Monday, April 19, 2010

Innkeeper's Vacation in Vacationland!

The Innkeeper and Staff of Inn at Long Lake are currently on holiday until May 5, 2010. See you then!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mid-April in Maine

Hello to All!

I awoke this morning to snow (yes, SNOW!) lightly falling outside my bedrooom window! This is quite a shock as I thought we'd might be over it at this point. Well, Mother Nature is having her laugh--gotta love her!

Business is winding down at Inn at Long Lake and the inn will be closed. I am looking forward to 2 weeks off. Many things are going on during this time: a new roof, my 2nd Anniversary Party and Gallery Show (more on this later), and, of course, a relaxing vacation. During this time my friend, JB, from San Francisco, will be here. It will be a well-rounded, action-packed "holiday."

I came to learn that 2 of my guests were "Foodies" and fans of homecooking and baking. After some brief questioning I sent them upstairs with a couple of my favorite cookbooks to peruse before slumber. Yes, I am one of those cooks that actually reads cookbooks (and not fiction) before I head to Dreamland. I find reading them comforting and inspiring. Whatever path my creativity takes during the night time hours, I accept. (They say that you dream about the last thing on your mind before you fell asleep). I plan on dedicating a portion of the inn's library to cookbooks, for like-minded guests!

That is all from Western Maine this fine morning. I hope that wherever you are, your weekend is excellent!

Keith A. Neubert

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Parsnips--the new Potato?"

Hey, again. I seldom write two blog entries in one day (up late watching American Idol) but wanted to pass on some "kudos" to parsnips.

I have read many recipes on Roasted Parsnips (usually in the Fall, tossed with chopped carrots and potatoes, drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper). Yum!

Betsey, my friend from Common Folk Farm up the street (she blends and makes the best Catnip pouches, according to my gal pal, Fay) stopped by the other morning with some glorious looking parnsips from her garden. I had spoken to her about a Spiced Parsnip Quick Bread recipe I saw.) I rarely cook them but for dinner tonight I boiled them (like carrots), whipped them, seasoned them with butter, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. A touch of brown sugar in them would be delicious, too.
They were great! Lower carb than potatoes but starchy enough to give a potatoe feel. An interesting, slightly nutty flavor of carrots and potatoes. (Peel. The boil time with a 1/2-inch dice was 8 minutes).

Try them!


"Frame-ing Yourself In"

Greetings Blog Readers.

This morning I took a drive over to Norway (the town in Maine, not the country) to get some stretcher bars for some paintings by my dear friend, JB, in San Francisco (more on that later...).

The scenic drive through the winding woods through Harrison to Norway was calming and peaceful (I waved to Joan Lunden as she pulled out of her garage----could have been her nanny, maybe...does the nanny drive a BMW?!) Anyway...the little framing store on the Main Street in Norway, Maine was quaint.

Two artists, one the owner of the store, and a man in his early 30's were speaking about the "price tag on art." I don't really think they had an answer how one painting could sell for $1 million, another at $80.00. Like art, however, value and price are subjective. Much of this, I believe, though, is created by internal forces first---not what the market may necessarily bear.

The curious case of innkeeping is much like what visual artists might do. Details, details, details.(Have you ever seen those "one splotch" paintings that sell for $500,000?! Gotta praise the artist, for sure!) The expression of creating an inn environment is complex. In its many years of evolution in lodging, it has gone from an "I have a room to rent" extra money maker to a viable segment for housing tourists. So, without the confining chains of corporate direction, innkeepers craft their inns, largely as an expression of the best guidance they have: themselves!

Intention is such an important tool in framing the way our lives, and businesses, evolve and serve. We impart our mental skills into the equation. Many, but not all, impart their spiritual strength into it as well. If your idea of running a business is "I just want to break even," your decision of lack surrounding that thought probably is limiting you from a great deal of abundance (not to mention the strain on your emotional well-being). Intending an "I want to be the best inn in _________(fill in the blank)" makes a statement that places you on an abundant road. You open yourself up to creativity, delight in its revealing itself to you, resources emerge where you thought none existed, etc. Yes, innkeeping, like life, is work, fun, and challenging. Why not label your passions and endeavors a "success?" Why not frame it in gold in your mind first?

"Act as if"..., I say. Act like a great innkeeper to your visitors. Act like a good friend to your personal relationships. Act like a "good citizen." Act like the things you have in your life are blessings. They all are! Set your bar higher and higher. Name it, then claim it!

Norman Vincent Peale's book "The Power of Positive Thinking" is applicable even today. Its application to life and business and art are perceptive. I read it at 21 years old. And, all this raises the pertinent question in the back of my mind: Will the macaroni art I did in camp be a valuable discovery in my Mother's attic one day? Hmmmmmmm...maybe......just maybe! ;-)

Have a great day (or whatever kind of day you choose for yourself....)! *wink*

Innkeeper Keith A. Neubert

Naples, Maine

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Runner-Ups and Inn Rooms"

One of the joys of owning a bed and breakfast inn is selecting the theme of the business. I adore inns revolve around themes, be it gardening, islands off the coast of Maine, or that which is "nautical."

Selecting room names for Inn at Long Lake was such fun! My lovely friend, Fay, helped by suggesting Classic Hollywood names in addition to the American music icons on my list. And, so...while many rooms at the inn were (and are) named after notables like Glenn Miller, Mae West, and Cole Porter, several luminaries were overlooked ("Hey. It's a 16-room inn. Gimme a break for more rooms!" lol).

One such actress from Hollywood's bygone era of creativity was Matilda "Tilda" Manique. From her meagar beginnings in Iowa as a drugstore salad bar attendant (she was later lovingly known as "Cukie from Du-bukie" by her closest friends) to her discovery by the motion picture industry eating a Knickerbocker Sundae in a West Hollywood diner, Tilda's career was fraught with ups and downs.

Her legendary role in 1940's "Bally Ho in Bali Hai" was a high point for Tilda. As the Pina Colada-soaked streetwalker spreading happy cheer throughout the paths and byways of the Somoan mountainsides, she was endeared by legions of fans, primarily workers in the pineapple and coconut professions. Her musical song from the film "Smile Free...Coconuts Cost a' Plenty" was nominated for several Tony and film awards.

Later in life--long after the cameras stopped rolling--Ms. Manique was reputed to have spent solitude living in (and by) a box near Franzia Vineyards. She happily signed autographs to faithful fans, a tribute to her short, but glorious, acting career.

Her comeback as "one of the colored girls" backing Lou Reed in his 1971 "I Got One Song..but It's Great" Tour brought new success to her. Tilda was beat out (and up) by Clara Peller for Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" marketing campaign. The company refused her to read her lines off cue cards...

She was last seen riding a 2-person bicycle alone by the Grand Canyon. Her fans fear that, like her career of yesteryear, her fall was a quick ride into the gulch. Her presence remains unknown.

Happy April to All!!