Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Haunting We Will Go

Hi Everyone,
Well, its that time again when we wait in excited anticipation for scary ghosts and goblins to start roaming the chilled, October night skies. The darkness comes earlier and earlier each day. And before you know it, its the witching hour, Halloween.

Bill and I love Halloween. The pumpkins get carved into smiling (or scary) jack-o-lanterns. The bowls get filled with treats for the kiddies and we hope we won't be tricked. Our neighbor down the street decorates his house with dozens of witches and pumpkins and all sorts of lights to celebrate this spooky season. Its just an exciting and fun filled time of year.

And of course, it wouldn't be Halloween without the traditional ghost story. Now in my last blog I said I would have a scary story to tell you. I searched and searched the web for great Hudson Valley stories to tell you and then said to myself, "Hey Joe. How about the true story that you and Bill experienced 6 Halloween's ago"?
So I have decided to tell you about this memorable night.

On the night before Halloween, Bill and I had decided to take my sons Zack and Ben out to dinner and to the haunted hayride at Pennings farm. The boys were so excited to be spending the night at the Inn. We finished our dinner and then went on the hayride. It was very scary and well worth the wait to get in. Afterwards, we returned to the Inn for some snacks and cider. Two of our favorite guests were staying with us. Rick and Carol just happened to be civil war reenactors and were regaling us with scary stories. Then Bill started telling us all the history of the house which is now the Inn at Stony Creek. It was built in 1840 and then added onto in 1860 by the two Sams, Gardiner and Houston. We were certain that one of these two men was still occupying the spirit that is. But we were never quite sure which one. And then the lights went out. We had a power failure.

We quickly lit some candles and made sure everyone was alright. Well, this certainly added to the suspense of our stories. Bill continued with his tale. He told us that there was a small family cemetery about a quarter mile from the Inn that he had always wanted to visit but just either never got the chance or could never get anyone to go with him. We all jumped at the chance, well almost all of us. Our guest Carol was the one who convinced us that this would be a great time to go. It was pitch black and chilly, but we got in Bill's car and off we went. We got there in about 10 minutes. The cemetery was off the road about 50 feet in a small patch of woods. It was so dark but we had brought flashlights with us. We went in to the first row of headstones and saw dates from back in the 18th and 19th centuries. Very old stuff. Well, we had seen enough. We were ready to go back to the car. But all of a sudden, Bill started walking to the back of the cemetery. We called for him to stop but he kept on walking shining his flashlight straight ahead. Suddenly, he stopped and called us to come to him. He said "look" and the beam of light was shining on a tombstone. The name on the tombstone was Sam Gardner. We turned around and ran out of the graveyard. We were convinced that Sam Gardiner had caused the power failure at the Inn and guided us to his grave site. When we got back to the Inn, Bill said he had felt compelled to walk to the headstone, almost being drawn to it. Needless to say, none of us slept very well that night. But at least we know which Sam decided to stay at the Inn. Oh, don't get me wrong. He doesn't hurt or scare anyone. He just wants to make sure his house is in good hands.

Well, I hope that I haven't spooked you too much. After all its just a story....or is it? So, get ready to carve your pumpkins and set out the treats for all the little kiddies who come knocking at your door. Just be sure that it IS a little kiddie under that mask........BOO.

Happy Halloween everyone.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Destination: Sugar Loaf

With Autumn in full swing, Orange County is abound with festivals and fairs. Last week I told you about Warwick's Apple Fest. Well, this week Bill and I went over to Sugar Loaf and visited the Sugar Loaf Craft Fair. Although not quite as large as the festival in Warwick, it boasted rows and rows of food and wonderful handmade crafts. We went into one display of mums and pumpkins and saw the most unusual pumpkins and gourds. And of course we had to buy some for the inn. Check out the picture of us surrounded by the fall colors.

Now Sugar Loaf is known as an arts and crafts village. Anything you could imagine is sold in the quaint little shops that line its Main Street. You can also get great food there. My favorite restaurant is the Barnsider. Great American menu at reasonable prices. Definitely a great place to spend a weekend afternoon browsing and dining.

Speaking of dining, I told you in my last blog that I would share some great fall recipes with you. Well here is one of my favorites. Its a pork tenderloin with a maple-dijon glaze. You can serve it with roasted sweet and white potato wedges and steamed broccoli with lemon.

Pork Tenderloin w/Maple-Dijon Glaze

2 12-14 oz. pork tenderloins
2 tsps. crumbled dried sage leaves
1 tbls. butter

6 tbls. pure maple syrup (please, no Mrs. Butterworth)
6 tbls. apple cider vinegar
2 tsps. Dijon mustard

Rub tenderloins all over w/sage, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Melt butter in large non-stick skillet over med-high heat until hot and bubbly.
Add tenderloins and cook until brown on all sides, turning occasionally for 6 min.
Reduce heat to med-low and cook until meat thermometer reads 150 degrees, turning occasionally, about 10 min longer. Transfer to platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

Whisk 5 tbls. of syrup, 4 tbls. vinegar and all the dijon mustard in a bowl to blend and set aside.
Add the remaining vinegar to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits.
Reduce heat to med-low and return pork and any accumulated juices to skillet.
Add the maple syrup mixture and turn the pork until totally coated, about 2 min.
Remove from heat.
Transfer pork to cutting board and slice into 1/2 in. slices.
Stir in remaining syrup into the glaze and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange pork slices on plates. Spoon glaze over pork and serve.

Serves between 3-4 people. Can be altered to accomodate more people.

To make the potatoes:

Peel and slice however many potatoes you need. (both sweet and white)
Place in a baking dish and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano and rosemary.
Toss all the seasoned potatoes in olive oil until fully coated.
Bake until tender in a 350 degree oven for about 45 min to an hour.

Now that we have food out of the way. Just wanted you to see our beautiful landscaping at the Inn. The Montauk daisies you see in the foreground of the picture just happen to be our second pride and joy of this year. Of course our first pride were our roses. But you will just have to come and see and decide for yourself.

Well, enough for now folks. Bill and I send our best regards to you all and look forward to seeing sometime soon. Til next time.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hi everyone. Last weekend Bill and I and some family and friends went to Apple Fest here in Warwick. What a day. The weather could not have been more beautiful and the food couldn't have been better.

After serving our guests a breakfast of homemade cranberry scones, apple walnut cinnamon muffins and of course our now famous zucchini bread, we headed out to Apple Fest about 9am. When we got there, we were surprised at how not crowded it was. Well, that was short lived. As you can tell by the picture, by 11am it was wall to wall people. It seems to get bigger and better every year.

There were all kinds of foods and crafts and music. We walked around the whole festival and ogled at all the wares. Bill bought a birdhouse to add to the vast collection of birdhouses we already have. Now this is not any birdhouse. It is made from an antique tool with a claw and barbed wire. Go figure. But it makes him happy and that is all that counts.

My favorite part was the food. I was very good though, and didn't get too crazy sampling everything. But I did get some apple fritters. And they were delicious. We all went for lunch at Le Petite Cuisine. They always have great food and great sides. There were nine of us for lunch, but they managed to accomodate us and we sat down to a great meal. I had the Apple Fest pannini. It was an open faced sandwich on a toasted piece of french bread with turkey applewood sausage, apples and gruyere cheese melted all over it. Yummmmmmm. And on the side, a great chick pea salad.
Very satisfying and very Apple Festive.

All in all it was a very good day. You all must come next year if you missed it this time. In the next few blogs I will tell you whats going on for Halloween and I'll have some spooky recipes and some great history about the Inn.

Happy October everyone from Bill and I and check back soon.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Apple Fest is Coming!

October 1st, can you believe it? We have been so busy at the Inn that we have had hardly any time for anything else. Guests have been coming in and out the whole of September and October is set to be one of our busiest months ever. I hope that means we are doing something right. (smile)

This coming Sunday, October 4th, is Apple Fest in Warwick. It is the single biggest event of the year. I have talked about it before in my previous blogs, but it is definitely worth reminding everyone of this great celebration. The streets of the town are lined with vendors, selling just about anything you could be looking for. From food to crafts to clothes or anything else you could imagine, you will find it here. But come early because it gets crowded by mid-day. The town is expecting upwards of 30,000 visitors. Hope to see you there.

Like I said before, October is a very busy month for Bill and I at the Inn. Guests come from all over to see the beautiful, breath-taking foliage that the Warwick and Hudson Valley areas have to offer. We are anticipating that the foliage will peak around October 15th. So take a ride and enjoy the spectacular colors.

In my last blog I promised that I would share some great fall recipes with you and I happened to mention my zucchini bread. I thought that this would be a great recipe to share with you to serve on these rapidly cooling mornings. I hope you enjoy it.

Zucchini Bread

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs beaten
1 3/4 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini (don't drain)
2 cups all purpose flour
11 11/4 tsps baking soda
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
chopped walnuts and golden raisins (optional but recommended))

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 2 9x5 inch loaf pans with
cooking spray and dust with flour.

Combine oil, sugar, eggs and zucchini in a large bowl. Combine remaining dry
ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients gradually to the zucchini
mixture. Beat 3 minutes with mixer on medium speed. Add walnuts and raisins.

Scrape batter into pans evenly. Bake 50 min. to 1 hour or until inserted knife
comes out clean.

Serve with cream cheese spread.

As the holidays approach, I will share with you some great cookie recipes as well as some quick breakfast recipes that are easy and festive.

Next week I will tell you how Apple Fest was and what to expect next in our area.

Bill and I wish you a great, colorful, happy, Autumn and will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Bye for now.