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At the Bed and Breakfast

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

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Christmas tree at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

No, I’m not going to break out in song (that’s a good thing for anyone within earshot). but I wanted to share our Christmas tree with you at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.  One of the nice things about living in an old house is that our foyer is huge by today’s standards.  We put our tree at the staircase so guests can enjoy all sides of it as they head up to the guest bedrooms.

Nutcrackers on the Dining Room mantel

In addition to the tree we have an army of nutcrackers throughout the house.  A recent guest wanted to know how many we have.  The answer is too many when it comes to packing and unpacking them but I suspect there are a couple hundred of them standing sentry around the the house.  Here are a few of them that are in our dining room, making sure the our guests are being looked after.

More of them

Speaking of an army of nutcrackers looking after our guests, this time of year we need to take time out of our busy schedules and think about our military, especially those troops that won’t be home to celebrate the holidays with their friends and family because they are deployed defending our freedom.

That’s enough…Yes, there are still more in the dining room.

We also need to pray for the families of those that won’t be coming home because they gave their lives fighting for our freedom.  Freedom isn’t free and thousands of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have paid the ultimate price for us to enjoy the life we have and freedoms we enjoy.  My Christmas wish is that we could have peace on earth and goodwill towards man.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Kathy and Mike at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.  We hope that 2012 was a good year for you and we wish you much success in 2013.

My Best Clam Chowder

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recipe, gluten free

My best Clam Chowder

I hope you don’t think we serve clam chowder for breakfast!  We don’t, but this recipe is so good I wanted to share it with you. During the cold winter months a bowl of hot soup is very comforting.  This is a great dish to make for the family or invite friends and neighbors on those chilly winter nights.  We will sometimes make three or four different types of soup and have the neighborhood over for a soup and salad night.  The neighbors bring the bread and salads and we provide the soup.  This one is always a favorite, best of all, it is quick and easy to make.  If you are ever staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast during one of our soup and salad nights this will become one of your favorite dishes also.

Ingredients:

  • 6 (6.5 ounce) cans of chopped NOT minced clams
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups cubed potatoes (cubed 1/2 inch)
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 quart half and half cream
  • 3 strips thick bacon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet.  When the bacon is done, remove bacon and set aside and leave the bacon grease in skillet.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery and potatoes to the bacon grease and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  While that is cooking, open the 6 cans of diced clams separating the clams from the clam juice.  After the vegetables have cooked for about 5 minutes add the clam juice and continue to cook for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan heat the butter over medium heat until melted.  Whisk in the flour until smooth.  Add the half and half and corn starch.  Stir constantly until thick and smooth (about 15-20 minutes).
  4. Add the vegetables to the cream and continue to stir until combined and hot (don’t bring to boil).  When the mixture is hot, add the clams.  Don’t cook clams too long or they will be tough and chewy.  When clams are heated through (1-2 minutes) stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately with a crusty bread and salad.  Crumple the bacon into small pieces and add bacon on top of the chowder in the bowls.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

$121.20!!

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During the month of December, to celebrate the 12th month of 2012, The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg, VA is offering a very special two-night stay.

Stay two nights and your second night will cost only $121.20, yes, only $121.20.  Your two night stay includes your room of choice, our legendary 4-course breakfast each morning, our luxurious room ammenities and concierge-level service with assistance in planning your day and dining.  Take advantage of our on-site Massage and BodyWorks Studio where you can enjoy our Peppermint  Perfection Body Care treatment (a scrub & massage) that will refresh, stimulate and envelope you in scents reminiscent of your childhood.

This special pricing is valid December 1-29, 2012.  You must mention this special pricing when making your reservation.  Not available with any existing reservation and cannot be combined with any other special, voucher or discount.  Pricing does not include taxes.  Call us at 434.846.1388 to make your December 2012 reservation.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Peach Pancakes

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Delicious Peach Pancakes

Peaches are in season and we try to use fresh and local ingredients when we prepare our legendary breakfasts.  This year peaches the peaches are especially good.  To make a peach pancake you need to remove the pit from the peach.  To do this, take a paring knife and cut from the top of the peach to the bottom and continue around the pit until you are back where you started.  The pit should be the only thing holding the peach together.  Next take the peach in both hands and twist the sides in opposite directions until one half of the peach has separated from the pit.    Carefully cut the pit out of the other half, using a spoon to get under the pit.

After you have separated the peach from the pit, you need to peel the skin off the peach, then slice the peach into 1/4 inch slices.  You could peel the skin off before removing the pit, but it is easier to separate the halves before the skin is removed.

Next make the pancake batter.  I use a buttermilk recipe that is easy and quick.

  • Three large ripe peaches
  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons of granulated sugar (white)
  • 1 Tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 Cups of buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 1/3 cup of melted unsalted butter

Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt).  In a second bowl whisk together the wet ingredients (buttermilk, eggs, whole milk and melted butter).  Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.

Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium heat.  Put a little butter on the griddle/fry pan and place a peach slice on the griddle.  This step is important.  If you don’t butter the griddle/fry pan the peach will stick when you go to flip the pancake.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix using a fork or wooden spoon.  Mix until just blended together (it will be lumpy).  Do NOT over blend the mixture.  Using a scoop (I use an ice cream scoop)  pour the batter over the peach.  Brown on both sides and serve with butter and maple syrup.  This recipe should serve twelve people.  If you are making them in batches you can preheat the oven to 200 degrees and store the pancakes in the oven until you have cooked all of them and are ready to serve them.

The warm juicy peach adds sweetness to the pancake.  I’m sure you will enjoy these as much as our guests do.

Have a great breakfast recipe?  We are always looking for something special to serve our guests.  Send us an email with your recipe and we may publish it on our blog.  If you will be visiting the Lynchburg area, consider staying at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.  We were recently named as one of the Top 10 Bed and Breakfasts in the United States by BedandBreakfast.com.

 

 

 

Bed and Breakfast goes black after storm

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Photo by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

My bedroom after the storm.

It’s amazing what we take for granted now days.  With a flip of a switch we have power and all the things that go with it such as hot water, air conditioning, computers, televisions, stoves, washers and dryers and much more.  All that changed suddenly last Friday (June 29th) about 9:30 PM.  After taking Kathy out for a birthday dinner we headed home and were relaxing until the wind picked up and we ran outside to secure all of our front porch furniture.  The wind got worse the power flickered and then things went black. Finding our flashlights we wandered around the house to see if there was any damage and noticed a huge tree limb from across the street had fallen and was blocking the street.   As storms go it wasn’t much of a storm, only about twenty minutes of high winds with some thunder and lighting and an insignificant amount of rain which did nothing to ease the drought.  It was the hottest day of the year with temperatures reaching 103 degrees and this little wind storm dropped the temperature about 20 degrees.  Without power we called it a night and we expected things to be back to “normal” the following day.

Saturday morning we woke up and still no power.  The forecast was for another 100+ degree day but I had confidence that things would be restored quickly now that it was daylight.  Fortunately we didn’t have quests that weekend so we thought it would be a great day to do some exploring around town, but first we decided to go to McDonalds.  As we approached the golden arches traffic came to a complete stop.  As we inched our way closer and closer it was apparent that we were not the only ones without power.  The line of people waiting to be served was out the door, every parking spot was taken and people were parking blocks away and walking…we didn’t stop for breakfast that morning.

The phone started ringing.  “Do you have rooms available for tonight?” the caller asked.  “Our power is out and we aren’t taking reservations until it is restored,” Kathy replied.  I can’t blame people wanting to get out of their hot house but I thought they were over reacting as power would surely be back on by mid-afternoon.  As we drove around and saw trees down, streets closed, power lines in the road I realized that we may not have power today.  Every couple of minutes the phone would ring….”Do you have any rooms available?”  After about the 30th calls we changed the message on our phone, “Due to the power outage we are not taking reservations until our power is restored.”  We, like the 70+ percent of Lynchburg that didn’t have power, just made the best of a bad situation until we started hearinig that it could be a week or so before all the power was restored.  Deciding that it might be prudent to get a hotel room with air conditioning I started making calls.  The front desk person, if they even answered the phone, would laugh when I asked the question so when it was obvious that there was not a room available within a 60 mile radius we made the best of a bad situation and went to bed early.  That night it was a little warm in the house, but I was still confident that we would get power the next day.

Sunday we woke up to no power and Kathy went jetting off to Michigan to visit her mom.  I called people that had reservations with us this week and explained the situation (no power, but I’m optimistic that it will be on before they arrive later in the week.)  Every one cancels their reservation.  The phone continued ringing and ringing and ringing, locals looking for a room with air.  By the afternoon I decided to go to the movies to cool off.  On the way home I had the brilliant idea that I could get a generator and hook up a window air conditioner that was stored in garage and be able to sleep in air conditioned comfort.  Stopping at all the stores in town I quickly found out that no one had generators, but I could order one and have it in three weeks.  That reminded me of looking for a snow blower two winters ago before the third major snow storm hit us.  To make a long story short, I bought a hammock since I couldn’t find a generator and hung it over the covered driveway.  Even though the drive is covered it does get a little sun in the late afternoon so I would cool down the asphalt by wetting it down at dusk and then settle in for the evening.  It’s amazing how many cars drive up and down our street all night long!  Where are they going?  There isn’t anything open at 2:00am and no one has power.  Why aren’t they at home sleeping?  Some day I’m going to stay up all night and follow all these people to see where they are going.  There must be something really interesting at the end of our street for all these people to be driving there.  That’s a project for another day, for now, I’ll just put a pillow over my head and try to sleep.

Monday morning.  Another HOT day!  I’m not going to waste my time calling hotels; I’m going there in person.  Someone has to be checking out of a room and I was going to be there to get it.  Well that plan didn’t work, but at least I was able to recharge my cell phone…yes, people were still calling and no, I don’t have any rooms available but at least I now had a fully charged phone.  By the afternoon I decided that I needed to clean out our three refrigerators and our free-standing freezer.  Rather than just throw things away I decided to have a cookout and feed the neighborhood before things went bad.  We had wild Alaska salmon, pork chops, steak, hamburgers and pork loin as the main course and had a feast.  Thankfully I had a full tank of propane for the grill.  Dinner was a big hit.  It’s always good to connect with your neighbors.  As I was cooking the power came back on.  Life is good again.  I rolled up the hammock and moved indoors to our bed.

I was one of the fortunate ones.  Our power came on but there are still lots of people without power.     Tuesday morning I start getting calls from all the hotels in town letting me know they now have a room available for me, but no one is calling me looking for a room.     As I sit in my air conditioned office writing this post there are hundreds of electric workers in the hot sun on this 97 degree day working to restore power to more neighborhoods so that other families can get back to normal.  The City workers that had July 4th off are working hard trying to clear streets.  The land fill is open (I took a truckload of brush there).  Later tonight I’ll pick Kathy up from the airport.

If you are reading this post, I want to assure you we now have power AND we have rooms available.  Please feel free to call us and make your reservation.   To put it another way, The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast is open for business.  We have cool rooms and cold beverages!  Call now to reserve your room!

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July.

 

Blueberry Pecan Scones

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by The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Morning Treat--Blueberry Scone

Blueberries are in abundance during the month of June, so our signature dish this month at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast is Blueberry Pecan Scones.  Easy to make, delicious to eat, and good for you this recipe is one you will enjoy.  We are growing blueberry bushes in our organic garden and hope to be able to harvest our own blueberries next summer.  This month, as we did last month, we visited a farm near Lynchburg, Virginia to pick them fresh.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, unsalted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

 

In a large bowl combine the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl whisk the egg, milk and vanilla; add to crumb mixture.  Stir in blueberries, pecans and lemon peel just until moistened.

Turn onto a floured surface, knead 6-8 times.  Pat into an 8-inch circle; cut into eight wedges.  Separate wedges and place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.

Brush with egg white and sprinkle with remaining sugar.  Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Serve warm.

Makes 8 large scones.

At The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we bake these scones in a mini-scone pan, found in kitchen specialty stores or at kingarthurflour.com, and serve them as our Amuse-Bouche course at the beginning of our legendary four-course breakfast.  The smaller pan makes 16 2″x3″ mini-scones.  We have used white sugar crystals or sprinkling sugar, found at kitchen specialty stores or wherever cake baking supplies are sold, as the final step, adjusting the amount of granulated sugar used in the recipe accordingly.  You may use frozen blueberries.  If using frozen blueberries do not thaw to avoid discoloring the batter.  To toast the pecans, place them on a baking sheet in a 350 oven for 7-10 minutes, or until fragrant and a medium-brown color.  Watch them carefully as they burn easily.  Chop them after they are toasted.  These scones are great served alone or when accompanied by Lemon Curd, found in the baking isle at most grocery stores, for a taste balance of sweet and citrus-tart.