May 10, 2011

Illegal Charter Flight Warning

Stratos Jet Charters Warns Travelers About Illegal Charter Flight

In recent air charter news, the European Business Aviation Administration (EBAA) has launched a campaign to curb illegal charter flight activity in Europe.  Stratos Jet Charters is a member of the prestigious Air Charter Association of North America (ACANA), which distinguishes our company as one of the finest and most reputable charter service providers in the private aviation industry.  As a member of ACANA, we believe it is our responsibility to help the EBAA promote safe and legal charter flight operations in North America.  In the following article, we would like to take this opportunity to discuss the issue of illegal charter flights, and the different ways you can protect yourself and your family from the threat of illegal charter operators.

 In light of the recent economic recession, we understand that many aircraft owners are looking for ways to offset the high cost and expense of aircraft ownership, just as air charter consumers are searching for lower-cost options for private jet travel.  But, before you set out to book a “discounted” charter flight from a small brokerage firm or operator, consider this: what price would you pay to ensure your personal safety?

 Let’s assume that you were offered a stellar deal on your next charter flight by an unknown charter brokerage or operator.  Initially, you might be pleased to find the pricing to be much lower than that of several long-standing and reputable charter brokers.  Wouldn’t you be foolish not to go with the lowest-priced flight?  Well, what if we told you that the aircraft you will be flying in wasn’t inspected according to FAA regulations, or that the flight crew wasn’t type-rated to fly the aircraft?  What if we told you that your charter flight was illegal?

 The safety issues caused by illegal charter flights has long plagued the air charter industry.  According to the EBAA, a large number of air charter consumers unknowingly purchase illegal charter flights each year.  An “illegal charter flight” occurs when a Part 91 aircraft owner conducts a charter flight under the guise of a fully-licensed Part 135 aircraft operator.  Illegal charter flights pose significant safety risks to air charter consumers, which is why it is our goal to teach you about the possibility of illegal charter flight operations.  Keep in mind that the goal of this article is not to frighten you, but to help you identify the signs of an illegal charter flight and the ways you can protect yourself and your family.

 Aircraft owners who conduct illegal charter flight operations do so at great expense to consumer safety.  Here’s why - illegal charter flights violate Part 135 Federal Aviation Administration Regulations (FARs), which specifically require aircraft operators to hold a “Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate.”  An air carrier certificate is only granted to aircraft operators that show “sufficient financial strength and compliance with other legal requirements, including proof of proper insurance coverage,” according to the National Business Aviation Administration (NBAA). 

 The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration requires aircraft operators to adhere to all Part 135 regulations, which spell out the necessary criteria for conducting a safe and legal operation.  Under these requirements, aircraft operators are subject to many regulations regarding  aircraft maintenance, flight crew experience, pilot training and insurance requirements.  Outright aircraft owners, on the other hand, adhere to a separate set of rules and regulations, known as Part 91 regulations, which are far less restictive than Part 135 regulations. 

 So what do the FARs have to do with air charter safety?  Well, everything.  First, you need to know that the FAA makes an important distinction between aircraft owners and aircraft operators.  As a rule, aircraft operators are held to much higher safety standards than owners because they are “certificate-holding entities,” rather than “self-interested parties.”   As such, aircraft operators must adhere to more rigorous operational and maintenance requirements.  In addition, aircraft operators are subject to routine audits, such as performance audits, flight reviews, pilot training and safety checks, to verify their compliance with FAA safety standards.  Meanwhile, aircraft owners are given more freedom to establish their own safety procedures and protocols.

Since certified aircraft operators adhere to much higher safety standards, they encumber the costs of maintaining their aircraft and flight crew at peak safety levels.  Oftentimes, these additional costs are factored into the price of your charter flight.  Illegal charter operators don’t operate in accordance with Part 135 regulations, which is why they can offer significantly lower pricing on charter flights.  Illegal charter operators create an un-level playing field and put consumer safety and confidence at risk.  Consider it an investment toward your safety when you work with a reputable charter broker or operator.

 So, how do you know that your private charter is legal?  It’s not always easy to identify an illegal operator from a legitimate one.  The first step is to ask some basic questions about the aircraft operator.  Ask your charter broker for the operator’s certificate number or read up on the operator through the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) at http:///  This information will help to ensure that your charter operator meets with all the necessary criteria for conducting a safe charter flight.  If your charter broker is unable or unwilling to provide you with a copy of the operator’s air carrier certificate, it’s safe to assume that your charter flight is illegal.  Any legitimate charter broker or operator should be more than happy to provide you with a copy of the operator’s Part 135 certificate.  If you are asked to pay the pilots separately, this is a major red flag.

Next, ask your charter broker to provide you with a copy of the operator’s D085 (aircraft spec sheet).  This important document will list every aircraft that is approved for service in that operator’s fleet.  The aircraft listed on the D085 have been found by the FAA to meet with aircraft inspection, maintenance and insurance requirements.  You should receive the tail number of your charter aircraft at least 24 hours in advance of your flight.  Check to make sure that your aircraft’s specific tail number is listed on the D085 as apart of that operator’s fleet.

Now that you know how to identify a legal charter operator, the next step is to find a safe and legal operator to conduct your next charter flight.  The Stratos Jets’ Approved Vendor Program enables our company to work with the safest and most reputable charter operators in the air charter industry.  Through our approved vendor program, we do our due-diligence to ensure that your charter flight is safe and legal.  All of our approved vendors are fully-licensed Part 135 operators that adhere to FAR regulations, along with our own rigorous safety standards.  We keep updated records on all our approved vendors, and can easily provide you with a copy of the operator’s air carrier certificate, D085, and/or insurance standards upon request.  We won’t send you a quote on an aircraft that hasn’t been fully-vetted on the front end.  By working with Stratos Jets, you can rest assured that your charter flight meets or exceeds with the highest safety expectations in the industry.

As an air charter consumer, remember that you have a right to ask these important questions to ensure your personal safety on every charter flight.  If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact a Stratos Jets representative at any time.  Our air charter agents are both experienced and knowledgeable, and place a special emphasis on air charter safety.  Our goal is to help you find the safest and most well-maintained aircraft that can meet your personal travel needs for each and every flight.

Posted by Jo Wilson on May 10, 2011 at 04:41 PM in Lodging, Transportation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 02, 2011

Auberge de Seattle Inn & Specialty French Cooking School

Mes Chers Amis...Bonjour!

I am sitting on a train on my way to Montpellier, France (30 minutes form the Mediterranean) watching the beautiful lush French countryside.  It is warm in France and the scent of flowers in bloom everywhere is really surprising to me.  As the saying goes..."spring is in the air" with wisteria, lilac and jasmine...then of course there is also the smell of coffee and pastries that you also can't help but notice.  My sense of smell is on high alert for all of the smells that I don't normally experience in Seattle.  Yesterday, it was 77 degrees in Paris, while in Seattle it was only 52.  One always hears about traveling to Europe in the summer, but April (flights are cheaper) is under estimated and should not be over looked next time you are thinking about planning your trip to Europe.

Even though I am in France...I am still thinking about my work.  The month of May is just around the corner with lots of cooking classes coming up that I think you will find both interesting and appealing.  On our cooking website: we have three Regional Cooking Classes posted for May; each one being taught by a different chef: Chef Philippe Naud, Chef George Stevenson and Chef Sally McArthur.  Chef Philippe's menu is from the Atlantic region of France (mainly fish), Chef George is doing a totally Crab menu and "five courses", and Chef Sally is doing a menu from the south of France, Provence.

By the time you read this, I will be back in Seattle, refreshed and inspired with new ideas and looking forward to the busy summer season ahead...see you soon, a bientot!


J'espere de vous voir bientot chez nous,
Nancy Gates-Douglas; Proprietress
Auberge Edge of Seattle Cooking

Posted by Jo Wilson on May 2, 2011 at 08:51 PM in Art, Dining, Food and Drink, Lodging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 11, 2011

Planning a Ménage a Trois for Valentines?

Winter clings here with her clammy grip and Spring is a promise unfulfilled. Are the “grey days” getting you down”?    A Valentine Getaway is the perfect solution for your blues. Do you want this Valentine’s Day to be an occasion you and your partner will remember forever? Now you can get away to wherever your heart desires and not feel the least bit of guilt.  No guilt you say? That’s right!  Let The Wings of Love take you to an unimaginable dream destination.  That big bed in your luxury suite is just begging to be fully occupied.  No separation anxiety will keep you from having the best Valentine’s Day Getaway ever. Pet owners want their beloved animals with them and hotel properties are listening. Now you and your pets can travel together—no one has to be left behind.

Celebrities such as Oprah and others aren’t the only ones who can travel with their precious pets to getaway destinations.  Now, you can bring your beloved pet along on your next trip.  You and your loved one can enjoy your stay with your pet in your luxurious room.  Your best friend will no longer have to stay in some kennel or “cat house”.  Your favorite furry traveling companion is now as welcome as you thanks to new policies now offered at many hotels.  Revel in the personalized service that these pet friendly hotels are now extending to our furry friends.

Several major hotel chains now offer programs to pamper your pooch as much as you.  Under these new programs, dogs can have their own designer beds in which to luxuriate. The beds match the decor of each chain and are designed by a celebrity pet outfitter.  You and your best friend can hang out together. If you are a cat owner; you and your cat can have a “purrfect vacation”.

Some hotels offer food, water bowls, and temporary ID tags with the hotel's contact information.  Other hotels feature beds with miniature "Heavenly Beds" duvets.  One major chain offers plush doggie robes, leashes, and collars.  With accommodations like this your dog may offer to share his bed with you, a la Ménage a trois, if you have more than one furry friend!  Some hotels extend Concierge service for your pet as well as you.

Imagine your dog receiving a toy, a treat, and a bone upon checking in--a far cry from slipping your pal in the back door in a laundry bag. At this chic hotel, your dog will also enjoy turn-down service with a special nighttime treat. Some hotels offer in-room doggie massages by a licensed dog massage therapist.  Yes, Licensed Certified Dog Massage Therapists do exist.

Can’t take your pet along this time? There are pet-dedicated hotels that accommodate your pet in the most luxurious style imaginable.  Here, the furry guests have their pick of luxury theme boarding suites complete with a toddler bed and padded bedding, throw rugs, TVs and DVD players. Felines stay in kitty condos, a private area of the facility far away from “The Dogs”.  To make sure pets are well taken care of and to eliminate any parent-pet anxiety, parents can check on their furry friends via Web cams, thanks to state-of-the-art equipment installed in the accommodations.

Posted by Jo Wilson on February 11, 2011 at 10:22 AM in Lodging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 07, 2010

Discounts! Country Inn & Suites Naperville, IL

I love this Country - sideways
January 2009
Weather-Related Discount
Country Inn & Suites
CIS-outsideAttention Valued Guests!
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Stuck at work because of the snow?  Can't get home to your family tonight?  Come stay with us at the Country Inn & Suites in Naperville at a discounted rate!  Curl up by our lobby fireplace and play a game of pool.  Get cozy in your room and read a good book from our Read it and Return Library!
Distress Rate Available for $69
If you or your employees can't travel home in the snow, please take advantage of our special Distress Rate.  Must call in the day of the reservation, and must be weather-related.  Not valid for current reservations, must be new reservation day of arrival.
Country Inn & Suites
1837 Centre Point Circle

Posted by Marsha Rhodes on January 7, 2010 at 12:29 PM in Lodging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 05, 2009

Wickwood Inn Holiday Notebook - Saugatuck, MI






A L L  T H E  L O C A L  N E W S,  G O S S I P,  R E C I P E S  &  L O R E  T H A T' S  F I T  T O   P R I N T     

   H O L I D A Y   2 0 0 9


Saugatuck Sparkles
    Ed Goelich, Photographer
“Later on we'll conspire, as we dream by the fire."
  --- played by Chris Botti

Our villages are transformed into a quintessential old fashioned Christmas card from mid-November through New Year's. Twinkling lights, horse drawn buggy rides, shops aglow, Dickens, ballet, jazz, A Santa Parade, Wickwood's Festival of Trees and music everywhere. The spirit is contagious --- come and catch some!    Wickwood ---



November 7 New Orleans Singer, Tab Benoit, SCA
November 7 Edye Evans Hyde,
The What Not Inn
November 8 Tim Johnson Trio, The What Not
November 10 Boy's Town, The Red Barn
November 11 Veterans Day
November 12 Shop Fabulously, Post Holiday Shopping Event at Good Goods with Holiday Refreshments
November 12-14 Grand Rapids Wine & Food Festival
November 14 Lakeshore All Star Blues Band
, What Not Inn
November 14- December 12 Blaze of Color
, Water Street Gallery
November 14 A Tribute to John Denver with Gregg Sanborn, The Red Barn Playhouse
November 15 Mary Rademacher
, The What Not
November 17 Grapes of Wrath,
The Red Barn
November 18 - January 3 Christmas Holiday Traditions Around the World, Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids

    More Calendar ---







We're baking memories for the Holidays --- Pecan Sticky Buns, Cranberry Cake, Apple Blueberry Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce, Bismarck's, Bacon & Caramelized Onion Strata, Baked Country Ham, Pecan Tassies, Julia's Chocolate Bites, Christmas Cookies, soups and sips. Come share the enchantment.   
    Recipes ---


Holiday Open Houses Every Weekend

All around our villages the wineries, art galleries, and shops all host receptions to make the Holidays more festive six full weeks. The weekend of November 20-21 is the kick-off in Saugatuck and Douglas with extended shopping hours, music, refreshments, holiday specials, good cheer, warm treats, special wrapping services, all in an effort to give you the Holiday Spirit and help make your Holiday gift giving a joy.


Saugatuck Center for the Arts

Tab Benoit
Tab Benoit
Saturday, November 7

As Is by Laurel Farrin
thru Decmber 28

The Wreck of the Rockaway
Thurday, November 19

Twisted Tinsel
by Mason Street Warehouse
Friday, November 27

Improv Olympic
Saturday, November 28

Wintergreen Market
Saturday, December 5

Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans-Hyde
Saturday, December 12


Bacon Fever
“Cooking is three-quarters shopping.” --- Jean Troisgros Roanne, France 1979

Bacon Fever!

Cold weather makes us crave smoky pork more than ever. We like our sausage, ham, and bacon pure and simple, from small farms raising - happy pigs, smoked by authentic artisans. The aroma when you're cooking smoked pork is simply hypnotic. Dedicated people are bring back traditional curing methods; double-curing in Michigan (with over a hundred years of experience), Smoky Mountain dry - cured, Wisconsin's intensely apple - smoked, Virginia's maple brown sugar cured --- with pepper or not, it's up to you. But you can't go wrong with any of these; they're the real deal:

Bacon Fever

Sweet Bacon Bites

A simple and delicious hors d'oeuvres that leaves everyone wanting more. Preheat oven to 375° F. Separate and halve thick cut bacon slices. Place dark brown sugar in a shallow plate.  Dip both sides of each bacon slice in brown sugar and coat thoroughly. Place the bacon on a rack over a pan to catch the drippings. Bake in upper third of oven for 20-30 minutes. Finish under broiler for a minute. Cool.    Recipes ---

Gourmet Magazine

Goodbye Gourmet!

Does the closing of this sixty-five year old food institution signal that the internet food blogs have won? We hope not. For to scroll the hundreds of recipes for any ingredient the internet brings, is to set every benchmark of good, better, best taste aside. Serious cooks want to learn from the experienced with standards that they can trust.


Christmas Gifts for Cooks & Foodies

An Olive Oil Collection
Mortar and Pestle Fresh
Oysters from Taylor's Fish Farm
Wheel of Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese from Jasper Hill Farm
Jacque Torres Chocolate
Wine selected by Kermit Lynch, Neil Rosenthal or Sergio Esposito
Salumi from Fra'Manni
Cheddars from Neal's Yard
A Bacon Tasting
Anything homemade by you
Tsar Nicoulai Caviar
Dinner at a Dream Restaurant
A Cooking Class
Italian Tuna, salt packed
Anchovies and capers
Two or three Unglazed Clay Pot Casseroles
Rose Champagne

“You might as well do your Christmas hinting early.”
---- Anon.

Wickwood Inn
Gift Certificate


We think that the greatest luxury we have today is Time. And so we marvel at the number of people who are giving the time to relax at Wickwood as gift certificates to their family and friends for all kinds of occasions. We think what they're really giving is loving memories. That pleases us enormously.

Gooble gooble
“Farmer's are zones of peace on this planet.” ---- Vanana Shiva, Indian Food Activist

Gobble Gobble!!

It's not too late to order a fresh Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey. These fowl are bred naturally; never fed hormones, antibiotics or animal by-products; walks around, matures at a natural rate; and, when the day comes, meets a clean end. Select a bird from 8 to 22 pounds and it won't be frozen, but arrive to you on ice via Fed Ex Tuesday, November 24 with cooking instructions. Please pass the compliments.

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"
- Winston Churchill

The Giving Season

The talk is all about giving because it makes us feel good. During the Holidays we can all get carried away and forget some important aspects of giving:
Give of yourself. Your time, your love, your talent and your knowledge.
Give quality not quantity.
Give yourself time to celebrate.
Some we favor:

“A lovely thing about Christmas is that we all go through it together.”
--- Garrison Keillor


Armagnac & Marc

“People make Cognac for profit, but they make Armagnac for love, “Michel Guerard told us as he introduced us to these two many years ago at Eugenie. From Gascony and Landes, they pre-date Cognac by 200 years evoking the era of D'Artagnan and his fellow Musketeers. Both, are increasingly difficult to find as they are the result of long aging by small artisan distillers, reaching their prime twenty-five years later. We once tasted a seventy-five year old Marc (which is made from the very last pressing of the grape skins, pits and stems) at a vineyard in Burgundy. Could we buy it? We couldn't afford the taste, we were told. But a great swash-buckling memory. The best are bottled by Marc Darroze. A great gift, we find them at Helene Darroze's in Paris or Sherry-Lehman in nyc.

St. Marcellin Cheese

St. Marcellin Cheese
One of the best secrets of French cheeses is a small mild cheese made since 1251 on 15 farms and in 12 small-scale factories using raw milk from the hills, famous for walnuts, between Grenoble and Valence. The very best has a mild aroma and a slightly nutty distinct taste. It's a very special gift or addition to a Holiday Cheese Board. Shop where they know their affinage.


The Truth About Wine USA

Just as local artisans have become important to anyone who want to eat well, small artisanal wineries have become the integral link to wine actually made from grapes grown at the vineyard by a winemaker who is passionate about what he puts in the bottle that has his name on it. Of the thirty top selling wine brands in the US not a single one of them grows, produces or bottles their own wines. They buy tankers of bulk juice, and slap a label on the bottle. Most “wineries” have become marketing organizations. Even more reason to visit wineries, meet the winemaker and to trust the guy who is anxious to put HIS name on the bottle.


Union Square Market

Rick's Picks

When the tastes are out at NYC's Union Square Market, the lines are long for these crunchy pickles. Clever names on jars bring thrilling flavors. There's “Mean Beans,” “Slices of Life”, “Windy City Wasabeans” “The People's Pickle”, “Phat Beets,”or “Whup Asp”. They will sparkle salads, Hor's d'ouevres, or sandwiches.

Martin's Pretzels

Martin's Pretzels

Long an addiction, these perfectly toasted crisp pretzels are handmade by a Mennonite Family in Lancaster County Penna. Everyone who taste one raves about them! They can be ordered extra dark, whole-wheat, salted, lightly salted, or extra salted in boxes or shiny red tins. Simply a great Holiday Gift for every discriminating pal.

Donut Holes
“Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.”
--- Joan Mills

Food Memories ---

I'll never forget the taste of my Grandma's warm donut holes on Christmas morning, or of my Mom's Date Nut Pudding with Whiskey Sauce always there at Lunch, or our Christmas Eve dinner turkey at The Hassler Grill in Rome in 1983. Then there were those first tastes of the bright vegetables from Chino Farm in Rancho Sante Fe, the multi-colored carrots I schlepped back from the Union Square market, Chatsworth's lamb we cooked this Spring, the fraise de bois from Chez l'ami Louis, braised radishes Alain Passard's way at Arpege nor my own late season heirloom grape tomatoes this year. I'll remember them all, always. Food flavors that are distinct and memorable. This is the food that I want to eat . These are the traditions and tastes worth preserving. This is the food that is worth fighting to save. It is simply about wanting to eat food the way it is supposed to taste. Not how it has been transformed with the “standards of fast food, ”in factory farms, with GMO's, or chemicals. As we individually re-examine our food sources remember, if you can, the way food used to taste. Spending time sourcing local seasonal and responsibly grown ingredients is simply the best thing you can do for your family this next year!

Felt Mansion
“Something about an old-fashioned Christmas is hard to forget.”
---- Hugh Downs

Felt Mansion Historical
Tours for the Holidays

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places a glimpse of former home of a wealthy inventor is a joy to tour, especially during the Holiday Season. It's a wonderful journey through time.
Winter Fest - December 12 Sesquicentennial Celebration Open House with Ice Skating, Hay Rides, Ice Sculpture Demonstration, music and refreshments.
Sundays, December 13 - January 3 During the Holidays: Tours, Ice Skating and Refreshments.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, December 17-19 Evening Tours with Ice Skating and Refreshments.
Saturday, January 2 Historical Documentary, Tour, Ice Skating and Refreshments.

"The fate of nations hangs upon their choice of food."
--- Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin,

Eating Animals

“Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer

Just out, the raves on this are over the top! Authors who have been writing about the agri-business and vegetarianism for years are calling this “the masterpiece.” Brutally honest with both factory farmers and animal activists speaking in their own words. Best of all, Foer shares his own personal journey. It makes you laugh, cry and best of all, come away with your own opinion of how you want to eat.

Kermit Lynch

Wine Legends You Can Trust for Holiday Gifts

Three venerable wine importers Kermit Lynch, Neil Rosenthal and Sergio Esposito are legends for championing producers who express “terroir” – wines that embody where they come from – excel with their Holiday Season lists. Today's prices can even be comfortable. When these names are on a wine label, you know that you'll be thrilled with the wine. Be sure to be on their newsletter lists:

Wickwood in Winter
Saugatuck Sparkles

“My first copies of Treasure Island and Huckleberry Finn still have some blue-spruce needles scattered in the pages. They smell of Christmas still.” ---- Charlton Heston

Red Books

Salt to Taste, by Marco Canora. For lovers of Insieme in nyc this is a dream come true.
Why Italians Love to Talk About Food, by Elena Kostioukovitch.. A study of Italian food as a means to discovering the Italian spirit.
Rose's Heavenly Cakes, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. She teaches us to make those perfect cakes again.
An Edible History of Humanity, by Tom Slandge. Simply fascinating.
I Know How To Cook, Ginette Mathiot. Every French woman's cookbook --- for three generations.
Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller. We can always learn from this chef. Now, for the home cook.
Chanterelle, by David Waltuck. Wonderful cooking for thirty years, now a memory as they've closed.
Italian Classics by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers. Traveling through Italy with the River Café.
Eating, A Memoir by Jason Epstein. One of New York's finest foodies recalls memorable meals.
Far Flung and Well Fed by R.W. Apple, Jr. Journalists' best shares his great fun eating around the world.
Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking by Paula Wolfert Traditional and modern recipes from one of the best.
Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery. The “Hedgehog” author deals with social class, philosophy and glorious descriptions of food.
The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food is Making Us Sick and What We can do about It by Robin O'Brien.
Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness by Lisa M. Hamilton.
Women, Work and The Art of Savoir Faire by Mireille Guilano. More of how the French do it.
The World According to Monsanto by Marie Monique Robin. This is an astounding work.
Food Inc.- Mendel to Monsanto The Promises and Perils of the Biotech Harvest by Peter Pringle.
Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating by Jeffery M. Smith.
A Shadow Falls by Nick Brandt. A photographer memorializes the vanishing natural grandeur of East Africa with exquisite sepia photographs. Lovely.
Fresh - A perishable History by Suzanne Freidberg. An original interesting way of looking at food history.

 "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas."

  Christmas 2008

“There is no ideal Christmas; only the one you decide to make yourself.” ---- Bill McKibben

Join us for a glorious Holiday season filled with love, laughter and great tastes!! - Julee and Bill

Wickwood at night


Julee's Cookbooks


Julee and Bill


Wickwood Inn   |    510 Butler Street P.O. Box 1019   |   Saugatuck, MI 49453
Tel (800) 385-1174   |  |    Bill and Julee Rosso Miller, Proprietors

Posted by Marsha Rhodes on November 5, 2009 at 09:09 AM in Activities & Events, Food and Drink, Lodging | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 03, 2009

Veteran's Day at The Scranton Seahorse Inn - Madison, CT

Scranton Seahorse Inn eagle

In honor of Veteran’s Day The Scranton Seahorse Inn of Madison, Connecticutwill be offering special rates to all veterans throughout the month of November.   Any veteran that books any of our standard rooms for one night in November will receive the second night free.   Any veteran that books one of our suites in November will receive $100 off the second night.   

A live performance of The National Anthem will be performed during a special flag ceremony at 10am on Veteran’s Day as we raise our American Flag in honor of veterans across the country.    All in attendance are welcome inside the inn after the ceremony for complimentary coffee and warm cider.

In order to take advantage of this special offer, veterans should call the inn directly to check on availability and to make reservations.


Scranton Seahorse InnScranton Seahorse Inn House purple flowers

818 Boston Post Road

Madison CT 06443





This offer is not valid during the Thanksgiving Holiday (Nov 24th – Nov 29th)

Posted by Marsha Rhodes on November 3, 2009 at 09:12 AM in Lodging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 15, 2009

Les Lavandes Bed and Breakfast (for an Advent, Christmas or New Year’s getaway)

Les Lavandes Bed & Breakfast of Herman, MO


Just spend a weekend there with my sister, niece and 2 nephews. Myrta & Richard are incredible. I will never be able to stay at another B&B. I mean it. They have set the bar way tooooo high. The food was !! Well Don't Know If My Words Would Do Justice !! But the food was amazing, as well as the warmth we felt from them. Almost on extension of us. Will be back next year, already made reservations. Jean - Lenexa, KS


It is easy to see how much Myrta loves what she does, because of all the small details she puts in her baking, cooking and decorating...which is very much noticable! It also says a lot about Myrta and Richard when you read their guest books and see how many guests have come back to visit. My husband and I came here for our honeymoon. It was our first time staying at a B&B style lodging. We are coming back in October and looking forward to Myrta's and Richard's cooking. By the way, Myrta's lavender cookies and lavender ice cream are out of this world! Malvina and Phillip

Katharina's wedding photos 061

Welcome to our B&B! Myrta, a native of Switzerland, has lived and traveled extensively throughout the world and besides being a baker’s daughter, she was an international flight attendant for many years. Together with her husband Richard , they have opened their B&B with their hearts and minds and have been successful in spoiling and pampering their guests infinitely.

2007_12_28 Les Lavandes 21Jen's Christmas pictures 2007

We are offering some  special 2 night  week ends,

Friday and Saturday, Dec 4 and 5

Friday and Saturday, Dec 11 and 12

Friday and Saturday, Dec 18 and 19

Friday and Saturday, Jan 1 and 2, 2010

 IMG_4531 Les Lavandes BB 035

 including the following:

A FULL GOURMET BREAKFAST  each morning, consisting of:

Homemade bread

Homemade jams

Fresh fruit

A variety of juices, caffee latte, espresso, regular coffee, REAL Swiss chocolatHot breakfast

Les Lavandes BB 036

ONE COMPLIMENTARY HIGH TEA  upon arrival, consisting of:

Homemade Swiss chocolate truffles

French/Austrian/Swiss pastries

Variety of international teas


Gluehwein (hot mulled/spiced wine)


Mixed salad with homemade dressing

Main course

Dessert with coffee/tea

(Details on appetizer and main course and dessert  to be announced)

 2007_12_28 Les Lavandes 15 100_0081

Traditional “old world” Christmas ceremony with the  lightening of  special candles and sparklers on the Christmas tree while either listening or singing some old carols.

The garden hot tub with some incredible stargazing moments  might be the right finishing touch of a splendid, unforgettable evening…..

Price for Swiss and French Suites: $ 195.00 per person

Price for American room: $165.00 per person

100_0236 Picture for cookbook

Please Call: 573-236-4774

Reserve: Here

Visit Web Page: Here

Posted by AlexanderSBrown on October 15, 2009 at 09:48 AM in Lodging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 13, 2009

Country Inn & Suites - Naperville, IL

Love this Country Header
 Country Inn & Suites By Carlson
1837 Centre Point Circle  630.505.3353
CIS-outsideDoes your company have a Corporate Negotiated Rate with us?
If you have room nights in Naperville, Lisle, Aurora, or Warrenville, then you qualify for a special rate at the Country Inn & Suites in Naperville!  Do your part, and help your company save some money!
If you already have a Corporate Negotiated rate at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson in Naperville, then now is the time you want to call and renew your rate for 2010!

Contact Julia Pohlman today at 630.328.4650 or and see if you have a corporate negotiated rate.  If you don't...then lets set one up for you! 
The Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Features:
*Complimentary HOT Breakfast daily
*Lobby bar open nightly
*Complimentary Shuttle Transportation within a 10 mile radius
*Complimentary wireless/wired Internet throughout hotel
*24hr Business Center
*24hr Fitness Center

Brush up on your pool skills with our new addition of a pool table located in our Lounge across from our Lobby Bar!  Enjoy a hot piping personal pizza in our bar while watching the game and enjoy an ice cold drink!
  lobby bar  playing pool
Love This Country
Julia Pohlman
Country Inn & Suites By Carlson
pasta and meatballs$25 Maggiano's Gift Card!
Contact Julia Pohlman to set up your company's negotiated rate, and you will recieve a $25 gift card to Maggiano's after your first booking!
*Valid for NEW companies only
*Offer expires 10/30/09
*Offer not valid for existing accounts

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Chicago Premium Outlet logoHoliday Shopping Starts NOW when you visit the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Naperville!
Now is the perfect time to set up an appointment for a site tour with Julia Pohlman at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson in Naperville.  By doing so, you will receive a $10 gift card to the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall
*Valid for new tours only
*Offer Expires 10/30/09 (must take a tour by expiration date)
*Must present this coupon to qualify
*Valid for one employee per company
Call Julia Pohlman today to set up your site tour! 

Posted by Marsha Rhodes on October 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM in Lodging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 09, 2009

West Yellowstone, MT - Bits & Pieces


Bits And Pieces

As I type this the view outside my window has taken a sudden turn toward winter. While yesterday's temperatures were warm and blue mixed liberally with the hazy clouds scattered across the sky's face, today things look completely different. Last night I went to bed to an Indian Summer. This morning I woke up to a preview of winter!

However, there are several reasons why I am enjoying the snow outside my window:

First (and most obvious): I'm inside looking out!

Second: With the Yellowstone fire doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling its size every day recently, I am glad to have weather to slow it down. While 'naturally started fires' are considered eco-friendly, I can't figure out the difference between the smoke from a man-made fire and that from a nature-made fire. Besides, the end result of the extremely hot fires which have been the norm over the last few years, is sterilized soil which grows little but weeds and dog-hair thickets of the junk tree, Lodgepole Pine. But then, that wasn't where this post was supposed to be headed!

Third: Any time you mix white snow with green evergreens, the sight is beautiful. However, add in gold and red aspens and the sight becomes absolutely glorious!

While we thought it might slip away unmarked, the Centennial didn't let us down. So, another September goes on the books as giving us our first day of measureable (barely) snow.

The pleasant but unseasonably warm weather made for good business. However, this time of year we are looking to take a break. So, while the cooler weather has slowed down the traffic, it has also signalled our soon up-and-coming break. Of course we don't 'officially' close until after the first week of hunting season, but things look like they will slow down substantially within the next week.

On another subject - I'm happy to say wildlife sightings are picking up. Several deer sightings of late. A moose tramping through the yard and entertaining dinner guests last night. A red fox trotting by the dining room window at the close of the evening. Elk bugling on the nearby hillsides. And, with this new weather pattern, I'm hoping the sightings will be picking up even more.

A recent post about our day on Red Rock Lake brought an unexpected but pleasant response. Peg Abbott from the Trumpeter Swan Society posted a comment and passed on some interesting (and valuable) information. Apparently the Trumpeter Swan Society has a blog. If you love these beautiful big birds whose preservation was the primary impetus for the setting aside the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, do check out their blog and website.

Another recent treat I will share with you more in an upcoming blog are photos we have received from this summer's guests. This swan photo is courtesy of Jerry James, a Californian who found (and obviously enjoyed) Montana's Centennial Valley.

One more blog I am contemplating is a mostly-photo sampler from our recent jaunt to Grand Teton National Park. While you may wonder how 'that' ties in with Elk Lake and the Centennial, several of our guests have made the trip while staying here or visited there before or after visiting the Centennial. Thus I thought they (at least) might enjoy viewing some of what we enjoyed. Just a sampling follows (but probably not exactly the subject you may have expected to see - more about that another time):

However, for now, I will cut this blog post short and, hopefully, leave you tantalized enough to come back and visit another day!

Lady of the Lake

Posted by Marsha Rhodes on October 9, 2009 at 11:58 AM in Activities & Events, Attractions, Lodging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Life at a Western Montana Lodge - West Yellowstone, MT


Local Fishing Exposed

(Top photo of Elk Lake's dock courtesy of Aurora Waclawski) Sometimes there is just so much to talk about, one has to pick and choose. That is the way I feel today as I sit down to write my blog. The elk are starting to get serious - serious about bugling and carrying on. The trees and shrubs are starting to get serious - serious about turning the various shades of gold and red which signal the season change is upon us.

Even the fish are starting to get serious, again - serious about biting the various flies and bait and artificial lures which the few fishermen still around are throwing their direction. We are starting to get serious, too - serious about slowing down and taking some time to enjoy this wonderful place we call home.

Nonetheless, now that the season is drawing to a close, I have time to tell you about some of the great fishing we have been enjoying this summer. In fact, courtesy of various guests who have graced our resort with their presence this summer, I not only have information, I have pictures to wet your appetite.

Many visitors to our area do not realize the abundant local fishing options. Of course this is due, in part, to other fishermen who prefer not to share the location of their favorite fishing spot. Take the fishermen one of our guests chatted with last night. When asked how the fishing had been they replied, "These are pretty wily fish. You have to go about it just right to have any success."

Huh? Sounds more like an avoidance than an answer. Our guest thought so, too. However, various vague replies are the norm around here. After all, when you find a great fishing spot with few other fishermen to share the water, well, really, what fisherman in their right mind wants to share that?

So, in keeping with the local ‘tradition' I have waited until the end of the season to share with you information and photographs which prove the local fishing is not only beautiful and private and unpressured but rewarding.

Red Rock Creek may be better known as the headwaters of the mighty Missouri than for being a quality fishery. However, there are a quite a few fishermen out there who are doing their best to stay mum about the place. Nevertheless, this beautiful mountain stream is worth a closer look.

Winding through the scenic Centennial Valley, Red Rock Creek flows from the high mountains into the Upper Red Rock Lake. Because this large, shallow lake is nesting and breeding habitat for various water fowl, the Red Rock Lakes Wildlife Refuge does not open these waters to fishing. However, many of the large Yellowstone Cutthroat and one of the last surviving Grayling populations which spawn and live in this large lake, also enjoy the cool, clear waters of Red Rock Creek.

Thus it is not surprising to find some gorgeous fish in these waters. Take the 17-inch Grayling caught a few weeks ago. Or the large fish skittering out of my way as I rowed up the creek in my kayak a couple weeks back. Not only is this creek beautiful and wild and pristine, it is worth a second look.

Then there is probably one of the best kept secrets - a pond which has produced some monster fish over the years. While the Refuge's new management plan includes turning this pond into more Grayling habitat in the near future, this year has proved to be one of those ‘fisherman's dream' years.

Take it from someone who really knows his stuff. Bob Jacklin, owner of Jacklin's Fly Shop in West Yellowstone, recently shared a little of his knowledge on this pretty little pond with The Big Sky Journal. I'd encourage you to read what he has to say.

While most would assume Elk Lake, because of its more ‘obvious' location (on the doorstep of Elk Lake Resort) would receive a lot of pressure, they would assume wrong. In fact, the Montana fish biologist responsible for the lake's management said the fish density in the lake is extremely high.

Of course, some fishermen turn their noses up at Cutthroat. Yet, I dare you to find a prettier fish, or a trout which fights with more natural skill and physical ability than the Westslope Cuts which inhabit our lake.

Certainly those ‘in the know' would agree. Don Roberts and his lovely wife spent a week with us last summer pursuing the local fish and photographing the area - all in anticipation for the article he wrote for Northwest Fly Fishing Magazine. Published in their July / August 2009 issue, the article on Elk Lake is well-worth reading. Especially if you are looking to fish quiet waters which receive low pressure and yet enjoy a dense fish population.

Hidden Lake, the area's ‘a-little-bit-better known' (to many folks' chagrin) gem, receives more fishing pressure than Elk Lake. Nonetheless, this naturally producing Rainbow Trout Lake (considered one of the finest natural Rainbow Trout fisheries in the state, but don't tell anybody!) regularly yields beautiful fish.

Not a few fishermen have tried their luck at catching another like the one caught by a young man in 2005. This 12-pound lunker was a beautiful specimen to behold. While you may not catch one that size, a 3 to 5-pound rainbow is a common sight.

If that is not enough to tempt you, I'll briefly mention two more little hike-in lakes where the wily fisherman can snag into a lovely rainbow trout. These lakes are not managed fisheries. In fact, I do not believe anyone has messed with them in many years. Combine no ‘messing with' and few fisherman and extremely clear, shallow water and one can understand why the fish in these two lakes are so difficult to fool.

Goose Lake and Otter Lake are two pint-sized hike-in lakes located between Hidden Lake and Cliff Lake. If you don't want a challenge, stick to the easier waters. These fish are extremely suspicious. Yet, if you are a skilled fisherman who enjoys testing your talents against those of your prey, these lakes are worth your time.

Like I said, there is a reason we save this kind of information for the end of the season. Our local waters are special! Located less than an hour from the world famous Madison River or Henry's Fork of the Snake, few fishermen even know to take the drive over the hill. And, while you are now ‘in the know' chances are only a few of you will chose to make that jaunt. Don't take us wrong, but we kinda like it that way.

Lady of the Lake

Posted by Marsha Rhodes on October 9, 2009 at 11:48 AM in Activities & Events, Lodging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack