Sunday August 9, 2009
The Idylls of Summer in Acadia
These are the glory days of summer in Downeast Maine. Yesterday your intrepid Innkeepers took a long walk through the woods at Little Long Pond near Seal Harbor. Little Long Pond (not to be confused with much larger Long Pond on the west side of the island) is bordered by Acadia National Park but is privately owned by the Rockefeller family who graciously allow its enjoyment by the public.
The great thing for those in the know is that you can take your canine friends and let them romp off leash. it's great socializing for humans and dogs alike. To the left you can see our young Airedale Riley grazing like a cow (go figure).
The woods around Little Long Pond are serene with varied and interesting moss and lichens on trees and rocks. Care was taken to layout out the cinder roads to give you excellent vistas and gentle climbs. The pond itself has at least one beaver house, a little jewel of a boathouse and usually one or two great blue herons posing like statues.
Everyone we met yesterday was enjoying our beautiful August weather, so they were in fine spirits. Many folks were sampling the wild blueberries growing abundantly everywhere. Dogs got to socialize and sniff, romping beside roaring Jordan Stream. Sun, blue sky and a refreshing breeze: "Maine - How Life Should Be" (indeed)
Friday July 31, 2009
It's time for Wild Maine Blueberries
You'll see them along the trails of Acadia National Park. You'll see them with your waffles, pancakes or french toast. You'll even see them in your martini or beer. We're talking about Wild Maine Blueberries and they are just coming to market in Downeast Maine.
While we may occasionally use the cultivated blueberry (known locally as "the cannonballs") in our cuisine at The Bass Cottage Inn, we wait each year for the local blueberry crop to begin its yield.
Wild Maine Blueberries are unique in the U.S. to a small area in eastern Maine and thrive in the cool, moist sea air of Downeast Maine around Bar Harbor. These naturally smaller wild blueberries are sweet and concentrated - kind of like fine wine making grapes as opposed to large grapes used for jams and jellies.
In late July and early August the blueberry barrens (and along the paths of Acadia) gradually turn blue as the berries ripen . Wild Maine Blueberries are one our of indigenous treats - like the lobster - and should not be missed.
If you take some home with you why not put them in a ziplock bag and freeze them (they freeze very well). That way you can enjoy one of The Bass Cottage Inn blueberry recipes during the winter at home....and plan your return to Downeast Maine and the Inn when it's blueberry season once again.
Saturday July 25, 2009
Special Staff Lunch - A Behind The Scenes Bass Cottage Inn Tradition
Every year we have student workers join us to help take care of our guests. They bring with them their own cultural traditions and the Americans on the team enjoy learning about their countries. And, our international staff get a picture of how Americans really live, work and eat.
Food is an important part of cultural exchange. Jeff cooks a Special Staff Lunch every couple of weeks to share some "American" dishes with our staff. We introduced our Czech students a few years ago to a real pulled pork BBQ with all the trimmings. Our Bulgarian kids loved our Chuckwagon Beef Stew as it reminded them of hearty meat and potatoes meals back in Sofia. Some years our staff loved spicy dishes, like our Virgin Islands Chicken Roti. Some couldn't handle spice at all. Some put ketchup on literally EVERYTHING!
This year we've had some challenges in that our student workers are from Turkey, a Muslim country, where pork and often alcohol is eschewed. So, no wine in the spaghetti sauce. Jeff decided to try a Turkish style lunch and the results where pretty authentic (or so he is told!).
Pictured with Sevda at left is a platter containing Turkish Style Chicken Kebabs (marinated in garlic and yogurt) and Imam Bayildi (a baked stuffed eggplant dish). It may have not been exactly like their mamas make, but they appreciated it. And we appreciate the great job they're doing this year making our guests comfortable and happy.
Innkeeping is a people business....and you have to focus also on taking care of the people on your team. Let's eat!!
Monday July 20, 2009
Web Gems: Travel writers' blogs give you the inside track
Travel writers do lot of traveling...and writing. Unfortunately, only some of their helpful hints and insights about places like Bar Harbor, Maine and Mount Desert Island make it to the traditional print outlets like newspapers and magazines.
Fortunately, in this era of spontaneous self-publishing (such as, uh, this very blog) you can get a lot of those unpublished thoughts, tips, assessments and insights about the Maine coast from the blogosphere.
Hilary Nangle is one freelance wrtier we know who really knows the Maine Coast and beyond. What's hot, what's not, and what's new or different in your favorite seaside town this year. Just yesterday she filed a piece with the Boston Sunday Globe on Maine's best lobster spots (and of course included one of our favorites, Thurston's, in nearby Bernard). She's also has authored the Moon Handbook on the Maine Coast, Fodors and countless articles.
But, her blog is great source of unvarnished information that could help make your trip to Maine even more successful. Check it out at:
(Pictured: The 'Margaret Todd', Maine's only four-masted schooner, offering sailing excursions on beautiful Frenchman Bay just steps from The Bass Cottage Inn.)
Wednesday July 15, 2009
What we're listening to at The Bass Cottage Inn this week
Music is an essential part of the atmosphere at The Bass Cottage Inn. It sets a pleasant, uplifting tone during our 3-course gourmet breakfast. Cool jazz helps set an anticipatory, welcoming tone for guests just arriving. And, the music of the Inn helps create a social mood during Evening Wine Hour.
Here's what's on The Bass Cottage Inn playlist this week:
* Céu "Vagarosa" - a pleasant throwback to 1970s Brazilan pop. Light, airy, and catchy with few reggae rhythms thrown in.
* Ketih Jarrett "The Köln Concert" - Keith Jarrett's hypnotic and crystalline solo jazz piano improvisations are over 30 years old now...and still outstanding.
* Cassandra Wilson "Loverly" - jazz standards rendered in her smoky, sexy voice. Pulls you in and forces you to listen. If you haven't listened to Cassandra, you owe it to yourself.
* Diana Krall "Quiet Nights" - another jazz vocal gem with lots of Brazilian influences and fine cover versions including "The Boy From Ipanema"
* Chick Corea "Return To Forever" - the debut album of RTF from 1972 featuring Joe Farrell, Airto, Stanley Clarke and Flora Purim. "What Game Shall We Play Today?"
* Hammond B3 organ masters: a playlist featuring Jimmy McGriff, Charles Earland, Joey DeFrancesco, Organissimo and The Casualties of Jazz (they cover Black Sabbath tunes...no kidding).
And, with the good weather we're now having Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime" won't get out of my head. Hope to see you in Downeast Maine soon!
Sunday July 12, 2009
Your September To Remember?
September is my favorite month on Mount Desert Island. The days are warm, mostly dry and the nights are deliciously cool for great sleeping. While The Bass Cottage Inn is getting lots of September bookings we still have great availability for September and it's not too early to start planning. Here are the highlights:
LABOR DAY. An American end-of-summer classic weekend. Featuring an art show on the Bar Harbor Village Green.
BAR HARBOR FOOD AND WINE CLASSIC. A week long celebration of wine, food and song starting on September 11.
ACADIA NIGHT SKY FESTIVAL. Celebrate the beauty of the Downeast Maine starlit night sky (very little light pollution here!) with scheduled events like Stars Over Sand Beach, Owl Ecology, Acadia Park at Night - what happens in the Park when it's dark and Starlight Over Frenchman Bay. September 17-21
MDI YMCA HALF MARATHON and Fall 5K - tune up for October's famed Mount Desert Island Marathon on September 19.
BASS COTTAGE BISTRO DiNNER - Our second dining event with a delicious gourmet menu on Saturday September 19.
ART IN THE PARK - The Chamber of Commerce art show on September 19-20 over at the Village Green near The Bass Cottage Inn.
If you'd like to share some September time in Bar Harbor and Acadia, give us a call or book online while we still have availability. See you in September
Wednesday July 8, 2009
Bass Cottage Inn - named Boston Magazine "Best of New England"
When we first opened The Bass Cottage Inn back in 2004 after escaping corporate life in Boston we really hoped that magazines and newspapers would notice what we'd done. Having been a marketing exec in my corporate life, I knew that there was only so much you could do to engender editorial coverage.
The most important thing we could do was focus on doing a great job with the Inn for our guests and hope to be noticed. The guide books like Fodors and Frommers, to name just a few, noticed first. Then we received a great review in the Boston Sunday Globe in 2006.
Now, Boston Magazine has recognized The Bass Cottage Inn as a "Best of New England" pick in its New England Travel '09 section. No other Bar Harbor inn/hotel was given this honor and we are pleased to be so recognized:
"If you desire old-fashioned charm but find Bar Harbor's Victorian décor a bit too relentless, this 10-room inn is your antidote. Owned by former Bostonians, it gleams with contemporary-traditional touches that blend well with the 150-year-old mansion's details."
Couldn't have said it better ourselves. Thanks Boston Magazine!
Monday July 6, 2009
The pace of life is slow...even at the lobster races
Years ago, while in college, I was a waiter down in southern Maine (what downeasters call "Northern Massachusetts"). When business was slow, the cook would fish out some lobsters and race them on the kitchen floor.
It was much more of an organized affair in Bar Harbor on July 4th with the annual Lobster Race to benefit the local YMCA. The Bass Cottage Inn sponsored a lobster, as we do every year. This year we did not win. But the race caught the attention of the New York Times who covered it in Sunday's paper.
Check it out: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/us/05lobster.html?_r=1&ref=us
We hope you had a great July 4th and that your cookout was not rained out. The weather here in Bar Harbor was very nice and it seems that summer has finally arrived. Hope to see you in Ba Ha Ba soon.
Wednesday July 1, 2009
An Authentic American July 4th
Coming up this weekend are Bar Harbor's annual Independence Day festivities. For visitors from big-town America this is a real treat: an authentic small town American holiday. Here's what's on tap...and a special treat for guests at The Bass Cottage Inn.
* Bar Harbor Town Independence Day Parade - bands, floats, and more. Just steps from the Inn.
* Lobster Races - after the parade, at the ball field. Benefits the YMCA..Come cheer on our entry "Frank Zappa" (ask Chef Chris about the name...)
* Seafood Festival - lobster rolls, local mussels, corn and more.
* Bar Harbor Town Band on the Village Green - free concert at 7:30 before the fireworks
* Independence Day Fireworks Display - a spectacular show starting around 9:15pm the waterfront. Fireworks explode over Frenchman Bay. Best viewed from Agamont Park, directly behind The Bass Cottage Inn.
* For Bass Cottage Inn guests only....post-fireworks Champagne and Strawberry Shortcake Dessert, putting the cap on a perfect summer day.
Sunday June 28, 2009
Musings from the Front Desk
FOG, MICROCLIMATES AND MOOD
Like for much of the Eastern Seaboard, Mother Nature is testing us with most un-summerlike weather lately. It's not been a washout. Guests have managed to enjoy hikes and whale-watching. But the weather has also been a god-send for the local stawberries, peas and visiting photographers.
The fog settled into Frenchman Bay last evening just off Bar Harbor. However, in the center of Mount Desert Island it was sunny and 10 degrees warmer. Go figure. Still, the moody fog created a surreal atmosphere for Teri and I as we walked from the Inn along the Shore Path for a fabulous dinner out at local favorite Havana Restaurant.
NEW RESTAURANTS IN BAR HARBOR THIS SEASON
Speaking of dining out, there are a few new restaurant offerings that have joined Bar Harbor's other fine eateries this seaon. First, for those seeking a light supper or a delicious lunch, you'll find the Sidestreet Cafe. Launched just last week by Jena Dwyer (formerly of Havana) and her team it's located on Rodick Street near Miguel's. Secondly, Mache Bistro has changed hands. Kyle Yarborough has returned to MDI and has upped the ante at this Cottage St. small restaurant. Haven't eaten there yet, but we'll report back. Other new additions to the downtown Bar Harbor business scene this season include the Fair Trade Winds store at the corner of Main Street and Firefly Lane and the Finback Alehouse on Cottage Street not far from The Bass Cottage Inn.
BITS 'N' PIECES
* What's up with the week after July 4th? We're almost fully booked for July and August but the week after July 4th has lots of openings. Hmmm...can't figure it. Give us a call and you might get a good deal!
* Why do they put real estate agent photos on listings? Do I really need to see who is going to make 6% when I buy a house?
* Speaking of pitchmen...I wish they'd stop putting CEOs in TV ads. Do I really need some 60 year old guy in an expensive suit or flying a helicopter to tell me that their 3G network is cool or that their stock trades are cheaper? Clearly the ad agencies are sucking up to the guy who writes the checks.
* Kudos to the Obama Adminstration and House Democrats this week for actually doing something about pollution and climate change. Now it's up to the Senate. I've already written our Maine senators. Write yours to demand they have the courage to stand up to heavy industry. We all gotta breathe!
There...now I feel better!