I originally posted this blog article in 2010 which was the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest, but as today is once again the start of Oktoberfest, I thought I’d take poetic license and reuse. Also since then, we have become Innkeepers and we try to bring a bit of “Gemütlichkeit” to all of our guests. Not sure what Gemütlichkeit is? Read on to find out. But first some more about Oktoberfest. Continue reading Happy Oktoberfest und “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit”
Five Fun Ideas for A Winter Getaway to Manchester NH by Margit Eder-Wezwick
The days are getting longer and it’s time for some weekend fun, maybe even with a group of friends?
Come to the “big” city (The Queen City of Manchester NH , that is) and explore how you can have a unique weekend experience:
1. Ski right here in town
Did you know that Manchester has its very own Ski Area and Tubing Park? The McIntyre Ski Area
is right in town, with chair lifts, lessons for skiing and snowboarding, snow cannons and night lighting! Given the elevation of the hill it’s not much of a challenge for the experienced skier, but is perfect for a beginner to get a taste and only a 5 min drive from our B&B.
2. Participate at an instructor led DIY “AR Workshop”
Going to a painting class with a group of friends is so yesterday. Instead, try one of the creative workshops at AR Workshop downtown, where you can participate at a hands-on class to create
custom home décor, wooden signs, framed signs and more, all from raw materials.
This is a lot of fun to do either alone, or together with a group of friends. The workshop is within a 10 – 15 min walk from The Ash Street inn
3. “Escape” the Room
A different kind of weekend escape: Bring your partner, your best friend(s), or people you love to hang out with and get locked into a room with them. You will have 60 min to solve puzzles and follow clues and think outside (inside?) the box, in order to escape. This is a great team play and there are various room themes to choose from. And because this is so much fun, Manchester has not one, but two places who offer to “lock you up”! Check out Granite State Escape or Lok’d
4. Get Creative
Interested in painting or felting, or glass fusing or other artsy creativity but don’t know where to begin? The Currier Museum of Art is offering a variety of 3 hour workshops on Saturdays on various dates and materials are included. All you need to do is sign up and maybe bring a friend or two? The Currier Museum is only a 3 min walk from the Ash Street Inn!
5. Enjoy a scavenger hunt
Gather with a few friends and learn about Manchester’s history and culture by doing a scavenger hunt in the city. All places are in walking distance and you will look throughout downtown. It’s a lot fun and you can do the hunt at your own pace. Downtown is 0.5 miles from our B&B and the hunt can be booked online at Scavengerhunt.com
Additional ideas for your weekend in Manchester might include a visit to the “Speak Easy” on Elm Street (Shhhh!! ask your innkeeper
about details) and maybe also a game night or afternoon at the Board Games Café downtown
(they have over 1600 board games to choose from!!)
Try to stay warm out there and of course if you are staying overnight, stay at The Ash Street Inn and ask us for some suggestions about our many great restaurants in town.
The buzz in the Bed and Breakfast world lately seems to be whether or not one should consider using a short term rental service for your stay while traveling. While each traveler stay is different, it’s all a matter of individual preference. I wouldhowever like to suggest some reasons why staying at a “Real BNB” is the better choice.
Although every Bed and Breakfast is unique, a RealBNB is usually a family owned and operated small business. It is not a part time job and the Innkeepers are professionals who know the hospitality business and put the customer first. Many Innkeeepers also have years of experience in the corporate world and understand the needs and wants of the business traveler, because after all we’ve “been there, done that”. We know what life as a road warrior consists of and how to address those concerns whether you are traveling for business or for pleasure. Innkeepers also know the local area and provide concierge services to let you enjoy sites off the beaten path,
RealBNBs are also insured, regulated and have fire safety codes that are above and beyond typical residential requirements. Many have mandatory fire safety equipment installed such as sprinklers or Fire Department connected smoke alarms. You can sleep restfully knowing that these systems are in place in case there was an emergency. Real BNBs also contribute to the local economy by paying local and state taxes.
And speaking of sleeping. A real Bed and Breakfast is truly that.
When you arrive, you may be greeted by fresh baked goods, you and are always provided with a comfortable room and bed , In many cases (ours included) the Bed and Breakfast is in a historic building. (circa 1885 more on that in a future post) But in addition to the comfortable bed, upon awakening, you are treated to a wonderful, hot breakfast which is often prepared by a trained culinary professional.
Let’s look at these two points individually. When you check into a RealBNB you will not find a sleeper couch nor Air mattress. You will find a well appointed bedroom and comfortable bed and most, such as The Ash Street Inn, also have private en suite bathrooms. We also offer Queen sizes beds with triple sheeting and plush pillows. Many also have common areas outside the bedroom where you can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and perhaps an outside sitting area too. Many of our guests sit on our wrap around porch and often enjoy an adult beverage outside after a busy day of work, after visiting family or site seeing.
Then there is breakfast
A RealBNB will of course have coffee, tea and juice available but also different hot and cold options as well. Some may offer one main entree while others such as The Ash Street Inn offer cooked to order items ranging from pancakes to omelettes to weekend specials. Most also offer dietary options such as Gluten Free or Vegan. I can speak from experience that my vegan banana walnut pancakes have made for some very happy guests! And BTW, we can also have vegan or gluten free snacks waiting if you tell us ahead of time.
With these reasons in mind, if you enjoy comfort, delicious breakfasts and taking the path less traveled. Consider a RealBNB, and as Shakespeare wrote in The Two Gentlemen from Verona enjoy “One Feast, One House, One Mutual Happiness.” or to paraphrase “One Breakfast, One Bedroom, and One Happy Time”
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architecture in Manchester
There are two known Usonian homes in New Hampshire and they both happen to be here in Manchester. However only one is accessible to the public and that is the Zimmerman House, which is owned by the Currier Museum of Art.
Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) used the term “usonian” to describe his design for a group of houses built for middle class families. These houses have only one story and no garage, (instead they have a carport) and not a lot of storage space. Typically, these Usonian Houses have an open floor concept, lots of natural light and plenty of use of brick and wood. They are FLW’s answer to a simpler lifestyle born in the years of the Depression. It is said that the Usonian style preceded the ranch style architecture.
The Zimmerman House in Manchester was designed in 1950 for Dr Isadore and Lucille Zimmeman. The house is in pristine condition and has been left the way the Zimmermans outfitted it it when they lived in it. Since Mrs Zimmerman left the house to the museum, all decoration, furniture, art and even china and clothing are exactly as they were. A glimpse of times past.
The layout of the house was carefully planned and the attention to detail is wonderful. The brick house and the beautifully designed garden blend nicely together and in summer, the museum is occasionally offering “twilight tours” with live music at the home. A very special treat indeed.
The Currier museum offers guided tours of the Zimmerman House between April and December. Only 12 people can participate per tour and there are 3 tours a day.
If you are planning to make an overnight trip out of it, we are offering a package that include a 1 night stay at our B&B ( of course cooked to order breakfast included) and tickets for the FLW tour, package also includes same day entrance to the Currier Museum of Art. We are located a short 2 min walk from the Currier.
Summer knocked on the door early this year, (we went from the mid 40’s to the mid 90’s in three days!) I thought it was time to break out the 2017 harvest of Maple Syrup. The mixture of cold and warm days throughout early spring produced a wonderful harvest. As usual we placed our order with Fuller’s Sugarhouse up in Lancaster, NH and of course we order by the gallon.
One of the benefits of being the chef and owner of our B&B is being able to choose quality products and serve them to our guests as we like. Breakfast is ALWAYS cooked to order and in addition to eggs and omelettes, we always includes a choice between two types of pancakes, and typically french toast as well. On weekends, specials are offered rotating between sweet and savory options.
However, for now back to pancakes. Over the last couple of years, I have received many compliments on our pancakes. I must admit I may be able take credit for how they are prepared and served. Always made to order with buttermilk and eggs added just before cooking. Our pancakes batter is never made the night before nor frozen. That makes a difference.
But what I can’t take credit for is the syrup. Many guests have commented on how delicious the syrup tastes. They detect the nuances of true maple flavor which is totally different then the simple sugar taste of imitation syrup, (or as I like to call it caramel colored corn syrup).
We have the luxury of living in a state where over 90,000 gallons of maple syrup are produced a year (that’s requires about 3.6 Million gallons of tree sap!) and are proud to serve it to our guests. To us, that is just one part of what a TRUE Bed and Breakfast is, a comfortable bed and a delicious breakfast. Over the years our guests have come to expect a wonderful room (bed) and tasty snacks and breakfast, and we will continue meeting those expectations.
I didn’t get a chance to talk about Maple Sugar this time, but that too is a wonderful natural product that deserves its own spotlight. But that’s a story for another day.
A Vegan and Gluten-Free Muffin Recipe from Margit’s Muffin Kitchen
We truly live in marvelous times that allow people with special dietary needs a worry-free travel. At The Ash Street Inn Bed & Breakfast, we have many guests with dietary restrictions or preferences, so we have Vegan, Gluten-free, Lactose intolerant, and Vegetarian breakfast options always available.
Not only do we have non-dairy yogurt and dairy free milk in our fridge (in addition to our regular dairy products), we also offer various dietary restricted, cooked to order breakfast items as well. (Rob’s Vegan Banana Walnut Pancakes are always a hit)
But what about afternoon (or after dinner, or midnight) snacks?
After our guests arrive and are settled in, they often enjoy a cup of coffee or tea (together with some freshly baked cookies, scones or muffins) in our parlor in front of the fireplace, or if weather permits, outside on our porch.
However, we want all of our guests to be able to enjoy those relaxing moments as well so we will have some sweet delights waiting for them according to specific dietary needs . (DISCLAIMER for severe sensitivities – we do NOT have a certified gluten free or nut-free kitchen).
That being said, I’d like to share a recipe for one of our guests favorite which happens to be both Vegan AND Gluten Free.
Banana – Raisin – Oatmeal Muffins
- 1 ½ cups Gluten-free flour
- ½ tsp Xanthan Gum
- ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (GF certified)
- 1 tbsp baking powder (GF certified)
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup vanilla soy yogurt
- 2/3 cup vanilla flavored non-dairy milk
- 2/3 cup mashed ripe bananas
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- : 2/3 cup raisins (To fold in)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Mix together the dry ingredients and in a separate bowl the wet ingredients until well blended.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until just blended. Gently fold in raisins
- Divide in a 12-cup muffin tin, lined with paper liners and sprinkle with brown sugar.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 min, (toothpick test should come out clean) let cool and enjoy!
For Vegan Recipe only, you can use regular flour and omit the Xanthan Gum from the recipe.
We hope you enjoy the muffins!
As we are receiving our first bookings of the year for weddings to be held in summer and fall, Rob and I are thinking of all the brides-to-be who stayed with us last year. They allowed us to be part of the preparations and excitement of getting ready for the “big event”.
We had wedding parties who booked the entire Inn and creatively took advantage of each unique room to become the perfect stage for fun pre-wedding photos with bride and bridesmaids. (I particularly enjoyed a photo of all the bridesmaids in their morning robes toasting to the bride…). The stained glass windows, the original brass door handles and the fireplaces all added a touch of beauty and elegance to the photo shoot.We have been told that the location of the Ash Street Inn to downtown and the closeness to the Currier Art Museum as well as several churches in the area makes it an ideal “home base” for all things pre-wedding related!
Last spring we had a wonderful couple staying here who not only fully enjoyed the Victorian architecture of the Inn, but the bride and bridesmaids also went in style to church in 1930’s era classic cars, which came to pick them up. What a beautiful sight that was!
In summer another bride transformed our porch into an impromptu beauty salon, where all the women got their make-up professionally done. Lots of laughter, colors, spa water and snacks (provided by the Inn) and of course – beautiful women everywhere.
It is always an honor and a wonderful experience for us to see happy women arrive at the Inn and turn into the most amazing looking brides. The smiles we see all around are infectious and stay with us long after the bride and groom have left for their honeymoon!
If you are planning a wedding and would like to use our Inn as part of the festivities, we provide several different packages. From a getaway wedding night before the honeymoon, to booking all five rooms, we can offer an option to suit your needs.
A couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting three recent graduates from Southern New Hampshire University class of 2015 (including one who had received her Master’s.) They were in town to attend the commencement celebration, as they were part of the online learning program and wanted to walk with the class.
This was a special weekend because although the guests did not know each other previously, they shared completing their degrees as adults and therefore shared a common bond.
This bond was evident by the time they spent sharing cabs, going out to dinner and of course breakfast talk. Margit and I could not help but be caught up with this special weekend and found ourselves joining in conversations more than usual, joking and sharing what the Bavarians (and Germans in general) call “Gemütlichkeit” which literally translates to coziness.
Although this weekend was special in many ways, the day to day operations was relatively the same as any other weekend.
Baked goods had to be ready for afternoon snacks, evening prep work had to be done for weekend breakfast specials and then the normal shopping and cleaning that also takes place behind the scenes.
This weekend seemed a little different since every time our guests returned from one event or the other, they found me in the kitchen.
This turned into a running joke until finally when several guests were returning from a celebration dinner (I think they were coming into the dining room for a late night snack) they saw me once again, and I finally had to tell them “I’m not always in the kitchen!”
This was indeed true as we then retreated to the porch for some late night conversation and a nightcap. Fun was be had by all and once more the saying came true: “Come as stranger, leave as friends”
The answer may be obvious but it may be worth reiterating, since today’s breakfast was a little different than the typical day.
A B&B should mean just that, a luxurious Bed and a wonderful Breakfast. It should be a place that feels a bit like home and provides a nice comfortable rest for the guest. While it may not feel like your home, it should have a “homey” feel. After all, it is your home away from home.
Breakfast should be another reason why you choose to stay at a B&B. Today we had a couple staying that follow a Vegan diet. They had informed us of this during the booking, and also took the time to call. We reassured them that it would not be an issue and we would plan accordingly.
Their breakfast could have consisted of a few different options, the easiest would be to just supply fruit and perhaps some vegan yogurt and cereal. We feel however, that breakfast should be something that you remember as part of your stay at the Ash Street Inn. In this particular instance, I had emailed the guest and suggested vegan Banana Pecan Pancakes. I heard back a couple days later that “The breakfast you have planned sounds fantastic!” so it was put on the menu.
Margit took this one step further and added a vegan Blueberry Muffin to the check-in baked goods, They were placed alongside Chocolate Chip Cookies and Apricot White Chocolate Chip Scones, both non-vegan. Success, we were told the muffins served as an excellent after dinner dessert when our guest returned “home” and were looking for a snack.
The pancakes were well received in the morning and were served with warm NH Maple Syrup and earthbalance “butter”. There was of course fruit and soy yogurt as well. Upon checkout I was pleased to see a note in our guestbook that said “thanks for the beautiful room and fantastic breakfast.” Mission accomplished!
Although we can not accommodate all dietary needs, we will do our best to have some options available. We do ask during the booking process, that if you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, please let us know,
Margit and I had the pleasure of hosting a bridal party this past weekend. What I mean by hosting is that the bride (Nicole) and her bridesmaids used our Inn as the venue to prepare for her wedding. The entire Inn had been reserved for Saturday night as well.
The bridesmaids arrived around 1:00 o’clock to kick things into gear. There were the usual last minute snafus involved in many weddings, the bride’s dress was a no-show and someone had to drive to fetch it, the groom had a flat tire and the weather was iffy. Par for the winter we are having, it snowed in the morning but the Sun did shine through as final preparations were made. Three Photographers arrived and the Inn became the backdrop of some wonderful photos that will be looked upon for many years to come.
The Bridal party was whisked away in a pair of 1931 Packard Roadtsers and although still cold, the Sun continued shining.
We then had a chance to relax a bit and then I headed to the kitchen to do some prep work for Sunday’s breakfast.
I wanted to add something special to our regular menu so I decided to add a couple of extras. I was told that the groom (Tony) was a big fan of pancakes, so I decided to “Chef it up” a bit and besides our made to order buttermilk pancakes, we also had Maple Pecan French Toast. There was also a Southwestern Frittata for those who preferred something savory. along with our regular breakfast menu.
I headed up to our living quarters to get some sleep knowing that I had an early morning, only to have the doorbell ring a couple of times as keys were left inside rooms. (not a surprise at all considering it was a wedding party and I suspect they had quite a few other things on their minds). I suppose I should mention that one of the reasons they chose our Inn was because it was only a two block walk from the Currier Museum, which was where the reception was held. It was also a bit shocking to see that most of the Bridesmaids were not wearing coats and were still wearing their gowns, it had to be around 30 degrees when they returned! Some did however have their husband’s jackets draped over their shoulders.
The next morning the guests came drifting in in pairs, (some a little slower then others) and it was fun hearing the play by play review of the prior evening. There was plenty of coffee being drank and good food being eaten.
At around 10 o’clock guests starting leaving to either head home or to the hotel where other family members were staying. A subdued silence took over the Inn and Margit and I sat down, enjoyed a quiet coffee by ourselves and then kicked back into gear to reset the Inn for the next guests.
Was it worth it? Absolutely! It was also rewarding to receive this feedback from one of the Matron’s of Honor, thank you Audrey.
The best bed and breakfast I have stayed in! I’m not sure what is better, the accommodations or the food (ask for the pecan french toast for breakfast!!) Impeccable service accompanied by a spotless room makes the Ash Street Inn a top notch pick!
Interested in booking the Inn for your own wedding party?
Email or call for details