by Jan Davies McDermott on June 11th, 2014

Scenic Drives are a part of enjoying Pure Michigan.  When guests visit Davies Cottage on Parrott's Pointe, this is one we recommend:   

Route 119/Lakeshore Drive from Harbor Springs to Wilderness State Park

Head north from Harbor Springs on Route 119/Lake Shore Dr. and enjoy spectacular views from the cliffs over looking Lake Michigan.  Along the way make sure you take time to stop in the Village of Good Hart and experience a throw back in time at the General Store.  For nature lovers there are no less than five nature preserves between Good Hart and Cross Village: Dobson, Scott, Ryan, Enje Nkwashdat and Cranmer Preserves. 

Schedule time to stop in Cross Village.  Once a thriving fishing and lumber town, it is one of the oldest settlements in the State of Michigan with strong ties to the Native American Ottawa Indians. 

Don't Miss: Legs Inn for some fantastic views and good Polish food.  Operated by the third generation of the Stanley Smolak family, construction of the extraordinary Legg's Inn complex dates back to the late 1920's.  First a curio shop with its Indian handiwork, souvenirs and living quarters; then later the large tavern with its expansive balcony, and finally the dining room with its scenic bay windows overlooking Lake Michigan. Four great stone fireplaces throughout the building add more charm.  One can enjoy spectacular sunsets from the outdoor patio.  On an interesting note, The actual name, Legs Inn, is derived from the row of inverted cast iron stove legs Stanley used to fashion the decorative railing on the roof of the building. Recycle, reuse - long before it was a green initiative trend! 

Continue north on Route 119/Lakeshore Dr., past two more nature areas: Shurtleff and Fisher Preserves, to where it meets with Lakeview Rd.  Turn left, then a quick right and you are in the southern end of Wilderness State Park.  Grab a blanket, a bottle of wine, some chees and some bread and head out to the dunes.  Let the water lap at your feet, feed your tummy and your soul, and watch one of the most beautiful sunsets ever as the hot summer sun seems to sizzle as it sinks into Lake Michigan. 

Still up for some fun?  Take Lakeview Rd east to Gill Rd east to US 31 and head south to Pellston.  Hoppie's Hanger at the Pellston Airport offers live entertainment throughout the summer.  One of their favorites is Mike Ridley, former school teacher turned folk singer and comedian who brings the true flavor of Up North with his songs about the Great Lakes.
 

Scenic Drives are a part of enjoying Pure Michigan.  When guests visit Davies Cottage on Parrott's Pointe, this is one we recommend:   

Route 119/Lakeshore Drive from Harbor Springs to Wilderness State Park

Head north from Harbor Springs on Route 119/Lake Shore Dr. and enjoy spectacular views from the cliffs over looking Lake Michigan.  Along the way make sure you take time to stop in the Village of Good Hart and experience a throw back in time at the General Store.  For nature lovers there are no less than five nature preserves between Good Hart and Cross Village: Dobson, Scott, Ryan, Enje Nkwashdat and Cranmer Preserves. 

Schedule time to stop in Cross Village.  Once a thriving fishing and lumber town, it is one of the oldest settlements in the State of Michigan with strong ties to the Native American Ottawa Indians. 

Don't Miss: Legs Inn for some fantastic views and good Polish food.  Operated by the third generation of the Stanley Smolak family, construction of the extraordinary Legg's Inn complex dates back to the late 1920's.  First a curio shop with its Indian handiwork, souvenirs and living quarters; then later the large tavern with its expansive balcony, and finally the dining room with its scenic bay windows overlooking Lake Michigan. Four great stone fireplaces throughout the building add more charm.  One can enjoy spectacular sunsets from the outdoor patio.  On an interesting note, The actual name, Legs Inn, is derived from the row of inverted cast iron stove legs Stanley used to fashion the decorative railing on the roof of the building. Recycle, reuse - long before it was a green initiative trend! 

Continue north on Route 119/Lakeshore Dr., past two more nature areas: Shurtleff and Fisher Preserves, to where it meets with Lakeview Rd.  Turn left, then a quick right and you are in the southern end of Wilderness State Park.  Grab a blanket, a bottle of wine, some chees and some bread and head out to the dunes.  Let the water lap at your feet, feed your tummy and your soul, and watch one of the most beautiful sunsets ever as the hot summer sun seems to sizzle as it sinks into Lake Michigan. 

Still up for some fun?  Take Lakeview Rd east to Gill Rd east to US 31 and head south to Pellston.  Hoppie's Hanger at the Pellston Airport offers live entertainment throughout the summer.  One of their favorites is Mike Ridley, former school teacher turned folk singer and comedian who brings the true flavor of Up North with his songs about the Great Lakes.
 


by Jan Davies McDermott on June 11th, 2014


What a great reason to come to Ann Arbor! Shakespeare set in the beautiful backdrop of the Arb. Audience moves from scene to scene! "As You Like It" this year. Its brief run is this weekend and next. Tickets available at the box offic...e at 5:30 pm; performance at 6:30 pm Thursday - Sunday. Great fun!

http://www.lsa.umich.edu/mbg/happening/shakespeare_spring.asp?utm_source=Homepage&utm_medium=Carousel&utm_campaign=SliderLinks

by Jan Davies McDermott on August 29th, 2013

Like corn on the cob?  Too hard to do at a tailgate?  Maybe not.  Here's a simple method for cooking loads of corn on the cob perfectly for the tailgate crowd.

Ingredients:  
  • 1 Coleman cooler, wiped clean
  • Corn on the Cob - lots of it
  • 2 Kettles of boiling water
Directions:
Fill the Colelman cooler with the shucked ears of corn.  Pour two kettles of boiling water over the corn.  Close the top of the cooler.  Wait.  Not even 30 minutes later, the corn is perfectly cooked and will remain at the perfect level of doneness for a couple of hours 

To make this truly Maize & Blue, whip butter with blue cheese and let your guests brush it liberally on the corn.  Yum! 

by Davies House Inn Staff on April 9th, 2013

Our owner, Jan Davies McDermott, was recently a featured speaker at the Professional Association of Innkeepers International 2013 Innkeeping Conference in Las Vegas, NV.  Invited to discuss Bigger Sales to Corporate Customers, Jan presented the methodology Davies House uses to attract corporate business travelers to the inn.   

Based on the book, "Whale Hunting", by Barbara Weaver Smith and Tom Searcy, Jan presented the three stage, nine step proven process to "Scout, Hunt, and Harvest" the right "whale-sized" corporate customers for Davies House. 

"Too often, small businesses, like bed & breakfasts and small inns, use a hit or miss approach to sales, not subscribing to a well-researched process for finding and bringing major customers to their inns", McDermott said.  "In today’s economic climate, an organized process brings a sustainable, replicable method - that B&Bs can learn - to 'Scout, Hunt, and Harvest' corporate business, which is key to highter occupancy rates."

As the book teaches, 'Whale Hunting'  gives small businesses the same edge larger companies use to target, pursue and close major deal that are often 5,10, 20 times bigger than their typical sales. 

"In committing to a sustainable future, competing against larger, branded lodging options, we must examine how to adopt and implement a disciplined, collaborative process that understands the economic concept," Jan said.   

Jan will present her workshop at several state conferences over the next year to help other small business owners improve sales and increase occupancy.  For more information about sales workshops, contact Jan at innkeeper@davieshouseinn.com or use the website contact page. 

by Jan Davies McDermott on April 5th, 2013

Foodies take note:  you too can learn to bake those amazing Zingerman's baked goods, from crusty French breads to melt-in-your-mouth coffeecakes.

The recipes are secret, of course -- except to students who enroll in Zingerman's Bakehouse baking classes. The two-day and four-day programs, called "bake-cations," provide intense hands-on instruction in making some of the eatery's most popular offerings.

The bakehouse is part of a family of Zingerman's eateries in the Ann Arbor area, including the delicatessen, coffeehouse and roadhouse restaurant.

"Zingerman's is definitely one of the places that has put Ann Arbor on the map as far as a destination for great food," said Mary Kerr, president of the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. "People from near and far come to Zingerman's for the classes they offer."

The next two-day course comes up May 4 & 5, 2013, and students can focus on either pastries or breads. A two day session costs $500. 

Bake-cation classes are limited to 12 students to allow for one-on-one instruction, and Zingerman's staff members take care of measuring the ingredients and cleaning up afterward.

"The instruction is in sound techniques that one can apply to any other recipe, so if you learn how to laminate a dough properly, it improves your baking skills for the rest of your life, and that's an invaluable skill set to build," said Shelby Kibler, Bakehouse principal. "Whether it's kneading or shaping or cutting or understanding the fundamentals of bread or pastries, the instruction that we give is fundamental."

A typical four-day bread class costs $1000 and includes quick breads, such as muffins and flatbreads; straight doughs, such as pretzels, challah and multi-grain breads; naturally leavened sourdough breads; and pre-fermented yeast breads, such as French baguettes.

Students especially enjoy making the Jewish rye bread, Kibler said, because most of them have tasted it on the well-known Zingerman's Reuben.

Pastry classes also cover a wide range of recipes, from chiffon cakes to pie crusts to cream puffs.

Zingerman's also offers more than 50 one-time classes, which focus on a single recipe or technique -- such as "Bakin' with Bacon" and "Cinn-ful Cinnamon Rolls." These classes last three to five hours and usually cost $75 to $125.

If all of that sounds too intimidating, don't worry. Zingerman's classes are open to students of all skill levels, even those who don't know how to use a measuring cup.

"We try to make it comfortable for beginners, so they're not overwhelmed and don't feel behind," Kibler said. "We're giving detailed instructions on the whole process."

In the meantime, more experienced bakers can work on refining their skills.

Two-day classes are the most action-packed and intense, Kibler said. The four-day classes, while still busy, allow for a bit more flexibility and fun -- including short excursions to the deli and roadhouse.

"I think it's a valuable experience to go and hang out and taste things," Kibler said. "To me that's the best part, seeing all the wonderful foods gathered in one place and being able to taste them."

Thinking of coming to take a Zingerman's class? Reserve lodging space at one of Ann Arbor's delightful Bed and Breakfasts. Davies House Inn is closest to the training site and offers a luxurious Jacuzzi Queen Suite with a kitchenette, a slightly smaller Queen Suite with fireplace and kitchenette, a first floor Queen Suite with private bath, or economical Standard Rooms that share a bath. Fill out your inquiry for availability on the contact page. Come and get your hands dirty!ype your new text here.

by Jan Davies McDermott on April 1st, 2013

Downtown Ann Arbor will be a glowing, magical gala Friday, April 5, 2013 , dusk to midnight for the FoolMoon Festival.  Then into a bright sea of colorful folks and massive papier mache characters on Sunday, April 7, 4:00-5:00pm, a parade of bright, colorful, massive papier mache characters will march through downtown.  It's all part of the 2013 FestiFools.  This pair of artsy street celebrations full of fun for the whole family. Shimmering handmade lantern sculptures are the highlight (literally) of the free nighttime FoolMoon event, which returns for a second year. These objets d'illumination, crafted and wielded by the Ann Arbor community, form a humongous processional taking over the sidewalks downtown. Admire the host of glimmering creatures and shining shapes, or make your own to add to the mix. (You can find instructions for making an "illuminary" on the event's website.)

Revelers of all ages will gather at dusk (around 8 p.m.) on Friday night at one of three starting points: Slauson Middle School, Kerrytown at the Farmers' Market and the U-M Museum of Art. From there, they'll dance, skip and frolic their ways to the intersection of Washington and Ashley streets in the heart of Ann Arbor. The sparkling street party runs to midnight, with live music, treats and a host of artful delights, like roving shadow puppet shows and building-sized experimental films.

Tree Town's FestiFools street fair. A gigantic public art spectacle, the array takes to Main Street from 4 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, traveling between William and Washington streets. Watch for all manner of eye-popping papier mache puppets – of "magnificent, huge, bizarre, politically incorrect, human powered" varieties, promises FestiFools' Facebook wall – created by the community and U-M students.

Best of all, it's all free!

Don't fret if rainy weather attempts to infringe on your fun.  if you bring a luminary sculpture to any one of three constellation stations, you'll receive some fashionable plastic rain gear and fancy little umbrellas on Friday night.

by Jan Davies McDermott on March 20th, 2013

Ann Arbor's Argo Cascades on the Huron River received state and national honors. 

It seems Argo is continuing its winning ways.  Although the Argo Park in Ann Arbor has nothing to do with the Oscar-winning movie that goes by the same name, it's still gaining statewide and national attention lately.


The Argo Cascades on the Huron River is a popular destination for kayakers.

Courtesy of city of Ann ArborThe city of Ann Arbor has won the 2012 Michigan Recreation and Park Association's Park Design Award for the Argo Cascades feature along the Huron River.The annual award is given to MRPA member organizations for outstanding work in the areas of facility and landscape/site design.

MRPA is a statewide nonprofit association representing the parks and recreation industry with a membership of nearly 2,000 professionals.

"It is an honor to be recognized by MRPA for the Argo Cascades," said Colin Smith, the city's parks and recreation manager. "Many elected city officials, staff and departments worked together to make the Argo Cascades a success. This project addressed challenges and, at the same time, created an opportunity to improve the recreational experience for people on the Huron River."

The Argo Cascades also received a "Frontline Park" designation for the month of March by the City Parks Alliance, a national organization. That honor is reserved for projects that demonstrate inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation and stewardship.

The Argo Cascades is now highlighted at www.cityparksalliance.org.

Ann Arbor completed the Argo Cascades project on the Huron River in May 2012 with the $1.17 million reconstruction of the bypass channel around Argo Dam in the old millrace.

For the first time since 1830, when the channel was built to power mills, the section of river became free-flowing with a cumbersome portage removed and transformed into a series of nine drops and pools for people in tubes, rafts, canoes and kayaks.

Other new features include a wider and paved Border-to-Border Trail section and pedestrian bridges installed at each end of the millrace.

"The Huron River in Ann Arbor is now a fun and exciting destination, more than ever before," said Canoe Livery Supervisor Cheryl Saam. "The number of livery customers paddling on river trips has basically doubled since the Argo Cascades were built; and the Cascades has allowed for more recreational opportunities such as tubing and rafting."

If you haven't already, when the weather warms up, Ar-go check it out.

Reprinted article by Ryan J. Stanton

by Jan Davies McDermott on March 20th, 2013

No time to fuss for Easter, but want something to make things special.  Try this easy, quick, and fun idea.  

Use any sort of frozen or homemade bread dough, form your rolls, snip and lift/shape the ears during rising and carve the eyes once baked!

Brush with Garlic Butter and sprinkle with sea salt for the perfect accompaniment for your ham. 

http://bit.ly/ONZd0rw

by Jan Davies McDermott on March 19th, 2013



Easter is right around the corner.  Want to do something special?  Here's a suggestion from Betty Crocker that kids and adults alike will love.  Watch their eyes looight up when you serve this cute little bunny cake at Easter Dinner. 



Easter Bunny Cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow or white cake mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  • Tray or cardboard covered with wrapping paper and plastic food wrap or foil
  • 1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting
  • Red food color
  • 1 large marshmallow, cut in half
  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • Green food color
  • 2 strawberry or cherry stretchy and tangy taffy candies (from 6-oz bag)
  • 1 roll Betty Crocker® Fruit Roll-Ups® punch berry chewy fruit snack (from 5-oz box)
  • 3 green-colored sour candies, separated into strips
Directions:
1. Heat oven to 325°F. Grease 1 1/2-quart ovenproof bowl (8 inches across top) with shortening; coat with flour (do not use cooking spray). Lightly grease 3 muffin cups in regular-size muffin pan.
2. Make cake batter as directed on box. Pour cake batter in 3 muffin cups, filling two-thirds full. Pour remaining batter into 1 1/2-quart bowl.
3. Bake cupcakes 17 to 21 minutes, bowl 47 to 53 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove cakes from muffin cups and bowl; place rounded sides up on cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour. If necessary, cut off rounded tops of cakes.
4. Spoon frosting into large bowl. Add red food color to make desired pink color. Place bowl cake on tray cut side down; spread 1/3 cup frosting over cake. Use frosting to adhere cupcakes to bowl cake for feet and bunny tail. Use toothpicks if necessary. Place marshmallow halves, cut sides down, on tops of 2 cupcakes to make heels of feet. Spread thin layer of frosting over side and top of cake to seal in crumbs. Freeze cake 30 to 45 minutes to set frosting.
5. Spread remaining frosting over cake. Sprinkle with 2 cups of the coconut; press gently to adhere. Shake 1 cup coconut and 3 drops green food color in tightly covered jar until evenly tinted. Surround bunny with tinted coconut. Use rolling pin to press strawberry candies into 2 large rectangles. Cut 2 large ovals and 6 small circles out of candy. Press onto bottoms of bunny feet, using frosting if needed.
6 Roll up fruit snack to make carrot shapes. Cut green sour candies in half crosswise; press into large end of each carrot to make greens on carrot. Cut ears from construction paper; wrap ends that will be inserted into cake with plastic food wrap. Insert into cake. Remove ears, plastic wrap and toothpicks before serving. Store loosely covered.

by Jan Davies McDermott on March 13th, 2013


The man of the house at Davies House Inn is Larry McDermott - Irish to the core.  His favorite St. Patrick's Day Dessert includes all the things he loves: chocolate, whipped cream, chocolate, cheese, and Oh yes! Did I mention, chocolate? 

However you celebrate St. Patrick's Day - green beer, a big parade, shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey - make sure you make this Irish Cream No-Bake Cheesecake to top off the day!  Enjoy!


Irish Cream No-Bake Cheesecake

Ingredients
•12 Oreo cookies, cream removed
...•3 tbs. unsalted butter, melted
•1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
•1 (8-ounce) block reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
•1 (8-ounce) container light whipped topping thawed
•1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur
•2 tsp. vanilla extract

Topping
•whipped topping (optional)
•nuts (optional)
•caramel (optional)
•sprinkles (optional)


1.Place the Oreos into a food processor and crush into crumbs. Or you can also place them in a freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin. Divide the crumbs evenly amongst individual serving dishes and push the crumbs down to form a crust. Spoon a little bit of the melted butter over the crumbs in each dish. Try to cover as much of the crumbs as possible.

2.Place the chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl. Melt in the microwave. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth with an electric mixer. Stir in the vanilla and Bailey's. Fold in the whipped topping until well-blended.

3.Pipe or spoon the mixture evenly amongst the serving dishes. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

4.Add toppings, if desired.
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