Spring has sprung, and so has the ASPARAGUS!

growing asparagus

One of the true harbingers of spring is the appearance of the first stalks of asparagus popping through the soil in the garden.  We are so excited that this year one of our 3 asparagus patches will be ready to harvest.  (You have to wait 3 years after the first planting to reap the benefits, but the plants can last as long as 20 years!  That’s a pretty good return on investment, we think).  They say that when it’s ready, and as the weather warms, you might have to harvest TWICE A DAY to keep up!  It’s as if you can almost watch them grow…as Squeaky is seen doing here:

Asparagus gardening tips

Check out this post from last August to see what the foliage looks like in the second year.  If you’d like to add an asparagus patch to your garden, here are some tips.

Maybe in a year or two, we will be able to actually harvest enough to use at breakfast at our Maryland inn.  In the meantime, we’ve been getting most of our asparagus from a lovely, local, family farm, Godfrey’s.   

And did you know that…

 May is National Asparagus Month!

That’s only 2 weeks away, so in preparation for that, we’re sharing a recipe for one of our favorites.

Asparagus and Cheese Frittata with Croutons   Serves 2, maybe 3

6 eggs

1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped, cooked, asparagus: roasted, grilled, or steamed (still warm)

1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice ( we like to mix cheddar, Parmesan and Gruyère)

small handful off garlic croutons, home-made or store-bought!

salt and pepper to taste

butter and/or olive oil for the pan

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.

Briskly stir the eggs with a whisk or a fork and set aside.  Heat a little butter and olive oil in a 10 inch skillet over medium high heat.  When butter is melted and just starting to sizzle, pour the eggs into the pan.  Using a heat-resistant spatula, stir the eggs around in the pan scraping the sides into the middle while tilting the pan as if you were  making an omelet. Do this for about a minute and then top with the warm asparagus, cheese, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the croutons on top and transfer pan to a warm oven for another minute or two, or just until the eggs are set.

asparagus frittata

Slide  out of pan and onto a serving plate.   May be enjoyed warm or even at room temperature.  Paired with a green salad, it makes a lovely lunch.

We like to make these in smaller, 8 inch pans for individual servings at the Brampton.  The fillings  and cheeses can be anything you like, but we really do love the asparagus in a frittata.

So enjoy the spring and eat your asparagus!

 

 

 

 

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Upgrades at the Inn

We’re officially a few weeks into spring now, and dare I say it?  Winter is finally over. This is the time of year that most people think about “spring cleaning” and sprucing up.  Well, for us that kind of stuff happens in the winter months, when the inn is a little quieter.  The chances that there will be less guests in the house are greater, so this is when the big stuff gets done.

The most dramatic change has been in the Red Room.  Up on the third floor, this queen room is spacious and light, with large windows on 3 out of its 4 walls!  This bathroom had not been updated in quite a while so it was time for a refresher.

Now it has a wonderful new shower with 3 body jets, a hand-held sprayer, and a rainfall shower-head. There is lots of tile, warm wooden accents, and a towel warmer. During the remodel, the door to the bath was moved from one wall to another, which created a sort of separate space in one corner of the room.  This space is now known as the Red Room Media Nook:

Room Upgrade

With profuse apologies to Mark and Matthew at Jumping Rocks Photography;  they will be here soon to take REAL pictures for our website!

Room Upgrade

With a new love seat, coffee table and the largest flat-screen TV on the property, the nook is perfect for cuddling up with popcorn and a movie in your own private screening room.

Another big upgrade is more efficient air conditioning units in both the Red and Green Rooms.  Each of these rooms has always had quiet window units which worked well, but they detracted a tiny bit from the charm of having all of those huge windows.   Not so with the new system which places the actual unit in the wall, and the condenser elsewhere.  (There’s also new carpeting in the room, but that’s not nearly as exciting as an air-conditioned media nook is it?!)

Three other rooms also got upgraded, larger flat screen televisions: Russell’s Cottage, the Yellow Room and the Fairy Hill Suite.

Two sets of chairs got a makeover with new upholstery: the Sunset Room in the Garden Cottage and the Blue Room.  Both Sophie’s Suite and Olivia’s Cottage got new chairs altogether.  Sophie’s Suite also has new carpeting.

Lucas spent a lot of time pruning and/or removing trees in the lawn in front of the garden. Look for new plantings and garden beds this summer!

The old Brampton definitely needs her nips and tucks now and then.  Still, we think she’s aging gracefully.

 

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Select Registry ‘Vacation of a Lifetime’ Winners Visit Us!

If you’ve ever visited the Brampton Inn, then you are also aware of Select Registry, a collection of high-caliber inns all throughout North America.  To belong to this group, an inn or bed and breakfast must meet certain criteria, and are subject to surprise inspections every year or so to ensure that the standards are being upheld.  The collection can be found on their website or in the handsome bound book that is a complimentary gift to all guests, and it makes choosing a place to stay a bit easier.   As a guest, you can book a room at a member inn and feel confident that your stay will be top-notch.  As innkeepers, we are very proud to belong to this illustrious group.  Out of the many thousands of inns, bed and breakfasts, and boutique hotels in the country, only 350 or so have made the cut.

Brampton Bed and Breakfast

One especially nice perk of staying at one of these places is that every time you do, you are entered into their Vacation of a Lifetime contest.  First you must register online for their rewards program, which in itself is another nice perk:  once registered, every night you stay in any Select Registry property counts toward a  goal of 12 “room nights”, which when reached, entitles you to a  $100 gift certificate to use at any member inn of your choosing.

The contest is pretty awesome too.  Each year, someone wins one free night at every member inn for a year.  What a great way to take a trip!

This year, 3 different couples won, and we had the pleasure of hosting one of them just a few weeks ago.  All the way from Toronto, Michele Chandler and Bob Gilfoil, along with their adorable dog Jameson, visited the Brampton during a mid-Atlantic tour.

Brampton Bed and BreakfastCan you see our Select Registry plaque, proudly displayed there? The little stuffed moose is their version of the Travelocity gnome, appearing in pictures throughout all their travels.

A few days later, Michele sent us a lovely thank you note along with this collection of pictures from their travels.

What would you do if you won this contest?  Take some time off and explore a region?  Go away every weekend of the year?  It’s fun to think about.  Maybe this time next year we’ll be hosting YOU!  Wouldn’t that be something?

 

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