Hosting Guests Who’ve Never Stayed at a Bed ‘n Breakfast

Observations on the best part of owning our BnB.
Because we’re located in Dutchess County, midway up New York State, and bordering on relatively rural Connecticut and southern Massachusets, we are literally surrounded by boarding schools. That said, we have quite a few international guests; most of them these days come from different parts of China where they don’t have BnB’s.Hilltop HouseIt’s interesting to watch as new guests in their rental cars pull into our parking lot. You can see that they are unsure they are in the right place as they reluctantly make their way in the door. I welcome them, show them their room and go thru the routine. It’s fun to watch as they start to relax–maybe by the fireplace–and appreciate the cozy and welcoming atmosphere that is so completely different than a more formal or generic hotel. You see there aren’t many motels in Amenia, and none garner the consistent ratings that we get at Hilltop House.
By the time they come down for breakfast, they have big smiles on their faces and say how much at home they feel and how comfortable and beautiful it is. They always take pictures of their breakfast and the house and most want pics with the innkeeper. I’ll say it again: This is the best part of my business.

A yellow sea of dandelions blanket the field with the Elementary school in back.

Spring at The Kildonan School


Infamy, and the Day by the Same Name

I decided to google my own town of Amenia, NY, in the Hudson Valley and see what if any events were listed. The site that came up didn’t do much on the events side, but provided a huge reminder that December 7th is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. That was huge for me in context of what is happening all around the world, and even in the US now (San Bernadino, CA). This was a major invasion of Democracy and nearly depleted the US naval forces in the Pacific. It marked the sea change of sea changes that got America off to war and with it, the men and women willing to fight. Any video footage from that day makes my heart tremble; the destruction was so massive.

I just want to say “thank you” to the men and women today, who serve our country in many ways to protect it and our rights. From the bottom of our hearts.


Happy Thanksgiving from All of Us at Hilltop House B n’ B

turkeygrapewreath2It’s always good to remember what we’re all thankful for. For us at Hilltop House the list seems endless. Our family, the roof over our heads, the new grandson, the granddaughters we adore too, the new daughter-in-law, and the son-in-law we have. We have blessings by virtue of the country we live in, the visitors who choose to spend nights with us, especially the returning ones, our never-empty larder, our health, the hilltop we find ourselves perched upon and so many other things so countless to note.  Happy Thanksgiving


Cranberry Scones for Thanksgiving with Tips from a Bed ‘n Breakfast Baker

  • Here’s a cranberry scone recipe from I really like that might work well for Thanksgiving…
    Some things I’ve learned about making scones: They’re similar to making pie crust……if butter is ice cold you get better results. I start by cutting the butter into chunks and sticking it in the freezer a half hour before I need it. Also liquids need to be very cold…..leave in the fridge until you’re ready to use. Handle dough as little as possible. And when they are on the cookie sheet ready to go into the oven, put them in the fridge for 10 minutes to let the gluten settle….whatever that means. I think once you find the scone recipe that you like, stick to it and do variations on that recipe… lemon blueberry or apple cinnamon, etc. Keep the basic ingredients the same until you have enough experience with them and you feel more comfortable trying different recipes.

    They are definitely best made the morning you want to serve them and they really are quick to make once you know how to do it.

  • 34 cup buttermilk or 34 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 34 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 12 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 12 cup butter
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped whole cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 12 cup sugar
  • 1 orange, rind of
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 14 cup icing sugar
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Beat buttermilk and egg in small bowl and set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, measure flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    4. Cut in butter until mixture resembles small peas.
    5. Mix in cranberries, sugar and orange rind.
    6. Add buttermilk mixture and stir until soft dough forms.
    7. Using your hands, form dough into a large ball and place on floured surface.
    8. Knead about 10 times Pat into two circles about 1 inch thick, place on ungreased cookie sheet.
    9. Score the tops of both circles to make 8 wedges on each, if making for a buffet, for regular scones, score each circle into 4 wedges.
    10. Bake scones for 15-20 minutes.
    11. While still warm, brush with butter and sprinkle with icing sugar.