Thursday January 20, 2011
Well, the warm months of our Maine summer and fall seem a distant memory now! Winter has fully enveloped Acadia, with a foot of snow on the ground now and more coming tomorrow. Snow seemingly every 2-3 days...but punctuated by cold sunny days with blue skies.
This is our season for rest and rejuvenation. Even as we plan new things for the upcoming inn-keeping season (more details to follow...we open May 13, 2011), we are taking the time restore body, mind and soul.
Certainly, a 4 mile hike through the snow around Little Long Pond with Teri and Riley is great for conditioning and maintaining a sunny disposition. Here you see Riley reading the signs, deciding where he'll take us next.
Now that the holidays are behind us and New Year's resolutions have come to the fore, we've embarked on many new initiatives to tone up body and mind.
That loud screaming noise you may hear coming from Bar Harbor once a week is Jeff at yoga class. I'm not the most flexible person in the world, so those relaxing poses are not always relaxing. But, I'm making strides.
Teri has embraced Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook to improve our diets here at home. The basic premise is to greatly reduce unhealthy processed ingredients and excessive animal proteins from the diet. Uh, we've been eating lots of vegetables...but that's a good thing. Don't worry - dining at the inn will still feature all the indulgences you've come to expect.
Finally, we took the plunge and have tried acupuncture to alleviate some of those middle-aged aches and pains. Guess what? It works. Now, I'm a believer.
So, we're thriving in Acadia's winter wonderland: reading, seeing some good movies, eating better, getting exercise and getting stuck with pins. As local summer resident Martha S. says: "It's a good thing."
Saturday January 8, 2011
What's Cooking? (January)
“Do you have a Bass Cottage Inn Cookbook?”
While attending culinary school to obtain my chef’s diploma, I fell in love with a wonderful shop called "Books for Cooks" in London. The tiny storefront in Notting Hill led to annual pilgrimages to browse, eat and to figure-out how to open a similar business in the US. I met wonderful chefs from Italy, Ireland and France who inspired me with their passion for their craft, teaching and the fun of writing about it. When I came back down to Planet Earth, Jeff and I, ever practical, plunged headlong into restoring and reopening The Bass Cottage Inn in the heart of Bar Harbor, Maine.
Return guests already know the story. The Inn was destined for the wrecking ball and instead was restored in 2003 after a 12-month restoration marathon, involving over 100 skilled craftsmen and women (and quite a few George Washington’s) to put the pieces back together. Operating the Inn is a privilege, our passion, and we think our dining philosophy “Creative New England Table” sets us apart from the rest.
So what was the question? Oh right, after 7 years, you’d think The Bass Cottage Inn Cookbook would be on our bookshelf by now. Instead, guests receive photocopies of recipes so it’s time to start doing something about it.
Watch this space…but please know nothing I do very well usually happens very fast!
I owe a special "Thank You" to recent guest Judith Olney Smith, author of “The Joy of Chocolate” and other classics, for encouraging me on this path.
Monday December 20, 2010
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL US AT THE BASS COTTAGE INN
A short but heartfelt blog entry this week:
We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday and a prosperous New Year. Cherish the authentic and enduring things that make life special. Celebrate the value and charm of what is real and good. Be good to one another. Eat more lobster. Let us all hope for more peace and goodwill in 2011.
All the best from Bar Harbor,
Jeff and Teri Anderholm, Innkeepers
Wednesday December 15, 2010
Off Season Escape
We're here on snow-dusted Mount Desert Island, Maine getting ready for the holidays. Jeff made some spiced pecan cocktail snacks and Teri is planning to whip up a batch of chocolate biscotti for celebrating the holidays.
After a busy inn-keeping season, things have wound down for us. We read with bemusement a very odd review on Tripadvisor wherein we were chastised for spending the entire winter 'in the tropics.' Strange review. Enough said.
So, what did we do? Took off for those very-same "tropics" for a 10-day getaway to recharge our batteries.
Anguilla is a lovely, quiet island in the Leeward Islands just northeast of St. Martin. First time we'd been there but we had an excellent recommendation on a place to stay from Bass Cottage Inn guests John and Candace (thanks, guys!!). The island is low-key with very friendly locals. Anguilla is blessed with some good restaurants (a rarity in the Caribbean all too often), splendid beaches (the best we've seen in the Caribbean) and a wide array of lodging alternatives. You might have heard of some Anguillan resorts such as Cap Jaluca and Cuisnart. We didn't want to 'blend in' with hoi-polloi so we looked for someplace quiet and right on the beach.
Our base for 10 days were the Shoal Bay Villas located on Shoal Bay East on the north coast of the island. Kathy and her staff were great to us! The view you see at above is right off our balcony - only 30 steps to the powdered sugar sand of the beach. Teri and I had an unambitious agenda: eat, sleep, read, swim. We succeeded.
Shoal Bay Villas offers kitchenette units, so we got some provisions at the local market. But there were some excellent beachfront barefoot bistros if we didn't feel like cooking. We also tried Valley Bistro (in the main town known as "The Valley") on Kathy's recommendation...and we went back for seconds. The kitchen is manned by a French ex-pat who previously was a chef on French St. Martin.
Of course, we had a few special dinners out, notably at Blanchard's on Meads Bay. Bob and Melinda Blanchard opened their restaurant 16 years ago, chucking their life and careers stateside. The food was very good, the setting lovely. We thought we were crazy back in 2002 when we left the corporate world to open a B&B in Maine. Nothing compared to the Blanchard's saga which is documented in their book "A Trip to the Beach". Good, frothy beach read with lots of insight about living on a Caribbean island. We recommend the restaurant and the book.
So, we're back in Maine getting ready for the holidays. All the best to you and yours from Bar Harbor...
Saturday October 30, 2010
Thoughts and Thanks...end of our 2010 season
Tomorrow (Halloween morning) is the last breakfast of our 2010 season, our 7th as owners/innkeepers here at The Bass Cottage Inn, Bar Harbor. Almost 6 months, hundreds of guests and over 3000 breakfasts served, we are about to enter our seasonal hiatus. Guests ask "what will you do all winter up here in Maine?" My stock answer: "As little as possible!"
The other day as Teri and I were driving to the inn around 6am through a pretty dense fog we talked about our season and the things for which we were thankful. I thought I'd share them with you.
Our Guests - People who stay at B&Bs are just nice people. They aren't adverse to interaction and sharing their personalities with us as hosts as well as other guests. It's been our pleasure to help them unwind, enjoy Downeast Maine and enjoy each other. This was our best season ever by far - lots of returning regulars and new faces we hope become regulars.
Our Staff - Chef Chris is a stalwart and he managed to take this kitchen game to another level this year. Greg joined us on the front desk five days a week and really added value by helping guests enjoy the Inn, Bar Harbor and the Park. His critical eye on room inspections was much appreciated as well. Finally, Ani, Manuela and Donika from Bulgaria did an outstanding job keeping rooms clean and complete. They showed up for work everyday with a smile...and, thankfully, they are eager to return to Bar Harbor and The Bass Cottage Inn in 2011.
Events - Weather was so splendid for the vast majority of this season that it was an event every day. While cities on the East Coast, South and Midwest were sweltering Bar Harbor was clear, clean and comfortable. Also, President Obama's visit to Bar Harbor this summer helped turn national attention to Bar Harbor as a unique holiday destination....the phones were ringing and we expect this kind of publicity will pay dividends next year and beyond.
Success and Recognition - 2010 was our best year ever. During high season (June to October) we were 98% full - an unprecedented occupancy rate for us and we're grateful for it. This season we were also pleased to receive dozens of "Excellent" reviews on Tripadvisor and Bed&Breakfast.com. Finally, getting recognized by Yankee Magazine as "Best of New England - Editors' Choice" was truly a feather in our cap - gratifying to the entire staff.
The Innkeepers - Innkeepers Teri and Jeff started The Bass Cottage Inn with a vision in 2004. But the next year, Teri returned to her financial services career as part of our retirement strategy. For 5 seasons we were separated each summer and Jeff ran the Inn flying solo. This year Teri returned to The Bass Cottage Inn and was key driver in taking our food and hospitality to yet another level. No longer separated half the year we are once again full time innkeepers and partners...and for that we are truly thankful.
Tomorrow the doors close, innkeepers and staff hoist a glass of champagne and then a nap or two. Plans are already afoot for the 2011 season and it's not too early to book your visit:
Bass Cottage Inn Online Availability and Reservationsr
This blog continues year-round. We'll share recipes, news of places we visit and snapshots of winter life on Mount Desert Island.
Monday September 20, 2010
Autumn in Bar Harbor
When most people think of Northern New England they think of mountains, hills and valleys colorfully shrouded in the reds and golds of Autumn. It's like that here in Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island as well. Except, we also offer the sparkling blue of the Atlantic to complement colors of Acadia National Park.
In my book, Fall is perhaps the best time to visit Bar Harbor and The Bass Cottage Inn. While things are still quite busy and all the shops and restaurants are open, there's a certain calm in the air that you seldom find in, let's say, August. Daytime temperatures are balmy and usually dry and sunny. Pack a sweatshirt or a fleece and you'll be just fine. Overnight it can get a little nippy - 40's are pretty common - so you can pull the covers over you and sleep snugly to be awakened by the smell of rich coffee brewing.
Everything that Acadia offers is on tap throughout September and October. Whale watching and water activities are offered deep into October (or as long the whales continue to feed and play in the Gulf of Maine). Among the fun events in the weeks ahead you'll find an outdoor art show in Bar Harbor and the MDI Marathon.
While much of Northern New England fall colors peak early, here in Bar Harbor at the coast our colors are forecast to peak later in October. Here at The Bass Cottage Inn you can book in the last 10 day of October for a quiet, romantic stay, enjoy an unhurried downeast fall holiday AND get our lowest rates of the season.
To view availability and book online visit:
Bass Cottage Inn Secure Online Reservations
An excellent source for monitoring and predicting peak colors within New England is found on the interactive ; Yankee Magazine Foliage Map
Friday September 10, 2010
Fantastic Fall Foods with a Flourish!
A slight chill is in the air here in Bar Harbor. August's dog days have given way to September's crisp autumn weather with warm, dry days and cool nights. That means it's time for your romantic getaway to coastal Maine. That also means it's time to change to our fall breakfast menu
Teri and Chef Chris have put their heads together to update our autumn breakfast menu rotation (we do something different every 8 days and then repeat...)
The emphasis is on seasonally-appropriate ingredients, most locally sourced. With the cooler weather on tap fall breakfast at The Bass Cottage Inn is designed to be a bit more fortifying than our summer offerings. Here's a look at some of the items on tap:
* Harvest Frittata with Country Toast and Jam - taking advantage of the bountiful summer harvest of zucchinis and yellow squash.
* Eggs Piperade - a Basque style egg dish served en croute with a piperade sauce made from fresh tomatoes, red and green pepper and smoked ham.
* Cranberry Walnut Pancakes with applewood bacon - Hearty, flavorful and so filling we only put 2 on a plate. Served topped with native Maine maple syrup.
* Downeast Lobster Omelet - delicious and local, filled with lobster meat, bits of fresh tomato, chives from the garden and white cheddar cheese.
* Pumpkin Spice Waffles - what says 'autumn' better than pumpkin? it's like a pumpkin pie, except it's a waffle...get it?
Of course, Jeff's famous Bass Cottage Huevos Rancheros remains on the menu. And rich bold Bass Cottage House blend coffee. And outstanding scones and muffins, baked fresh every morning.
Come on up...it's a good morning to be in Maine.
Saturday August 28, 2010
Just when you think you know everything...
For seven seasons we've told guests the history of the Inn. You know, Mr. Bass built the house for his family's summer holidays and to entertain his more famous and more wealthy summer contemporaries during the Golden Age of Bar Harbor society in the late 1800s.
Did anyone ever add onto the original house? "No, we don't think so....this is the original floor plan..."
Instead of believing the real estate agent's 'history' we should have done a little more digging on our own.
At left you see one of the earliest known photos of what was to become the Bass Cottage. Note than = ahem - the front porch used to be open at one time. And, I believe that the wing that houses our Inn kitchen and Rooms 5 and 6 was yet to be added in this photo.
It's time to correct the record (thanks to guests Tom and Julia who gave us a great book called "Bar Harbor's Gilded Century 1950-1950" by Lydia Bodman Vandenburgh).
Fact: Joseph Parker Bass, after whom the Inn is named, commissioned modifications to the original house after purchasing it from local resident George Higgins in 1893. He did not build the building orginally.
Fact: In 1932 (not 1928!!) this summer home was converted into an Inn after its purchase by Mrs. Ana Murch and Mrs. Fred Moore. The price back then - during the great Depression no less -- was $15,000. (We paid a little more back in 2003.)
In the photo you see Mr. Bass and some of his guests loading up some buckboard wagons for a trip to Havana Restaurant. Mr. Bass loved their Lobster Paella.
Friday August 20, 2010
A Bass Cottage Inn guest shares her experience with the Obama's in Bar Harbor
Long Island Herald columnist Randi Kreiss and her husband Don stayed at the Inn during the Obama's short visit to Bar Harbor and Acadia recently. Her well-crafted observations make for interesting reading so we share them with you.
Notes from Bar Harbor, with the Obamas
Thursday August 19, 2010
Bar Harbor Jazzfest August 18-22
It's time for our annual Jazzfest here in Bar Harbor. Some guests in the past have called concerned that the throngs of thousands of jazz aficionados would ruin there stay. No worries...this is a small musical festival held at various venues in Bar Harbor such as the art-deco Criterion Theatre, the Village Green gazebo, and, bars and cafes throughout town.
Plenty of good music available to help you enjoy a balmy summer's evening in Downeast Maine.
For details visit:
Bar Harbor Jazzfest 2010r