Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We at the Inns at Blackberry Common would like to extend to you, our wishes for a happy, healthy, peaceful holiday season. We thank you for a great year and wish you the best in the year to come. Our guests truly make our home a special place throughout the year, and we hope you had an opportunity to stay with us and enjoy the wonders of Camden and the Inns. We welcome your return next year and in the years to come, and our promise to you is to do our best to make your stay a memorable one, building memories to last a lifetime! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Did you know you can track Santa's travels around the world?

It's true! NORAD, an organization created in 1958, who is responsible for the aerospace and maritime defense of the United States and Canada, has a website that does just that! The site has a countdown to Christmas, and when Santa sets out on Christmas Eve, this site will use their satellite imagery to track Santa's path! In collaboration with Google Earth, you can even see his trip in 3D! Because of the time zones and international date line, Santa's trip actually begins on Wednesday at 6:00 am eastern time in the South Pacific! Visit http://www.noradsanta.org/ to check the countdown, learn many interesting facts about Santa and his travels, and most importantly, track Santa's trip on Christmas Eve!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How to keep your Christmas tree fresh!

With so many products on the market and so many tales about what the very best way to keep your tree fresh the longest, how do you decide whose advice to follow? Well, it's actually very simple! WATER! This is all you need! When you bring your tree home, cut a few inches off the bottom, and trim the lower branches, and immediately place in a bucket of cold water until you are ready to bring into the house. Make sure your tree stand stays full throughout the season, and that's it! Your tree doesn't need sugar or candy or syrup or anything else. The true cause for a dry tree, is likely how long ago it was cut down. To ensure your fresh tree throughout the season, you may also consider a trip to a local tree farm and cut it down yourself! This is a long standing tradition in our family, and a great memory maker for the whole family. Best of luck with your tree this season and enjoy the beauty and joy a live tree brings to the season!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Opening Day at the Camden Snow Bowl!

Winter is here! The temperatures have dropped, the wind is blowing, and what does that mean for Camden? The locals and fans of the Camden Snow Bowl and waxing their skis in anticipation of opening day, scheduled for December 20th! While the mountain is just barely showing a snow covering, the weather forecast is in our favor for great snow making and hopefully some help from mother nature! Now is the time to plan your season, with a variety of packages for the season, gift cards for holiday time and vacations to plan! Keep an eye on the condition by visiting the website at http://www.camdensnowbowl.com/ and check out the live cam with shots of the slopes so you can judge for yourself! And don't forget to visit our specials page regularly, as we always partner with the Snow Bowl to bring you all the great deals and packages available! See you on the slopes!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A New Favorite! Pumpkin Dip!

This recipe was such a hit for our holiday celebrations over this past weekend that it just has to be shared! It was popular with adults and kids alike and is so simple to make anytime of year, but especially during the crisp fall months! Try serving it in a pumpkin shell for a nice presentation and the variety of "dippers" you can serve with it are abundant! Try ginger snaps, apple slices or graham sticks... a few of our family favorites!

Pumpkin Dip Recipe:
1 large can of pureed pumpkin
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 8 oz. block of cream cheese
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Allow cream cheese to soften completely. This is important to ensure mixing well with other ingredients for a creamier result. Blend with other ingredients and serve! So simple and delicious it will become a regular in your recipe book!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We, the owners and staff at the Inns at Blackberry Common, would like to wish all of you a joyful, peaceful, happy and healthy Thanksgiving! Hopefully you are with the ones you love enjoying good company and remembering all of the things we have to be thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving and hope to see you soon at the Inns!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spiced Pumpkin Roll

This delightful recipe is a hit with the whole family and is fun to make with the kids or grand kids! This is also a great recipe to make ahead of time and freezes beautifully! Enjoy!

Cake Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 can pumpkin
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine wet ingredients in a bowl. Combine dry ingredients and add to bowl, mixing thoroughly. Pour batter onto sprayed parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread to within 1" of sides of baking sheet and sprinkle with walnuts. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn cake onto flour sack cloth sprinkled with powdered sugar. Cover with plastic wrap. Roll tightly and leave on counter top to cool.

Filling ingredients:
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
Dark spiced rum to taste

Combine all ingredients. Discard plastic wrap and unroll cake. Spread filling evenly over cake.Roll the cake again and wrap securely with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator. For easier slicing, keep frozen until 1 hour before service.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our October Culinary Weekend was a Blast!

With an inn full of guests including friends from our home town of Wilmington, DE, we had a very successful, well-attended, fun culinary class and Saturday night dinner! The weekend started with a trip to the local farmer's market to gather squash and mushroom varieties! The class included stock preparation, roasting root vegetables and the "how to" with a variety of mushrooms from exotics to buttons. Those in class also took part in the preparing a marinade and prepping for Braised Lamb Shanks, one of the evenings entree choices. Last but not least, the tricks of "perfect" pie pastry and an Inn favorite, Apple Blackberry Pie! Throughout this quiet season we will continue to host these special culinary events, each with a different theme and variety of recipes! Updates to upcoming events will be posted on our Specials and Culinary pages! Join us!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Maine Literary Festival - Nov 7th - 9th!

Come celebrate the third annual literary festival to be held in Camden, Maine! This years focus is on the roles of writing, poetry, nature and science in shaping how we live our lives and treat this earth. You will explore our responsibility for the earth's well being, and our hope for a sustainable future, despite the challenges facing our planet. Highlights include a session with keynote speaker Verlyn Klinkenborg on Friday night followed by a reception and party, and many sessions, cooking for tomorrow highlights and author signings. For the full agenda and ticket information, use this link to visit maineliteraryfestival.com.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Our Own Blackberry Inn Blend Coffee from Rock City Coffee Roasters!

There is nothing like the aroma of the first pot of fresh coffee as it brews in the early morning! As a life long lover of coffee, one of the absolute musts for me was serving a great cup of coffee to our guests every morning. For that reason, we found the best roasting company in our area and worked with them to develop what is now the Blackberry Inn Blend that we proudly serve every morning! Our special blend is sold here at the Inn so if you come to love our coffee as much as we do, feel free to take some home with you!

As for the coffee itself, it is a product of Rock City Coffee Roasters in neighboring Rockland, Maine. In the companies 16 years, they have grown significantly and in 2002 were recognized with a TOPS Award for Excellence from the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Visit their website at http://www.rockcitycoffee.com/ for details of the award, their history and information on their commitment to education and the community. And while you are there, take a look at all of the phenomenal coffee varieties they have to offer!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nothing Like a Family Wedding!

This past weekend marked a very special event for us, and for this reason, we share it with you! Jim's daughter Kerry was married to Nathan Wood in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, September 20th in a beautiful, romantic setting at the Adelphi Hotel! As you can see, they make a spectacular couple and will surely have a long and happy life together! The family were almost all in attandance, even one of the twelve grandchildren made the trip, so everyone was able to spend some time together and meet the groom, some for the first time! What a great end of summer celebration and get-a-way for us! Kerry and Nathan, we wish you health, love and happiness always!

















Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's Apple Picking Season!

Every year as the leaves start to turn colors and the air turns colder, I am reminded of a tradition from my childhood, having grown up in New York... applepicking! This is a family pasttime, and one that I love to relive annually! There are many resources available to help you find just the right orchard, your favorite kind of apples, the proper techniques and where to pick! Try this one... http://gonewengland.about.com/ for tips on states throughout New England! What to do with all of those apples once you have them? APPLESAUCE! Here's a basic but very tried and true recipe for making you own... and you can vary however you would like, with additional spices like nutmeg or allspice, or additional fall fruits and berries! Delicious every time!

Ingredients:

6 large apples
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon, or a few good shakes!


Peel, core and chop your apples. The smaller the better! Place all ingredients in saucepan and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Using a masher, blender, or hand-held mixer, mix until smooth. Place in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator to cool, or serve warm! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Did You Know...?

That Camden, Maine's schooner fleet is the largest in the world? Since 1936, these wooden schooners have sailed from Camden carrying vacationers on scenic cruises amid the islands of Penobscot Bay and for this reason, Camden is know as the schooner capital. Among the fleet, you should consider taking cruises on such ships as the Schooner Lazy Jack, the Schooner Olad, or the Schooner Surprise. In addition, you can take a lobster cruise on the Lively Lady Too or take a longer cruise on a large windjammer, with trip ranges from a couple of hours up to a week. Many of the ships sail well into the fall months, a great time to explore the coast and see the wildlife on the islands and sea. What a great time of year fall is for a New England visit!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Well Kept Secret: Many uses for WD-40!

It's amazing the uses for some of the things we have around our house, and the problems we try to solve when the solution is probably in our garage or kitchen cabinets! Here is a surprising list of 43 creative and safe uses for WD-40, whose primary ingredient is fish oil! Who knew!

1) Protects silver from tarnishing.
2) Removes road tar and grime from cars.
3) Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
4) Gives floors that 'just-waxed' sheen without making it slippery.
5) Keeps flies off cows.
6) Restores and cleans chalkboards.
7) Removes lipstick stains.
8) Loosens stubborn zippers.
9) Untangles jewelry chains.
10) Removes stains from stainless steel si nks.
11) Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
12) Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing.
13) Removes tomato stains from clothing.
14) Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.
15) Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
16) Keeps scissors working smoothly.
17) Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes.
18) It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor. Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn't seem to harm the finish and you won't have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off. Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks!
19) Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly. Use WD-40!
20) Gives a children's play gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.
21) Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.
22) Rids kids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises.
23) Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.
24) Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easie r to open and close.
25) Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.
26) Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
27) Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
28) Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.
29) Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
30) Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
31) Removes splattered grease on stove.
32) Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
33) Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
34) Keeps pigeons off the balcony ( they hate the smell).
35) Removes all traces of duct tape.
36) Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain.
37) Florida's favorite use is: 'cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers.'
38) The favorite use in the state of New York: WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
39) WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a LITTLE on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it's a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just That purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are Not allowed in some states.
40) Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
41) WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.
42) Also, if you've discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of Lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and re-wash. Presto! Lipstick is gone!
43) If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start.

Good luck! I am buying a can myself and walking around the house, putting it to many new uses!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Recipe: Banana Cinnamon Cookies!

What to do with those leftover bananas... this is our solution, and a popular one! We have been asked for and shared this recipe with many guests, and would now like to share it with you! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 ½ cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening (NOT butter or marj)
2 eggs
1 cup ripe mashed banana ( 3 or 4)
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream shortening and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 min. on med/high mixer). Beat in eggs, bananas and vanilla. Set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ¼ tsp of cinnamon. Blend into banana mixture. Combine remaining ½ cup sugar and ¾ tsp cinnamon. Drop cookie dough onto greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until just lightly browned.

Makes about 4 dozen….they freeze great! Either before baking…just shape into balls, lay out on cookie sheet and place in freezer. When frozen, put into bags When ready to bake just roll in cinnamon and sugar and bake at 350 for 14 minutes. No need to defrost! Or, bake first, when cool freeze on layers of parchment paper. When ready to serve , thaw and then refresh by baking for just 4 minutes at 350 degrees. Great every time!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Harvest Time for Maine Blueberries!

Did you know that Maine produces over 90% of the wild blueberry crops harvested each year in the United States. And these are not planted crops, rather wild blueberries, tended to and hand harvested with a rake specifically made for this purpose. Some of the local blueberry farms even hand them out to visiting guests! Wild blueberries are smaller than their cultivated counterparts, and have a more intense, tangy-sweet flavor. Wild blueberry crops are maintained by farmers who own the land they grow on, and many farmers have been doing so for generations, with some fields having thousands of years history! The wild blueberry bush has a 2 year cycle, which means that every other year a blueberry bush will produce berries. During the year that no berries are produced, the farmers try to help the vegetative growth to increase. This helps the general health of the blueberry bush as a whole plant. During a blueberry-producing year, the plant is prepared for an August harvest, when the blueberries will be ready for picking. So here we are in August, with this vitamin and antioxidant abundant fruit at our fingertips. Lots of great recipes available for their use! Next time you are in Maine, consider a trip to one of these amazing farms! For more information, visit http://www.theheartofnewengland.com/backporch-MaineBlueberries.html to find out where!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Recipe: Cold Cucumber Mint Soup! Refreshing!

Nothing like a cold refreshing soup as a meal starter or paired with a salad on a hot summer day! We love this recipe! Try it out!

1 medium onion or three scallions
2 tbsps chopped fresh mint, plus sprigs for garnish
3 tbsps vegetable oil
2 Cs chicken broth
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
4 fresh cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
8 oz. sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Lightly saute sliced onions in oil over moderately low heat until onion is softened. Add chicken broth, lemon juice, and cucumbers and simmer about 15 minutes, until cucumber are softened. In a blender purée mixture and 1/2 of the mint in batches until smooth and cool. Stir in white pepper and salt to taste. Chill soup, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day. Flavor just gets better with time! When ready to serve, mix sour cream and remaining mint. Serve soup topped with a dollop of the sour cream mixture and a sprig of mint.

Monday, July 21, 2008

FREE Movies at the Camden Ampitheater

Did you know... the Camden Public Library sponsors a FREE outdoor movie night, every Monday evening beginning at dusk! This is part of their summer reading program, and features a variety of movies that have been made from books. Some of the titles included are Jumanji, Man Without A Face, James and the Giant Peach, 12:01 and more... the program is part of the "have fun at home" concept in small towns everywhere! Bring a blanket and a picnic! Lots of FUN for all!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

We are celebrating our 10th Anniversary!

This month marks our 10th annivesary at the Inns at Blackberry Common! Actually, we started as The Blackberry Inn and have come so far and made so many changes over the years, most notably, purchasing The Elms and becoming the Inns at Blackberry Common! July 16th, 1998 was our first day as innkeepers and a great start to an exciting future! What a trip it has been...

We would like to thank all of our guests who have helped make the Inns at Blackberry Common the home it is today, helping in the creation of so many unforgettable memories, friends made and milestones celebrated. We hope to continue to be part of your special events, getaways and celebrations for years to come. And thank you to all of you for helping make our dreams a reality!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Shopping in Camden, Maine

While Camden may be a quaint ocean side town, with irresistible views and a laid back Maine atmosphere, the shopping you will find is irresistible too! With an array of attractive and unusual shops to choose from, you will be sure to find just the right keepsakes and gifts to commemorate your visit, as well as some of the finest goods Maine has to offer. We offer everything from books stores, antique shops and local art, to furniture stores, clothing, novelty stores, marine supplies and more. Some of our favorite specialty stores include a Stonewall Kitchen Company Store, Lucy's Dollhouse, and the best little market, French & Brawns for all of your picnic needs. And if this isn't enough, some of Maine's finest furniture makers and craftsmen are in the area, a short drive away, including Windsor Chairmakers! Of course Camden also offers a great selection of restaurants to choose from, also with the town harbor area, a few blocks from the Inns. Stay tuned for more information on our favorite restaurants, and feel free to ask for recommendations on shopping and more when your visit!
Photo courtesy of CRL Chamber

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Recipe: Sun Tea with Fresh Mint

Place about 6 tea bags and 3 or 4 fresh sprigs of mint into a clean 2 quart glass container and fill with warm water. Cover. Place the container outside in the sun or anywhere the container will be exposed to plenty of sun for the next 5 or 6 hours. After the tea has steeped and reached its desired strength, refrigerate. You can leave the tea bags in for added flavor development, or remove them if desired, but do remove the mint leaves while storing. You may add a new sprig of mint or muddle some mint in the bottom of your glass when serving. Use within 2 to 3 days. Enjoy on a hot summer day!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our Herb Garden and Yours!

Did you know that a large percentage of the herbs we use in our daily cooking at the inns are grown right here on the property? If you haven't visited our herb garden in the past, be sure to do so on your next trip! The herbed omelets in the morning are my favorite!

Tips for your herb garden:

  • Make sure you understand what size each planting will mature to, and make sure you have adequate room for their growth
  • Separate your plantings by rocks, bricks or artificial borders so the more aggressive plants don't suffocate the more delicate plantings
  • Ensure your trimmings are done appropriately to encourage new growth. Techniques vary for each variety so make sure you find out before trimming!
  • Label each planting as you go or make a map so your remember locations and can find more quickly at harvest time
  • Let varieties, like basil, flower at the end of the season and save the seeds for next years garden!

Herb gardens are a lot of fun, don't take a tremendous amount of space, and can be widely used in food and drinks! Try some fresh mint in your iced tea this summer... you'll be hooked!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Schooners are back in the Harbor!

Summer is here and all of our Maine schooners are back in the harbor! Generally sailing between the months of April and October, the schooners have been ramping up their sailing and have rolled out their full schedules for the summer months. If you have not taken a day trip on one of our Maine schooners in the past, make this your year! Most of the schooners offer hourly, half day and full day excursions, or you can even charter a trip for a personal adventure! Just some of our schooners include the Olad, Heron, the Surprise, the Appledore and the Windjammer Mary Day. Visit the Camden Chamber of Commerce website at http://www.camdenme.org/ and click on the boating page for all of the available excursions and links to the ships websites. Give us a call if you prefer and we will help you plan your excursion and give you all of the tips you'll need to make your sailing trip a success!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Recipe: Asparagus Risotto

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. fresh asparagus, cut into 1" lengths on a diagonal
4 - 5 cups chicken stock (heated)
2 tlbs. olive oil
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tlbs. unsalted butter

Directions: Blanch asparagus in salted water until just tender (2 minutes); set aside. In saucepan over medium heat, bring stock to gentle simmer and maintain over low heat. In large, heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir until each grain is well coated with oil and rice is translucent with a white dot in the center (about 3 minutes). Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed. Add the simmering stock...a ladleful at a time, continuously stirred after each addition. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next ladleful. (This is the secret to great risotto!) Reserve 1/4 cup to add at end. When the rice is almost tender to the bite, but slightly firm in the center and it looks creamy, add the asparagus and a ladleful of stock. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is heated through and the rice is al dente. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and reserved stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve a once. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Did you know that...

the Inns at Blackberry Commons is a proud member of the Passport to New England group?

This exclusive group features 12 New England inns located in 6 different states, all members of Select Registry, the highest standard of excellence achievable in the industry. These 13 inns offer passport members savings, credits toward free nights stays, gifts as a guest at the member inns, and much more. Please visit the website for more details at http://www.passporttonewengland.com/. Keep in mind, when you visit us or any of the member inns, you can request to become a member and receive your passport card with credits for your first stay! Planning a bed & breakfast tour? Visit the website for a variety of special packages available and plan to make the passport member inns your first stop! Check our Special Packages page for two of these packages that combine stays at fellow passports member inns with the Inns at Blackberry Commons!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We are very proud to announce that the Inns have been certified as Environmental Leaders in Hospitality by the Department of Environmental Protection for the State of Maine. Due to our "green" efforts, we are one of 77 locations in the state that have recieved this cerfitication, and we continue to improve and expand our program every day! You may have seen an earlier entry regarding all of our efforts here at the inn to contribute to reserving our natural resources, recycling and conservation. We are always making changes, and welcome your suggestions and input. While you are here as our guests, we are happy to help you with recyclables and any other "green" practices you keep toward improving our environment!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wines Available at the Inns!


Did you know the Inns at Blackberry Common offer a full variety of red, white and sparkling wines, available by the glass in our parlors, or by the bottle if you prefer to enjoy a quiet evening in one of our guestrooms. Below is a sampling of the varieties offered, although we do have specials available periodically and change our selection seasonally. Looking for a special item to help celebrate your special occasion? Please ask and we will do our best to accommodate and special selection requests!

A sample of our whites:
Dry Creek Chardonnay, Sonoma
Brilliant golden hue, tastes of pears, hazelnut and citrus.

Lugana Ottella, Italy
Dry and crisp, long finish. Hint of apple.

Rockbare Chardonnay, Australia
Elegant and full bodied; with citrus and surprising flavor intensity.

A sample of our reds:
Pepperwood Grove Cabernet , California
Dark and fruity with subtle spice and smooth tannins.

Frei Brothers Cabernet, Alexander Valley
Dark Berries abound with this Full-Bodied Cab with sweet vanilla.

Mas de Gourgonnier Les Baux de Provence, Rouge, France
A complex Cabernet blend. Dark chocolate, spice, fresh thyme and lavender.

Our sparkling selection:
Pommery Brut Royal, France
Fresh & vivacious with a fruity finish. The real thing!

Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc, Napa
Brilliant straw color with elegant pinpoint bubbles. Crisp aroma of
Apple leads to a balanced, toasty style and complex clean finish.

Saint-Hilaire Blanc de Blanc, France
The Benedictine monks have been making this fine sparkling wine for
Over four and a half centuries. Crisp, dry with hints of berries and apple.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Time for Spring plantings!

Start with pansies and the time is now! You can't beat them for color and cold tolerance as the temperatures waver between winter and spring. Generally, as long as temperatures stay above 25 degrees your pansies will do well. If the temperatures do drop below this, try to cover them loosely with plastic overnight. If you forget, the plant will still survive, however any flowers in bloom are likely to discolor the existing leaves and kills buds. That's OK! Be patient and they will come back with a little TLC! The good news is you are guaranteed their beauty and continuing flowering throughout the summer months!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Recipe: Cranberry Apple Chutney

1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped apples (skin on)
1/2 cup apple cider or cranberry juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
OR
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt

Add all ingredients to a stainless or other non-reactive 3 or 4 quart pot. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 30 minutes. Cool and serve at room temperature or chilled. Great with red meats, duck or pork. Can be made ahead of time and stores in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to 3 months!

NOTE: This basic recipe can be used for all of your favorite fruits... just substitute the apples and cranberries in the same quantities with your favorite selections and enjoy!

Friday, April 4, 2008

More Carriage House, now Birch Retreat photos!

The Carriage House suite has a new look and a new name! Look for the Birch Retreat on our Rates and Rooms pages!






Wednesday, April 2, 2008

How do I save my Easter plants?

What to do with those Easter lilies and bulb plants like tulips and daffodils? Good news! Most of these can be planted outside when the weather warms! Only a few things to remember to make your transplants successful. The first is to let the green stems die down naturally before you cut them off. This allows energy to go to the bulb and makes the bulbs stronger for next season. By the way, this is also true of any bulb plants currently in your gardens. Tying them down as opposed to cutting the stems will always produce stronger plants the following season. Secondly, you'll probably need to plant these bulb plants slightly deeper than they are in the pot presently, about six inches deep is just fine. Easter lilies are also hardy - just plant in a somewhat protected area, and mulch well next fall. That's all you have to remember. Next time your guests bring you an Easter plant, you'll be able to enjoy that special gift for years to come!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Carriage House Renovations are Complete!

And the outcome is spectacular! This suite is now truly a home away from home, with all the extras. The two person jacuzzi and luxury bath is perfect for a long relaxing bath after a day of sightseeing! And the suite still contains two rooms, one with two twin beds, and a kitchenette, making this a perfect place for a family stay, and all the luxuries that come with it. We hope you will consider this room on your next visit!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Maple Sugaring Season Is Upon Us!

A long held tradition, Maple Sugaring in Maine always takes place on the 4th Sunday of March! This years it falls on Easter, good for some who may have a long weekend or maybe even a week off! What is this traditional all about? Basically, it is the process of turning all the sap collected over the last several weeks from our Maple trees into the delicious maple syrup so popular in our region! The sap is boiled down in a sugar house to produce the syrup. More on the process can be found on Wikipedia through this link, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_syrup. While these events are taking place thoughout the region, we have one of the best right down the street at Maine Gold in Rockland! Events for the day include an Easter Egg Hunt, the making of maple sugar in the new sugar house, a fantastic brunch, and shopping discounts. Visit the webpage, Maine Gold Maple Sunday, for more information and to search other sugaring events that weekend! What a great family event for all to enjoy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Going Green at the Inns... every little bit counts!

Living in Maine, where every day you are close to nature, really has made us strive to do our part to preserve the land, water, air and our planet! Like our guests, we appreciate and value nature . Here are some of the things we currently do at the Inns to play our part!


Daily trips to the recycling center with glass, boxes, paper, plastics and more. If you have items you would like us to include while you are in our company, please pass them to any employee or leave them in your rooms and we will add to our next trip!

All of our "scraps" from the kitchen are composted to the extent possible and used in our many gardens!

It seems we are always doing laundry, and for that reason, have updgraded to energy efficient, low water and soap usage washing machines. And of course environmentally friendly products!
You will find in the guest rooms, requests to hang your towels for another use and help us minimize daily laundry if you will be staying with us for several nights.

To conserve energy, lighting is kept at a minimum when possible, as is heat when we do not have guests in our company, and you will notice the use of our fireplaces and wood stove to warm your rooms and our parlors. Whenever possible, we also use low wattage, low voltage and CFC lightbulbs. In addition, many of the windows in the Blackberry Inn have been replaced with new double pain "E" glass to conserve heat.

While we are not a recognized organic grower, we do not use any pesticides or chemicals in our flower, herb or vegetable gardens and our berry patch is on stock that is over 50 years old! Many of these ingredients are used in our cooking, as are local ingredients from our neighbors, the local farm markets and other growers dedicated to the same environmental visions as us!

Changes are being made daily, and please share your suggestions while you are here as our guests, helping us do our part to conserve our planets and the beautiful resources around us!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Our Culinary Weekends are a Blast!

Our most recent culinary weekend took place on Valentine's Day weekend with a "Romantic Dinner for Two" theme to our cooking class and Saturday night dinner. We had great attendance and great fun with our creations and the dinner was romantic and scrumptious as promised! These weekends have been really fun for us, giving us a great opportunity to share the inn, show off our own Chef Jim, and really spend some time with our guests. The day is very full and our guests have really enjoyed "getting to know the inn", more so than ever! We have a few more events scheduled for this season! We can't wait!






Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Recipe: Molten Chocolate Cake

6 squares bittersweet chocolate
10 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 C Powdered sugar
1/2 C Flour
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp Blackberry Syrup

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 6 oz. souffle dishes or custard cups. Place on a baking sheet. Melt chocolate and butter and stir with whisk until completely smooth. (1.5 to 2 mins. in the microwave works great too!) Add sugar and flour and mix well. Add eggs, extra yolks and syrup, mix well until blended. Pour batter into prepared cups. Bake 14-15 mins until firm around the edges. Let stand 1 minute. Use a knife to loosen edges and invert onto serving dish. Cut in half so molten chocolate pours onto plate. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar and garnish with fresh blackberries, of course! Be sure to serve warm!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Renovations are well on their way!

What has been happening at the Blackberry Inn this winter? Well, for us, the big news is the renovations on the Carriage House suite, with exciting additions to make this one of our most comfortable luxury suites! The room always had great space...but we decided that our guests would really enjoy having a much more luxurious bath. So after Jim sketched it all out (his previous engineering career does come in handy) and he talked it over with the boss (Cyndi) we went to work! The changes include doubling the size of the private bath to accommodate a new double whirlpool tub, a rain forest tile shower and a beautiful hand-painted pottery sink! Great new lighting too!

The renovations are almost complete, and the room will be available for the last weekend in February! These changes along with the existing cozy sitting area with gas fireplace, flat screen tv and dvd, queen size bed with luxurious featherbed are sure to meet all of your needs! We are very excited about the changes and hope you are too! Things are always changing here at the Inns... stay tuned to see what other changes are in store!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wow! Winter is Back!

With several feet of snow in the last two weeks, and almost a foot between yesterday and today, and still counting, winter fun is at it's best in Camden right now! The good news... skiing, tubing, ice skating and snowshoeing are all available within minutes from the Inn. The Camden Snow Bowl offers all of these things, and stay with us for two nights, and your lift passes are FREE! Visit the website at http://www.camdensnowbowl.com/ for views of the mountain and updates on conditions on the live Mountain Cam.

OR....

Visit the Tanglewood Camp, a mere 6 miles from the Inn, for 940+ acres of wilderness and scenery, available for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking. The trails are open year round, groomed by volunteers and free for your use during the winter months. Visit the website using the link below for trail maps and more!www.umaine.edu/umext/Tanglewood4H/index.html

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Welcome!

First, let me welcome you to our blog. This is a new addition to our website, and we are very excited to be able to bring you the lastest specials, news, event and happenings about town. We will be posting updates frequently, so please check back often.

I also want to bring your attention to another new feature of our website. We have just added a sign-up box for our monthly newsletter. This box is on the left hand margin of most of our pages. This is an e-mail newsletter that features specials, events and offers that you don't want to miss. Please join us and we assure you our communications will be all you need to "keep in touch" with our corner of the world.

We hope to see you soon at the Inns...