Monday November 7, 2011
Our 8th Season is Complete! Here's to our staff...
We concluded our eighth season as innkeepers about a week ago. It was our best season ever and the first successful season for our restaurant, 10 Tables, under the direction of Executive Chef Teri. They say that the average tenure of innkeepers is about 7 years...we still have lots of gas in our tank and will keep going for years to come.
A huge part of our guest satisfaction comes from the contributions of our great staff who keep the place spotless, the breakfast delicious and who all have put guest service at the top of their priorities. We couldn't do this without them, so we want to take a blog entry to recognize 2011 staff (almost ALL of whom should be back in 2012).
First off, completing his eighth year as Breakfast Chef, we want to thank Chris for his continued contributions and professionalism. He's been on cloud nine since the Bruins won the Stanley Cup and is hoping for a repeat performance. I'm sure he'll be watching... Every. Single. Game.
Greg and Jen did an excellent job on the Reception Desk when Innkeeper Jeff wasn't on duty. From welcoming arriving guests to providing concierge services they were totally guest-focused. We're grateful to both for their professionalism
Housekeeping is one of the most important roles at the inn. This season Doni, Ani and Moni (students from Bulgaria) had a great sophomore season keeping our guest rooms spotless and they also worked at night at 10 Tables. Many thanks for being hard workers and really nice girls. See you on Facebook this winter.
Cati from Bucharest, now a grad student, came back after a 4 year hiatus to work with Velina from Bulgaria on breakfast service. Both were charming and gracious every morning with the guests...and they kept us smiling back in the kitchen as well. Many thanks!
Thanks to lovely Terra who was our lead server at 10 Tables. Her hard work and leadership in the dining room at night helped make our first 10 Tables season a big success. Plus, she's a big Red Sox and Patriots fan...which, around here, certainly doesn't hurt!
Finally, many thanks to our wonderful guests at The Bass Cottage Inn and new patrons of 10 Tables. We'll be back to serve you starting on May 18, 2012.
Teri and I will be around MDI most of the winter with time to plan recipes, check on the Inn (which is being fully shut down for the winter as I write this), catch up on reading and getting back to the gym. Check this blog throughout the winter for new posts from Mount Desert Island, Maine. Cheers.
Tuesday October 25, 2011
Random facts from our corner of paradise
Here at The Bass Cottage Inn, we focus on making each and every guest visit special. Harking back to some of my old marketing lingo, it's a 'high-touch' business. But we also do analysis at the end of each year to try to quantify how we did. Beyond the comfy beds, the delicious scones or the romantic dinner there are some fun facts behind the scenes. We present a 'quant' version of our 2011 season for your amusement.
Bass Cottage Inn: 2011
Number of breakfasts served at The Bass Cottage Inn this year: 3,104
Number of eggs used in the kitchen this season: 2,750
Number of small family weddings held at the Inn this year: 1
Top 3 regions guests come from: Massachusetts, New York, Texas
Number of guests this year from South Africa: 2
#1 referral source for new Bass Cottage Inn guests: Tripadvisor.com
Number of Bass Cottage Inn “Excellent’ reviews on Tripadvisor: 250
B&Bs with more “Excellent” Tripadvisor reviews than Bass Cottage Inn in Bar Harbor: 0
Percentage of this season’s guest who were repeat guests: 23%
Occupancy during high season (June 17 – Oct 9): 97%
Number of days above 90F this season in Bar Harbor: 3
Average daily high temperature for Bar Harbor –July 2011: 78F
Average daily high temperature for Dallas –July 2011: 102F
Average daily high temperature for Atlanta –July 2011: 92F
Number of tables in our fine dining restaurant, 10 Tables: 11
Number of acres in Acadia National Park: 48,419
Number of visitors to Acadia National Park 2.5M (2010)
Number of cars “from away” that attempted a sudden U-turn on Cottage St. to snag a parking place: 47
Number of moose sighted on Mount Desert Island this year: 1
Maximum number of whales spotted by a guest on a single whale watch trip: 12
Sunday October 30 marks the last breakfast of our 2011 season - our eight and best yet. We thank our guests, staff, vendors and neighbors for their involvement in our lives.
One more number: 10am...when we'll get out of bed on the day after we close. Peace everybody.
Friday October 7, 2011
Why we live here...
Or, alternate Downeast title: "Frost, you say?"
October 7th dawned beautiful, bright and nippy up here on Mount Desert Island. With dawn temps at 30F, the grass had a slick coating of frost as I walked across the lawn at the Somesville Libraray at 6:30am to snap this photo. In the foreground is the falls at the Somesville Mill Pond. In the middle ground you see the steam rising from the inner harbor at Somes Sound cloaking Sargent and Parkman Mountains in the distance.
Later, I took my usual swing down Cromwell Harbor Road on the way to the Inn. This road winds through the middle of Kebo Valley Golf Course. Standing on one of the greens was a placid doe. Steam shot from her nostrils in the morning sunlight as she regarded my passing vehicle. I hope the greens-keepers weren't too upset by cloven hooves on the putting surface!!
To the summer folks who couldn't imagine coming to Acadia in October this beautiful shot should be ample motivation to try autumn next time. To the folks from the Deep South who've suffered with terrible heat this season I say this: There was FROST this morning!
And about "Frost, You Say" -- Marshall Dodge (of Bert and I fame) wrote this essay that captures an old-timer from Downeast Maine who wanders off topic to hilarious effect when asked if there was frost at his house this morning. You can listen to the audio performance on "Bert and I Stem Inflation". Highly recommend Yankee performance art!
Thursday September 29, 2011
Bass Cottage Inn - ahead of the curve?
Our attention was drawn recently to an article earlier this month in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Potpourri-Free B&Bs: New spins on old inns ditch the dolls, doilies and group breakfasts for modern flair and iPod docks." What's interesting to us is that is a trend that, in large part, we were part of launching nine years ago when we planned out the decorating, infrastructure and hospitality paradigm that guests enjoy today at The Bass Cottage Inn.
While we are technically a 'country inn' the inn's touchstone is more along the lines of a 'boutique hotel.' Like the inns mentioned in this article, we shunned over-decorating, Victorian excess, communal seating and embraced things we knew our target guests would want: tasteful, quiet elegance, lots of little details guests can delight in discovering themselves, restaurant-style breakfast seating (because folks come to enjoy each other most of all...not a crowd), cooked to order breakfasts, fine dining in the evening and the technology to support the way folks live - even when they travel.
Teri designed the decor to sooth the eye and the spirit. So, no clash of fabrics, dollies, doilies or copious bric-a-brac. We believed this was especially important for the emerging group of younger guests with a different aesthetic standard. However, it's actually been appealing to all age groups.
We've been to a couple of the inns mentioned in this article. All offer state-of-the-art hospitality and amenities. A few are a little too light on the personal interaction that most B&B guests seek - especially when planning to get the most out of a visit to scenic Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. One of these 'modern' inns was so 'modern' that we never met any innkeeper during entire multi-day stay. It was like they were avoiding guests. But, perhaps that's their niche.
We've learned that some guests want lots of interaction, some want to much less interaction. So, we've learned how to read guests and, hopefully, be as interactive as they require.
But please hold the chintz and the gingham!
Click here to read the article in its entirety. Potpourri Free B&Bs
Tuesday September 20, 2011
An apple a day ...makes the guests happy
Nothing says "New England" than an orchard brimming with red apples under crisp blue skies. Our guests love to help themselves to fruit in our guest pantry so, with a beautiful day on hand and a doggie itching for a car ride we set off to Johnston's Apples in nearby Ellsworth ME. Johnston's is one of those pick-your-own orchards and it's set on rolling meadows near Branch Pond in the northernmost reaches of Ellsworth.
We arrived around midday on a Monday and the weather couldn't have been better. The Macintoshes and Cortlands were ready for picking so we grabbed a wagon and a picking pole and set off. The trees were bursting with red, ripe Macintosh apples. This summer we've had moderate heat and lots of rain AND sun, so the fruit is sweet and nicely sized. While kids and families had picked the proverbial low-hanging fruit, lots of nice specimens populated the upper branches. This is where being tall and having the right tools both played to my advantage (see picture).
Within 30 minutes we had visited several trees, picked the best of the best, and hauled in about 17 pounds of fresh Maine apples. At 45 cents a pound that totaled only $7.65...a much better deal than the supermarket and really nice day out.
So, if you're staying this fall at The Bass Cottage Inn feel free to enjoy the fruits of our labors. Next week we'll be going after my favorite variety that's just coming ripe: the tart, uber-crisp Macouns!
Tuesday September 20, 2011
A great blog post with great photos from a recent guest
We can talk about how great it is at The Bass Cottage Inn all we want (OK, we're not objective..). But when a guest does a blog post like this on...
My View From The Middle Seat
...we are especially pleased. And, the photos are as good as I've seen. Read on to see what this guest thought about their stay at The Bass Cottage Inn, Bar Harbor.
Saturday September 10, 2011
Recipe: Bass Cottage Inn Sour Cream Coffee Cake
This one is a guest and staff favorite. We've been asked for this recipe this season more than any other recipe, so we thought we'd share it. You can use any type of fruit or nut filling to vary the flavor either as topping or a filling – deliciously moist! We use a bundt pan for more artful presentation.
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
½ t vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
¼ t salt
1 cup chopped nuts
1T + 1t sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
• Handful of dried cranberries
• Handful of fresh blueberries
• Compote of sauteed apples, butter, walnuts, cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Grease and flour a 12 in bundt pan.
3. Cream butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until fluffy (an electric mixer is advised).
4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
5. Fold in sour cream and vanilla extract.
6. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Fold into the wet batter.
7. If you are putting a filling in: spread half batter into the pan. Arrange your filling across the top of the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter to form the top layer. If you’ll just be using a topping: spread all the batter into the pan. Then add ¾ of the topping on top of the wet batter (then add the balance of the topping about 10 minutes from the end of baking time).
8. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Pour yourself a cup of Carrabassett Coffee's rich, dark Bass Cottage Blend coffee and enjoy.
Sunday September 4, 2011
Fresh Flowers to Enhance Hospitality
"Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul."
-- The Koran
Fresh flowers are an important part of the mix here at The Bass Cottage Inn. Each week we get a huge selection of colorful cut flowers from a local woman. On Saturday morning, after breakfast service, Teri sets to work cutting, arranging and staging flowers all over the Inn. With abundant exterior gardens we can augment with local wild flowers - such as hydrangea or lupines - as well.
Maybe its a male-female thing, but when I put flowers in a vase its..well, uh, just putting flowers in a vase. But Teri has a sense of aesthetics that seems to elude my male chromosomes. And our female staff keep the flowers looking nice for an entire week so that guests can enjoy the subconscious mood brightening as the encounter artful riots of color within the Inn.
"In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.
-- Kozuko Okakura
Take time to pause and appreciate the flowers when you visit The Bass Cottage Inn or come to dine at 10 Tables.
Wednesday August 31, 2011
September 17 is Open Lighthouse Day in Maine
When you think of Maine you think of lobster (of course), stoically beautiful rocky shores and lighthouses.
You've spent hours gazing at your favorite Maine lighthouse, but what you really want to do is climb the light tower to experience the lantern room view above the rocky shore. You could do just that during the 3rd annual Maine Open Lighthouse Day Sept. 17. Mount Desert Island has several lighthouses in the area for you to explore including neaby Bass Harbor Head Light and Mount Desert Light (see picture).
During Maine's Open Lighthouse Day, 25 coastal, island and river lighthouses will welcome the public for tours of keeper's houses and light towers, and educational talks. Some light stations will have limited accessibility or special restrictions.
To find out more visit:
Open Lighthouse Day 2011
Thursday August 18, 2011
Ten great things to do in October on Mount Desert Island
Early morning fog has shrouded the Island the last couple of mornings providing a harbinger - even in August - of the autumn to come.
Lots of folks already recognize that autumn is perhaps the nicest time to visit Bar Harbor and Acadia. Perhaps that's why September here at The Bass Cottage Inn is almost completely booked. We still have some days open, so don't delay.
But October is a beautiful time for a restful, romantic getaway and we do still have availability. So, here's a list of 10 great things to look forward to during an October visit
* Bike around Eagle Lake and Witch Hole Pond before breakfast. Get up early, through on a fleece to ward of the chill and hit the carriage roads. Return back to The Bass Cottage Inn for a hearty breakfast and then take a nap!
* Pop-over to the Jordan Pond House. Famous for its popovers and lobster stew, it's a great place for lunch and it's open late into October.
* Take a horse-drawn carriage ride up Day Mountain. Listen to the clop-clop-clop of the horses' hooves and enjoy the wash of fall colors.
* Drink a few beers at Acadia Oktoberfest. Enjoy 88 brands of microbrews at this popular fall event in nearby Southwest Harbor. Food, crafts and entertainment, too.
* Get a picnic lunch and head to Sand Beach. Get some sandwiches and snacks from one of the delis near The Bass Cottage Inn and go relax on the beach. In October, yep.
* Run over 26 miles. The Mount Desert Island Marathon takes place on October 16th. It is a qualifying event for Boston and the course takes you through some of the prettiest country east of the Mississippi.
* Say goodbye to the whales. Our whale friends continue to hang out in the Gulf of Maine until mid month and then they head for points south. But you can still go whale-watching in October.
* Pull up at chair to one of our 10 Tables. The Inn's restaurant is open through late October. Autumnal cuisine is, perhaps, our favorite.
10 Tables website
* Take a nature stroll along Ship Harbor Trail. One of our favorite 'easy' hikes near Bass Harbor, it takes you along Ship Harbor, a natural 'hurricane hole' and the pink granite shores of MDI.
* Sit by the fire, enjoy a book, nod off. Relaxation is always called for at The Bass Cottage Inn. Some of our rooms have their own fireplaces, but we also have 3 in our spacious first floor common rooms. And a large lending library as well.
We do hope to see you in October. The last day of our season is Sunday October 30.