Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Great Outdoors

Kirk and I both love any chance to play in the Great Outdoors. This year between innkeeping jobs we stopped  in Seattle and he got to play outdoors with our daughter. I got to play in the city  with our granddaughter. We both had such fun!

Kirk and Martine and several of her friends climbed Mt Daniel part of Alpine Lakes wilderness in northern Washington. A bunch of fit young ladies and one old mountain man - however, Mt Daniel has some real mountain climbing and Kirk was able to give the group a brief lesson on equipment use and snow safety, something he has had years of experience with. I think they were all happy to have him along in the Great Outdoors.

Finally - the summit of Mt Daniel!  WOW!

 And then the long walk home - It sounds like they had a fun time playing in the great outdoors but I think I had more fun at the zoo!

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

We Love the Dove

As Professional Innsitters we often get asked what is our favorite B&B. That's a hard question because we like all "our" properties and as Kirk often says, "the don't put B&B's in places you wouldn't want to visit".
But we really do love the Dove Inn in Golden Colorado. We have been taking care of the "Dove" for almost 10 years and it is like a second home to us.

 It also happens to be for sale!  Do any of you want to buy a lovely B&B in Colorado? We have worked for two owners here and would be happy to work for the next owner.

The Dove Inn was built sometime in the 1880's and has many
charming features from that time such as the old fireplace, lovely wood floors, narrow steep staircase and in the kitchen the old well is still hidden under the floor!
The photo below was taken sometime in the late 1800's and the building with the white porch pillars  is the Dove Inn with it's barn to the right.

Look how the front yard has changed in 150 years! It's much greener now and Kirk helps keep it that way.

So, if you're considering buying a B&B, consider the Dove Inn!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Adventures in Paradise

In between two of our assignments as Professional Innsitters we got to spend some time at the Paradise Inn on Mt Rainer as TayCee and Grandad with our favorite little travel buddy.

The Paradise Inn is one of those classic old lodges built in the 20's filled with all sorts of charming rustic touches such as a large lobby with two fireplaces and hand painted floral parchment lanterns. It also has a lovely dinning room where we ate and this enchanting mailbox where we mailed a post card to Great Grandma [Nana].

  We spent the night at the Paradise Inn and of course someone needed Grandad to read a bed time story. We had such fun!

 In the morning we got to hike the "paradise trail" which meanders around the base of Mt Rainier through old growth trees and  fields of wildflowers. Our little Grandbunny really likes to go hiking - as long as Grandad does the work! She's a true north-westerner. Even a little rain did not bother her. When we ran into some snow on the ground she said "TayCee pick me some snow" and then she carried her little snowball till it melted. Too cute!

We actually took three small "hikes" with the whole family and had a great adventure in Paradise!


                                                  Where's your favorite hiking trail?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Farm to Table


"Farm to Table" is an expression you hear a lot about these days - as Professional Innsitters we get to do farm to table often. It's especially easy in the summer when all the local fruit is ripe. So, one of the first things we do when we get to a new job is to go check and see what is fresh at the nearest fruit stand. Look at these berries! We can walk from our B&B to see the ladies who pick these for us!

Because it is summer and because you are my favorite readers, I will share some of my "oh so easy" farm to table recipes. On the right is my "Berries Romanoff ". Too easy - just mix sour cream with brown sugar till it is sweet enough for you, let it sit overnight and then stir and pour over fresh berries!

This is a stuffed croissant baked like french toast and covered with fresh strawberries and whipped cream - so rich, so tasty! Just slice a really big croissant, spread cream cheese in the middle, soak in french toast batter and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, flipping once.

Shhhh- don't tell anybody how easy this is, ok?

Check out these peaches - yea, the guy holding them looks pretty good too, right??

I won't share the guy but I will share a few easy tips for getting peaches from farm to table....

"Peach Melba" is just a fancy way of saying sliced peaches with whipped cream, raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries.

As with any really fresh fruit, you need to go from farm to table pretty quickly. But here is thing you can do if your peaches get too ripe.
K.C.'s Quick Peach Muffins: make any muffin batter you like but make it a little dryer than normal, hold a really ripe peach over the bowl and slice off chunks into the batter so that the juice also drips into the bowl. Then add some ginger and cinnamon and bake. Tasty farm to table Peach Muffins!

                                        Where is your favorite place to go for "Farm to Table" ?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Amazing Architecture

As Professional Innsitters we get to work in a lot of beautiful homes: old victorians, charming cottages and modern town houses. We do not get to see places like this! On our recent vacation we saw lots of amazing architecture and I'm going to share some of my favorites with you...

A lot of truly amazing architecture is to be found in Portugal. Both of these two palaces are in Sintra. The Pena Palace above is a fantastical pastel concoction that sits on top of a mountain looking down on all the other palaces. From there you can take a lovely stroll down to town.The Regaline Palace is done in the Manualine [lavishly overdecorated] style of architecture that is so popular in Portugal. This one because has a 100ft deep well with carved staircase that you can follow down to a cave!

 Here's another Manualine Palace ,a really lovely complex with a lake surrounded by palm trees- the Mataeus Palace in the Duro Valley outside of Porto. Yup, it's where good old Mataeus Rose wine was made. It is sill a winery and they make much better wine now - good thing Kirk was driving on our tour of the Duro Valley so that I could sip as much as I wanted! We stopped at several wineries some in palaces and some in old farmsteads.

Look closely at this amazing architecture - uh huh, human skulls used as molding! This is the Chapel of the Bones in Evora. All the walls in the chapel where made of bones to remind us how fleeting life is. Spooky!

This wonderful architecture is in Morocco but it is called the Portuguese Cistern because it was designed by a Portuguese architect. It is a hauntingly lovely cistern that has been in El Jadida for 800 years. Now the floor is covered with just a few inches of water to create beautiful photos such as this one.

Morocco itself is filled with amazing architecture - lots of very ornate plaster, stone, glass and wood work. The Islamic decorations are very geometric and detailed and some of them are very ancient. This door way is a mosque in Fez. Of course we could not go in but our guide showed us where to stand to get a peek and take a picture while the local men went to worship.

 This classic horseshoe archway is in an old Madersa or school that has been in Fez for 900 years - it used to be a place for Islamic students to study and now it is a place for tourists to be amazed.

As you can see we had an amazing vacation and the architecture was a big part of it.
What sort of architecture do you like best?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Travels with TayCee

My little grandaughter, Eleanor, calles me TayCee... I know, too cute right? This year on our vacation from Innsitting Kirk and I went to Morocco and guess who went with us? Well, of course her mother came along too so it was a real family affair.  I have to admit I was nervous about a baby in Morocco but she was treated like a princess and it was a great place to have a little one.

   Here we are having breakfast in our apartment [part of an old palace decorated with the most beautiful tile and plaster work you have ever seen] before going out to explore the ancient city of Fez. Our "home" was right in the middle of the warren of streets that makes up the old Medina but Noura [that's Arabic for Eleanor] did just fine with the crowds, donkeys, and noise. We had fun seeing sights and shopping - in the leather market she was given a tiny pair of slippers with sequins on them.

That night we had dinner at a restaurant called the "Ruined Garden". Yup, it was in a beautifully haunting ruined garden attached to a ruined palace. The food in Morocco is not varied but it is delicious - farm to table is the only way.  Noura loved the tagines: rice with vegetables and chicken cooked in a cone shaped pottery dish then brought to your table as a pyramid of food.

From Fez, we went to the Sahara - what a stunning place! Noura got to ride a camel and loved it. Here she is getting up close and personal with TayCee's  mount. Behind us is Ali, our host, who set up our camel ride in the desert and just LOVED the little one. He watched over her with an eagle eye. When she was ill, he brought her yogurt and as we left he gave her a hand made shirt that said "sahara" on it.

  Then on to Marrakesh. We had another Medina apartment. This one had a lovely private roof top deck with a covered sitting area and then a skylight to the "riad" below. This photo is a "dance party" on the deck before going out for the evening.  The baby's favorite thing in Marrakesh was a fun horse drawn carriage ride from the famous "al Fna" square  back to our "home".

Our last stop in Morocco was the seaside town of Essouria where Noura and TayCee loved to get their toes wet in the ocean. Here we had a magical blue and white house right on the ancient city walls and we had lots of fun exploring the fortifications. Of course we also took time to buy a few last trinkets from Morocco and have a few more great dinners.

What wonderful
    Travels with Taycee!!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Coastal Conference

Here I am with Claudia Toutain-Dorbec and Tina Sicilia having fun at the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild annual conference. K.C.'s Innsitting Service is a vendor member of the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild . However, I usually do not get to attend the conference because I am usually working somewhere. This year the conference was held at the coast and I happened to be working at the coast.

So, even though I was working, I was able to attend the dinner. It was great fun to get to see old friends and clients as well as network with B&B owners who might not be aware of my service - maybe create new clients, who knows?

Because the conference was at the coast, the dinner was a lavish seafood buffet. I admit I had two of these shrimp coctails [hey, no calories in those things, right?]

After dinner there was a drawing for prizes and of course I did not win anything. But I did have a lot of fun and I was happy that for once I got to attend at least part of the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild annual conference.                                          

   What is your favorite conference spot?
   The Oregon Coast, right?