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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brenda Erickson's Recipe Paintings

Good evening, everyone ♥
Hope all my Northeastern neighbors are keeping dry!

While doing a little web-browsing today,
I stumbled upon an artist's site whose
work I totally fell in love with:

Artist (and Maine native), Brenda Erickson, paints
charming depictions of traditional New England recipes
that are pleasing to the eye as well as the taste-buds!

 Here's a short biography of Ms. Erickson:

"Brenda, owner of Recipe Paintings, Inc., is watercolor artist, 
primarily self-taught, who specializes in the illustration 
of family recipes. She is a Maine native, born and raised in Kittery, 
who now lives in Round Pond.  Apple Pie, Blueberry Pie, Steamed Mussels 
and Lobster Bake are among the favorite recipes she illustrates.  
Her paintings are sold through local gift stores, shows, restaurants 
and has been recently selected by nationally distributed Sturbridge
Yankee Workshop Catalog.  Brenda's work has also been recently 
featured on 207 Magazine Show on WCSH-6, an NBC affiliate."
Read More

... Falling in love yet??

You can order one of these prints on her website;
all of them go for about $45.00, which is pretty
reasonable considering how unique they are!
And for (quite) a few more bucks, you can
e-mail her with one of your recipes,
and receive your very own original,
personalized Recipe Painting!
How cool is that?

Oh! And if you're lucky enough to live
in the Maine area, you can find her prints
at various craft fairs and retail stores
(all listed on her website.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

B&B Friday (3/26/10)!

Happy Friday, all!

(Durham, NH)

"Built in 1649 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Three Chimneys Inn is one of the oldest homes in the State. Having undergone extensive renovations in the early 90’s, it now serves as a bed & breakfast offering 23 guest rooms, dining and entertainment. In addition, Three Chimneys Inn hosts many weddings, social events and corporate conferences.
Located just an hour from Boston, 45 minutes from Manchester · Boston Regional Airport and minutes from Portsmouth, Three Chimneys Inn is a hidden gem on the seacoast. Delicious food and personable service has earned top billing from The Phantom Gourmet, accolades in Yankee Magazine and features on New Hampshire Chronicle."

Rates: $129-209

(Hyde Park, VT)

"The Fitch Hill Inn Bed and Breakfast, situated among the Green Mountains of Vermont, sits on a hillside above Hyde Park Village, near Stowe, Smuggler's Notch and the Northeast Kingdom. Come and experience the tranquility of our 18th century home.
Enjoy a relaxing stay thanks to our quiet, off-highway location. The inn is located on a paved residential street just ¼ mile off of Vermont Routes 15 and 100. There are over three acres of lawn, flower gardens, and woods, plus spectacular views of the Green Mountains. In the morning we will lavish you with a delicious, three-course breakfast and each evening you will be welcomed with tea and cookies or other treats. Inside there are three common areas, including our living room with its wood stove in the cooler months, where you can read, play board games or cards, watch TV or view one of nearly 200 videos. Outside you can enjoy two covered porches and a three-level deck. Come and relax away from the everyday world or rest up after a busy day enjoying Northern Vermont's many activities and attractions."

Rates: $99-189

(Blue Hill, ME)

"At the Blue Hill Inn, individualized guest attention is the first priority.  Staff are available to make suggestions, assist with itineraries, help with directions, and make reservations.  Staff are familiar with the area and can direct guests to great boating, live music, beautiful picnic spots, husband-friendly shopping, and delicious lobster rolls.
Our breakfasts are designed with guests in mind.  Choices range from vacation decadent to watching one’s waistline.  Special menus to accommodate individual food allergies or restrictions are easily arranged.
Innkeeper Sarah Pebworth and the staff of the inn personally see to the details of each guest’s stay.
Located on an acre of land in the center of the village of Blue Hill and a block from the head of Blue Hill Bay, the inn is one of 76 structures on the National Register of Historic Places. Shade trees, a perennial garden, and a small grove of fruit trees enhance the grounds.
A Federal period building, the Blue Hill Inn has eleven guest rooms, a dining room, and two parlors. It retains many of its original features, including clapboards, nine over six windows, wide pumpkin pine floor boards, and six fireplaces. Adjacent to the inn is the recently developed Cape House, with two larger, more modern suites with kitchens."

Rates: $155-295


Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Nantucket Lightship and the "The Old Man"

Good evening, all ♥
I apologize for not having posted in awhile;
ever since returning from Spring Break,
school has been incredibly hectic.
... but I'm back (for now!)
and would like to share with you a very
interesting experience I had a few hours ago.

My mom and I, while doing the laundry in Oyster Bay,
took a short drive to one of my favorite
Long Island beaches: Beekman beach.
Docked at Beekman, for quite a few years now,
floats The Nantucket Lightship.
This ship was once used as a protection barge
to warn other incoming ships that they were
entering into the perilous Nantucket Shoals.
 It lit up during the night to mark the barrier,
and continued to do so for 26 years
until it was moved here to this spot on Long Island.

Mind you, although I've seen this ship many times in the past,
I never knew any of this information until my visit today
(and no, I didn't read any plaque or brochure)
... that's how the story gets interesting!

While standing on the dock adjacent to this colossal ship,
I see a little old man walking towards us from afar.
Thinking he's just another local enjoying the sunset,
I turn around and continue snapping pictures.
Once he gets closer though, he immediately asks,
"So, do you know anything about her?"
Shaking our heads politely, the old man, 
in a heavy Maine accent, dives right into 
the history of the Lightship, and his own intriguing past.

He tells us that he grew up on the coast of Maine,
and has been fishing for as long as he could remember;
"My dad was a fisherman, my grandfather was a 
fisherman, and my grandfather before him was a fisherman too."
He left school early to continue fishing, 
and soon joined the Merchant Marines.
He told us everything I wrote about the ship previously;
how the Nantucket Lightship stood guard for 26 years
at the Nantucket Shoals, the site of many a shipwreck;
and was moved here a few years ago to await restoration.
He read in Newsday that it was bought for $2 from 
some group up in Boston who wanted to restore it. 
It was scheduled to be towed a week or so later 
from the date of the article, "but that was already 3 months ago,"
he told us, so he wasn't exactly sure what was going to happen.
 He predicted, though, that they'd probably send the ship out 
some time in the next couple of weeks, which was the
reason why he was here, "to take one last look at her."

Now why I'm telling you all of this is not
because of the accounts he gave about the ship,
but rather the wonderful accounts of his own life that followed:

 He told us that his grandfather took frequent trips to sea,
and was his habit to bring his daughter (the old man's mother)
back a doll from every port he visited.
One time he was coming back from a long voyage,
and heading for Boston harbor, when the ship 
he was on edged near the Nantucket Shoals 
and veered off course. The ship floundered on the shoals 
but the men were able to get a small boat out with 
which to get to shore. His grandfather got into the boat, 
but jumped up suddenly, telling his mates he had forgotten 
something and would be right back. His mates tried to stop him, 
warning him about the waves and the danger surrounding them, 
but he didn't seem to hear. He jumped back into the battered ship, 
thinking he could outsmart the wind and the water; all to get his 
little girl the doll he had promised her. Just as his hand grasped 
the souvenir, the ship slid off the shoals, and sunk with 
the old man's grandfather still aboard... both lost at sea forever.


We asked him how he ended up in Long Island,
and he answered that he "heard down here that
the rich people needed seamen to guide their yachts,"
so he came and did just that for quite some time,
eventually becoming a Captain of one of them.
He told us it was "because of a girl" that he
continued residing on Long Island for good.
Laughing, my mother said, "That'll do it!"
Not returning her laughter, the old man
lowered his eyes to the wooden planks
of the dock and said, very sadly,
that his wife died three months ago.
Expressing our condolences, the tone
of our exchange visibly dimmed down,
 and after a few unmemorable words,
we decided then to say our goodbyes.

Giving us one last feeble wave, 
the old man turned around and
walked towards the end of the dock,
looking over his shoulder occasionally 
at the limitless, vacant stretch of Long Island Sound.

We never got his name.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring at Cedarmere

Happy Spring!

What a beautiful weekend it was-
High sixties, and perfectly sunny
(a lot different than the low fifties,
and pouring rain we're experiencing today!)

This past weekend also marked the closing
of my Spring Break *sad face*
But I bade my adieus in style with a day 
at Cedarmere, a museum/property in my
area which was the home of the famous
19th century poet, William Cullen Bryant.

What does this have to with New England, you ask?

...William Cullen Bryant happened to be a Massachusetts native!

(I was quite surpised to discover this, since he had
so much influence in New York City)

William Cullen Bryant
"He was born in Cummington, Massachusetts, the second son of Peter Bryant, a prominent doctor. His ancestors on both sides came over in the Mayflower. Educated at Williams College he went on to study law at Worthington and Bridgewater, he was admitted to the bar in 1815.
Interested in poetry since childhood, his first published work was a book of verse,
The Embargo (1808) and his first critically acclaimed work was the poem 'Thanatopsis' (1817) which appeared in the North American Review. Writing in a English romantic style and celebrating the countryside of New England, his work was well received. He also wrote 'Lines To a Waterfowl.' Among his best known poems are also 'The Rivulet,' 'The West Wind,' 'The Forest Hymn,' and 'The Fringed Gentian.'
He worked as a lawyer in Northampton, Plainfield, and Great Barrington until 1825 when he married and moved to New York City and worked for the
New York Review and then the New York Evening Post.
At first an associate editor, he became editor in 1829 and remained in that post until his death. The driving force of a liberal and literate paper, he was strongly anti-slavery.
Bryant was a lifelong political activist, initially as a proponent of the Free Soil Party, and later in life, as a founder of the Republican Party. He was a fervent supporter of Abraham Lincoln's presidential bid in 1860.
In his later years, Bryant focused on translating and analyzing Ancient Greek and Latin works, such as The
Iliad and The Odyssey of Homer.
Bryant died in 1878 of complications from an accidental fall.
Bryant's muse is tender and graceful, pervaded by a contemplative melancholy, and a love of solitude and the silence of the woods. Though he was brought up to admire Pope, and in his early youth imitated him, he was one of the first American poets to throw off his influence. He had a high sense of duty, was a prominent and patriotic citizen, and enjoyed the esteem and even the reverence of his fellow-countrymen.

Cedarmere, only a five minute drive from my house,
has always been my favorite spot to reflect in
solitude and enjoy the company of nature.

So, naturally, I had to go on my last day of break-
What better way to celebrate the return of Spring?

(click photos for larger views!)

My picnic basket
(this West Rindge Pie Basket, in fact, 
was my grandmother's, made in NH♥)

I chose my favorite spot:
right in between the bubbling stream and the crumbling well

Contents of the basket all laid out!

My frontal view of Roslyn Harbor

Turkey and Provolone sandwich with homemade potato salad... Yum.

Jane Austen's Persuasion

 Lone fisherman in the distance

Lovely old tree

Uphill view of the stream, my blanket,
and Cedarmere


The property is so picturesque,
I often have to remind myself that I'm in
present-day Long Island, not Georgian England!
I half-expect (or hope) to find Mr. Darcy
atop one of the many rolling hills, gazing
pensively down at the rippling harbor...

What? A girl can dream, can't she?

Friday, March 19, 2010

B&B Friday! (3/19/10)

Happy Friday, all!

I thought I'd switch things up a bit this week
and showcase three B&Bs from 
a specific New England town.

Today's town...

Newport, RI

Yankee Peddler Inn

"An inn of rare charm and easy elegance, the Yankee Peddler Inn, a 19th century Greek Revival Inn and one of the oldest "Historic Inns of Newport", is an experience not to be missed. Centrally located in downtown Newport, the Inn provides comfort, style, customer service, amenities and that personal attention you would expect from a fine New England inn.
Many of our guest rooms feature canopy beds, decorative fireplaces, original art, air-conditioning and cable TV. Spectacular views from our roof top garden and the warmth of our common room are ideal settings to partake in our complimentary Continental Breakfast and afternoon tea. Our warm staff is always available to assist and help plan your perfect vacation. We look forward to serving you."

Rates: $69-289


The Francis Malbone House

"The Francis Malbone House is the epitome of elegance, located in the heart of Newport's Historic Harborfront.
The estate was built in 1760 for Colonel Francis Malbone who made his fortune as a shipping merchant. The design of the house is attributed to Peter Harrison, "America's First Architect", who is also responsible for the Touro Synagogue and the Redwood Library.
....Treat yourself to a bit of colonial history by joining us, and we are confident that your first visit will be the first of many."

Rates: $165-525

click to enlarge (so beautiful!)

La Farge Perry House

"Step back in time to a grand old Newport Inn with all the charm and elegance of a bygone era, and the warm welcome of home. From our five beautifully appointed Victorian-era guest rooms to choose from, to our inspiring gardens, fresh-cut flowers, afternoon tea, spa jacuzzi baths, designer bathrobes, romantic fireplaces and more, La Farge Perry House is a relaxing, intimate bed and breakfast experience in the heart of historic Newport.
The Inn is named for renowned painter and stained glass artist, John La Farge, and his wife Margaret Perry La Farge — granddaughter of of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and niece of Commodore Matthew Perry — who resided here from 1861 to 1864. The Inn's luxurious guest rooms are each uniquely designed to fit the personalities of these famous people."

Rates: $99-325


So if any of you are planning
a trip to Newport in the future,
perhaps you'll find one of these
to your liking!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Tonight my family had our traditional dinner of
corned beef, cabbage, and mashed potatoes
(but since I don't eat cow, I had turkey pastrami :p).
It was dee-licious ♥

Dinner cooking

Yummy Irish Soda Bread

Corned beef and cabbage boiling

The website, The Heart Of New England,
has a special section of Irish bread recipes
(submitted by the innkeeper of The Inn of Tartan Fox)
that I thought I would share with all of you:

The inn

Irish Soda Bread

3 cups flour, well stirred
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped raisins or currants
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Stir together flour, brown sugar,
baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Stir in the raisins. Add the buttermilk
and stir til the dry ingredients are
moistened. Do not over mix.
Divide in half, turn into greased baking pan and
bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool.

Buttermilk Scones

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
11/2 tsp baking powder
½ baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Stir together in medium mixing bowl
5-6 tablespoons butter or margarine.
Cut into flour mixture. At this point you can stir in
1/4 cup of any kind of chopped dried fruit,
grated fresh apple, chopped cranberries,
blueberries, some nuts or whatever else you might like to try.

In separate small bowl combine:
1 large egg
½ cup buttermilk
11/2 tsp vanilla
Beat egg, then mix in buttermilk and vanilla.
Stir into flour mixture, don’t over mix, but do combine thoroughly.

On a floured surface, divide the dough in half,
then pat into a circle. Brush with a little egg wash,
sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, score with large knife into
wedges, slide on to ungreased baking sheet
and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400.
Serve with warm with butter or jam.

Treacle Farl

Treacle is a dark flavoring similar to molasses,
which we use in this recipe.
“Farl” comes from medieval Scottish
that means the fourth part.
This bread is baked in 4 wedges.

4 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, diced
1 3/4 cups (approx) buttermilk
2 tablespoons dark molasses

Preheat oven to 425.
Combine first 5 ingredients in large bowl.
Add butter and cut in until mixture resembles small peas.
Whisk molasses into 1 cup buttermilk.
Mix buttermilk into dry ingredients.
Gradually mix in enough remaining buttermilk
to form a soft dough.  Turn out onto a lightly floured
surface and knead a few turns to hold dough together.
Do not over mix. Pat into an 8 inch round.
Cut into 4 wedges, place on baking sheet, spaced slightly
apart. Bake until deep golden brown, about 30 minutes.


"May you always have
Walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain,
Tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire!"

~ Irish Blessing

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