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Happy Holidays

Dec 27, 2010

In:Lodging Blog

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Just some holiday pictures….

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.

Dog Biscuits

Need:

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

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl.
  2. Add broth and mix.
  3. Roll out onto floured surface, cut with cookie cutter.
  4. Bake in preheated 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  5. 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.

2010 Windward House Maypole

We found an old photo of a Maypole on the lawn of the Windward House in a box in the basement, and ever since then we've put one up for the month of May. People comment on it every year, and tell us they've come to look forward to it. This year the kids got all caught up in it. (you should see the video!)

Moxy the Windward House labradoodle
We bribed the kids when we first moved – we said if they didn’t complain about leaving NY we’d get a dog. They love Moxy- We got her in Farmington – she’s the only real Mainer in the family.
mums of Maine

Chrysanthemums for Autumn in Camden Maine

- 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.

sugar maple maine camden

Camden Maine Sugar Maple

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

Windward House Fresh Fruit

Every morning Kristi cuts up fruit for the guests. It looks and smells so beautiful

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

Windward Kids' Wagon

The Windward House kids' wagon was used to pull them around town until it broke. We actually wore out two before the kids got too big to pull around....

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.

Our two youngest in the Harbor Park across from the Camden Maine library

Across from the Camden library, our two youngest when we first came here

Now we can’t keep up with them; on the hiking trails,

Mt Battie view camden maine

Top 'o theWorld - the view from Mt. Battie a block from the house where the kids like to hike

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

piggy back ride

Hiking - Our oldest is getting too big to carry

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!

Bride dancing

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.

1 hour solo or Couples Massage. Enjoy a massage in the comfort of your room. Solo massage: $105.00, couples $210.00.
Please specify when ordering your relaxing massage if you prefer a male or female masseuse, and what day and time you are interested in. We will contact you with the options available depending upon the schedule of the masseuse. If you do not specify a preference your masseuse may be either male or female depending on scheduling. All charges for spa services are non refundable.

Local cheeses and fresh market items

Local cheeses and fresh market items

Maine artisan cheese plate, featuring organic and naturally made local small family farm products.

Personally selected to complement our selection of wines and beers, including our great new offerings from Allagash and Maine Spirits winery!

Enough for two to share, perfect with any of our wines or beers, our cheese plate includes three local Maine artisan cheeses, varies by market, nuts, fresh fruit and crackers, enjoy on our deck, in our yard, in the dining room, the bar or in your room! Or, ask us to pack it to go for a picnic!

$13.50

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

A lovely entry in one of our guest journals..

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.

-Kristen Bifulco

Camden Maine

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