Celebrating Spring w/a Festival of Food!

After the winter we’ve had this year it’s hard to believe Spring has finally sprung!  Although there are still piles of snow dotting our property, our tulips are poking their finery out of the ground and the rhubarb looks eager to grow also. 

In celebration, or maybe just by chance, I’ve been celebrating the onset of warmer weather by indulging in a festival of food at our locally owned restaurants. 

It started at Graziano’s in Lisbon.  A woman friend and I decided we needed a night out and chose to tantalize our tongues with Chef Joey’s wonderful Italian fare.  I had my usual Veal Genovese — the leftovers were incredibly good for brunch the next day! 

Then another group of women friends and I got together to celebrate one of our birthdays at the  Village Inn across the bridge in Auburn.  Seafood is fresh and amazing there.  My baked haddock topped with crabmeat stuffing melted in my mouth.

The next indulgence was with a colleague in promoting the L/A area at Fishbones for lunch.  The atmosphere is “restored old mill” and the service is perfection.  Their flatbread is crisp and topped with adventuresome ingredients–mine were smoked mussels, lobster, roasted corn and, of course, cheese. 

And then I took my 88 year old mother to Mac’s Grill, famous for it’s Western steer beef cuts and “cowboy” decor.  Ma had a “Mini Mac” steak and I had salmon with a dill cream sauce–perfectly prepared despite Mac’s being a steak joint!

The “piece de resistance” was dinner at Fuel just a couple of days ago.  A friend came to visit for the weekend and the “Ware Street Inn Gang” got together to celebrate her visit.  Fuel is THE restaurant to go to for the best of the best.  Each of the 5 of us had a different dish or combination of dishes and each was fabulous right down to the dessert.  Their menu is unique yet pleasing to everyone.  Our visiting friend, Sally, had Coq au Vin and managed to stretch it to have for dinner upon her return home. 

If you want to check these excellent local food fiestas out more closely, go to the Concierge page of our website and discover their links. 

I think I’ll go to the Chick-a-Dee of Lewiston this noon for one of their wonderful lobster rolls……..ahhhh, food is bliss! 

Jan – The Innkeeper

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Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Hey!  L/A--It's Happening Here!

Hey! L/A--It's Happening Here!

This past Thursday was a big day for we promoters of our great L/A of the North . . . several of us involved in the Chamber’s Regional Image Committee traveled to Portland to staff a booth at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism showing our fellow Mainers how the L/A area has changed so positively in recent years.  Clearly, as you can see by the photo, we intended to be seen–the neon sweatshirts made a statement beyond “Ask me what’s happening in L/A” making sure that everyone who saw us knew we were filled with community pride. 

The group in the photo consists of Sandy Marquis, Board Chair of L/A Arts and co-owner of Marquis Signs, Paul Badeau, communications and marketing director of the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, soon to be the same with Energy Maine, your favorite Innkeeper, and Susan Stacey, Chamber Board Chair and Director of Corporate & Community Services at Central Maine Community College.  Several others joined us during the course of the day and we “created a scene” on behalf of our Lewiston-Auburn community. 

Interest in what’s happening in L/A (our L/A of the North) is spreading all over the State.  People who stopped at our booth and intercepted us during our walks around the trade show all were aware of some changes and were amazed at others we told them about. 

Watch for a special edition of DownEast Magazine in July . . . we’re excited and looking forward to it as their people seem quite impressed with what’s going on in L/A.  And guess where they stay when they’re in town . . . hmmm.

Come experience what’s happening in our L/A . . . it’s lunch at Marche followed by a Museum L/A tour followed by dinner at one of our fabulous restaurants, i.e., Fuel or Fishbones followed by a theater production at The Public Theatre or the Community Little Theater followed by cocktails and live music at She Doesn’t Like Guthries or Holly’s Own Deli . . . and don’t forget piano concerts at the Franco-American Heritage Center or the dance festival at  Bates College . . . there’s never a loss of things to do in our L/A! 

For instance, next Saturday the “Ware Street Inn Gang” is going to a performance by The Girls of L/A, 6 divas of song who headlined local popular bands several years past who have joined together to entertain us once again.  The event is being held at the Franco-American Heritage Center followed by a dance party downstairs in Heritage Hall DJ’d by our own Nick Knowlton. 

More later . . . come on over to L/A and join us Saturday night . . . you won’t regret it!

Jitterbuggin’ Jan

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5 out of 12 ain’t bad!

My most anticipated trip of the year turned out to be an adventure of sorts.  I had been counting the days for my departure to Charleston for the PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) Conference.  It’s always so energizing! 

Years ago you could be sure of pleasant weather when you flew south . . . not so any more!  Left Portland, ME and headed to Washington, D.C. for my flight change to Charleston without any problems.  Should’ve known better than to book a transfer in D.C. . . . there’s always problems there!  That was the beginning of the adventure. 

There was “weather” heading south and the D.C.-Charleston flight was cancelled.  U. S. Airways booked me through Charlotte to Charleston leaving at 8 pm.   By the time that flight was cancelled it was too late to get a hotel room anywhere . . . this ol’ innkeeper slept on the floor at the Charlotte airport between a partial wall and a pillar and not far from the ladies’ room!  My flight was scheduled to leave at 7:30 am.  By 4:30 am I was up and looking for coffee.  To make a long story short, 5 cancellations later, knowing no more flights were leaving Charlotte that day (the airport had run out of de-icer and it was freezing rain), I booked a mid-morning flight for the next day and managed to find myself a hotel room, a Macy’s to buy a new set of clothes, a real meal, a cocktail and retired to my room to soak in the tub.  I must say, after all the frustration of so many cancellations, the U.S. Airways agents were terrific, helpful and empathetic.  And grateful that I was laughing instead of yelling!

By the time I reached the hotel in Charleston, checked in and made my way down to the Conference I had missed 2 days of workshops and networking!  Argh!  But PAII is amazingly supportive and helpful . . . they’re going to share all of the workshop recordings with me so my loss won’t be in vain.  And I didn’t miss the big shindig Wednesday night or the awards banquet Thursday noon which was a good thing.  Another good thing was that I was there for the first time as a member of the PAII Advisory Council . . . a position I’m honored to have been offered.  PAII has over 2300 member inns around the world and my membership stood out as responsible enough to be included in leadership.  It’s humbling.  My role will be to restructure the Mentor Program.  It’s a task I’m looking forward to getting started.

The best thing about this particular conference was the introduction of PAII’s new marketing campaign — A Better Way to Stay.  It’s fabulous and members were so impressed by it that we dug deep to support it financially.  Jay Karen, the CEO, challenged us to raise $35,000 that week and, if we did, he would comply with a few requests from folks who weren’t terribly impressed with his facial hair to shave it off right then and there at the end of the conference.  Well, we all shocked him beyond his wildest expectations and raised $100,000 toward the campaign and our future successes.  His beard is gone!

Shave for "A Better Way to Stay"

Shave for "A Better Way to Stay"

That’s it for Ware Street Inn World today . . . more later . . . and it won’t take as long between posts next time . . . stay tuned!

Jan, the ol’ Innkeeper

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Musings on my big brother’s visit . . .

Elder brother Richard (a/k/a “The Man from Nantucket”) comes to visit a couple of times a year and it’s always fun to have him with us.  He loves to revisit the places he remembers from when he grew up here and to experience the new L/A.  Needless to say, it’s my opportunity to get out and about and savor my community.

We had our traditional dinner at Graziano’s in Lisbon (just down the road a piece) with the rest of our “dinner gang” and I had my usual fabulously prepared by Joey Graziano himself Veal Genovese. 

We also had our traditional lunch of red hot dogs at Simones Hot Dog Stand . . . grilled and loaded!  No celebrity politicians there that day (phew)!

On the spur of the moment one evening when nothing at the Inn appealed to us for dinner, we decided to head out to Fishbones.  What a treat that was!  I had been wanting to try the sashimi dinner and I wasn’t disappointed . . . it was amazing. 

One day we went to Portland to peruse the Old Port, visit galleries and specifically to have lunch at Duckfat.  That little joint down by Hugo’s and Pepperclub packs them in . . . and with good reason.  The fries are amazing and the paninis are perfection.  I even found a really good bottled beer from Belgium called Saison Dupont (my mother’s maiden name). 

The “piece de resistance” was our dinner at Fuel.  It’s turned into that special place where he gives me my Christmas present each year after Thanksgiving.  He spoiled me for years by giving me the “real stuff” jewelry.  As we’ve aged, it’s turned into costume jewelry!!  It’s all beautiful . . . he does have good taste and I’m always happy to have him adorn me!  He’s easy . . . jeans every year!

As always, it was a wonderful visit . . . full of plans of things to do that didn’t materialize but may during the next visit . . . full of relaxation, great food and good conversation. 

A brother is someone to cherish . . . and I do cherish my brother Richard . . . all the more as the years fly by.

Jan (the younger!)

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Happy Day After Thanksgiving – 1st Snowfall!

Wonderland @WSIW

Thanksgiving 2010 is now behind us and the memories of the smells and sounds are fresh in my mind…..roasting turkey and the laughter of my almost 5-year-old grandson are not to be forgotten!  We’re so thankful for our success this year and to still have the stamina to keep up with it!  And I’m especially thankful for my grandson’s and my daughter’s laughter.

The PAII New England Conference was outstanding…great workshops and affordable ideas to upgrade our rooms!  Breakfast with Jay Karen of PAII (CEO/Pres.) and lunch with Greg Dugal of the Maine Innkeepers Association (Exec.Dir.) were added bonuses.  And I finally got to stay at the Tara in Nashua….such an impressive castle-like structure. 

Between those two events I had the pleasure hosting the Tipsy Sisters (a local group of well-healed ladies) for dinner at the Inn and of having lobster salad at Lewiston’s new luncheon restaurant Marché with the Publisher of Down East Magazine!  What an opportunity for this area to have a direct line from our Chamber to Maine’s fabulous Down East Magazine…..thanks, once again, to our Chamber President, Chip Morrison.  That man deserves a park named after him….hmmm….there’s an idea for a new project!

So now our project is Christmas and decorating the Inn for the season.  The den is full of tubs of decorations that need to be distributed artistically around the house….guess what I’ll be doing today????

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TGIF b/4 the New England PAII Conference

It’s been a hectic couple of months for WSIW . . . that’s a good thing!  Have been looking forward to attending the New England PAII (Professional Association of Innkeepers International) Conference in Nashua, NH, for quite a while and it’s right around the corner of this weekend.  Leaving Monday after lunch for a day and a half of PAII inspirations, meeting fellow innkeepers and learning even more about what I do. 

We’ve had some interesting guests recently . . . some regulars (who are generally like family), a family who sails the Caribbean, a few very knowledgeable lecturers visiting Bates, and a person who’s adding to his many achievements by learning to fly a pontoon plane at our local flight school in Auburn–Twitchell’s.  Love the conversations with all of them! 

Hope y’all are having as much fun as WSIW is!!


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Here comes the sun . . . we hope!

We’ve had such an unusually balmy fall that the frigid air that’s hit us in the last couple of days is a real eye-opener to the fact that winter will soon be upon us.  The leaves have fallen and everyone seems to be in their yards raking….including Mike! 

As difficult as it is for we Innkeepers to break away from the Inn, I was able to run away on a road trip with a woman friend on Saturday…we had a wonderful salmon salad lunch at the Senator Inn in Augusta and then hit the stores….always fun this time of year.  Upon return it was time to set up for breakfast for our guests–all of whom were either actors or their relatives.  A performance at Bates College drew them here.  We definitely get an interesting bunch staying with us.

The upcoming week is as full as usual with guests and a catering gig for the new surgical unit at St. Mary’s Hospital,

WSI's Tasty Shrimp

an adult ed hospitality class being taught here one night, attendance at a President’s dinner at the college and beginning to train our new innsitter (yes, an innsitter for those times when we can sneak away or I go to a PAII conference, etc.).  And, of course, there’s my twice a week date with my grandson to take him to his karate class….the best part of the week! 

It’s sure to be a nice day tomorrow…..we’re having a red sky sunset!

Enjoy all . . . . Jan

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