Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beer Near Here

I'll bet you didn't know that in the state of Pennsylvania, there are more than 100 breweries, providing some 60,000 jobs. That's not only a huge economic impact, but it provides beer-lovers with a lot of choices. I'll also venture to say that you have no idea which county in Pennsylvania has the most breweries. Well, you can probably guess... Lancaster.

How fortunate for us and our guests! The furthest away is probably  Stoudt's in Adamstown or Union Barrel Works in Reamstown. One of our favorites is more local, Lancaster Brewing Company (I'm partial to the Strawberry Wheat) 

In addition, there's Appalachian Brewing in Lititz; Iron Hill and Spring House (Taproom in Lancaster and Brewing Company in Conestoga);  Bube's in Mount Joy;  Rumspringa Brewing Company in Intercourse; JoBoy's and Swashbuckler Brewing Company in Manheim (at the PA Renaissance Faire) and St. Boniface Craft Brewing in Ephrata .

For beer-lovers, this should keep you occupied for at least a week!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Amish Mud Sales 2013

I went to my first Mud Sale last weekend. It was fascinating. Not just because one could bid on just about anything imaginable - from plants to new or used furniture to household goods, but because of the masses of people there and the way it was organized.

Each item to be auctioned was meticulously tagged. There were several auctions taking simultaneously in separate tents. I love to listen to the auctioneers! I must admit, however, that I'm way too intimidated by the process of the auction to register to bid. I get absolutely no enjoyment from having to out-bid others and spending my hard-earned money while I'm doing it. No thanks.

Then there was the parking. We had to park a considerable distance away because there were so many people. There were Amish boys with wagons who would help people cart their treasures to their vehicles (for a tip, I'm sure).

I was certain that if you really wanted an item that you'd have to be willing to spend a good deal of time waiting around for it to come up for bid. Then, of course, there was no guarantee that you'd even get the item. It seemed to me like an exercise in patience and potential failure. Unfortunately I don't have that kind of time.

Of course, this is Lancaster County, so it wouldn't be a gathering of any sort if there wasn't food to be had. There were several food vendors offering everything from sausage sandwiches to crab cakes and apple pie. I enjoyed watching this guy make French Fries. He could cut through a 20 lb.pound bag of potatoes in nothing flat! And people were gobbling them up just as fast.

Here's a list of the mud sales in and around Lancaster throughout the spring, summer and into the fall of this year. Most are just minutes from the Walkabout Inn.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lest you think that we innkeepers only know how to make breakfast foods...

Cincinnati Chili

1 T. vegetable oil                                                                  pinch of red pepper
2 pounds lean ground beef                                                 ½ oz. unsweetened chocolate
½ cup chopped onion                                                         ¼ c. chili powder
1 tsp cumin                                                                           1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice                                                                        ¼ tsp cloves
4 cups beef broth                                                                 2 T. cider vinegar
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce                                                 1 bay leaf

Cook beef and onion in oil in deep skillet. Drain and transfer to large pot. Add chocolate, spices, broth, tomato sauce, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 1/12 hours, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate overnight (it's much better the next day anyway). Next day, remove bay leaf and heat gently over medium heat. Serve over pasta and top with cheese, onion and sour cream. Makes enough to cover 1 pound of pasta. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Music In the Orchard

July 13, 2013 from 6-8pm, enjoy the music of Spirit Wing and Leticia Joy. According to their website,, Their music comes from a strong folk/acoustic music tradition along with traditional Native songs that date back hundreds of years. All four members of Spirit Wing have performed in various types of bands and ensembles that feature rock, blues, bluegrass and country music.

Pack a picnic, grab your lounge chair! The Hans Herr House is 5 minutes from The Australian Walkabout Inn B&B.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Joey's Rules of the Pool

As far as I know, we're the only B&B in Lancaster to have private indoor hot tubs. Here I am inspecting one after it has been drained, scrubbed clean and refilled. This takes about 2 hours total. What necessitated this laborious chore you might ask. Bubble bath! Yes, we had some guests who mistook our hot tub for an extra large bath tub and added about a half cup of bubble bath!! It did smell pretty nice though.

Nonetheless, the only way to get the bubble bath out of the tub was to throw the water out with it. Wait, haven't I heard that saying somewhere before? Involving a baby, maybe? Ah, yes, but I digress...

I love when the tub is full again and the chemicals, ph and temperature all back to normal. I like to look into the sparkling clean water and think how happy it will make our guests. Most of them are so appreciative of all the hard work we put into making our place a refuge for them. This hot tub is just one example.

If I had to list Rules of the Pool:

1. Please, no bubble bath.
2. Relax
3. Enjoy
4. Repeat

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Casserole

2 C. of Milk (to make lactose-free, substitute soy, almond or rice milk)
¼ c. packed brown sugar
2 T. Butter (or margerine)
½ t. salt
1 C. Old Fashioned Oats
2 t. Cinnamon
1 t. Nutmeg
2 finely chopped apples (skins on or removed)
½ C. raisins (I prefer golden)
½ C. sweetened, dried berries (blueberries, cherries, cranberries, etc.)
½ C. sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease medium casserole dish.  Combine milk, brown sugar, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to simmer, cook until butter is melted (don't boil).  Remove from heat. Put oats in casserole.  Stir in milk mixture, cinnamon, nutmeg, apple, nuts and raisins. Stir to moisten well.  Bake for 20-30 minutes. Serve with milk or cream.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Oh, Sheet!

Joey again...last week, I explained the importance of folding all the towels just right so they fit on the shelf (hey, that elf has got nothing on me!) So, this week, I thought I'd move on to sheets. Most of the beds in the inn are queen sized. The Outback Cottage has a king-sized bed.

Regardless of the size, we have some really NICE sheets! Folding sheets is an acquired skill. The folding of the fitted sheet is very important. The fitted sheet then gets matched with its flat sheet and they're placed on the shelf in a nice, neat stack - all ready for taking to the guest rooms and putting on the beds.  One of our time-saving tips - the sheets for the king bed are either gold or chocolate brown so that they can found easily.

Pillow cases are ironed. Why? This is one of the little, unexpected 'extras' at our inn. We have certain parameters in between which everything must fall. Everything that the guest experiences must be just a little more special than what they might have for themselves at home (not many people iron their own pillow cases) but not TOO far out there that anyone feels intimidated (think of that really frilly hand towel that you see at Bed, Bath and Beyond that you think is pretty, but won't buy because if you did, you'd be afraid to use it).

So, after all the ironing and folding is done, and it's all placed neatly on the shelf, it's time to move on to other chores.


Most of our guests don't even realize that we have a cat. The cat, on the other hand, thinks all the guests come here just to pay attention to him and is therefore quite put out when I deliberately keep the doors shut to our owners'quarters and therefore isolating him from any potential belly rubs, ear scratches or head pats by the guests.

But, I'd like to discuss a different type of feline persuasion. Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS will debut at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater on May 16th and run thru June 29th. This is a production that should not be missed.

The Dutch Apple Dinner Theater is an easy 20 minutes from the Australian Walkabout Inn. Great food and superb entertainment, all in one package.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mountains of Towels!!

Hi! It's Joey again. Today I'm helping Lynne fold towels. It's Monday, so there is lots and lots (and LOTS) of laundry!

The 'fold' is very important. There's a lot to think about. Separate types of towels - hand towels, bath sheets, spa towels, washcloths, makeup washcloths and bath mats. Each of these things has a specific area where it has to go on the shelf. If it's not folded properly, it won't fit on the shelves and it's not fun having to run all around the inn looking for things when they're not where they should be!
Now, this shelf might not look too organized, but in this space, everything has it's place! In this picture, I'm sitting in the basket that holds the washcloths and the bathrobe ties. These items go in a basket because they tend to get too messy sitting on the shelf outside of the basket.

Our innsitter, Anne of Two Hearts Innsitting is very impressed with our linen storage!

Next week...sheets!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Remote-ly Overwhelmed

Hi! I'm Joey. I'm the little kangaroo who usually lives in the Barossa Suite here at the Walkabout Inn. Lately, though, I've been out and about...getting into things like mischievous inn mascots are prone to do. Today I went around and counted all the remote controls. There are 13. And over 2 dozen batteries (AA and AAA) are needed to keep them operating in perfect order.

Keeping up with the technology of innkeeping is hard work. There are 5 televisions and 5 accompanying DVD players and 4 cable converter boxes. Not only do these things attract dust like magnets, but it seems that they all have different settings and quirks that you have to know in order to make them do what they're intended to do when they need to do it.

Just one more item on the 'to do' list of innkeeping. I'm hoping that you'll join me as I see what else there is around here to get into.