Tuesday June 23, 2009
Music At The Inn: What we're listening to this week
Music is an essential part of the atmosphere at The Bass Cottage Inn. It soothes guests just waking up to their breakfast. It help set an anticipatory, welcoming tone for guests just arriving. And, it helps create a social mood during Evening Wine Hour.
While we may like to listen to the hard stuff in the car, the Bass Cottage Playlist strikes a more mellow, cooler mood. Here's what we're listing to at the Inn this week:
* The Segovia Anthology - the perfect soundtrack to breakfast. It comes on 9 CDs!
* Susan Werner "Classics" - pop song classics featuring her beautiful voice and a classical ensemble from the Boston Symphony Orchestra
* Gary Burton/Pat Metheny/Steve Swallow/ Antonio Sanchez "Quartet Live"
* Enrico Pieranunzi "Fellini Jazz" - Fellini film compositions from the incomparable Nino Rota get the piano jazz treatment.
* "Acoustic Brasil" - a very nice Putumayo Records compilation of sambas and more.
* Michael Hedges "Aerial Boundaries" - New Age solo guitar from the talented and now deceased guitarist.
* Pat Metheny Trio - "Day Trip" and "Tokyo Day Trip Live" - with Antonio Sanchez on drums and Christian McBride on stand up bass
* Jim Hall "Concierto" - featuring one of the great jazz guitar treatments of 'Rodrigo' as part of the suite "Concierto de Aranjuez'
* Gypsy Jazz - an iTunes Essentials collection of old time swing with folks like Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grapelli, David Grisman and more.
Wednesday June 17, 2009
A new member of The Bass Cottage Inn team
We'd like to introduce you to Jeannie Movius who has joined the team this season as Front Desk Manager. Jeannie helps check guests in, getting them comfortable and oriented to begin their holiday. She also can help with restaurant arrangements and activity planning. When the innkeepers aren't here, she is our go-to person.
Jeannie is a native of Mount Desert Island and knows the island very well. Born on the quiet side, she moved away, raised a family and then returned to her roots here in Downeast Maine. Besides her calm, soothing demeanor her other qualifications include social work and working with veterans.
Jeannie also loves animals. She has rescued some dogs and cares for a horse and chickens in the morning before coming to work. Perhaps we can convince her to bring some eggs to work soon?
Friday June 5, 2009
Welcome to this year's student workers
Each year our team is joined by international university students. It's been fun for Teri, I and the rest of the staff to make new friends from other countries and to share what's REAL about America with them. Small town life in the US is so much more than Hollywood, New York, cowboys and hip hop.
We've had students from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania in past seasons. We still stay in touch via email and Facebook to keep up with their lives. This year, we're joined by some great students from Turkey.
Sevda, Mehmet and Ozlem (left to right in the photo) are from Mersin, Turkey on the eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. They are all studying tourism and hotel management (how great for us!), as tourism is exploding in Turkey. They are practicing their English and learning more about American culture. Chris, our chef, cooked lobster for them to try for the first time (I don't think they liked it too much). They have prepared some Turkish dishes for us to try.
Sevda, Mehmet and Ozlem will be doing a great job taking care of guests this season at The Bass Cottage Inn. We're glad they're here!
Saturday May 30, 2009
June in bloom - Lupines in Acadia
"Hand over all the lupines you've got!"
That was the nonsensical line from a Monty Python skit we listened to many, many years ago on a late night at college. What's a "lupine"?
When we moved to Acadia we found out! Each June, fields and hillsides erupt with a plethora of purple and blue. It's beautiful...and reason enough to plan a quick trip to Bar Harbor and The Bass Cottage Inn. They are so noteworthy I decided to do some digging, as it were, into lupines. And, did you know...
- First of all, the correct spelling is 'lupin'. We misspell it so frequently in North America by adding the 'e' that's its commonly accepted.
- The species we see here is not native to Maine, but is native to the Rocky Mountains. How did they get here? Birds ate the seeds and, er, deposited them out east.
- Years ago, because they were not a native species, the Park Service set about removing them from Acadia National Park. Tourists objected so much that the Park Service relented and we can continue to enjoy them every June.
So, come to Maine for the lobster but - in June - stay for the lupins.
Monday May 25, 2009
The Man Behind Your Great Bass Cottage Inn Breakfast
One of the great things about staying at The Bass Cottage Inn is the marvelous three-course breakfast that greets you each morning. We'd like to introduce you to Chris Pollard, our Chef and Assistant Innkeeper. Chris is a veteran of the B&B biz and has been with us here at The Bass Cottage Inn since 2004.
Chris is a talented baker and collaborates with Jeff and Teri on seasonal menu development. A noted clean freak, he keeps the kitchen spotless and orderly as he turns out beautiful plates, one after the other. His good humor keeps the crew (and innkeepers) well-balanced as we look after our guests.
But, he's a bit quirky. A noted Frank Zappa fan, he often plays "The Muffin Man" in the kitchen as he preps for the next day. In fact, he named our annual lobster race entrant "Frank Zappa"...and the little critter won its divisional race. Took a hot tub after that, though.
Chris is also a Bar Harbor native and has helped guests with his knowledge of Acadia hiking. Each year he takes our international student workers under his wing as well so that they can get the most out of their time on Mount Desert Island, USA.
Chef Chris is a true asset to The Bass Cottage Inn and is integral in making your stay an enjoyable holiday.
Tuesday May 19, 2009
Downeast Food & Tastebud Tourism
When I travel I not only see the sights - I want to taste the local delicacies to truly understand the flavor of my destination. Beyond Bass Cottage Inn breakfasts (justifiably famous, I might add), there are some things you must try and places you must eat during your trip to Bar Harbor. No sushi shacks (see photo) but many fine options. Here they are (in no particular order):
1. Lobster at Thurston's Lobster Pound - Imagine the quintessential setting for downeast Lobster feasting...pick your fresh lobster and enjoy it cooked to perfection. Not fancy, just great!
2. Fresh local halibut - early in the season, if it's on the menu try it!
3. Havana Restaurant - A Latin restaurant in Maine? Mojitos? Surely I jest! No joke...perhaps the best restaurant in Bar Harbor it takes the freshest local ingredients and serves up Latin-inspired cuisine that can't be beat.
4. The Burning Tree Restaurant - in the nearby village of Otter Creek. They open when their gardens start yielding fresh vegetables and herbs. A large, creative menu that focuses on local seafood and vegetables (no red meat).
5. XYZ - real provincial Mexican cuisine and fabulous authentic margaritas in Southwest Harbor (Manset). The Seven Chili Chili appetizer will set you right. You won't find a burrito on the menu.
6. Donuts from The Colonel Restaurant, Northeast Harbor. Even though you'll have a great breakfast at The Bass Cottage Inn, you should still treat yourself to a selection from their bakery counter. The building was destroyed by fire in 2008 but they are rebuliding.
7. Lobster roll lunch at The Docksider, Northeast Harbor. Lightly dressed lobster meat, fries, cole slaw and a cold beer. Nuff said.
8. Rosalie's Pizza in Bar Harbor - serves great pizza with outstanding crust. We locals watch eagerly for their season opening and for good reason.
9. Little Notch Bakery - visit the bakery in Souttwest Harbor and take home one of their delciously weighty wild blueberry pies In fact, when Maine blueberries are in season you should enjoy them as much as you can. Puts those huge cultivated 'cannonballs' to shame!
10. Microbrews - Bar Harbor Brewing Company and Atlantic Brewing (in Town Hill) brew some tasty ales for your enjoyment. Including some with ginger and blueberry.
11. Lobster Stew with a view. The Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park is a splendid place for lunch after your morning hike. The stew is rich, creamy and delicious. The setting is divine.
Saturday May 16, 2009
Romantic and touching moments in Innkeeping
I've been meaning to write this blog for a while since, over the past 6 years, we have been surprised and touched by some of the guest experiences we've shared. Of course, there have been crazy experiences as well, but that's a topic for a future blog with a big glass of wine....
Today a lovely couple got engaged right after breakfast and we were there to offer our congratulations. "Will" was nervous about getting everything just right...and he did. She said 'yes'. In our first year we had "Jay" who seemed excessively worried about a FedEx delivery. He inquired about its status at least 7 times. When it arrived I gave it to him and he showed me why he was so nervous -- it contained the engagement ring which was not ready before they left New Jersey. The whole staff waited to see if she said 'yes'...and she did. Big smile when she came downstairs. They have been back since and we heard this winter that a new baby arrived.
A few years ago a nice couple from Maryland around our age enjoyed a 4 day visit. It seems that in all the years of raising a family they had not been away together in over 20 years...until their stay at The Bass Cottage Inn.
Once, a honeymoon couple went to check out and say goodbye. Their time had been so special that the husband was weepy!!
We've been honored to help welcome and soothe folks who have come to celebrate honeymoons, anniversaries, loss of a loved one and just time together away from the kids. It's what makes this job so special. Someday I'll include some 'stranger than truth" stories from innkeeping....or better still, come stay with us and we'll share a few!
Sunday May 10, 2009
Bass Cottage Inn - Guest Newsletter
Here's what we sent to veteran guests of The Bass Cottage Inn to keep them in the loop:
We’re Almost Open For The Season!
The last paint touch up’s are done. The rooms have been scrubbed and readied for check-in. Our spring clean up has the yard looking ship shape and Teri’s got the herb garden planted. Soon, Chris will start making his delicious homemade granola and that wonderful smell will fill the house. Once again, The Bass Cottage Inn is about to open for the season. Whew!
Despite the “cheery” news out of Wall Street and Washington our bookings look pretty good. In fact, May has already surpassed last year! So, if you’re thinking about a return to beautiful, pristine Acadia this season, don’t wait too long or you might find your favorite room already taken. We still have lots of availability at this point. Check our availability and book at your convenience by visiting www.basscottage.com.
Bistro Weekends – Gourmet Dinners at The Bass Cottage Inn
We’re gearing up for our first dining package offering starting the weekend of June 12-13 and continuing on the weekend of September 18-19. Two nights luxury accommodations PLUS a 5-course gourmet meal served with a fine wine selection in our comfortable Atrium dining room. We still have slots available for both weekends. Get the details on pricing and menu offerings by visiting http://www.basscottage.com/bistro_weekend.html.
July 4th Tradition at The Bass Cottage Inn
Independence Day is a time for small town celebrations, especially in Bar Harbor. There’s a parade, seafood festival, lobster races (we sponsor a ‘sea bug’ to benefit the YMCA) and exciting fireworks right behind the Inn.
In our first season, we said to each other: “Why not serve a champagne and fresh strawberry shortcake dessert after the fireworks?” It was a hit and we’ve done it every year since. We hope you can join us for this year’s celebration…nothing like fresh native Maine strawberries and freshly baked shortcakes.
The Bass Cottage Inn is EVERYWHERE on the Web
With the explosive popularity of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s important for us to be where you spend your time. Follow The Bass Cottage Inn in these places:
Facebook: Search on “Bass Cottage Inn” or paste this link into your brower:
You’ll even find The Bass Cottage Inn on Google Maps, Yelp.com and, of course, Tripadvisor.
Speaking of Tripadvisor, if you have a fond memory of your last visit to The Bass Cottage Inn why not share it with other travelers on www.tripadvisor.com. Just visit http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60709-d224540-Reviews-Bass_Cottage_Inn-B ar_Harbor_Maine.html to get started.
Wednesday May 6, 2009
What do you want in a perfect holiday destination?
Bar Harbor and Acadia offer the perfect holiday choices because have what people want in these times.
- Pristine: The ocean, streams, lakes and forests are virtually unsullied by congested civilization. Volunteers, like Friends of Acadia, pick up any sporadic roadside debris. Deer, bald eagles, seals, snowy white gulls, and other animals flourish here. Just one look at the sunrise sparkling on the white caps in Frenchman Bay (just steps from The Bass Cottage Inn, by the way) and you'll know you're someplace special.
- Authentic: Bar Harbor is a unique and quirky little seaside village full of interesting shops, galleries and restaurants. Interesting characters with that dry Maine sense of humor too. What we don't have here on Mount Desert Island are chain restaurants, malls, fast food joints, big box stores, megaplexes and the other homogeneously depressing elements of Corporate America. We're keeping it real. You leave that stuff behind when you choose to come to Bar Harbor.
- Safe: The area crime rate is almost non-existent. Local residents usually don't lock their doors. Car keys are often stored under the mat. Having been robbed twice this past winter while on a Caribbean holiday, we doubly appreciate feeling secure on holiday. And you will feel safe and at home while at The Bass Cottage Inn, Bar Harbor.
The beautiful watercolor above was painted by a guest from Quebec, Daniel P., who was inspired by the beauty and authenticity of Acadia. Come see what he saw!
Thursday April 23, 2009
Top things to do in Bar Harbor / Acadia National Park
Of course, most people come to stay in Bar Harbor (and The Bass Cottage Inn) to enjoy wonderful Acadia National Park. Here are some other things to consider when you come to Bar Harbor:
1. GO ON A WHALE WATCH. High-speed whale watch boats will whisk you from the Town Pier (steps from Bass Cottage Inn) to the whales' playground 23+ miles out in the Gulf of Maine. You'll see playful humpbacks, giant finbacks, minke whales, harbor and grey seals and loads of ocean birds. We recommend Bar Harbor Whale Watch.
2. CHARTER A FRIENDSHIP SLOOP. Wonderful old boats (pictured here) help you see the coastline and outlying islands the way seafarers did over a 100 years ago. We especially enjoy the Sunset Cruise with wine and snacks. We recommend Downeast Friendship Sloop Charters.
3. TAKE A HORSEDRAWN CARRIAGE TOUR. Wander the Park's carriage roads and hear the history of "Mr. Rockefeller's Roads" from your expert guides. Tours leave regularly from Wildwood Stables near the Jordan Pond House. You can even arrange a private tour for you and your friends.
4. LEARN HOW LOBSTERS ARE CAUGHT. Years ago, lobsters were so plentiful they were used as fertilizer. Now, the world enjoys Downeast Maine lobsters as a delicacy. Capt. John aboard Lulu's Lobster boat will show you how lobsters are caught on a trip out onto Frenchman Bay.
5. TAKE A BIPLANE RIDE OVER ACADIA. Acadia Air Tours will fly you over Acadia peaks and also show you area lighthouses in a classic biplane. Glider rides are also available.
6. SAMPLE LOCAL NATIVE AMERICAN ART. The Abbe Museum, just steps from The Bass Cottage Inn, has a breathtaking collection of Native American art in their beautiful galleries. Great gift shop too.
7. TAKE A HIKE. You could come back dozens of times to Bar Harbor and Acadia and still experience the Park from a new perspective. The climb up Cadillac Mountain is long, but not especially difficult. Plus, you can brag about scaling the highest mountain north of Rio on the Atlantic Seaboard. Other hikes we like are the Ocean Trail and Great Head, Acadia Mountain and Gorham Mountain. You'll soon have your own favorites.
8. PADDLE A KAYAK. Easier and more stable than canoeing (I've tipped many a canoe over!), kayaking lets you glide through the natural beauty of Acadia. There are tours around Frenchman Bay near Bar Haror and on the so-called "Quiet Side" of Mount Desert Island. We recommend Aquaterra Adventures but there are many fine outfits available.
This is just a sampling....as you can see, you won't get bored in Bar Harbor.