Archive for the ‘Lodging Blog’ Category
Last week I put on my boots and headed inland to pick strawberries from an organic farm. There are some farms locally but for strawberries you really should have organic. Not all local farms are organic. I clean about 5 pounds of strawberries everyday for breakfast and at the end of the season I have touched over 400 pounds of strawberries. For me, I feel an imperative to make sure that there are no pesticides.
I picked 13 pounds the first day I was there. I will go back this week and pick more. We use the strawberries in our fruit cups and our green smoothies. Our green smoothies are also made with local kale, spinach and blueberries (organic of course). Eating local has become a learning experience for me. Learning what local food compliment each other is as much as a learning curve as learning how to bake vegan. There are fine lines I believe that should be respected. I am not sure why people think chocolate could ever be local to Maine. Taking ingredients from other parts of the world and preparing them in Maine, does not make it from Maine. Making Maine wine from California grapes, that just does not equal my definition of local.
Jesse prepared a wonderful organic french toast with local organic strawberry compote for breakfast yesterday. Our bacon from Maine Street Meats is a nice addition to any of our entrees.
Blueberry season is right around the corner. Blueberries are much harder to pick than strawberries. The berry is smaller and if you do not have a proper rake it can be difficult to accumulate quantity. For the blueberries, I make a donation to the Coastal Mountain Land Trust, the organization that helps to preserve a lot of land, including Beech Hill. Beech Hill is a wonderful hill that has organic blueberry fields. If you are a contributing member, you get first pick at the harvested berries. In my opinion, a great deal! Here is a link to my last blog post on Health Eats in Camden Maine
I love the online Wikipedia definition of hospitality - “the relationship between the guest and the host, or the act or practice of being hospitable. Specifically, this includes the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers”. The relationship starts with that first phone call from the guest or from the guest visiting a properties website. The Internet gives potential guests the ability to find out a lot of information about a property before they commit to a reservation, a.k.a. a business relationship. A guest can look at pictures, visit Facebook, Twitter and read reviews. The Innkeeper unfortunately, if the guest is a first time visitor, does not know anything about the person that will sleep in their establishment. The ability to know as much about a guest before they come to stay at a lodging is priceless for the proprietor. Small details about a guest can lead to little touches made to the room before the guests checks in. My online reservation system has a notes section. A guest can indicate that they have a food allergy or they are allergic to feathers. There is also a small pull down button that a guest can indicate if they are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, honeymoon or other special occasion. These small details are good, but more information about the guest would be helpful in managing expectations and the business relationship.
I recently had a guest that wrote a Trip Advisor review for the Camden Windward House Bed and Breakfast. The review was very favorable and I was delighted that the guest was happy with his stay. What I found most interesting was that this guest was a Top Contributor Reviewer on Trip Advisor. If I had known that this person had such a designation, perhaps I would have tried a little harder to impress him. Fortunately the service was great without having known. Current travel trends show travelers trying to leverage the review benefits. A community of reviewers have developed the Reviewer Card. The Reviewer Card rewards members with the promise of premium service. Flash this card at a hospitality business and the staff knows to impress. So here is my idea, reservation systems should allow guests to make a reservation with their Trip Advisor Id. You can log into Trip Advisor with your Facebook Account, why not log in to a reservation system with the Trip Advisor Id? The guest can expect a special kind of service and the Innkeeper will have the chance to wow the guest. Knowing that a guest writes reviews put staff on their toes. Not only will the proprietor try to impress, but after reading the guests past reviews, the proprietor will know if there are specific issues that the guest had in the past. For example, if a guest reviewed a property and complained about a noisy street, then the proprietor can move the guest to a room that is quiet and away from the street. If a guest wrote that she or she enjoyed having fresh flowers in their room, then the proprietor could put flowers in the room.
I think it is time that the hospitality business insist that the relationship between the guest and the proprietor be on a level field to foster a beautiful relationship. I encourage Trip Advisor and Reservation Systems to work together to benefit the hospitality business.
Two days ago I got a phone call from a guest that felt obligated to tell me that she and her partner had never been in a Bed and Breakfast and were concerned about what time they could check in. I told her, please call if you will be later than 9:00pm. Check in is at 3:00pm, but I am always here so a later check in is no problem. I also told her to ring the doorbell when she got here.
One day later, the same lady called to see what the weather was and if she should bring a hair dryer? I updated her on the current weather and told her to bring a sweater – it is Maine. All of our rooms do have hair dryers.
Ongoing conversations with B&B Newbie:
Guest: Do you have air conditioning if it is too hot? Answer: Yes, all rooms have air conditioners
Day of Arrival: Guest: Does our room have towels? Answer: Yes, all the rooms have towels, unless the housekeeper forgets, which can happen, so please let us know if you do not have towels.
Guest: Can I have a cup of tea? Answer: Of course, we have a hot water machine with a selection of tea and Hot chocolate in the dining room all day long.
Guest: Can I get ice? Answer: Of course, the ice machine is on the second floor. Please help yourself.
Guest: Do I have to pay for breakfast? Answer: No, the breakfast is complimentary.
Guest: Can I have another cup of coffee? Answer: Yes, please do.
Guest: Will there be housekeeping in my room? answer: Yes, of course.
Guest: Do I have to pay for the bottled water in my room? Answer: No, it is complimentary, please enjoy.
Finally, I said – Sweetie, B&B’s are similar to hotels, but better. Guest: I agree.
Our senior garden advisor, a.k.a. Grandpa Bifulco, is coming from New York today. Jesse flew down to NY and will drive back to Camden Maine with his dad. Jesse’s dad is a great help when he comes to visit. Grandpa, Pat Bifulco, has a very distinguished history in the law profession in NY. From lawyer to Judge to NY Senate candidate. But before Pat entered the law field he grew up on a farm in Staten Island. Yes, Staten Island had farm land. The Bifulco family had acres and acres of land on Staten Island and grew vegetables. Pat’s father and mother were immigrants from Italy. Pat would often tell stories about how hard the family had to work on the farm. The children in the family worked from dawn to dusk in the fields. Pat’s brothers stayed in the farm business and today their children own a family farm in New Jersey – Bifulco Farms: http://www.bifulcos.com/bifulco_farms.html . Bifulco Farms has grown into a large storage, cooling, brokers and transportation station for produce.
In Pat’s senior years he enjoys gardening and his family. He has been a great help to Jesse and I as we try to make our property more sustainable. When Pat comes he quickly evaluates the property, even draws maps. Our children are then given duties, cleaning plots and weeding. Hope has been growing seedlings since early March. The rule of thumb around here is, do not plant before Mother’s Day. There is less of a chance of a frost after Mother’s Day. Since we turned that corner on the season, it is time to start planting.
We plant kale, celery, arugula, giant pumpkins, basil, parsley, spinach, tomatoes, squash, and corn. The kale, celery and spinach are used in our green smoothies. We have a beautiful cutting flower garden and this year I hope to add rose bushes. I hope our guests will enjoy our garden as much as we enjoy planting it.
I recently discovered the USA Today series: Thriving on the Road – Travel Ideas. I learned about this series from a tweet on Twitter . The topics discussed are interesting and thought-provoking. As an Innkeeper, it is important for me to learn about my guests concerns about travel. A recent article published in USA Today “How to Make your Hotel Room Feel Like Home” caught my attention because this is the very idea the Bed and Breakfast industry has been promoting for decades. I generated a couple of new “house-warming” ideas from this article that I will use to make my B&B more ”homier” for the traveler. I understand that staying at a Bed and Breakfast might not always be practical for a business traveler, but if the concern is to feel like you are in your home, then a Bed and Breakfast property is the best way to go. I will elaborate the benefits of a Bed and Breakfast property later, I would now like to comment on the ideas expressed in this article.
I love the attention the writer gives to the stress factor the business traveler endures. Business travel can be very trying on the body and the soul. Sleeping and eating well when you travel are imperative. Select hotels are addressing the issue of business travel stress with offering to frame a picture of a loved one and put it in your room upon arrival, stocking the mini bar with comfort food and some travel experts suggest moving the furniture to make it more amenable to your comfort. The author of the article mentions a guest that travels with candles of familiar scents. I do not recommend this fire hazard idea and I am sure some hoteliers are rubbing their heads about this suggestion. Be careful with lighting anything in a hotel room. Candles and incense may leave a lingering smell or smoke on the wall that if the hotel is conscious of their room environments, will add a cleaning fee, further leading to more travel stress. I do like the simple suggestion for the guest to learn the staff’s name at the hotel. Unfortunately, the article does not suggest that the hotel staff try to learn the guest’s name. These tiny acts of kindness by the hotel are sweet but perhaps they could go take the kindness a little further. The Bed and Breakfast industry has made a career of hospitality from the “homey” feeling. Naturally, a bed and breakfast is someone’s home. Here are few of my ideas that I am wiling to share with the hotel world.
The homey feeling on vacation and traveling on business is nice, but lets face it, it is not home. In the Camden Windward House, all the rooms have private bathrooms, televisions, free wifi, air conditioning and windows that you can open. Having all those amenities in a room are basic to being comfortable. The things that I have added to make it feel like home, or perhaps nicer then home are the 600 thread count sheets, feather mattresses and egyptian cotton towels. I chose egyptian cotton towels because they are 100% softer than turkish towels. Our sheets are ironed for added luxury. Complimentary bottled water is refreshed in your room each day free of charge. In the afternoon there are baked treats left in the living room for you to enjoy with the complimentary tea. As I write this, the word complimentary seems like a nice word to use with homey. At home you are not asked to pay for every little thing. Not having to dip into your wallet every two seconds is very relaxing. No need to keep all those receipts for the business trip reimbursement excel spreadsheet you will need to fill out.
I have adopted the idea of getting to know someone’s name and letting others know my name. I like this idea. We can accommodate up to 20 people a night so sometimes it is a challenge, but I try. I have made a point to have my name stitched on my shirt so guests will be comfortable asking me for assistance. This is my home and I enjoy sharing with travelers.
Recently we had some wonderful guests from Texas that stayed with us right after they attended a B&B Conference in Kennebunk Maine. They attended a conference with The B&B Team. The B&B Team is a diverse group of professionals in the Bed and Breakfast Industry that promote, teach and sell B&B’s. When you meet anyone on the team, you know that they all have a special connection to Bed and Breakfasts and love what they do. For me, as an innkeeper, it is fun to see the B&B Team promote the industry and teach the basics in Bed and Breakfast hospitality. The Bed and Breakfast industry is definitely in a league all its own. Because this niche in the lodging market is primarily small business owners, there are unique facets to the B&B business that a potential innkeeper should consider before entering the market. The B&B Conferences are set up to help you learn what you will need to know if you plan to embark on a B&B venture. I never went to a B&B Conference before I bought our Inn, but I have gone to a few instructional talks with The B&B Team. I enjoyed a lecture about marketing at a Maine Innkeepers Conference a few years ago and before that a talk on managing reviews. As an Innkeeper, there are always trends and issues you should stay on top of. I like to consider the B&B Team lectures and newsletters as my Innkeeper continuing education.
The couple that stayed with us was very polite and enjoyed furthering their experience at the conference with a stay at our Bed and Breakfast. They were curious about our breakfast menu and our rooms. The questions they asked were interesting. I could tell they had been thinking about the information they learned over the weekend at the B&B Conference. Questions about seasonal income and packaging, when can we get a day off and how we got into this business were fun for me to discuss over a hot cup of coffee this morning. It is rare that I take a minute and try to explain all that I do on a day-to-day basis. This couple was anxious to learn and I had fun summarizing my thoughts in clear easy words in order to teach. I think I conveyed to them that I love what I do. I say that because after our conversation, I myself, felt happy and motivated to stay in the business and enjoy it. When you do things day-to-day and do not analyze it, you can not appreciate the fine points of the job. It was nice to reflect on my eight years of Innkeeping and share with a potential new Innkeeper.
I am thankful that those guests came after their conference.
There are no franchise hotels in Camden Maine. There was one lodging franchise over 10 years ago, but franchises just can’t last in Camden. Those that live and travel to Camden want an experience that is not cookie cutter. An experience of being near the ocean and feeling the history of the town. Many beautiful historic homes in this small coastal village offer the Bed and Breakfast experience.
Bed and Breakfasts started popping up in the 1920′s during the Depression Era. Many unemployed workers had to travel around the country to try to find work. People started opening up their homes to these weary travelers, creating a new revenue stream to those that managed to keep their homes. Over the years the Bed and Breakfast business became more defined and regulated. The local governments required lodging to be licensed by the health department and meet standards of safety for the visitors. Although regulations were placed on the small business owners, hospitality endured and Bed and Breakfasts are the friendliest genre of lodging establishments there are.
Camden Windward House is a Greek Revival home that has been in the hospitality business for over 28 years. Windward is originally the home of a sea-captain from Isleboro. The house fortunately or unfortunately is not in the style of the grand sea-captain houses because when Elijah Glover, the sea-captain, came to Camden in the 1850′s he was retired and working on a career as a ship builder and lumberman. His wife had passed away and he lived in the house with his daughter. Since Windward House is older than the houses across the street, it is obvious why Glover chose the location of Windward House on High Street. This historic home was and is near the downtown and the ocean, except in the 1850′s there was a view of the ocean from the front porch. This Bed and Breakfast’s lot is long and was once ideal for a farming lifestyle (still is and we are trying little by little to grow our vegetables on it – but we are city folk, may take us longer to learn). Windward House has a long lodging history. Before Windward House was a Bed and Breakfast, it was a rooming house for lobster men and artists.
Properties like Windward House make ideal Bed and Breakfasts. Those that purchase historic properties with the intention of sharing it with travelers, know the importance of a great, comfortable bed and warm, filling breakfasts. Most people who travel to the Mid Coast of Maine are weary from a long drive up the coast and are instantly de-stressed when they walk into the welcoming foyer of Windward. The smell of cookies and tea eases everyone. Bed and Breakfasts are the way to go in Maine. Learn about the history, see the unique architecture and enjoy the warm hospitality of a charming New England Home.
March 11, 2013
Contact: Jessica Kershaw (DOI) 202-208-6416
Mike Litterst (NPS) 202-513-0354
AMERICA’S GREAT OUTDOORS:
Secretary Salazar, Director Jarvis Designate 13 New National Historic Landmarks
New Sites Recognize More Complete Story of America, including Significant Latino, African American and Indian Sites
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today announced the designation of 13 new national historic landmarks, including an Alabama bridge that was site of “Bloody Sunday” during the civil rights movement, a 400-year-old historic district showcasing the influence of Spanish culture in Puerto Rico, the home of author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, and a historic stadium used by Negro league baseball teams in 20th-century segregated America.
“These national historic landmark designations span more than two centuries of our country’s history, from 17th century architecture to a Civil War battlefield to a 19th century-Kentucky whiskey distillery that continued to operate through the Prohibition era,” Secretary Salazar said. “Today’s designations include significant sites that help tell the story of America and the contributions that all people from all walks of life have made as we strive for a more perfect union.”
“From the Civil War to civil rights, to the struggles and accomplishments of women, African Americans and Latinos, these sites highlight the mosaic of our nation’s historic past,” said Director Jarvis. “We are proud to administer the National Historic Landmarks Program to educate and inspire Americans through their country’s rich and complex history.”
National historic landmarks are nationally significant historic places that possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. The program, established in 1935, is administered by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. Currently there are 2,540 designated national historic landmarks.
The new national historic landmarks include the following sites:
- · Camden Amphitheatre and Public Library, Camden, Maine. The Camden Amphitheatre and Public Library is one of the few public projects of Fletcher Steele, one of America’s premier practitioners of 20th-century landscape design. It is an outstanding representation of the contributions made by the landscape architecture profession, private benefactors, and national associations to develop public landscapes in the United States that celebrated natural regional beauty, scenic character, and rich cultural history.
- · Camp Nelson Historic and Archeological District, Jessamine County, Ky. One of the nation’s largest recruitment and training centers for African American soldiers during the American Civil War, Camp Nelson is also significant as the site of a large refugee camp for the wives and children of the soldiers who were escaping slavery and seeking freedom.
- · Casa Dra. Concha Meléndez Ramírez, San Juan, Puerto Rico. This was the residence and workspace of Dra. Concha Meléndez Ramírez, a prolific and prominent literary criticism voice in Generación del Treinta (Generation of 1930), a literary movement that shaped Puerto Rico’s 20th-century national cultural identity.
- · Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Ala. On March 7, 1965, civil rights marchers drawing attention to the need for voting rights legislation were attacked by law enforcement officials as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The attack, which came to be known as “Bloody Sunday,” contributed to the introduction and passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, considered to be the single most effective piece of civil rightslegislation ever passed by the US Congress.
- · The Epic of American Civilization Murals, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. These murals are the most important work in the United States by muralist José Clemente Orozco, one of Mexico’s foremost mural artists of the early 20th century. Orozco conceived the murals as a representation of a North American continent characterized by the duality of indigenous and European historical experiences. Though highly controversial in their day, the murals challenged traditional ways of thinking about the development of Aztec and Anglo-American civilizations in North America.
- · George T. Stagg Distillery, Franklin County, Ky. With resources dating from approximately 1880 to 1953, the George T. Stagg Distillery is a rare, intact example of an operating distillery before, during and after Prohibition. It provides an unparalleled opportunity to study at one site the evolution of buildings and technology associated with the American whiskey industry.
- · Harriet Beecher Stowe House, Hartford, Conn. Though best known to modern audiences for her antislavery work, Harriet Beecher Stowe was widely recognized in her lifetime as a highly prolific and nationally significant reformer for a wide variety of causes. Her longtime home in Hartford is associated with Stowe’s later career as a reformer on issues relating to the family and women’s roles.
- · Hinchliffe Stadium, Paterson, N.J. Hinchliffe Stadium the institutionalized practice of “separate but equal” facilities was the accepted norm.
- · Honey Springs Battlefield, McIntosh and Muskogee Counties, Okla. By far the largest Civil War engagement of the 1861-1865 period of conflict within Indian Territory, the Battle of Honey Springs was the largest battle in Indian Territory in which Native Americans fought as members of both Union and Confederate armies. It is also significant as the first and largest engagement in which Indian troops of both sides fought in the formalized style of Anglo-American warfare.
- · Old San Juan Historic District/Distrito Histórico del Viejo San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Old San Juan is the only existing representation of an almost 400-year-old Spanish Colonial city in the United States, and contains the largest collection of buildings representing four centuries of Spanish culture, religion, politics, and architecture. It is the oldest city within the United States and its territories, and the district includes the oldest house, Christian church, executive mansion, convent, and military defenses in the country as well.
- · Pear Valley, Eastville, Va. Dating to 1740, the wood-frame house known as Pear Valley is an excellent, rare surviving example of the distinctive form of architecture that developed in the Chesapeake Bay region, illustrating how early settlers in the colonies adapted to their new environment.
- · Second Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Ill. The Second Presbyterian Church represents the visual and philosophical precepts of the turn of the century Arts and Crafts design movement. Its interior, the masterwork of noted architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, presents some of the finest examples of Arts and Crafts mural painting, sculpture, stained glass and crafting in metals, fabrics, wood and plaster.
- · Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. One of the country’s oldest artists’ retreats, Yaddo has hosted more than 6,000 influential writers, visual artists and composers who shaped and imprinted American culture with a distinct national identity in the 20th century. Among the notable artists who have worked at Yaddo are Aaron Copland, Truman Capote, Leonard Bernstein, Flannery O’Connor, Sylvia Plath and Langston Hughes.
Salazar also announced the acceptance of updated documentation and a boundary revision for the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.
The National Historic Landmarks Program, established in 1935, is administered by the National Park Service on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior. The agency works with preservation officials and other partners interested in nominating a landmark. Completed applications are reviewed by the National Park System Advisory Board, which makes recommendations for designation to the Secretary of the Interior. If selected, property ownership remains intact but each site receives a designation letter, a plaque, and technical preservation advice.
Additional information on the designations can be found at MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from “links.govdelivery.comtrack” claiming to be www.nps.gov/history/nhl.
Making it easy for everyone: Valentine’s Day in Camden Maine
The little coastal village of Camden Maine is one of the romantic destinations wrapped up in a bow. The town is small and walkable from lovely historic lodgings. Following are a selection of restaurants that your Valentine will be very happy with. She/he however, will not be happy if you do not have a reservation. Please book early. In addition to a lovely dinner and a stay at a historic Inn, add a little entertainment at the Camden Maine Opera House. The Indie Artist Showcase: Real Music for Real Music Lovers is Thursday February 14th at 8:00pm. Price of admission is only $15.00.
Valentine selections in Camden Maine:
♥Fromviandoux - 207 230 7444
♥Hartstone Inn – 207 236-4259
♥Natalie’s – 207- 236-7008
♥Long Grain – 207 – 236-9001
Place to buy chocolate in Camden Maine: Maine Gatherings 8 Bayview Street Camden.
Camden Maine Valentines Packages
♥Windward House Love ME Valentines Package
♥Windward House Very Vegan Valentines Package
♥Windward House Romance Package
February is truly the month the world falls in love. I took this little saying from an old Christmas song, A Christmas Waltz by the Carpenters. This phrase caught me when I heard it, of course it was around Christmas time, but I thought it more appropriate for Valentine’s Day. I have found that couples celebrate Valentine’s Day all month-long in February. Whenever they can make a quick getaway they validate it with the notion that they are doing it for love, for Valentine’s Day. My husband thinks I am crazy to fall for the “month of love” but I think it is important to embrace this concept and make that significant other feel special. In Camden Maine you can go ice skating, skiing, hiking, or relax by your in-room fireplace!
A special Valentines post from 2012 http://wp.me/p2o6Vv-2Pe
A little love story left in one of our room guest books (written by young lovers at Windward House Bed and Breakfast)(2007)
“Oh Sofia, This room was a great idea. I thought we were going to have to sleep on your sister’s floor. With the dog to boot. I mean I like the dog but this is so much better than sleeping with the dog. And the bath…. OMG how nice was that? Maybe a 25% larger tub would make it more fun for two of us. I have to say you do look good in the tub….”
“Oh Rick, When Mamma said she would treat us to a room,(my mamma, not yours or ours, that would be weird!) I had no idea there would be a canopy. I luuuvvvv canopies. I even love to say the word can oh pea! It just feels good on the tip of my tongue. Mmmm! Thank you for un-tucking the bed linen for me. I like to feel free even my feet like to feel free and they are warm and toasty and happy!!”
I sent this story to T&L’s short tweetable love stories, but since it was too long for a tweet, it was not acknowledged. I still love it, tweetable or not.
When Jesse and I bought the Camden Windward House Bed and Breakfast, we made a pledge to only serve food that we would eat. We reworked the menu that was already in service at the Bed and Breakfast and added vegan, vegetarian, gluten – free options and use organic and local ingredients. When you are traveling it is difficult to eat healthy and we understand that. Many of our guests ask for our recipes and we are delighted to share our knowledge on healthy eating. We are delighted to be able to offer local cooking classes to our guests as an addition to their stay. Learn how to create a sustainable lifestyle with the monthly workshop classes at Salt Water Farm. These Maine Cooking Classes are a great addition to your travels in Maine. The Cooking School, Salt Water Farm is only 4.7 miles from the Bed and Breakfast and we believe it is a complimentary addition to staying at Windward House. In the morning you will be treated to a delicious made to order breakfast with many dietary options. Eating a healthy breakfast is a great start to your day. Learn how to can fruit and vegetables. Wonderful warm your bones meals such as Maine cooking classes about stews, soups and braising are also taught. Fun classes such as cocktails and pies are also included. There is something for everyone. The final class, at the end of October, is Cooking With Fire, and I could not think of a better way leave the season of fall and welcome a Maine winter. Check Full Calendar of Cooking School Classes click here.
Camden Windward House has developed a package to encourage you to start living a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle with opportunities at a great cooking school. Please see details of package here.
The days are much shorter here in the winter in Maine. The mornings are dark and often very cold. I feel like Santa Clause each morning when I wake at 6:00am to set the breakfast tables, put on the coffee, start the tea water, turn up the heat, start the fireplace and have my own cup of coffee. I tip toe around the house to make sure I do not make any noise. The house is very quiet and warm. This morning. I took a picture of our Christmas tree that I have in the dining room. My daughter strung some cranberries and made moose ornaments. Our guests will slowely wake and they will be treated with a lovely breakfast. Every day should be like this! The Bed and Breakfast lifestyle is pretty amazing.
We have guests that come to Camden Maine each year for Christmas By the Sea for different reasons. I know there is a hotel in the downtown that is completely reserved by 2 grandparents to host all their children and grandchildren for a family reunion. They all enjoy the Christmas By the Sea festivities together. The timing of Christmas By the Sea is good, in that it is early in December. Windward House has a lovely couple that comes every year just for a nice getaway. The couple lives in Maine, a few towns over from Camden, and come because the town is alive in the winter. The stores are open late. The couple said they do not care too much for all the Santa sightings and caroling. For a young couple that just wants to have a fun town, lovely restaurants and the romantic winter feeling, this is a great weekend. Stay in one Windward House’s rooms with a fireplace and walk to and from dinner, a great weekend.
Some people come to see the ships that are still in the ocean all wrapped up for the winter. The Mary Day puts a Christmas Tree at the top of one of their main masts. It is a fantastic thing to see click here: http://mainewindjammerblog.com/
Some come to see Santa Clause. This Santa is the real deal! Check it out: http://www.camdenmainevacation.com/christmas-by-the-sea-camden-maine.php
Windward House also has another couple that has come every year since 2009 for one special reason, to buy the Garden Club Gingerbread houses at the Rockport Opera House. They get up early and wait in line outside the Opera House. They buy a couple of candy houses and then get back to Windward House for a delightful breakfast.
It is snowing today in Camden Maine and it completes that great holiday feeling.
Il B&B è davvero carino, l’abitazione tipica del Maine. Le camere sono spaziosissime, comode e molto pulite. I letti grandi e avvolgenti. La biancheria ricercata e morbidissima. Il bagno funzionale e pulito (la doccia, in particolare, é fantastica). La camera aveva anche un caminetto a gas d’atmosfera e, in una fredda giornata di pioggia é stato l’ideale per riscaldare un po’ l’ambiente e regalarci un po’ di relax dopo una lunga traversata in auto sotto una pioggia battente che non ci ha dato tregua un minuto. Il “Windward B&B” è stato solo una tappa del nostro lungo viaggio nel New England, ma avrebbe sicuramente meritato di più. Le colazioni di Kristi, poi sono state davvero fantastiche, naturali, ricche e anche la stanza in cui vengono servite ha l’atmosfera giusta e Kristi stessa é stata molto gentile e ci ha consigliato un percorso in auto al termine del quale si poteva godere di un panorama davvero imperdibile. Buono il rapporto qualità/prezzo, anche se devo precisare che abbiamo viaggiato in bassa stagione. Il paesino di Camden é delizioso.
I was at French and Brawn this afternoon and the lovely lady that works at the counter looked at me and asked me how I was. I appreciated her concern, but she seemed over concerned. I told her I was felling ok. She said that she sees a lot of people in the store from the hospitality business and they look so bedraggled. That the working folk are tired and some seem angry. I told her that every end of August in Camden, Maine, probably in all of Mid Coast Maine, the hospitality people are tired. By this time most have worked 3 months without a day off. I told the lady at French and Brawn that the bad reviews start to come in around this time of year. Trip advisor gets a boost in the negative reviews for all local businesses. I fortunately have been drinking green smoothies all summer and feel stronger than ever. I had a few days of short patience but I snapped out of it and managed a genuine smile. I felt tested this summer with employees not showing up and guests cancelling. But, today in the mail I received a surprising letter. A fun older couple stayed with us for 5 nights. They loved blueberries and sitting out on the deck. The husband had been to the MidCoast before but the wife had not. This is a second marriage for both of them and they are sharing their fond memories of their pasts. I enjoyed having them here. They have very southern gentle accents. They were very polite and entertaining. The letter I received in the mail was from this southern couple. It reads:
Kristen and Jesse,
Enclosed please find a very modest gratuity to say Thank You for the nicest 5 – day visit to Camden that we could possibly have had. We loved Camden but we loved your charming B&B, & the two of you even more. We had a most memorable & relaxing vacation. We wanted to express our thanks!
With fond good wishes,
This letter will help me get through to the end of October with a smile on my face. I hope the rest of Camden receives a letter and understands that tourists truly do love our beautiful area, Camden Maine.
I thought it frivolous to post on Facebook last week. The destruction in NY and NJ was so disturbing that I could not get myself to post anything on the business page for Camden Windward House. Small details of things happening in our town and Inn seemed unimportant. I wanted to write that I was concerned for those in the south but I couldn’t even do that. My words on a computer screen could not make up for the fact that I was here and not there helping those affected by the storm. How could a short post from a Bed and Breakfast in Camden Maine make a difference to anyone?
I did however post on my personal facebook page. On October 31st I posted “If any of my NY or NJ family sees this – Please give us a call, we are starting to get worried! Much Love!” I did not get an immediate response from my family and was very concerned. I remember thinking, even if they do not have electricity, their gadgets must still have battery, they must be able to see this post. It was weird to see no posts on facebook from NY and NJ. About 2 hours later I started to get phone calls and returned posts on facebook. Friends and family started to connect and I felt much better.
The feelings I had last week were similar to those I had on 9/11. I wanted to account for everyone and know where everyone in my life was. During 9/11 my dad was at ground zero and running away from the disaster. My mom and I knew he was there and frantically tried to get in touch with him. Hours went by before we heard from him. When my dad finally got a phone line to us, he spoke to us and then handed his phone to people next to him so they could give us their name and family member’s phone numbers to call and tell them they were ok. I was calling strangers to tell them that their loved ones were ok. It was very difficult to call out, if you remember the phone lines were jammed, but I called and called everyone I was instructed to call. If facebook was around during 9/11, it would be amazing to look back on the posts.
I hope all past visitors to Camden Windward House are well. After much contemplation about facebook, I have resigned that it is a good thing. I am grateful to be able to stay connected to those of you that have come to Camden and became a part of our lives. I hope you will stay connected. If the Windward House posts make you laugh or smile one day, or helps you feel connected, then that is all the justification that is needed.
Winter in Maine means, cold, quiet, snow, hockey, ice skating, skiing, tubing, tobogganing – oh yah and did I say hockey!!! Yes - I am a hockey mom. The ice just went in at the MidCoast Recreational Center this past Friday. I have been watching on Facebook and am delighted that this is the earliest the rink has been completed. My kids will start playing any day now.
Here in the midcoast we love ice. The Camden Public Library will once again install the outside ice skating rink at the Camden Amphitheatre. The Camden Winterfest will delight guests with ice sculptures that form a wonderful ice garden for almost the entire month of February. You can almost guarantee that Natalie’s will have its famous Ice Bar during the Toboggan Nationals.
I love climbing the Maiden Cliff Hike Trail in the winter. The water fall on the hike is frozen over and the ice is fantastic. From the top of the trail you overlook Lake Megunticook and get a great view of winter in Maine. The lake is frozen over and is home to several ice fishing shacks, snow mobilers and cross-country skiers. To play pond hockey – you must bring a shovel and a broom to find the ice and create your rink.
If you grew up in a city and only know winter as an inconvenient time of the year, you really should come to the mid coast of Maine. Winter is more than dirty snow and slippery back roads. I grew up in Staten Island NY, and I never really appreciated winter until I moved here.
Winter is my favorite time of the year. I am hoping for lots of snow, cold temperatures and plenty of ice. I could write more about winter but realized I already have a whole web page dedicated to winter in the midcoast
Dont forget to check out winter package: http://www.windwardhouse.com/12426/maine-travel-packages/stay-and-ski-package-2/
We are getting ready for the fall season. Putting up places to leaf peep, and things to do in Autumn when Labor Day and Windjammer Dayshaven’t come yet makes you feel time passing. You can feel it beginning to cool off, soon the tomatoes will be ripe, the corn will be ready, (if some creature doesn’t eat it first) and Hope’s majestic giant pumpkin patch will probably inundate the entire back lot soon, before they turn orange for her big Fall season finally, and we start to think about the summer. It seems like just yesterday she bought giant pumpkin seeds
from the hardware store and planted them in peat pots in the boy’s bedroom. It’s amazing how they have taken off after a little tlc from her grandfather. Summer’s in Maine frequently bring to mind the old saw about how as soon as you realize what it is, how beautiful and special it is, it’s already begun to end. The day after the solstice after all is when the days begin to shorten again. And here in the Midcoast the days begin to shorten precipitously after September. We get a little introspective with all the work and ask ourselves was it worth it?
We’ve been rather busy the last couple of months, and it gets very hectic. With help unreliable, and the work unceasing sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it. Just as I wondered that after a long breakfast,
a delightful young couple checked out, and said some really nice things to Jesse, but I wasn’t there to say goodbye. They stayed one night in the Brass Room. Breakfast was a bit crazy that morning, with a full house.
When I went into the room, a lovely handwritten note scrawled across a Smiling Cow shopping bag made us smile.
Here’s what it said, in case you can’t read it from the picture:
Kristen and Jesse-
Thank you for your wonderful hospitality! This was our 1st B&B experience, and we loved it! Your home and your sweet little town are great! ….
Well I guess our job was done- we converted another one to the B&B experience! The note reminded me of all the great sentiments, well wishes and blessings our guests have showered upon us this summer.
We’ve gotten a lot of really nice notes from the guests this season, online on TripAdvisor, the lady’s of the Victory Chimes, who along with the note gave us a gourmet selection from the Stonewall Kitchen, nice things written in our guestbooks in the room, as well as this one, on the Smiling Cow bag.
Thank you for all your good wishes, for admiring the tree house, for telling us you think we made the right choice by moving here, and raising our kids in this “sweet little town”, for expressing the thought that Jesse is a great cook, for being gracious, interesting, charming and lovely guests! Thanks! And here’s to a great Fall Season!
We are delighted to welcome back so many return guests to Camden Windward House. This summer has been unique in that the weddings we hosted were in the early June and July. Prime summer time (August) has been open to all our guests. Last year we had several weddings in August, making it difficult for return guests to get a reservation. This year those previous guests called early and have returned to Windward. I have to admit, I was a little afraid when I turned these guests away last year, they would not return, but they did!
I remember when we first bought the Inn and Del (previous owner) was helping us learn the business. Del was cooking breakfast for the guests and teaching us some great Innkeeper tips. One morning a guest was checking out and said to me, “I will be back”. Del asked me how the guest liked their stay and I said, they said – they will be back. I thought they were being polite, but Del – whom is a veteran Innkeeper, said if a guest says they will be back – they are sincere and you can bet they will be back. Del was right; we have seen many guests return. I know so many faces and names, favorite breakfast specials and can tell you what room they prefer.
I make blueberry coffee and have sugar–free syrup for Jim and Eggs Benedict for Bill. Bruce stays every year for a couple of days. He has a boat north of here but like to visit Camden on his way north. Dorothy and friends are salty dogs, coming each year to go out on Timberwind. Kathy and Ron love reading in the garden, they can read for hours and hours. I did a report on our reservation software and we have over 600 return guests.
I never thought when I moved from NY I would meet so many interesting people from all over the world. I actually miss one of our annual guests from Australia. He did not come this year, but I bet he will be here next year.
This morning I leaped out of bed because I promised a woman staying with us that I would make her coffee at 6:00am. I awoke at 6:05am and had coffee on literally by 6:08am. The woman was nowhere to be found, and I thought I had missed her by the 8 minutes that I was late. She like many people who visit Camden, like to get up early and walk to the harbor to see the boats and stare out into the horizon with a warm cup of coffee. Morning people who head to the harbor, if you ask them, call themselves “harbor rats”, I personally do not like the term rats and am trying to think of a new cute term for this behavior. It turns out that I did not miss the woman, as I sat at my computer she came in around 6:30am to get her coffee and go to the sea. She said that the cool temperature and the comfortable bed kept her asleep. The temperature as I write this is 51 degrees, which is warm in the winter but is a bit chilly in the summer. It is however, always beautiful. 51 degrees in the summer is nice because you can wear that warm sweater with your shorts, knowing that later it will come off and you will be warmed by the sun. Camden is experiencing a delightful summer. We get many guests from all over the country that are escaping the heat and enjoying sleeping with the windows open. The air is a natural air conditioner. This reminds me of one of my first posts on this blog about the air quality in Camden Maine. http://www.windwardhouse.com/8908/uncategorized/maine-the-lung-of-the-usa
I hope you will consider coming to Camden this summer! Cool off and enjoy the great outdoors.
I usually start each season with a post. Last year I was concerned about Trip Advisor, this year I’m not. This year I am concerned that I will not be able to go out on my kayak enough. I met a friend here and she recently reminded me that I came to Camden Maine, bought this Bed and Breakfast to live a certain lifestyle. She reminded me that Camden is absolutely beautiful in summer and I better start enjoying it. I still am concerned about the service at Windward House, but this year am more confident about it. I am almost able to predict what “terrible” things will happen and, in my head, created a game plan on how to solve those issues. Camden Maine truly is a beautiful place to stay for a couple of days. Jesse and I have made a commitment to organic and local foods, so don’t even think about what you eat in our Inn, it is good and good for you (well, maybe not the French Toast with Orange Rum bananas, but they certainly are good!!!).
Lots of new things here in Camden for me to enjoy this year. There is a new scooter rental place, a bamboo bike shop, lots of walking tours, some new stores and restuarants in the downtown. We have a great Boat to Table Package. The captain of the lobster boat has promised to take me out on a special tour of the harbor! Tomorrow I am going with the kids to an organic farm to pick strawberries. So far summer 2012 is great!
We are extremely happy to announce that we will begin our 26th season with Surprise tomorrow morning, May 26 . Our schedule will feature departures at 10:30, 1:30 and 4:30 until July 1 when our summer schedule begins. The Surprise which is in her 94th year looks quite amazing and has responded well to our efforts with paint and varnish as well as the skilled crew at Rockport Marine who do the heavy lifting literally. As always, we look forward to greeting your guests and providing them with a sailing experience that will ensure that they return to us every year. We continue to be amazed and encouraged by the enthusiastic response of an overwhelming number of repeat passengers we welcome on our deck. We appreciate your support and we will continue to ensure that your guests will bring home fond memories of their experience onboard Surprise.
We wish you “fair winds” in your business and we would love to see you onboard as our guests anytime you take the opportunity. Now it is time to get the weatherman to provide a nice summer pattern.
- Captain Jack and Barbara
When you serve a hot breakfast everyday for 7 years, you start to notice trends in food. First it was a concern for diabetes, then it was gluten free, then vegetarian, then vegan – now raw. Jesse is an amazing cook – I often kid with the guests that I think Jesse’s 20 years as a lawyer prepared him to be a short order cook. He researches everything he does. When he sets his mind to a task, he goes at it head on and tries his best. Jes has truly created an awesome morning menu. This Maine B&B that has a complimentary breakfast menu that is made to order. We hope people order as much or as little as they like, we don’t want anyone walking away hungry. But more importantly, we like making items that are unique to our guests diets. Jesse is great at learning about different diets and he does a great job with gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options. Jes does not have any dietary restrictions, other than being a locavore, so he makes traditional american meals just as good. He loves his bacon and sausage (local of course). To further widen our breakfast options, and our own eating routines, I recently bought Jes a Vitamix for his birthday. We will now be able to offer our guests a raw green shake in the morning. Green shakes consist of vegetables and fruits. Lesson learned with the green smoothie in the picture – Kale, Beet, Flax seed, Blueberries – once you put beets in anything, it will be beet colored. This tasted great and the guest loved it.
April is a little early for the Maine tourist season to start, but over the weekend we were fortunate enough to host a whole Inn full of guests. Jesse and I are a little out of practice serving 18 breakfasts, but I think we did well. We got up very early and prepped everything (secret to success is preparation!). Everyone left the breakfast room happy and Jes and I were pleased. Monday morning came and everyone left the Bed and Breakfast. The house was quiet once again. I realized that I had better start taking advantage of the time and good weather that we have been given. 9:00am Monday, I packed my camera, some bottles of water and headed out with the family. First stop Willow Bake Shop for some homemade donuts.
My favorite: Butter Crunch
Next stop – The Breakwater Lighthouse. The Breakwater is one of my favorite spots on the MidCoast. At low tide there is a little beach there that many scour for sea glass. I like it because the waters there are real working waters. In the summer you can see lobster boats rushing from buoy to buoy for their lobsters. The Breakwater is a nice granite walk out into the ocean and at the end is a lighthouse. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is never open when I get there, but that’s ok, the rocks in front are a great place to sit and relax.
I made the kids walk all the way before they could have their donuts. Walk is a 7/8ths of a mile (each way). They did a great job and really enjoyed their donuts.
Since I felt an urgency to continue enjoying the beautiful day, next stop with the family, Birch Point Beach.
Birch Point is definitely a hidden gem and I feel a little unsure if I should share it with the world. I first discovered this wonderful beach with the my son’s first grade class. The beach at low tide has a lot of tidal pools that small and big children can explore. This beach area in Owls Head has a sand beach, wonderful picnic tables, bathrooms and great views.
A great way to end our little staycation – near Birch Point Beach, Owls Head General Store for hamburgers, not just any hamburger, the best burger in Maine – per Food Network.
We sat outside on some picnic benches and enjoyed our food.
After a long day, we returned to Camden Maine and relaxed at our quiet, wonderful downtown property! I encourage you to come now to the Mid Coast of Maine. Some things are not open yet, but the things that are, WOW are they wonderful. I had a great day!
Hope to see you soon.
Camden Maine is a New England Epicenter for Culinary tourism. Culinary tourism is defined as experiential travel, including local, domestic, and international tours, whereby one learns about and/or consumes food and drink reflecting a region’s cuisine and/or culture. The food and drink of the coast of Maine are superb and should be experienced by all. I have children and recently we went to NY for the traditional Italian family Christmas Eve fish dinner. My 10 year old son commented that the lobster in NY was not as good as the lobster in Maine. Most people at the party agreed. It was then that I realized the asset I have in my Maine neighborhood. The wonderful bounty of the sea: Frutta di Mar. The flavors of the coast are like no other. Potatoes, vodka, fiddleheads,blueberries, lobster, fish are all worth trying when in Camden Maine.
I hestitate to share this wonderful website I recently came upon (don’t want everyone to know my great find). For those that want truely Maine Made products, should check out http://www.transfigurationhermitage.org/. These nuns can make some awesome cookies and jams. They also make a great lasagna, but you can’t buy that online.
Camden Maine is truly a unique place on the East Coast. It is amazing how the town keeps its secret. There are amazing hiking trails, several warm lake swimming spots, lake islands you can row out to, an ocean island that is not further than a mile away - if you are strong – you can actually swim to it, and great skiing trails. All of these places are special because anyone can enjoy them. The gradient skill level for these activities start at novice and reaches expert. I like to call Camden the “Soft Adventure” capital of the world. Where else can you check into someones’ house (B&B) drop your stuff, head out the back door and run up a mountain, come back down freshen up, walk 1 block and board a kayak, row out to an island that has 1 resident (the lighthouse keeper)? Rockland is a good place to head when it rains (the Farnsworth Museum), but Camden is the place to be when it is sunny.
Next week an olympian snow boarder (Scott Westcott) will be visiting Camden Maine. I remember seeing an interview with him. He commented that if you can ski in Maine – you can ski anywhere. I totally agree with him. I went skiing in Camden Maine yesterday and the conditions: 40 degrees, windy and ICE. I loved it. You must remember, just go over the ice straight, do not try to turn or swerve and you are fine. I always comment to guests that the Camden Snow Bowl is “family friendly” hoping to get my point across that it is an easy and fun workout. I love these hill for new skiers, particularly my kids. They are learning to ski with confidence and feel comfortable trying new things like jumps and “dinosaur backs”. But, if you compare the hills of the Camden Snow Bowl with trails of Colorado, the extremes are similar. The glade trails of Camden Maine are shorter, but just as difficult and dangerous as Colorado. The trails of Camden Maine are cut narrower then the trails of Colorado, forcing you to swerve from other skiers, stay on course and maneuver your skis to fit narrow places. Our Soft Adventure capital has all extreme skiing factors!
I walked into a friend’s store the other day and everything was different. She had changed the aisles and got rid of a lot of products. I asked if she was going out of business, she said she was getting rid of the things that did not sell and “re-imagining” the store. She definitely was not going out of business but re-inventing her business. This was very refreshing.
Ever since that experience with my friend, I have been looking at my own “store”, my website and my bed and breakfast. Our website was re-designed this winter. I contacted a web designer last fall and was quoted twenty thousand dollars for a redesign. Needless to say, we decided to do it ourselves. I am pleased with the way it came out. Jesse and I are constantly learning new things. 10 years ago I never would have guessed Jesse and I could write computer code. It is amazing what you learn when you are a small business owner.
Another re-invention, our menu…
Our guests are always a source of inspiration to us. More and more we are hosting vegans for breakfast. Each year we see changes in dietary habits and we have always been able to accommodate our guests. First it was diabetics, then gluten-free, peanut-free, then vegetarians, now vegans. I am waiting for someone to say they are on the raw diet. Recently a guest wrote on their reservation that both he and his wife were vegans and hoped that we could accommodate them. The first morning of their stay I handed them a menu and said, I understand you have restrictions, but we can accommodate you with these options. As I was saying it I realized that it was not the guest that was restricted, it was my menu that was restricted. From that moment on I have seen food in a new way. It is very easy to convert most breakfast items into a vegan, and also a gluten-free option. I investigated new ingredients and we still have almost the same menu but there is a little (V) next to the items that we can make Vegan.
I am so proud of myself for looking at things a little different this year at the Bed and Breakfast. I am 38, been doing this for 7 years now and still willing to re-imagine this business each year. I hope you will like the new things happening at Windward House.
Skating Enthusiasts! (by Camden Local Anita Brosius – Scott)
Just thought I’d let you know that we were out skating on Hosmer Pond yesterday
(Tuesday afternoon Jan. 3) and this morning (Wednesday Jan. 4) and the
conditions there are TERRIFIC – 4-5” of ice, wonderful smooth skating. There is
open water at the outlet of the creeks (ie the creek that runs along the side
of the drive up to the pond edge (ie, don’t skate towards the toboggan chute
from the put-in), and the one over by Molyneaux Road and also along the edge
in a few places, but the whole pond otherwise is great. Catch the breeze right
and you can cruise the length of the pond from the put-in just by standing
still! But dress warmly for the skate back upwind!
A bald eagle has been hanging out, flying over or standing on the ice pecking at
goodies or hoping for cast-off bait from the ice fishermen.
Of course, always wear self-rescue devices when skating on ponds; be conscious of
ice fishermen’s holes, too. Better safe than sorry! http://www.nordicskater.com/safety/index.html
Ice claws with attached whistle are available at Maine Sport. De rigeur neck
fashion for pond skaters!
I love this job. I get to meet so many interesting people. Everyone with their own unique story. Although all have a unique story, recently I have noticed a common thread in their stories. Most B&B guests are looking for a little adventure in life. I know this sounds odd that they would look for it at a B&B but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Here we are, a loving family that provides a safe shelter for travelers in Maine – what better backdrop to focus on something new. Stepping out of your comfort zone for a little adventure is hard, and when you have a friendly smile, a great breakfast and smooth comfortable sheets - adventure is much easier.
I will start with Betty:
I received a phone call from a young woman that was looking for a ground floor bedroom with 2 twin beds. I explained that our Coastal Garden room is a nice option. It is ground floor, 2 twin beds, has a TV, air-conditioner and fireplace, private bathroom and shower. The young woman was polite and said she wanted to see what everyone had and would call me back. After calling and looking around town , the young woman called us back and booked the room for 5 nights in July. She could not put a deposit down right away because she had to speak to her grandmother, the woman that would actually be staying in the room with her friend. A few days later she called with her grandmother’s credit card and one month later I got to meet Betty and Gisella. Betty and Gisella showed up beaming and very excited to see their room. They were accompanied by several members of their family. We offered them coffee, tea or juice upon arrival, but they did not want anything, they just wanted to relax before their grandchildren came to take them to dinner.
The next morning, the women, dressed very well, came to the breakfast room and were delighted they had a choice from our menu. They took out their glasses and read the menu to each another. Later that day I spoke to Betty and she said she was having a wonderful time and that she was enjoying the Inn and my family.
The 5 days came and went. Upon check out I said to Betty and Gisella that I hoped I would see them again and Betty said, “well I don’t know about that, I am 91.” She looked marvelous for 91 and I think she still has a good number of years left. After they left, with the help of many family members, I was speaking to Jesse and didn’t realize that he had also had some conversations with the elderly ladies. He told me that he spoke to them and found out that they wanted a little adventure. They normally live in an assisted old age home and wanted to “escape” for a while. They did not want to stay with family, they wanted to be independent again. We are so pleased that the grandchildren listened to their elders, found a comfortable and safe place for them and granted Betty and Gisella their moment of adventure.
Next Adventure: The 50th birthday party
We see many birthday celebrations at the Inn. Sometimes a person will treat themselves and come by themselves, sometimes with a partner and sometimes with a group of friends. This past weekend we had a group of friends that were trying to ease the emotional pain of their one friend that was turning 50. Three couples traveled from NJ to Maine to celebrate. The weather was beautiful and the rooms were so comfortable for them. They sat on the Brass Room deck and drank wine and then walked down to the restaurant for dinner. You could see they enjoyed each others company and were having a great time. You could tell they felt at home. At breakfast I would hear that they stayed out a little too late. One man with them said he was feeling so adventurous while he was out that previous night, he tried the fried twinkie that was offered at Cuzzy’s bar. He said he had heard about them and always wanted to try one. Well, he tried it and loved it. He said he probably would never have one again, but was happy to at least try it. The newly aged 50 year old woman laughed at her husband and looked like she was a school girl again.
Next Adventure: The Bucket List
One day I got a call from a travel agent. Which is pretty common. But this travel agent was asking so many questions. Not just about the rooms and amenities, which are standard questions, but about the quality of the lobster, the pricing and the availability of the places to get lobster dinners. One lobster question after the next. I was delighted to share all my lobster knowledge with the travel agent, and by the end of the conversation, the agent booked a room for 2 nights. I was curious why she was asking all the lobster questions, but I did not ask why. The next month the guests came with an itinerary that I had somewhat dictated to the travel agent about where the best places to eat lobster were. I helped the nice southern couple find the places and they were pleased. At breakfast the gentleman brought down his leftover lobster and asked if we could cook it up in some eggs for him. What a great idea, we did and he enjoyed eating it for breakfast. Upon leaving the inn, the man said, “thank you for helping me take – eating lobster – off my bucket list. ” He never realized that he enjoyed lobster and at the age of 60 he found a new food to enjoy.
Last but not least… the new B&B guest – Adventure
Every year we get a dozen or so first time B&B guests. They always look the same when the come in the front door – scared. They ask lots of questions and walk very slowly. Sometimes I ask if they are first time B&B people, but most of the time, they offer right away that they had never done this before and that they don’t know what to expect. Sometimes they ask to see the room before they pay. Implying that if they don’t like what they see, they are out of here. It is really cute to see the new B&B couples hold each others arms and look to each other for comfort in this new experience. A step out of their comfort zone, something different, a little adventure. We are so happy that we could make the new experience as painless as possible and have seen many non- B&B guests leave saying they will be back.
We recently had a guest that wasn’t a first time B&B guest but a 2nd time B&B guest. The couple came in and you could tell they were nervous. The wife said – “Honey – only pay for one night, in case it is like the last time we were in a B&B”. Jesse tried to get out of them their past B&B experience, but they weren’t talking. After seeing their room, they decided pay and see how things went. The next morning they were all a glow. The guests seemed very comfortable and were willing to share with me at breakfast their last B&B experience. They said that the last time they went to a Bed and Breakfast the Innkeeper was not very friendly. The room was dark and there was only 1 thing for breakfast. They were so happy to see that we had a selection and that they could have whatever they wanted. I was surprised that they experienced such bad hospitality at a B&B. Finally I asked when this experience had happened. The woman said 20 years ago. I almost fell on the floor. This couple wrote off B&B’s for 20 years because of 1 bad experience. They said they were willing to give it another try – they were feeling adventurous and they were happy they found us.
So when you are ready to step out of your comfort zone, need some adventure, look online for a nice couple that own a B&B. Not only will their hospitality make you feel welcome it will open the door to new adventures.
Last year about this time, I wrote about wanting to get out to Curtis Island. At the time of writing, I had been here for 5 years and had never been to the closest island to Camden. It looks so close, but I could not get to it. Well, if you remember the post, I finally tried to swim to Curtis Island, but did not make it. I had to get in the row boat that was following me. The row boat did finally take me to the island. I was so happy to finally get there. The same year, my husband bought me a kayak, I guess he was scared I would try to swim out to the island again.
I was fortunate this year to get to another cluster of islands off the coast of Maine. No I did not swim, I did not kayak, I sailed on a boat that you can rent for charters – Redwings. Redwings is a Peterson 46 center cockpit offshore cruiser for your rental pleasure. Aaron Henderson is the captain and a local Maine native. Aaron grew up here and is very familiar with the water and nearby islands. I laughed every-time he picked out an island and told me the name of it. To me the islands all looked the same. He said that most islands look like their names, Saddle Island – looks like a saddle. I wasn’t convinced that it looked like a saddle, but maybe if I had looked at it as many times as he has, it might start to resemble a saddle. Anyway, Aaron took me and my boys out to White Islands. White Islands are a group of Islands off the coast of mid coast Maine. Redwings is a beautiful sail boat that is very comfortable. My boys are taking sailing classes and Aaron was great to reinforce the things the boys had learned and helped them to understand the many details of sailing Redwings out in the ocean. The sail was both visually beautiful and intellectually stimulating. When we got to White Islands, I was a little concerned because it it was high tide and the only thing you could see were tops of rocks and I was not sure these rocks were islands. But then Aaron steered us into a narrow channel and we sailed into a beautiful beach. The boys got out and ran around looking for treasures, which they found, 7 lobster buoys that had drifted ashore. Each buoy a different color for the lobster-man that had put it out in this part of the ocean. I should mention that White Islands are near Vinalhaven. Vinalhaven is populated by many lobster-men. The waters near Vinalhaven are filled with lobster buoys. It’s really amazing to see how many buoys are near each other in the waters near Vinalhaven. While the boys were gathering their buoys, I walked around the island. I was surprised to see rugosa roses and small bushes growing in between the rocks. White rocks and pink roses. I told Aaron that I thought this must be what heaven looks like. The island was so beautiful. We stayed for about an hour, the tide was going out so we had to move the boat. I regrettably left this wonderful paradise in the ocean. I am so happy that I have it now in my memory and it is one of those happy places I can go to when I am cleaning rooms and ironing sheets. Aaron told me after that trip that he had never been to those islands before. He said there are so many islands, each one very unique. A friend of his told him about that island the day before and he decided to check it out. I think he was as pleasantly surprised as I was. I did however get a little disappointed, when I felt a little empowered by the sea, feeling knowledgeable from all of Aaron’s teachings, I offered up that I thought the islands were named White Islands because they were white in color. Aaron actually disagreed with me and said that it was probably because some sailor named White discovered them. Let me tell you if they can name an island saddle because it looks like a saddle, they can name these islands White, because they are white.
I am past my urge to swim to the nearby islands. I do have a kayak, but don’t think I could make it past Curtis Island. I am so pleased that I found Redwings and now have a wonderful new option to exploring Penobscot Bay. If you are staying in Camden Maine, I highly recommend contacting Aaron and arranging a trip on Redwings. You can spend the day exploring the islands off the coast of Maine. It truly is a wonderful and memorable experience that you can take back with you after your Maine vacation.
Check out our page for RedWings: http://www.windwardhouse.com/things-to-do-here-in-camden-maine/sailing-in-maine-kayaking-in-maine-biking-in-maine/sail-redwings/
I am writing this on the evening of the first day of summer. I am anxious about the next 133 days ahead of me. I was told today by my Innkeepers group that there are 133 days in the season – 133 days of rising early, working hard and going to bed late. If you are in the tourism industry – you know what I mean. The reservations for the Inn this year are a little off, guests are not booking that far in advance and it is hard to plan for the season. I think the Internet, the weather, gas prices, the economy and trip advisor all play a big part in the picture. Travelers can see how many rooms you have available, how much your competitor is selling a similar room, what the weather is going to be, and what others are saying about you in roughly 30 seconds. After looking at the advance reservations I decided that I had to evaluate the businesses marketing plan and do something. I have been doing all the same strategies for the past 3 years and the last 3 years have been pretty good, I can not complain. This year seems different, and I am not sure why. Are people really starting to hold onto their money tighter? The tv keeps saying the economy is getting better. Are gas prices really keeping people home? 2 years ago the gas price went as high as $4.00 and that season I did really well. The only thing I noticed that was different was that for the last 2 years, Camden Windward House was in the top 3 of lodgings in Camden Maine. This year we are #9. We had a rough year last year with Trip Advisor. We had 2 very unhappy guests. 1 guest, whom was here for one night, wrote something so horrible I had to hire a liable lawyer to start an action against Trip Advisor. After spending a lot of money, the guest took the really bad parts of her review down, but kept a bad rating and comment up. The guest said if I had only given her money back, she would take it all down. I am not sure where the line of blackmail starts but that’s what it felt like. After that experience with the guest, I swore never to trust Trip Advisor again. But now I am starting to think, I can not ignore the power of such a well visited site. So many people go there specifically looking for what I sell.
Last month I did what I never thought I would do. I bought a business listing on Trip Advisor. I decided to give the site another chance, a chance to prove that good things can come from such a well visited site. Over the winter Jesse and I did a lot of maintenance at the Inn, trying to polish the rooms and put our best foot forward. We are confident in our product and hope the guests will acknowledge our good intentions and hard work. Today I even sent out a mass email asking past guests for a review on this site. I can’t tell you how nervous I am about reading the reviews. Will we get more bad reviews? Will the guests praise us and raise us to the top 3 lodgings in Camden? Only time will tell. I should follow up in approximately 134 days. If you got one of my emails today – please be kind!! Hope your season is great!!!!
The harbor in Camden Maine is coming alive, as is our quaint little seaside town. The boats are all open and starting to take salty dogs out to sea. The lobster men can be seen racing between traps in their boats. The lilacs are blooming at Camden Windward House and yesterday I noticed my favorite black eyed suzie’s are starting to come out of the ground. Jesse, has successfully made a wisteria flower on the front porch. Baby birds are nesting over the Chart Room back door and the humming birds have come back. Yesterday my children swam in Lake Megunticook for the first time this season. While we were at Barrett’s Cove, Megunticook Lake, we noticed a person rock climbing Mt. Battie. Yes, spring has finaly arrived in Camden Maine.
Spring has sprung and my husband has put out the Maypole. We have a joke each year that he has the biggest Maypole on the street. This is true because we are the only ones on the block that have a pole out to welcome spring. You may ask why a couple from NY that is Irish, English, Polish and Italian in heritage would put out a maypole. If you look at Wikipedia, it seems like every culture has some form of this spring ritual, believe it or not. The Italians grease the pole and have contests to see who can get to the top and steal the crown. Not sure how to interpret this one.
We like the idea of welcoming spring after a hard winter. We celebrate the renewal of life and hope for a successful summer.
This years pole is our largest one. Jesse stood on the roof of the porch to put it together. I told him, he is not try to beat this record next year. He would have to stand on the roof of the house, and that could get ugly.
Please stop by to see the pole, we keep it up for almost the whole month of May.
One might think to drive 5 hours is a little extreme for a weekend getaway. I’m grateful for the beautiful website that led us to this quaint town and the photos of your B&B did nothing but confirm we had found our weekend destination. You walk in the door and the warmth we were met with, stayed with us the entire time. It was a pleasure to have been invited and welcomed into your house. Thank you so much for the stories and wonderful food . We wish you all the success. - Angela- MA.
Just read a romantic recollection of a couple that were together for 60 years. They met on a blind date and a year later he proposed. He brought her to the bottom of a ski trail, had skiers come down the hill with torches as he gave his love a box that had a circle of carnations with a ring in the middle. He read a poem to her that he wrote about the things they did together. She said yes and they have been together for the past 60 years!
This love story is so inspiring. http://knox.villagesoup.com/news/story/rockport-couple-reflects-on-60-years-of-marriage/379907
Don’t forget you can celebrate Valentines Day, The day of Love any day. Our Bed and Breakfast is a great place to start your celebration of love.
Kristi & Jesse,
Greetings, I hope that all is well with the kids, construction and the business. I wanted to thank you for the lovely stay. Our room was splendid (Quarterdeck) and the view breathtaking. I do’t think we had a better breakfast on our trip either. We are both huge fans of the Eggs Benedict.
Thank you again for the great service and hospitality. Maybe we can do it again when it’s a spot warmer!
Windward House’s Green Valentines.
February is a special, lovable month. Our romantic Bed and Breakfast getaway definitely sees an increase in traffic this month. It is so pleasing to see the happy faces at the breakfast tables, both young and mature love. We have been honored to hear love stories of both newly engaged partners to those celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
One special room at the B&B, the Windrose Suite, has a love note box from the Love Project. A young and in-love couple came to the Inn two years ago and left a beautiful wooden box and a request that you write a love letter to someone special and place it in the locked box, and one day they will publish it in a book about love. Two years later, it’s full of notes locked inside. I can only imagine what sweet nothings are in this box (http://aloveproject.net/A_Love_Project.php ).
I love all things love and have constructed this top ten Windward House Maine Valentine’s Day gift ideas. Since we are a green B&B I decided to make this a green valentine list.
1. A special gift from the downtown of Camden Maine: Dolan Geiman (DG) MINIS and Lovebird collection. These handmade & eco-friendly artworks by mixed media artist Dolan Geiman including paintings, collages, and BOX PRINT® reproductions on wood are sold in Glendarragh Farm Lavender Store 22 Main Street Camden Maine. http://www.etsy.com/people/dolangeiman?ref=ls_profile
2. Chocolate: Coastline Confections chocolate bars are all natural. Coastline Confections has no additives, preservatives, glazes, or waxes. The only thing they add to the chocolate is the essential flavors and ingredients to achieve a delicate flavor profile. I prefer the Lobsterman bar, dark Chocolate. Bitter. Rich. Belgian. http://www.coastlineconfections.com/Coastline_Confections/Coastline_Confections.html
3. Danica Candles : Add a little romance to the bedroom or the dinner table with candles. All of the Danica candles are made in Maine. They never use animal byproducts or lead, they only use naturally made beeswax, . The best waxes and cotton wicks made in the U.S.A. http://www.danicacandles.com/home.html
4. Jewelry from Russell’s of Camden : My favorite little jewelry store in Camden Maine. Russell and Paulette craft wonderful pieces of jewelry, right here in Camden Maine. http://www.russellsofcamden.com/index.htm
5. Oyster River Winery : Complete a perfect dinner menu with a wonderful local Maine wine: The Villager from Oyster River Winery represents a house style — off-dry, crisp, and aromatic. This blend of Seyval Blanc and Cayuga are fermented for three months at low temperatures for good fruit retention, then is filtered and bottled soon after to capture freshness and retain a bit of CO2. The wine has “fatness” on the mid-palate and a “leesy” character from extended contact with the yeast. http://www.oysterriverwinegrowers.com/
6. Dolcelinos: I was so happy when I discovered these little treats in the local grocery store. A caterer started making these treats for parties and they were so successful, she started to sell them in stores. The Dolcelino is designed after the Woopie Pie, and the ice cream sandwich. There is a wonderful outside cookie filled with a delicious, mousse-like frozen cream. I found this simple and fun dessert you can serve your sweetie. THE CHOCOLATE TURTLE: A little hot fudge on the plate, place a “topless” chocolate Dolcelino on top of the hot fudge, sprinkle pecans on top and drizzle with caramel sauce. http://www.dolcelinos.com/
7. Atlantica Seafood Bistro: We at Windward highly recommend the only Maine Green Leader certified restaurant in downtown Camden Maine. Atlantica will be open the month of February. Located on the dock overlooking the harbor, it is a sure way to please your valentine. http://www.atlanticarestaurant.com/
8. Swan Island Blankets : Warm up your sweetheart with a blanket or a scarf. Swans Island is a company and a community centered in Maine and determined to create objects of beauty and utility in authentic and earth-friendly ways. Swans Island rare wool blankets are made from naturally occurring brown and black sheep. These sheep aren’t common, and after three or four years, their fleeces tend to go grey, so they are only able to weave a limited number of rare brown and black wool blankets each year.
http://www.swansislandblankets.com/ Swan Island Blankets has free shipping until Feb. 28th, so if even if you don’t live in Maine, you can get these beautiful items.
9. Floral Greeting cards by Ann McKendry: Merryspring Park in Camden Maine sells these special hand crafted cards. Remember, sometimes the best gifts are simple. http://www.merryspring.org/
10. Special getaway at a “green” Bed and Breakfast: If you can take your love away for a night, I highly recommend making it a green getaway. Your partner will love you for being good to both him/her and the earth. http://www.maine.gov/dep/innovation/greencert/lodg_participants.htm
Calling all middle-schoolers who want to keep Camden the “jewel of Maine”, and make sure the kids and pets who live here stay healthy. A large map displayed in the window of the Camden town office shows properties in town painted green where homeowners have agreed not to use poisons on their lawn to get rid of dandelions and other “weeds”"Kids for a Greener Camden” There is a group of middleschoolerswho want to turn the whole map — and town –green. First step: One student or a group of friends adopts a street. Next step: Receive a packet and with the help of this packet get every homeowner on that street to agree not to use harmful lawn chemicals. Once everyone on the street agrees, the street is painted green on the town map and is a street that is now healthy for kids and pets. Everyone who “greens” a street gets a “Kids for a Greener Camden” button, is invited to a party in April, plus is eligible for a Middle School community service Schooner Tag. To adopt a street, sign up on the Kids for a Greener Camden sheet in the office. For more information, check out the KIDS page on the citizensforagreencamden.org sixth-graders Molly Mann, Liv Berez or Jade Hazzard or email website, talk with firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Green Inn – loves this Green Idea.
Jesse says we should finally unpack our bags. We moved here to Camden Maine 5 years ago from NY. I was in my early 30′s and none of my children were in school yet. Everyday was a surprise in this new state. Things are definately different here in Maine. My kids are “growing up Maine”. They know things about hiking, sailing, hockey, & hunting. They are also watching their parents try to make a living selling rooms in an historic home. They see us get up every morning and prep for breakfast. They watch us interact with guests. They are learning alot, whether they know it or not. After 5 years we finally feel like we are home in this 1854 house.
Come January we will be doing some renovations to the Inn, but also renovating the owners quarters to make it more warm and comfortable for us and the kids. Most Bed and Breakfasts use every square inch for the guests, to generate revenue. Some innkeepers live in the attic or the basement. We are lucky, when we found windward house, the owners’ quarters consists of a large part the house. We have 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The former owners however did not focus on making the owners’ quarters warm and comfortable, and that is the challenge Jesse and I will go about tackeling this winter.
But, not to neglect our guests for the next season, we are making improvements to our guest rooms also. We are tiling a bathroom in Windrose, adding a beautiful accent wall of wood in Coastal Garden and extending the bathroom wall in Quarterdeck. We will be able to offer our guests two more King sized bed options and one more two twin bed options, and the King bed in Chart should look spectacular with posts and a canopy. All great things to make the guest rooms even more comfortable. We will be the only Bed & Breakfast in Camden Maine that has 3 ground floor rooms with King sized beds. We are also finding more ways to be green by bringing lines of amentities that are environmentally and socially good.
We are excited and nervous about all the new things we are trying to do. The economy, as everyone knows is still giving people the jitters, but in a sense it makes a Maine vacation, and our rates, which haven’t gone up, but have gone down in the last five years, a real great vacation or weekend getaway or Camden Conference or PopTech or Maine Coast Fall Leaf Peeping good deal! And with more King beds, there’s more room to stretch out.
So we have many reasons to be optimistic and thanks to our guests, and providence we keep moving forward. We hope you will come to visit in the spring and summer to see our improvements and enjoy Camden Maine the way we do. There will be no price increases in 2011, just more added value. Happy Holidays and see you in the New Year.
Children love making cookies but sometimes their innocent kitchen habits are not that welcoming when making Christmas cookies for groups of loved ones. Although children always have good intentions, they don’t always know how to cover a sneeze at the right time. That is why I was so happy when I was invited to help the elementary school make cookies. These cookies were not for people but for dogs. We made Christmas Doggie biscuits. I love dogs and I was relieved that an animal would be eating this lovingly made cookie from the children. This is a great and unique gift that you might want to try for your favorite dog. The children used all different types of cookie cutters. Dog bones, christmas trees, snow men, bells and candy canes.
2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 cups of all purpose flour
¾ cups of cornmeal
4 tablespoons of Vegetable oil
2 Cups beef or chicken broth
bacon bits, or garlic or bacon drippings
- Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl.
- Add broth and mix.
- Roll out onto floured surface, cut with cookie cutter.
- Bake in preheated 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- Cool before giving to doggie.
So proud to live in a town that is taking going “green” seriously.I just got back from going to the local dump. As a town, we do not have garbage pick up. You can hire a service to take your garbage, or you can take it yourself. Growing up in Staten Island, NY, I know a thing or two about dumps. Funny enough, I think all Staten Islanders have memories of going to the dump once or twice. When I was real young you could actually walk amongst the garbage and pick stuff up. When I was older, you drove in to special sections and it was very organized, you were no longer allowed to walk in the garbage. Finally after I left Staten Island the dump was closed. Here in Camden Maine, I am impressed by all the recycling efforts that go on in the dump. You have to separate paper, plastic, cardboard, glass and tin. It usually takes me about an hour to do all this sorting but in the end, I know it will be recycled and not end up in a huge dump somewhere. In addition to the great recycling program in this area, there is this great citizens initiative: http://www.citizensforagreencamden.org/ Camden Windward House is on the Citizens for a Green Camden “green map” and has pledged not use pesticides on our lawns. The absence of pesticides has made a big difference in the number of birds we have been seeing on our property. We always look forward to spring because we know we will have several robin families around us. In the past we have had morning dove babies. In the beginning of starting this no pesticide program, I admit we were nervous about how the yard would look. But when you cut your grass regularly and plant lots of flowers it looks great. We encourage all of our friends to try going green. Recycle and don’t use pesticides.
Guests got engaged at Windward House Bed and Breakfast this weekend in Camden Maine. Halloween Weekend brought cool temps, mild winds, gray skis and romance in the air. 2 lovely guests came from NY City to get away from the hustle of the city and to focus on love. They went up to the top of mountain, but it was way to cold, and they said there were alot of people up there, so they came down and the proposal was right here in the Inn, in front of a fireplace. We are so pleased they chose Windward in the winter for their special moment in time. Cheers.
- As we approach the end of the 25th year of operation of the Windward House B&B, the spring, summer….late fall foliage season we always get a little introspective.
The season started out with a really great Maypole this year.
I would like to share some amazing statistics for the Camden Windward House Bed and Breakfast. The Camden Windward House B&B, which has been on High Street for about 150 years, opened its doors in Camden Maine as a B&B in 1985, and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010. This year, so far, the Bed and Breakfast had approximately 2,000 guests, the ground floor, Chart Room Suite having had the best occupancy rate of all 8 rooms this year. Approximately 2000 cups of fresh fruit
were served and 2,000 brownies and cookies were baked for afternoon snacks. About 4,000 free range eggs have been cooked in omelets, French toast, pancakes, waffles, sunny – up, over easy, poached, egg white only, juevos rancheros, eggs benedicts, and my favorite – scrambled. More than 80 pounds of fair trade shade grown Windward House Blend coffee have been brewed and enjoyed in the breakfast room. 1,600 beds were made and approximately 3,000 pillow cases and sheets have been lovingly pressed.
Considering all the hard work you have to wonder, especially at this time of year, was it worth it!
In spring our youngest turned 8, and three children and a labradoodle (when we first came we bribed the kids out of missing the folks back in NY by telling them we’d get a dog -Moxy) danced around our fourth Maypole (this year it had live flowers and vines), now in autumn, it’s our oldest’s turn to celebrate a birthday, and our middle one will have her turn at year’s end, – they were only five, four and three years old when we started this experiment. We used to pull them around town in a flexible flyer wagon
because they were so little and walked so slow, (for a little while I was known as the lady with kids in the wagon).
When we first came here, our two youngest made the whole world look bigger.
Now we can’t keep up with them; on the hiking trails,
swimming in the lake, skating at hockey, running at soccer. My oldest has had to bring it my attention on three occasions that I was wrong – and he right, about the correct answers on his math homework. On this the 25th anniversary year of Windward House, three children danced around the promised-for-three-years tree house finally built. Along with our guests we celebrated, we sailed, kayaked and
hiked, we shopped downtown, and ate at Camden’s great restaurants, and we loved it here more than ever! Wow! Thanks to all our guests, our friends, neighbors and family for another blessed season! Oh, and happy 25th anniversary Windward House, the house that Elijah Glover built in Camden Maine!
I told my husband this year I want to have a picnic on Curtis Island for my birthday. Since we moved here, I have looked out on this island everyday. I have been curious about what is out there, and what it looks like. We do not own a boat or a kayak so getting out to Curtis Island would be a challenge. Curtis Island is the closest island to our lovely coastal village of Camden Maine. The Curtis Island Light House is on the island. The day sailors take tourist around the island to see the beautiful town owned property. The property is public and can be used by anyone. It is a lovely spot with a trail, benches and a little beach. I was talking to one of my friends that does own a boat, trying to drop a hint for him to sail us out there, but he had a funny answer, he said, well, you don’t need a boat, you can walk out there from Laite Beach at low tide. Although this might be true, barely, considering I would be walking in 4 – 5 feet of water with my picnic basket and cooler, this did not seem practical. My children sail out to Curtis Island with the Camden Sailing program. The kids have been to Curtis Island at least a dozen times, they go out there and have treasure hunts and play capture the flag. They think it is funny that I have never been there and that they know more then me about a jewel of Camden.
So onward toward my goal of getting to Curtis Island….
The other day I got a phone call around 9:30pm. My friend called and said she had a hankering to swim out to Curtis Island and wanted to know if I wanted to join her. She swims out there a couple times a year and thinks it is a pretty easy swim. I swam competitively in college. In fact my specialty was the mile race. I was not a fast swimmer but I had endurance. I was a lifeguard throughout college also, so I figured the 3/4 mile swim with a seasoned swimmer was probably going to be my only chance to get out to Curtis Island so I jumped at the chance. The next day we met at Laite Beach for the swim. I insisted that we have a paddle boat, just in case. I had my goggles, my speedo swim suite and was ready to go. I did not care that the water was approximately 60 degrees, that my feet and arms were freezing, I was going to swim to Curtis island and enjoy it. Well, I made it half way. I had a hard time breathing, I don’t know if it was me being out of practice, out of shape or if the cold water was crushing my lungs. I told the paddle boat that I would swim back by myself and that they should go on with my friend, whom was doing a great job. The person in the boat insisted that I get in and take the ride out to Curtis Island. I was disappointed that I was not going to make the full swim, but filled with joy that I was finally getting to Curtis Island. We paddled over there, while my friend swam. We docked the boat and I set foot on the lovely Island. There is a sign- in book on the island to show that you were there. I signed it saying, “early birthday present to me!”. I walked around the nature trail and stopped to look at the lighthouse. The light house keepers were sitting on the porch enjoying there little piece of heaven. I said hello and then continued back to the beach were the boat was docked. My friend got back in the water and swam and I took a ride in the paddle boat. There was no picnic but what a great experience.
The song “Small Island”, by Gordon Bok was playing while I wrote this post. A song about people on the small island not liking new comers on the island, “go back where you come from”. I thought it was ironic that this was playing on my itunes while I wrote about my journey and longing to go out to this small island .
The Camden Yacht Club Dingy Parade is today Friday July 2nd, 2010 at 10:00am. The community children go out on boats in the harbor all decorated for the fourth. My daughter, Hope, is dressed like George Washington. She is wearing a pair of my nice black leather boats! If she ruins them I will scream, anyway what we do for our children and our country! God Bless America!
This is my post from last year 2009: I will write about the wonderful Camden Yacht Club dingy parade and add some pictures, but first i want to share some fourth of July history that I learned this evening. I was googling about Elijah Glover, the ship builder that built this Inn and I found out that he was not only a ship builder but a sea captain. More interesting than that, there is documentation that there was a family wedding here on the 4th of July 1854, the same year he finished building the house. I find great joy in this news, because it further proves to me that this house was always great for hosting groups of people and sharing wonderful moments.
The children dressed in red, white and blue and set out on their dingys, turn abouts and optys. They waved their flags, blew their wistles and yelled happy 4th of July. All of this took place in Camden Harbour. The rain stopped for their wonderul parade. It probally is the cutest thing you can witness.
VABLOOM: A vacation where one visits gardens and blooming flowers. A new word created by the children at Windward House. Steve Colbert of Comedy Central would be so proud. He recently ranted about the NY Times banning the word Tweet because it was not a real word. Steve Colbert is famous for making new words up, such as truthiness. Now for my blog entry…. A guest called yesterday to reserve for July 14, 15, and 16th at our Camden Maine Bed and Breakfast. He specifically was coming to Camden Maine for the Camden Garden Club Tour http://www.camdengardenclub.com/index.html . The Camden Windward House is a “Friend” Sponsor of this event. The gentleman stated that after coming to the Camden garden tour he was headed to Kennebunk for the Private Gardens of Kennebunk Tour. He enjoys gardening and said that going on these trips were cheaper than therapy. The Kennenbunk Tour is on July 17th. http://www.kidsfreetogrow.org/Events_Calendar.htm. I thought this was such a great itinerary that I wanted to share it with anyone that is reading this Windward Blog. I suggested to the man that he should add a quick visit to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens: http://www.mainegardens.org/
I made dinner reservation for this lovely couple at Atlantica Seafood Bistro and Francines.
Dear Jesse and Kristi. We love your B&B. Thanks for taking us in at the last minute and especially for the early morning coffee. I am glad I got to see Peyton Place the movie. The room, bathroom and tub and breakfast were such a treat after a hectic day. I will spread the word about Windward House to the people of North Haven, so you’ll get some business. Many Thanks.
My eyes opened widely when my guest asked about consignment shops in the area. No one has ever asked me about these. Antiques are very popular in this area but I have never fielded a question about recyled clothing. I was reluctant at first to go to the area consignment shops but I am so happy that I discovered these great places that recycle mostly designer clothes. Most consignment shops have very strict limits on clothing, has to be clean, not out dated, big brands are preferred.
Recently I went to a clothing swap with some friends. Everyone brings there clothes, that they never wear but think are too god to put in the goodwill bin. If you have never had a clothing swap, I highly recommend it. Bunch of women, trying on each other’s clothes, wine and snacks, a wonderful evening.
This weekend we hosted 4 lovely women from Texas. They were here to have fun and shop. I first directed them to the wonderful boutique shops in out downtown, but then also guided them to the consignment shops for more hidden treasures.
Here is a great list of consignment shops in the Camden Area. Items change everyday and it is a fun rainy day activity. If you are at home, you might enjoy: http://www.clothingswap.com/ whose moto is Be Good, Be Green, Be Glam! If you have really great clothing to swap you might want to try : http://refashioner.com/ .
Maine Consignment shops:
Camden Merchant’s Co-op: Mechanic Street – Downtown Camden (good antique furniture)
Cottage Consignment http://cottageconsignment.com/
Frugal Suzies: 44 Elm Street Camden Maine
Heavenly Threads Thrift Shop: 55 Elm Street, next to the Congregational Church. http://www.camdenucc.org/heavenly%20threads%20+%20SOS.html
Happy Treasure Hunting!!
This is a picture of our new Waste-Not Recycle Baskets that we have in all our guest rooms at Windward House. At first, I was a little nervous about putting this odd looking container in my beautiful rooms. It is broken into 4 compartments, 1 for glass, 1 for paper, 1 for plastic, 1 for cans. So far the guests have not mentioned it, but they definitely are using them. We had a generic looking basket with the word recycle on it, but guests did not seem to use it. With the words right on it, people are making a connection and recycling everything. I did not expect so much to be recycled from the guests. It just proves, if you make it obvious and easy, people will do the right thing for the environment.
Today I went to our local recycling center, a.k.a., the dump, they have bins that you have to sort your garbage. I was so excited because this year we were actually able to recycle all the plastic flower pots. We buy alot of flowers for the garden but in the past just threw the plastic containers in the garbage because our recycle center only took #2 plastics, but now they take plastics 1,2,3,4,5,6, & 7. It felt great to recycle those pots. If you interested in the waste not basket here is the link: www.waste-not-basket.com
Information on different plastics: http://www.wasteonline.org.uk/resources/InformationSheets/Plastics.htm#_Types_of_plastic
When I came to Camden, I was quite burned out. I’d been working very long hours the entire year and knew that on my return I would be working very long hours again, in addition also traveling for work every week for the next year. I wanted desperately to relax and unwind. I love the water and my dad had mentioned windjammers. I fell in love with the idea immediately. I found the Mary Day Schooner online and planned my trip around their 3 day first cruise of the season. I planned to visit St. Louis first and then stay in Camden. Little did I realize how much an impact my stay in your carriage house would affect me. I suspect it will be as profound an impact as the long awaited cruise will have. The room is so lovely, and inviting. Just stepping through the door lifted a huge weight from my shoulders. The hot soak in your beautiful tub and sinking deep into sleep on that fabulous bed did the rest. It truly was a magical time for me. I enjoyed talking to your Australian yachting guest in the morning. I adored your perfect (and beautiful) blueberry pancakes (the blueberries here really do taste better) and the bottomless cup of coffee.I hope to come back many times. You’ve really made a wonderful place here, in a wonderful town. Thanks for everything. Best wishes to you and your family….
I was so happy to hear that Local Master Maine Guide, Don Kleiner has been fishing already on Lake Megunticook. Lake Megunticook is a hidden treasure of Camden Maine. It is off Maine rt. 1 and a short drive up rt. 52. It at the base of Mt. Battie and can be seen from the Maiden Cliff trail. In Don Kleiner’s blog, he mentions that pickerel and bass were seen in the lake. I highly recommend adding a Master Guide trip to your vacation in Maine. Read more about Don Kleiner and Maine Outdoors: http://ow.ly/1B93y Camden Windward House is only3.7 miles from the lake and the Innkeepers can help you arrange a trip with Maine Outdoors. We can also guide you to the hiking trails that give this spectacular view.
This weekend was very odd, strange weather and a lot of guests (it is only April!). Friday started out nice and sunny, Saturday the rain came and then it snowed, Sunday it rained. Camden is a great sea coast town and is very pleasant when the sun is out. You can hike, walk around, or just sit by the water. When the weather is odd, it is nice to have a beautiful Inn room to sit by the fire and read a book. If it is nice out, we definitely have more interest in overnight guests, business picks up. When it is going to rain business is very slow. That’s why when we had a lot of guests this weekend, I was very confused. The weather was not great but the phone would not stop ringing. This weekend we had so many that I questioned a guest and said, “Why are you here?” He said it is Patriot’s Day. Having grown up in New York, I had not been familiar with Patriot’s Day. Patriot’s Day is not on my radar as a travel weekend. Some businesses actually give a paid holiday. It is acknowledged in Massachusets, Maine and Wisconsin. For more info on Patriot’s Day : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriots’_Day . Guests were all different this weekend. The range ran from Minnesota Dairy Farmers to Tax Lawyers from Massachusetts. We even had a lovely newly wed couple celebrating their honeymoon. (That is the fourth honeymooning couple we have had for so far this year).
My friend in Connecticut (Anna) saw that I was interested in healthy food at schools. I sent an invite a couple of days ago on my facebook page to all my friends to join the Jami Oliver Food Revolution. Anna directed me to this other great website that helps you write a letter to your local legislatures. I sent the following letter to Rep. Chellie Pingree, Sen Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine. I sent a letter to these reps about a month ago for Earth hour. Earth Hour is another great initiative to save energy! The Internet is making it easier to get on board with these great ideas. For more info on the healthy food campaign go to: http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/campaign/time_for_lunch/ Thanks Anna!
Dear Rep Chellie Pingree, Sen Olympia Snowe, Sen Susan Collins,
I’m concerned about child obesity. Right now, nearly one third of American children are overweight or obese. That’s a major threat to their health and to the future security and economic prosperity of our country.
It’s time to act, starting with the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. As a voter in your district, I urge you to invest at least $1 billion per year, to strengthen nutrition standards and to link schools to local farms.
Right now, schools receive $2.68 for each lunch served – only about $1 of which goes towards food. As a result, most schools have to rely on the cheap processed foods that are fueling the obesity and diabetes epidemics.
To help America’s children get back on the track towards good health, the Child Nutrition Act must include:
1. A full investment of at least $1 billion per year, as proposed by the Administration. School meal providers say a truly healthy meal costs $1 more, which is the goal we need to work towards. Investing in healthy food now will save hundreds of billions in health care costs down the line.
2. Stronger nutrition standards for all the food sold at school, including the food sold in school vending machines.
3. $10 million per year in mandatory funding for Farm to School programs, which create local jobs and help schools teach healthy eating.
When you reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, please keep America’s kids in mind and put their needs first. Thank you for your support.
Sign of the times, you can’t take your kids into a wine tasting room. Maine will pass a new law that children can not see you tasting wine. Although I somewhat agree with this law, I thought this article about the law was hysterical: http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/news/local/6729883.html , The last line, “We had a wine tasting this weekend and a couple with a baby stroller came in,” she said. “They would have had to leave the baby on the street or I guess the parents could take turns.”
There are some wonderful wineries in the Mid coast of maine. The Cellardoor winery this year has decided to make their Wine stomping festival an adult only event, which makes sense, but boy was it fun to bring the kids the last 2 years. The winery had lots of things for the kids and it was fun for all. This year there will be a grand tent with orchestra music and dancing. Oct 2nd and 3rd, 2009.
Friday night, October 2, with a ticketed wine dinner-dance. Dinner will be served in the vineyard at Cellardoor Winery and each course will be paired with Cellardoor’s wines. Dinner will be followed by desserts and dancing – dance music provided by Maine Pro Musica.
The Saturday, October 3 Vinfest lineup includes a stellar array of food, wine, music and activities for grown-ups. Cellardoor Winery will host grape stomping, a homemade wine competition, wine tastings, lunch prepared and served by Riverfront Barbeque & Grille of Augusta, wine cellar tours, live music all day, farm stands, hot air balloon rides and many other interesting activities.
Tickets for all Vinfest events will be on sale online. Tickets for the Friday night Vinfest dinner/dance are $100/person and will also gain you admission to the Saturday Vinfest activities. Saturday admission is $10/person.
I start today’s blog with this great quote from a guest from Sweden. This couple has traveled to the US several times, but this was their first time in Maine. She told me she thought the area was so green and being near the ocean made this area the Lung of America. I had never thought of our little oasis as a lung but what a great reference. Jesse and I moved to Maine because we have 3 small children and we want to give them a healthy environment up bringing. Jes and I grew up in Staten Island, the home of Americas largest garbage dump. If anyone needed some new air it was me and Jes. Staten Island was a great place to grow up, and now the dump is closed, but nothing beats the fresh air of trees & Ocean.
The Summer has started and the gardens are bloom. Since we stopped using pesticides in the garden we have been host to several bird families. We currently have 2 nests with eggs. The mama Robins can be seen pulling the worms out the ground all day long. Jesse planted canadian roses this year. I am so proud of him for making this native choice. I keep trying to get him to plant potatoes, Maine is know for its potatoes – in case you didnt know (just ask Homer Simpson – he wore a t-shirt saying Maine Potatoes on the famous, long running Simpson’s show), but Jes insists on planting Tomatoes, being Italian and all, he thinks he can grow the best tomatoes, even if he is in MAINE.
The boats are going out, the hiking trails are open and the kayak guides are all anxious to paddle to curtis island with guests. A new addition to the area is the Megunticook Rowing. Life is good in Maine.
Camden Maine is alive with color and boats. Windward House survived another Winter. Jesse has been working non stop in the garden. The boats in the harbor are all unwrapped and starting to take passengers out on 2 hour tours. The Windjammer Cruises are hosting people over night and restaurants are all open. Soon the duck will have their babies and the lobster boats will be seen regularly.
The Lilacs just came out in the Windward Garden, the forsynthia was first but have changed to green now.
The picture here is of Summer leaves, my children named this tree. The tree is a plum tree, we only learned this last year when we discovered fruit on the tree. The tree has beautiful pink flowers in the spring. We are excited for another season of hosting guests.
Valentines Weekend at Windward was wonderful. We had a full house and I met some great new people. I put roses in the all the rooms and in the dining room. I told my husband to take pictures so that we can put them on the website, he said the winter light this time of year is not right for pictures. I was upset because the house looked so romantic and althought the house always looks great, there was an air of romance that I thought we could catch on film. He said we would pick a day in the summer and call it picture day. He said I could put all the roses out again and light all the candles. I am sure I will be too busy in the summer to take Valentine pictures.
A funny thing about this weekend, I sold so many Cheese plates. I usually get the Maine Cheese company cheese and make a nice plate that is given to the guests upon arrival. I was not the one buying the cheese this time, too busy fiddling with the roses, Jesse bought the cheese and he bought different cheeses than I usually get. Jesse got this great Blue cheese. I usually don’t put blue cheese on the cheese platter because not everyone likes blue cheese. This blue cheese is so good that I agreed to the change in vendors. The Blue Cheese is Great Hill Blue from Marion Mass. The Cheese plate used to be labled the Maine Cheese plate but I have upgraded it to the New England Cheese plate.
We have a nice selection of wines to go with the cheese so it made the cheese plate a wonderful Valentine.