Saturday, April 12, 2014

THE DOWNEASTER- LL BEAN OUTDOOR DISCOVERY WEEKEND

Scott & Mary
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine

God, thank you for today!!  Mid-sixties, no wind and you could even feel the warmth of the sun on your skin!  I took a big gamble and took off my snow tires! 

What’s the last thing you want to do on the weekend, after a week of commuting?  No more driving, or sitting in traffic, right??  Brewster House has your answer!!  Take your comfy seat on the Downeaster, (North Station, Woburn, Haverhill or Exeter, NH), even bring your bicycle, and enjoy the ride!  http://www.amtrakdowneaster.com.  We will pick you up and drop you off at the station, if you let us know when you’ll be arriving.



Then you ask, “what will we do, Tonto?”  Brewster House recently arranged for you to join LL Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools!!  For very short money, LL Bean offers an amazing array of choices of “learn to” activities.  The tie in to being car-less here is that you simply walk the 3 blocks to meet them, and they will take you by shuttle to their Discovery Center where these activities are offered (near Wolfs Neck).  If you can imagine this, you could be learning to fly fish, skeet shoot, kayak, paddleboard, or canoeing!  Further, at specified times, they will be offering mixed activities for more extended adventures, such as biking and camping, sea-kayaking including camping, etc.  In the winter, they offer snowshoeing and cross-country skiing lessons as well (snow conditions permitting).    Check out their website for dates, times and availability http://www.llbean.com/llb/ods/33?page=outdoor-discovery-schools. 



Our new website is only weeks from being operable.  In fact, it could be sooner, but we want to hold off to include new photographs showing off our newly renovated rooms, which Christian Giannelli http://www.christiangiannelli.com will be taking for us next week.  In re-evaluating some of what’s on our current website, and what we inherited vs. new directions we think we should take, we will be offering several new packages.  We know you will find them to be simply elegant and will want to come spend time with us!  One of these will be the “LL Bean Outdoor Discovery Package,” including your choice of activity, and a dinner gift certificate to reward you for your outdoor efforts.

Not being a shopper myself, I’ve long thought we should be offering a package making it clear that shopping does not have to be your activity to enjoy the area (even though it may be your partners)!  I haven’t settled on a name, and please don’t jump on me with the “sexist” label, but I’m thinking of something like “Women Shop/ Men Play Package.”  Please know I am open to other name suggestions!  It is my intention to offer a range of active choices including golf, boating or LL Bean adventures, and maybe a spa treatment for the ladies!  Of course we need to reunite the group with dinner, so a dinner gift certificate will be in order as well.  I don’t know about your relationship, but in ours, usually the guys and ladies team up for such weekends, so this is a perfect set-up for two or more couples!

We are working with a local company who owns five golf courses, including the Bath Country Club and Sunday River Golf courses for a Golf  n’Stay Package.



You know those less exciting seasons?  Here we call them stick and mud season, but you may feel the same about winter.  Don’t forget Reconnect Weekends, where during our slower seasons, you and your family/ friends/ college buddies/ co-workers can take the whole inn for a VERY DEEP DISCOUNT.     


Jump into Spring with a plan to come to Brewster House and play!!  Please call if we can help you plan, or answer questions for you!  We love to help people relax and enjoy life!!!   

Thursday, April 3, 2014

White Water Blog

Scott & Mary
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine

For those of us Mainers who love the outdoors, a significant transition marker every spring is the annual four day Reggae Fest at Sugarloaf Ski Resort, http://www.sugarloaf.com/activities-and-nightlife/reggae-festival.  A fabulous outdoor event marking the coming of spring with the last days of spring skiing!!  If you haven’t participated and you’re a lover of Reggae, skiing, boarding or the outdoors, GET HIP!!

In other miscellaneous news, Amtrak is offering $10 one-way adult fares between Brunswick (one stop past Freeport) and Haverhill, MA on the Downeaster weekends of April 12 & 13, and May 17 & 18.  COME UP AND SEE US!!  We’ll even pick you up and drop you off at the Freeport Station (call to make arrangements)!!  We’re already pretty busy for that second weekend, so don’t wait to make reservations!  http://www.amtrakdowneaster.com/deals is the link to Amtrak, but my instructions read you need to call Natalie Bogart at 207-780-1000 x108 to make arrangements.

Ahhhh, WHITE WATER RAFTING, one premier wilderness Maine experience!!  If you’ve not had one of these thrill rides, this year is the time!  Rafting is a team event, with the in-raft guidance of your personal experienced guide, who is also your boss, calls out instructions and steers the raft.  The three rivers we run in Maine, the Kennebec, Penobscot and Dead Rivers, are all dam controlled, and transit pristine wild, beautiful country.  The first two are also the primary drainages for the state, the Kennebec enters the Gulf of Maine not far from here, and the mighty Penobscot carved out Penobscot Bay, an hour + east of here.



 All full trips run about 4 or 5 hours and cover about 15 miles of river.  Many companies run shorter ½ trips too.  The Kennebec and Penobscot are run year round, depending on daily releases from hydro-elecrtic dams for the ride.  The Dead is run a couple of weekends in the spring and fall, via flood control releases from Flagstaff Lake, east of Mt. Bigelow, across Carrabassett Valley from Sugarloaf, and is the only ride with consistent rapids the entire distance.  The Penobscot run starts east of Moosehead Lake (just south of Baxter State Park), and as the river includes class 4 and 5 rapids, is the wildest ride of the three.  Out family has rafted all but the Dead multiple times and will agree the Penobscot is the most intimidating, although many of it’s later stretches laze bucolically under the majestic Mt. Katahdin.  Most of the rafting companies that run the Kennebec are quartered in The Forks on that River, and you get in below the dam at the West end of Indian Pond, which empties Moosehead Lake (which at 45 miles long is one big a-- lake!).

YOU WILL GET WET, so a wet-suit rental is a good idea on all but the warmest days, as the water that emerges from the depths of these big damned lakes IS COLD!  All rafting companies have them available, as well as including helmets and other safety equipment.  Rides begin with a safety briefing and practicing your teams response to your raft Captains’ commands.  Halfway down any trip, you pull over for a scrumptious grilled lunch, hot drinks and of course, the brews flow after any trip, as you watch videos of yourselves negotiating the rapids.

A Google search will produce a number of options, but a place to start might be www.northernoutdoors.com.  Most of these are based about 2 hours north of Freeport, and the plan is for us to be your cony refuge after (or before) your adventure!  Believe me when I tell you that you can’t have more thrills (& lunch) for under $100!!         



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Epiphany

Scott & Mary
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine

Epiphany

I know, I know, it sounds so overused, so trivialized!  Sometimes, maybe it’s simply a matter of re-examining your situation, or gaining a different perspective when we feel these little light-shafts of joy and revelation.  I also believe they usually come at a quieter time when you have the opportunity to really listen and feel, and not over-think your situation.  I had such a moment while touring the FABULOUS Maine Boat Builders Show with my good friend Mike last week!

It was one of those forty degree, sunny days in late winter when spring feels like a real promise, plus, being proximate to the ocean (like the mountains) always offers a promise of renewal and opportunity.  Mike and I can be comfortable effortlessly, and immersing ourselves in that cleansing boat/ ocean fantasy that was that fine exhibition was the perfect backdrop for such reflection and appreciation of our new home and work here in Maine!  I’ve been to lots of boat shows, but none so replete with the melding of artistic line, extreme quality, and expert craftsmanship, whether sail, power or human powered as this show!  Know that a similar show will be offered on the waterfront in Rockland at Harbor Park from August 8th to 10th, including a boat dog contest.  I will remind you!  Check out www.maineboats.com for details.

Rowing Canoes!

Anyway, I regress…….it occurred to me how lucky we are to be living in a thinly populated State complete with such enormous raw beauty and natural opportunity, and for us, working at a job where our guests are sharing our pleasure!  We get to take in the world from the top on those cold, crystalline days, before dancing down that magical white silent carpet through such magnificent wild forests.  In the spring & summer, we get to watch our world be reborn in soft greens and lilac smells, and that salty, earthy tang that comes with the tides breathing in and out.  Then there’s the water…..full of living things, especially where it splashes against the rocks, and the wind to ride with sails billowing!  In summer, we’re too busy to play in boats, but you aren’t!  I miss it!!  I think all of that is why coastal Maine has such a pool of amazingly talented cooks, artists, innkeepers and adventurers concentrated here. 

Top of Jordan Bowl, Sunday River

The more we visit Portland, the more I appreciate what a great place it is to spend time!  There is an AMAZING number of fabulous restaurants, and much of the waterfront looks like it might have in the 1800’s heydays of fishing sloops, packet ships, coastal schooners and world circling clippers.  The 3 and 4 story brick warehouses, many complete with old signs from the early 20th century, give it a very unique and warm flavor.    

I mentioned this in a previous blog, but it’s now official, the Nova Scotia ferry left Singapore last week and will be arriving in New England in early May, including a stop in Boston to show off.  She will start trips to Yarmouth on May 15th for $79 each way, including an on-board casino and sleeping cabins.  So, stop here on the way out, or the way back and let us spoil you with a side adventure in Maine.  http://www.novastarcruises.com.     

Here’s a gift for putting up with my reverie;

OATMEAL WAFFLES W/ TRIPLE BERRY SYRUP

Serves 6

Ingredients-1            ½ cup flour
                        1 cup quick cooking oats
                        3 tsp baking powder
                        ½ tsp cinnamon
                        ¼ tsp salt
                        2 eggs separated
                        1-1/2 cups milk
                        6 tbspns melted butter
                        2 tbspns brown sugar

In a large bowl, mix first 5 ingredients.  In a small bowl, mix 2 egg yolks, cooled melted butter & milk w/ brown sugar. Add the egg yolk and milk mixture into dry ingredients.  In a medium bowl beat 2 egg whites until light and fluffy then fold into waffle batter.

Note:  To make this recipe lactose free, substitute 6 tablespoons vegetable oil for butter, & substitute soy or almond milk for milk.
                       
TRIPLE BERRY SYRUP

Ingredients-   1 cup of sugar
                        2 tbspns cornstarch
                        1 cup water
                        1 tbspn lemon juice
                        1 tbspn butter
                        1 cup frozen mixed berries

Note:  Fresh berries can also be used        

Combine sugar & cornstarch in a saucepan on stove.  Slowly add water & whisk until incorporated.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  When thickened, add 1 cup of mixed berries & reduce heat.  Simmer until the berries begin to burst.  Remove them from heat & add lemon & butter.

Serve over waffles w/ fresh crème fraiche or whipped cream & berries as a garnish.


Next time we make them, I promised I’ll take and post a photo!