Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Great New Recipe for the Holidays!

This is a crowd pleaser for all of your holiday celebrations! Try with sliced bread, crackers, fruits or vegetables... or a combination of all! And the recipe makes plenty for a party favorite!

Almond Swiss Dip
2 blocks cream cheese, softened
½ cup mayo
1 small bunch scallions, chopped—use green stalk as well
16 oz swiss cheese, chopped (I used the presliced kind in the dairy section—easy to chop)
Sliced almonds, toasted

Combine first 4 ingredients and spread into 11 x 7 casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until bubbly. In the meantime, toast the sliced almonds in a dry pan. Take dip out of the oven, stir, and cover with toasted almonds.

A quick and easy recipe! You can even make ahead of time and refrigerate until party time. Add about 10 minutes to cooking time if refrigerated!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Haunted History Tours!

Did you know that many of our local towns have stories of the haunted houses and unexplained phenomenon witnesses over the years? Did you know that there is a new tour offered in the area called the Haunted History Tour? And what better season than Halloween to explore such an event! The tour will take you through home in Camden, Damariscotta, Boothbay Harbor, and Wiscasset, and the Lady in the Red Cloak will provide you with historical and mythical stories about each location! Bring your cameras because you may just see something you've never seen before! We would be happy to provide additional information, or you can email HauntedHistoryTours@gmail.com or call 207-380-3806 for dates and more information! Come back to the "unhaunted" Inn for a glass of wine or refreshments in the comfort and safety of our Inns!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall Foliage Update!

While the last two weeks have been unseasonably cold in the Northeast, temperatures have returned to a more seasonal norm, and the leaves have followed suit! The southern coast of main is all currently at high or peak foliage levels! This is a great time for a weekend getaway and a drive up to the coast to take in the beauty of the Maine midcoast region! By the end of the month, fall foliage season will have passed for another year! The weather forecast is great too! Visit http://www.mainefoliage.com/ for the latest updates on peak season, and call us for your reservations, or just come! We would love to see you, and would be happy to recommend the best outings to enjoy the beauty of the season!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recipe: Apple Pear Blackberry Crostada

Pastry Ingredients:
1 1/2 C flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick very cold unsalted butter, diced
4-5 tbsp ice water

For the filling:
5 large Granny Smith apples
3 ripe pears
1/4 tsp orange zest
1/2 C flour
1/4 C sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of nutmeg
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced
1 C fresh blackberries, dusted with flour.

Directions:
Add flour, sugar & salt in bowl of food processor. Pulse a few times. Add butter. Pulse until mixture combines & is the size of peas. With processor running, add ice water & pulse just to mix.Turn onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Using rolling pin, roll dough into a 12 inch circle. Place on lightly floured baking sheet or pizza stone. Peel, core, and cut the apples and pears into rough chunks. Add the orange zest & toss. Spread apples & pears over pasty. Place blackberries on top. Leave about 2 inch border. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and spices. Place in food processor,add butter; pulse until crumbly. Use your fingers to pinch mixture together until it starts holding together. Sprinkle over the fruit. Fold dough border up over fruit and pinch to form enclosed circle. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Great with vanilla bean ice cream or a wedge of sharp cheddar!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

#2 of 14 Best Destinations for Fall 2009 - MSN Travel

We believe it! With the sparsely populated mountain and coastal regions of Maine, it is hard not to take in the beauty of your surroundings. With great coastal towns, offering the finest in dining, antiqueing and so much more, a trip up the coast this fall season is sure to be a perfect quiet getaway, and a chance to get back to nature! MSN Travel also heralds the 23% decrease in airfares to get you there, and be sure to check for our specials for room rates, making this a great season to save on your vacation as well!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Colors have arrived in Maine!

Just after Labor Day, as the weather turns cool and the winds begin to blow, the leaves begin changing colors and the magic of fall begins in New England. Peak fall colors are usually the mid to latter weeks of October, so plan your trip now for a weekend getaway, and drive up the Maine coast to the picturesque harbor town of Camden. For details on the best time to visit midcoast Maine, visit http://www.mainefoliage.com/ for maps and more! Give us a call too and we'd be happy to help you plan the most picturesque routes for your travels!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Great Tip on how to Clean Green!

This is a great way to freshen up your carpets and to do so with natural ingredients so your pets and family's use of the space is not restricted for an extended period of time! You can also be rest assured that this method will not damage your carpets or limit their life of use.
Combine 2 cups of baking soda and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil in a clean shaker container. Lemon oil is a great option because of its freshness qualities! Simply shake the container well, then sprinkle lightly over your carpet. Allow to sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming. Enjoy the fresh aroma in all the carpeted areas of your home!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Recipe: Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Fresh Herb and Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:
4 lb. leg of lamb, butterflied by your local butcher
Marinade:
1 cup red wine (recommend a zin or a shiraz)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dried herb medley, such as Herbs de Provence
¼ cup of canola or walnut oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, finely minced

Place leg of lamb into a large plastic resealable bag, mix marinade ingredients together and pour over meat. Seal bag and let marinade at room temperature for one hour or in refrigerator for up to 6 hours. Pesto: In a blender, combine grated zest of one lemon, ½ cup toasted walnuts, 4 cloves fresh garlic and ¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves, ¼ cup fresh oregano leaves, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, ¼ cup fresh sage leaves, 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, ¼ teas salt and fresh ground pepper and optional 1 tablespoon fresh lavender. Add ¼ cup walnut or canola oil, turn on blender to medium speed and drizzle in additional oil until liquid enough to pour. Grilling: Preheat at high temperature for 10 minutes. Drain the marinade off the meat. Brush pesto onto fat side of meat and place on grill, fat side up, & grill for 10 minutes, reduce heat to medium, flip meat and continue grilling an additional 10 to 15 min. until meat temperature reaches 140 at thickest portion. Remove to platter. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice ¼ inch thick, drizzle remaining pesto, garnish with fresh mint and serve.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July makes 11 years!

This July marks our 11th anniversary of innkeepers at the Inns at Blackberry Common! When we came to Camden, Maine in 1998, we were young, full of anticipation and excitement, and ready to embrace the 10 rooms at the Blackberry Inn as our new home! 11 years later, we are on our 3rd five year plan, a little older, now up to 12 grandkids and have grown to become the Inns at Blackberry Common! With the addition of the Elms and renovations, we are now 18 rooms strong, and continue to greet many of the same people that have now become our friends! We still have lots of plans and things to do... the fun continues and hopefully will keep us busy for years to come! If we haven't met or haven't seen you in some time, join us this year and see how far we have come! And of course, we would be happy to show off the pictures of the grandkids too!

Friday, June 19, 2009

July 18th - 19th HarborArts Juried Show in Camden!

The summer HarborArts Juried Show is just around the corner. With over 100 artists displaying and selling their works along the Camden Harbor, in the Camden Amphitheater and along Atlantic Avenue, there is an abundance of art to review. With food, entertainment and more, this event is a fun-filled event for the art lover in you! And the views of the Harbor may just inspire a sailing trip while you are here! The sailing is on us with any two night minimum stay! This event is a bi-annual event and one of Camden's most popular! An event not to be missed!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Recipe: Beachcomber Cookies!

This delicious recipe is a pleaser for the whole family and a wonderful variation on a tradtional oatmeal cookie. It is brought to you courtesy of the Food Network and Aida Mollenkamp.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 pound), room temperature
1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted flaked unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
Directions:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place flour, baking powder salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.
Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat over medium speed until mixture resembles wet sand and is airy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, letting each fully incorporate before adding the next. Add vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture in 2 parts, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and mix until evenly combined.
Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets, spaced about 1-inch apart. Bake until cookies are puffed, set, and tops and undersides are golden brown, rotating sheets halfway through, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool on sheets 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Get your FREE Copy of Jewel of the Maine Coast!

For the most complete information in planning your next trip to the Maine coast, the 2009 Jewel of the Maine coast visitors guide is a must, and now you can request yours for FREE through the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce at http://www.camdenme.org/. Packed with travel tips and information, restaurant guides, must sees along the way and much, much more, you will have your trip planned before you even leave your house! Or you can bring it with you and plan along the way! Feel free to pick on up at the Inns too!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Our new website is here!

Over the last several months, we have been reviewing our website, determining what changes would bring the best information to our guests, and establishing a website easy to navigate and gather information. As many of you may know, there is quite a bit of work involved in this task, and for that reason, we are thrilled that we were able to launch our new website last week! As always, we strive to make this the best tools possible for our guests, and would love your input and feedback! Take a moment to look at some of the changes, including new links, photos, room review navigation and much more, and leave us a comment, send us an email or give us a call with your thoughts, suggestions and ideas! As always, our website will continue to be a work in progress and a primary source of information for your our guests! Thanks in advance for taking your part in making this website the best it can be!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vote for US as your favorite Inn!

We love all of the wonderful comments our guests leave in our guestbook and on review sites like TripAdvisor! Here is another opportunity for you to tell us what you think! The Lanier B&B website is currently casting votes for your favorite Inns across the country, giving you opportunities to vote on such things as Best Bed, Best Cup of Joe, Best Breakfast and many more! There are over 80 categories to vote on if you wish. Vote for one or all! Just use this link, http://www.lanierbb.com/vote.php, find our Inn and cast your vote! The results will be posted on the website, sent to voters, and published in their annual guidebook! We hope you visit the site and select the Inns at Blackberry Common as your favorite!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Stonewall Kitchen in Camden!

Are you familiar with the delights produced by the New England based company Stonewall Kitchen? The company began in 1991 in a small town in New Hampshire and has spread across New England. We are proud to have one of only 9 company stores right here in downtown Camden. The sauces, dips, mixed and kitchen and garden wares are a fantastic fit with the quaint shops in downtown Camden, and offer the best the company has to offer. You can also shop Stonewall Kitchen online at www.stonewallkitchen, and the company stores will be happy to ship your products to meet you at home as well! Be sure to make this shop a must see on your next trip to Camden, so you can bring home some of Maine's best!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How to enjoy long lasting Easter lillies!

Easter lilies are a long standing traditional, and can be beautiful for weeks to come if properly cared for! When you first receive your lily, water it thoroughly and allow the water to drain. Going forward, water weekly, keeping in mind not to overwater which could cause the bulb to rot. Place your lily in a room that receives normal day light, but is not too hot, as the cooler the room is, the longer the flowers will last. As for saving our linens, snip off the pollen sacs found inside the blooms, as the droppings can be messy and create stains! This will also keep the flower clean. When the bloom starts to die, deadhead the flower by pruning back the stem.

Because the Easter lily is a forced bulb, it won't bloom again indoors, but there's a chance you might get it to bloom again outdoors. All you need to do is take it out when it's nice and warm, plant it in a sunny location, as deep as it was in the container. Keep it watered, fertilize it and then cross your fingers. There's a 50-50 chance it will bloom again.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More Household Hints and Shortcuts!

Love these! Hope you find them useful!
1. To remove stains, fingerprints, even tape residue from stainless steel, use baby oil on a soft cloth. Leaves a nice shine too!
2. To remove the strong odor of onions from your hands, hold a stainless steel spoon in your hand while running water and rub your hands as though the spoon were soap.
3. To smooth the runners on a sticky drawer, rub the runners and drawer on a bar of soap. It’s amazing how much of a difference it will make!
4. Use vinegar all around house to disinfect and clean many surfaces, although don't use this on furniture made with fabric. It is cheap and chemical free! You can use vinegar straight or equal parts vinegar and water.
5. To remove crayons on walls, use WD-40. It removes it immediately, but if you use it on a flat paint it will leave a greasy line that can easily be washed off with soap and water.

Good luck and stay tuned for future tips!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Time to Start your Spring Herbs!

Now is a great time to begin and indoor herb garden, ensuring a full season of use, and cultivating seedlings to transplant to an outside garden when the weather permits! If you are starting your herb garden for cooking purposes, consider starting with some popular herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary, chives, mint and thyme. Starting these herbs from seeds is very easily accomplished with a planting container or containers, soil, and seeds. Label your containers so you know what is growing where, and be sure to use a container with holes to allow for drainage. Water the seeds well after planting and continue to water with small amounts daily to keep the soil damp. Some seeds can be covered to produce more of a greenhouse effect to start the growth, and place your containers on a window sill to allow for adequate sunlight. Your herbs will grow for your use great in this fashion, or you may transplant outside once you have seedlings established and the weather permits. First move the containers outside for a few days to allow the plants to adjust, then move to their permanent location by carefully removing the seedlings from their container, handling by their stems to minimize breakage, and plants in a prepared bed. Transplant on a cloudy day if possible, trim your plants and water regularly until the herbs are reestablished in their new environment. Each herb should be pruned differently to promote new growth. Visit Better Homes & Gardens at http://www.bhg.com/ for tips of pruning the herbs you choose. Good luck and enjoy the gardening and cooking world this will open for you!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Inns featured in "Gourmet Getaways"!

Just released this month, Joe David's new book, Gourmet Getaways: 50 Top Spots to Cook and Learn, features locales throughout the country, where chefs share their culinary expertise and recipes! We are very proud to announce that the Inns at Blackberry Common and our own Chef Jim has been featured as one of these, among culinary schools, inns and renowned chefs. The book offers recipes, including Jim's Blackberry Sage Sauce, cooking techniques, biographies of the chefs, and much more! Use it as a travel guide, cookbook or reference tool! An you can pick up a copy here at the Inns during your next stay!

Use this link to preview the book, including excerpts and recipes! Gourmet Getaways

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Traditional Irish Blessing!

May the road rise to meet you;
May the wind be always at your back;
May the sun shine upon your face and
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
May God grant you many years to live,
For sure He must be knowing
The Earth has angels all too few
And Heaven is overflowing!
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.


Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day! Hug an Irish person and have a fabulous day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Recipe: Corned Beef and Vegetables in the Slow Cooker!

This recipe is courtesy of Betty Crocker, and is the best and easiest version of traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage, just in time for St. Patrick's Day! Enjoy!

2 1/2 pounds medium new potatoes, (about 8), cut in half
2 cups baby-cut carrots
1 cup frozen small whole onions, thawed
1 corned beef brisket (3 to 3 1/2 pounds)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup water
1 head of cabbage
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

Mix potatoes, carrots and onions in 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Thoroughly rinse corned beef; discard seasoning packet. Place beef on vegetables; sprinkle with pepper. Mix 1/2 cup water and the Worcestershire sauce; pour over beef. Cut the cabbage into 6 wedges and arrange on top of the corned beef. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours or until beef and vegetables are tender.
Remove beef and vegetables from slow cooker; cover to keep warm. Pour juices from slow cooker into 1-quart saucepan; heat to boiling. Mix cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into juices. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened. Serve sauce with beef and vegetables.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Recipe courtesy of guest chef Erin Carey - Chocolate Madness!

Chocolate Madness!
1 lb dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 lb unsalted butter
1 C. sugar
1 C. heavy cream
8 eggs

Combine cream, sugar, and butter in a sauce pan over a medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until melted. Whisk in one egg at a time, do not add too fast! Pour into a 9 in" greased pan and bake at 325 degrees for 45-55 minutes. Test with a toothpick about 2 in" from center. Keep at room temperature until cool to the touch, then refrigerate at least 3 hours to overnight.

Chocolate Glaze
8 oz. dark chocolate
4 oz. butter

Melt butter and pour over chocolate cover and let stand a couple minutes then whisk till smooth.Remove cake from the pan and slowly pour glaze over cake to coat, use a spatula to create an even glaze. Leave at room temperature until glaze is set. Serve with vanilla sauce or raspberry sauce or whipped cream.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Helpful Household Hints!

I love when I stumble across helpful household hints that I can really put to use, and so, I am sharing a few of my favorites with you today!

1. Removing Permanent Marker - Permanent marker on appliances and counter tops can be removed with rubbing alcohol on a paper towel. Easy as that!

2. Blood stains on clothes? Not to worry! Just pour a little hydrogen peroxide on a cloth and proceed to wipe off every drop of blood. Works every time!

3. Fresh Smelling Clothes - Place fabric softener sheets in dresser drawers and your clothes will smell freshly washed for weeks to come. You can also do this with towels and linens too!

4. Cleaning Artificial Flowers - To clean artificial flowers, pour some salt into a paper bag and add the flowers. Shake, and the salt will absorb all the dust and dirt and leave your artificial flowers looking like new!

5. Removing Burnt on Food From a Pan - To easily remove burnt on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stovetop. Wipe clean and rinse with water. What a pan saver!

Hope you find these helpful! Feel free to leave comments with your great tips and stay tuned for more to come!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Camden's Winterfest in Review

This year was the 7th annual Winterfest held in Camden's Harbor Park, and the event grows each year! With ice carvings, sled rides, winter crafts and more, their were events to appeal to the whole family. With the weather this year, the snow and ice were abundant and melting was not a concern! Use the link below to visit out local website called Village Soup for the full story on this and other local events!
http://knox.villagesoup.com/Community/story.cfm?storyID=144398

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Blackberry is Entered in the 19th Annual Toboggan Championships! Would You Like to Join Us?

That's right! The Inns at Blackberry Common will be racing in this years National Toboggan Championships held right here at the Camden Snowbowl! The weather has been perfect, leaving a 24" snow base on the mountain and over 10 inches of ice on the pond! The event will take place the weekend of February 6th through the 8th and you are invited to join us for a toboggan ride on the 440 foot chute that is completed in less than 8 seconds! Just call the Inn and talk to Jim or Cyndi to reserve your spot! This is a fun-filled family event with activities throughout the weekend! Simply visit http://www.camdensnowbowl.com/ and click on Toboggan Nationals for a full calendar of events, photos and videos of prior years events and more! The mountain is open at designated times throughout the weekend for skiing, snowboarding and tubing as well! A great time is had here every year! Call us and become a part of this years events!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Camden is a Winter Wonderland!

We have had such a beautiful winter so far this year! Conditions have been perfect for downhill as well as cross country skiing and snowshoeing! We have had over 4 feet of the white stuff so far this year, making for a great base, beautiful scenery and plenty of outdoor activities available! All of these activities can be fun for the whole family, and we love to recommend our favorite parks, paths and hills! Don't have your own equipment? You can borrow ours if available, or you can rent locally at Maine Sport in neighboring Rockland. One of our favorite hills is Mt. Battie, with breathtaking views of the Camden Harbor and the Penobscot Bay, and plenty of trails and hills depending on your skill level! We have lots of ideas and advice, and would love to help you plan your activities,... give us a call! This picture is of Jim snowshoeing last week. Need a guide? He would be happy to oblige as time allows! Any excuse to go out and play!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Recipe: Gingerbread Cake with Rum Sauce

This recipe has been a hit every time we have served it and has been requested again and again by some of our favorite guests! We are sharing here with you, but must credit the Joy of Cooking with this fabulous recipe!

Cake Ingredients:
1 C applesauce
1/2 C molasses
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
2/3 C sugar
1/3 C canola oil
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp finely grated ginger or dry ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp cloves
4 tsp salt

Preheat oven 325. Spray 8X8 glass pan. Bring applesauce in a saucepan to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in molasses & baking soda. Let rest. In separate bowl, beat eggs & sugar for 3-4 minutes. Gradually add canola oil to egg mixture. Sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Alternately add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture, alternating with 1/3 of the applesauce mixture until fully incorporated and mix well. Pour into baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven.

Butter Rum Sauce Ingredients:
6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp Corn Syrup
1 C Brown Sugar
2+ Tbsp Rum
About a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
Fine Zest of one orange.

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat until bubbly. Reduce heat and continue to heat 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken upon standing. Serve the gingerbread with Rum Sauce drizzled on the plate, and over the cake with a little scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream! Delicious!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

NEW YEAR WISHES

May peace fill all the empty spaces around you
And in you, may contentment answer all your wishes.
May comfort be yours, warm and soft like a sigh.
And may the coming year
show you that every day is really a first day,
a new year.
Let abundance be your constant companion,
so that you have much to share.
May mirth be near you always,
like a lamp shining brightly
on the many paths you travel.
May you be true love.
-- Author Unknown