A Brief Trip Away & Inns of the Past

It’s always tough getting back into writing after a few weeks away. It’s no longer in-practice and harder to pen down thoughts.  Motivating to get something down is tricky as lethargy from a super relaxing weekend away has kicked in.   And that IS  proving hard to shake. All I can think about are  luxurious soft sheets and snow tipped trees…And Amish quilts...And cast iron stoves… And babbling brooks….I’m reluctantly easing back into pre-vacation productivity.

When we’re out of town and not anywhere near family, we make it a point to stay at a bed and breakfast.  It always feels better being a guest at someone’s home instead of a maintained hotel.  You can tell when someone’s put a lot of thought and love into how their home is kept,  The McCaffrey house was just this.  Dark woods, rich deep reds, browns, and unfussy cozy country furnishing. With dogs Finnegan & Blue, and cat, Granite, lounging happy as can be, (and myself sneaking in cat hugs) I was pretty happy too.

A pass closed for the winter, our drive into Yosemite was two hours instead of the once-thought 45 minutes.  There is a reason for this and I am grateful for not driving down/up steep narrow roads with very little guardrail.  The pass being closed was definitely a good thing.  As it was, on these safer winter roads, I still found myself bracing and looking away.  After having arrived safely with not much day time left to spend in the park; and starving at this point, we ate at the Awahnee Hotel’s cafe taking turns touring the ground floor waiting for our lunch.  A tall and wide double fireplace (open on both sides) caught my attention as it was large enough to fit an entire pig on a spit.  Not that you would in such a fancy hotel, but if I had a fireplace this big I’d be tempted.  Back at the table I might as well have inhaled the cured  & smoked salmon plate.  Eating fish, I was reminded that we were too early in packing our fishing poles and made a note to self to ask Stephanie and Michael, innkeepers, about fishing season.

A short hike and night’s rest later, we woke up to snow and rode out of the woods, up the granite cliffs, down the mountain and through the cow pastures back into the city. I’m at my dining table-turned-desk dreaming of what our next weekend away might be (maybe St. Orres) and a possible return to the inn, of this trip, during the fall to catch fish.

This morning, and now afternoon, I’ve been trying to relish those last warming feelings from this weekend by alternating work on my first quilted pillow, and delicately turning pages in a recipe book that was published in 1950. It’s called Favorite Recipes from Famous Eating Places and has signature dishes from inns across the US.  One of two special wedding gift books from fellow cook, Phillippa.  There’s an inn that serves ‘breakfast, dinner & supper’.  I never realized there was a difference between the two.  And another recipe for coffee says that Manager ‘Mr. Griffiths abhors pallid and anemic coffee’; and you know, I think I do too.  Each recipe has few ingredients, and most take hours to prepare like Terrapin (turtles!), Syllabub, and Fasnacht.  Walking through a recipe and seeing the accompanying image of the place, I imagine myself there 62 years ago.  I’m skipping the Terrapin, but am tempted to get a start on those Fastnachts.

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