Search

Uncategorized

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‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄėAvonlea‚Äô.

The name of The James Family property, ‚ÄėKindred Spirits‚Äô, 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, ‚ÄúKindred 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.‚ÄĚ ¬†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

‚ÄúLast 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!‚ÄĚ

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‚Äôs Lane ‚Äď 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‚Äôll 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

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 Рdrawing 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‚Äôs Rose Inn. ¬†The historic Charlotte‚Äôs Rose Inn was constructed in 1884 and is all about style, comfort, and location ‚Äď 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 Рthey 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôs Upper Plaza is host to the city‚Äôs giant Christmas tree, illuminating the historic downtown streetscape.

As the Inn‚Äôs tour guide, Chris couldn‚Äôt 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‚Äôs provincial legislature since 1847. ¬†Along with Chris‚Äô 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôs heritage while maintaining a vibrant urban core.¬† This is exactly the balance that the Charlotte‚Äôs Rose Inn has perfectly created for their guest(s) with its eclectic mix of art,history, and preservation of the Inn‚Äôs character. ¬†Innkeepers Chris and Eileen are eager to share their knowledge and passion for the culture that surrounds their Inn ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 Рthe 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 ‚Äď 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‚Äôs central location provides an ideal base to spend your entire Island vacation with tranquility as you easily access all of Prince Edward Island‚Äôs Maritime spirit. ¬†The picnic basket definitely left the Inn restored and with a new refreshed spirit ‚Äď 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!

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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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‚Äôt 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 ‚ÄúThe Easiest Golf Vacation You Will Ever Book‚ÄĚ. ¬†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‚Ķ 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 ‚Äď 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‚Äôt 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 ‚Äď 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‚Äôs, the what if‚Äôs, and we forget to live in the moment. ¬†That is the magic of travel ‚Äď it slows us down, we live in the moment because we don‚Äôt want to miss a new discovery or anything as we pass by. ¬†In a sense, our playful inner child emerges ‚Äď anticipating with great excitement what‚Äôs 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‚Äôs guests favourites for years. ¬†The flavours in the recipe below marry perfectly with all those warm spices ‚Äď 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

  • ¬Ĺ cup Demerara sugar (or brown sugar)
  • ¬ľ cup molasses
  • 6 Tbsp. Water
  • ¬Ĺ 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 ¬ĺ 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 Рput 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 Рa 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‚Äôt 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď to relax, enjoy, and freshen the spirit.

It is all about feeling like you are ‚Äúhome‚ÄĚ 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.

Celebrating 150 Years In Rustico!

Rustico is home to many Historic sites, including the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico, the Doucet House, St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church and of course, the Barachois Inn

With a taste for Acadian delicacies and a hunger for History, innkeepers Judy and Gary MacDonald welcomed our picnic basket with a promise to go on a tour of charming Rustico.

With the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference that led to Confederation, many celebrations are taking place this year in PEI.¬† There’s no better time to pay a visit to some of the Island’s oldest and most important places.¬† Judy and Gary felt that taking the basket on a tour of three of Rustico‚Äôs historic buildings would be a fitting way to share their passions and the Acadian lifestyle.

The first of our trio of historic places is the Island’s oldest Roman Catholic Church, St. Augustine’s.¬† Celebrating its 175th Year, it is a landmark for being the oldest church in the Diocese of Charlottetown and served as the pro-cathedral for the diocese until a building was erected in Charlottetown.¬† Acadian craftsmen used local Island materials to build the church, making this landmark a beautiful symbol of faith, perseverance and architecture.

Next was an exciting and educational visit to the Farmers’ Bank of Rustico.¬† With the Farmers’ Bank in London signing its charter 150 years ago, the Farmers’ Bank is sharing this sesquicentennial with the Charlottetown Conference – a meeting so important that it’s prided on being the beginning of our great Country!¬† The Farmers’ Bank, of course, would not be complete if it did not itself include a farm, and it does indeed include one.¬† When the basket visited, the farm was preparing to serve up a bumper crop of cucumbers and beans, with beets and cabbage not far behind and a bountiful harvest of carrots waiting for fall.

To complete their historical tour, Judy and Gary took the basket to the Doucet House for a meal of traditional Acadian foods.  Walking through the front door they were transported back to the year 1772 and were greeted by the man and lady of the House, Jean and Marguerite (Gaudet) Doucet.  The house has been fully restored, having been moved from its original location in Grand-Pere Point (now Cymbria).

A delicious evening of food was prepared in the traditional Acadian style with meat cooked in the hearth and using vegetables from the Doucet’s own garden.¬† The warm bread cooked on the open hearth is a favourite treat of most visitors.¬† It’s a treat so yummy that Judy and Gary returned to the Barachois Inn with an extra loaf in the basket!

There was just one more place steeped in history left to experience and that was the Barachois Inn. The MacDonald family is celebrating its own milestone this year welcoming guests to the Barachois Inn for the last thirty years, and they look forward to welcoming you when you come to discover and celebrate all that the greater Rustico area has to offer in this sesquicentennial year.

A Tisket, A Tasket, Fitzroy Hall Has Welcomed a Basket!

Innkeepers Helen and Reg Doucette have hosted all sorts of fantastic guests at Fitzroy Hall from across the globe and from almost every continent. ¬†Each guest is unique and makes Prince Edward Island a part of their heart upon each visit. ¬†Yet, with all of the amazing and wonderful people they‚Äôve welcomed through the door, none were quite as unique as this fun-loving Picnic Basket!¬† It’s been across the Island, visiting¬† and experiencing everything PEI has to offer and so Helen and Reg knew that at Fitzroy Hall that it was time for our friend to take some well needed rest and relaxation.

With a day of kicking back and enjoying the Inn on the schedule, we let our newest guest pick a room.  Being a basket of discerning taste, it selected the always elegant Georginna Coles Brown room!  Apparently the soothing blues reminded him of the ocean and the delicate Victorian design of an era past.  An excellent choice.

After the basket settled in an unpacked his belongings, it went to relax among the fragrant flowers and tasteful decorations in the garden.  It really seemed to be enjoying itself as the relaxing environment of the garden caused its everyday worries to disappear.

In the afternoon, Helen and Reg invited the basket up on the porch for a swing in the shade. ¬†They sat and chatted about everywhere he’s been and even discussed some dinner plans before embarking on a conversation about Fitzroy Hall‚Äôs history.¬† Helen went on to tell their guest about how their home played host to another very special guest, a Father of Confederation!¬† With all of the stories and details safely stored in its memory, the basket promised to share them with the folks it would encounter on its Island journey. ¬†It was a challenge, as it always is on PEI, to break away from good conversation, but dinner had yet to be enjoyed.

With a bottle of wine and some delicious Island treats hidden away, the basket enjoyed dinner in the Rose Parlour before retiring for the evening.

The following morning the basket was the first down to breakfast.  The  basket is usually an early riser, but the scent of Helen’s fresh Island Blueberry Pancakes cooking provided extra incentive to join the other guests around the breakfast table.  The pancakes tasted as good as they smelled, and the basket even took the opportunity to take a snapshot of all the friends it made at breakfast!

The reason that Helen and Reg Doucette became Innkeepers is a combination of their love for people and for Prince Edward Island.  They want to help people enjoy everything that the Island has to offer and allow their guest(s) to have the fullest experience they can possibly have.

‚ÄúThere’s a real satisfaction that comes from knowing you’ve helped someone relax and unwind from a busy schedule or shown them the beauty of a Province or Country that isn’t their own.‚ÄĚ ~Helen Doucette

Our Picnic Basket certainly felt the Island hospitality at Fitzroy Hall… have you?

There’s No Taste Like Home

Don’t we all remember the wonderful smells coming from our grandma’s kitchen?  The anticipation of the delicious baked goods that would be so tantalizingly displayed on the farm table at the next meal as the family gathered around?

At Little York Bed and Breakfast breakfasts are special!¬† Your morning starts with the aroma of fresh baking and freshly brewed coffee and tea.¬† Savour your breakfast in the sun-filled dining room overlooking the pastoral countryside, reading the newspaper, or planning your day. ¬†Whatever you have in store, Robert will offer your stomach plenty of homemade pastries and jams ‚Äď all from his grandmother‚Äôs recipes.¬† True to his grandma‚Äôs recipes, Robert cooks on the woodstove throughout the winter months and uses an electric stove in the summer months due to the heat.¬† The woodstove is ¬†one of the many reasons Robert bought the house.¬† When he saw the wood stove in the kitchen, it reminded him of his grandmother‚Äôs house; bringing family full circle for him.

“After 16 years working in Senior Management positions in some of Canada‚Äôs high end hotels, I decided to leave the corporate world and open my home as a B&B.¬† Little York Bed & Breakfast opened its doors in September 2006.¬† I grew up in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Our family home was a 1865 year old Captain‚Äôs House, very similar to the B&B.¬† Since age 16 I have been involved in the Tourism Industry including owning and operating my own restaurant at age 23 in Lunenburg.”

A true “Maritimer”, Robert Jourdain returned home to the east coast in 2003. After purchasing the Large property that is now Little York Bed and Breakfast, he began moderate renovations holding true to the home’s cozy island charm. Then in 2006, after many years honing his craft working in the hospitality industry, he decided to open his home to the public to share his passion for hospitality. When not hosting his many guests at Little York Bed & Breakfast, Robert also shares his passion for hospitality through inspiring his students at the Culinary Institute of Canada, Holland College as an instructor in the International Hospitality Management program, and also as a board member and Past President of the Bed & Breakfast & Country Inns Association of Prince Edward Island, as Vice President of the Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island (TIAPEI).¬† Recently, Robert has also accepted a board position with the Tourism Advisory Council (TAC)to the Minister of Tourism.

From grandma to Robert … and now to your kitchen… here is a recipe that will warm your heart and make you feel right at home.

‚ÄúMy grandmother‚Äôs Oatmeal molasses bread, also known as Brown bread, my family had every Saturday night with baked beans when I was growing up.¬† My Kitchen range ¬†woodstove is not used in the summer as it gets too hot, but I do use the Kitchen range woodstove all winter to cook on.¬† I also bake the bread in old coffee tins so the loaves are round.‚ÄĚ Robert Jourdain, Innkeeper, Little York B&B

 

Rolled Oat Bread

  • 2 Tbsp. ¬†Dry yeast
  • ¬Ĺ cup Warm water
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 1 cup Rolled oats
  • 1 ¬Ĺ cup Boiled water
  • ¬Ĺ cup Molasses
  • 1 ¬Ĺ tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/3 cup Shortening
  • 2 BEATEN Eggs
  • 5 ¬Ĺ cups Flour
  1. Soften your yeast and sugar in warm water.
  2. Combine the next 5 ingredients and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Beat in yeast and eggs and 2 cups of the flour and mix until smooth.
  4. Continue adding flour only until the dough forms a smooth ball.
  5. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.
  6. Shape into 2 loaves and let the dough rist again
  7. Bake loaves in a preheated 375F oven for 40 minutes.

It’s simple…enjoy all the island has to offer then come home and relax at Little York Bed and Breakfast…cozy Island comfort…minutes from everywhere!