Friday, October 30, 2009
So what are you doing Thursday, November 5th? Want to join me and a few friends to witness the unveiling of downtown Albany? Of course you do...wouldn't miss it for the world...right? While you are at it, head on over to Isabella's Garden in North Albany. This picture I took today is of her shop...gorgeous and very Christmassy!
Downtown Albany recent recipient of the Main Street USA award at the highest level possible, I might add, is showing off it's historic bliss and bragging it's vintage charm on Thursday night.
All of downtown will be abuzz with Christmas! I know...who wants to think of Christmas right now? Well, whether you like it or not, it's right around the corner.
On my visit to Isabella's Garden today, I picked up some Moonstruck Chocolates and a beautiful ivy topiary. The chocolates are for moi and my honey but the topiary goes on our dining room table for our After Hours event on November 17th. Oh yeah...you should come to that too and sample some of our gourmet breakfast favorites while perusing the inn.
Ok, I'm getting stressed and it's not even November yet. I think I need some Bailey's...in a sec! For now, I'm inviting you to join me this season for a little shopping in downtown Albany and the always gorgeous Isabella's Garden, all the while sipping cider and nibbling some tasty holiday grub and just enjoying the moment.
Shopping, nibbling and sipping...the perfect evening...I think so!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
If you consider going for a nice walk when it's 37 degrees outside at 9:15 am fun...well then... follow me!
Going to the gym just hasn't been my thing the past few weeks. I almost feel like I'm missing out on the world by exercising indoors. So, this morning I dragged myself from my warm and cozy bed, dressed for freakin' cold weather and headed out the front door. Thank goodness I took a knitted scarf with me. I wrapped that thing around my head, my ears and then a few times around my neck. Not too many weird looks so I guess I didn't look too scary!
There is nothing like walking around your neighborhood and seeing things that you just can't see from the window of your car. As for me...I am fortunate enough to live in the most beautiful area of the country and in thee most darling little historic neighborhood in Oregon. Boasting the most historic homes and buildings in number and most varied in style, Albany offers the walker a perfect eyes view of every detail that makes this neighborhood special! Throw in our surrounding wineries, rivers, mountains for hiking, locally grown booty such as hazelnuts, berries, apples, pears and pumpkins of course, well then...you can't get much better than that! Oh gosh...can't forget those hops too! I happen to live in the 2nd largest hop growing region in the country. How cool is that?
So, if you wanna FOLLOW ME around Oregon for the next 3o days, watch our Facebook page for The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn and see a new picture with a little description of where we are and what we are doing. Not too exciting every day but what the heck...not too exciting can be absolutely breathtaking!
Monday, October 26, 2009
My friend Patty came for dinner a few nights ago and brought a few sweet girls along for soup. Oh yeah...can't forget about Ian. He is only 6 weeks old but he was here too! So, Corn Potato Chowder and pumpkin pecan bread with butta and Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Pecan Butter sounded like the perfect fall dinner!
Here's the recipe as I have modified it for myself and of course I can't behave when it comes to following recipes...thanks mom! But, modifying usually makes it the recipe easier, sometimes tastier and easier to share with others. So, here goes!
Corn Potato Chowder
1/3 bag of frozen sweet corn (approx)
3 tablespoons butter or margarine (so much better with butta...isn't everything?)
1 med.-size onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
2 small potatoes, diced (I used a yam and oh my gosh...yummy!)
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes or any other kind of canned tomatoes
1/4 teas. white pepper
1/2 teas. dry basil
3 cups water
2 cubes of vegetarian bullion (or chicken if you aren't vegetarian!)
1 can low-fat evap. milk (also can use reg. milk, 1/2 & 1/2 or whatever you have!)
In a 5 qt. pan, melt butter. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrot; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes.) Add potatoes, tomatoes, a little salt to taste, pepper, basil, boullion and water and corn to pan. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until potatoes are fork tender (about 30 minutes). Add 1/2 & 1/2 or whatever you are using and heat through without boiling.
Serve and enjoy with bread, crackers or a salad. It's also very yummy and filling all by itself!
When we lived in CA, we would always gather with our neighbors in their front yard on Halloween and sit around the fire pit. Bowls of steaming Corn Potato Chowder and corn bread were always the main course and of course we had to double or triple the batch. Very good, wholesome and the perfect fall dinner.
Enjoy Patty and tell your sister I hope she enjoys it too!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Yesterday, I took this picture from our back sitting porch. I had just cleaned off our lounge chair as we have a little kitty that has decided the soft seat cushion and the warmth of the house right next to it is the perfect place for a nap on a cool fall day. I grabbed my camera so I could catch fall happening right in my garden!
I think I took this same picture last year too. I don't know what kind of tree this is but it is beautiful. It's even beautiful when it's not turning colors. I told Ray that I didn't want him to do the yards and rake up all our leaves just yet. I think it about killed him cause I went to the market yesterday and came home, I could hear the blower. He was carefully clearing the walkways and didn't even touch the garden or grassy areas. He is so sweet! I just want to enjoy every day, every minute and every second of fall.
Last year we took off and went wine tasting for a day. I kind of remember the wine, but I really remember the foliage! Our drive was so enjoyable as we went the "back way" to Eugene. We headed down 99 and hit produce stands, King's Estate Winery and Sweet Cheeks Winery passing foliage so gorgeous and colorful, that you would swear the trees were on fire. We ended up in Eugene and found a McMenemins. To our surprise, previous bicycling guests were there as well having a burger with tots and remembered us from months before. How fun was that? We want a "do over" and have planned one next week. Why not try and copy a perfect day!
Ray leaves for Portland tomorrow via train to attend a Distillers Event in Portland. He will stay at The Benson, smoke cigars in the cigar lounge, sip distilled spirits and totally enjoy his weekend. I have planned to make homemade Corn Potato Chowder for me and my friend Patty then on Sunday my other friend Ann and I are going out to a late breakfast. A few little walks around our historic districts, some Law and Order catch up time, reading my book, perusing Romantic Homes magazines while sipping tea. Oh...sounds like two days of perfection to me!
Cooler weather bringing the gorgeous fall colors and just a wee bit of rain this morning, a nice weekend planned...for both of us! For today I sip hot coffee from my kitchen nook and watch fall happen out my window!
Monday, October 19, 2009
There's no television in our guest room at Wicky Up Ranch tonight. Well, if you don't count the one in the common area that only plays DVD's that is. No news, no Law and Order and no catching up on "Days!" So, now what? I get to read! Our next book club meeting is Tuesday, November 4th...I think. I'm too lazy and comfy to get up and take two steps to check my calendar. Maybe it is time for us to head back to our inn after all. Is it possible that I have had too much vacationing? No, I hope not cause I really wanna finish my Jodi Picoult book, Second Glance before I get back.
Our first book club meeting was at our inn about three weeks ago. I have always wanted to start a book club, a group meeting of sorts to discuss books, all kinds of books. What I loved about our first meeting is that I asked the women to bring their favorite book or type of books to share with everyone. I caught myself smiling at times and being totally content to have done yet another thing I have always wanted to do...start a book club! And, I was even more thrilled that these women dining with me around my table brought books that were absolutely perfect. They weren't all books that are brought to a typical "book club" but they were the type of books that I was hoping for at my first book club meeting. Books with a personal meaning, someone's favorite and each with story as to why they were chosen.
Cookbooks...oh my gosh who'd a thunk a cookbook would appear? The Joy of Cooking, a "cooking healthy" cookbook, a self-help book and an inspirational book or two then came the mysteries and then of course my favorite right now, Jodi Picoult. A plethora of genres to soothe the soul, feed the body, excite the mind, inspire the heart and entertain the average book reader such as myself. So why is "my" book club so special? Well, let me tell ya! The women in my club are intelligent, kind, generous, fun and are all looking for that little special time for their selves just a couple of hours a month to discuss "their" read, their choice and to be able to share the stories they have read, the recipes they have mastered and the important things they have learned.
Our next "dinner/book club" meeting has turned into a pot luck of sorts and you may join us for three types of autumn soups, crusty bread, salad, dessert and of course a sip of wine to round out the perfect evening.
Call or email me for exact date and time and directions if you would like to join us!
541-971-9557 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Those of you that follow by blog, which there are many and I thank you all for that, know that we are in California visiting our children and friends. Well...on our way south, we stayed in Jacksonville at The TouVelle House. I will not even entertain the idea that I can aptly describe this experience, this inn, this town in any part, portion or bit description. You just have to go there and experience it for yourself!
Pictured here is part of the garden area at the inn. The Craftsman style gazebo is where Ray smoked a cigar or two after sweetly tucking me into bed. He tucks me in every night by way and I love this routine in our marriage and it was our anniversary after all. Plus, he is a night owl and stays up several hours past my bedtime so this little area was a perfect place for him to relax and enjoy his stogies at the end of the day.
If you have never been to Jacksonville, you really must go! Only about 3 hours from Albany and about an hour from the California border, this town looks like something from a Debbie Macomber movie. A perfect place to walk, the perfect place to peruse the neighborhoods, window shop and enjoy a nice bowl of Maple Butternut Squash soup drizzled with Pumpkin Pie Spiced Creme Fraiche. The Jacksonville Inn Bistro is quite the intimate little find and is located in the basement of a historic inn and building. Dimly lit and romantically inclined, the food is absolutely delish!
You can check out the TouVelle House by going to their website at www.touvellehouse.com or just go there! The decor is so detailed that you know the innkeeper was born with the innate talent for placing objects in their perfect places without too much effort or exertion. Garden tenders, chefs, innkeepers of this grand Craftsman only deftly describes these two talented people so I digress and only state in closing...get off your duff and get to planning your next trip to Oregon and make sure one or two days of your trip takes you to Jacksonville and the TouVelle House!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
To the lovely potential guests at our inn, a note for you!
WE ARE HERE!!!!!!!...well sort of!
Yes, the bed, the wine and the comfy pillows can all be yours for one low price! Well, you will also get a treat just in time for that "trick or treat" time of year. We are gone for a week or so but our treat is that our innsitter Maura, is ready for your arrival at our inn.
Maura is preparing The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn for your stay as she has planned breakfasts, is excited to be "your" innkeeper and is very much looking forward to meeting you! Fast becoming a good friend and very interested in learning the innkeeping trade, Maura loves to cook and I have been to her house for a pot luck dinner party and let me tell ya...the woman can cook! Using farmer's market eggs, local and fresh picked produce and a little love at our inn, along with a wee bit of pear liqueur, your breakfast is "served!"
Please feel free to call me with your Pfeiffer Inn reservation as I am never without my phone or even better, book on-line on our "reservations" page. Either way, we will all look forward to pampering you and making your stay at our inn a comfy memory and quite a delicious "treat!"
Saturday, October 10, 2009
We can't stand it anymore! We need a fix! You know those kind of fixes that only a hug and precious time with your kids can give you. So, once again we are hittin' the road and making our way down to CA.
Tomorrow is our 23rd anniversary and after I make our guests a divine, purely "Oregon" breakfast, we are heading to Jacksonville. Have you ever been to Jacksonville, Oregon? Well, let me tell you a little about Jacksonville. I really don't know much except that it is probably the cutest little town we have ever driven through. Yeah, that's right...driven through! Been there twice, never got out of the car but I wanted to. The Touvelle House in Jacksonville has generously offered us an innkeeper get-away and so we are excited about staying and experiencing the little town.
Probably Oregon's premiere gem, Jacksonville is a town that seems to be lost in another time, another era, a very sweet, truly vintage experience. Providing the historic house and building lover with a plethora of absolutely sweet things to oogle, Jacksonville will keep us busy perusing the night away!
Only a 3-1/2 hour drive from Albany, a quick stop at Starbucks for a venti green lemonaide, (sweetened for Ray of course) and a Pumpkin Spice Latte' for moi and we are outta here! Gosh I'll miss Oregon but we will be back soon and will catch glimpses of the fall folliage here and there on our journey. But,there is nothing and I mean nothing like Oregon in the fall!
So, happy 23rd anniversary to my honey, looking forward to a special evening in Jacksonville and a lovely drive to CA! So, Sandy, John, Kaelynne, Justin, Sherry and Steven...be there soon!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Some of you are going to accuse me of being a liar. Some of you may even offer me some of your psych meds. Some of you will tempt me, make fun of me, point and laugh at me and some of you will cry as you scream..."just say it ain't so!"
Well, point and laugh and do whatever but I am serious! I have made a life altering, a life changing and life style decision that will affect everyone I know. It will really tick off some retailers, shop keepers and boutique owners too but I have to do this. I have thought deep and long about this decision so here goes...I now prefer a wonderfully long hike anywhere in Oregon over shopping any day, any time or any where.
Whew...there...I said it. Just a sec, I need a tissue...ok I'm better. The last few hikes we have been on have been long, steep and tiring. But, the high I get is pretty awesome! I love finding the perfect antique pillow case or the lovely McCoy vase or silver spoons, etc. And, I have to say I am not giving shopping up completely just mostly because of my new love.
Does this mean "I Am Oregonian?" Does it mean I'm crazy or losing it or just plain freakin out? No, of course not. (I think I was actually all of the above before this life altering epiphany). It's just that after decorating 5,600 sq. ft. of living space, it's time to play. So, epiphany or not, I'm just done shopping! I can't believe I'm saying that but it's the truth!
Hiking the OSU forests, hiking near Sweet Home and even our hike today near Mt. Hood has convinced me that there is so much more to experience, more to see and oh my gosh...so much more to enjoy. Waterfalls, rushing waters through moss covered rocks, the fall foliage, the smell of the damp trail and just all of nature surrounding me begging to be noticed. Well, I've noticed and I am loving every minute of it.
So...Natalie, Barbara, Sherry, Sandy, Diane, and MOM...sorry but when you come see me, bring your hiking boots, your camera and extra water cause we are going hiking!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Wanna go North through some of the most gorgeous wine country you will ever see? Or, maybe South to try some of the best Pinot Noir you will ever sip? You decide but then let us steer you in the right direction to some of the best wines that will ever touch your pallet. Pair that delicious wine with Oregon's wine country side and you will never want to leave!
Too much to do, not enough time, not ready to leave, "do we have to go home?" and I think we need a few weeks here to soak it all in! These are just a few comments we have heard from our guests lately. And, that's exactly how we feel.
We have been living in Oregon for almost two years and I can't believe there are places we have not been. I still wanna see Crater Lake, the Portland Rose Garden, the Portland Zoo, more wineries, Eastern Oregon, more of the Oregon Coast, etc. So, even after two years, we still haven't seen it all! Relying on our guests to tell us about their travels in and around Oregon have turned us on to new places to visit and add to our never ending list of "Places to See in Oregon!" At this rate, we will have to pass the list on to our grandchildren someday. And coupled with the fact that we love our sweet town of Albany and are falling more in love with Portland with every visit, it's hard to turn down a visit to the Benson or Ace Hotel whenever possible.
So, our trips to Portland or Eugene have been interesting as we have learned every alternative route possible. Experiencing the most of every route, every country road and occasionally the "5", we have come across some of the best little places to drink wine, eat local faire, see things only the true Oregonian gets to see and purposefully taken the road less traveled just to see yet another group of trees that look like they are literally on fire.
Jaw dropping, speechless beauty draws the visitor, tourist and true Oregonian to visit and re-visit Oregon in the Fall! And...the wine doesn't hurt either. The "new" Napa, the "new" wine capital of the world or just Oregon as it has always been, here is where the forefront of everything fertile, natural, local and mighty tasty has always been and is still found by anyone seeking a truly original epicurian experience.
Let us help you plan your "Oregon Wine Trip" as only an Oregonian can. Let us help you find the best wineries, some of the best food you will ever taste and of course help you find the best places to rest your sweet selves in between all the fun!