Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bird Feeder

Fall is here and time once again to fill the bird feeders. We are just a bit inland, so we don't get shorebirds at the house, nor do they eat seeds, but you see them flying all over. When we clean crabs at our fish cleaning sink, the gulls find out pretty quickly. They hang out on the roof next door and wait until we are done. Then its a mad dash and the crab parts are gone in a few minutes. Our fuchsia bushes attract many hummingbirds during the summer, Anna's are here year round but we get the Rufous here too. It also attracts the neighborhood cats, so I have put a fence around the fuchsia to slow them down.

So the tube feeders went out a few weeks ago. I wait until I see the first of the migrating birds, the Brown Pelican. I've already had some interesting visitors that I never see during the summer. Our range is quite unique as we are close to the ocean, riparian and woodlands. There are tons of birds here, but they are all specific to their natural habitats. Adding a feeder brings the marginal birds to our yard. I have a feeder less than 10 feet from my desk, so I get quite a show all day long.

The Steller's Jay has been here the most. Never see them until the feeders go out. Scores of Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees jump from the apple tree to the feeder, grab a seed, back to the tree to open it and eat it, then back to the feeder. This goes on until the Steller's Jay comes and scares them all off. Yesterday was the first appearance of the Red-winged Blackbird, a group of about 5 were feeding for a while. I also saw a Starling, I know, I hate them too, but this was the first time I saw one in it's Fall plumage. Golden-crowned and White-crowned Sparrows won't feed close to the house, they like the feeder out by the fence. A Northern Flicker will stop by too, sitting on the fence to see all the action.

The best bird activity I've seen so far has been the confused Oregon Junco. These birds are ground feeders. You see them hoping around under the feeder picking up the seed that drop from the feeder. So the chickadees were all over the feeder and apple tree. There is a lot of lichen on the apple tree, so a few chickadees were storing seeds in the lichen. The Junco hopped into the tree and was just watching the chickadees eating the seeds out of the lichen. It started to hop around the tree looking for seeds too, knowing genetically that this could not be. It did figure out that the seeds were stored and started eating them.

I have another feeder on the north side of the house, out the dining room window that has yet to be discovered. The birds will find it when the south blowing winter winds pick up as it's protected from the wind.

So get a feeder out at your house. Make sure you put it where you can see the birds when you're inside, isn't that why you feed the birds in the first place?

If you want to see the migrating sea and shore birds, now is the time in Pacific City. The Brown Pelicans are on the surf line all day and rest in the river at night. Lots of grebes in the river too. The sunsets are rush hour for the geese, very noisy as they fly from feeding to resting areas.

Come on down to Pacific City and visit all our birding areas. It will take a few days, so rest here at The Craftsman B&B and update your life list of all the birds you saw during the day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Recipe Sharing

We serve really good breakfasts here at The Craftsman B&B. Well, our guests keep telling us that and they are writing great reviews about it on-line too. We get asked to share recipes, well we really don't do that. We are half a food business, so just like a restaurant, our business is food based. We prepare good food we have tested recipes, modified and tweaked them until we think it's good enough. Then we try it out on friends and returning guests to get their opinion before an item makes our menu.

I have done a lot of experimenting with various food allergies as well. We want to serve all our guests the same meal. If we have a guest with a dietary restriction at the table, we don't want to serve them something entirely different than the rest of the guests. We don't want to make them feel isolated. We make sure all the plates look pretty much the same. That means, we have to adapt "regular" recipes to not include ingredients that a person can't have while making it look and taste like the original version. Sometimes it's easy, a lot of times it's not. So why would I want to just give out all my hard work when that's half my business?

I know it can be a challenge for someone who has come upon an allergy later in life and has a complete change in their diet. Gluten and or wheat allergies ring a bell? Baking gluten free can be a huge challenge. We have figured out quite a few muffins and cookies that are gluten or wheat free. I know oats have gluten, but most people are allergic to wheat, and other long grains, like rice and barley, yes, no beer! Oat flour can be a good substitute, but not if they are gluten free.

I have shared some of our secret recipes for our diet restricted guests. But like any restaurant, we don't share every dish to the entire world. We want you coming back for more. That said, we also try not to serve a returning guest the same dish they have had before. We do get requests and we do accommodate them, just like the reason you return to your favorite restaurant.

So over time, we have shared a few recipes with the world. Our famous Bananas Foster French Toast is very popular and the talk around our still tiny town of Pacific City. Waiters, when finding out our guests are staying with us, have asked if they had the Bananas Foster French Toast, we call it BFFT.

So another guest has been asking for our coffee cake recipe. He has started a blog that is food based and I thought this would be a good post for him, us and his morning breakfast. We've been e-mailing back and forth because we have 3 coffee cakes we make on a regular basis and didn't know which one he wanted. So after a few questions, I know the one. We call it Craftsman Coffee Cake.

If you have had it, I'm sure you'll agree, it's pretty darn good. If you haven't, book a room and ask for it for breakfast.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pacific City, Sunset Set-up Package

We have had wine packages to include with your stay here at The Craftsman B&B from the begening. We are changing the Pacific City Package to suit the wants of our guests. We created a Sunset package. Grab a back pack including a bottle of our Bin #50, Basket Case Syrah. Inside will be 2 keepsake wine glasses and a beach blanket. Just $20.00

Head out to the beach and watch the sunset while sipping on Syrah from Pacific City's own winery, Basket Case. Not just an Oregon Coast experience, and Pacific City experience.

If you don't finish your wine before it gets dark, no worries, you can wait for the stars to come out.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Best of the West!


The Craftsman Bed & Breakfast of Pacific City, Oregon, was selected as Best in the West in the annual Best of Awards, 2009-2010. The Best of Awards are based upon a qualitative and quantitative review of the nearly 50,000 independent reviews submitted to, the leading online B&B directory and reservation network worldwide.

" surveys show that independent reviews are the most important factor when choosing a B&B. In fact, according to's most recent survey, 96% of consumers consider reviews to be somewhere between important and essential when selecting a place to stay, and 12% will not make a reservation at a property without them. We're delighted that inn goers concur that The Craftsman Bed & Breakfast is deserving of its accolades from travelers," explained's Sandy Soule, one of the most highly recognized authors and a spokeswoman for the B&B industry. "Clearly, The Craftsman Bed & Breakfast earned its stellar reviews from inn goers for its quality accommodations, breakfasts, amenities, and wonderful hospitality and service," commented Soule.

"It's an honor to be chosen for a Best of award, and we thank our guests for the positive reviews that resulted in this award,” stated Michael Rech, The Craftsman Bed & Breakfast’s innkeeper. "It is gratifying that our guests took the time to share their comments about our hospitality, accommodations, breakfasts and attention to the details which set The Craftsman Bed & Breakfast apart," commented Rech. Here's an excerpt from one of our reviews: The room was tasteful and the bed was so comfy. No frilly doilies or wallpaper! The private bath is great, and the service was great. Breakfast was really tasty and the coffee was FABULOUS!

For a complete list of all winners, including regional and international Best of Award winners, please visit and click Winners 2009-2010.

Founded in 1995, is highly recommended by The New York Times, Real Simple, Forbes, Travel & Leisure, USA TODAY and many others. To learn about more nearly 9,000 other perfect choices for your next B&B getaway, visit, the leading online bed and breakfast directory and reservation network worldwide. A variety of search functions and extensive maps enable inn goers to find the perfect B&B. Travelers can make reservations online, purchase The Getaway Gift Card from, welcomed at over 4,000 B&Bs in the U.S. and Canada, read up-to-date trip reports on The Blog, read and write independent reviews, and post questions on expert-hosted message boards.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Aurora, A Relaxing Movie Night “Inn” Update

This is an update to our Aurora, A Relaxing Movie Night “Inn” package. I have mad a visit to Aurora, NY as well as Buffalo where I saw some Frank Lloyd Wright houses and we stayed at The Roycroft Inn and I visited the Roycroft Campus. I also changed the bubbles that go with this package.

I heard about this pairing and was skeptical about it. Popcorn and Champagne? That's crazy! It really is a great pairing. Aurora, A Relaxing Movie Night “Inn” adds to that pairing with another classic, popcorn and a movie. The package is just $20.00 and is a great addition to your stay at The Craftsman B&B. A bottle of our Bin #06 Cristalino Brut Cava N.V. with a bowl of fresh made popcorn. You'll be sipping in 2 Keepsake Craftsman B&B Flutes while you enjoy snuggling and watching a DVD from our collection. Most people travel with a laptop computer and they can watch a movie, but if you left it all behind for a relaxing weekend, we have DVD players for you.

Cristalino comes in a 375ml bottle, perfect for a few glasses. This wine was rated #3 in's top 100 wines on 2007. Not the #3 bubbles, the #3 wine overall.

Aurora, more exact, East Aurora, New York is the home of Roycrofters. I mentioned them in the Asheville package as they furnished the Grove Park Inn. This guild of craftsmanship and philosophy lead to the rise of the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States. Elbert Hubbard was inspired by William Morris. Morris had his own press, Kelmscott Press. Hubbard's was called the "Roycroft Press" by latter-day collectors and print historians, the organization called itself "The Roycrofters" and "The Roycroft Shops."
The name comes from the printers, Samuel and Thomas Roycroft, who made books in London from about 1650-1690. And beyond this, the word roycroft had a special significance to Elbert Hubbard, meaning King's Craft.

Hubbard edited and published two magazines, The Philistine and The Fra. The Philistine was bound in brown butcher paper and full of satire and whimsy. The Roycrofters produced handsome, if sometimes eccentric, books printed on handmade paper, and operated a fine bindery. The guild also included a furniture shop, and shops producing modeled leather and hammered copper goods. They were a leading producer of Mission Style products.

A quotation from John Ruskin formed the Roycroft "creed": "A belief in working with the head, hand and heart and mixing enough play with the work so that every task is pleasurable and makes for health and happiness".

The Roycroft Campus, a National Historic Landmark and was placed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation on its 11 Most Endangered Places. The Roycroft Campus Corporation (RCC) was established to preserve and restore the Campus. They successfully rehabilitated The Roycroft Inn. The RCC now plans to embark on a $50 million acquisition and restoration of the remainder of the campus. Its ultimate goal is to preserve the unique architectural setting of the Campus, but moreover, to bring back to life the Roycroft community and ideals by re-introducing working artisans on the campus; developing comprehensive, compelling, and multi-faceted interpretative and educational programming; and encouraging the development of a center for creativity and innovation in the decorative arts, fine arts and literature.

In 1915 Hubbard and his wife, noted suffragette Alice Moore Hubbard, died in the sinking of RMS Lusitania.

So what did I learn after my visit? We'll the buildings of the Campus are all intact and being used. The city of East Aurora has their offices and police station in 2 of the buildings. One building is now a gallery for Roycroft craftsmen. Another building is used as an antique store and furniture repair shop. The RCC really needs some money to restore this place, think about that the next time your at a silent auction and are bidding on something you don't really need or want. Send a check to the RCC.

So the strangest thing I noticed at The Roycroft Inn was all the furniture was from Stickley. Now I'm not saying Stickley is wrong, but Roycrofters made furniture and have many furniture makers currently in the guild. I think as time went by, the Roycroft pieces were sold off and when they opened the Inn, they needed a commercially made line to fill all the rooms. Travel tip: Stay on the top floor at The Roycroft Inn, squeaky floors everywhere.