Archive for October, 2011

The Hammock

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Lying in the hammock channels stress out of your back and into the ropes.

Lying in the hammock for more than ten minutes makes the world go away.

Lying quietly in the hammock allows you to get up close and personal with the birds and the butterflies.

Lying in the hammock and closing your eyes allows you to be truly alone with your thoughts.

Lying in the hammock with your friend can be very friendly.

Lying in the hammock allows you to become one with your book.

Lying in the hammock with your dog guarding the territory under and around you makes you feel protected from the evils of the world.

Sitting in the hammock ain’t bad either.

Our brand new hammock on the front porch at Camellia Cottage Bed and Breakfast in Wilmington NC awaits your backs and butts!

Encore Restaurant Week

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Encore Restaurant Week in Wilmington, NC is one of the most festive times of the year!  This year it is running thru 10/26.  Most of the restaurants in the area feature different specials or prix fixe menus at a drastically reduced rate.  This is your chance to try Caprice Bistro, Manna, Deluxe Café, Circa 1922, as well as many others out at the beaches!  Check out the offerings at www.encorerestaurantweek.com.

Not-so-Humble Hash

Friday, October 14th, 2011

We have finally let go of summer here at the Camellia Cottage Bed and Breakfast in Wilmington, NC.  About time, you say?  Leaves are turning colors, humidity is down, crisp evenings get dark earlier and give way to cool mornings that get light later.  Okay, I’m slow.

But now, we are embracing Fall and all the yummy veggies coming with it!  Each week, We try to share a recipe, or the broad strokes of a recipe, featuring the goodies most available at this point in the season.  Now, we’ve got lots of variety, potatoes that get sweeter with long slow roasting, peppers that can change up every dish and greens…spinach, arugula and kale.

Obviously, our favorite dishes are those that can be endlessly varied.  Humble hash is certainly one of those.  It is great for breakfast, but also perfect for a nice friendly supper.  Best of all, it can take care of your big dinner leftovers with ease. 

Not-so-Humble Hash (Serves 2-ish)

4 cups mixed root veggies, cut in ¼ inch cubes.  Favorites include red potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips, carrots.  These are the basis for the dish.  If you have leftovers from your roast from last night, just dice them up and sauté them in some olive oil till lightly browned and crisped.  If starting with raw, dice them up, sauté them in olive oil for a little longer in a covered pan.  Uncover when soft, turn up the heat and let them crisp.  Feel free to add fresh sage, oregano, basil or herbs of your choice.

1 cup diced onion, sautéed

1 cup diced peppers of your choice, sweet or hot, sautéed

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

After all the veggies are ready, keep them warm for a few minutes.  Add 2 cups shredded beef, corned beef, smoked turkey or chicken, fried tofu or, wait for it, oysters!  Stir in your chopped spinach.  Poach, fry  or scramble 1-2 eggs per serving to your liking.  Spread veggie mix on plate and top with your beautiful fresh eggs.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and Voila ….meal in a minute!

The Rewards Are Priceless

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

  There’s a famous line from Tennessee Williams’ “A Street Car Named Desire” when Blanche DuBois says something like this—“I find that I rely on the kindness of strangers.”  Here at the Camellia Cottage Bed and Breakfast, we find that we rely on the kindness of folks who were strangers before their stays here and are no longer strangers after their stays. A lot of guests at the breakfast table comment upon how much work they perceive innkeeping to be but few of these also realize how rewarding being an innkeeper can be. We would like to share a few recent examples to illustrate why we still enjoy bed and breakfast life after 15 years at it.

  In July, Dave and Maren from Chicago spent a few days with us and loved the ornate accordion “Tommy” in the living room that Paula’s father used to play in the 1930s in big bands in the Chicago area. They took pictures of this beautiful instrument and of the photo showing Paula’s father playing it. A few weeks later, Dave used these pictures in a printmaking class to produce his very first “lino-cut” and he mailed us a print. We were awestruck at the beauty of the print and the kindness of this gesture.

  Also in July, the door bell rang late on a Sunday afternoon after we had finished cleaning and re-doing all the rooms after a busy weekend with guests. It was the Dukes and their lovely daughter. It took a minute to retrieve them from my not-so-perfect memory. They were the first couple to get married in our side courtyard, about 9 years ago. We walked the gardens together and shared some fun memories of that wonderful day. They were able to show their child where they were married and we all look forward to a return stay for their 10-year anniversary.

  We were in the sights of Hurricane Irene at the end of August. Although we escaped most of her fury, we had some minor damage and were without electricity for about 40 hours. The outpouring of concern from our guest list was heart-warming.  Almost every hour an email or text message came in checking on our status and offering assistance if needed. It re-affirmed for us that many of our guests have become friends…certainly no longer strangers!