Sunday, November 11, 2012

Black Bottom Pumpkin Pie (Gluten-Free)

No more boring pumpkin pie!!
This five-layer recipe featuring chocolate, maple syrup,
toffee bits and cream cheese has AMAZING FLAVOR
and is a BIG HIT with our family and our guests
for the holidays!! Each layer is easy to make and
in a 9X13 pan, it cuts into (24) 2-inch squares.

For the Crust
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
Press into the bottom of a greased 9X13 pan
 and bake @350 10 minutes, then cool.

For the Chocolate Layer
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
Microwave about one minute,
stirring halfway through.
Pour over cooled crust.
Sprinkle with:
3 Tbsp toffee bits
Chill until set, about 30 minutes.

For the Pumpkin Layer
6 eggs
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup real maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
29 oz can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups half & half
(or evaporated milk)
Mix well & pour over chocolate layer.
Baked @350 about 80 - 90 minutes
or until set.
Chill thoroughly.

For the Cream Cheese Layer
Beat until smooth:
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
Spread evenly over chilled pie.

For the Whipped Cream Layer
Beat until foamy:
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
Add & beat until soft peaks form:
1/2 cup maple syrup
Spread or pipe over pie just before serving.

Bon Appetit and Happy Holidays!!

Here's a HOLIDAY DEAL for YOU:
(New Reservations Only)
Stay at Colonial Pines from
Dec 6 - Dec 9
 Dec 27 - Jan 1,
and take these discounts:
20% off a three night stay
25% off a four night stay

The same discounts apply to Miss Rebecca's Cottage
for these available dates:
December 3 - December 13
December 21 - December 25
(The Guest House Apartment is closed until Spring)

We Hope to See you Soon in Highlands!!
Donna & Chris Alley, Innkeepers Since 1984
(828) 526-2060
(866) 526-2060 Toll-Free

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Family Heirloom Finds a New Home

Thanks to long-time guests, Barbara & Bob Higgs, Colonial Pines is now home to a wonderful old family quilt which was made by one of their aunts many years ago. Beautifully preserved, the quilt is in the traditional "Double Wedding Ring" style with interlocking rings, a pattern brought from Europe which became especially popular in this country in the 1920s.
The painstaking workmanship is evident at first glance with hundreds of pattern pieces cut from old flour sacks to exact shapes and meticulously sewn by hand and then quilted to a backing. We are honored to be able to display such a fine piece of American history as a backdrop to our "Piano Top Gift Shop" and the guest registry book where it looks great and everyone can enjoy seeing it upon entering the Inn.  Many, many thanks, Barbara & Bob. We will treasure it, we will take good care of it, and it will always remind us of you!

 Colonial Pines Inn Bed & Breakfast
(828) 526-2060 or (866) 526-2060 Toll-Free

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Goodbye Hummingbird Specials

Arrive Monday or Tuesday and your
Second Night is HALF PRICE!
Arrive Monday and receive Thursday night FREE!
New reservations only.
 Does not apply to the Bargain Basement.

August & September are the best months for viewing hummingbirds in Highlands!  The babies are hatching and there are families of the cute little creatures buzzing all over the porch where we have added seven new feeders to see if that would attract more hummers.  Well, it did and they also buzz red hats, shirts, or lipstick! They'll be with us until mid-September or beyond when they begin their fantastic journey south. This great photo was taken last year by one of our guests.

Our feeders, like the one above, are from PARASOL and are made from recycled glass.  They come in many designs and beautiful colors.  This one is called "Camelot."  We have a few of these (and a couple of other designs) to sell, but we don't ship.  You'll have to come to the Inn to make a purchase. The best idea is to be our guest and spend some "porch time" where you can see them in action!

Buzz on up to Highlands and say goodbye to our little friends!

Donna & Chris Alley
Innkeepers Since 1984
Colonial Pines Inn Bed and Breakfast
(828) 526-2060
(866) 516-2060 Toll-Free

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Patriotic Morning & "HOT" Deals

A rare and beautiful male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak visited our feeder last week during breakfast! He returned several times making us hope he's nesting nearby.  The dull brown speckled female was seen a few days ago, so maybe now she's busy with her hatching duties.  Hopefully we'll soon get to see their progeny - which can be interesting if they're males because they start off looking like the female and gradually change into the well-defined brilliant pattern you see above - all decked out for the Fourth of July!

Yes, we have rare days of hot weather.  No, we don't have A/C.  However, EVERY night the temperature goes into the 60s and we use fans to blow cool night air into the rooms.  Our average high in July is 77 and our average low is 57. Highlands is a temperate rain forest and cloudy, rainy days keep things cool. For example, after a record hot day, a rainy night took the temp down to 61 and at 3pm the next day it was 76.  That's typical Highlands weather. With rare exceptions, our guests are amazed and pleased the first morning they awake on our beautiful shady hillside.
Would you really want to spend your time in the mountains with the windows closed and the A/C running?

In fact, today was the first day this year the weather was warm enough to have breakfast on the porch, and we served "Red White & Blueberry French Toast" (fresh cranberries, fresh blueberries & cream cheese) served with Vermont maple syrup, fresh fruit and kicked up with Spicy Sausage.
  Thanks to Ed & Joanie for this great photo!! 

Here's a "HOT" Summer Deal to tempt you:
 Arrive on Monday and receive Thursday night absolutely FREE!
New reservations only.
Take advantage of everything Highlands has to offer this Summer:
BBQ, Concert, & Fireworks on the Fourth.
The Highlands Playhouse, 
The Bascom Arts Center, 
The Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival,
"Friday Night Live!" Free Concerts at newly renovated Wright Square,
 Highlands Nature Center Events,
and much more!!

We'd love to be your hosts!
Colonial Pines Inn Bed and Breakfast
(828) 526-2060
(866) 526-2060 Toll-Free

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Honey of a Deal!

Recently, we made the 75-minute drive through bucolic backroads into Pickens, SC to pick up local honey from Carolina Honeybees Farm. Here, Chris is making friends with the goats and you can see the "Rainbow Row" of hives  in the background. 
 Charlotte Anderson, Master Beekeeper, produces honey that won "Best Tasting Honey" at the SC Beekeepers Association Honey Show at Clemson University.  Pristine honey houses on her farm border a babbling brook near her lush flower gardens. Here, she puts up the honey, makes honey & goat milk soap, lip balm, and beeswax candles.
 An array of beautiful hens wander around annoying the goats and providing color and humor for visitors to the farm.  We bought honey, lip balm, beeswax candles, and creamed honey (sort of like butter).  For more information go to
On the way home, we stopped at Silver Run Falls, just south of Cashiers, with easy access down a short path to a beautiful falls that we had never visited before.
It was a Honey of a Trip!!

Visit us anytime mid-week, or weekend before June 28
and receive a 25% discount on a two night stay.
Email for a quote on longer stays or for the cottages:

 Mention the HONEY DEAL and we'll include one of Charlotte's honey bears!
New reservations through June 28 only.
Does not apply to The Bargain Basement.
Colonial Pines Inn Bed & Breakfast
Donna & Chris Alley, Innkeepers Since 1984
(828) 526-2060
(866) 526-2060 Toll-Free

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cool Cornbread and Red Hot Music

Our cornbread won (again!) at the annual Chili Cook-Off in Highlands 
on March 10, and as promised, here's the recipe:


In small bowl, whisk & set aside:
1 cup flour
1 cup plain yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp soda
Mix in large bowl, then add the above dry ingredients & combine:
3 eggs
1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp grated lemon peel
2 tsp minced jalapenos

Combine, then fold in:
1 cup fresh blueberries
3/4 cup cut corn
2 Tbsp flour

Pour into a foil-lined 9X13 baking pan and bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned. Best served warm, but we couldn't do that at the Cook-Off, so we made a topping with mascarpone cheese whipped with confectioners sugar (to taste) and fresh lemon juice (to taste), then garnished each square with a fresh blueberry.  When we ran out of mascarpone, we used cream cheese which worked just fine!
Combine that with red-hot music by Tom Hill & The Midnight Suns and you have a really fun evening and a nice break in the Highlands mid-winter cabin-fever blues! The band attracted the best crowd ever and was sponsored in part by Colonial Pines Inn.

Debbie Grossman (on right) and her crew from Fresser's Eatery entered several types of chili and won "Most Unique" for her fabulous Crab Chili.  But my favorite was her Ginger-Pear Salsa which was, without a doubt, THE BEST.  Maybe she'll give me the recipe - what ya say, Debbie?

People of all ages danced to the great music.  Here's Steve Day, DJ of our local radio station, dancing with Della, 88 years old.  I also have a photo of Steve dancing on her table!  (Saving that one in case I ever need to blackmail him...)

The band gave maracas as prizes to the best dancers
and a "Happy Time Was Had By All!"

Thanks to husband Chris, and especially niece Lauren who came over from Virginia to help out. The blueberry cornbread with mascarpone/cream cheese sauce ideas were hers! Please email me if you have any questions on the recipe.  I apologize for not having the exact ingredients for the sauce, but it was a last minute addition and we were experimenting.  
Sometimes those situations have a pleasant ending!
Thanks for checking in & Happy Trails!
Colonial Pines Inn Bed & Breakfast
(828) 526-2060
(866) 526-2060 Toll Free

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Half a Century is a Long Time...

Irene Coal Parr from Florida opened Parr's Guest House in the early 1960's, later renaming it Colonial Pines Inn. Three owners and 5 decades later, the Inn is having its 50th Anniversary!!! 

How do you celebrate something like that? Well, read on...

 First, you partner with your friends Rick & Helene of the 4 1/2 Street Inn (who are celebrating their Inn's 100th anniversary), you pick a date (praying for no rain), and you plan a street party & picnic celebrating a total of 150 YEARS OF HOSPITALITY. That's a lot of cracked eggs!

You commission local artist Duncan Greenlee to design a really fun poster, invite everyone in town, and send out email invitations to all your past guests.

 You get permission to block off the street between the two Inns, load up on supplies from Sam's, order a keg of beer, and make TONS of cole slaw, hot dog chili, and brownies.

You get a noise permit and hire your brother's blues band, "Tom Hill and The Midnight Suns." Whatever happens, at least you will have great music!

You borrow a HUGE grill from Bill & Sara Mann and grill 250 hot dogs.

  When you run out, you get more and keep grilling.  You run out again...
...but you are thrilled at the huge turnout!

The weather's even more beautiful than you imagined and everyone's happy. 
It's an event to remember!

The saxophonist does a great job with his brand new instrument..
...and you make sure even the children are glad they came.

The sun goes down but the band plays on.

You dance and a have a great time at your own party. 
What a magical evening!

You are extremely grateful to all your relatives who came from three states to help out: Meghan, Aunt Pam, Aunt Susan, Tommy & Rosie.


Later, when you're cleaning up, you have second thoughts about that...

...instead, you invite EVERYONE to come celebrate 
and be a guest at Colonial Pines Inn in 2012!

Hope to see YOU soon in the mountains!
Chris & Donna Alley
Innkeepers Since 1984
Colonial Pines Inn Bed & Breakfast

We are open for the 2012 season!
Enjoy the quiet side of Highlands with
"Second Night Half Price" through April.
(866) 526-2060 Toll Free