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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Remembered

Veteran’s Day 2015
Written by Charlie Preus

At 11:00 AM on the 11th day of the 11th month, a ceremony was held at Sandwich Town Hall in Sandwich, MA. On this rainy day, Sandwich, like many towns/cities across the country, celebrated Veteran’s Day to honor and thank all who have served in the military services in time of war and peace. Memorial Day in May specifically commemorates those who died in defense of the United States of America. 

The first year we had our Inn, I was impressed with the patriotism demonstrated by the great 4th of July parade and the Memorial Day parade and ceremonies. The Memorial Day parade goes in front of the Inn and stops at the war memorials in Eaton Square, which is across the street from the end of our driveway.  After a brief speech, the honor guard does a 21 Gun Salute followed by the playing of Taps, always a very moving moment. This sense of patriotism is historically well founded in that a son or daughter of Sandwich had fought and died in every war ever fought by the United States, from the Revolutionary War to the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Today’s Veteran’s Day celebration included the dedication of a beautiful plaque identifying those men from Sandwich that fought in the Civil War. The plaque is on the first stairway landing on the way up to the second floor Town Meeting Hall. The new wood plaque with gold lettering matches the existing plaque on the second landing dedicated to the Sandwich men and women who served in WW l and WW ll.

In 1861, the 294 men who enlisted were sworn in at this very Town Meeting Hall and marched from Town Hall to the train station and off to war for a three year enlistment. Of those who served, 54 died in battle or from injuries occurred during battle. These deaths are noted by a gold star on the plaque. A heavy price paid by the small town of Sandwich in the Civil War, which is still the deadliest US war ever fought with more than 600,000 Union and Confederate dead.   

In the little square at the end of our dive way stands the town’s large granite memorial to the Civil War. I have often observed it but appreciate it much more now that I read the names of those men from Sandwich that served and died in this tragic war.

When you stay with us at our Inn, you can see this piece of history and more in the oldest town on Cape Cod. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Guy Fieri's Visit to Cape Cod

Guy Sent Me!

by Charlie Preus 

Dana’s Kitchen, Falmouth, MA (Season 23, Episode 6 on September 11, 2015 "Name That Kitchen")

When we have any time off from our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast, we look for Diners, Drive-ins and Dives recommended by Guy Fieri on his Food Network show of the same name.

I always say 'Guy sent me. I think it's funny but I am not sure what the owner’s think. Often I get a little smile as if they are thinking here is another jerk who watches too much Food Network.  Actually, I am sure all of the establishments visited by Guy Fieri are very proud of being featured on his Food Network show and most have posters and pictures prominently displayed so all new customers are made aware of the celebrity visit and the accolades they received for there culinary prowess.

We have had guests at our Inn who planned a good portion of their New England vacation around food establishments featured on Guy's show. These "foodies" selected our Inn, at the beginning of Cape Cod, to permit easy day trips to Rhode Island and Boston to punch their list of Guy’s recommended restaurants, sometimes hitting two a day. We are usually too busy and focused on our B&B to visit these close-by eateries. We have more time for this sport when we have closed for the season.

When we travel, much of our time is spent looking for the next interesting place to eat. We claim it is business related research; Jan looking of new breakfast recipes and me looking for new wine ideas. It’s tough work, but someone has to do it. As we travel off the beaten paths, we always check Guy’s website for gems he has visited.

Jan is a loyal Food Network fan year round and, even with our next road trip still months away, she recently tuned into Guy’s Triple D show to find him visiting only twenty miles away in Falmouth, MA. His first stop was the Pickle Jar on main-street in downtown Falmouth, where we have been on those rare occasions when we can sneak away for lunch. It's fun to see a place you know featured on a national TV show. His next stop was Dana’s Kitchen in North Falmouth, where we had not been.

The next Monday after seeing the show, between checkouts and check-ins, we raced down to find this local gem recommended by Guy. Although we had heard the name, we had never been there. It is off the main road on the way to Falmouth center, and took us was a few turns to locate. A local bridge was closed for repairs, which also added to our confusion and limited our approach choices. 

The small building was, as we learned, was once a Gas Station on what was then a very busy main road to Falmouth from Boston. The original overhead garage doors, now highly varnished and sparkling, are still there and add to the eclectic feeling. See Guy’s September 11, 2015 (LINK) show to appreciate the quaint setting and meet the owners Dana and Art Tillman. Art handed us the daily menu. About 20% of the offerings change daily, the other 80% contains what must be customer favorites. As the summer season has wound down, Art suggests calling ahead to make sure they are open and what the hours will be that day. He also suggests to check if they have made their famous Kale Soup and still have some left.

Enjoying the Soft Shell Crab Sandwich
On this our first visit, I played it safe and had the Soft Shell Crab Sandwich that Guy featured on his show. How could I resist when described on the menu as “Sautéed Jumbo Soft Shell Crab. Avocado, Beacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Spicy Rouille Sauce on Toasted Homemade Challa”.

 Jan had the Middle Eastern Platter with Hummus. My sandwich is always on the Menu and Jan’s choice was one of the changing 20%, both were excellent and, as we learned, all of the bread is made by Dana daily.

We had some time before closing to speak with Dana and Art about the experience of being on Guy’s show and how positive it has been for their business. We also were pleased to learn they offer an extensive catering menu for that next holiday party we are planning. Oh, did I mention the fantastic assortment of muffins, scones, etc., also baked daily. Yes, we have been back and plan to eat our way through every item on the menu.

Needless to say, we have found a new favorite foodie destination and are recommending it to all our guests. In fact, if you stay with us at our Sandwich B&B, we’ll give you the shortcut directions to see Art and Dana at Dana’ Kitchen. You can tell them Charlie and Jan sent you, at Guy Fieri's suggestion of course.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Santa Clause on Vacation?

We had a surprise visit from Santa Clause at our Inn this summer, not something you expect in July on Cape Cod. Our guests come from around the world, but this is our first guest from the North Pole. Yes the Polar Express runs from Hyannis to Sandwich at Christmas time, but this time Santa came in a Toyota, I think. And truth be told he only came from New Hampshire.

What I in the world am I talking about? I normally check our guest in when they arrive, but I was away from the Inn and missed seeing our newest guests until breakfast the next morning. As the white haired couple were seated, I thought there was something very familiar about the man with the long white beard and shoulder length flowing white hair. With his wire rimmed glasses and a twinkle in his eye, yes for all-the-world he looked like Santa Clause. He in his bright red tee shirt and her in a red summer dress, they looked like Mr. & Mrs. Clause on a beach vacation.
Mr. and MrsSanta aka Dan & Diana Greenleaf

Over breakfast, we learned Dan Greenleaf is a professionalSanta in New Hampshire and his wife, Diana, does play Mrs. Clause. Another guest with thinning gray hair and spotty gray whiskers expressed his suppressed interest in playing Santa and peppered Dan with questions. Dan happily shared information and suggested visiting the website of the New England Santa Society, an organization he help found to bring more professionalism to the business of being a Santa.

The NESS holds regular meetings where Dan has presented on topics such as liability insurance and how to price you services. Recently they held a meeting on Cape Cod and I remember seeing a picture in the local paper of these Santa look a likes bowling in Mashpee. Dan had attended that meeting and was in the bowling picture.

Dan also proudly pointed out his affiliation with the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, obviously one more very important selection criteria to think about as you look to engage aprofessional Santa for those Holiday parties.

I think Dan and his associates are in a league above the Mall Santa. Dan is more like the Kris Kringle character played by Edmond Gwenn in the 1947 Christmas classic, Miracle on 34th Street, than the Bad Santa as played by Billy Bob Thornton, a movie not destined to be a true classic. Also, please make note that Billy Bob’s character was not a real bearded Santa.  

Jan and I have promised to be good for the rest of the year in hopes that Santa Clause with fill our stockings with Christmas joy this year. Come visit us at our Inn and you may even see Mr. & Mrs. Santa Clause on their summer vacation at our in; a very special way to have Breakfast with Santa.