Monday, August 29, 2011

Honoring soldiers at Classic Rosewood beyond Veterans Day

August 2nd, 2011 
At the Hastings Chamber Board of Directors’ meeting this past month, awards were presented by the Hastings Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committee by Dean Markeson. We were honored to receive the Seven Seals Award which is the highest award given to businesses who Support the Guard and Reserve. The award was created we were told “to publicly recognize companies who provide outstanding patriotic support to soldiers who have been called to serve and their families.”

We were humbled through the meeting because Dick and I could not help but think it should not have been so much about us but rather about those who are so committed to serving our country. We are so proud to have a strong committee in Hastings planning activities and raising awareness about our soldiers’ needs. We feel very lucky to have a means to plug into something that will help serve THEM.

We received the award because we started a program of giving free midweek room nights to local soldiers. We also encourage their spouses to come and enjoy the inn when they can even when their husband is away serving. Life is stressful “holding down the fort” alone. Sometimes a few wives of soldiers will take turns watching each others’ kids and a few of them will come for a short getaway together. We love serving them too.
Last November we participated in the National B & B Veterans Day gift to soldiers. Hundreds of B & B s throughout the country joined in offering free rooms the Wednesday before Veteran’s Day. We were asked to donate one room. We donated all eight. It was a time we will long remember. We had a Marine who served in Vietnam who came by himself, a war widow and her daughter, two couples who knew each other since the guys served in the same regimen during World War II and a few young soldiers and their wives. These soldiers had just returned from Afghanistan and were assigned to go back soon. There were tears and hugs and lots of great story telling that night and the next morning. It was like we were all at the same camp and found out the war was over.

We flew every flag we had not just on the front porch. Each bedroom door was adorned with the red, white and blue and the breakfast fruit was strawberries, blueberries and white melons and— yes we even stuck flag toothpicks in the bread pudding We wanted to demonstrate that we really truly appreciated them.
So after that special day, Dick and I reminisced about that opportunity we had. We were inspired to “crack it up a notch” as Emeril says. So now we open it up to donate to as many local soldiers as we can —midweek overnights of R &R and not limit it to one day to honor them. And like I said — the honor bestowed upon us by the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Campaign belongs to our service men and women and their families. Back at ya!

Chorus of Chicks with Sticks at Rosewood

July 28th, 2011  
It was a hot summer night and a group of eight or was it nine (who call themselves “Chicks with Sticks”) invaded Rosewood. No generation division here as mothers, daughters, sisters and friends sellled in for a night of chatter and creating. Projects dribbled off their “sticks” in beautiful colorful form. Although I hear they are all mitten experts they also delve into sweaters, socks and “clog” slippers.

One might imagine the equal pleasure ladies of the era of this house (1880) likely had in equal measure to this bunch with their domestic creativity. They for sure were knitting, doing needlework, tatting  or hand quilting in these same spaces. And perhaps like this bunch could not decide: should we convene in the front parlor, the library or the back porch? Might their refreshments  also have been a spot of tea or glass of wine with green tomato pie?    

What was most pleasing was the laughter that tumbled into the kitchen where I was prepping breakfast for the next morning. Funny how there is no need to know the point of the joke, just catch the “music” of it and join in even from afar with  hands in the dough. And i of course recognized my own dear sister’s laugh who time and time again leads the chorus with the heartiest longest lasting “song” of all!

And so before adjourning for the night, with the utmost respect for history, the Chicks with Sticks each chose an eclectic hat from our house collection and posed with the portrait of the lady of the house Mrs. Rudolph Latto (Marie) center stage. We know Marie would have been, or perhaps knowing as I do the positive energy of the past in this home, IS pleased to have this gathering of like minds and busy hands in her home some 100 years since her passing. I was pleased and hope the Chicks with Sticks will invade again with projects and their “songs” and green tomato pie.

Chicks with Sticks and Marie

 PS. I hear that the recipe for Green Tomato Pie will soon appear on the website of the Borner Farm Project This wonderful nonprofit in Prescott, Wisconsin by the way is tied to the heartstrings of the Chicks with Sticks.. And again the ladies of the era of this house we now call Rosewood would be most pleased with the Chicks’ preservation efforts and respectful dignity they give to the past. With much gratitude to them and their work, Marie and I are honored to host them here.

Happy Spring from pussy willows to grapevines

May 7th, 2011 
Our lovely pussy willow bush in the front yard of Rosewood was sprouting the little gray furry blossoms a few weeks back and then we got the snow. It looked so sweet with snow covering the blossoms but we worried. But then Spring came again and more blossoms. But then some of the blossoms had opened in to the green foliage. We always do some cutting to add to our bouquets around the inn but this year it was such an unusual display with some branches having blossoms and some about to burst into foliage, we decided that was dramatic on its own. Did you know pussy willows are extremely easy to multiply by softwood cuttings?  In fact, they root so easily that stems of almost any size can simply be stuck into moist soil in the spring, and they will be well rooted within a few weeks. The cutting must be set with the correct end up as it originally grew. So when you come as a guest,  if you would like to start your own “Welcome Spring” bush as we call it,  we would be happy to share a cutting or two with you. As our welcome sign says, “come often, sit deep –you’re one of the folks”.

We look forward to welcoming you to Spring happenings around town including the early opening of Alexis Bailly Vineyard. So every weekend in May they are open from 11 AM to 5 PM. Then their regular Open House weekend of the season is the first two weekends in June. And new this year –bring your dog to the Winery the first two Fridays of June from 5 to 7 PM.   Terry Ann, the Dog Whisperer, will be there to talk to your dog; Stacy Eng from Grand Paws in St. Paul is bringing her nail clippers; Treats from Sojos; and Toumie the Winery Dog will be giving dog tours in the vineyard!  You might want to check out our winery package on our site The two night package is all inclusive with vouchers for up to four winery visits nearby and dinners both nights and of course you have chosen a wine during your tastings to go with your in house dinner here at Classic Rosewood. We are so looking forward to seeing you here soon.

Chocolate Covered Fun

March 17th, 2011 

The Ninth Annual St Croix Valley Chocolate March is happening every Sunday in March thanks to a bunch of hardworking creative innkeepers . Imagine really good chocolate creations paired with beautiful surroundings at modern and historic inns as you travel along the beautiful St Croix River valley. Our Sunday was this Sunday the 13th. We were happy to share this day with the Historic LeDuc Estate and also our fabulous downtown Hasitngs chocolate shop, Creative Confectionaire plus the Afton House and Afton Historical Society. It was a beautiful day and we served almost 300 chocolate lovers or is it lovers of chocolate?  So many guests asked innkeepers for our recipes previous years that each of our 14 innkeepers offered their favorite one and we packaged them this year for all the tour guests.

So if you missed this year, mark your calendar next year for some Sunday in March or maybe all four Sundays.  One fellow gives this to his wife every year –tickets for all four Sundays with his undivided attention also being a chocolate lover. He said it covers Christmas, her birthday, their anniversary and even Valentine’s Day. Smart guy.

We decided to share the recipe we shared in the recipe packet with those of you reading our blog too:
Chocolate Cherry Aloha Bread Pudding.

Our secret – we do not use bread –we use either croissants or the sweet bread known as Hawaiian Bread.

1 quart and 1 cup half and half                       1 cup cocoa
6 eggs                                                           2 cups chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla                                                   2 cups pitted sweet cherries
1 cup sugar
1 and a half loaf of Hawaiian bread OR about 12 large day old croissants

 Tear bread into bite size pieces into a large bowl. Pour one full quart of half and half over bread and let it soak in while you mix egg mixture. Beat eggs with sugar, vanilla and remaining cup half and half and cocoa. Pour over soaking sweet bread. Mix well and fold in chocolate chips and cherries. Pour into greased glass pan. We use a 10 x 15 pan. You may use a smaller pan and it will be very thick. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until rises and browns nicely. We serve with our own chocolate sauce and garnish with real cherries if available.

Come and visit us often and we will try out some other variations on you depending on the season. (Pears with vanilla sauce, apples with caramel sauce, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries with berry berry sauce and ice cream)

Minnesota – it’s always about the weather

February 18th, 2011 
Welcome to our new blog at Rosewood and Thorwood. Sorry to start with talk about the weather but that is what Minnesotans do. Can’t help but think about the first snow of this year and how perfect and beautiful it was. The first of the season is always so fluffy and whiter than white and easy to shovel. Also perfect is using the snow to spell romance.  One fellow staying last week (Valentine week) trekked through the crusty topped snow on the north side of Rosewood and stomped out a giant heart in the snow with his sweetie’s and his initials in it. They had breakfast in their room and as he poured her coffee for her, he reached over and flung open the drapes for her to see. How romantic is that? He must have done it in the middle of the night after she went to sleep because it was a total surprise she said as she shared the story.

Snow blown front porch at Thorwood

And yes we live vicariously through our guests –how can you not think romance with deeds like that? And so that is how we get exercise (vicariously) too. Many of our guests have their own snowshoes. One couple said they started out here four years ago renting snowshoes at Carpenter’s for their moonlight hikes and realized they had to buy their own.  When the snow is just right it is like walking in bunny slippers on clouds they said. They come back every year to snowshoe and snuggle. There are two superb areas for cheap snowshoe rental within just a few miles from the inns. (Carpenter St Croix Valley Nature Center and Afton State Park).

We are hearing now that we may or may not get one to twelve inches on Sunday. Our weathermen sure give themselves a lot of room for error. But that is OK as long as our guests  get here. We love for you to get snowed in.  We will just keep baking cookies and bringing wood and food to you. If we run out of food, our favorite little grocery store where we get most everything good and local and organic (Spiral Food Co-op) is within a short snowshoe hike away. What better excuse to not be at work or school or home, SNOWED-IN IN  AN INN IN HASTINGS.  Hope to see you soon. If it’s snowing -just get here!