Seeing New Trees!

April 30, 2010

“Then one day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame. I stood on the grass with the lights in it, grass that was wholly fire, utterly focused and utterly dreamed. It was less like seeing than like being for the first time seen, knocked breathless by a powerful glance. The flood of fire abated, but I’m still spending the power….” Annie Dillard, Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, p. 36 (Perennial Classics).

I saw the freshly planted trees today at Wilmer Park next to the river. They weren’t cedars with fire lights, and I managed to breathe just fine, but I was still pretty excited that they were there. Don’t miss them! Who knows? You might catch the light show if you hit things just right.

Dorrie’s Granola

April 26, 2010

Honey vanilla nut crunch, crunch, crunch.

The pings of twisted stomachs , marathon field-chases, surgery spots in the mud, and other tales of cow vet action were often the topic of conversation at our dinner table during the months when our Dr. Dorrie lived with us.  It was a long time ago, but there are just some things one never forgets!

Granola isn’t quite in the same class with cow surgeries, but Dorrie is the one who gave me this recipe.  We happened to arrive at her house once when she had made a ton of this stuff, so we were invited to eat to our heart’s content.  Wow–it was in the same category as licking the homemade ice cream-covered paddles fresh out of the hand-turned ice cream maker from my childhood.  I had to have the recipe! 

“Dorrie’s Granola” is a staple in our dining room here, but in case you can’t come to Simply Bed & Bread any time soon, we wanted to share the recipe anyway.  That’s just what you do with the things that you love.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place in 2 ungreased 9×13 pans:  6 c rolled oats.  Bake 10 min’s.  Remove from oven and stir in:  1/2 c sunflower seeds, 1 c nuts, 1/2 c coconut, 1/2 c sesame seeds, 1/2 c wheat germ, 1/2 c powdered milk.  Add to dry mixture:  2/3 c honey, 2/3 c oil, 1 T vanilla.  Stir till thoroughly coated.  Bake 10 – 15 min’s, stirring every 3 – 5 min’s, till uniformly golden.  DO NOT OVERBAKE.  Let it cool in the same 2 pans mentioned above, undisturbed, then break into chunks.  (“Chunky Granola, p 92, More–With Less Cookbook, Doris Longacre.)

Enjoy!  Or try some here at our place.

Visiting Washington College?

April 23, 2010

After you find this sign, then keep your eyes open for the Simply Bed & Bread sign!

Weekdays are the perfect time to make a college visit, but we have some weekends open also.  Book one room at the regular rate at Simply Bed & Bread and your prospective college student stays at a reduced rate in the other! 

Sitting on our porch with your cups of coffee might be the perfect setting to discuss your visit, and could also help you get a “feel”  for living here, since we’re so close to campus.  Trying out the town and the neighborhood could be an integral part of the process in determining what “fits” and what doesn’t.  We’d love to have you as our guests!

Avoiding B&B’s

April 21, 2010

Maintaining anonymity

The hall at Washington College was full and I heard the writer say, “I never go to B&B’s.”   I knew what he meant; he preferred anonymity.  I get that.   Which is why we offer that at Simply Bed & Bread

“There is…. a time to heal,” and healing from the everyday stuff–especially if that stuff has been pretty heavy, full and intense, can be what a person needs more than anything else.  A place just to be is what one needs. 

 Check out “The Silent Retreat package.  It can be tailored to your needs.  It can be for a single or for a couple.  Coffee and take-out can be outside your door.  A simple breakfast can be already in your room for the next morning.  Does this sound appealing?  Would you like the warmth of a small B&B while retaining complete privacy?  We’d love to offer you just this.  Give us a call.

On a walk the other day… (Chestertown in the spring!)

April 19, 2010

A Fountain Coke at Stam’s

April 16, 2010

Stam's soda fountain

I can see it all clearly in my mind’s eye:  the men standing around the pot-bellied stove towards the back of the Locust Grove store, my sister and I in our “champagne dresses” (named after Norma Zimmer on the Lawrence Welk show), and the rows of candy in the wooden case with the slanted glass front to the right of the store.  It was one of those mom and pop stores so common in little villages in the 50’s (although I can’t ever remember seeing a “mom;” only a “pop”).  And I loved it.   We got to go there with Daddy after Sunday School  and it was just the three of us.  That was the first reason I loved it.  Plus it smelled good–like the stove and the men and the promise of candy.  And I guess it smelled a little like dirt, since they did have some, and I liked that, too, because we didn’t have that in our house.   

 My sister and I were princesses at that store on Sunday mornings.  And we were royalty whose wishes came true on one particular Sunday morning when we were asked by one older man, (and I wish I could remember the man’s name but  I can’t), “Do you want some candy?”  I lowered my eyes and answered quietly, “Oh, no thank you,” since that was what polite little girls said.   But my knight in shining armor-daddy said to me and my sister, “It’s all right, girls.”  And so we each got a whole Hershey’s chocolate bar that we didn’t have to share.  I don’t know what our Sunday School lesson that day was, but there was heaven in that store!

 We have a store in Chestertown that has heavenly Hersheys, too.  It’s called Stam’s.  It’s actually a drug store, but they also have an old-fashioned soda fountain that is the real deal.  Vanilla Cokes, lemon blends, ice cream sodas–you name it; they can make it.   (And my husband actually did used to make all of those things, since he was their soda jerk while he was in high school.)

So heavens to Betsy!  Why are you still sitting in front of that computer?  Get up; get the phone and call Simply Bed & BreadYou’ve got to get to Chestertown before Stam’s closes!  For heaven’s sake, hurry!


April 13, 2010

Pillows on our front porch

Attention Nascar Fans!

April 12, 2010

Are you having trouble finding a room for the May 14th Nascar weekend?  We have 2 rooms still open!

Chestertown is a hike, considering Dover is 45 minutes away from the action of the track.  But it may be closer to the races than your own home is!

Maybe this is your story:  are you losing sleep now because  the person most special to you is not a Nascar fan, and you can’t figure out how to make all of this work?   He / she might find the quiet appeal of Chestertown perfect while you’re happily screaming along with the fans in Dover!  Accommodations at Simply Bed & Bread might be the solution to this problem. 

Or maybe you’re also a collector of cars.  Do you have one that is especially significant?  Has it ever occurred to you to have your car painted by an artist? 

Perhaps your Special Someone is a lover of cars.  An artist’s painting of his / her favorite car could be the gift that could keep on giving! 

There is a lovely shop downtown where you would find just such an artist!  In fact, that same artist promised to loan me one of her paintings for display here just in time for your stay, so you could get a sneak peek preview.

Sound tempting?   Give us a call!

I was sewing today…

April 9, 2010

Shown in the picture is a quilt that I need to finish. It’s been on hold for a while now, but today I was eager to make pillows to go with our new cushions on our wicker furniture on our front porch. I’ve almost completed them, and will include a picture of them very soon…..but the very best thing for you to do would be to book a night or two and see the new pillows “in person!” Sitting on our porch with a cup of coffee on a couple of these lovely cool mornings would be a good start to a day away, don’t you think? Hmm…, maybe I should head out there tomorrow and work on that quilt!

Buttered Toast Plus

April 4, 2010

I was one of the lucky ones who knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Easy. I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. (I wanted to be a nurse when I was very young, because of the Cherry Ames nurse books that I got for birthday presents. Well, …either a nurse, a sleuth — yes, I got a lot of Nancy Drews also — or at least a girl with a pony tail like Sky King’s Penny! But the nurse dream ended when I took high school chemistry, and I guess the others just sort of went away. I had decided: the drama of teaching the very young was the job for me!

So there I was a few years later, in Richmond, VA, in the innner city section of Southside, student teaching in Mrs. Vashti Dawson’s first grade class.

I had always known it would go well. What was there about it not to go well? I was wonderful; they would love me, and they would know immediately how much I loved them. I was an excellent student, prepared fully to fill their young minds with much reading expertise, and so of course they would soak in every creative integrated curriculum idea that I had come up with! And so I had been chomping at the bit to begin!

Armed therefore with my beautiful learning centers, lovely bulletin boards, a file box full of ideas, and my indomitable spirit, I was ready to tackle and win these unfortunate children over!

Oh. My. How do I describe how wrong I was? Let me count the ways. I hadn’t had a clue. They didn’t listen to me. They tore up my lovely teaching materials. They threw them around the room. They laughed at me. They hit each other. And pushed. And tripped. And did everything they were big enough to do. They were totally out of control. And they had no idea on earth who or what I was: (nor did I at that point) — certainly not a teacher! It was horrible. I came close to quitting. I begged Mrs. Vashti Dawson never to leave me alone. (She was a wonderful teacher, by the way, and everything I wanted to be: gentle, kind, and competent, and she had those little hellions controlled with her little finger. I didn’t know how she did it).

Needless to say, I was a wreck both in and out of that classroom. It was the longest 2 months of my life. But there was one absolutely perfect thing about Richmond, Virginia during that 2 month period. And that was Mrs. Cobb. She was the mother of one of my college roommates, and I lived at her house during my stay there.

Mrs. Cobb loved me when the children didn’t. She listened to me. She gave me kleenexes when I cried. She took me to a belly dance class. She gave me kibbi at the Lebanese Community Center where her friends hung out. And she buttered my toast. Plus she fixed me oatmeal, even though I already had my buttered toast!

Two carbs at the same meal. It was a picture of plenty. And it was so free, and so over the top that I wanted to cry at breakfast, before I’d even gone to school! It stopped me in my tracks.

I didn’t know why she did it: why would a person butter another’s toast, when that is something that is known universally as something that you do yourself? And why did she give me two starchy foods at the same meal? (We didn’t refer to them as carbs then, but rather as starches.) It completely undid me. It was so unexpected. So warm and loving. And so generous. Definitely it was one of the reasons why I could keep going into that first grade classroom each day.

I’ve never forgotten that buttered toast and oatmeal. When people stay at Simply Bed & Bread, I hope they see hints of the extravagance of Mrs. Cobb’s breakfasts for me.

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Location, Location, Location.

You might notice the WAC Administration Building cupola out of the corner of your eye as you walk onto Simply Bed & Bread's brick path, since our house is just a stone's throw away from the college. Or it might be the ...
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