A honeymoon is an unforgettable holiday that every newly married couple embarks on, before establishing their marital life. Although a honeymoon is a traditional idea, nevertheless it carries romantic sentiment and in some cases, honeymoon holiday packages are also gifted to the newly weds by parents and relatives.
Choosing a honeymoon vacation destination can be a little confusing, but there are travel agencies out there who offer wonderful honeymoon packages. There are a number of exotic places that a couple can visit and travel agents are the best informed to help with the final choice. The US alone has so many exquisite places to visit.
Hawaii has been ranked as the number one honeymoon destination for decades now. Sun-kissed beaches, azure water, hidden coves, world class accommodation and the delicious cuisine make Hawaii special. Popular and incredibly beautiful, Hawaii is a lovers paradise. For those who are sports enthusiasts, Hawaii is ‘the’ place to be in to enjoy amazing water sports. Hawaii is one of nature’s perfect creations and the weather is simply perfect all year round.
The places worth visiting in Hawaii are Waikiki and Maui islands that display the island’s culture and natural beauty. There are many luxurious accommodation options in Hawaii that offer wonderful packages and benefits like Halekulani, Hyatt Regency and the Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hawaii, to name a few.
Niagara Falls is another perfect destination for honeymooners. Niagara Falls is both, beautiful and economic and its panoramic view can be viewed from the US as well as Canada. The main attractions at Niagara Falls include the ‘Maid of the Mist’ boat cruise that screens an enjoyable feature film from IMAX about the history of Niagara Falls. The other must-see attractions are:
– The Guinness Book of World Records Museum
– Mystery Maze
– The Haunted House
– The House of Frankenstein
You should not forget to visit New York while you are at Niagara Falls. You will get a lot of room to splurge on shopping, restaurants and some of the world’s best theaters.
Florida may be ranked third, but no other destination can compete with Florida in terms of the warm festive ambience that it extends to its guests. Florida offers something for everyone and its itinerary of must see places is so long that tourists are often confused about where to go and what to leave out. Starting from Walt Disney World to the wonders of Orlando, Palm Beach, Miami, Daytona and the Florida Keys, the place is amazing. Along with sightseeing, Florida also offers all its guests lavish accommodation and the most exhilarating assortment of water sports.
Las Vegas is at number four not because it lacks something, but because it has a bit more than a couple on a honeymoon can expect. Las Vegas is also famous as the ‘city that never sleeps’ and is known for gambling and quick weddings, besides sightseeing. This city offers every couple on a honeymoon an experience of a lifetime.
Apart from these places, other hot honeymoon destinations in the US are California (Wine Country), Pennsylvania (Poconos), Louisiana (New Orleans) and almost all the southern states on the Gulf Coast.
With the ever larger debt loads faced by Alabaman borrowers, it’s no wonder that so many of the citizens of our fair state have begun to examine the various alternatives to paying back their mortgages and credit card bills through more than traditional means. After all, considering that our current national financial struggles show no signs of improving over the coming years and more and more consumers find themselves out of work, there are increasing levels of desperation felt from all sectors of the economy, and borrowers are drawn to all aspects of debt relief. This modern world, it’s the easiest thing possible to wake up and realize you’ve somehow accumulated financial burdens nearly impossible to repay through traditional measures. With credit cards now so freely available to nearly every Alabaman that can sign their name and a topsy turvy financial structure that effectively enables spending more than our citizens’ earn as a cornerstone of expansionary economic periods, buying absent regret has become almost an instinct for our countrymen, and so many consumers land themselves in a revolving continuum of paycheck to paycheck cycles propelled by the very lenders they’re so desperate to pay that they fall prey to the most predatory of schemes.
Within this sort of economy, even the smallest life change can lead to grave repercussions. From marital problems to illness to a change of employment, any number of the seemingly inevitable consequences of modern life may impact your household budget beyond capacity, and this style of plate spinning domestic finance engenders desperate foolhardy solutions patched together at the last minute and fueled by purposeful ignorance on the behalf of the borrowers. Jumping from check to check with no room for error, unable to pay anything toward savings, ever harried by ceaseless payment due dates and expanding minimum obligations, the Alabama debtor attempting to carve out a life upon the turn of the twenty first century too often finds him or herself without hope and tragically susceptible to confidence schemes that, however technically legitimate the business and glossy the surrounding spiel, inevitably scavenge the debt relief wishes of those that can least afford false promises. Five years ago, for example, the Alabama legislature legalized the so-called payday loan services, but, even though this usurious practice has been made lawful throughout the state, this could only be considered debt relief in the most tragic sense. Ever since Alabama representatives passed that 2003 law distinguishing payday loans as a justifiable practice, people from all corners of Alabama have been misled into (searching from some short term assistance with minimum payments or sudden household needs) believing that the service may be some sort of debt relief when, in actuality, it only worsens the existing debt problems. Actual management of debts will be a long and difficult process that, while it may indeed require the help of external authorities such as debt settlement companies, demands exploration on the part of the borrower and a general understanding about the unspoken rules of debt relief.
Among these companies, probably the most well known sort of debt relief business for Alabama and the rest of the United States of America would be the Consumer Credit Counseling alternative. As most Alabama borrowers likely know by now, thanks to the industry’s seemingly never ending stream of commercials and advertisements, the Consumer Credit Counseling companies consolidate all unsecured debt (that is; debts not already attached to collateral liable for repossession or foreclosure or similar fates) in order to attempt to lower the accumulated interest rates toward something far lower. Alongside this clear benefit, which (for reasons we shall soon explain) can almost be guaranteed for near every Alabama borrower, the Consumer Credit Counseling professionals are also likely to clear away the former fees charged by the credit card companies for payments that arrived past their due date (twenty five bucks for a days’ postal delay) or accounts that were charged past their limit (thirty dollars for a few cents’ miscalculation), and, in what has become the Consumer Credit Counseling companies’ greatest motivating sales gambit, the new payments shall be far below the combined minimums of what the debtors had previously been striving to eke together each month. It’s an attractive debt relief presentation that the Consumer Credit Counseling specialists have put together, no small wonder that the industry has gained so much momentum through the last few years, but there are any number of drawbacks that their television commercials do not even dare to mention.
When entering one of the Consumer Credit Counseling storefronts – which, by this point, have popped up near every Alabama town and city of any size – you will be explicitly told about all of the benefits this service may indeed have to offer. One could hardly complain about lower interest rates or waived fees, after all; this is debt relief in its most superficial sense. However, the lowered payments end up for too many borrowers resembling a bittersweet privilege. For all of the temporary assistance recalculated payment schedules may bring Alabama households, the smart borrower should also realize that the lower the payment, the longer the eventual term of the overall loan and the more that they shall inevitably pay in compound interest. What use halving the actual rates when you’ll just up spending even more through terms that last twice as long? Further, the negative impact upon your FICO score and credit report is almost as bad as what you would see following declaration of a Chapter 7 debt elimination bankruptcy even though the debts remain with the Consumer Credit Counseling decision, and you’ll end up spending a pretty penny for the companies’ services before everything’s said and done. Actually, not only will you pay through the nose for the assistance of Consumer Credit Counseling professionals, but the debt relief specialists you work with will also request payment from the credit card companies as well. Remember, the conglomerates behind your credit card bills live in fear that the ordinary consumer might try their hand at bankruptcy protection – however disruptive recent congressional fiat has rendered that debt relief choice; any Alabama head of household that earns more the forty thousand a year probably would no longer even qualify for Chapter 7 debt elimination – and they want to make sure that their clients are locked in to an achingly slow system of debt relief that effectively forces the continual repayment of interest until the consumer’s death.
Now, debt settlement companies – superficially quite similar to the Consumer Credit Counseling debt relief alternative; both, after all, consolidate all unsecured revolving credit card accounts with an eye to eventual reduction of debt burdens – also maintain their own set of disadvantages. While less destructive to credit ratings, Alabama debtors that go through the program shall still see their FICO scores take a slight dip, and, once they are part of the debt settlement program, borrowers shall no longer be able to use past accounts nor take advantage of any new credit card opportunities sent in the mail or telemarketed or even offered from a trusted lending institution. Alas, much like the Consumer Credit Counseling option, debt settlement professionals do not work pro bono. They have their own fees that you’ll have to worry about – though, as with Consumer Credit Counseling, the brunt of the expense shall be extended over the course of the consolidation – but debt settlement companies do not ask additional money from the credit card companies that they have expressly pretended to be working against. Instead, the debt settlement professionals assume a combative posture from their first talks with representatives of the credit card companies and do whatever’s necessary to ensure that your credit account balances are reduced. Alabama consumers that we have spoken with in the past year have reported that experienced debt settlement negotiators have eliminated as much as fifty percent of their overall balances through a mixture of carrot (sped up payment schedules that typically last less than five years) and stick (the still effective threat of personal bankruptcy which reps of the credit card companies are taught to avoid at all costs).
Now, much as we thoroughly recommend every Alabama borrower at least takes a close look at the debt settlement alternative, we cannot promise it shall be the right fit for each family. So much, after all, depends upon what your family can and cannot pay each month. Income, household expenses, the type and the complete amount of debts held (and even the specific corporation that holds each debt; some still refuse to negotiate debt settlement regardless of technique) mean so much when deciding upon a particular debt relief plan. After all, debt settlement does mean you will still have to repay the majority of your current credit obligations within a limited time period, and, we understand, that’s just not possible for all Alabama families. Furthermore, you will still have those secured debts, like car loans and home mortgages (not to mention tax liens or any governmentally assessed bills like alimony or child support) to deal with. The responsibility for effective debt relief still lands with the original consumer, and you must start taking charge of their finances before presuming any other company can just make things right. Talk to the lender representatives yourself before involving debt relief companies, and, even after you’ve chosen a debt settlement or alternative approach, make sure that you continue to talk with the creditors to ensure that the bills are being paid as originally agreed and that all fees and debts that were purportedly waived have, in fact, been erased.
In order to ensure that you will have the funds necessary to meet the debt settlement stipend each month as well as taking care of all additional burdens such as payments for the aforementioned secured loan, insurance, and all of the day to day expenses households require to run smoothly. Budgeting should be of primary importance for every Alabama borrower in need of debt relief (which, realistically, should be every Alabama borrower that finds themselves unable to easily pay their outstanding debts – home mortgage or investment excepted – within a few months). Proper management of income and expenses remains the backbone of effective debt relief. Alabama’s shown a steady increase in per capita income growth, hovering just under three percent per annum for around the past decade which lands us comfortably in the top echelon of states, and, even during this period of economic unrest, many borrowers and other members of their households should be able to find additional work or begin home based business to increase earnings. Greater income combined with an end to foolish spending – a serious and reasoned program of debt relief, in other words – should prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again in the future regardless of how much Alabama and the American culture at large accentuates and indulges our worst impulses toward shopping without remorse.
While the worst tendencies of the American economy over the past few decades, propelling our countrymen into ever greater debts so that such artificially spurred bouts of purchasing buoys otherwise shaky financial underpinnings, have led consumers into such dire financial straits, our system of commerce also encourages new markets and industries to develop which help unfortunate borrowers navigate their way amidst debt relief predicaments. Throughout Alabama and the rest of North America, Consumer Credit Counseling and debt settlement and the similarly motivated firms have proven that they can effectively diminish the stresses that accompany debt loads, alleviating borrower tensions while facilitating communication between the clients and the lenders, while taking the debt burdens upon themselves as the debt relief specialists negotiate more advantageous terms and force leniency towards the payment schedules. This alternative could not guarantee debt relief for every borrower, if needs be said, but a wide swath of Alabamans insist that the process has prevented their households from being swamped by out of control debts. No consumer should enter the professional debt relief arena without quite reasonable apprehensions regarding the potentially troublesome repercussions, but experienced and educated debt relief counselors may still effectively aid their clients whenever the need for such assistance arises.
Though social services continue to be cut during the national financial crises that currently plague the American economy, resources yet exist for every citizen, and, while these programs (whether subsidized by the state or through non profit charities) may certainly be of some use to the right borrower, the best sort of companies – even if they are technically non profit or organized by the state or federal government – do request at least some small stipend for the first discussion. Within Alabama, for example, the various counties have originated debt relief affiliations with some of the more established community banks to provide assistance for those borrowers suffering from out of control debts. Within such ventures, social workers and enlightened volunteers have been trained by debt relief specialists typically employed by the banks or debt consolidation firms to advise unlucky debtors that recognize their essential helplessness in relation to existing burdens and larger spending habits. Considering Alabama’s continual troubles with problem debtors – for the past decade, Alabama has been found near the top of per capita Chapter 7 bankruptcy declarations, sharing that unfortunate distinction with Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and, in recent years, Utah – state officials have taken special care to help aid Alabamans understand and master debt relief from a blend of public and private counseling.
For most borrowers whose financial obligations have risen to the degree that they can no longer easily satisfy the minimum payments demanded by their creditors, involvement with one of the professional debt relief companies will sadly still be necessary. It certainly wouldn’t harm any Alabama household’s chances to avail themselves of the free (or, again, virtually free) state resources before choosing any specific course of action, but they will likely suggest eventual partnership with one of these specialists – consolidation with a debt settlement negotiation firm, say – for true and lasting relief from debts. This should not still be an easy decision for any Alabama family, and they should not feel that they are being rushed into any one approach. If bill collectors will not stop telephone or direct mail harassment, contact the consumer affairs section of the Alabama attorney general’s office (11 S Union, 3rd Fl, Montgomery, AL 36130; toll free phone number 1-800-392-5658) to report particular misdeeds. Alabama – along with thirty some other states – allows the consumers within the state to record phone conversations with all such collection agencies regardless of the bill collector’s notification or prior approval under statutes outlined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and proof of harassment should provide more than enough leverage to guarantee the agency not only will leave you and your family alone but also close up shop to prevent them from ruining the lives of other Alabama households.
There’s no reason for any family to suffer through this sort of barely lawful aggravation, and Alabama has done as much as any state in the south to protect their citizens from collection agency persecution. Though the process of debt relief demands swift and serious attention from all applicable consumers and all debtors facing consumer debt burdens should begin analyzing their predicament immediately, no Alabama borrower should allow him or herself to feel pressured into any course of action they do not thoroughly understand nor whose underlying foundations and eventual disadvantages they do not feel they will be able to comply with beyond question. So much of the relationship between a debtor and his or her debts remains impossible for an article such as this to accurately comment upon. Alabama, like all states, maintains special privileges for its consumers that should be fully investigated before consolidating past obligations.
Even the best debt settlement companies and associated professionals often ignore the less attractive debt relief practicalities with an eye toward ensuring the best potential credit reports and FICO scores. To take one of the more vibrant examples, Alabama features a statute of limitations (still ultimately dependant upon the lender’s initial written contract) upon consumer debts that can last no longer than six years and, for revolving accounts, may be as little as three years. Much depends upon the borrower’s state of residence when they took out the original loan and when the first delinquency was officially recorded, but this effective loophole should have obvious benefits. Many debt relief specialists, ever aiming to perfect their debtor clients’ overall situation (and, for some, pad the balances upon which they’ll draw a percentage of the total for their commission) will still urge complete repayment of all outstanding loans to better the borrowers’ credit ratings. Still, it may well be in the best interest of the more cash poor debtors to indulge the grace of Alabama’s statute of limitations upon such burdens.
All of which is not to say that debt settlement should be avoided or that debt settlement counselors are not to be trusted. The grand majority of such debt relief companies in the Alabama area or around the nation have earned sparkling reputations from a uniquely successful technique that genuinely can diminish payments and settle debts by as much as half of what the borrowers are currently bound to owe while eliminating all financial liabilities in only a matter of years and safeguarding home and hearth from seizure. Furthermore, in conjunction with Alabama law and the best wishes of the state to protect its citizens from future troubles with monetary burdens, these debt relief companies will also counsel borrowers on purchasing habits, budgeting, and organization of all consumer related difficulties involving the most beneficial payments to be made and how best to avoid succumbing to similar problems down the road. Curious borrowers should make sure to ask the Alabama chapter of the Better Business Bureau about any specific company that they are thinking about meeting with as well as contacting the federal Fair Trade Commission to ensure that there were no existing complaints upon record, but, still and all, for any Alabamans serious about debt relief programs, there’s nothing to lose by a process of discovery. It may take a while, it may be difficult for you and your family to suffer through the various deprivations that the program requires, but, with little more than will and effort and the desire to succeed, debt relief can be a reality for every Alabama household.
There are many New Orleans Hotels but for a Boutique Hotel in the very heart of New Orleans there is one that holds a higher standard, The Bienville House on the edge of the French Quarter. It is a very distinctive property with style and grace.
The Bienville House has all of the unique elegance of a French Quarter Manor. A crystal blue pool is surrounded by a flagstone courtyard and is overlooked by many of the room’s wrought iron balconies. There are four sundecks for you to relax and savor the ambience.
This lovely hotel started as a grain warehouse but it has gone through many manifestations since then to become the boutique hotel it is today.
In the beginning it was Planter’s Rice Mill, then Thompson’s Rice Mill and Southern Syrup Manufacturing. Then, in 1985, the building was completely transformed into the North American Hotel. The original advertising stated it was a delightful summer residence for Ladies and Gentlemen. Unfortunately the hotels owners went their separate ways and the building was divided into a boarder’s hotel and a fire house. Then it was converted to 20 luxury apartments and started the rival of Decatur Street. In 1972, after surviving a fire from across the street, it was purchased by the Monteleone Family.
The location of the Bienville hotel on Decatur Street mixes the old and new of the charming French Quarter. With its lovely wrought iron balconies this intimate property is the closest to the French Quarter and therefore many attractions are close by. Some of them include Aquarium of the Americas, Canal Place Shopping Center (including Saks Fifth Avenue and Brooks Brothers), Woldenberg Park, IMAX Theater and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. From this New Orleans hotel you can be spellbound by the stars at the Hard Rock Café while still enjoying the historic French quarter with it’s many famous eateries and scenery.
From this splendid location you can find antique shops, New Orleans’s signature Jazz Clubs, famous restaurants, beautiful historic buildings, voodoo shops, museums, the wharf and more. Just blocks from the exciting 24 hour Bourbon Street, you can find spectacular antiques and art galleries on Royal Street.
AAA has awarded it the coveted Three Diamond title and the Bienville is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. This boutique hotel consistently works hard to go beyond the standards that are demanded of that title.
They have a restaurant, the Louisiana Heritage Café that also serves as a school of cooking. In its casual setting it offers seafood, pasta, soup and salads in the New Orleans tradition. Some of Chef Faroldi’s dishes include Seafood Beignets with Remoulade Sauce, Blackened Catfish topped with Crawfish Etouffée and the famous “Rajun Cajun” Omelets. It is located on the first floor of the hotel and serves three meals a day.
The culinary lessons at the Louisiana Heritage Café can be for individuals or groups. Anyone can attend these lessons. The delicious fare is typically Cajun and Creole and while the chef is preparing the dishes he offers historic stories that will compliment his presentation.
For the business person Bienville House Hotel has a charming space for small meetings or parties for up to 100 guests. In the board room, which will hold 12, you can see the historic roots of this New Orleans Hotel in the exposed brick from the 1800’s. Within this board room you will find all of the amenities, like a wireless internet, and a wide range of AV equipment. The Vieux Carre room has 1,318 square feet available for larger meetings. All catering needs will be met by the staff at the Louisiana Heritage Café.
After your business meetings, the location of the Bienville House will delight your fellow attendees. With attractions like Bourbon Street, Jax Brewery, Jackson Square, the Mississippi Riverfront, Harrah’s Casino and the Canal Street and St Charles Avenue Streetcar lines your peers will have plenty of things to occupy them. With it’s proximity to New Orleans Central Business district the Bienville House Hotel’s prestigious address it’s a natural for any business person.
They have what they call The Corporate Executive Option to give all business travelers a satisfying experience. Then, after a successful day, the business traveler is mere steps from the city’s greatest restaurants, jazz establishments and shops. This plan offers the best rates with superior accommodations and many amenities. In your room you will find plenty of space to work with large desks, phones with data ports and cable TV. Included in this option is express check-in and check-out. You can count on the staff’s support to help arrange a small meeting or a corporate reception. You couldn’t do better than these elegant surroundings with state of the art equipment.
When you are thinking of taking a trip to Las Vegas, consider the Excalibur Hotel and Casino. It has everything you would expect of any Las Vegas Hotel. There is world class dining, plenty of entertainment and lots of casino action.
In the rooms you will find warm comforting tones and hardwood furniture. They have all the amenities, high speed internet access, hair dryers, irons and cable TV. There is an amusing room called the Turret with a castle theme. In the other standard rooms they offer either a king size bed or two queen sized beds. The luxurious spa rooms have a spa built for two, which is not only relaxing but romantic to boot. In a parlor suite you will find a full living room, dining area, a guest bathroom, a refrigerator and a marble spa and shower.
In this Las Vegas Hotel you will find everything you want in a fun and friendly atmosphere. At this castle you can take pleasure in slots or table games, a poker room, race and sports book service and round the clock Keno. There are many slots and electronic games ranging from one cent to one hundred dollars. The table games are Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Poker, Baccarat and Mini-Baccarat. In the Race and Sports room you can bet on horse races, dog races, or your favorite sports team.
For Entertainment you can choose The Tournament Of Kings dinner show with jousting and dancing maidens. Or how about Thunder from Down Under with the hottest hunks from Australia. If you need a good laugh catch Louie Andersons show Larger Than Life.
In this Castle naturally the buffet is King. There enough entrees to please everyone. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and don’t miss the Champagne Sunday Brunch. The Steakhouse At Camelot has won awards from Zagat for it’s food and service. They offer the most tender beef and fresh seafood that is flown in everyday. You can arrange to have a private dining room.
At Sir Galahads, order their prime aged beef that has been seasoned in rock salt and ground pepper. It is then slow roasted and sliced right at your table. Here too, there are private rooms available.
If you feel like Italian food, go to Regale Italian Eatery. They have all the usual food you would find in an Italian Restaurant. You will find, pizza, pasta and lasagna along with their specialties like shrimp scampi, chicken and veal. Try their famous Family Style Dinner while you are there.
Then there is the Sherwood Forest Grille and the Village Food Court both with more affordable prices. Perfect for when you just want a quick bite.
The Royal Treatment Spa is the place to be if you want to feel like a King or Queen. It has 13,000 square feet and overlooks the pool area. It is a world class spa and will pamper you with its wide variety of treatments. You can work out in the fitness center or get pampered in one of its eleven treatment rooms.
If you want a Fairy tale wedding, the Excalibur is the place to go. Their Canterbury Wedding Chapel will celebrate your wedding in a beautiful, traditional setting that you would expect at a castle. They have wedding coordinators that will help you with your photos, rehearsal dinner, flowers and the reception. It will create fond memories for you to cherish for a lifetime.
Excalibur’s full-service catering staff can help you plan any kind of special event from small meetings to grand galas.
For other activities other than gambling or eating, there are 17 shops on the Castle Walk, a gaming arcade, a gorgeous pool and plenty world class golf courses to choose from.
The Excalibur Hotel and Casino is a Las Vegas Hotel that will cater to all of your needs.
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Well, some of you Bed & Breakfast innkeepers missed a golden opportunity. I went to websites of inns best known for their food, but no entrees were even mentioned. How can it be that an award-winning inn for their breakfast doesn’t describe any breakfast? So I went to websites that proudly described their dishes. Here are a few of them.
The Buttonwood Inn is in a small New Hampshire town called North Conway, but nothing about their breakfast is small. They may begin with some Pumpkin-Walnut bread or Apricot-Orange scones, Maple Cinnamon rolls, Blueberry-Walnut Crumb Coffee Cake, or warm Fruit Crisp with granola, accompanied by cool, fresh fruit topped with raspberry sauce . That would be enough breakfast for me, but the chef is just getting warmed up. Next comes a savory dish like Mushroom-Sausage and Cheddar Cheese Strata, Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Chives and a side of roasted Red Bliss Rosemary potatoes. Then comes the sweet entrée: Baked French Toast Casserole with Pecan and Wild Maine Blueberry topping. Or Light Yeasted Belgian waffles under fresh blueberry sauce. Hail to Buttonwood.
Mission Oak Inn of Henry, Illinois offers some wonderful breakfast dishes like French Banana Crepes and fabulous Blueberry Pancakes, but it was their dinners that snapped me to attention. How about a Pizza of roasted chicken, onion, and cheese atop a dreamy creamy sun-dried tomato sauce? Or tender meat medallions served in a cream, brandy, maple and mustard reduction? Or grilled salmon on fresh greens with original sauce and topped by bacon, green onions, parmesan cheese, and walnuts? Or pork tenderloin marinated in apple cider, grilled, then smothered with homemade apple/peach chutney?
Then I happened to catch Jane of the Hawk Valley Retreat on the phone. When I asked about her most popular dishes, her voice became secretive and sultry and she led me lovingly down the list: German Baked Apple Pancakes, Baked Peach French Toast, pancakes with a brown sugar/strawberry compote, Green Onion and Spinach Cheese Quiche with hash brown crust, and Eggs Benedict with her own secret Hollandaise sauce recipe. The names of her entrees didn’t bowl me over. But as she described every detail, every ingredient and spice, I knew cooking isn’t just fun for her, it is a luscious adventure. There’s a difference. Jane is a master of simple baking.
Like many of these top inns, the chefs at the Bloomsbury Inn use only fresh local farm products. I never expected a South Carolina inn to be full of such scientifically talented people. But they’ve experimented with hundreds of dishes, and the creativity of their top picks boggles the imagination: hot apple soup, poached pears and baked peaches with toasted peanut butter rolls, creamed eggs in a puff pastry, baked cinnamon-raisin French toast, toasted bacon-pecan bread, homemade biscuits with chocolate gravy, peppered praline bacon, and their own version of Eggs Benedict: a delicate crème sauce over croissant, wilted spinach, peppered ham, avocado, and poached egg. Exquisite.
Sue of the Harbour Ridge Inn in Osage was not about to be outdone. She emailed me with her choices, and I appreciated the personal attention. Sue serves fruitinis in martini glasses with a white chocolate mousse base on which she slices banana. Then she pours in Chambord-soaked strawberries with a dollop of whipping cream and a mint leaf for garnish. She does the
Bloomsbury Inn one better by nesting her Cinnamon-Raisin French toast atop a whipping cream custard base accompanied by sausage loaf and delicate poached pears in red wine and orange juice. Another popular French toast starts with fresh grilled pineapple slices, country ham, sliced cheese. Add sourdough bread soaked in French toast batter, grilled and served with a strawberry-jalapeno pepper jam. She also makes egg casserole to order with choices of fresh stuff like roasted red peppers, leeks, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, spinach, diced ham, cheeses and fresh basil and dill. I was impressed. Nice email.
The Judge Porter House in Natchitoches (where?), Louisiana it not to be missed. The first course at the judge’s might be peach or apple dumplings, bread pudding with warm maple sauce, Peach Crisp baked with a coconut-pecan topping, Apple Brown Betty topped with vanilla yogurt, pecans, and cinnamon, or Berry Puff Pastry stuffed with fresh berries, drizzled with raspberry sauce, and topped with whipped cream. The second course may include delicious pancakes, waffles or French toast, but I featured those things in other reviews so let me emphasize the egg dishes. One baked egg dish features eggs with savory mushrooms and crème Francais cradled in Black Forest ham crisps. Another favorite is Southwestern egg mixture baked in individual ramekins and topped with hearty salsa. Then there’s the Queen Anne Quiche, but the chef was very hush-hush about it. Guess you’ll have to visit the judge’s to check it out.
The two most attractive things Bed & Breakfasts offer are cozy, top rate lodging and the best breakfast ever. Check out these terrific inns.