Brewster House Bed & Breakfast (Freeport, Maine Coast)

Category Archives: bed and breakfast

White Christmas? How About A White Halloween?

November 1, 2011 by Scott Gile

When we were children it seemed people always wondered whether or not we would have a white Christmas. That is, would there be snow on the ground by Christmas Day.

We can’t answer that on (though we could hazard a guess…), but this year we had snow before Halloween.

By late morning some of the snow had begun to melt.

By Saturday evening (October 29) the storm that had formed over the southern Atlantic coast had moved north, dropping snow on Washington, D.C., and several other locations from New Jersey to Connecticut. It went up the east coast of the US, then the winds backed up onto northern New England, forming a classic nor’easter.

The storm began to drop big, soft, white, flakes on Freeport about 7:00 p.m.

We awoke in the middle of the night to find the heavy weight of the snow had knocked the power out, and began planning for a breakfast that could be prepared without electricity.

Our stove is gas (propane, actually), so we quickly changed the planned breakfast of a baked egg dish and scones (that needed to be baked in the morning) to Ruth’s special scrambled eggs with bacon, roasted potatoes, and muffins – all of which could be prepared on top of the stove.

The next challenge was the coffee. Since we use French presses the only requirements were boiling water and grinding the beans. The water was easy, since we could boil it on the stovetop, but the electric grinder wasn’t going to work. We double-bagged some beans, and smashed them with a rubber mallet, to get them as finely “ground” as we could, and served up fresh coffee – just not quite the “usual” strength.

The guests were all delightful about their “adventure” and ate breakfast by candlelight. Two couples decided to sleep in, just appearing for a cup of coffee, while the others enjoyed the sense of camaraderie that comes from shared difficulty.

Just as the last guests were finishing their breakfast, the lights flickered, then stayed on. We all breathed a sigh of relief, as the power was back, hot showers awaited, and a good time was had by all (wasn’t it?).

No doilies or wallpaper, and only en suite bathrooms, here!

April 27, 2010 by Scott Gile

Brewster House Bed & Breakfast dining roomWhat is that title about? At Brewster House Bed & Breakfast in Freeport, Maine, we’re advocating truth in advertising!

A week or two ago the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) released the results of a study, asking travelers their perception of staying at bed and breakfast inns. The results revealed some interesting myths about staying in B&Bs. This link is an article listing the findings, and the myth-busting replies.

The list includes decor, shared bathrooms, breakfast seating arrangements, curfews, and whether or not children or pets are allowed. But are these really problems? We know some guests who prefer separate tables for each group of guests, and others who love the interaction of a single dining table. Some like a more modern style of decor, while others revel in the historic accuracy of period decor.

Stepping back a bit from the results, it really looks like the concern isn’t so much what the travelers say about the B&Bs, but what they don’t say. That is, they seem to be concerned that they just don’t know what they are going to get when they choose a bed and breakfast.

In truth, our experience indicates that bed and breakfast inns are as varied as their locations and the personalities of their owners. Some are themed around the surrounding area or its history, like one we know in an old bordello, or railroad cars, and others are very formal, in keeping with the mansions in which they are located. Some are quite casual, reflecting the attitude of the innkeepers, and some are less so.

Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Room FourIn these days when the internet provides the opportunity for inns of all kinds to put their best foot forward, showing accurately what the guest can expect when they stay at that property. In fact, there really is no excuse for not showing the prospective guests exactly what they can expect, whether it is wallpaper or paint, doilies or not, separate dining or family style, etc.

With all that in mind, we want to make it clear what you will find when you come visit Brewster House. We invite you to look through our web site, explore the photos of the rooms, look at the virtual tours, and really see what we have to offer. Here’s what you’ll find:

  • No doilies or wallpaper, and no patchwork quilts. Our rooms are painted (we have no wallpaper) with soothing colors – some relatively bold, some softer, with coordinating paint in the baths. Most of the beds have rich, designer, comforters, though a few have designer quilts. We do have antiques in the house, mixed with more modern furnishings, as well.
  • We have no shared bathrooms. All our rooms have baths in the rooms (that is, the bathroom is entered from inside your guest room, and not shared with other guests). In our two bedroom suites the bath is a pass-through between the two bedrooms, so it is shared by members of your own party, not with other guests.
  • You do not have to sit with strangers at breakfast, and dietary restrictions can be accommodated. We think our dining room has the best of both worlds. It has individual tables (most are for two, one is for four), so you sit with your own party, but the other guests are not far away, in case you would like to have a friendly conversation with them. We serve a set breakfast each morning, usually alternating between a sweet dish one day and a savory dish the next. We routinely ask about dietary restrictions, and can nearly always select something from our repertoire of breakfast dishes that will meet your needs.
  • We have no curfews. Each guest is given a room key which opens their guest room, but also opens the guest entrance to the house. Thus, while our check-in time is from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (and we can make arrangements for late arrivals, if needed), guests who have checked-in have no curfew and can come and go at any time using their room key for access to the house.
  • Not only for couples. It is true that most (by a good measure) of our guests are couples. However, with our two bedroom suites, we also often have either a group of four traveling together or a family, staying with us. Maine does not allow lodging properties to refuse accommodation on the basis that the guest is accompanied by children. In compliance with this requirement, we welcome well-behaved guests of any age. We do ask that guests with children be considerate of other guests, and supervise their children at all times, being aware that most of our guests are here to enjoy a quiet, romantic, getaway, often as a time away from their own children.

Each bed and breakfast makes its own decision whether or not to allow pets. At Brewster House we have a number of guests who are allergic to animal fur and are very sensitive to the presence of animals. Consequently we do not allow pets. However, there are excellent boarding facilities nearby, as well as other properties who do allow pets.

Whether you are traveling to Freeport, Maine, or anywhere else, you can almost certainly find a bed and breakfast where you will be welcomed like an old friend, with comfortable surroundings, a wonderful breakfast, appropriate levels of privacy and all the help you need for recommendations of restaurants, activities and directions. Look for a B&B for your next getaway!

Carpet and Other Projects

November 12, 2009 by Scott Gile

Carpet!

As promised, the carpeting of the third floor and back stairs is complete! Of course, since we changed the color of the carpet from blue to tan, it will also mean re-painting the stairwells and hallways, which are now gray, but will soon be a pale yellow/gold.

Back stairs, old carpetBack stairs, new carpetAs you can see from the first photo of the rear stairs, the blue was very pronounced, and it was time to replace the carpet. The second photo shows the back stairs with the new carpet, while the third photo shows the new carpet at the third floor landing.

Third floor landing, new carpetOf course, the need to re-paint the halls and stairs raises the question of what else will be done this winter. To tell the truth, we have quite a long list. In fact, the list is long enough that we fear we may not be able to complete it all, so any parts that don’t get done this year may have to wait for next year.

Fireplaces!

We hope to install gas (propane) fireplaces in a few of the rooms. We will be meeting with a fireplace company to see what they recommend, but we would love to have some nice fireplaces in at least some rooms. If we can find good prices, and if the installation is feasible, we hope to have some in before Spring.

Paint and Lights!

Most of our guests know that we have painted a couple of rooms each winter. We do hope to paint at least one, and possibly more rooms this year. We also plan to paint some bathrooms and install new light fixtures in those baths that don’t yet have the new fixtures.

More!

We have a longer list than this, but now we’re venturing into the area of things we may not have time to do this winter. If we do manage to get them done, we’ll be sure to post pictures and let you know.

By the way, one thought we have is of putting televisions in some rooms. In our informal conversations with guests, about two-thirds would prefer not to have TV’s in the guest rooms, and 1/3 would like to have them.

Do you have a preference? Please either send us your opinion or post a comment to let us know!

Southern Recipe from a Maine B&B: Pecan Praline French Toast

July 10, 2009 by Scott Gile

Brewster House B&B Pecan Praline French Toast
One of our favorite French toast recipes is based on one we received from a family friend in California. She sent us Paula Deen’s Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup.

As some of our friends well know, we lived for a number of years in the Southern USA (Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia), and love a lot of the Southern dishes. One thing we find, though, is that they are sometimes a bit rich for us. Consequently we’ve taken some of our favorites and altered them a little to be just a bit lighter (they are still very substantial – just ask our guests!). That’s what we did with this recipe.

Brewster House Bed and Breakfast Pecan Praline French ToastIn fact, we had been serving our version as Brewster House Pecan Praline French Toast for some time before Ruth came across a video of Paula Deen making her French toast recipe. Based on the recipe we had from our friend, we had been laying the slices of bread down in the pan in layers, which made a great French toast in its own right. When Ruth saw the video, she realized that the way Paula Deen makes it, the slices stand up in the pan, wicking the custard up into themselves, and they look amazing! We tried it with our version, and wow! The taste was wonderful and the presentation was really impressive (as you can see from the photo!).

Here’s the recipe for Brewster House Pecan Praline French Toast:

1 loaf French bread (13-16 ounces) (you may also use challah bread instead for a slightly different texture)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash salt
Praline Topping (recipe follows)
Maple syrup (we use 100% pure Maine maple syrup)

  1. Slice bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. Arrange slices upright, in a generously buttered 9 x 13-inch flat baking dish in two rows, overlapping the slices.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt, and whisk until blended. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices.
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  5. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.
  6. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.

Bon appetit!

Inn Your Dreams Seminar at Brewster House

June 5, 2009 by Scott Gile

Inn Your Dreams, Maine’s oldest aspiring innkeeper course, has scheduled a course over three days of this year’s Labor Day Weekend, to take place at Brewster House B&B in Freeport, Maine.

Inn Your Dreams Seminar for Aspiring InnkeepersThe seminar will begin with arrival and Welcome Gathering on Friday evening September 4th and end after lunch on Monday (Labor Day), September 7th. Classes will begin on Saturday morning the 5th.

The class is taught by Don Johnson, a former innkeeper and owner of several outstanding Maine B&B’s and now a consultant and real estate broker specializing in representing buyers of fine inns. The course will also include presentations on specialized topics (some with guest expert speakers) such as business plans, preparing for bank financing, pricing your rooms, marketing your inn, technology and the inn, and more.

Please visit www.InnYourDreams.com for complete information and registration.

Freeport Maine Bed & Breakfasts: Why You Should Give Them a Try!

May 28, 2009 by Scott Gile

Brewster House B&B dining room
We have previously given a number of reasons why someone would want to stay in a bed and breakfast on their travels. Some bear repeating. There are also additional reasons to choose a B&B, including some specific reasons to choose a Freeport Maine B&B.

At Brewster House we recently entertained several guests who were on both their first visit to Maine and their first stay at a bed and breakfast. What did they find?

Better prices than hotel chains

While this may not be the case everywhere, in Freeport, Maine, especially during the busy summer season, the rates at the B&B’s are generally quite a bit (sometimes as much as $50 per night) lower than the chains for a comparable sized room. For example, a room with one queen bed and private bath.

The breakfast is not the same!

Many of the chain hotels offer some type of breakfast for their guests. In some cases this is little more than mass-produced items, shrink-wrapped bagels, donuts and cold cereal. Even the chains with a better breakfast leave you feeling a bit like you’ve just had breakfast in the school cafeteria.

Your Freeport Maine B&B offers a hot breakfast, prepared fresh, and often with only fresh ingredients and made from scratch. Each bed and breakfast has its own personality, so the breakfasts will reflect the tastes of the innkeepers. Most will offer different menus on successive days, so, unlike the chain hotels, you will not see the same meal each day.

Menus will range from pancakes or waffles to egg dishes, from suffed French toast casseroles to quiches, with sides like freshly cooked hash browns, meats, and fresh or cooked fruit dishes. Whatever the style, the breakfasts are one of the main reasons to stay at a B&B!

The rooms

Once again, the rooms in a bed and breakfast will vary from one B&B to another. Most try to make good use of the space, but the old homes were not identical, so the conversion to a B&B results in a variety of combinations.

Some will have rooms of varying sizes, some will be more nearly uniform. Some will be spacious, others less so. All are decorated with individuality and attention that can not be matched in an institutional setting.

The service

In a B&B in Freeport Maine you won’t find 24-hour desk clerks and large staffs of people available at any time. What you will find is owner-innkeepers who sincerely desire to make sure that every guest has a thoroughly enjoyable stay in the area.

Your innkeepers will not only see that your room is ready, and your breakfast is served promptly – that goes almost without saying. They will also answer nearly any question about Freeport, or about Maine, and its wonderful scenery, history and attractions. They will provide driving directions, restaurant recommendations and reservations, Most will provide some type of afternoon refreshments, in addition to the delightful breakfast.

More information

To find more information about Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, please visit our website. More information on Freeport’s historic bed and breakfasts can be found on the Historic Freeport Bed and Breakfasts website. You may also find information on Maine B&B’s at the Maine Innkeepers website or the Maine Office of Tourism website.

How to Choose Your Maine Bed and Breakfast

May 14, 2009 by Scott Gile

After the recent posts about finding information about your visit to Maine, including finding moose, lobster and lighthouses, it seemed natural that we should next post about finding a place to stay.

Brewster House Bed and Breakfast, Freeport, MaineWhile we would love to have all Maine visitors stay at Brewster House, and as conveniently located as we are for many of Maine’s wonderful places to visit, we realize that occasionally some visitors will want to stay a bit nearer to some of their favorite places, like Acadia National Park, Moosehead Lake, etc.

1. Maine Visitors Information
Some of the best sources of information on Maine and Maine bed and breakfasts can be found in the tourist information sites of Maine. The State of Maine Tourism Office site has a large section on lodging, divided by type. They also indicate any specials or packages the B&B may be currently offering.

Many Maine Bed and Breakfasts will also be found on the Maine Tourism web site. When you search on that site you’ll want to filter your selection, but be aware that selecting “Online Reservations” may not work the way you expect. Making that selection eliminates any property that does not do its online reservations through Maine Tourism, which is the majority of properties. In other words, many of these properties do have online reservations, but not through the Maine Tourism web site.

Finally, Maine Innkeepers Association also lists properties by type. That site is about to undergo a facelift, so it isn’t quite as modern in appearance as others, but the information is still useful.

2. Local or Regional Information
Many areas (whether towns, villages, counties or regions) have web sites with lodging and other information that includes B&B’s. For example, in Freeport you can look at the Freeport Merchant’s Association site, which, while catering to retailers, includes lodging and other area information, including for those bed and breakfasts who are members. Similarly, the Destination Freeport site has area information, with a greater emphasis on lodging.

Still within the area of Freeport, you will find information specifically about Bed and Breakfast accommodations at the Historic Freeport Bed and Breakfast Association site. That site includes an availability calendar, showing which B&B’s have availability over the upcoming two weeks. More information can be found on the availability calendars for the individual B&B’s.

3. B&B Directories
As with finding a Bed and Breakfast almost anywhere, you may also want to try the B&B directories. There are several very large directories, with many B&B’s listed for most areas. You may want to try some smaller directories, especially local directories, as some B&B owners prefer not to list on the bigger directories.

One way to find the directories with good lists of bed and breakfasts in the area is to use your favorite search engine and search “bed breakfast” and the name of the town where you are interested (or just Maine, if you are uncertain where you want to visit). For example, you might search “bed breakfast freeport maine”. Instead of looking at the individual results, notice the directories who come up near the top of the listings. These will have a good presence in that area, so following those links and going to the state or city page will help you find a number of selections in that area.

Among the larger directories having a good presence in Maine, and where we are listed, are BedAndBreakfast.com, BBOnline.com, BnBFinder.com, and LanierBB.com. There are also directories who are not quite so large, such as Better Bed and Breakfasts, Charming Country Inns, International Bed and Breakfast Pages, and ILoveInns.com.

What areas of Maine are you planning to visit? Leave your answer in the comments!

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