Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gilsland Farm Audubon Center-Peony Garden

 I stopped off yesterday at the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth on my way home from a hike in Bradbury Mountain State Park. I wanted to pick up some brochures for the inn as it a great place to go for a walk.  They have an incredible Peonies Garden that was blooming. It was the creation of the former owner David Moulton, a Portland lawyer and dedicated conservationist. They have rows and rows of these unusual and beautiful peony plants that he care for for over forty years and the Audubon has continued.  I had never seen so many varieties in one place. If you happen to be visiting Portland during this special time in June you must go see this awesome sight. If you really plan in right you can go to their yearly ice cream social to celebrate the Peonies in bloom. I am taking my Mom tomorrow night!
 The center has great trails for walking and observing the wildlife and habitat of the different bird species. It it where the Presumpscot River meets the Ocean so it is very beautiful estuary. It is also great to snow shoe in the winter along the trails. So stop by and enjoy the views next time you are in Portland.

They also have a couple other center's that are close by in Scarborough and Freeport that are worth a trip to see. One of my older blogs was about canoeing the Scarborough Marsh with my sister.

Wild Iris Inn - 273 State Street Portland, ME 04101 800-600-1557      www.wildirisinn.com

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Portland Farmer's Market and Rhubarb Coffeecake

A favorite activity for my guests on Saturday morning is to stroll through our Farmer's Market at Deering Oaks Park. It is a short block and a half walk to the park and there you are, in Portland's biggest park. We have an incredible array of vendors and entertainment. From organic veggies, meats and plants to homemade tempeh, yogurt and sauerkraut. It is a lively place to experience and some interesting entertainment like jugglers, hoolahoopers and musicians. I went last week and bought some excellent honey and fresh rhubarb and make my favorite rhubarb coffeecake for my guest which was a big hit. See below for recipe! Next time you are in Portland for the weekend make sure to make time for a stroll through the market as you are sure to be entertained!

Rhubarb Coffeecake

Spiced Nut Crumb Topping
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c unbleached flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
6 TBS unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 c unbleached flours
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk
1/2 lb fresh rhubarb finely copped to make 2 cups

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom of 10 inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease sides.
2. To make crumb topping combine all dry ingredients except nuts and cut in butter with fingers or pastry cutter. Add walnuts and set aside.
3. To make coffeecake cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy and add eggs and vanilla, beat until smooth. In another bowl mix flours baking powder, baking soda, salt,and nutmeg, add to creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk until creamy consistency, about 1 minute. Stir in rhubarb.
4. Using a rubber spatula scape batter into springform pan. Sprinkle evenly with crumb topping. Bake 40-45 minutes until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on rack.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Being A Green Inn

Worm composter
When guests come to stay at the inn they always ask what does it mean that you are a green inn. Well we are part of a program through Maine EPA that certifies lodging establishment in Maine called Environmental Leader. We get a certain number of points for everything we do. Some of our green practices are the following;
-We have three different kinds of ways to compost leftover food waste, a worm composter, two outside barrel composter and a European electric composter, that we use a lot in the winter when our outside ones aren't composing.
-We recycle most everything as the city of Portland has a great curbside recycling program.
-All left over bake goods get frozen and brought to the Soup Kitchen in town.
-We only use environmentally friendly cleaning and laundry product, in fact we make most of our cleaning products.
-Our lights are LED or CFLs and we have sensor lights in the common area and halls.
-All our painting and remodeling projects are done with earth friendly or recycled products.
- We also try to "Buy Local" as much as possible, coffee, dairy, maple syrup, honey, wheat flour to name a few. We are a member and supporter of Portland's Buy Local movement.
These are just a few of our practices here at the Wild Iris Inn. We also always welcome suggestions from our guests!
Wild Iris Inn "Growing Green Since 2002"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Come for a Bike Ride In Portland!

 Spring is here and we just dusted off the Wild Iris Inn bikes and got them into the shop for their spring tune up! We have two bike for guests to borrow while staying at the inn. Portland is a great bike friendly city.
A new Portland Bike Map was publish this year that shows all the great bike trails in greater Portland that you can borrow while at the inn.
Also Summer Feet Cycling, 866-857-9544, www.bikeportlandmaine.com,  has two bike tours in Portland, a 5 Lighthouse Tour that runs daily at 10am and a Explore Casco Bay, that take you out on the ferry to Chebeaque Island for a ride around and lunch at the inn which is offered Saturdays in July and August!
Or bring your own bike and have your own riding adventure!
 So hop on your bike and do some exploring!

 Wild Iris Inn 273 State Street Portland, ME 04101 800-600-1557 www.wildirisinn.com Diane@wildirisinn.com

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Deering Oaks Park Rose Garden

I took the dog's for a walk yesterday in Deering Oaks Park and stop by at the Rose Garden. It was so beautiful! How lucky were are at the inn to have such a awesome garden just a couple minutes walk from our front door! Kudos to the city and volunteers who do such a great job of maintaining it. So when you come to the inn don't forget to take this short walk and visit the incredible rose garden.

Diane Edwards
Wild Iris Inn
273 State Street
Portland, ME 04101