July 4th Celebration – Chestertown Tradition

4th of July Fireworks

This is only the second year that we’ve had the fire-pit here at the Brampton, and it’s already become part of a tradition:  4th of July hot dogs and burgers by the fire and then a “private showing” of Chestertown’s fireworks display.  They can be seen from the property after all, so it’s kind of like they’re doing it just for us!  Michael mows the grass down low in the field by their house, and guests bring their lawn chairs and adult beverages.

It promises to be a fun weekend with the July 4th celebration coming on the heels of First Friday, when the shops and galleries stay open late and folks stroll the sidewalks from place to place, usually with another adult beverage in hand…It’s always a festive evening!

Also on Friday, the 3rd,  as long as you’re not drinking, take a drive down to Rock Hall and watch the fireworks display on the bay.  (Yes, they have fireworks on the 3rd of July. The more the merrier, right?)  The best place to see them, though is from a boat ON the bay.  Check with Captain Mark and his First and Only Mate Suzanne  of Blue Crab Chesapeake Charters to see if they have an opening.  It’s quite the experience.

Maryland firework showWhat are some of your traditions for Independence Day? We’d love to hear about them, especially if they revolve around food! Burgers and dogs are fairly old school, but when is the last time you broiled a hot dog over a campfire?  Here’s your chance!

See you ’round the fire pit!!


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We Love LOVAGE – Delicious Perennial Herb

Whenever someone says the following words to you: “That Was the Best {insert whatever here} I Ever Had”. . . .  you stop a moment and say thank you.  When a few people tell you the same thing in one weekend, maybe you blush a little and say “Aw shucks.”

And then you blog about it.   :)

We recently made some chicken salad for an appetizer and several people did say it was the best chicken salad they had ever had!  Which was lovely to hear.  But it’s just chicken salad, right? How could it be soooo good?  Well…nothing is “just” anything when our not-so-secret ingredient is added.


Perennial Herbs

lovage herb

Lovage has been a secret weapon in our kitchen at the Brampton for years.  It’s the kind of herb that most people cannot quite place (because no one has ever heard of it!), but just adore.

This article in the Washington Post is very informative and says it perfectly:  this herb packs a lot of flavor into one little leaf.  And it’s perennial, so once you plant it, you’ll have it season after season.  That fact in itself is a life hack:  perennials are awesome. Plant it once and reap the benefits for years!  So here you have another in our series of posts on simple things to do in the kitchen that have a big impact on your cooking.

No recipe needed, just add lovage to your existing repertoire and wait for the compliments. Anywhere you might use parsely, add some lovage. Add it to scrambled eggs.  To salsa. Mashed potatoes.  Deviled eggs.  Oh, man.  Add it to deviled eggs, please.  In a white bean hummus with lemon juice.  So good.

It tastes a lot like celery; so much so that you can use it as a replacement if you absolutely must.  It’s great in green leafy salads too, for an unexpected burst of flavor.  Folks will tell you it’s the best salad they ever ate!  It’s up to you if you want to keep it a secret.  It’s safe with us.

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Music in Kent County :: National Music Festival

Brampton Inn may be located in one of the most rural areas of Maryland, but that doesn’t mean we are lacking in culture.  Not by a long shot.

Indeed, music lovers have an awful LOT to keep them busy in and around Chestertown:

The Garfield Center for the Arts hosts theatrical and musical events all year long.  The Mainstay in Rock Hall is a delightful small venue (120 seats!) that specializes in jazz and blues.  The Avalon Theater in Easton is a beautiful art deco theater that draws nationally known acts of all genres.

In town at JR’s pub there is live music on most weekend nights, and a piano bar on Sundays.   Every Saturday during the summer, there is a FREE concert downtown in Fountain Park.  It doesn’t get more Mayberry than that!   Except maybe for the beloved Kent County Community Marching Band.  They are there like clockwork for every parade all year long.  You might even catch them practicing in their “civilian clothes” some evenings.  :)

But wait, there’s more. Sorry if that sounds like an infomercial, but the amount of musical distraction around here really is AMAZING !

National Music Festival 2015

And if all this isn’t enough, there’s also the National Music Festival at Washington College, running from May 31 through June 13.   The”next generation of gifted musicians”, along with the mentors that guide, them present two weeks of concerts and open rehearsals, many of them free.  Everything from solo recitals to full orchestral arrangements; mostly classical with some jazz thrown into the mix.  Please check out the concert schedule and come listen to some beautiful music here in the land of pleasant living.

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