Monday, July 26, 2010

"Yes, you can bike on water!!"

(Above: Didi, from Baltimore, MD, always wanted to try a Long Lake WaterBike. Her Dad helped make this memory come true this past weekend! Water in Long Lake has been described as "warm as bath water"--perfect for recreation and fun!)

Greetings to all!

Business has been great at the inn and the staff and I are having a great time. Camp Walden in nearby Denmark, Maine is celebrating its 100th anniversary this week and women from all over the country are here to cut the cake! They are having a lovely time sitting on the porch and remember their days at Walden as campers. Many of them have daughters of their own now and they are here, too (where was the key to the lock on the piano??!! Hahaha).
More later from the inn--keep posted and try to do something this week that will be a good "new memory" out of your norm!
Keith A. Neubert

Friday, July 23, 2010

Busy Weekend, Happy Faces

Hello, Blog Friends.

The arrow points to the griddle, on which I made Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes this morning. YUM!

Wish you were here!

Keith A. Neubert

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

No Chop Hooey Here....Cutting Boards

Hello, Blog Friends in Cyberland.

I've spent most of the afternoon cooking in the kitchen--cinnamon-sugared Snickerdoodles for my afternoon treats, prepping a Vegetable Jambalaya filling for some omelets in the morning, and, of course, my own dinner.

I think back at the posting on safety I did a few weeks ago. So many "battle wounds" in my long and cool hospitality career! This is the essence of "experience" I guess---doing, learning, re-doing, then perfecting.

Chopping garden vegetables requires a fair amount of technique (I know courses in culinary schools that specifically focus on "knife skills!"). This post is not about this. Rather, it is about the humble, but useful cutting board. Seems easy, right---perhaps not as much as one might think.

Cutting boards come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and compositions. Wooden ones are best for breads (meat juices can get inside the porous wood and become unsanitary). The "plastic" ones are non-porous and best for meats and vegetables. It is best to have separate boards for separate types of items (vegetables, chicken/poultry, meats, fish, etc.) NEVER cut anything on a board on which you have just cut meat (unless it is fully washed/sanitized)! You will cross-contaminate from the meat juices if you do so.

Home Goods, a cool retailer in South Portland, Maine had the "plastic" cutting boards with handles made of a rubber material on each end. These are excellent (I bought two of them). The handles hold the board in place while you are cutting and chopping. Boards that slip should have a damp kitchen towel under them to prevent them from moving---this tip will save you at least one "boo-boo" and 3 bandages! LOL.

Always look for boards that are dishwasher safe. Cleaning with hot, soapy water liberally will prevent any contamination or food handling issues. An approved sanitizer, good detergent with bleach, or a light solution of water and bleach will keep your kitchen and cutting boards happy and clean.

That's all from the inn kitchen today! A storm is a'brewin' and time to close the windows around the inn. Be well and happy chopping!

Keith A. Neubert


Saturday, July 17, 2010

In My 45th Year...

Greetings, Blog Friends!

A warm Saturday night here in Naples, Maine. This weekend the staff has really been put to the test as it is one of most sought after weekends of the Summer. They (and I) are holding up well, despite the warm weather. I am proud of all their efforts.

This past Wednesday was my 45th birthday. While I don't consider it a "milestone" by any means, it was a day, and week, that reinforced that having good friends makes Life all worth while! Astra, the inn's gardener/breakfast server/housekeeper made me a delicious Carrot-Raisin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. She admittedly doctored up a boxed cake mix but added shredded carrots and raisin and topped it with a luscious icing (you know how I am all about taking a simple recipe and playing with variations!). Andi, another one of my wonderful servers and housekeepers, made me a cute card featuring one of her Mom's many cats. The message inside almost made me teary-eyed. Her Mom, Wanda, made a personal appearance to the inn with some locally-picked Maine blueberries in a jar--always a treat!

Of course there were the numerous e-mails, e-cards, and phone calls from friends from the past. They all meant the world to me.

At this busy point of the Summer, and I guess this applies to most innkeepers, it is challenging to make plans with friends and family. Serving guests and keeping the inn tidy is all that we have on our plates at this time. It is what I remind myself daily: "Game ItalicOn!"Italic

One of the interesting things that comes to mind, perhaps not just on birthdays, is how we surround ourselves with people in our lives that don't merely accept our flaws, they inspire us to change by their example and their loving advice. It is my belief that friends that approve of us in all our "dysfunctional traits" don't really care for us that much at all. They play it safe, not wanting to rock the boat. They shy away from intimacy at any costs to keep our friendships. Perhaps they also cannot express themselves and afraid of conflict in the relationship.

True friends, however, make the loving choice (and it is a choice) to be totally honest with us. Only then can intimacy be found, I have found. This remains on my mind this week at this step in a 45-year old path. Can you discern between the people in your Life who just "deal with your flaws" and those who want you to grow out of them? This takes risk, and depth of intimacy, and lots of uncompromising Love!

Thankfully, I now surround myself with the latter (and this is something that took many years to experience!) It took me a lot of heartache to make the choice to remove the former from my Life and to wish them well on their own journey.

Wrapping up the day here at the inn. I hope everyone's Summer is going really well. Thanks for reading the Inn at Long Lake blog!

Keith A. Neubert


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer is Here!!

Hi, Blog Friends.

Despite the warm weather here in Western Maine, the guests at the inn have been having a cool time. This evening I have guests are from New Jersey, South America, Queens (NY), and Burlington (VT). Andi, one of my breakfast servers, is majoring in Spanish. She is delighted to hear a "native speaker" and to practice the language. While my administrative assistant, Gail, has been invaluable at the Front Desk (even with her sticking to paperwork because of the humidity!), Donna, Astra, and I met recently to discuss the Oktoberfest menu for October 23rd. (Add to list: 'order lederhosen.') The menu is amazing and we are all excited. Matthew is coming back to work some breakfasts this month. Matthew is a good worker and super guy. The guests really enjoy him. He rounds out my wonderful staff.

This morning started out with Pina Colada Muffins (served with the Orange-Rhubarb Preserves that Jane and I made), followed by Apple-Spice Pancakes with Syrup. I was surprised how popular the pancakes were! Of course, some started their day with eggs to order(lighter fare, indeed) with my inn-made Honey-Wheat Bread and sausage.

Jane came over earlier in the week to watch the big Naples Fireworks Spectacular on July 4th. I passed all the comments on our preserves to her. She was touched. We lost power for two hours that evening. It was re-stored just before the show began (to a deafening "YAY!!!!" from the Causeway audience). This year they programmed the fireworks with American music (Sousa marches, etc.) It was really very nice. Jane said: "We have the best seats in the town, don't we?" We did!

The popular cocktail on these warm evenings has been my Blueberry Cosmopolitans. An evening on the front porch, looking down at the action on Long Lake, is relaxing. I often see guests slumping down, and down, and down as their shoulders relax. This is one of the blessings of innkeeping---knowing guests are away from stress and you are helping them relax.

Weekends have been slower than normal (for any innkeepers reading this blog). Weekdays have been looking strangely active. I guess the ultimate luxury now is vacationing during the week, rather than on the weekends. People seem to be booking later and "last minute" commented a fellow innkeeper I know.

Even with the heat, and the stress of work, and increasing business as Summer works into its flow, I feel happy and blessed. Guests are pulling in to the inn's lot, so I must end. I hope that everyone is staying cool and happy, too!

Keith A. Neubert


Inn at Long Lake