Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Coastal Christmas

      Well, it is CHRISTMAS time and our current assignment is in Cannon Beach on the North Oregon Coast . What a special time of year here! Often the beaches are sunny and empty and of course there are so many charming Coastal Christmas decorations.
                       These are two of my favorites in the town of Seaside. Arn't they cute?
I especially like the dancing starfish. We got to sit right there behind him and watch the sunset and then have a very cold beach walk. This time we even had snow on the beach that lasted for two days. That's unusual. So aside from cold beach walks and decorating "our" inn, Kirk and I get to experience some of the local Coastal Christmas fun. This year we have been to a great concert and we always try to go to the Coaster Theater for their Christmas play. This year it was "White Christmas". Perfect!!

It was a great show and really got us in the
Christmas spirit. I hope all of you are spending the Christmas season somewhere magical and that you have a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lighthouse and Lifeboat

  It's a CRAZY COAST here in Port Orford Oregon. This is Cape Blanco with it's perfectly preserved picturesque Lighthouse. Cape Blanco  is the westernmost point in the country and stunningly beautiful. We got to take a tour of the Lighthouse and go all the way up into the light tower where you can see for miles up and down the coast. The old "Fresnel" lens is over 100 years old and still in use. Beside the Lighthouse, Cape Blanco Park  has great hiking trails, pic-nic spots and a restored farm house from the late 1800's.


  Port Orford also has some cool beaches with "sea stacks" that you can walk through at low tide and lots of great beach combing. But be careful because at high tide this beach almost disappears -crazy, huh? Kirk and I have spent several days walking here at low tide. It's always very interesting. There are other interesting beach towns nearby such as Bandon with  it's artistic boardwalk right by the bay. Check out my crazy seahorse...                  

 Port Orford Heads is a restored Coast Guard Lifeboat station. This lifeboat was used for marine rescue until 1970. It's very interesting to tour the old Coast Guard station and see all the memorabilia and shipwreck information. The water here is famous for it's rocks, reefs and storms. It is really a crazy part of the coast and here is how the locals tell what the weather is:


 Just as accurate as your computer, right??

Friday, November 29, 2013

Pickin' Pumpkin


  One of the things I love most about the
Thanksgiving season is PUMPKIN!!

   As you can see I have a great pumpkin colored dress and check out these lovely roses that match it. As interim innkeepers, we always get to decorate a Thanksgiving table and it is fun to choose fall flowers. Let's do something with PUMPKIN, huh??

 Of course the other fun thing we get to do with Pumpkin is COOK!

These are the Pumpkin Muffins I make at Thanksgiving Time.
Because I like you so much, I'll give you the recipe.

    K.C.'s Pumpkin Muffins

Beat - 4 eggs, 1C oil, 2/3C water, 2C pumpkin
Add - 1 1/3/ C flour, 2t baking soda, 1 1/2 t salt,
         3C sugar and spices [I do not measure, just add
         cinnamon and apple pie spice]
Bake 350 for 25 min

Top w/ apricot glaze:
1/4 C melted butter, 2T apricot jam, 1/4 C powdered sugar
beat well until smooth and drizzle on top


                                                      Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Falls in the Fall!

    Another road trip! We took a week between a job in California and a job in Oregon to travel with a friend - and look at what we saw!  This is stunning Burney Falls in the Fall. It is located in a State Park in Northern California. Teddy Roosevelt said that this falls was one of the wonders of the world and I agree. We liked it so much that we stayed for two days to do some hiking and sightseeing.


  This little gem is Boulder Lake. We hiked there with our traveling companion Halla and her sweet little dog. It was a long drive and a long walk to get there but we were rewarded with a great pic-nic spot and you know how  I feel about pic-nics, especially if they include wine!! And there was lots of colorful Fall foliage on the hike and around the lake to enjoy.

But this is my best Fall shot - look at these glorious trees! This is why I Fall for Fall!!

   What is your Fall Favorite??

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Victorian Village

   Here is our new "home" in Ferndale California: the Shaw House Inn. Isn't it lovely? An eight bedroom B&B that was built as a family home by Mr. Shaw in 1854 to lure his bride from the delights of San Francisco. It still maintains most of the original architectural details, fireplaces and ceilings. It even has some of the old wallpaper still left. It's really a treat to be an innkeeper here!

However, the Shaw House is only one of many beautifully restored Victorian buildings in Ferndale. In fact this Victorian Village has the largest collection of these "painted ladies" anywhere in the west.

These fanciful homes are called "butterfat palaces" because the primary industry was dairy. Many wealthy farmers had to build a showy house in
town for their families.


      Downtown Ferndale is a true Victorian Village  complete with charming shops, restaurants and inns all housed in colorful, fanciful, whimsical buildings from the late 1800's. It's worth a stop if you are ever in Northern California

   This is probably the grandest Victorian in the town: the Gingerbread Mansion. I wonder how it got it's name??  I wonder if they need an Interim Innkeeper??

Friday, October 25, 2013

a Blackberry Breakfast

  Here is the Welcome Witch at the
                                   Inn at Blackberry Creek .
Isn't she sweet? We work at this B&B in Walla Walla a couple of times each year and just love it.

    Yes, there is a creek and yes, there are lots of blackberries that grow back there. I am lucky in that the owner, Barbara,  freezes a big bag for me to use when I am cooking breakfast.

   I have a great recipe for Blackberry Cobbler but you need fresh blackberries so you will have to wait for that recipe.


      But one of my favorite things to do with frozen blackberries is to make these cute little tartlets. Here's the recipe for them:

     Make a pastry dough pocket
     Insert one or two frozen blackberries
     Sprinkle with sugar
     Bake in small muffin tins for 15 min at 375



Try it and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wild Road Trip

 One of the best parts about being an innsitter is that you get to take road trips all the time! [Well, I think that is a great thing but Kirk might like to be "home" more]. Fortunately he does love to drive across the american west.
On our last road trip from Colorado to Oregon we stopped in
Yellowstone Park to meet a couple of our best friends - Ruth and Glen - for a few days of wildlife viewing.

And we saw lots of amazing animals:

 Of course we saw bison but we got to watch this big guy take a nap and then wake up for a snack. We are smart enough not to get to close but he seemed really unconcerned about all the humans watching him eat lunch so we got some good photos.

This elk was in a large heard early in the morning as the light was rising on the mountains - so beautiful! He was contentedly grazing until he heard two other elk "bugling" across the valley and then he raised his head to add his two cents worth. Such a majestic sight!

 But the best wildlife that we saw was this grizzly bear. Isn't she a beauty? OK, we were not sure about the gender but she looked like a mama to me. Glen had set up a spotting scope so that we could get a really close look at her. We spent almost an hour just watching her amble across the meadow. There were special rangers patrolling the area so that no one got too close. It did give you chills to see how calm she was but how large and powerful.  Wow!

   On the last day of our WILD ROAD TRIP we also saw a moose but I did not get any photos so you will have to take my word for that!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

a Nutty Breakfast

   Most of our guests are not small, furry, round and cute and most do not just eat nuts for breakfast.

  But here at the Dove Inn we have three squirrels that we have named "Hughie" "Louie" and "Dewie" who come for breakfast every morning!

 They know just what time we are serving and they have their favorite entrees. H, L, & D had been so hungry that they had chewed a hole right through the garbage can lid and when the new lid proved to tough for them Kirk started leaving them leftovers. Their favorites are my Pecan/Strusel coffee cake or my Banana/Peanutbutter muffins. But when those are not offered, Kirk just leaves them nuts which they love.

As you can see, Hughie is brave enough to eat right out of Kirk's hand.
I call him the "squirrel whisperer" and I will not be surprised if one is in our car when we head off to our next job!

Well, naughty Hughie- as soon as we left we found out he was NOT in our car. The B&B owner called to say that Hughie had broken into one of the guest rooms and scared the guests!! She accused Kirk of training him to do that but I think he was just hungry!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Western Art

 You all know that "Leanin' Tree" is a company that makes cheezy greeting cards featuring cowboys in outhouses, horses hanging from cliff tops and Indian spirits in the sky. BUT did you know that "Leanin' Tree" has a really great museum of Western Art in Boulder CO? The company owner Ed Trumble has been a patron of western artists for over 60 years and a huge portion of his collection of paintings and sculpture is housed there. All I can say is WOW!

The painting above by Wilson Hurley is of the Southwest - I just love the play of light and color!


Kirk likes Western Art that features cowboys in their real environment and this is one of his favorites - a more contemporary piece called "Colorado High Country".
 Once again, I am drawn to the play of light on the mountains.

There is also a large collection of bronzes - more cowboys!
This one by Curt Wilson really shows off the majesty of the Grand Canyon. Ok, so maybe some would find it a little lurid but it really calls to me.  
                                                 Outside of the gallery there is a lovely sculpture garden 
with western animals in all their glory
Oh, and a few more cowboys!

                  This little cutie is one of my faves -
                   "Opulent Owl"

     What is your favorite piece  of Western Art ?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tricks of the Trade

OK, being and INTERIM INNKEEPER is not all glamour - it's not all about driving around the country and having fun - there's a LOT of hard work involved. People often ask us what our job entails and how we can do it at so many different B&Bs. So, since you asked, here are some Tricks of our Trade:

   The #1 trick is to be able to graciously multi-task!
An innkeeper needs to wear many hats at the same time while smiling the whole time. I really do LOVE my job and I always try to keep that in mind.
  Here is a photo of me in the office and you can tell I am multi-tasking because I still have my apron on, duh!

 Our basic job is broken down into 4 areas.

 The first is office work and reservations.
 The important trick in the office is to be very careful with the money. Remember, it is not your B&B and not your money! I give really good phone and my big trick there is to know that each time you get someone on the phone they are a potential guest. Always upsell with the most luxurious room first and if the required dates are booked, suggest alternate dates. Nothing pleases our clients more than to come home to lots of reservations!

The second area is the kitchen and my big trick there is to always be thinking ahead. We are usually preparing breakfast one day ahead. As much as possible we have it all "prepped" and ready to go the night before. That way the morning runs really smoothly. Our other trick to being a great innkeeper is that during breakfast time one of us is the designated "chatter" who takes personal time with each guest while the other of us runs the kitchen.

Now as you can see from this photo, Kirk is our head houskeeper and he has a few tips for you: in the shower have a disinfecting cloth in one hand and a microfiber polishing cloth in the other - your shower will be clean in half the time. For toilets, he suggests using the disinfecting cloth on the corners behind the toilet after wiping the toilet. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes!

I have a couple of tricks in the laundry room. First off, "strip" a room as soon as possible and get your laundry started otherwise you will be in there all day! Whenever possible, just "flip" the sheets [no, don't flip them over but wash them and then put them right back on a bed so that you do not have to take time to fold them]. When folding, if you fold inside out when you lay the sheets on the bed they will unfold to be right where they should be. Da Da!!

Now the last area is the fun one - guest services - this is the part of being an innkeeper that we really love! Trick #1 is always try to greet your guests by name and know something personal about them [ where the are from or what they are doing so that you can say "how was the show Bob?"] Trick #2 is to try to anticipate what they will need before they ask [will they want milk or lemon with their tea?] and our signature trick is that we try to give EACH guest something special: a wrapped muffin for a snack, a fresh flower in their room, help with their luggage, sweeping snow off their windshield , just a little something extra. It is so nice to make friends with many of our guests.

And my favorite trick.... bake cookies late afternoon and at welcome time your inn will smell heavenly for your guests!!

So now that you know some of the Tricks of the Trade, you can go out and be an
Interim Innkeeper! Right?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fun in the Sun!

                                                  Summertime is here and we are in Kelowna.

     There are so many things to do that it can be hard to choose but here are some of our favorites:

       1] Boating - this photo is taken on a cruise of Lake Okanagan. It is a really beautiful natural lake almost 60 miles long and surrounded by mountains. Lake Okanagan even comes with a monster - OGOPOGO [sort of a cute version of the Nessie] but we have not seen him yet.

      2] Biking - this photo is taken in Myra Canyon,    
a great bike trail made of the old rail beds that curve around the canyon. To bike it you bike over 17 railroad trestles [yup, sort of scary because you are on a cliff side] and through three tunnels [yup, sort of scary because it is dark] but you have beautiful views down to Kelowna and Lake Okanagan although you are too far away to search for Ogopogo.

     3] Hiking - this photo is taken on Knox Mountain, beautiful hiking trails that curve around the mountain with great pic-nic spots and yes - stunning views [is that Ogopogo in the distance?]. You can actually hike from Kelowna up to the mountain but we just did the easy hike around the edge.

 5] Kayaking - this photo is taken in our personal "yacht" on Lake Okanagan from Kalamoir Beach. Once again, beautiful views but this time of all the surrounding mountains. And still no sign of Ogopogo!

So that is how we have Fun in the Sun !!

How do you enjoy summertime?


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Table with a View

    Talk about a TABLE WITH A VIEW??

This is the breakfast table at "A View to Remember" - WOW!  The view is stunning: out over the vineyards to the lake in the background. The guests here tend to spend a lot of time at the breakfast table and then they usually come back in afternoon for wine and chat.
It is such a beautiful place to hang out that it is hard to leave.


When Kirk and I do leave,
we often look for a different sort of  Table With A View - a Pic-Nic Table!
 And these are a couple of my top pics: Above we have the boardwalk in Peachland, a charming old fashioned lake town with a path that runs by the lake, stores, beach, ice cream stands. It is really lovely with flowers in baskets and beds and lots of places to sit and pic-nic. PS yes, that is my cute yellow bike with a bike basket just made for a pic-nic.

 This pic-nic table with view is at Cedar Creek Park on the east side of the lake - sort of a remote spot with a beach and some hiking trails. But it certainly does have a view.