Carriage Corner

Find Your Belsnickle

Tour of BelsnicklesAuthentic Bed & Breakfasts are hosting the Lancaster Belsnickle Tour.  So, I’m hearing you say – what’s a Belsnickle?  According to Wikipedia:

The Belsnickle character originated in the Rhineland. When people immigrated to Pennsylvania, they brought their German traditions with them.  Belsnickle was known in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s.  Amongst the Pennsylvania Germans, Belsnickle is the character who visits homes prior to Christmas to check up on the behavior of the children. The traditional Belsnickle showed up at houses 1–2 weeks before Christmas and often created fright because he always knew exactly which of the children misbehaved.  He would rap on the door or window with his stick and often the children would have to answer a question for him or sing some type of song. In exchange he would toss candies onto the floor. If the children jumped too quick for the treats, they may end up getting struck with Belsnickle’s switch.

Frosty SantaAuthentic Bed & Breakfasts of Lancaster County have figured out a way to make Belsnikle fun – for the third year in a row, Authenic is hosting the Belsnickle Tour – where you have a chance to visit our homes prior to Christmas.  This year, the Belsnickle Tour happens on December 2 and 3rd, 2017 and 19 bed and breakfasts are opening their doors for you to take a peak.  Each one will be decked out in their holiday finery and have a Christmas cookie available for you to sample as well as the recipe to collect.

Jay and I attended the Belsnickle Tour last year.  We managed to visit 9 of the participating bed and breakfasts on the only day we had available.  We had a great time!  The cookies were amazing and the houses – wow!  I loved being able to peak into all of them.  Most of them will allow you to look into guest rooms provided they are not occupied. Holly Jolly Santa

Because we had such a fun time touring the houses last year, we have decided to put Carriage Corner on the tour this year.  We have been making Christmas decorations for a few months now and purchasing decor at the mud sales and local shops.  We have decided to offer 2 complimentary tickets to guests who book 2 nights during the tour.  We have 1 room available for Friday & Saturday and 2 rooms where you could come in on Thursday and leave on Saturday.  Saturday evening, we plan to have a little evening event with cocoa and homemade marshmallows.  We hope you can make it.

Even if you aren’t able to stay at Carriage Corner – we do hope you’ll check out one of the other Authentic Bed & Breakfasts and book your stay.  Or just purchase your Belsnickle Tour Tickets – proceeds go to Make-A-Wish.  Along with the tour tickets, you get an admission ticket for the National Christmas Center – if you haven’t had a chance to visit this treasure, you’ll want to do so this year as we’ve learned it will be closing the doors for good in January 2018.  You don’t want to miss this!

We look forward to meeting you and showing your around Carriage Corner!  Happy Holidays.

Fall is Happening Around Us

Showy Trees

We are just hitting our stride with the fall colors.  The leaves are just getting into the spirit of Fall and starting to put on a wonderful show.  The weather has finally turned cool – but not cold.  I’m finding it to be the perfect sweater weather.   Here some ideas for you to enjoy the Fall happenings in Lancaster this year.

Pumpkin Ideas

With all the farmlands in Lancaster County, this is the ideal spot to go pumpkin picking – get your sugar pumpkins and roast them down for everything!  I love having both cubes of roasted pumpkin in my freezer as well as pumpkin puree.   A quick google search will return more ideas then you can shake a stick at, here are some of my favorite things to make with pumpkin:

Corn Mazes

Another great thing about all the farmlands is the corn mazes.  Why not take a few hours and challenge your brain.  There are several corn mazes close by.  You might want to try: Orange Leaves

  • Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
  • Brubakers Corn Maze
  • Corn Cob Acreas
  • The Corn Maze at Oregon Diary
  • The Golf Maze at Foxchase

Shop and Relax

Or maybe, just maybe you want to do a little shopping around Kitchen Kettle Village and then relax and enjoy the crisp air, while having a seasonal coffee and listening to live music at the Corner Coffee Shop.

Whatever inspires you about Fall in Lancaster – come and enjoy a little get away!

Fall Flavors

fall flavors at their finest

It’s finally Fall here in Lancaster County and with the crisp air and changing of the leaves, I’ve been inspired to play with fall flavors while creating breakfast.  When Fall rolls around, the fall flavors I think of first are pumpkin, cranberry, apples & pears.  My first thought was pumpkin granola – but I already have a very, very good granola recipe that I’ve shared and I wasn’t sure I really wanted another.  So first I googled pumpkin granola and printed out a bunch of recipes – which I then compared to my original granola recipe.  This is what I ended up with:

 

 

Pumpkin Crunch Granola:

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 Cups oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1t pumpkin pie spice* – I made my own
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3T packed dark brown sugar
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325*.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats through pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In a second bowl, whisk the egg whites.  Add in pumpkin, syrup, oil, brown sugar & vanilla – whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour wet over dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.  Spread onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes, making sure to stir every 10 minutes to prevent burning.
  5. Allow granola to cool for 20 minutes.  Gently add dried cranberries.  Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Beautiful jar of cranberry curdThis was served layered with plain greek yogurt and cranberry curd.  It was amazing – if I do say so myself.  Please let me know if you try it.

I have actually been thinking about the flavors of Fall for a few weeks now.  Earlier this summer, I made both lemon and lime curd [but not lemon/lime curd, hmmm] and I could stop thinking about what else I could curd.  Cranberry would not leave – so I made that as well.  I will share that recipe later – but it was amazing!

*I had a guest staying with us who has a cinnamon allergy – so I had to make my own cinnamon free pumpkin pie spice.  There are many recipes available for pumpkin pie spice – I used nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves & mace.

 

Find Your Holiday Spirit In Lancaster

In Lancaster Holiday Spirit is Around Every Corner

Christmas Tree In Lancaster Holiday Spirit is Around Every Corner
 
Need to get away and take a break during the madness of the holiday season? Why no slow down and reconnect with the reason for the season? Let us help you find your holiday spirit in Lancaster? With tours, train rides & live theatre you are sure to find your holiday spirit in Lancaster County. 

Tours:

Authentic Bed & Breakfast Belsnickle Tour. December 2 & 3, 20 bed and breakfasts open their doors to let you see their holiday finery.  Each inn will have a “hidden” Belsnickle. Find him and enter into a drawing for a stay at one of our inns valued at up to $325. Each inn will offer a signature cookie. Start your cookie recipe collection with the recipe cards at each inn.

Honeybrook Community Church hosts a live Nativity each year. Allow an hour to walk through the 7 scenes of the Nativity and enjoy the provided refreshments. This event is free.  The website is not updated for 2017 yet, but it appears that the live Nativity is the second weekend of December.

 

Train Rides:

Strasburg Railroad has a couple of Christmas train ride options.

  1. Take the Christmas Tree Train to Leaman Place Grove where you choose a pre-cut tree. Your tree will be delivered to the station on the train’s flatcar.
  2. Take a ride with Santa when you climb aboard the Santa Express.

Don’t forget about the shows.

Lancaster is well known for its amazing live theatre. You can see anything from bible stories to crazy comedies and all are sure to have you talking over breakfast the next day. A sampling of what’s available.

Magic Lantern Christmas Show – Classic Christmas stories, poems, and much more will fill you with the Christmas spirit. Your Showman will take you on this wonderful trip through the joys and heartfelt emotions of the Holiday Season as he presents iconic stories and poems like The Night Before Christmas, with stunning visual images, heartfelt music and legendary storytelling.  Amish Experience at Plain & Fancy Farm.

Guess Who Is Coming to Dinner – All Nancy wants is for her two families to get to know each other over Christmas dinner. Nancy invites both her grown children and her new boyfriend’s. Will anyone show up for the turkey dinner? And if they do show up, will there be peace on earth good will, or will the police arrive to cart them off to lock-up? It’s Christmas at Rainbow, what could go wrong?

White Christmas – Based on the beloved movie, veterans Bob and Phil are a successful song and dance team when they meet a sister duo and follow them to an inn in Vermont. They discover it’s owned by their old General who fell on hard times, so they decide to put on a show to save the inn and their General’s future.  Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

A Christmas Story – It’s not sugarplums dancing in Ralphie’s head; it’s a Red Ryder air rifle! On a desperate quest to prove to his mother, teacher and even Santa that he is Snow Sceneresponsible enough to be the proud owner of this Christmas wish, Ralphie isn’t going to let any opposition stop him from getting what he wants, including the schoolyard bullies! Bundled with your favorite film moments, fans will rejoice as they relive the triple-dog-dare flag pole incident, the worst Christmas present ever (pink bunny pajamas) and the FRA-GEE-LAY top prize (leg lamp). A Christmas Story, The Musical hits the bullseye for holiday family fun!  Fulton Theatre

Home for the Holidays – Inspired by warm memories of family Christmases, Home for the Holidays celebrates the joys and merriment of spending the holidays with the ones we love. This show takes place on a festive Christmas Eve and features many beloved traditions. American Music Theatre.

Get Your Holiday Shop On.

Kitchen Kettle Village is open until 9pm on Fridays between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so you can do some late shopping.  Don’t forget that the Corner Coffee Shop offers live music on both Friday and Saturday nights. 

A weekend get away to Lancaster might be just what you need to get you feeling the holiday spirit again.

Fall Table Linens

So, one of the best parts of owning a bed and breakfast is decorating.  I’m still working on nailing down my style and hopefully at some point the B&B will reflect something that is more me.  But for now, I’m working with what I can and that’s the breakfast table.  I love dishes and setting a pretty table.   I’ve been lucky enough to add 3 sets of china to the ‘Wall of China’ located in the office/gift shop at Carriage Corner.  With that in mind, I’ve been working on making seasonally appropriate decor and this first is our new Fall Table Linens.

This Fall, I decide that I needed some fall themed table linens.  If you’ve stayed at Carriage Corner, you might know my personal hobbies are knitting and sewing.  While I haven’t made any of the quilts on the beds, I do have a tiny bit of quilting knowledge and a small stash of quilting cottons and an embroidery machine.  With that in mind, I took myself to my fabric stash and pulled fabric with pumpkins in mind.   It took a while, but I made some pumpkin placemats.  For details on how they were made – you can visit the post on my personal blog:  gMarieSews.

Earlier this week, they made their breakfast debut:

Fall Table Linens

I expect these will get loads of use between now and Thanksgiving.  The flip side of these napkins are one fabric, the new napkins work with this side:

Fall Table Linens

It’s Been One Year!

So – I hear Barenaked Ladies in my head when I typed the title.  And, in all honesty, it’s hasn’t quite been one year.  But it’s close.  As I’m writing this post, it’s been one year since we sold our house in Seattle and started the long drive cross-country.  The last year has been quite the adventure and learning curve. There have been ups and downs and many, many wonderful guests over our first year!  I thought I’d do a quick recap of our first year at Carriage Corner:

Lessons Learned:

  • Serve breakfast in courses;
  • Make just a bit more than you think you need;
  • It’s best to plate breakfast;
  • Never serve bacon if there is more than 2 rooms booked;
  • Keep bread on hand at all time;
  • Never run out of eggs;
  • Try new ideas out on the family first;
  • Use the ‘good’ china – what are you saving it for?;
  • Someone will always want a room if I go to knit night – so go to knit night;
  • Walking the dogs before breakfast makes for a better day; and
  • Learn to enjoy the downtime.

    Carriage Corner Year in Review

    The best *UP* of all

Ups:

  • Eleanor’s birth and being close enough to drop everything and be there;
  • Guests!  We have the most wonderful guests.  I’m enjoying the relationships we are building;
  • Spending the day working with my spouse;
  • Redoing the guests rooms to reflect our personalities;
  • Mud Sales; and
  • Hosting 2 sewing retreats.

Downs:

  • Saying goodbye to Beauregard James (I’ve included a video of him eating lettuce – that boy);
  • Spending the day working with my spouse (ha ha!);
  • Attending the mud sales (hubby can’t keep his arm down at the auction!); and
  • Learning to enjoy the downtime – next year will be better.

Holy Cannoli

One of my favorite parts of this job is making breakfast.  I have always loved entertaining and feeding people.  There’s just something special about it – ya know?

But – I get bored with making the same thing all the time.  Truthfully, what might be a wonderful meal for 2 or 4 guests doesn’t always work well if there is more than that.  And vis a versa.  For example – a pan of baked french toast feeds 12 people quite easily – but I would never make that if there were only 4 guests – too much waste.  And I love making buttermilk waffles for 4 guests – but don’t make them if we have more than that.  Clear as mud right?  So – with that being said – I’m always on the look out for new ideas to make for guests – either big or small groups.

I would say that 85% of the accounts that Carriage Corner follows on Instagram are other bed and breakfast.  One day while scrolling through my feed, I found a picture of Three Sisters Cottages breakfast.  Three Sisters is in Jefferson, Texas.  I mean – YUMM! This looks amazing – I have to figure out how to make this.

 

So – first I googled.  Then I talked with Italian guests.  Then I played.  My version is a stuffed french toast.  It’s a tiny bit labor intensive, but honestly not bad.  I would make this for a full house.  My recipe will make 12 rolls, and I serve 2 per person.  You milage may very 🙂

Cannoli filling:

  • 1 Cup full fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 contain marscapone cheese
  • 2T sugar
  • 2t powdered vanilla
  • shy 1/2 cup dark chocolate mini chocolate chips
  • zest from 2 oranges

Mix all ingredients together until fluffy, set aside.

French Toast:

Cut the crusts off 12 slices of good quality whole grain bread.  Using a rolling pin, roll the bread out as thin as you can.  Place a heaping spoonful of cannoli filling on each slice of bread and roll up.  This works best if your bread is large enough to roll onto itself.

Egg Wash:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1t light vanilla
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg

Whip all ingredients together.  Roll the stuffed bread in the egg wash and then transfer to a hot griddle.  Roll the french toast while cooking to brown all sides.  Plate and then dust with powdered sugar.  I serve this with orange slices and sausage.  It’s really very good.  Trust me – that’s lots of food – we generally start this meal with granola parfaits.

Log Cabin Room Update

Hello lovely guests and visitors to Carriage Corner!  As you may be aware, Jay and I purchased Carriage Corner in Mid-October 2016.  We were full of dreams, plans and recipe ideas.  Some of them we’ve used and some still need attending to.  But, I thought today I’d take a minute and give you a tour of Log Cabin.  This room was previously called Plum or One.  If you’re curious you can read the why of the room names here.

One of the things that was really important to us was to make the rooms feel lighter, brighter and comfortable.  While we hope that you won’t spend all of your time in your room, if that’s what you choose to do, we want you to be comfortable doing so.

Log Cabin’s face lift started with a new sign on the door welcoming you into the room.  Next, we took everything out – including the desk and electric baseboard heater.  We shampooed the carpets, re-calked the sink, showers & toilet and installed new shower heads.  Then the painting started.  Everything was painted.  Then, we started putting it back together.  Seating area set up with a large chair and half, electric fireplace (for heat or ambiance) and a flat screen television with cable.    Also, free wireless internet is offered throughout the bed and breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After figuring out where the bed and chair needed to go, we added a darling little electric fireplace and put the new flat screen television on top of it.  I’m really looking forward to decorating this little fireplace for the holiday – I think it might get some stockings.  Quite possibly, a tiny tree will go where the fan is currently and I know there will be some twinkle lights added to the room.

The final addition to the room was a beautiful pink and green log cabin quilt that was purchased at the Farmersville Mud Sale in March.

We’ve added some of our personal items to the rooms – the Norman Rockwell plates and a few other things.

Everytime we finished a room – it became ‘my favorite.’  I still love Log Cabin.  The layout of the room, the space you get with the couch, fireplace and television.  Guests seem to really enjoy this room.

If you promise not to laugh, I’ll even share a little video tour I’ve done of the room.  That’s my voice and you’ll hear me when you call to book your room.  We are looking forward to meeting you and helping you have exactly the type of get away you are hoping for while visiting Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  I hope you enjoyed this tour of our Log Cabin Room.  The just over 1 minute video is too long to upload here, but it can be found on YouTube.

 

 

Fresh Really is Best

All layered up

I never really knew how easy it was to make granola. Seriously, everyone has their own favorite recipe for granola – you can do a search without finding 15 pages of recipes. Just take a look at pinterest – you’ll see what I mean.

Anyway – I’ve been asked a time or two for the granola recipe I serve here at Carriage Corner. This recipe originated from a friend of mine and was individualized Christmas gifts for the girls for years. Now I make it every 2 weeks or so and don’t add any dried fruit. Here’s the basic recipe:

 

CC’s Basic Granola Recipe:

Dry Ingredients poured into the mixing bowl

6 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2T water
2 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. Mix liquid in microwave safe dish and then microwave for 1 minute. Pour over oat mixture.
Mix well. Spread out on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 300* for 25 – 35 minutes stirring several times.
Remove from over, add 1 cup raising and let cool.

This is how I’ve adapted the recipe for the Bed and Breakfast.

Carriage Corner’s Breakfast Granola:

spread out on a cookie sheet

6 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups chopped unsalted mixed nuts
3 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2T water
1 1/2T vanilla

once baked – it will continue to darken as it cools.

Mix and bake as above, stirring every 10 minutes or so. When it comes out of the oven – don’t touch it! Letting the granola cool off without adding dried fruit or mixing it up helps it to create clumps.

This is a good, basic starter granola recipe. Play with it. Mix things up – swap things out. What else could you use for sweetener besides honey? Maple Syrup? What is your favorite fruit and nut combo? Blueberries & Almonds? Peaches & Pecans? Raisins & Cashews? You can now make any flavor granola you like. When you make a batch – let me know what flavors you used. Enjoy!

Best Available Price

Quite often when answering the phone, the caller will say:  “what’s your best room rate?”

Sample Breakfast 2This always flabbergasts me and leaves me stuttering. I mean why would you think that we’d just have a hidden ‘best’ rate.  The answer is – our best room rate is posted right here on our website, under the rooms tab.  The price is right there – there isn’t a range, we don’t charge more because it’s the weekend or there is some event happening in town.  See, we don’t think it’s fair to reward people who want to get away at the last minute by reducing the room rate, nor do we think it’s fair to punish the people who plan ahead for their vacation and pay a higher rate because they didn’t wait in hope the the rate would go down.

We’ve also researched the prices around town for other B&Bs as well as the local hotels and our prices are right in line with what everyone else is charging.  We aren’t the least expensive, but we also aren’t the most expensive.  For this first season, we’ve also taken away the 2 night minimum on weekends.

Jay & I thought long and hard about this when we set our rates. The room rate is the room rate, it’s not higher at the weekend; it’s not lower during the week; we don’t offer a break if you stay 1 night vs 4. We do offer a referral discount and a repeat guest discount and rarely, I’ll post specials on facebook or have some sort of special on our website. But by and large – our best rate is the one you see by booking direct. So please, give us a call I’m happy to book your room and get your vacation started. 717.768.3059.

Oh and the price always includes a full breakfast, which changes daily.  The also have freshly baked cookies, snacks, fresh fruit and beverages available.

So, we hope you’ll give us a chance.