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Tuesday July 15, 2014 11:32 AM

A picture worth a thousand words

Near twilight last evening off the Shore Path, near the Bass Cottage Inn in Bar Harbor ME.

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Sunday July 6, 2014 9:29 AM

Tropical Storm Arthur Visits Bar Harbor

Despite having a hip replacement just before opening, our season thus far has gone so smoothly. Guests have been great. The Bass Cottage Inn team has been outstanding. Something had to go wrong…

What went wrong was July 5th. To sum it up, as Lloyd Bridges said in Airplane! - "Guess I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue."

Storm hits after midnight. 3:20am: Thunder crack jolts us out of bed. We go back to sleep but the smell of wood smoke wakes me up. Is the Inn on fire? I go running out into the pouring rain with my cane and see that a lightning bolt has taken out a tree which has fallen on a power line near the Bar Harbor Inn. There is a fire and live wires are crackling and humming. Not much I can do except try to go back to sleep. Can't. Somehow we still have power.

At 6:45am, just as Teri gets the scones out of the oven we lose power. Quickly find that our generator is not working. No emergency lighting or refrigeration.

I call the power company: "Thanks for holding. There are 62 calls ahead of you." Call the police. "we don't know what's going on but most of downtown is without power." Call the chamber of commerce: "We don't know anything." Doesn’t someone know something??

Meanwhile, our guests are relaxing calmly around the Inn... Disappointed by the weather, but good-natured.

As it rains buckets we remember - no power, no sump pump! Which is ominously filling up in the basement. As Teri and staff serve impromptu breakfast to good-natured guests I use a baling hand pump to try to get water out of the sump. It's like bailing a 2 sq ft area of a swimming pool...water keeps filling in.

So I call our plumber. Get his answering service. Call again. When he tries to call back we realize AT&T Wireless is not working. So we have no power. No phones. Wonderful.

In fact, we found out something about our phone system. When it’s down, all calls apparently go to one guest room. These nice guests were answering reservation calls….”we can’t take your reservation, but we’re staying here and it’s very nice.”

Finally our plumber shows up with a gas generator. I hustle down to the dark basement to meet him. In the dark I misjudge a step and take a header into the staff shower room. Ow! Nothing broken. We get the sump pump fired up. Whew!

Still no power and we've got refrigerators and freezers full of food just sitting there getting warmer...

Finally we get to the power company website which says the expect power to be restored by 4pm. Or 7pm. It says both. Hedging their bets obviously. We call them: "There are 40 calls ahead of you.". Finally get someone on the line: "we don't know....” Yeah, &$#( you too.

We huddle. If we get to nightfall we can't have guests here without lights, safety systems, food or hot water. We inform the guests and give them the option to leave if they want. No one wants to go. They remain good-natured. One of the guests breaks out a guitar and we have a wonderful. impromptu 2 hour concert. With wine.

Teri gets in the car and visits the larger hotels. They are closing down. No where to send guests.

Dusk starts to gather. Guests don't want to leave (there's nowhere for them to go). We better get even more flashlights. Rush to the supermarket which still has power. Look wistfully at the empty pegs which used to contain flashlights. A check of the power company's website now shows they expect to restore power… ON TUESDAY!!! We confer with our inn neighbors about a common plan should we all not have power the next day. We agree that we’ll have to shut down and send everybody home.

By now, our wonderful plumber has returned on his own volition and somehow gotten our propane generator fired up. So we have power for hallway lights and refrigeration. And the phones now work. Since things are "looking up" I go out to get Chinese food since we haven't eaten all day.

Around 9pm, miraculously, the power comes back on. Teri, exhausted, goes to bed. I do an hour of paperwork and join her. All is back to normal.

Teri says: "Surely, we’ll never have another day like this." I say: "I think you're right, but don't call me Shirley"

So ends the Fifth of July in Bar Harbor. Life is back to normal.

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Friday July 4, 2014 10:49 AM

The Legend of "Snappy Joe"

Happy 4th of July from a full, festive Bar Harbor!

Lots going on here in town during what one national morning news show called one of the 'best small town 4th of July celebrations" in the country. One thing that's going on is the annual Lobster Races. As usual, the Bass Cottage Inn sponsors a lobster in these races held to benefit the Mount Desert Island YMCA.

We could have named our lobster California Chrome, Secretariat or even Seabiscuit. Instead, he's "Snappy Joe". There's a story behind that....

Back during the Depression, Teri's family started a small chain of diners back in Michigan. Her great uncle Joe started the first one and dubbed it "Snappy Joe's." Great food and snappy service. If you were down on your luck - "pay me when you can." A great American story.

Teri's grand dad Henry (shown) and her grandmother Doris opened the Snappy Joe's on Main St. in Ann Arbor. (Check out those prices!) Each of Teri's great uncles also had a location with the same menu. They specialized in simple, tasty American fare for folks working in the auto plants and the like. Swiss steak, burgers, meat loaf, mashed potatoes.

But, no lobster. Which would make our racing lobster "Snappy Joe" happy as he races today in the Annual Lobster Races here in Bar Harbor. Here's to memories of good times past and those to come.

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Friday May 23, 2014 9:31 AM

What's New in Bar Harbor and Acadia

Timeless, pristine beauty. That's what folks come to experience here in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. It's clean, safe, authentically American. But, even still, there are new things to experience this year.

* Acadia National Park is making $2M in improvements to ease parking and traffic.

* Mache Bistro, one of our premier fiine dining venues, has moved to a location just across the street from Havana. More room, better parking. Yum.

* Havana Restaurant has done a build-out to expand seating and increase guest comfort.

* If you have a sweet tooth, satisfy it at the new Pink Pastry Shop located next to the Downeast Deli just up from the inn on Main St.

* Fathom has a new chef and reports from guests are quite positive.

* Sadly, Town Hill Bistro and Eden Vegetarian Cafe have closed their doors.

* If you enjoy people-watching with your drinks and food, check out the new upper deck at Rupununi's on Main St.

* You may also notice that breakfasts and wine hour food at the Bass Cottage Inn is even better than ever. Chef/innkeeper Teri has taken over the kitchen and the results on the plate are obvious.

Summer is blooming in Bar Harbor. Time to make plans for your special visit.

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Saturday April 26, 2014 1:17 PM

Next time you're here: Take a Photo Safari

Every so often, when we attend our local B&B meetings, we learn something neat and useful. To wit: Acadia Photo Safari. If you would love to learn how to take great digital photographs of beautiful Acadia National Park and our down east coast, this is a new and fun option for your visit.

Howie Motenko is a software engineer at The Jackson Laboratory by day. He's spent the past six years photographing Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island. As a local resident and professional photographer, he will share his intimate knowledge of Mount Desert Island (think photo opps that your average tourist just can't find) and accomplished photographic skills on every safari.

All you need is a digital camera.

Howie does daytime and sunset photo safaris both on land...and on the water aboard his locally built Ellis 28-foot Downeast "lobster yacht."

This is a great new option for both new and veteran visitors to MDI. You'll learn how to get better results with your digital camera and come back with some wicked good holiday photos of one of America's most beautiful places.

Visit acadiaphotosafari.com or phone 207-318-3402 or email at info@acadiaphotosafari.com.

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Friday March 28, 2014 11:19 AM

Tiny Luxury Hotels are the Trend

Hospitality Trends We're Tracking

When we worked in the investment and technology sectors in our past corporate lives, we would challenge our strategic business assumptions by asking "How would this play on the front page of the Wall Street Journal."

This Wall St. Journal article shows that the Bass Cottage Inn is at the forefront of a growing hospitality trend. It seems more hospitality businesses -- and the money behind them - are learning smaller is better. This finding is echoed by our Maine colleague, Lark Hotel guru and inn-keeping pro Rob Blood: "There's a certain soul you find in smaller properties that's harder for large properties to achieve."

But forget offering a frumpy, down-market, fraying at the edges experience for today's traveler. They expect comfort, cleanliness, personality and style. It's all in the details...as we well know here at the Bass Cottage Inn.

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Tuesday March 25, 2014 12:46 PM

Seasoned with history, flavored with style

Back when we launched the upscale and updated version of the Bass Cottage Inn back in 2004, the innkeepers couldn't decide on what to name the guest rooms. Should the rooms be named after classic jazz musicians? Maine based authors? Maine towns named after famous foreign locales? We couldn't agree. Each room is beautiful, complete and decorated in our unique style. But, using just a number to capture the essence of a room seemed like taking the easy way out.

Last season, we contemplated giving our rooms actual names. We asked several veteran Bass Cottage Inn visitors what they thought. "Well," said one great guest, "we love your rooms but it's kind of blah to think about coming back to stay in 'good ol' Room 4'."

We love to cook, as you'd expect, and we make use of a range of spices. The inn special orders spices from Penzey's and Whole Spice Co. in California to make breakfasts and wine snacks memorable.

Why not name our rooms after spices? Duh. Hence, Room 1 becomes "Cinnamon." "Good ol' Room 4" becomes "Paprika." This concept was the creative platform behind our new website, as well.


Choose your spice when you come to relax and renew yourselves at our stylish, historic inn by the bay in Bar Harbor.

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Saturday March 8, 2014 12:19 PM

What's Cookin' This Season at the Bass Cottage Inn?

"Seasoned with history, flavored with Style."

Every year, during our off-season hiatus, we think of ways to "polish the apple" in an effort to delight both new and repeat Inn guests.

By now, some of you have seen our new website and video. Others may have noted that we've named our guest rooms after herbs and spices, an acknowledgement of our passion for the culinary arts. All of this activity has been a precursor to our upcoming season when we will be more focused on making our wonderful breakfast and wine hour snacks better than ever.

Local, fresh ingredients are important to us at the Bass Cottage Inn. We are pleased to announce our continued participation with local Maine growers and providers, notably J&P Farms, Ducktrap(R) Smoke House, Smith Family Farm and Seal Cove dairy and cheese.

Naturally, our new menus will feature guest favorites like Creme Brulee French Toast, freshly baked muffins and scones. But there will be new options as well as twists on old favorites. This season our new menus will feature more fresh fruit and vegetables than ever before, all prepared with flavor and flair.

Executive Chef and Innkeeper Teri revamped her menus, tweaked a few of her signature recipes and will be bringing her culinary skills to the Inn each morning beginning May 16, 2014.

Our 11th inn-keeping season starts May 16, 2014. Bring your appetite for life!

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Tuesday February 25, 2014 10:03 AM

Kick off our 11th season: Taste of Bar Harbor May 2014

The Bass Cottage Inn opens for our 11th season on Friday May 16. What better way to celebrate our re-opening and the wonderful Acadian spring than to come and enjoy the 4th Annual Taste of Bar Harbor which runs through Sunday May 18th.

Last year's festival was a tremendous success. Here's what you can expect:

Ongoing all Festival, Thursday - Sunday: $20.14 Menu

Participating restaurants will offer a prix-fixe menu or special for $20.14 for the duration of the festival. To enjoy, you'll need to make reservations directly with the restaurant.

Friday, May 16: Pub Tour -- 5:00 - 9:00 pm

Purchase a souvenir glass and ten tickets at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor's Center located at the corner of Cottage and Main Streets then tour participating restaurants and bars to enjoy 4oz. samples of beer and wines.

Saturday, May 17: Chef's Table - restaurants TBD

Diners will enjoy a behind the scenes evening at one of five participating restaurants with an opportunity to meet the Chef and enjoy a 5 course menu with wine pairings. $75 per person, limited to 10 seats per restaurant.


Sunday, May 18: Local Food Producer Showcase -- 1:00 - 4:00 pm

A gathering of some of the finest food growers, producers and artisans from Mount Desert Island and its surrounding communities. Come to learn more about the abundance of food sources available to us in our region, or do a little shopping for a treat to bring home.

Sunday, May 18: Waiter Race -- 2:00 pm

Local servers will come together to test their skills at the first annual Taste of Bar Harbor Waiter Race. Local restaurants will pit their finest staff against one another, competing for the bragging rights of 'Best Server in Bar Harbor' and an 'Ultimate Tip' cash prize.

The Taste of Bar Harbor brings a fun, culinary spotlight to a formerly sleepy weekend in mid-May. It would make a great getaway.

For more information on the Taste of Bar Harbor festival click visit:

http://www.barharborinfo.com/events/taste_of_bar_harbor/

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Sunday February 16, 2014 1:54 PM

In Vino Veritas

There's nothing like enjoying some convivial time in an Inn you'd like to call home. Now, Bass Cottage Inn guests are invited to enjoy a glass of wine and snack each evening at 6:00PM all season long. Each evening guests enjoy a wine hour with a glass of cabernet sauvignon or pinot grigio. Stay to chat with other guests or find a quiet corner in our spacious common rooms.

Here is a sampling of our guests' favorites. See you in May.

* Gorgonzola Dolce, honey with za'atar, country pate, shallot marmalade
* Seal Cove goat cheese, peperonata, tapenade
* Muhammara, hummus, crispy pita chips
* Mushroom pate, sweet onion chutney, toasted baguette
* Cucumber, whipped smoked salmon mousse canape, fresh chives
* Smith Farm Camembert, cranberry chutney, maple-spiced pecans
* Spanakopita, tzatziki, olives
* Cherry tomato, fresh mozzarella, arugula brochette, basil aioli

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