Showing posts with label B and B. Show all posts
Showing posts with label B and B. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A delightful B&B in Medora, North Dakota

We have slowly shuffled our way from Florida to North Carolina, to Ohio, to Wisconsin and then  we spent a night at a delightful B&B in Medora, North Dakota, overlooking Teddy Roosevelt National Park and the National Grasslands.  Eagle Ridge Lodge is one perfect, unexpected place.

Some 13 years ago, Paul and Joanne built their dream house and B and B and have been busy ever since.  The live on the edge of a crater view of the badlands..  The scene changes daily as the sun travels over the sky.  When full to capacity,  they can easily house 23 people.  Their home is a retreat for weary travelers, a gathering place for a weekend of quilting or knitting or conferences.  Breakfast and dinner are served and I understand lunch can also be available.

A little off the beaten path, but well worth the trip.  Eagle Ridge Lodge is where you can meet other travelers and share stories and laughs.  It was a beautiful change for us since we usually are rushing to get West.  Paul told us at breakfast, which was a very tasty, fluffy, baked French toast with homemade caramel syrup, a slice of ham and fresh pineapple and blueberries, that originally the land they built on was an Indian ceremonial ground.  It was not just us...everyone seems to have immediate calm when they stepped upon this land.  It wasn't until breakfast that someone at our table mentioned that there are no televisions in the B&B.  Honestly had not even missed them at all.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dining in Alsace

A street like this one, with narrow lanes and a house in the middle makes me love Europe more and more each time. This is so unexpected and so beautiful. Can't you just imagine people walking these streets hundreds of years ago? I can.

But then, this is what the streets look like today and I am sure, a couple of hundred years ago, they also looked like this. Ladies, wear your comfort shoes. No fancy shoes on this street.

Our dear hostess, Lily, prepared us dinner one night and we were impressed. As is typical in France, dinner hour is 8 p.m. Okay, I will admit it....I am usually relaxing and getting ready for bed at this hour of the night. But, when in Rome, or France.... We started with Cremant, an Alsatian sparking wine and warm pretzels out of the oven. Then, one hour later, after chatting with our hosts and the other guests staying in the B and B, we had a lovely lettuce salad and Zwiebel kuchen (onion tart) hot out of the oven. Oh, Yum!!

Then came the main course. Roasted duck breast with pinot noir sauce, haricot verts wrapped in bacon and steamed, half a tomato topped with bread crumbs and herbs and broiled in the oven and gratin potatoes. Everything tasted wonderful, but it was too much food. After all, by this time, we were close to 10 p.m. The 6 of us guests drank two bottles of pinot noir with the meal. Then came the cheese course. Six different cheeses to eat with sliced bagette. We tried a local muenster cheese on which you spooned caraway seeds. Very nice. By the way, these caraway seeds tasted like none I have ever had before. They were vibrant and strong and very, very good.
Then came a pause, a slight pause. Then we were presented with a rhubarb pie with a crisp shell and a light custard on the rhubarb and a beautiful meringue. We finally left the table shortly after 11 p.m. It was so good, but as Americans, we are not used to eating so late in the evening and then...simply going to bed. We were not hungry at breakfast. I wonder why?

But, when I saw this Kugelhopf for breakfast, I could hardly wait to cut into it. In fact, it was still hot out of the oven. So good, so light and the crunchy almonds on the bottom. Yes, I certainly forgot that I was not hungry. Wouldn't you?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We are now in Alsace!

This lovely home and our bed and breakfast for three days is in the Alsace region of France. It is named Le Jardin De L'll and is located in Huttenheim. It turned out to be a very delightful experience. Lily, her husband and daughter greeted us and made us feel welcome in their home immediately. Lily speaks a little English and her German is perfect, so we got along just fine.

The picture below shows the entry into the home and peering into the kitchen. I loved it immediately. Lily loves to shop the antique stores and has furnished her home with many finds of the Alsace region of France. See the hearts? I LOVE hearts!! This is why this place grabbed my heart immediately.

The sitting/living home was a delightful gathering place as we awaited breakfast or dinner. Yes, for a price, she cooks a fantastic French dinner for her guests. The Trout and I were enjoying an aperitif of a sparkling wine, Cremant d'Alsace. You know, it is not champagne unless the grapes are grown in the Champagne region of France.

The beautiful old wood furniture, here housing the dishes and glasses for breakfast and dinner. Everything absolutely, perfectly sitting in the right place.

And a picture of the breakfast table. Breads and jams and jellies (notice the 8 jars in the bottom of the picture showing Lilly's homemade jams.) Always something warm from the oven, wonderful coffee in over-sized cups.

We would highly recommend this bed and breakfast for anyone wishing to travel to the Alsace region of France. The hosts are wonderful, the accommodations perfect and the location was good for our travels around the area.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It is bread baking day in the Black Forest

We are in Joklisbauern Hof in Gutach, Germany. This is at the edge of the Black Forest, near the French border. We were fortunate to stay in this farm B and B on bread baking day. Not really keeping count, they said they bake over 100 loaves of white and rye bread every Friday.

The town folk can see the smoke from the wood oven and several hours later, the bread smell starts wafting into town.

At 6 a.m. the first batch is started in the kitchen. A large professional mixer is rolled into the center of the kitchen. It does the mixing and the kneading. After enough proofing time, loaves are formed and left to rest on long boards in the kitchen.

During this time, Martin has built a wood fire in the oven where his father and grandfather also baked bread. The coals are then moved to each side of the large oven, excess is scraped out and the stove is brushed clean with a large, wet brush. The water also helps to provide steam which makes a crackly crust.

This is definitely a two man (woman) job. Martin and Elfriede carry the loaves out of the house and into the small oven room. Notice, Elfriede is smiling. She smiles constantly.
Metal pegs protrude out of the stone wall in the oven room where the heavy bread laden boards are laid. Can you see some of the loaves just drooping off the board?

Elfiede gives each loaf a gentle pat and reshaping as Martin shoves the loaves to the back of the oven. He uses a thermometer which he holds to the opening of the oven and gets an immediate 184 degrees C. "Perfect" he says. That is approximately 365 degrees F. Every 15 minutes thereafter, he turns each loaf to let it bake evenly, otherwise one side will blacken too much. The loaves bake for one hour. They bake three batches like this every Friday.

He bakes 1 kg loaves which he sells for 1.8 euro. The 2 kg loaves sell for 2.5 euro. All day, cars arrive to buy the bread. Just guess who was first at the breakfast table when the warm loaves came out of the oven. "Perfect", I say, "perfect." The rich farm butter just slid off the crusty bread.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A friendship is reunited again!

Our friends Dieter and Heidi from Germany
left to right-- Susan, Dieter, Heidi and The Trout
In 1978, we were living in Coldwater, Michigan. We had a Sister city program with Soltau, Germany. We got involved immediately. After living in Heidelberg, Germany, 1968-1969, we had developed a real love for the people of Germany. The fact that I learned to speak German before English was just an added bonus.

In 1978, we hosted Dieter and Heidemarie in our home when Soltau came to the USA. We had lots of fun and we started a good relationship. In 1979, The Trout and I traveled to Germany and stayed in Dieter and Heidi's home. There were several more visits back and forth and phone calls on birthdays and always, always, a call from Germany at 5 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Though Dieter does not have a great love for the Internet, we do correspond this way and Skype each other also. It is still easier for them to phone us. This past Christmas Eve, we told them about our plans to spend 3 days in the Black Forest of Germany. Immediately they responded that they would like to meet us there. And so the plans began.

We found a bed and breakfast in Gutach, Germany, in the Black Forest, named Joklisbauren Hof. I will speak of this wonderful place in my next blog.

The Trout and I landed in Paris, went through customs and caught the TGV, the bullet train, right at Charles de Gaulle airport and headed for Strasbourg, France. There we rented a car and drove for just a few hours and arrived at the farm where we were staying for 3 fun days. Ten minutes later, our friends from northern Germany arrived by car. It was quite the reunion, blessed with a toast of beer which was very appreciated for our parched throats. We caught up right where we left off after seeing them the last time in 2001.

We had 3 days of sightseeing and eating meals together. My talks with Heidi revealed how much we had matured since our first meeting 32 years ago. We have two daughters and they have a son and our children are all married now. We compared those growing up years, retirement, and just living each day with fun and laughter.

Of all the great experiences in this world, my favorite, by far, will always be reunions. I love meeting with old friends and reconnecting. Tomorrow I will tell you about some of good things that happened while in the Black Forest.