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.
Tuesday July 26, 2011
Great write up in a blog called "TravelSquire"
If you ever wanted a great road map for getaway to sample the best of New England, this blog entry is it. From the famed Brimfield MA antique mega-fair, to our old stomping grounds Cape Ann, MA, to lobsters at Thurston's Lobster Pound on Mount Desert Island, Maine.
Of course, a stay at The Bass Cottage Inn was imperative ;-).
Here's the blog entry by Illeana Hoffman & Danielle Alkaitis
"...That evening, back in Bar Harbor, the Bass Cottage Inn offered a clean, serene and non-fussy environment in a solidly restored 1885 Victorian “cottage.” The Bass family originally built this summer home to enjoy exactly what we were – escaping city heat and grime to enjoy the refreshing ocean air and calming scenery. The décor? Palm Beach meets Maine. The look? Old world elegance, with stained-glass windows blended with modern conveniences. The furnishings mix antiques and wicker; lovely original details have been painstakingly restored without adding Victorian reproductions. Rooms have discreet flat screen TVs and a library of DVDs for guest entertainment, with antique pieces tastefully interspersed.
A breakfast of several gourmet choices was served in the Atrium – sour cream coffee cake, fruit brochette with vanilla sauce and two choices of lemon-blueberry waffles or lobster quiche. Husband and wife innkeepers Jeffrey and Teri were gracious and happy to share their knowledge of the local area and history. He handles the marketing and operations; she is the chef and managing hostess. In season, they offer guests a continuation of Teri’s creative cookery at their on-premise restaurant, 10 Tables. Truly a dynamic duo!"
Having never been to Palm Beach, we don't know what that style entails but certainly strove to avoid the Victorian excess found in many other inns. And, guests seem to like it - and that's all that matters.
For the entire blog entry, click here: INNside New England
Wednesday July 20, 2011
Great early review of dinner @ 10 Tables!
Noted Maine travel expert Hilary Nangle writes about her recent dinner at 10 Tables here at The Bass Cottage Inn. Among the quotable quotes:
"10 Tables fills a niche. It provides well-prepared and beautifully presented fare in an intimate setting."
"This was one of the better meals we’ve had on the island, and thanks to its limited seating (10 tables—or maybe 11, but who’s counting), it provides a far more intimate and personal dining experience than other top spots."
"10 Tables provides a quiet retreat from the hubbub of the harbor and a far less frenzied atmosphere than most other finer dining choices on the island, but with only 10 tables, advance reservation is a necessity."
So, if you're coming to The Bass Cottage Inn or will simply be enjoying a stay elsewhere on Mount Desert Island call to book one of our 10 Tables -- 866-782-9224 or 207-288-1234. And we recommend Maine Travel Maven as a great resource for the inside track to the best of Maine.
Read the full review at Maine Travel Maven
Sunday July 10, 2011
A Summer Morning at The Bass Cottage Inn
A day in July. A slice of time. Summertime in Maine. You just can't beat it.
While much of North America swelters in the heat, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park are enjoying balmy, pleasant conditions. Sunny, fluffy clouds, gentle breezes with temperatures in the 70s during the day. And great sleeping weather at night.
Sometimes, even though busy with our guests, we have time to pause and reflect. Here in this picture, taken at 6:30am on a perfect July morning in Bar Harbor, we observe the picture-perfect beauty of the setting here at The Bass Cottage Inn. Beautiful, fresh flowers adorn our living room. Sparkling glassware and place settings wait in repose in our Atrium dining room for today's breakfast.
Breakfast at The Bass Cottage Inn is an event. Each day we offer a different menu with fresh fruit, homemade scones or muffins and two different breakfast entrees. Today, the tough choice is Lemon Blueberry Pancakes or our famous Lobster Quiche with skillet potatoes.
Soon, the dining room will be quietly busy with recently awakened guests getting ready for their day to explore Acadia or get out on the water. Rich, dark coffee will be poured by our gracious servers. One of Teri's playlists called "Jazzgrass" will be playing in the background. Imagine a mix of jazz and bluegrass with Ella and the Ink Spots thrown in. Fun and charming.
Later, we'll start getting ready for dinner service at 10 Tables. But, for now I think I'll just enjoy this picture-perfect moment of reflection on a Sunday morning at The Bass Cottage Inn.