Welcome back pasta!


Stuffed Ravioli Recipe

Dinner is served!

Pasta, welcome back to our world after many years of the low carb lifestyle. A  funny thing happened in Italy. Nearly three weeks of eating pasta and pizza every day. Somehow neither one of us gained much weight at all. It seems that walking all day long, and eating modest portions works like a charm. Good news for David, who has been pasta deprived for more than a decade. Things are looking up for him now that we're back at home at our bed and breakfast in Woodstock, Vermont!!!!

 We've had lots of rainy weather for the last few days, not so conducive to spending time in the garden, but great for spending time in the kitchen. So, the other day I decided to make ravioli for dinner, which was an absolute blast. I can't think of a nicer way to spend time - hanging out with my hubby in the kitchen, a nice glass of wine, and lots of flour.

Stuffed Ravioli with Spinach

I love my Atlas pasta machine

I made two batches of pasta dough, one with King Arthur all purpose flour, the other with King Arthur Italian-style flour.  The Italian style flour is much lower in protein than all purpose.  We learned about this flour at Mamma Agata's cooking class in Ravello.  She insists that it is the secret to nearly everything that she makes - light pizza crusts, gnocchi, pasta, her famous lemon cake, etc.  The folks at King Arthur concurred.  They assured me that it would produce incredible results for ravioli.  I made the dough with the Italian-style flour first.  I used three cups of flour, made a well, cracked in three eggs, and proceeded to incorporate the flour with a fork.  Let me confess that this is the first time that I've made pasta in many years,  so I am by no means an expert on the topic.  I incorporated too much flour, and ended up with a pretty dry craggy mess.  I added a little bit of water, proceeded to knead for about 8 minutes, and eventually ended up with a cohesive ball.

Stuffed Ravioli Recipe from Italy

My free form raviolis. I have a mold, what was I thinking?

My second batch went much smoother.  I stopped incorporating flour when I had a ball that was not so dry.  I kneaded for about 8 minutes, adding flour to my hands when the dough felt a little bit sticky.  This dough was far easier to roll and to fill. 

I admit that I was a bit disappointed with my (very expensive) Italian-style flour dough.  It didn't roll as nicely, and it had a tendency to tear.  But my disappointment ended when we cooked the raviolis - no question, the texture of the Italian-style flour made the most tender ravioli.  The all purpose flour is great, but not nearly as melt in your mouth tender as the Italian style.  I'm anxious to try making the dough again, making sure not to add too much flour.  I have a hunch that better technique on my part will produce better results. 

Stuffed Ravioli Recipe

My friend the ravioli form

My filling mixture for this stuffed ravioli recipe was inspired by some great local beets and spinach from the Woodstock Farmer's Market, Maplebrook Farm ricotta cheese, and goat cheese from Vermont Butter and Cheese company. 

1 pound of beets (mine happened to be golden)

1/2 pound baby spinach

1 Tablespoon each finely chopped garlic and shallots

1 pound ricotta cheese

4 ounces goat cheese

1 to 2 Tablespoons white truffle oil

Wash the beets, place in a pan just big enough to hold them, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, cover with foil, and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.  Cool beets.  Mince finely and add to a mixing bowl.

 Sautee the spinach, garlic and shallots in a saute pan with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  No need to cook very long, just until the spinach is wilted.  When cool, chop and add to the beets along with the cheeses and truffle oil.   (My spinach was not wet, but if yours ends up with liquid in the pan, make sure to squeeze it dry before chopping.)   Add salt and pepper, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.

 If you haven't already done so, now is a great time to open a bottle of wine.  Rolling and filling is going to take some time, so get ready to relax.

 I rolled my pasta to the thinnest setting on my pasta roller, and had the prettiest results using the ravioli form shown below.  After putting a little bit of filling in each pocket, brush the perimeter with a damp pastry brush.  Top with another sheet of pasta, and use a rolling pin to seal and cut the ravioli.

Ravioli Recipe

Dusting the form is a great idea - makes it easy to release the finished raviolis

 Bring a pot of water to the boil, add a liberal amount of salt.  The water should taste salty like the ocean, this will flavor the pasta as it cooks.  Cook the ravioli in barely simmering water for about 2 minutes.  For the sauce, melt a few tablespoons of butter, add chopped chives.  Drain the ravioli, top with the sauce, and add freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

Would love to hear back from anybody that tries this recipe.  I hope that you have as much fun as I did!

I re-rolled all of my pasta trimmings, and ended up with some lovely fettuccini noodles that are now in my freezer waiting for my next inspiration.

Stuffed Ravioli Recipe with Cheese

Waste not, want not. Left over pasta dough & scraps put to good use.

My Venice Love Affair- Touring an Italian Fish Market


So we are back at Vermont bed and breakfast after an amazing spring break - three weeks in Europe.  We spent our last three days in Venice, a place that I was so excited to see, but had heard was filled with restaurants that are mostly over-priced tourist traps.   Determined to eat well, I read a lot about the Venice restaurant scene.  A name that kept popping up was Loris Manna, better known as "Lolo," owner of  Al Fontego dei Pescatori restaurant.  Lolo has over twenty-seven years experience in the mongering of fish, and served as President of the Rialto Fish Market for over nine years ... where he still has a vendor operation.

David and Lolo at the entrance to the fish market

With the help of our host in Venice, we were lucky enough to arrange a tour of the Rialto fish market with Lolo.   He doesn't charge anything for the tour.  His whole mission is to educate visitors to the bounty of food that Venice farmer's markets have to offer.  He doesn't require that you dine with him.  Upon meeting him, I just about had to beg to eat in the restaurant - showed him my notes of dishes that he's known for.  He smiled, really seemed to appreciate that I had done a little homework.  Finally allowed to have dinner with him, he still demanded that we would only pay for wine and water if we did not enjoy our meal at his restaurant.  Such is the hospitality that we enjoyed in Venice. I was completely blown away by what I saw at the markets.   Superbly fresh fish, mostly from the waters just around Venice.  (This came as a complete shock to both David and me.  We have been somewhat unimpressed with the selection and quality of fish available in the Mediterranean both on this and other vacations in the past.)   Lolo is passionate about terroir and quality of ingredients, using only native fish and produce in his restaurant.  He pointed out the difference between Maine lobster and his native lobster.  The local lobster cost more than twice as much as Maine lobster (46 Euros per kilo, versus 20 for the Maine lobster).   His philosophy is simple - only buy the best.  If you cannot afford the local lobster, then do not buy any lobster.  Make frittata instead, use local zucchini and eggs of course.

Native lobster and shrimp

The shrimp was a revelation.  He picked one up, pulled off the shell and handed it to me.  I smelled it and agreed that it was indeed fresh.  He said "yes, fresh, don't smell it, eat it."  Now, I am a lover of sashimi and sushi, but raw shrimp with no seasoning at all scared me a little bit.  Deep breath, get ready, eat shrimp.  WOW, that is all that I can say.  Sweet, delicate texture, clean taste of the ocean.  I have never had a piece of seafood that was so beautiful.  David, not a raw fish fan, was also handed a shrimp.  I had a hard time keeping a straight face knowing his personal aversion to the raw.  Surprise, he too agreed that it was wonderful.  Hmmm.  So much for our pre-conceived notions.  More on this later, but Lolo's restaurant was full of these kinds of wonderful surprises.

More and less local artichokes

The produce from the neighboring vegetable market was equally impressive.  Lolo pointed out that the best artichokes are the ones on the left in the photo.  They cost nearly twice as much as the others, and according to Lolo are the only ones worth using.  The others are from an area considered less desirable in terms of the quality of produce that is grown there.  It really amazed me that everything being sold at the market was grown locally, and that it was all just so beautiful.  And Lolo's definition of local really redefined local.

Hangin' with the locals

After we concluded the tour, Lolo invited us to his local bacari, All' Arco,  for a glass of wine.  It was tiny, unassuming, full of Venetians.  Just the kind of place that you hope to find, tucked into a tiny alley, no water view,  people mostly standing because there are just a few seats to be had.  Glasses of Prosecco and wine flowed freely, and the price was shockingly cheap - just 2 Euros per glass.  Lolo knew the people standing outside, and was happy to introduce us to them - the one on the left is a vendor in the produce market, the one on the right is a currently unemployed chef, self-described as "loco".  We felt as though we had made friends in just a few minutes, such a warm and welcoming bunch.


The company wasn't the only great thing at All' Arco.  The bar's counter was filled with a stunning array of snacks called cicchetti, all costing just 1.5 Euros each.  We happily snacked on cicchetti and drank prosecco, feeling as though we had somehow stumbled into a fairytale.  Luckily the day didn't end there, check back another day to see about our dinner at Al Fontego that evening. We would happy to share more great stories with of our trip on your next visit to the Village Inn of Woodstock! See you soon!

Fish Stew Club!? Simon Pearce Restaurant Makes it Worth Signing Up For

 "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."  - Groucho Marx

There are exceptions to every rule. For me, it's the Fish Stew Club at Simon Pearce Restaurant in Quechee, Vermont- just a hop and a skip from the Village Inn of Woodstock. It began innocently enough. A few years ago I ordered one of the specials at lunch at Simon Pearce Restaurant. It happened to be the Provencal Fish Stew.  One bite and I was hooked.  It was like a trip to the south of France. Fresh fennel, tomatoes, mussels, an assortment of fish, baby spinach simmered in a white wine and lemon flavored broth, topped with saffron aioli and focaccia croutons.

Sign up for the stew club!

Provencal Fish Stew

My fish stew delight is heightened by the atmosphere. The restaurant is cantilevered over a waterfall, looking at a covered bridge.  The atmosphere is both modern and warm at the same time. The glassware is all made by Simon Pearce artisans - hand blown, made in the USA.   The dinnerware is also handcrafted by master artisans. Service is wonderful, friendly and efficient.  For me, going to lunch at Simon Pearce is like being on vacation, even if for just a few hours.

Alas, that lunch ended, but my craving for fish stew did not. A few weeks later, I called the restaurant to see when fish stew would be on the menu again. The lovely Deanna, restaurant manager, answered my call.  She asked if I wanted to be included in the Fish Stew Club. Too funny, I am not the only one that craves the stuff.  Sure, I sign up, and will be notified by e-mail whenever fish stew is on the menu.  Perfect! 

Simon Pearce Restaurant

The water fall, right outside the window by our table

Now don't worry if you aren't in the club, and aren't sure if you want to join, either. As of this fall, the Provencal Fish Stew has become a staple on the lunch menu. Not sure if it will stay that way, but I sure hope that it does so that you can try this wonderful dish anytime.

While you are at Simon Pearce Restaurant, be sure to check out the glass blowing downstairs. It is a delightful activity for folks of all ages. You can also see the turbine that harnesses energy from the massive waterfall.  The turbine produces all of the energy needed to power the entire restaurant and glassblowing operation. If you are visiting on the weekends, you can see potters at work.  And once you've come to appreciate all that goes into creating these beautiful pieces, you can saunter back up to the retail shop and treat yourself to a one of a kind remembrance of your visit to Vermont.

If I sound like a hired hand for Simon Pearce, I'm not. I just have a real love for how well they do things.  Our guests always rave about the excellent service at the restaurant. Personally I have a bit of an addiction to their glassware. The tables at our Woodstock Vermont bed and breakfast are topped with Simon Pearce hurricanes and their champagne buckets and glass ice cubes are in our tavern. And yesterday I was lucky enough to have another bowl of my favorite Provencal Fish Stew. Life is good.

Cafe du Monde Saves the Coffee

Change. Not always welcome, but inevitable. I usually resist, but am almost always thrilled with the outcome. In this case, it involves coffee - not just any coffee, but our beloved French Market Coffee from New Orleans that we have been serving at our Woodstock Vermont bed and breakfast for the past nine years. This change was in the works for some time. For many years I would call French Market to order our coffee. A very sweet woman named Michelle would answer, ask me how life is in the village of Woodstock, Vermont, and then take my coffee order. One day Michelle was gone. There was much confusion. Eventually someone on the phone told me that French Market Coffee was sold to Reily Foods, a much bigger company.
Cafe du Monde

The famous Cafe du Monde

Though it was difficult at first, eventually we were assigned a new sales rep. No more sweet conversations with Michelle, but at least we could still get our coffee. That is, until Reily Foods sent us a letter in late August  -they would no longer ship us coffee. Not thank you Village Inn of Woodstock for being a loyal customer for nine years, not sorry for the inconvenience, not call us if you have any questions. But, they did give us the name of another supplier, along with the owner's phone number and e-mail address. Okay, I was a little bit annoyed, but I called the new supplier. The owner answered the phone "hello", no company name, no introduction. I explained that I'd like to buy coffee. We had a very pleasant conversation, he said that he would send me a price list along with a product listing for everything else that he sells.  He asked me to send an e-mail with my contact info. I did that - no response. I followed up with another e-mail - no response.  Two more phone calls -neither were returned. So, French Market is not the most famous coffee in New Orleans. We originally chose French Market just because it is what most of the old line restaurants in New Orleans serve.  But, you already know how that story ended. Enter Cafe Du Monde, the New Orleans institution on Jackson Square. I called them and was immediately transferred to Chris, their wholesale manager. We arranged to meet this past November. It was all quite nice, much like when we first arranged to do business with French Market. A small company, a face and a name that appreciate your business. A welcome change! And an awesome cup o' joe to complete our Vermont inn's breakfast. We hope that you agree, we'll be getting our first shipment from Cafe du Monde in just a few weeks.

New Woodstock Restaurant, Welcome Melaza Caribbean Bistro!

Feels like forever since I have had a chance to write anything on our blog, we've been crazy busy with the fall foliage season. Alas, leaf peeping is about finished, so David and I seized the opportunity last night to try out Woodstock's newest restaurant, Melaza Caribbean Bistro. Melaza, a Puerto Rican, Cuban & Dominican Fusion restaurant, is just down the street from The Village Inn of Woodstock, right in the Village of Woodstock, Vermont.

We were greeted so warmly by James Van Kirk, one of the owners of the Woodstock restaurant. He has this wonderful energy and a great smile. The place is so full of energy, you can't help but love it from the second that you walk in. It was great to see how busy they were, especially since it was a Wednesday in a pretty quiet time here in Woodstock.

We chose to sit in the bar, which like the restaurant, is decorated in warm tones evocative of the Caribbean.

Caribbean Tapas Sampler, half eaten already

The wine list features nice wines starting at about $20.00 a bottle, a bit of a rarity these days.  Hard to go wrong with a bottle of Lunetta Prosecco for $21.00.  It was the perfect accompaniment for the Caribbean Tapas Sampler, pictured to the left. Sorry, the pictures in the post are not the greatest - camera battery was really low and I was trying to squeak out a few pictures, no room for do-overs.

James said that we should both order the sampler, that it is one of the best small plates on the menu. Neither of us was disappointed, we both enjoyed the different flavors and textures, and were frankly glad that we didn't have to share.

For entrees, David had the Beef Short Rib, braised in a flavorful tomato cuban creole

Braised Beef Short Rib "Costillas de Res"

sauce, served with garlic mashed potatoes and braised veggies.  This was melt in your mouth great, tons of flavor, seasoned just perfectly.

I ordered the Scallops "Veiras" and was equally happy with my selection.  Pan seared scallops, served over risotto, with a curry coconut lime sauce, pineapple chutney, and

Very blurry picture of my terrific scallops

tamarind glaze.  This is where my camera work is awful, but the presentation of the dish was so beautiful that I can't help but share the photo.  The portion was beautiful, not a whole ton of risotto, scallops really were the star, along with the wonderfully tangy sauce.

All entrees are served with a green salad with a refreshing house vinaigrette.  I called today to ask what the flavoring is, James said that it is Pomegranate.  Nice touch, I must say.
We are thrilled to have such an exciting restaurant join our already wonderful dining scene here in Woodstock, VT. We look forward to returning, and highly recommend that you give Melaza a try on your next visit to our Vermont bed and breakfast!

July at Village Inn of Woodstock- weddings, roses & picnics

Vermont inn 4th of July picnic

4th of July picnic on the terrace

I was going to write just about our 4th of July picnic for this post, but the month has brought other great celebrations to our Woodstock, VT B&B. So first things first, we had a great time hosting our first (maybe annual) picnic for our guests. We thought it would be fun to have a picnic so that our guests would have a chance to enjoy the terrace and relax for just a bit.  We were excited that almost all of our guests were able to attend, and enjoy the fruits of our labor - pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, potato salad, deviled pickled eggs, roasted chicken salad, and coconut cake. The coconut cake, which is one of David's favorites, was a last minute addition to the menu. I used to make it for our restaurant many years ago, but couldn't tell you the last time that I made it just for my poor hubby. Alas, now I can tell you. We were delighted that our friends Edward Forrest and Randy Paxton, owners of The Little Flower Shoppe and Crystal & Bark Designs, here in Woodstock, were able to join us. They moved to town four years ago, and have been providing us with the most amazing flowers ever since. I've never seen the same arrangement twice. They've delivered roses countless times to the Village Inn of Woodstock- not once has it been the classic with greens and baby's breath. This would be far too mundane for them; they do everything with an artist's eye. The last delivery was this past Monday - it featured brilliant red roses, blue thistles, greens, all in a tall slender vase wrapped in bark that Edward harvested from a fallen birch tree.
Village Inn of Woodstock picnic

Dylan and Nicole

The delivery of roses marked another great celebration here at the inn, the first wedding of the season on the terrace. The happy couple stayed with us for just one evening eight years ago, and had dinner in our restaurant at the time. Eight years later, they decided to have their ceremony right here on our terrace, and booked our Wedding / Civil Wedding package.  It is such a joy for us to be part of these intimate celebrations, and this case was no different. They arrived as guests, and left as friends, and we feel so blessed that they chose to celebrate their love here at our inn. We are looking forward to another wedding this coming week, welcoming our former guests and friends back to our Woodstock, Vermont Inn. And, I must say that I'm excited to see the flowers, which are being provided by The Little Flower Shoppe. Hopefully this time I'll remember to take pictures and post them!

David and Evelyn’s Big Adventure on Connecticut River


David and I had a great day canoeing on the Connecticut River yesterday. That sounds funny to me, since we were in Vermont and New Hampshire, but the Connecticut River is actually the biggest river in New England. It runs south from the Connecticut Lakes in New Hampshire, along the border between Vermont and New Hampshire,  into western Massachusetts, then Connecticut and finally into the sea. The kind folks at North Star Canoe Rentals invited us to be their guests, which we did yesterday.

Green Mountain Smokehouse Vermont

Green Mountain Smokehouse

Before we started our canoe trip, we stopped by to visit Jake Henne. He's the owner of Green Mountain Smokehouse, which is just down the road a bit from North Star Canoe. In our world, all things pork come from Jake - hickory smoked bacon, Vermont maple breakfast sausage, and maple cured ham.  In addition to the things that we use for breakfast, he makes many other kinds of sausages, beer brats for Long Trail Ale and Harpoon Brewery, smoked pork chops, corned beef, smoked turkey and chicken, and several other goodies. Always on the lookout for new things to serve at our Vermont Bed and Breakfast, we discovered that Jake makes his own corned beef. This was great news to us, since we made our own last fall, unaware that Jake could spare us from ourselves. It was also great to hear that Harpoon Brewery is a big supporter of Jake, using his turkey, ham, bacon and corned beef (more on that later).

Our time to start our trip had arrived, so off we went to meet the nice folks at North Star Canoe Rental. 

North Star Canoe Rental Cornish, NH

North Star Canoe Rental in Cornish, NH

 Once there, you sign a liability waiver, then they help you select the correct size paddle, provide you with a life jacket, and then drive you to your start point. We chose the shorter trip, which is 4 miles long, and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours - unless you are with my over-achiever husband - and then it takes only 1 hour and 15 minutes, with a pretty decent head wind. In any event, the trip is just beautiful. The scenic stretch of moving "flat water" is  beautiful, taking you under the Cornish-Windsor bridge, which has a  449'5" span, making it the longest covered bridge in the country. Once we were safely back at North Star, we were a little bit thirsty from the

Vermont Getaway Cornish-Windsor Bridge

The longest covered bridge in the country!

speedy paddling that we did.

Luckily, Harpoon Brewery just happens to be on the way back home to the Inn. What a great time - we started off with a UFO Hefeweizen beer, enjoyed the company of Jo the awesome bartender, and then had some great food - beer battered onion rings, the good fat kind where you can taste the onion (we're  not going to talk about the great greasy feeling on your lips). We followed up the onion rings with a Rueben . How nice to have great bar food done just right - Green Mountain Smokehouse  corned beef, layered with homemade sauerkraut, Swiss cheese

Harpoon Brewery Windsor, VT

Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT

and thousand island dressing. And all served on fresh onion rye from  Stone Arch Bakery in nearby Claremont, NH. This confirmed our suspicions about the corned beef from Green Mountain Smokehouse - no need to make our own.  Jake is the master.  Tender, tasty, just enough fat, excellent.  

With just a bit of time to spare, we went off to visit the Simon Pearce factory that is just a few hundred yards from Harpoon Brewery. Unfortunately we didn't have time to visit the Path of Life Sculpture Garden, which is a public sculpture garden whose eighteen works of art symbolize the circle of life.  We'll have to make a return visit, and perhaps check out Great River Outfitters, located right next door, for another canoe trip. In any event, I highly recommend visiting these sights when you visit us at our Woodstock, Vermont Bed and Breakfast, it was a great way to spend the day.

Vermont Inn Secret Recipe: Pickled Deviled Eggs

Let me just start out by saying that pickled eggs are not something that I grew up with, and don't worry, we don't serve them for breakfast at our Woodstock VT bed & breakfast. David, on the other hand did, and he has always loved the purple vinegary beasts. The first time that I tried one I couldn't imagine what there is to like about this - a rubbery, vinegary, hard-boiled egg. David looked almost relieved that he wouldn't have to share with me.
Pickled deviled eggs Vermont inn

Pickled deviled eggs

Fast forward a few years. I still can't figure out why he is so happy to eat these things, but I give it another try. The first bite intrigues me. Exactly as I remembered, vinegary, a little bit rubbery, but somehow I'm really into it. I've been hooked ever since. It used to be that David only got to have these at his Mom's house (in Pennsylvania), where she would buy them from the Amish people at her local farmer's market. When  we moved to our Vermont inn, we decided to make them ourselves, which is really quite simple. We roast fresh beets, then make a pickling syrup for the eggs, add the beets, some onions, peppercorns, a little bit of allspice, and the hard boiled eggs. The eggs need to absorb the flavors, which takes a day or so. If you leave them in the pickling mixture longer, they get more flavorful, and the vinegar does in fact start the make the eggs a bit tougher. I no longer mind the texture if they get a bit rubbery, which I find funny, because rubbery is generally not a good thing in the food world. This week we decided to try pickling just the whites, and making deviled egg filling out of the yolks, just for something different. Well, we both agree that this is the best of both worlds, really quite nice. They made a wonderful accompaniment to our dinner - farmer's market Boston lettuce, tossed with vinegar and olive oil, tomatoes and red onions, topped with lobster salad that we made with David's homemade mayonnaise.   Give them a try for your next picnic, and let me know what you think! Pickled Deviled Eggs 4 or 5 medium beets 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup cider vinegar 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns big pinch allspice 1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced thinly 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, cut in half, whites separated from yolks Wash beets, trim ends, place in an oven safe dish that will just fit them, rub with a little bit of olive oil, cover with foil and roast in a 450 degree oven until tender when pierced with a small knife, about 45 minutes.  Let cool, peel, then cut into wedges. Combine vinegar, water, peppercorns & allspice in a small non-reactive saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves, then set aside.  Put egg whites, beets and onions in a glass, ceramic, or stainless bowl (something that won't get discolored by the beet juice), and pour the pickling liquid over.  Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, until the whites turn a deep rich pink color, about 24 hours. Yolk Mixture Yolks from hard boiled eggs above - mash in a bowl with a fork until fine.  Mix with about two teaspoons of Dijon mustard (or more or less, according to your taste), a pinch of salt, a grinding of fresh black pepper, and enough mayonnaise (we like to use homemade) to make a nice smooth mixture.  You can pipe the mixture into the pickled whites with a pastry bag, but we find that a bit fussy (not to mention messy to clean the bag), so we just use a spoon. Garnish as you please.  In the photo, we used chives from our garden, a chive blossom in the center, and sage flowers from our garden.

Vermont Inn June Terrace Specials

New Orleans Garden Balconies

Beautiful balconies in New Orleans

Vacations evolve sometimes.  For us this year, we were scheduled to leave for France in the middle of April, but then the volcano in Iceland erupted.  We were visiting family in Pennsylvania at the time.  The airline rescheduled our flight, but not until five days after our original departure date. Not that we don't love seeing family, but we were really looking forward to going somewhere, and we really didn't think that we would ever get to France with the doom and gloom that was being put out by the newscasters.  On the spur of the moment, we decided to take a little trip to New Orleans, a place that always inspires us from many perspectives - amazing food, beautiful gardens, courtyards and wonderful antique shops.  To add to our fun, David's brother and sister in law joined us, quite a great surprise!
New Orleans Creole Cottage

A wonderful little creole cottage in the garden district in New Orleans

In New Orleans, we ate at many great restaurants. We particularly liked Restaurant Luke, owned by celebrity chef John Besh. They have amazing oysters and are known for their specialty cocktails. Three out of four of us chose the French 75, and we weren't sorry. A great cocktail, bubbly, not sweet, wonderful cognac for depth of flavor, and lemon to really open up the palate.  It is the inspiration for this month's summer cocktail special at our Vermont inn. Here is the recipe: 2 ounces cognac 1 ounce fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon sugar 4 ounces champagne or sparkling wine Combine the first three ingredients in a shaker, then fill with ice.  Shake, then strain into chilled martini glasses and add two ice cubes per glass.  Top each glass with two ounces of champagne.  If you are lucky enough to be able to find Parisienne brandied cherries from France (as we have),  put one in each glass.  If not, a lemon twist is lovely.
Villefranche Gardens

Beautiful gardens in Villefranche

Our three days in New Orleans were filled with great meals, great company, and wonderful antique shopping.  But alas, our time to leave was nearing.  On our last night there, we watched the news, and a pundit on CNN assured all of America that no flights would be going into Heathrow (our  stop over on the way to Nice) for at least a week.  Needless to say, we were so glad that we went to New Orleans, since our vacation in Nice looked to be in peril.
St. Paul de Vence alley

Terra cotta pots line the beautiful alleys in St. Paul de Vence

When we got back to Pennsylvania the next day, we were surprised to find that British Airways did not cancel our rescheduled flight - mind you this is just one day after the dire news on CNN.  So, already fat from New Orleans, back to the airport and off to Nice.  Mind you, not complaining, Nice is another mecca for inspiration for us.  Here are some photos of gardens that we fell in love with on the Riviera.  Our inspiration for our terrace comes from both the gardens in Nice, the magnificent walled cities of the French Riviera, and the courtyards in New Orleans.
Iris garden Villefranche

Wonderful iris garden in Villefranche

Rosé is the wine of choice for many locals on the Riviera, and it is our featured wine for the month of June.   The fact that it is served chilled, and that you are in a warm place, seems to make this the perfect drink this time of year.  It pairs wonderfully with the local cuisine, and it is also great just for sipping while doing some people watching!   We hope that you'll enjoy the same feeling here at our Woodstock, Vermont Bed and Breakfast on a nice summer day - relaxing on the terrace, watching the goldfish swim in the pond, and having a French 75 or glass of rosé.

Vermont Tavern & Terrace Drink Specials for June


Vermont Tavern Drink Specials

Summertime and the living is easy!

New this summer, we are adding monthly drink specials to our regular Vermont tavern offerings at our Vermont Bed and Breakfast. We will be featuring wines and cocktails that we have encountered in our travels, and/or that we just really happen to like. 

To kick off the opening of the garden terrace for the season, we are offering the French 75 cocktail for $10.00 each.  The La Vieille Ferme rosé is offered at $5.00 per glass, or $18.00 per bottle. Cheers from Woodstock, Vermont!

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The Village Inn of Woodstock, a Woodstock Vermont Bed and Breakfast, 41 Pleasant St., Woodstock, Vermont 05091

Phone: 802-457-1255 | Email: stay@villageinnofwoodstock.com