your own by adding any of your favourite dried fruit –raisins, cranberries- or your favourite warm spices –nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, cardamom- to the apples for a wonderful holiday flavor.

Do you have go-to breakfast recipes that you always prepare during the holiday season or when you will be entertaining family and/ or friends?  We do, but we want to hear what you are keeping busy at in your kitchen.  Share with us your recipes by commenting below.  In the meantime, enjoy!

Charlottetown’s Cultural Life

Charlottetown has a great deal to offer when it comes to art, culture, and history.  It has a thriving arts scene of its own – drawing artists , historians, performers, and audiences from near and far.  There is no shortage of festivals to experience in Charlottetown; the largest of them being this year’s 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.  More than 150 festivals, events, and activities have nearly completed a year-long , province-wide celebration.

The picnic basket wanted to take in some of the history and culture of Prince Edward Island and found itself bundled at the doorstep of the welcoming Charlotte’s Rose Inn.  The historic Charlotte’s Rose Inn was constructed in 1884 and is all about style, comfort, and location – an excellent selection for the basket, as it wanted to be in the heart of the city so it could envelop itself in all of the culture the historic downtown has to offer.

The Charlotte’s Rose Inn blends a central location with an eclectic interior design.  Modern art is skillfully interwoven with fine antique furniture and period architectural detailing to create a relaxing but stimulating atmosphere.  In addition, the basket discovered that innkeepers Chris and Eileen Byart shared in some of the same interests that it was seeking to discover on this journey.  Innkeeper Chris has strong interests in history and art, while his wife Eileen takes on a more hands-on artistic approach with  gardening and cooking.  Both of them love to travel and explore, allowing them to have a personal outlet for continued inspiration for their inn.

Chris and Eileen visited with the basket in the front foyer and talked about their longtime dream of owning a B&B.  After being in the business/ hospitality industries for over 20 years, they decided recently to take the plunge and purchased the Charlotte’s Rose Inn in March, 2014.  They discovered the Inn after several vacations with their family on the Island and decided this was the place to call home and make their dreams come true – they loved the closeness of the water, the beaches, and pace of life.

Signs of the innkeepers passions were evident from the moment the basket entered the Inn.  Eileen’s love for gardening presented itself beautifully throughout the house and in the well-tended garden.  As the innkeepers welcomed the basket inside their home, the basket took its place in the Lounge, admiring the eclectic mix of paintings, sculpture, books, and artifacts collected by Chris and Eileen over the years.  The basket was pleased to explore the art of many local artisans featured throughout the room.

For its first history lesson, Chris and Eileen took the basket on a tour of the luxurious guest rooms.  The Inn’s rooms all have a historical bent…  The Jacques Cartier Room is named for the explorer who sailed by PEI in 1535, failing to realize that it is an island.  This room faces south and has a Victorian footed bath tub.

The William Henry Pope room, with twin beds, features period reproduction wallpaper.  It is named after a famous supporter of Confederation who was also a lawyer, judge and newspaper editor.

A private hallway leads to the John Hamilton Gray suite.  Colonel Gray was Premier of PEI from 1863 to 1865 and was Chairman of the 1864 Confederation Conference, the anniversary of which has been celebrated extensively this year.

The charming Confederation Room showcases a four poster bed, heritage design wallpaper and a view to the front of the house.  This room celebrates the Charlottetown Conference  in 1864, which laid the groundwork for the Confederation of Canada.

Chris and Eileen didn’t have to stretch their legs far before they and the basket stumbled upon more Island culture. Downtown Charlottetown is still a compact city, which makes it easy to explore on foot.  Only two blocks from the Inn you will find the Confederation Center of the Arts, a place that houses the provincial capital’s art gallery, performance theatre, and public library.  During the holiday season, the Centre’s Upper Plaza is host to the city’s giant Christmas tree, illuminating the historic downtown streetscape.

As the Inn’s tour guide, Chris couldn’t bear to have the basket bypass Province House National Historic Site as the building represents such history,  being both the “birthplace of Confederation” and also the seat of Prince Edward Island’s provincial legislature since 1847.  Along with Chris’ knowledge of Canadian history, a guided tour, displays, and an audio-visual presentation, the basket definitely had a basket-full of historical information it couldn’t wait to share on its continued journey around the Island.

These were just a couple of the cultural experiences that the basket discovered during its time at the Charlotte’s Rose Inn, never mind the local cuisine, the Charlottetown Harbour, historic churches, and pop-up Farmers’ Markets, all conveniently located within a few blocks walk of the Inn.

Charlottetown today is a city of contrasts, melding old with the new.  A lot of care has gone into preserving and echoing the city’s heritage while maintaining a vibrant urban core.  This is exactly the balance that the Charlotte’s Rose Inn has perfectly created for their guest(s) with its eclectic mix of art,history, and preservation of the Inn’s character.  Innkeepers Chris and Eileen are eager to share their knowledge and passion for the culture that surrounds their Inn – an area which is still well-defined in a unique layout grid that is nearly 250 years old.

Have you had the pleasure of visiting Charlottetown?  Share with us your favourite sight-seeing feature through the Island tradition of storytelling or through the more modern form of art, a digital photograph.  We can’t wait to hear from you!

Firedance Your Way Into Tranquility

If there is one word that for many of us describes a vacation, it is tranquility – calmness, serenity, and freedom from the worries of day-to-day life.  Nestled on the bank of the West River in St. Catherines, PE, the picnic basket found such harmony at the Firedance Country Inn. The interpretation of the word tranquil is typically linked to the engagement with the natural environment – making the peaceful acreage the perfect setting for guests and the basket to relax in peace and quiet and enjoy the freedom from modern day distractions.

The opportunity to be a magic basket at the Cranford Inn was adventurous and exciting, but the basket definitely prefers to be a friend and guest at the inns it visits.  How can you resist being pampered at such luxurious Island inns and bed and breakfasts with such personal service and attention to detail – a standard of quality that all Inns of Distinction member inns maintain.

Over the years, innkeepers at the Firedance Country Inn have come to realize that the guests that arrive at their Inn are more than just strangers looking for accommodations while on vacation, they become friends looking for a destination, a place to relax, and a place to reunite.  New faces become a gathering of new friendships.  The basket took great enjoyment in welcoming guests and help them find their inner peace during its stay at the Inn.  Often the action of giving can warm and calm us inside like nothing else.

Over the period of time that the basket has been visiting our member inns, it has developed quite the basket full of finer foods, and Firedance Country Inn did not disappoint!  I don’t know about you, but I get excited about fresh produce and its endless possibilities – the texture, the colour, the variety.  Guests of the Firedance Country Inn get to experience this freshness when their country garden is in season.  It was a pleasure for the basket to offer guests every morning gourmet breakfast entrees and delights.  Remember, having its basket full of food is one of its most favourite things to do!  Sharing in the celebration of food and the company of the holders is also a great pleasure for the basket.

Any time of year you can enjoy this four season playground  where you can kayak, bicycle, hike, or snowshoe as soon as you walk out the back door.  There are numerous breathtaking riverfront views and rolling landscapes to take in no matter the type of activity or season you select.  Since the basket was there to unwind, it gravitated towards everything tranquil – finding its favourite spot alongside the pond.  The beauty and interest of this little piece of heaven and the relaxing, soothing soundscapes coming from it were particularly pleasing.  There is something peaceful about water, whether it be ponds, fountains, streams, rivers, lakes, or oceans.  They attract our attention and demand very little from us and allow our minds to freely wander and explore.  Water has been understood around the world as a primary element and building block of plant, animal and human life.  No wonder folks on the Island are full of hospitality and graciousness – they are surrounded by the ocean with beautiful bays, rivers and estuaries providing the enjoyment of water to the communities from tip-to-tip.

For many the chance to experience tranquility is what makes the countryside different from cities. You can find beauty in architecture, but there is something about the quiet of nature that allows us to reset our minds.  Firedance Country Inn’s central location provides an ideal base to spend your entire Island vacation with tranquility as you easily access all of Prince Edward Island’s Maritime spirit.  The picnic basket definitely left the Inn restored and with a new refreshed spirit – ready to continue its journey.  Be sure to follow our blog for continued adventures!

How often do you spend outside taking in the beauty of nature?  Do you have a favourite spot that you like to go to to rejuvenate your spirit?  Share with us your quiet space and story in finding this particular location and what it does for your body, mind, and spirit.  Perhaps you have even visited the Firedance Country Inn and you have a story or photograph to share from your visit.  Either way, we’d love to hear from you!

In The Spirit Of Sharing

No one can deny that the holiday season presents a delicious array of food.  From fruitcake and candy canes to eggnog and gingerbread houses, holiday cookies have been a long standing tradition in most households.  Snickerdoodles are a common cookie you will be offered when you visit the Cranford Inn.  Snickerdoodles are commonly found in Island homes year-round.  This delectable cookie is similar to a sugar cookie, however it has the addition of being sprinkled with both cinnamon and sugar.

Time is a precious commodity at the Inn and innkeepers Vicki Francis and Martha Jacobson wanted to share this easy cookie recipe with you so that you can get a start on your holiday baking that will leave you with ample time to spend with family and friends throughout the holiday season.  After all, the holidays are magical for more than just the quantity of food we seem to be able to pull out of our fridge or freezer!

Cranford Inn Snickerdoodles

Ingredients For Cookie Dough

  • 1 cup butter; room temperature
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. crème of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • pecans or Chopped cranberries (optional)

 

Ingredients For Coating

  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ cup sugar

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. For the cookie dough, cream butter and sugar together; add eggs, one at a time until well incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients; mix until soft dough forms. Chill cookie dough 2 hours.
  4. Roll into 1 inch balls, roll in cinnamon and sugar coating.  Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until Golden Brown.  Remove cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool.  Store in a air-tight container.

The holiday season is a time for sharing with others.  Some people share gifts, some people share good spirit, and some people share food.  At the Cranford Inn, Vicki and Martha encompass their guests with all three gestures – ensuring their guests have afternoons snacks in-house or care packages of muffins and other treats for their daily excursions.  Now one of their guests favourite cookie offerings is being shared with you!

Do you have a favourite recipe that has been handed down through the generations in your family?  In the spirit of sharing – share with us your recipe!  You never know, one day while you are staying with one of our member inns you may find that it has been adopted as a favourite recipe!

The Magic Of Travel

You often read or hear about the pastoral scenery on the Island, the breath-taking sunsets, the friendly people, the rugged red sand dunes and beaches, all the treasured seaglass, and so on.  Whatever part is precious to you, experiencing it firsthand is a time of magic that restores and uplifts us.  When the Inns of Distinction picnic basket arrived at the Cranford Inn, it had a little something magical in store for the innkeepers – the basket had been treated with such gracious hospitality throughout its Island journey that it was time to turn the tables and have the innkeepers experience the enchantment of the Island themselves.

For many years, co-owners Vicki Francis and Martha Jacobson have been experiencing their own magic in shaping the Cranford Inn from a typical 1940’s residential home into a truly elegant modern accommodation.  The Inn is designed to provide the comfort of a first-class hotel while maintaining the charm and personal touches of a great Prince Edward Island bed and breakfast.  Centrally located in historic Charlottetown, it is the perfect resting place and portal to everything you would want to experience while visiting the Island.

After a successful career as a Social Worker and Manager, Vicki, with her partner Martha, found the perfect location to create their idea of a contemporary inn that would appeal to tourists and business people alike.  Martha came to inn keeping after retiring from teaching.  With lots of useable people skills, a keen eye for decor, a love for the outdoor gardens, and a long time idea that she would like to run a B&B, the inn came into her life at just the right time – that magic moment!

After arriving and unbeknownst to Vicki and Martha, the picnic basket suddenly transformed into a magic basket and sent them on a staycation to experience the magic of the Island that they are surrounded by.  Sometimes, we can get so wrapped up in our own lives, family, work, and anything that we can use as an excuse not to focus on ourselves, we fail to recognize and enjoy the beauty and wonder immediately around us.

For its first trick, Vicki and Martha opened the basket to find out they were about to set out on a three day journey to play several golf courses across PEI!  As innkeepers, the summer months are precious and this magical gift was just the thing these two ladies needed to unwind and be able to gain first-hand experience to share with their guests.  PEI has spectacular golf courses, dotting the Island landscape from links to manicured fairways.  It is often easy to coordinate things for other people, but the innkeepers weren’t sure where to start with making their own golfing plans, but as they dug deeper into the magic basket they discovered a fabulous resource titled “The Easiest Golf Vacation You Will Ever Book”.  It was at this point that Vicki and Martha decided to take off their innkeeper hats and replace it with the hats provided in the basket, now identifying them as Island golfers.  They were all in and ready to golf!  But wait… just as they felt equipped and ready to golf, they found golf shoes, tees, balls, gloves, and putters to complete the trick.  The basket enjoyed watching the ladies golf over their three day excursion – sharing in much laughter, the beauty of friendship, scenic landscapes, and Island hospitality.

For its second trick, Vicki and Martha opened up the basket to find a meal prepared to the standards of royalty.  In all the adventures the basket has been on this summer with the various innkeepers (http://www.innsofpei.com/inns), being taken on a picnic and treating it holders like a king or a queen is its most favourite thing to do of all!  Vicki and Martha enjoyed a perfect day indulging in many delicious picnic delights prepared in the kitchen at the Cranford Inn.  The Inn is famous for its three course breakfasts, so the basket needed to make sure that nothing but the best was provided for its royal friends.

For its third and final trick, Vicki and Martha opened the basket to find they were spending the day at the beach!  PEI is well-known for its beaches.  With so many of the National Park beaches being within a 30 minute distance from the Inn, the two innkeepers couldn’t wait to spend a warm sunny day in the hot sand and cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  The basket was full of everything they needed for their day at the beach – allowing Vicki and Martha to thoroughly relax and soak up the sun.  After all, this was their last day of staycation and they were going to make it a day of calm, relaxation, and an opportunity to clear the mind before they found themselves back in the hustle and bustle of running a bed and breakfast.

Sometimes we get overwhelmed by all the to-do’s, the what if’s, and we forget to live in the moment.  That is the magic of travel – it slows us down, we live in the moment because we don’t want to miss a new discovery or anything as we pass by.  In a sense, our playful inner child emerges – anticipating with great excitement what’s around the next bend in the road.  Thanks to the magic basket, the innkeepers at the Cranford Inn are rejuvenated and ready to welcome their many guests.

Have you planned a specific vacation/ retreat to restore your spirit or taken a vacation and discovered along your journey that the vacation was much more than you anticipated it would be for examining your self?  Share with us your magical travel moments!

The Tastes of Fall

Fall is in many ways a season of feasts.  From Thanksgiving through Halloween, and then turning our eyes to Christmas, we gather to celebrate with our families and friends, and these celebrations are very often centered around a meal.

Guests at the Briarcliffe Inn love the homemade breakfasts provided during their stays (a celebration in itself) and the recipe below has been one of the Inn’s guests favourites for years.  The flavours in the recipe below marry perfectly with all those warm spices – cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.  The addition of the Molasses Cinnamon Syrup makes for a perfect combination for fall and the holidays!

Pecan-Molasses Waffles

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs; separated
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 molasses or light molasses
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 finely chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk yolks, milk, molasses and oil; add into dry ingredients and mix until smooth, then stir in nuts.
  3. Beat egg whites in small mixer bowl to soft peaks and fold into batter.
  4. Measure and pour 1/3 cup of batter into preheated and greased waffle iron and cook until golden and cooked through.  Makes approx. 6 waffles.

 

Molasses Cinnamon Syrup

  • ½ cup Demerara sugar (or brown sugar)
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 6 Tbsp. Water
  • ½ tsp. Cinnamon; ground
  • 1 Tbsp. Salted butter

 

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat together the sugar, molasses, water, and cinnamon over medium heat.  Bring to a low boil and continue stirring until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.  Cool slightly.
  3. Transfer to a pouring pitcher for serving or a glass jar for storing (or gifting!).
  4. Keep refrigerated and use within 2 weeks.  Makes a little over ¾ cups of syrup.

Your family and friends will love this recipe so much that they will be asking you over-and-over to make the waffles every time they visit.  Why not give them the gift of this waffle mix this year – put the dry ingredients in a baggie and then place that bag into a seasonal decorative fabric bag or gift bag and include a tag with the recipe.  Makes for an extra special homemade gift anytime of year!

Have you ever received a special homemade edible gift from family or friends?  Share with us your gift idea and/ or recipe!  Enjoy this gift from the Briarcliffe Inn… just for you!

There’s No Place Like Home!

The picnic basket has been roaming all over the Island this summer, traveling from inn-to-inn quite comfortably as it is welcomed graciously by each innkeeper along the way.  It was most excited to be arriving at its next destination, the Briarcliffe Inn, as it was like coming home.  In our initial blog, we wrote about how the basket was discovered and started its Island journey.

Briarcliffe Inn turns 100 years old this year and the celebrations are about to begin on many levels.  The Inn has been many things over the years from a family dairy farm to wheat & potato production, to raising foxes and standardbred horses, to an  experimental farm for UPEI’s Agriculture Dept. in growing new grains.  For Bill and Mary Kendrick for the last 12 years it has been a warm & welcoming place to host guests from all over the world.  The Inn started its first 2014 celebration by welcoming new owners!

In June this year, Carrie and Malcolm became the new owners of the beautiful Briarcliffe Inn.  Former owners Bill and Mary Kendrick thoroughly enjoyed their years welcoming guests at the Inn and now have a new passion to offer all visitors to PEI – a connection to the Island and its people through Experience PEI. We wish Bill and Mary the best of luck and continued passion for their new endeavour.

Carrie is a Canadian from Ontario that started living abroad in 1998.  She moved first to Tel Aviv, Israel, and then to Brussels, Belgium.  She met Malcolm in Brussels, and from there they moved to Milton Keynes, England, where they lived for the past four years.   In England they had very busy and demanding jobs and decided that they wanted a change of lifestyle.  Carrie and Malcolm looked at purchasing a B&B in England, Scotland, and Wales, but just didn’t find the inn that captured their hearts.  Thus, Carrie asked her wonderful British husband if he would consider moving to Canada and he enthusiastically replied “YES!”

After much searching across all of Canada, they found the Briarcliffe Inn.  For Carrie it was love at first sight.  They visited in April, 2014, and looked at several other B&B properties for sale, but there was just something about the house and property that captured their hearts and creative spirit.

As Carrie and Malcolm are getting to know their new home, they felt it was appropriate to have the picnic basket tag along and discover (or in the basket’s case rediscover), the Briarcliffe Inn as well.  Few things will help you acclimate to your new home faster than learning where things are and familiarizing yourself with your new surroundings.

The picnic basket first met, Willy, Carrie and Malcolm’s beloved family pet.  Willy was awfully curious about the latest guest to the Inn, but the two soon became acquainted and comfortable friends.  Willy  took the basket to all the places he had discovered since he arrived at his new home and the basket shared with Willy some of the favourite haunts that it remembered when it called the Briarcliffe home. The basket remembered the woodpeckers that used to live in the old hollow tree on the property and the basket introduced Carrie, Malcolm, and Willy to its old feathered-friends.  The woodpeckers weren’t so sure about Willy, but they were certainly delighted to meet Carrie and Malcolm and were used to having Bill and Mary’s dogs sniffing around over the last several years.

Carrie and Malcolm hopped on their bicycles to show the basket the remainder of the property – taking in all of the beautiful, tranquil scenery and private beach at Salutation Cove.  They strolled the beach looking for driftwood and walking through warm pockets of salt water searching for that perfect seashell – with only the Blue Herons watching them.

Traveling can be a fun and adventurous time.  There are new places to explore and new friends to be made.  Planning your vacation can be stressful for people of any age whether they are experiencing their first or fiftieth vacation.  Even though there are a lot of things requiring your attention leading up to your departure, remember your vacation is  for you – to relax, enjoy, and freshen the spirit.

It is all about feeling like you are “home” at Briarcliffe Inn.  Have you had the pleasure of being a guest at the Inn?  Share with us your experience or view thoughts left by their guests.