Sunday, January 24, 2010
I recently was skimming the internet for info on a blog I was writing for The Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild. I came across someone asking about finding a town in Oregon that was "quintessential" not "quaint." I was like...what the heck and why should it matter. Well...then I did a little research and I think I have found that town and it truly does matter. So...if you are that person looking for that "quintessential" town...read on!
According to a 1913 edition of Webster's Dictionary, the word "quintessential" means the following: ...representing the perfect example of a class or quality. Another example I found stated that the word means, "ultimate, pure and concentrated in the purest form." When I think of the word after the research I had done, my definition would be, "innate!" I love that word, "innate." I don't know why but it has such a deep meaning as something so soulful, so heartfelt, like you should be born just "knowing." Well...you want to visit a town with a soul, a little city with a big heart and experience a knowing that this town has that something special that just draws you in? Albany may just be that town!
Founded over a century ago and resting on the banks of the Willamette River, Albany has always been able to capture that small quintessential town feeling. Photographs and writings have historically recorded the buildings downtown, the historic neighborhoods in our designated districts and have declared this town...Albany as the hub of the Willamette Valley. Well, should we look up the word "hub" or can you just imagine it? A hub is a center and area where the heart is, the soul, the place where good things come from and go to, the place here in Oregon that a lot of us call home. Grounded in deep roots of family, hard work and a beauty all it's own, Albany and this area of Linn County has certainly earned the definition of "quintessential" in the purest form!
I was recently asked to represent the Willamette Valley in a section for Travel Oregon's Trip Planner. Well...don't ask me why I was chosen, I've only been here for two years but you know, maybe it's because I love it here so much and I might have told one or two people that and you know how rumors spread in a small town. I enjoyed submitting my list to Travel Oregon and it really made me think about the most fun I have had here. That fun almost always involved taking a road not on the map or ignoring my gps and going my own way. Ray really loves that too! He sometimes just looks at me and asks, "how in the heck did you ever find this place?" I don't know, maybe in another life I traveled with Lewis and Clark and the Oregon Trail was my second home.
So, you wanna know the difference between "quintessential" and "quaint" when it comes to visiting a town in Oregon?...well, it's right here! The difference I mean...it's right here! Quintessential in the purest form, the most innate, all knowing, most soulful and heartfelt experiences happen here in my small town...on the banks of the Willamette...here in Albany!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Flowers, sweets, bubble baths and champagne...it's all for your valentine!
We have very carefully planned your Valentine's Day weekend. All you have to do is show up with your honey and enjoy!
Our little plan involves a lovely dinner on First Avenue in downtown Albany. We are happy to reserve a table for two at Sybaris, Vault 244, Clemenza's or Bam Boo Diner on Saturday, February 13th.
Our inn has all three guest rooms available at this time. Each guest room will be amply supplied with chilled sparkling wine or cider, a dish of local handmade chocolates and a sweet bouquet of flowers. Choose our Sister's suite boasting a king bed and private bath with a deep tub perfect for soaking. Lavender bath salts and romance novels will relax you as you enjoy a quiet evening of pampering.
Our Mt. Bachelor guest room is the smallest but sweetest room. Perfect for two with the inns original claw footed tub across the hall. Comfy robes provided along with all the goodies mentioned above.
Mt. Hood is on the first level and is a bit more masculine and offers the perfect spot to be when breakfast is being prepared across the hall. Fresh ground coffee, baked scones or muffins, organic sausages and a frittata makes your morning begin with a smile! Enjoy the soak in this guest room as well. Eucalyptus bath salts and vintage books on fishing in Oregon will help relax you as you spend a lovely evening with the one you love.
After a very filling and delish breakfast in our inn's dining room, we will get you out the door and to Mark's Ridge Winery for an afternoon of wine tasting in Linn County's premiere winery. Set high on the ridge, enjoy a local Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris as you gaze at the entire Willamette Valley from atop the hill.
Now for a perfect ending! "Somewhere In Time" with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour is playing at the Pix Theatre in downtown Albany at 6:30pm. A bit of romance to end your romantic weekend!
We are happy to help you plan that perfect "over-night" Valentine's Day get-a-way! A wonderfully romantic dinner, a little glamour and a lot of pampering at an inn, a delicious breakfast, local wine tasting and a sweet, sweet movie...how perfect is that!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Apple Oven Cake
3 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 sweet apple, such as Fuji, peeled and sliced
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. milk
1 tbsp. each fresh lemon and powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large oven proof skillet, cast iron pan or quiche pan, melt the butter by placing it into the pan and setting it in the hot oven for 4-5 min. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, stirring to combine with the melted butter and set the peeled and sliced apples over the mixture. Bake an add'l 6 min. Test to make sure apples are a little soft.
Meanwhile, in a blender, whirl together eggs, salt, flour and milk. Pour egg mixture into pan over cooked apples and bake till puffed and brown, about 15 min. Take out of oven and sprinkle with lemon and powdered sugar. Serves 8
I love this version of a "puffed pancake!" It is easy and almost tastes like apple pie. This is perfect served immediately so your guests can see the "puff" and the lemon gives it just enough tartness. A bowl of fresh melon, a few eggs scrambled with peppers and onions with organic chicken apple sausage on the side and your breakfast is served!
We think it is important to have just a little sweet with each savory breakfast. So, here at our inn, we always serve a very large, balanced, gorgeous breakfast that is picture perfect and ready for you each morning. Enjoy with a variety of juices and our Allann Bros. coffee or a latte'.
Hope to see your smiling faces on Valentine's Day morning at our inn's breakfast table. A perfect breakfast, a sweet town and lovely stay at one of the Willamette Valley's bed and breakfasts!
Friday, January 8, 2010
Who'd a thunk few years ago I would be sitting on a ski doo in the middle of the cascade mountain range in central Oregon? No one and certainly I would have told you that you were crazy!
Well...we had "crazy fun" today! I have never even driven a motorcycle or anything like this before. I almost made myself sick last night and this morning as my nerves got the best of me. I likened it to the time in nursing school when I had to give heparin or blood for the first time to a patient. Shakin' in my nursing shoes and trying to look as calm as possible so no one would know that I was making myself sick at the thought of doing something so dangerous and life altering. I know...geez...I'm taking this a bit too far but what the heck...I'm a sissy girl! Terrified of my own shadow most of my life so now that half of it (I hope) is over, don't you think it's time I have a little fun?
Since living here in Oregon and staking my claim to being "Oregonian," I really need to do more than all the hiking, walking, tasting, drinking and whatever else it is I do and get on some contraption and do something just a little more dangerous. Wow...was it ever fun! Ray was behind me and I asked him tonight if he ever got impatient cause I was too slow. He said, just a little but more times than that, he thought I was going way too fast. Oh yeah...that's what I was going for. Freak out the guy behind me! Yeah, my husband...he was back there and watching out for me as usual. I love that by the way. He could make sure I was behaving and I only freaked him out a few times. Next time...I'll try harder!
Maybe no biggy to some and a "wow, that was great" to others. But, I don't care...I just had a blast and I wanna go again. I wanna take you! I'll take anyone that wants to go. The snow's only here for a while longer so get on your doo and let's ride!
Saturday, January 2, 2010
It's the beginning of 2010 and I have put all the Christmas decorations away. I have dusted the inn, vacuumed, swiffered and sneezed! Our beautiful flocked tree lost some of it's flocking as we shoved that sucker back into the box. I still don't know how we do that every year but somehow it fits...unlike any of my jeans right now. Yes...I'm being good! Trying to eat better and healthier and hiding the cookies from myself that our guests love to nibble on. It's a trick but "out of sight...out of mind" really works!
I'm going to Portland on Monday afternoon and staying at the Heron Haus. I am on the board for The Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild and that is where our next board meeting is. Whenever I say "guild" in front of my kids, they laugh. They call it the "lollypop guild," you know...from The Wizard of Oz! Well, whatever...they think they are funny.
Only in Portland for one night then back home just in time for our "Pfeiffer Cottage Inn Book Club." Our third meeting and I am really looking forward to it. I have read two books since our last meeting, started two more and have one sitting in a basket that I am dying to read. I know two books in two months is shameful but hey...I've been busy! A trip to San Francisco for Thanksgiving, then SoCal for our oldest daughter's wedding, back home then back to SoCal for Christmas. I get car sick, so no reading there. I tried texting in the car while Ray was driving up the 5 northern CA. Ummmm....ick! Got really car sick so we had to pull over in Dunsmuir so I could get out and walk around. The snow was beautiful and we found a sweet little French boutique so maybe I'll have to get car sick more often!
So, no texting and no reading in the car. I read a whole book on the flight to and from SoCal for Christmas. That was pretty good! I even read the Southwest magazine too. I love reading those along with the Skymall magazine. It's a crack up how there is a whole magazine of junk you can buy and never use. So, my Debbie Macomber Christmas novel along with a few magazines and my ipod kept me entertained on the flight. Andrea Bocheli, Susan Boyle, Colt Ford, Tone Loc, Justin Timberlake, Nickelback and Reba...well...I like variety...what can I say? Ray said I serenaded everyone around me. Seriously...really??? Is that why everyone clapped when we landed?
So now I am trying to get into a book one of my book club members gifted me, "The River Why." I read the first chapter and almost put is aside for another time...another life perhaps. I pushed on and now I'm in chapter two and it's looking more promising. We'll see but I don't think it's like a Debbie Macomber novel. I think I might actually learn something from this book. Maybe it'll offer a little perspective on life and the journey as they say. We'll see!
When I'm done with "The River Why," I am looking forward to reading my Jodi Picoult book that my mom couldn't put down. I don't remember the title right now and I'm too comfy to get up out of my recliner to go find out. Plus Ray has Family Guy on and it is shamefully hilarious! I can't believe I even "sort of" watch that show. Now back to my books! The other book in my basket along with knitting I started last month is called, "Confessions of a Farm Girl." A farm girl at heart, I can't wait to read how this city girl copes as she, her husband and children move to the country and survive without the "big city." Sounds like a fun read!
My niece Jordyn is reading a book I gave her a while back. I saw it in a basket in her room then saw it again as a trailer for a movie coming up. It's called, "Dear John." I told her she needed to read it now before the movie comes out. I swear you will not want to be sitting next to me when I go see that movie. Well...you can sit there but you better bring a huge box of tissues to share. I read that one twice!
I'm kind of thinkin' this blog is too long and hopefully I haven't lost ya! Let me know if you have "good" books to share with my book club. We all have different tastes in reads and we all love sharing in good company, dining on delish food and drink and you are welcome to join us!