Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Happenings

I mentioned in my last blog that I *love* Halloween.

When I was a little girl, I loved the fact that Halloween gave me the opportunity to wear makeup--because my mom didn't allow makeup until I was much older. And what little girl doesn't love all the candy--my brother and I got candy I had never even heard of!!

Now that I'm older, I still am pretty happy about the candy--especially anything chocolate. But what I like most now is the craftiness--there are so many cool things to make this time of year!

Here are a couple of the projects I've done at the inn lately. And Mom, if you're reading this, you'll notice that none of them involve eye shadow!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Christmas is Coming

I know, I's not even Halloween yet. (And I heart Halloween!)

But we've just announced our Nights of Lights special, so I've been humming Christmas tunes all day.

What's so special about our Nights of Lights special? Well, when you stay two weeknights (that's Sunday through Thursday) during the Nights of Lights event (it runs from November 17 through January 31), you get the following:

  • FREE tickets to the Green Trolley, which will take you through town so you can enjoy the two million twinkling lights while sitting down
  • FREE fudge from local candy-maker Fudge Buckets (seriously, they're served in a little bucket with a spoon. How smart is that???)
  • FREE hot chocolate at Fudge Buckets
And, of course, you get all the cool free stuff that you've come to expect--a hot southern breakfast every morning, our world-famous happy hour, parking, wifi, access to bikes...the whole shebang!! And you get the chance to enjoy our own awesome light it is in 2011.

St. Augustine was named one of the Top Ten Places in the WORLD to see holiday lights by National Geographic last year. And the Bayfront Marin House is the best place in St. Augustine to enjoy the festival!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's Festival Time

We frequently ask our guests "What do you have planned for today?" Of course, if they ask us what we recommend, we usually have one or two suggestions for them to get the most out of St. Augustine.

But this weekend there is so much going on that I'm not sure what I'm going to tell people to do!! And if I told them everything, they literally would not have any time to take any of my suggestions.

Here are just a few of the festivals going on around town:

Oct. 12-14 Greek Festival. Held on Francis Field, this annual event is a fun weekend of food, music and dancing. It's only $2 a person, and kids under 12 are free. You can get more details at

Oct. 13 Treasures of the Fountain. Our county United Way sponsors this family event, taking place at the Fountain of Youth. Twenty-five bucks will get your whole family in (up to 6 people), and give you access to all the games and food dotted around this beautiful venue. For $50 a person, you can also enjoy a gourmet dinner that night, served by local chefs. Learn more at

Oct. 13 Fiesta de Aviles. Held on Aviles Street, the oldest street in the country, this is a free event that includes lots of music and pageantry--including a running of the bulls in the afternoon (okay, it's humans dressed up as bulls, but still, pretty fun!) It's only about 2 blocks from our bed and breakfast, and in the evening they have a Sangria contest to see which restaurant can serve the best. Of course, I think ours is the best, but I'm always on the look out for the competition, so I'll definitely be there!

October 13 Great American Scarecrow Festival. Held at Simple Gestures on White Street, just over the Bridge of Lions. You can make your own scarecrow, bob for apples, and just have some fall fun at this annual event.

October 13 Riverdale United Methodist Church Arts & Crafts Fair. Love craft fairs? This is a nice one, held right at the church. It's not too early to start your Christmas shopping, and there's a fish fry at the end of the day!

Of course, all these festivals are in ADDITION to the long list of cool things that you can always do here in St. Augustine--like climbing the lighthouse, going on the pirate ship, and just laying in the sun at the fort.

No matter what you plan to do--I hope you plan to do it in St. Augustine!! See you around town!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ancient Olive, A St. Augustine Experience

Last night, I had a foodie "experience".

I'm not talking about a dining experience, either. I'm talking about an experience full of flavors, and scents, and great discussions about amazing food. It's just that there wasn't a lot of food there.

Besides some dipping bread, of course.

The Ancient Olive on King Street specializes in olive oils and balsamic vinegars. They have a ton of each--literally filling the store with stainless steel containers holding the mysterious liquids. There is cubed bread for the tasting, but they also provide small plastic cups so that you can dip your tongue in the goodness as well.

What do they have? Let's start with the olive oils. There are olive oils from around the world, and the very helpful staff (ask for James, who actually ran down the street to get me some ice cream so that I could taste a blood orange olive oil on top of Claude's vanilla bean ice cream) will walk you through where each is from (the processing standards vary dramatically from region to region, and James is happy to explain the intricacies to you in a way that's entertaining and enlightening all at once).

There are infused olive oils, with the light taste of basil, lemon, herbs, butter, or any number of other interesting flavors.

Then there are the vinegars--a delicious array of deep balsamic vinegars with hints of espresso (I bought a bottle), strawberry, blueberrry, lavender, apple, vanilla, and many many more. (You can see all of their offerings at

You can taste as many as you like, and the staff will make suggestions for usage at home. For instance, on First Friday Artwalks, the Ancient Olive staff makes a delicious salad with pears, strawberries, and a strawberry infused balsamic vinegar and a basil olive oil. Delish!

You can buy their products in 375 ml bottles, or in small tasting-sized bottles (hint, hint--stocking stuffers, anyone??) They also sell homemade pastas, as well as a small selection of beautiful serving pieces (I am lusting after a tray I saw there...and I may have to go back this weekend to pick it up!)

I could go on and on all day about the wonderful staff (James got married in St. Augustine 2 years ago, and a lot of his guests stayed at the inn, so of course we were fast friends!), the amazing flavors, and the expert suggestions, but really--you have to "experience" it yourself.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Crabby Saturdays

Why do you want to stay at a bed and breakfast owned by a couple from Maryland?

Because on some Friday nights we like to get a couple dozen steamed crabs--just like at home (well, not just like at home a dozen crabs are a Ulysses S. Grant, plus a couple of Alexander Hamiltons; whereas in Florida they're closer to an Andrew Jackson. Just Jackson--with a couple of George Washingtons left over).

Now, we can only eat about a dozen crabs between us. What are the extras for? Why, we pick them and make a delicious fresh crab dip for our guests, of course!

We have a couple of recipes that we like, but here's the one that we're using today:

Sandy's Old Line State Crab Dip

1 tbsp butter
2 packages cream cheese (8 oz. each)
1 tsp horseradish sauce
5 dashes tabasco sauce
1/2 lb. crab meat
1/2 cup finely minced onion
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1-14 oz. can artichoke hearts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Saute the onions in the butter until they are softened but not brown.

Add the cream cheese, and stir it over low heat until it is soft. Add the Worchestershire, horseradish,

Old Bay, and Tabasco. Stir until well blended.

Fold in the artichokes and crab meat.

Put the mixture in a shallow baking dish (about 1-1/2 inches deep).

Sprinkle the parmesan cheese evenly over the top

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. The cheese should be brown on top and the sides should be bubbling.


Monday, October 1, 2012

The Bayfront Marin House:Non-Opposable Thumbs Up!!

They call it Puppy Love.

You know the feeling: you're dying to go on vacation. You NEED to take a vacation because you can no longer take what it is that you've been taking (with apologies to Earl Wilson).

But you *really* *really* want to take your puppy with you on vacation, not because they've been taking a lot (if anything, they've been giving), but because they're one of the few things that you don't want to get away from.

Don't worry, if man's best friend wants to come with his best friend, he totally can. All the rooms on our first floor are pet friendly. That includes
  • The King George (small dogs only)
  • The Hopkins Cottage
  • Robinson Lewis
  • Burgess Cottage
  • Coquina Suite
  • Napoleon Suite
  • Francisco Marin
Our pet fee is $30 a day--just mention that you're bringing your little baby when you make your reservation, and we'll have the room ready for you and your four legged friend. Because we have some puppy love ourselves--we hate to think of your little buddy alone in a kennel!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ice Cream Wednesday

Your opportunity to taste Mike's homemade ice cream is disappearing faster than a cone of vanilla bean on a hot summer day. is the LAST ice cream Wednesday of the summer!!! We have a couple of rooms open tonight...and they all come with complimentary ice cream.

And what did the hub make for the occasion? Chocolate cheesecake with a strawberry swirl. Mmmmm.

Spoons away, friends!!!