This ugly little mushroom sure gets a lot of attention in Northern Michigan during the month of May. There are festivals for it, restaurants make everything “Morel”, and local songsters croon over it. Why all the buzz, you ask? The Morel is a delicacy for a reason. Its elusiveness and delicious flavor has people scrambling for it. Every year in May for 55 years, the people of Boyne City, Michigan have held the National Morel Mushroom Festival. This year it is May 14-17, 2015. Secret hunting spots are revealed and recipes shared. The local restaurants feature the Morel. There are Craft Fairs, races, hikes and tasting events. Thousands of people come to this little town to experience the ambience of this mushroom. A good year can yield hundreds of Morels. Of course, there are plenty of hunting spots all over Northern Michigan to find them. We have them growing right on our land at The House on the Hill B & B in Ellsworth. Between the mushroom and the Trillium that grows this time of year, it’s a sure sign of Spring!
Since we do a three course gourmet breakfast for our guests, I am constantly trying to find great fruit recipes that you wouldn’t necessarily make at home. The following is a beautiful and delicious fruit course.
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. honey
4 firm purple plums
1 sprig fresh thyme
vanilla frozen yogurt or Fresh Whipped Cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper a bit larger than the pan, to contain the juices.
3. Sprinkle the sugar on the parchment, then pour the honey onto the parchment.
4. Halve the plums and place cut-side down on the sugar and honey.
5. Sprinkle half of the thyme leaves onto the honey, and reserve the rest to garnish before serving.
6. Roast the plums for about 15 minutes, removing them from the oven just before they start to lose their shape or you see the skin wrinkle.
7. Place two halves in a bowl. Spoon some of the roasting liquid over the fruit. Add a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt or whipped cream on top, and sprinkle with the rest of the thyme leaves.
(Recipe courtesy of Dana Moos)
Photos taken by The House on the Hill Bed & Breakfast
If you have a competitive spirit and are looking for a Marathon to run, why not make a vacation out of it? Come to Michigan to the city of Charlevoix, or “Charlevoix the Beautiful” as it is known. This is the perfect place to let your competitive spirit shine while letting the sparkling blue waters of Lake Michigan call you to vacation. Why not do both?
The Charlevoix Marathon is taking place on June 21, 2014. This beautiful city is on an isthmus between Lake Michigan and Round Lake. With quaint shops, excellent dining and sandy beaches, Charlevoix is a popular destination for those who flock to the water. The course for the Marathon is primarily flat with a few inclines. For those for whom a Marathon is a little too much, this race also offers a Half Marathon.
The Marathon is a Boston qualifying race and both the Marathon and Half Marathon are certified and insured by USATF. So venture out to northern Michigan for the race, and stay for the Pure Michigan experience. For more information, click here.
The Morel Mushroom is found in the woods and clearings of Northern Michigan and what a popular mushroom it is! With its distinctive honeycombed top, this elusive mushroom is sought after by gourmet chefs. Especially in French Cuisine. Every Spring, Boyne City, Michigan fills with hundreds of mushroom lovers to hunt the mighty morel. For over 50 years, the National Morel Mushroom Festival creates a frenzy of mushroom seekers, folklore singers and delicious recipes made by chefs all over the area. This year, it will take place on May 15 through the 18th. Four days of mushroom folly that is centered in Boyne City’s Veterans Park with a myriad of “everything morel” related events. There will be a craft fair, guided hunts, mushroom hunting seminars, and the “Taste of Morels” competition, where local chefs give festival goers a sample of their latest creations involving morels. There is rumor that a forest spot will be revealed that has the mother lode of morels. Hmmm, I wonder where that it is? All of this builds up to the premier event; the 90 minute hunt that takes place at a secret location. More information for planning your trip can be found here.
It’s finally done! If you’ve been following my posts, you will know that we had our Bed & Breakfast’s kitchen totally remodeled. Going down to the studs of the 1800’s and putting up new walls that shouldn’t need to come down anytime soon. The goal was to have the modern conveniences of today’s kitchens but strive to maintain the farmhouse look. Since our style of Bed & Breakfast is French Country Farmhouse, we included white bead board cabinets and rustic tile (wood looking) floors. Take a look for yourself.
I have also spoken about a little extra something that began as an idea and blossomed into a showpiece with a lot of function. We had this laundry room with closet doors right in the foyer of the guest entrance. This is probably the worst place in the world to be sorting laundry. You certainly wouldn’t want guests checking in and hearing the washing machine or dryer churning away. Since I have a laundry room in the Carriage House, it was decided to do away with the foyer laundry. And here is what we came up with!
We now have a Guest Center complete with a beverage center, ice maker and a sink. This is a guest haven. They can help themselves any time they want. It is amazing how you can change spaces to match your needs. A good builder helps, of course. Which we definitely had! We are up and operational now and can’t wait for a beautiful northern Michigan summer.
We are on the finishing stretch of the kitchen remodel at The House on the Hill, so my last post on the finished product will have to wait. But, in the meantime, spring has sprung! Although northern Michigan hasn’t hit its stride yet with consistent warm weather, I find myself Breezeway dreaming. “The Breezeway” is the beautiful stretch of road that I look at outside my front window every day. The Breezeway is a rural scenic ride that starts in Atwood (just down the road) and ends in Boyne Falls, Michigan. 26 miles of beautiful scenic overlooks, working farms and orchards, artist galleries and studios, quaint B&B’s (if I do say so myself!) and excellent dining, northern Michigan style. I know we are on the tail end of winter when I see the bicyclists and motorcyclists going past our B & B and enjoying “The Breezeway”. What a treasure! In June, there is a Summer Cruise event that starts at one end of The Breezeway and finishes at the other, which just happens to be a farm market that has the best produce and local products that northern Michigan has to offer. People break out their restored cars, motorcycles or just their regular cars and take a leisurely cruise. By the way, you get dessert at the end of the cruise. I’m sure cherries are involved.
So, if you are ever in this neck of the woods, the road is C48 (“The Breezeway”) and it won’t disappoint! If you need more information, check out the website here.
If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you know that my Bed and Breakfast is undergoing a new look. I’ve chronicled the findings of past lives within the walls that were torn down. Torn down walls now lead to a new personality of a house that is very loved by the owners that now occupy it. It’s time to make it ours with our print on it. I find a new, fresh energy forming within these new walls and within me. The kitchen of a Bed and Breakfast is the heart of the house, just like it is for any house. Creativity is born there. So, we are almost there. The floor is in and the cabinets are up. We also have a new little surprise for our guests to use. Instead of having a closet with a washer and dryer at the guest entrance (worst place in the world to do laundry!) we have had it gutted and will turn it into something else. I won’t reveal that until it has been transformed! Stay tuned….
Here is the progress so far.
Here is the side project that will turn out to be a brilliant idea: