Thursday, January 29, 2015

OREGON CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL 2015 from March 6th - 8th, 2015...

Having been here in Ashland in March of 2014 and having attended the Chocolate Festival then, I decided to look up an old letter that I sent home to my family and came across an excerpt from my letter as well as a few pictures that I had taken: 

" What we did enjoy was the Chocolate Festival itself that weekend. Wow, it was amazing – trust me we were so chocolated’ out that we have not touched chocolate since. There were about 50 stall holders all plying their wares and trust me there was some pretty great chocolate to be had – we attended a Chocolate and Beer class, delicious presented by a very gregarious lady called Ginger who calls her classes “Women drinking Beer!” She was great fun. The other class we had was Chocolate and Travelling. Enough, enough about chocolate….."

Consider treating yourselves to a wonderful weekend of Chocolate, Food Romance and of course great hospitality at Abigail's Bed and Breakfast with Breakfast itself designed to tantalize your Chocolate Taste Buds!

Oregon Chocolate Festival 2015

A couple of Chocolate Vendors plus our Chocolate Tasting Class!

It bought back memories of our how the sole purpose of our visit to Ashland that month, was to buy Abigail's Bed and Breakfast Inn - and we did! It was also the month that we discovered Ashland, Oregon.

Ashland's Restaurant Preview Week from February 2nd - 9th, 2015... come and treat yourselves to a stay with us at Abigail's during this exciting week of Dining in Ashland!

From the Culinary Festival in Ashland 2014 to the Ashland Restuarant Preview Week 2015!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Season is about to start...

Well as they say "the stage is set"... and so finally after the last two months of cleaning, moving furniture, painting, searching for just the right accent pillow or blanket to finish off the rooms, Abigail's is just about ready to be launched into the 2015 Season.

Ashland has had a very mild winter to date with absolutely no snow to be seen at all. A few rainy days, lots of fog and some lovely cold crisp sunny days. Whilst the East Coast is covered in snow we are basking in temperatures of 50+... Our garden is beginning to show signs of spring. The many bulbs that I planted last year in November are beginning to peek up through the ground. I just hope the deer do not eat them when they decided to appear once again. They have been absent over the last few weeks and the roses appear to be intact. We lost the huge fir tree outside Abigail's Garden room last year in the huge storm that hit Ashland late one night. Fortunately the house survived intact as the tree fell towards the parking lot. I have replanted a few shrubs and ground cover in that area and will wait to see what pops up out of the ground. I have put up some bird feeders in the hopes of bringing a lot of birds into the garden throughout Spring and Summer. I have strategically placed them in front of the dining room window for "breakfast bird viewing" and in a tree close to the porch area. We are just waiting for the weather to warm up before we lay down new bark and pebbles along the pathways. The back decking area has had a good scrub down and the porch is in the process of receiving a new "lick of paint".

Abigails' Front Porch undergoing a "facelift"....

The biggest change to our rooms has been that of Abigail Adams. I have repainted the walls and they are now a pale grey blue that is reflected in the original wall paper. We have removed the sofa bed and we now have a twin bed that folds away under the King. This has given the room a lot more space. I have replaced the green quilts with a pale cream cover dotted here and there with small embroidered flowers. All in all the minor renovations have given the overall impression of increased space and lightness. 

A fresh look for Abigail Adams!

Adam and I re-open Abigail's on Sunday 1st February, 2015 with great anticipation and some minor trepidation as this will be our first full season in Ashland. We have taken on some great bookings and look forward to meet our amazing old and new guests. I have been busy re-searching dietary needs in the effort to meet our guests needs. I have loads of new recipes for breakfast and some great baking ideas for afternoon teas. This next month will be dedicated "cookie" month and I hope to come up with some delicious mouth watering soft American cookie ideas. To this extent I spent three hours in Winco yesterday trolling the aisles for food delights and ideas. I love their bulk bins where you can buy whatever you want in any quantity. 

This book is a very interesting read - purchased from Barnes & Noble after some hours of looking through book after book on Gluten-Free baking.
Coming shortly...... "What's new and Happening in Ashland"....

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Journey that led us to Abigail's...

As the new owners of Abigail's Bed and Breakfast Inn, Adam and I would like to welcome you to our 2015 Blog Page and our New Year together. I did a small introduction in our "Innkeepers" section but I am sure you would all love to hear how Adam and I came all the way to American and how we ended up in Ashland, Oregon and how we were lucky enough to become the proud owners of our beautiful Abigail's.

Nearly six years ago Adam entered us into the USA Green Card Diversity Lottery. Well as most Americans you will ask "What is the Green Card Lottery?" Well it was created by the US Government to diversify the population of America and this is accomplished by granting 50,000 green cards each year to countries that don't normally send many immigrants to the US. There are however requirements - you must have at least a high school education, two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years worth of training or experience. Unfortunately the demand for Green Cards can be greater than supply and preference is given to those who are spouses and children of US Citizens or those who are highly qualified workers.  The wait can be anything from up to two and twelve years. When Adam entered us via the internet, we were at a time of our life where we were having to think of our future and our retirement. The political situation in Zimbabwe was deteriorating at an alarming rate. The work situation dire and the imminent collapse of the infrastructure was and still is looming if things do not change. We still have 20 work years ahead of us, enough to secure our future we felt and so he took a chance!

Well chance was a fine thing and to this end it paid off for us. We were informed within the year that we had been selected. I was amazed, shocked and well pretty unsure about this opportunity - as one gets older, one becomes more cautious and less confident I think. We  received documents via the post and had numerous forms to fill out to get to the next stage. Once that was completed we had to pay for medicals, police clearance, interviews and on it went. This "lottery" does not entitle a person to anything other than the right to "Permanent Legal Residence" in the USA, the remainder is up to you! Well once we passed all the criteria and we were interviewed, much to my shock we were granted visas and that we had to visit America within six months to activate them.

Well to cut a long story somewhat short - Adam and I flew to America in the January of 2011. Both of us had never been to America - Adam was working and committed, so the plan was do a quick visit to activate the cards and return a year later to have a good look a the West Coast. With that decision made we flew into Orlando, Florida for 10 mad crazy days as tourists. We stayed in a condo in Kissimmee just outside Walt Disney World Theme Parks. I shall never forget that evening that we landed at Orlando, I think I fell in love with America then - no waiting just straight away! It felt so good, the Americans were so welcoming, everything so clean and well organized. No bribery and corruption were evident, just follow the rules and all works. I felt safe for the first time in years! By the time we left I was well and truly committed to us living in America.Well Adam and I went back to Zimbabwe and I spent the next year researching America, its States, Towns and properties for sale in and around the West Coast Area. As I said in our introductory I am a Chef, not qualified but self taught and totally passionate - for the past 30 odd years of my life I have lived, breathed and eaten food as you will no doubt see! My last venture into the foodie world put me directly in the path of the American Diplomats - my evenings of Wine and Food Pairing enticed them into my home where I cooked for up to 40 people plus. When they heard that Adam and I had DVs' they offered plenty of advice on where we should go to settle. Ninety percent having lived in Zimbabwe for some time recommended the West Coast simply because of the weather and the other foodies recommended California because of the food. One person recommended Sedona, Arizona and another Ashland, Oregon. So the stage was set - we settled on a two month road trip in an RV a year later at the end of January 2012. Decision time - we collected our RV from Phoenix, Arizona and we drove right on up through Arizon to Sedona, lovely incredibly beautiful but not for us work wise. We drove to the Grand Canyon, through Death Valley, up to Lake Tahoe - too much snow - down on into Nevada - Las Vegas, wow! and then on into Oregon and along Route 66 into Ashland. We spent a week looking at houses and work opportunities but still were not convinced. So back into the RV and down along the Pacific Coastal Highway through all of the towns and into San Diego. Well we returned to Zimbabwe pretty certain that the move would be within the next two years. I have no idea to this day why we choose two years, but it turned out that that time wait was what it took for us to know in our hearts that we have done was entirely the right decision. Within a week of our return to Zimbabwe my darling sister had an aneurysm and survived a heart-sore six months until she passed. It took me another year to come to terms with the grief and when I did I knew that we had to leave and make the most of the opportunity that was given to us.So it was in March of this year that we came to spend a month in Ashland to look at purchasing either a house or a business. I knew Ashland pretty well by then as I had spent months on the internet looking at houses, restaurants and bed and breakfasts. It was a month prior that visit that I came across Abigail's and from then on I was hooked. Now I had to convince Adam - Adam is an Accountant, surely I do not have to say anything more! That word alone is self-explanatory.... well what a job, but luck was my side or maybe it was just meant to be. When I saw her I wanted her - plain and simple, Adam well I just knew that as soon as he started asking questions that he was well on the way to being interested. And so Abigail's became ours to love and look after. We returned to Zimbabwe and we had six months to sell our other homes and to pack up our belongings. So it came to be, that Adam and I left with our ghastly luggage which caused untold travelling stress - four huge suitcases and four pieces of hand luggage to start our new life in America with Abigail's by our side.

Now for the future of Abigail's - Adam and I will continue to run her as she was with some small improvements we hope for the 2015 Oregon Shakespeare Festival that starts again on the 27th February this year ( previews begin 20th February) . This year is the 80th Anniversary year of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and in honor of this milestone the have a season that is bursting with adventure from "all over the world". Visit the website to have a look at what will be on offer. Just  quick reminder of our OSF package deal that we run every season. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact either Adam or I on phone  +1 541 482 4563.

We have purchased new mattresses for Abigail Alcott - Queen , Abigail Duniway Queen and Twin, the Cottage as well as new linen. We have also added a small one cup keurig coffee machine to all of our rooms with a selection of either tea and/or coffee k-cups for choice. Our breakfasts shall remain communal unless our guests specifically require privacy. Breakfasts will still continue to be served promptly at 9 am. As before coffee, tea and light refreshments with homebaked goods will be available throughout the day, I have also decided to introduce a light cup of soup for those returning from the theatre late in the evening to help themselves to.

For now Adam and I will say "Au revoir" and we look forward to hosting you during the coming 2015 Season!
Pancake Starter with Fresh Blueberries soaked in Maple Syrup with Kiwi Fruits and Sour Cream Cheese!

Eggs Benedict Served on a Hash Brown Pattie with Fresh Dill.

A visit to Del Rio Winery to collect our Wines of the Month. Excellent Wines ..

Breakfast at Abigail's!

Goats Cheese Souffle Served with Roasted Cinamon Butternut and Local Mushrooms.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The 2014 OSF Season ~

Here it is August already, but there are still many performances remaining and tickets to be sold.  Don't miss out on this fabulous season, it's not too late!

The 2014 OSF Season proudly presents:

Photo Credit:  OSF

The Tempest

  • February 14 - November 2, 2014
  • Angus Bowmer Theatre
  • By William Shakespeare | Directed by Tony Taccone

Photo Credit:  OSF

The Cocoanuts

  • February 16 - November 2, 2014
  • Angus Bowmer Theatre
  • Music & lyrics by Irving Berlin | Book by George S. Kaufman
  • Adapted by Mark Bedard | Directed by David Ivers

Photo Credit:  OSF
 The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window
  • February 15 - July 3, 2014
  • Angus Bowmer Theatre
  • By Lorraine Hansberry | Directed by Juliette Carrillo

Photo Credit:  OSF
 The Comedy of Errors
  • February 20 - November 2, 2014
  • Thomas Theatre
  • By William Shakespeare | Directed by Kent Gash 

Photo Credit:  OSF
A Wrinkle in Time
  • April 16 - November 1, 2014
  • Angus Bowmer Theatre
  • Adapted by Tracy Young | From the book by Madeleine L'Engle
  • World Premiere

Photo Credit:  OSF

Water by the Spoonful

  • March 26 - November 2, 2014
  • Thomas Theatre
  • Runs March 26 - June 20 and September 3 - November 2, 2014
  • By Quiara Alegría Hudes | Directed by Shishir Kurup

Photo Credit:  OSF

Richard III

  • June 3 - October 10, 2014
  • Allen Elizabethan Theatre
  • By William Shakespeare | Directed by James Bundy

Photo Credit:  OSF
Into the Woods
  • June 4 - October 11, 2014
  • Allen Elizabethan Theatre
  • Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim | Book by James Lapine | Originally directed on Broadway by James Lapine
  • Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick | Directed by Amanda Dehnert

Photo Credit:  OSF

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

  • June 5 - October 12, 2014
  • Allen Elizabethan Theatre
  • By William Shakespeare | Directed by Sarah Rasmussen 

Photo Credit:  OSF

Family Album

  • July 1 - August 31, 2014
  • Thomas Theatre
  • Book & lyrics by Stew | Music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald | Directed by Joanna Settle
  • World Premiere

Photo Credit:  OSF

The Great Society

  • July 23 - November 1, 2014
  • Angus Bowmer Theatre
  • By Robert Schenkkan | Directed by Bill Rauch
  • World Premiere

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

The first time I made these cookies I thought, oh boy, these are some red cookies!  But if you're a lover of red velvet cake, you're sure to be a fan of these red velvet cookies.  They're very red, very yummy and very easy to make.  And I'm noticing they disappear very quickly!

I can't help but think they'd be perfect to make for your Valentine, or for the Christmas holidays.  Very festive cookies in their red velvet finery!

  • 1 red velvet cake mix
  • 6 tblsp of melted butter
  • 2 eggs

Place the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a bag - shake to mix.
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Just 5 ingredients
In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, melted butter and cake mix.  That's it!

This is 3 times the recipe

Use an ice-cream scoop to form the cookie dough ball.  I make big cookies because seriously, who doesn't like a big soft chewy cookie?!  

Use an ice cream scoop to form dough balls

After forming the dough balls, roll them in the powdered sugar/cornstarch mix, place on tray and freeze.

Ready for the freezer
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Bake frozen dough at 350 degrees for 18 - 20 minutes.  Place on cooling rack and let cool completely.  Cookies will crack as they bake.

Frozen - ready for the oven
Really red!  Really good!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

We'll Be Waiting For You ~

It's hard to believe we've already turned the calendar page to May; and spring has sprung here in Ashland.  The 2014 OSF production season is well-under way and it seems to be another triumphant year of plays.  

Cocoanuts is a humorous slapstick Marx Brothers comedy with the 2nd half of the play offering two especially rousing scenes.  One scene involves the operatic singing of, "I Lost My Shirt," and the other, a fast-paced rendition of stacking and passing cups, leaves the audience wanting more!  And don't be surprised if you're chosen to be a part of the merriment on stage!

Photo credit:  OSF Ashland
Water By the Spoonful offers the audience a powerful theater experience, one that intertwines the lives of 6 people through the power of the world wide web.  Strong performances by all members of the cast, hold the audience from beginning to end.

Photo credit:  OSF Ashland
Here at Abigail's we are up and running and in full swing.  This is the start of Abigail's 4th season and it's a pleasure to have so many return guests.  We are looking forward to an especially busy season and we already have many sold out periods, so don't miss out on the fun!

Welcome to Abigail's
Each season we make just a few changes here and there, to keep the inn fresh and inviting.  Our Abigail Rockefeller and Abigail Adams rooms have a few new details and they are both eagerly awaiting your arrival!

Abigail Rockefeller
Abigail Adams
And once you're here, be sure to sit a spell - on the front porch - and enjoy a glass of wine while watching the light move across the eastern hills.

The north end of the front porch 

So give us a call, or reserve online,,  either way book a room and come and join us for the 2014 season!  We'll be waiting for you!

The Dogwood Tree in bloom