Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weddings at the Inn

Do you dream of violins playing as you descend a grand staircase in heirloom lace to a roomful of adoring friends & relatives? If so, Colonial Pines is not the place for your wedding!!! However, a surprising number of couples have chosen to have small, impromptu ceremonies here and put the big bucks needed for the aforementioned event toward graduate school, paying down their mortgage, or beefing up their 401K. Not a bad idea in this economy! One such couple is Laurie & Ernie Prodromides of Greenville, SC whose plans for marrying near a waterfall were foiled by a rainy, foggy mountain day. Instead, a crackling fire provided a perfect setting for the vows and the fog made for some nice photos afterward on the porch.

So call the magistrate, bring along a CD of your special song, and make a reservation here (there are no other charges). Ask a couple of friends to join you, or we can be your witnesses while we snap a few pictures. If there are other guests around, they will be caught up in the moment, too. I guarantee you that Laurie was as happy as any bride in a long white gown!

A Fresh Batch of Strawberry-Jalapeno Preserves!

The rain this weekend prompted me to get back into jelly-making. Strawberries are beautiful right now and - voila!- a fresh batch of Strawberry-Japapeno Preserves. Very hot. Not something to put on your kids' PB&Js, but we like it with whole wheat crackers & natural peanut butter. It's traditional with the cooling effect of cream cheese & crackers and also good on chicken, pork or turkey.
Homegrown Black Currant and Homegrown Blueberry (from Chris' garden) are some other flavors available from our "Piano Top Gift Shop" along with our cookbook made from postcards, Best Breakfast Recipes from Colonial Pines Inn.
We also sell Colonial Pines T-shirts & note cards, and things that some of our guests produce like handmade soaps from Barbara Bars and Sentire, and CDs by Atlanta pianist Carol Albert. Come have a look!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Must-Do Hike to Sunset Rocks & Sunrise Rocks

SUNSET ROCKS is a short popular hike right here in town to a magnificent overview of Highlands as it is nestled in the mountains. You can drive to a parking area on Main Street and take the 15 minute walk to the top, but we prefer to start off from the Inn. Ask us for a map showing a shortcut through the Nature Center to the beginning of the trail. (Our 3-bedroom vacation rental, Miss Rebecca's Cottage, is adjacent to this trail.)

SUNRISE ROCKS can be found by going left at the clearing at the top of the Sunset trail. You will enjoy an intimate but sweeping view of Horse Cove Valley and Black Rock Mountain. There is also a very interesting view of Whiteside Mountain (which looks like the head and shoulders of a gorilla) from a slightly different angle not shown in this photo. order a picnic lunch from Fressers Express or Mountain Fresh Deli and we will lend you a backpack!

Snow Tubing at Scaly Mountain

A blue-sky winter day is perfect for snow tubing at Scaly Mountain, about 15 minutes from the Inn. An exciting advanced slope and a more gentle slope for younger kids make this fun for all ages. Bring waterproof clothing and sun screen for this reasonably priced winter entertainment. A good BBQ restaurant is on site and you should call ahead to check on the conditions. (828) 526-3737.

They're usually able to make snow December through March which coincides with our discounted winter rates!!! Check out our Miss Rebecca's Cottage which can sleep up to six, or take B&B rooms and see the Inn all decorated for Christmas!

The Highlands Christmas Parade & Peanut Butter Brownies!

Two Saturdays after Thanks-giving at 11am, Main Street is the place to be. The Highlands Christmas Parade has some of the best floats you'll ever see in a small town event like this. My favorite is the campsite near a waterfall shown here, but there were also live camels, a walking porta-potty, three colorful male senior-citizen toothfairies with tutus and giant toothbrushes, fabulous vintage autos decorated for the holidays, dogs, horses, and of course, Mr. & Mrs. Claus. My nieces Lauren & Peyton were visiting and the highlight for Peyton was the Toys for Tots float that gave out large Shrek dolls. After it was over, we all came back to the Inn for Peanut Butter Brownies and Hot Chocolate. Try these at home!
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1-1/4 cups natural p.n.butter
1/2 cup melted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
dash salt

Combine first 4
mixing well.
Add remaining
and stir
until blended.
Pour into 9X13 greased pan.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 min.
Cool completely.

1/4 cup natural p.n.butter
1/4 cup melted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 to 5 tbsp milk
Beat first four ingredients
until smooth.
Add milk until frosting
is of spreading consistency.

Yield: Two Dozen Brownies
Expect: Happy smiles like this one!

Help Yourself!

After shopping, before dinner, after dinner, before bedtime, before breakfast, after breakfast - ANYTIME- The Guest Pantry is always open!
Help yourself to coffee, teas, hot chocolate or cider, trail mix, sweets, sherry, or lemonade. All complimentary. Saves a trip to the coffee shop and you can relax by the fire with a good book or on the porch with a cool mountain breeze.

When We're Not Innkeeping....

Fortunately (or unfortunately, as our checkbook might say), Highlands has a definite off-season. That means December through March we are only open on weekends, and we have a chance to get away! We love to cruise the Caribbean...

...visit daugher Meghan in Colorado...

...see friends & family in Boston...

...and get better acquainted with grandchildren in Puerto Rico.

We also take lots of little local shopping & movie jaunts to Atlanta, Asheville & Greenville or to Athens where we visit daughter Heather and grandsons Owen & Lucas. How nice that we have all that (plus a couple of airports) less than two hours away!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Oil Painting of Colonial Pines by Linda DeCamp

In 1999, Linda & Russel DeCamp from Rockville, MD visited the Inn and Linda set up an easel under the big oak tree and started painting. For two days she painted and finally, the day she was leaving, she said "Would you like to see my painting?" We said "yes," afraid that we'd have to say we liked it whether we did or not. We needn't have worried. It was delightful - as you can see!
The next problem was that she didn't want to sell it. "I paint so I can remember special places I've visited," she said. "Okay," we said, "just do a copy and send us the copy." "It never turns out the same," she replied. "I have to be at the site when I'm painting." Sadly, we said we understood and we were honored that she chose to paint the Inn for her collection.
To our surprise, when she came downstairs to check out, she had changed her mind, and we traded the painting for her entire stay (what a deal for us!). We were thrilled to have such a beautiful rendition of the Inn and, if we ever sell and move away, we will take the painting with us to remember our years as Innkeepers. Linda's painting has become our logo and is available on notecards and as a frameable print. The original sits in the lobby on the piano.
Linda still corresponds with us and is a juried artist with shows in galleries throughout her region. Thank you, Linda!

Breakfast Pizza Recipe

What's better than waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and something delicious in the oven! One of our most popular menus is Breakfast Pizza with fresh seasonal fruits, apple-walnut bread, multi-grain toast (from Annie's Naturally Organic Bakery) & passion fruit juice.
You might not need lunch...

Breakfast Pizza Recipe
8 oz crescent rolls
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 tbsp. minced onion
1 tsp minced jalapenos
1 cup chopped ham
1 cup grated white cheddar
6 eggs
1/4 cup half & half
1 tsp dijon mustard
dash salt & pepper
Pat crescent rolls onto ungreased 12" pizza pan as a crust. Close all seams well, covering pan completely. Layer red pepper, onions, jalapenos, ham, and cheese evenly on crust. (If desired, this much can be done a day ahead, covered & refrigerated.) Mix eggs, half & half, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour over pizza and bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. Cut into six slices and serve.

Join Us for Breakfast - Our Favorite Time of the Day!

Colonial Pines Inn Bed and Breakfast
(828) 526-2060
(866) 526-2060