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At the Bed and Breakfast

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.

Flag Day

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Old Glory

Flag Day is celebrated on June 14.  It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.   John Adams introduced the following resolution before the Continental Congress, meeting at Philadelphia, PA: “Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen United States shall have thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Relax on our huge wrap around front porch

In 1914, President Woodrow Wison declared June 14 “Flag Day.”  In 1949 Congress passed legislation asking President Harry S. Truman to issue an annual proclamation calling for the observance of the hoilday.

The week of June 14 is designated as “National Flag Week.”  During National Flag Week, the president will issue a proclamation urging all U.S. citizens to fly the American flag for the duration of that week.  The flag should also be displayed on all government buildings.

At  The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA, we fly two flags from our front porch.  One is the flag of fifty stars and stripes.  The other is a flag of thirty-eight stars and stripes, representing the states of the union in 1878 when our house was completed.  The Watts family would have flown such a flag.

Enjoy your stay!

Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, although many towns and cities throughout the United States celebrate this day with parades, speeches and other forms of patriotic expression.  Perhaps the oldest continuing Flag Day parade is at Fairfield, Washington.  Beginning in 1909 or 1910, Fairfield has held a parade every year since, with the possible exception of 1918, and celebrated the “Centennial” parade in 2010.

We look forward to observing flags being flown throughout Lynchburg and Central Virginia.

 

 

In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson dubbed June 14 “Flag Day.”  In 1949 Congress passed legislation asking the president to issue an annual proclamation calling for the observance of the holiday.

Historic Garden Week in Lynchburg, Virginia

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April 21-28, 2012 is Historic Garden Week in Virginia.  On Tuesday, April 24, 2012 Lynchburg, Virginia is proud to host visitors to our city and locals to our Garden Day Tour.

Sponsored by The Lynchburg Garden Club and the Hillside Garden Club this year’s tour includes admission to 6 locations:  The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast at 404 Cabell Street, 301 Cabell Street, Point of Honor at 112 Cabell Street, 4935 Mountain Laurel Drive, 4924 Mountain Laurel Drive (all in Lynchburg) and Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest at 1542 Bateman Bridge Road in Forest. 

The houses and gardens will be open for touring between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.  You may visit the properties in any order.  Contact the Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce at 434.847.1811 for information about purchasing tickets, in advance, to this day of nature and heritage.  Tickets may be purchased at each location on Garden Day.  

The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast has limited availability should you wish to stay the night before or after the tour.  Call us at 434.846.1388 to inquire about your luxurious accomodations while celebrating Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

First Day of Spring!

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at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, Lynchburg Virginia

Saucer Magnolia

 

Today we celebrate the first day of spring, but to our bushes and trees, spring came several weeks ago.  We have a saucer magnolia tree next to our patio and it started blooming in February.  Yes, this tree is supposed to bloom in the closing days of winter or beginning of spring, but in years past the blooms appear one day and are typically gone a few days later when the frost causes all the blossoms to drop from the tree.

 

at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast Lynchburg, Virginia

Saucer Magnolia in full bloom

With the mild weather this year, the blossoms have lingered for over three weeks.  The aroma when opening the back door is unbelievable and as the blooms fall, making way for the leaves, we have a carpet of pink pedals covering the patio.  To say this has been a spectacular year in our back yard is an understatement.

In addition our Camilla bush is in full bloom and the 300 daffodil bulbs I planted last fall are also in full bloom.

Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, Lynchburg, VA

Camilla is in bloom

 

We will soon be putting in our garden and getting ready for Garden Day.  Yes, we our home will be on tour for Historic Garden Day next month.  Will keep you posted.  We are expecting over 1600 people (based on last year’s figures) to see our home on Garden Day.  Obviously they will be here to look at the house, not the gardens, although we are making some progress on getting the yard in shape.

We would love to welcome you to The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast this spring or summer so that you too may enjoy our restful patio or wraparound front porch.  Don’t you deserve some time to relax?

Chocolate-Mint Crackle Cookie Recipe

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Chocolate Mint Crackle Cookie

 

Guests arriving to stay at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA, are greeted with home-made cookies in their room upon arrival.  This month our welcome treat cookie is a brownie-like cookie that looks like it has been shattered.  Filled with minty goodness they have been a big hit!

Chocolate-Mint Crackle Cookie

  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure mint extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

 

1.  Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl by setting it over a pan of simmering water, (but not touching the heatproof bowl) stirring constantly.  Add the mint to this mixture.

2.  Whisk together flour, baking powder and cocoa in a small bowl.

3.  Whisk together sugar, eggs and melted butter in a medium bowl.  Gradually whisk in melted chocolate and mint extract until smooth (from step 1 above) .  Stir in flour mixture (from step 2 above).  Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.

4.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Roll tablespoons of dough into balls using your palms, then roll into confectioners’ sugar to coat.  Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing each 1-inch apart.  Bake until slightly firm in the center, about 15 minutes.

5.  Let cool slightly on sheets set on wire racks.  Transfer cookies to racks and let cool completely.

**Dough can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days or rolled into balls and frozen for up to 2 weeks.  Roll in confectioners’ sugar just before baking.

***Store cookies in an air-tight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days (but they won’t last that long!)

Enjoy!!