Inn Consultants and Brokers Since 1993

The B&B Team

Rick Wolf and Peter Scherman (that’s Rick on the left and Peter on the right) are both experienced speakers who have presented on a range of innkeeping related topics at the state, regional, and national level. They gather and analyze research for the Innkeeping industry and welcome the opportunity to share it with others. Contact Us


Archive for the ‘Food & Beverage’ Category

Breakfast Going Global

April 11th, 2018 by Janet Wolf


Breakfast Going Global

Thank you, Linda Hayes, for sending me a most enticing and inspiring article, ‘The World of BreakfastThe shifting definition of what counts as breakfast food now embraces flavors from around the globe’. Explore breakfast going global.

Trends in food are constantly evolving, new flavors and creative presentations are certain to elicit the WOW factor. Are you ready to push the global envelope?

In our most recent ‘Better Way to Learn Innkeeping’ seminar we had two women with a Caribbean background who expressed a desire to introduce Caribbean recipes in their future B&B. Love it.

Rick and I were visiting The Inn at English Meadows recently and innkeeper Kate was serving Chilaquiles. Even though I am a huge fan of Mexican food, I had never heard of this dish. Fabulous, clean plate club for both Rick and me.

Here are a few of the dishes that got my attention. Let’s start with sweet.

Hong Kong Waffles

Breakfast going global

Area Four in Cambridge, Mass., combines the waffles with pistachio ice cream and blackberry sauce

“Also known as bubble or egg waffles. Soft, chewy in the middle with crisp lacy edges, made from sweet, eggy batter.”

I found a good ‘how to’ and recipe from food blogger “ginger & scotch”.

breakfast goin global

This is how they come out from an egg-waffle pan

Now let’s take a savory journey.


It is famous in Mexico. A dish of fried corn tortilla strips simmered (but not to long to make them soggy) in salsa or roasted tomatillo sauce and topped with egg, cheese (I like Queso Fresco) and possibly beans, squash, tomatos. Make your own combination, that is the fun of it. But a must on my plate would be avocado!

breakfast going global

Image credit: Alanna Taylor Tobin | The Bojon Gourmet

Off to the Caribbean.

Another food blogger; ‘Immaculate Bites-Afro-Caribbean Recipes Made Easy’. Some beautiful and very enticing recipes. Dishes like, Sweet Plantain Hash & Eggs or this one…

breakfast going global

Jamaican Corn Meal Porridge

What you want to do, as suggested by The World of Breakfast authors is… “find that perfect balance between home and away.” That is what innkeepers do everyday at their inns. Now it may be fun to take that trip to Hong Kong, Mexico or the Caribbean or anywhere you like.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

6 Thanksgiving F&B Traditions

November 16th, 2017 by Janet Wolf

Thanksgiving F&B Traditions-Norman Rockwell Illustration from 1919

Memories of our childhood Thanksgivings feasts, fond or quirky, we all have them. I asked our team if they would share with me their most memorable Thanksgiving F&B (that’s food & beverage) traditions.

Humorous Highlights

1. Paris Peas by Eliot Dalton

Thanksgiving F&B traditions

Paris Peas

“Somehow when my Mom came back from going to a fancy cooking school in Paris, she came up with World/Whirled Peas: Fresh or frozen peas. (it would be healthy if you stopped here).”

  • Blend peas with unsalted butter and half & half until desired consistency.
  • Add crumbled smoked bacon

Footnote: “We always wondered what she really did in Paris!”

Thanksgiving F&B traditions

Just add peanut butter!

2. PB on a Roll by Scott Bushnell

“My mom and her sister married my dad and his brother and, along with my maternal grandparents, the three families got together for all holidays…and Thanksgiving was a favorite. I still get ribbed to this day, many decades later, that despite the lavish spread of our traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I asked for peanut butter to put on the roll. I was only 8…when will they ever get past it?”

Now for a quick libation to wash down the PB.

3. Festive Signature Cocktail by Dana Moos

Thanksgiving F&B traditions

  • Bourbon
  • Muddled fresh cranberries
  • Splash of rosemary & cranberry simple syrup
  • Splash of soda
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • Over ice

4. Hot Apple Cranberry Crumble by Marilyn Bushnell (Originally from The Mainstay Inn, Cape May NJ). “We always make this apple cranberry compote that is still a favorite with the family. This will always remain on the menu!”

Thanksgiving F&B traditions

 5. Pumpkin Pie topped with Whipped Cream and Toasted Coconut by Rick & Janet Wolf

thanksgving F&B traditions

Needs more coconut!

I make the pumpkin pie from a recipe passed down from my Grandmother (Ga Ga). The recipe was all in her head, nothing written down. In the latter part of her life, I had her show me the recipe. It has changed over the years but one thing I never change is the amount of clove, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. It makes it oh so spicy and a rich dark amber color. The toasted coconut came later, a tradition from Rick’s mother. A wonderful blend of flavors.

6. Corn Pudding by Peggy Scherman (Peter’s favorite)

Thanksgiving F&B traditions

Preheat oven to 350

  •  4 (11 oz each) cans of corn drained
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2+ Tbsp. sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 1 1/3 Tbsp. yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4+ tsp salt

 Process 1 can of corn and remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Add this mixture to remaining 3 cans of corn. Pour into lightly greased 2 qt. baking dish and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until set.

More Thanksgiving F&B traditions, memories and sentiments.

From Peggy Scherman-“Thanksgiving is always at our house with our state-side kids and now our granddaughter, Charlie. When it is all over we kiss the kids good-bye, send them off with leftovers, and then dig into those dishes. (I help some, but Peter does the lion’s share, sending me off to bed.) And that’s the way we do Thanksgiving at the Scherman’s.”

From Dana Moos-“I used to do a turkey inspired by my grandmother, except she cooked hers in a bag. One year she started an oven fire at my house when she cooked for us when we were little and my parents were on vacation!!”

From Tish Dalton-“There will be 20 of us this year. The job of roasting a turkey always comes to me. I roast it in a bag, with a few onions, celery stalks, carrots and a dose of white wine. The bird is always juicy and the ‘drippings’ are awesome.”

From Linda Hayes“Following the traditional meal, we relaxed around the tradition of working a jigsaw puzzle and then enjoyed dessert two hours later. Homemade pumpkin pie, pecan pie (with all the pecans placed pretty side up) and our favorite, mincemeat pie. And the puzzle tradition continues with my children too. This year I’m going to try Dana’s cocktail and Rick’s toasted coconut!”

From Rick Wolf-“Most of all, it’s the time together with family and friends and the traditions and memories we create that make this my absolute FAVORITE holiday of the year”!

From Janet Wolf-Ditto

Thanks for Listening and from The B&B Team we wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Janet Wolf

Experiential Tourism in Mid-Coast Maine

February 19th, 2015 by Janet Wolf

mid-coast maine expriential tourism destination

A balcony, a view and wine.
Youngstown Inn & Restaurant, Mid-Coast Maine

The Youngstown Inn and Restaurant, mid-coast Maine in Lincolnville, an inn that defines what experiential travel is all about. It also has something else; potential. The ground work is there ready to take to the next level.

A recent Travel & Leisure article has written about “an emerging new breed of inns out there. They are redefining the way people stay and play”. It is all about the experience and it has to be WOW.

Lets take a look at the Youngstown Inn and Restaurant. Are they offering the experience that many ‘new breed’ of tourists are looking for?

Authentic – An 1810 Maine farmhouse built proudly upon two centuries of New England heritage. Located a bit off the beaten path on a serene country road.

mid-coast maine inn on a country road

Youngstown Inn

Accessible – All of mid-coast Maine is minutes from the Inn’s front door. Near quiet Lake Megunticook, sandy Linclonville Beach, Camden Harbor and it’s vibrant village. Camden is a major mid-coast Maine destination location. A great place to “stay and play.”

Enriching – “Will travel for food”. The Youngtown Inn’s restaurant creates cuisine that one could say enriches the soul. What food should do! New owners can create their own food scene in this 60 seat dining space. While on vacation isn’t it wonderful to dine, imbibe and stroll a few paces to your comfortable, clean and inviting guest room?

mid-coast Maine dining

Dining at the Youngstown Inn & Restaurant

Educational – A Day Trip to the island of Islesboro, an unspoiled Maine island with history. So near are: Farnsworth Art Museum, Owls Head Transportation Museum, Bay Chamber Concerts.

Entertaining – From the Inn you can hire a Model T Ford and take a short drive to the Cellardoor Winery and Vineyard. The driver is a local historian with character. The winery will also shuttle you back and forth. Have a tour of the winery, a tasting and ride back to the inn for dinner.


Mid-coast maine experience cellardoor winery

Cellardoor Winery & Vineyard. Minutes from the Youngstown Inn

New owners of the Youngstown Inn and Restaurant can experience the wonderful Maine mid coast lifestyle described here and own a business that is profitable and exciting. Dana Moos, The B&B Team Maine Inn Broker for this property has described the real potential for the Youngstown Inn as follows:

“New owners could enhance their outdoor space with a fire pit, particularly serving cocktails outside. There is a lot of land for events too. And it is a mile from Cellardoor Winery. Cellardoor will even shuttle people back and forth.”

mid-coast maine fire pit

Add a fire pit like this. A great additional experience.

Additional plusses that you don’t see in many properties:

  • Possible expansion of at least 4 rooms in another building on site.
  • Located on 5 acres.
  • An owner’s quarters house attached to the Inn building.

The Youngstown Inn and Restaurant offers a strong business and excellent reputation for fine dining and hospitality. Such a beautiful property and location that exceeds on so many levels. The Experience, the lifestyle and a true sense of place. Ready for new owners with energy, vision and a zest for food. We know you are out there!

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf

Celebrate Thanksgiving at America’s Inns

November 24th, 2014 by Janet Wolf


thanksgiving at America's inns

Nothing says Thanksgiving better than homemade pies!

From New England to the Rockies there are Inns that are offering guests a culinary experience to celebrate one of America’s most cherished holidays. As I searched to find Thanksgiving at America’s Inns that offers guests a way to celebrate, I came across some wonderful specials with an experience  that matches the uniqueness of their locale.

One celebratory special  that really got my attention was a Thanksgiving Amish-Style in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. The Churchtown Inn in Chruchtown PA is offering a very reasonably priced package that includes dinner at the home of an old-order Amish family followed by a buggy ride and a meet and greet with their farm animals. Discovering how a traditional old world Amish society celebrates Thanksgiving would be a culinary and historical learning experience all in one.


Thanksgiving at America's Inn

Churchtown Inn- Pennsylvania Amish country experience

Many of our Country Inns with Restaurants offer Thanksgiving dinners. The Squire Tarbox Inn & Restaurant in Westport Island Maine offers dinner in their cozy historical 1763 dining room. The father and daughter chef team create special farm to table meals throughout the year. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to celebrate at this very unique mid-coast Maine Inn.

Thanksgiving at the Inn

Squire Tarbox Inn Maine Dining Room

A quick search found the Alta Crystal Resort on Mt. Rainier in Washington State. If you want a real early winter getaway for Thanksgiving this place looks like a lot of fun. Their Thanksgiving Eat & Stay Special has more than dinner. Hiking and snowshoeing, bonfires and hot tubs. They have reported snow as of November 22.

This is just a brief sampling of some wonderful ways to experience what our American country inns have to offer on Thanksgiving. No other hospitality industry offers authenticity better than our B&B’s and Country Inns. Agreed?

Thanksgivng recipe

Indian Pudding-A New England favorite

I am going to end with a recipe. One that goes way back to our New England and Native American influence. Touted as a Rhode Island creation, Indian Pudding is a very tasty ‘mass of cornmeal, milk and molasses, baked for hours, it is born of Puritan ‘nostalgia for British hasty pudding and their adaptation to the ground-cornmeal porridges of their Native American neighbors.”  I found this recipe on a really great collection of Thanksgiving Recipes Across America from the New York times. If you haven’t completed your menu yet than these collections of recipes will inspire.

A warm and Happy Thanksgiving from The B&B Team to all our Inns across America and to all the aspiring innkeepers and retired innkeepers.

Full Service Inns – Time for a Renaissance

May 16th, 2013 by Janet Wolf


Food Glorious Food at Restaurant Verterra, The Inn at Weathersfield, Vermont

Picture a beautiful pristine Inn, beautiful surroundings with comfortable first class lodging then…add a dining component to this picture and what do you get? What we call in our industry, a full service Inn. Urban or country, food and lodging have always gone hand in hand. After indulging in a meal featuring locally sourced food that reflects the culture of the Inn’s location what could be more inviting than to retreat to a cozy guest room just steps away. Today’s traveler is often seeking a culinary experience along with their lodging. It completes the package.

The culinary travel trend is exploding. Full service Inns need to capitalize on this explosion, big time.

Take the example of The Inn at Weatherfield in Vermont. This property had a flourishing and successful restaurant and Inn business thanks to the former owners Jane and Dave Sandelman and Chef Jason Tostrup. The B&B Team recently transferred the Inn to new owners Richard and Marilee Spanjian. They have taken an already successful Inn to another level and the view looks great! I had the privilege to interview Marilee and ask what’s new and cookin’ at the Inn.

Private Dining in The Inn at Weatherfield's Wine Cellar

Private Dining in The Inn at Weathersfield’s Wine Cellar

Question: “New England’s Premier Culinary Inn” is your new brand modifier. This is a very gutsy goal, has this been your goal from the beginning?

Answer: We didn’t just want to say ‘Culinary Inn ’and our goal is for Weathersfield to be New England’s Premier Culinary Inn, so why not go for it.

Question: Your new specials are very cleaver. Especially ‘The Guinea Pig Club’, Chef’s Choice-$8 plates keep coming until you say ‘Uncle’. How has the response been?

Answer: The name is intriguing and it is really starting to catch on. Chef Jason and the kitchen staff really love it too. They can be creative, it really thumps their energy. We chose Thursdays for this special because we found the diners on that day tend to be really adventuresome.

Question: I also was intrigued by your ‘Vitality Fix’, tell me more about this concept.

Answer: Chef Jason came up with the idea. This menu option covers all the bases. It is vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free! More people are commenting how they like the fresh way of cooking and the way it makes them feel after their meal.

Question: What are some of your future plans?


Pasta Cooking Class with Chef Jason

Answer: Our new cooking school will be called ‘Hidden Kitchen’. This is named in memory of my late mother’s restaurant in California. They will not be your typical cooking classes. Chef Jason will teach about sustainability, eating fresh, how to prepare the fresh food and create your own dish and not rely on a recipe. We also will have a two day hands on cooking adventure package that includes visiting our local farms with Chef Jason. An outdoor kitchen set right by our vegetable and herb gardens is also in our plans.

Thank you Marilee. She sounded so excited and energized while I was talking with her. Love the enthusiasm.



Chef Max Mattes knows where some of the vegetables come from at Pilgrim’s Inn, right in their own back yard


Seared local scallops and a crisp Pinot Grigio at Pilgrim’s Inn, what a way to end the day

The Pilgrim’s Inn in Deer Isle Maine is a true country Inn with true local flavor. Culinary travelers like to know where they are as well as where the food is coming from. With the Whale’s Rib Tavern’s rustic historic post and beam dining room and a very warm inviting pub, you know where you are, the coast of Maine! Deer Isle, on the eastern edge of Penobscot Bay. Lobster is caught just off the rocky coastline as well as clams, mussels and oysters, oh my! And, the folks that bring in the catch may be sitting in the pub next to you enjoying one of the Tavern’s popular house ground burgers! True local flavor.


A True Country Full Service Inn

Owners Tina and Tony have just posted a blog about their ‘Farm to Table’ approach and the challenges it presents. Take a moment to read this blog, great information on the area and farming community. And what a great coastal community it is, natural beauty with countless coves and inlets with lots of privacy, a great place to own a business and call home. The B&B Team is privileged to offer this true and spectacular country Inn for Sale.

The B&B Team believes a successful full service Inn should focus their business on both the lodging and food equally. Neither business should take the back seat. Both of the full service country Inns featured in this post have spectacular guest rooms and top notch amenities. It completes the package. Stayed tuned for my next blog where I reveal the author of this quote.

Thanks for Listening,

Janet Wolf


Is Fine Dining Dead?

March 5th, 2013 by Janet Wolf


Executive Chef Jonathan Cartwright
The White Barn Inn

The fine dining experience, is it dead, should it die? This question comes up often when we talk to innkeepers, chefs and restaurateurs. An article written in 2009 by food and travel writer Anya von Bremza asked a similar question, Should Fine Dining Die? This article is five years old but the question is still relevant and worth the debate. Are the white tablecloth restaurants an endangered species? In the past number of years we have seen many fine dining restaurants diversify. Take the example of The White Barn Inn Restaurant in Kennebunk, Maine, AAA Five Diamond, Forbes 5 Star Dining, the list goes on. Described on their website as;”candle lit crisp white linen tables and classic views, your romantic gourmet retreat for that special celebration.” They are the ultimate in a fine dining experience, jackets for men required. But just this winter they started offering their ‘Winter Bistro’. They describe the experience as follows: ‘The Winter Bistro features the culinary excellence experienced time and again by our guests, but provides them with a lovely alternative to our legendary prix fixe menu.  Guests can choose to dine from our al a carte bistro menu, in our picturesque Bistro dining room.”


The White Barn Inn Restaurant

And guess what, jackets not required! They have set aside an area in their dining room that is less formal yet still creates the same ambiance and the same great service. They are not  devaluing their brand in any way, they are offering a choice. The trend towards  less formality and lets’ face it, lower pricing has created a demand. According to author Anya many people today …”would rather go to their local gastro pub and order heritage pork belly.” I recently talked with Executive Chef of The White Barn Inn, Jonathan Cartwright. He says the Winter Bistro has been well received by locals as well as inn guests. I asked him if he sees an increased demand for simpler food in a more relaxed atmosphere. He says that the dining public has evolved and we are now a nation of true foodies. He pointed out that The White Barn will always keep the tradition of a special occasion dining choice. He also pointed out that it is always a challenge to keep current, even in our small towns of Kennebunk/Kennebunkport the choices for dining have increased tremendously just in the last few years. Locals and visitors have more choices now.  I agree, even if we choose the less formal restaurant in town or the Winter Bistro alternative we still want great food, great service, great atmosphere, in short, that total dining experience without the ‘fine’ attached to it.


Luke Iannuzzi’s Dinnerware


The Comman Man Restaurant, Sugarbush Vermont

Recently Rick and I had a really great dining experience with incredible food and service at The Common Man Restaurant in Sugerbush Vermont. The dinnerware they use is unique, custom hand thrown pottery made by a local potter and innkeeper Luke Iannuzzi at the Wilder Farm Inn. Everything else offered at the restaurant is also locally sourced. Chef-owner Adam Longworth stopped by our table and talked with us and the other guests about their dining experience and answered questions about his background and vision for the restaurant. If delivering that crucial sense of emotional authenticity is the haute cuisine and fine dining experience of the future, Chef Longworth has perfected it .

I have quoted restaurateur Danny Meyer in past blogs because he is at the top when it comes to high standards in hospitality. In a recent article in Business Insider by Max Nisen, the author spoke with Danny about his view on the fine dining experience. Danny Meyer “built his empire by focusing intensely on the diner’s experience and hospitality. For example, stiff formality is not particularly enjoyable, Meyer found. So even his fine dining restaurants are about the food and being hospitable, not decor or grandiosity. That friendly experience is just as intensely managed and thought out as a stiff and choreographed classic service might be.”

I will end with another example from a personal experience Rick and I recently had. We visited a full service country inn that has offered fine dining successfully for the past 20 plus years, but recently their dining room business has been declining, especially mid week. We made a suggestion that they may want to consider offering  alternate menu choices in a more relaxed atmosphere in one of their dining rooms. We suggested that this may bring in more locals, especially midweek. This is exactly what the White Barn is trying in their ‘Winter Bistro’. Remember I said that the White Barn Restaurant was not devaluing their brand by offering an alternative dining choice. But one way of devaluing your brand is letting your business get behind the times, not keeping up with the trends. Change is a scary thing sometimes but may be necessary to keep up with the demand of today’s fickle foodie. Oh I like that…great name for a restaurant?


North Carolina Coastal Inn with Gourmet Restaurant

The B&B Team has a number of full service inns for sale. If you are an aspiring innkeeper who is considering a career in innkeeping with a full service dining component we have some great properties. Check them out.

Is fine dining dead? Those restaurants of old with flaming desserts and tuxedoed waiters may be decreasing but they are not dead or should they die!  The new fine dining is more about choice. Yes we do want to dress up occasionally for that  special occasion with the linen, crystal and silverware for every course…or not. Give us the choice. So whether it is white cloth or white butcher paper, we want great, innovative and authentic food. And make it fresh, local, visually appealing and presented with style and service extraordinaire. All that is ‘fine’ with me.

Thanks for Listening

Janet Wolf


Culinary Travel – Marketing Your Culinary Getaways

April 18th, 2012 by Janet Wolf

“There are those of us who travel and those of us who travel to eat.” Kendra Bailey Morris

I found this to be a great quote from a travel and food author and blogger I just discovered. She writes with gusto and passion about the food and places she loves. Check out her latest blogs, ‘Fatback & Foie Gras’. One important feature about her blog is the great photography. They are large and enticing shots that bring you close to the food being featured. People do eat with their eyes first. Warning, don’t look if you are hungry.

Culinary focused travel is becoming increasingly popular. You want to bring these travellers to your Inn to feast at your table and the tables of your favorite local restaurants. Here are a few B&B’s I believe do a great job creating and promoting culinary getaways. The Inn at English Meadows in Kennebunk, Maine not only features their special breakfast offerings with great photos and text, but also on their blogs. Take a look and read their two recent posts featuring culinary topics. The Inn at English Meadows and the Hartstone Inn in Camden, Maine have both teamed up with to promote their culinary getaway packages. This is a go to website for travellers looking for culinary focused travel events and specials. BnBFinder also has a page dedicated to posting culinary getaways, another great source.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to bake the perfect cake? You can, during a Culinary Getaway at our B&B in the Kennbunks.

We all know it is all about the experience you create for your guests. And food is a big part of that experience. An event that involves cooking with a professional chef in cooking class or demonstration followed by a meal with your group feasting on your creations accompanied with good wine and good conversation, that’s the ticket! Sign me up. Another quote from Kendra; “Let’s face it, chefs are now rock stars and food is definitely in.” Well you must have a local rock star chef in your area that would love to perform and show off their culinary creations, or you may be the rock star! Go for it.

Risotto Close Up by Jenn Cuisine



Jenn Oliver of Jenn Cuisine is another great food blogger I discovered. She offers some great advice in her blog, ‘The Importance of Good Food Photography’. She says:” When I take a photo of a dish, my goal is to bring the viewer to the table, so they can mentally reach out and taste the full flavor of the food I’m displaying.” In this blog she shares some photo shots that are good next to the same shot that is great. You really can clearly see what the difference is. We always recommend professional photographers that will produce artful interior, exterior and food photos . Christian Giannelli and Jumping Rocks Photography are two of the best out there for our industry. Christian did the photography for The Inn at English Meadows and Jumping Rocks did the photgraphy for Hartstone Inn.

Sticky Toffee Pudding-Hartstone Inn-Jumping Rocks Photography

I have included a lot of links in this posting. I hope you view each and every one of them and that they help you visualize the importance of good food photography when marketing your culinary getaway packages.

Here is a question for you? A picture is worth a thousand words so does this mean a picture of food is worth a thousand calories?


G is for Gastronomy

November 14th, 2011 by Janet Wolf

91 South Dining Room and Bar at the PineCrest Inn


Gastronomy is defined in Wikipedia as the art or science of food eating that also involves the discovering, tasting and the experience of eating. Last weekend Rick and I made a reservation at 91 South, the restaurant located at the PineCrest Inn in Gorham, Maine. Our clients, Matt and Amy Mattingly are the keepers of the Inn and their hospitality includes a love of food and wines that results in an extraordinary experience and gastronomic discovery!

From the moment you approach the entrance your senses are engaged. The aroma of roasting spices was the first sensory stimuli start to our evening. The soft lights and sound of live jazz guitar music were next, followed by a warm welcome from Matt and Amy with only a short admonishment for waiting so long to dine with them. Sorry, no excuse!

We walked by the kitchen on our way to the dining room and were briefly introduced to Chef Noah Gaston. On the website the cuisine is described as ‘global comfort food’ with ‘innovative fusion’. Chef Gaston describes his cuisine and passion for food as ‘…the primary gateway into another culture and a form of art…at 91 South we fuse them to bring it all together’. And all together it came, from the variety of wines personally selected by Matt specializing in small vineyards from across the world to the food that we discovered as some of the best we have experienced anywhere. The innovative menu is your next portal to 91 South’s food discovery. Here are a few examples:

maine caprese (*v . gf . vg) tomatoes . mozzarella . olives . basil . blueberry vinaigrette

savory salmon (*v . gf . vg) peppercorn and juniper berry encrusted salmon .roasted cauliflower mash . garlicky broccoli rabe . green peppercorn . cognac

five hour beef shank ( gf .) creamy brie mashed potatoes . fig and apricot jus . roasted asparagus

The * items can be modified to vg=vegetarian, gf=gluten free and v=vegan. This is a very thoughtful added choice for today’s diners.

I know now we should have taken photos of our plates as they were presented to us to accompany this blog because we all know you eat with your eyes first. The presentation is right on backed up by wonderful aromas and taste. After finishing our meal with pumpkin cannoli (Wow!) we were able to chat with Chef Noah. We had to ask about his unusual and flavorful spices we tasted in all our menu choices. He specializes in collecting and blending spices from around the world. These aren’t your ordinary grocery store spice selections.  He mentioned some spices that were new to our knowledge. An example is a blend of roasted spices that is served with slices of fresh warm bread and aromatic virgin olive oil. A double dip and you experience happy mouth bliss!

Chef Noah Gaston

Thank you Matt and Amy for creating the PineCrest Inn and 91 South Restaurant in Gorham, Maine, just a short distance from Portland, Maine. Thank you for  Chef Noah Gaston and your attentive and knowledgeable staff. Thank you for the soft guitar music of Ken Karby and…there must be more. Oh yes, 65 wines offered by the glass. Guess we will have to come back!

Gastronomy can also involve the writing about food and the sensory qualities a dining experience can bring. I hope I have expressed our enjoyment and the next time you are in southern Maine, the PineCrest Inn and 91 South will be your lodging and culinary destination.

Janet Wolf




Living Social Tips from Innkeepers

April 6th, 2011 by Janet Wolf

ShoppersAttention shoppers…group buying marketing companies have hit the air waves. In radio days the airwaves were the frequency that transmitted the signals that carried information to the world. We all know what claims the airwaves today, social media.  And the latest addition to the social media tool box is…

If you haven’t heard, Living Social along with Groupon are the front runners when it comes to social commerce. These two companies have attracted the largest audience of consumers.  Since the introduction of Living Social Escapes (many of us were first introduced at the Charleston PAII Conference) there have been a number of innkeepers that have taken advantage of this form of ‘social shopping’.  This is a new way to attract buyers to your brand. Increased exposure, isn’t that what we all need?

I recently interviewed Janel Martin, Innkeeper/Chef (extraordinaire) of The Wakefield Inn in New Hampshire about her experience with Living Social Escapes.

Chef Martin in The Wakefield Inn Kitchen

Q.  What was your motivation for using this social media tool?

A.  Marketing exposure. In the past I tried all the conventional advertising media and spent lots of money with no results. It has been a struggle to get my name, brand out there. I got instant and phenomenal exposure with my package posting. It went viral instantly.

Q.  What did your package include?

A.  I tell myself all the time, sell what you know and what you know will sell. I do cooking classes that are hands on; I love to get the guests involved. So my package includes a cooking class, a massage and a Deneen mug to take home, and the room of course. Oh yes, I believe it is important that the guest take home something with the Inn’s logo to remind them of the great time they had, so don’t forget to pre order the mugs, I ran out!

 Q.  What kind of feedback have you gotten from the participating guests?

A.  They all leave saying they can’t wait to tell their friends about the experience. I got at least 20 new reviews on Trip Advisor from these guests. Also there were at least 100 people that contacted me saying they missed the deadline and was I going to post one again. These are new people that are now in my database. Many of the people are from as far away as Montreal.

Q.  Would you do it again?

A.  Definitely!

Q.  What advice would you want to pass on to innkeepers who are considering putting a special on a social commerce site?

A.  If I was to do it again I would be more specific and firm about the rooms I offer and the dates. It would be for mid-week only and for a shorter period of time. You must structure your package very carefully and be very detailed about what you offer.

                Thanks Janel.

A point that Janel wanted to empathize is that you can do all the number crunching to see if your package will be profitable and that is important but her real motivation was the increased marketing exposure. This is what we at The B&B Team also believe is a prime reason to use any social media tool.  Marketing 101: Draw customers to your sell!  Your package is your invitation to customers to experience what you have to offer and it must be worth their while. If the growing number of customers using social commerce see your ‘escape’ and think it is worth their while than you have a new customer X 100, 200, 300, 400! Is it worth your while too?  Hope this helps you decide one way or the other.

This will a part of a series of interviews I will have with innkeepers that have participated in Living Social. Stay tuned.

Janet Wolf

The Battle of the Bulge and Innkeeping

December 16th, 2010 by Scott Bushnell

I don’t mean that spare tire around my waist!  It was 66 years ago today,December 16, 1944,  that the German offensive into the Ardennes Forest of Belgium and Luxembourg, to recapture Antwerp, was repelled by American and British forces.     

I had the opportunity to visit the reunion of the Veterans of The Battle of the Bulge, South New Jersey Chapter,  at

Capt. Bill Kelly and Cmdr. Mike Senecal (USCG Training Facility) and Ed Steinberg and Marty Walker (veteran of the Battle of the Bulge)

the Carroll Villa Hotel in Cape May, NJ.  Mark Kulkowitz, owner and operator of the inn, invites the veterans…all of them pushing 90, to share their stories and to meet and greet family and friends of these soldiers of the Greatest Generation.

Combat soldiers do not talk much about their combat experiences…emotionally charged and often with memories of lost friends and misery.  But the South Jersey chapter has taken on the mission of visiting school children and museums to share their stories.  As Gus Epple, Chapter president put it, “If you don’t tell your story…who will?”

That comment stuck with me… “If you don’t tell your story…who will?”

As Peter Scherman stated in the last blog posting, “Voila! It’s all about perspective and the choice of words”.  If you don’t tell your story…who will?  Many inns are slowing down for the season which offers an excellent opportunity to get into your website, your policies, and marketing materials to ascertain how they can better tell your story. 

  • Are you still using a tri-fold brochure that you printed out yourself?
  • Could your website benefit from professional photography?  (Guests don’t just want to see a photo of the bed)
  • Do you have restrictive signs hanging around the inn that can be reworded (or removed)?  They usually send messages that may be counter to your story of hospitality.
  • Does your staff represent your story when you are not around?  Are you sure?  Training is critical.
  • Does your breakfast “fit” the character and style of your inn?  It’s your biggest marketing story.

Telling your story and having a brand consistency woven throughout your marketing plan is a lesson we can all learn from the veterans of the Battle of the Bulge.      Scott

  • PAII
  • AIHP
  • Stay Local