Sunday August 3, 2014 1:27 PM
Time to appreciate "bloobs" in Maine
It's not a misspellling -) It's time to savor the 'bloobs" in Downeast Maine.
Up here on Mount Desert Island we're just getting the first harvested wild Maine blueberries of the season. While not as famous at Maine lobster, the wild Maine blueberry is a unique treat.
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 this beautiful region. These naturally smaller wild blueberries are sweet and irresistibly delicious. While cultivated blueberries from other parts of the US (we call 'em "cannonballs" because of their larger size) are good and nutritious, the Maine blueberry is something akin to the best wine grapes: small, concentrated, delicious.
While you'll find wild blueberries while hiking in Acadia National Park, they are cultivated around these parts in rocky fields known as "blueberry barrens."
In spring, the blueberry barrens come to life with a soft green color and white blossoms. In late July and early August the barrens gradually turn blue as the berries ripen and the harvest begins, as it is right now here in Maine.
After the harvest, and with the onset of fall, the barrens turn a bright crimson red that rivals any fall foliage -- another reason to plan a trip this fall to the Bass Cottage Inn.
Wednesday July 30, 2014 1:21 PM
Green Initiatives at The Bass Cottage Inn
We just signed on to an initiative to ban those ubiquitous plastic water bottles from Acadia National Park. About 4 years ago, we abolished bottled water from our Guest Pantry at the inn and we think it's good for the environment --- and not much of an inconvenience for guests. Instead guests fill up their own reusable (and often more handy) water bottles for a fun day in Acadia.
In the rooms, guests have a stylish carafe of chilled water each day.
Over our years as innkeepers we've learned how to be smarter and more eco-conscious. Of course, we recycle paper products as much as possible. Returnable bottles and cans are donated to a charity. Most light bulbs are CFLs. Our inn's sign is illuminated with cost-effective and long-lived LED lights.
Recycling, using products that themselves use recycled materials, and using energy-saving technologies is just smart business. And, educated guests notice these things. However, your comfort is never compromised.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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!