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Thank you for visiting the Blue Door
on Baltimore Blog!
We are Roger and Cecelia, inkeepers of The Blue Door on Baltimore Bed & Breakfast in Butcher's Hill. We love our life as inkeepers and feel our Bed and Breakfast is a natural extension to who we are. We will use the Blue Door on Baltimore Blog to share some of our favorite recipes, tips and experiences.

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Monday
Mar052012

Inn Keeping looks like it may be fun but it sure looks like a lot of work. So what is it like? (Part 2) 

In "Part 1 of Innkeeping What is it like", we explored what work needs to get done in our innkeeping day. As promised we are back to provide the answers  to your assignment.

It  is always our desire to have all of our three special guest rooms constantly filled,  but there are some days where it is a bit more quiet at the Inn. On those days Leopold wonders where everyone has gone and has to witness strange happenings. We then undertake the tasks to make our Blue Door experience even better.

The ladders come out and Leopold delights in the new but strange smelling colored liquids being applied to the walls and ceilings, and to the backs of our white foyer steps. These same liquids also make funny marks on the floors when he just so happens to see what they are about. There are floors that are wet to the paw, freshly mopped, and furniture sometimes in the hallways while strange sounding construction noises eminate on the other side of a closed door.

We also look forward to our annual trek to the International Hospitality Conference each November in New York where we get to go shopping for you, our guests. There are all sorts of things to pick and choose from to make our guest experience very special. Our sheets, which have made their way into several on-line review comments, and our lounging robes that seem to fly off our shelves as soon as we re-order more for our gift shop are acquisitions from our trips to New York. Shopping is fun especially when you throw in a night at the theater and some great restaurants.

So you remember those daily tasks from Part 1?

Here is what happens: 

  • Up at 6:00AM starting with breakfast service and ending the day at 7:00PM when all of our guest rooms are turned down for our guests. comfortable return from dinner.
  • Table is set, breakfast is prepared for serving starting at 7:00AM
  • There is paperwork to be done (email, bills, website updates, Facebook and blog posts like this one to name a few), and relax until guests arrive to begin breakfast.
  • Serve breakfast and enjoy conversation
  • Breakfast service is over at 10:00 with dishes cleaned up usually by 11:00. There are breaks in the action - rarely do we see 4 straight hours of breakfast service, but it can happen.       
  • Cleaning starts around noon and  finishes sometime around 2:30 PM with a little help from our housekeeper on the fully booked days.
  • Then it is our time to slow down the pace, relax over dinner, attend to our guests who will check-in until Turndown at 7:00PM.  In between we may learn more about Baltimore from where guests when they explore. Multi task finishing previously started  things and starting new ones.       
  • In between all that, we answer the phone, taking reservations, answering questions, and dealing with vendors.  We are also shop for groceries and office supplies,  and bake the breads and pastries, in addition to the night time treats. 
  • When everyone is staying over we can decide to put the crunch on to catch up on a specific set of tasks (like the laundry which is never done completely) or put things on hold  till the next rainy day and go out and play ourselves.     
  • It will start all over again at 6:00AM the next morning so do not be surprised if your phone call at 10:00 PM is met with voicemail.      

In 2011 (Thank you for your reservations so that we can show you these numbers): 

  • 403   Check–ins
  • 780   Room nights served up
  • 1400 Breakfasts made
  • 3600 Breakfast breads, and pastries baked
  • 3100 Cookies, brownes and fudge made and presented for turn down
  • 3900 cups of coffee served
  • 780 Beds Made – (1800 Sheets washed, 3600 Pillowcases washed and steam pressed, 600 duvet covers washed and steam pressed)
  • 2600 Assorted Towels Washed
  • 1400 Robes laundered and folded
  • 1600 Assorted table cloths and napkins laundered and ironed
  • 3100 cleaning cloths laundered


Oh, about the pictures for this posting series. These are from the entire house checking out on the same day. One load of breakfast dishes for dishwasher number one. One load of pots, pans, prep items and guest room servicing items for dishwasher number two.  Ten loads of Laundry if you take into account on a check out day with three sets of king bed linens  (two top sheets, a fitted bottom, six Pillowcases and Duvet cover), two to four robes, assorted towels, bathroom rugs, breakfast table linens, and cleaning cloths. 

REMEMBER WE DO NOT NEED TO FINISH ALL OF THE LAUNDRY TODAY. We can take the time to enjoy all of our wonderful guetst while you stay at The Blue Door, too.

Sunday
Mar042012

Blue Door Blueberry Scones

One of our favorites at breakfast are our miniture Blueberry Scones. They are not only delicious with breakfast but also can be served for Afternoon Tea with friends. We hope you will enjoy this taste treat from our Blue Door Kitchen!

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2 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
J teaspoon salt
6 teaspoons butter, chilled, unsalted, cut into pieces
½ bag (2 oz.) dried blueberries
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Up to ½ cup milk

Preheat oven 425 degrees and place rack in the middle of the oven.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix butter into the dried items. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Add the blueberries and incorporate. 

In a small cup, beat egg and vanilla together. Add the egg and vanilla to previous mixture, mix well. With the mixer on, add the milk slowly and just enough until the mixture just comes together, and is soft.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead lightly four or five times. Form batter into ball and flatten slightly to pie shape; cut into 8 wedges. Form each wedge into a ball, and cut into 4  more wedges.

Place small wedges on cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes and then rotate the cookie sheet on rack in oven. Bake for another 3-5 minutes till lightly brown.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool. 

Makes 32 scones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Feb212012

Inn Keeping looks like it may be fun but it sure looks like a lot of work. So what is it like? (Part 1)

The most common question we get from our guests is, “Inn Keeping looks like it may be fun but it sure looks like a lot of work. So what is it like?”

The short answer to the question–like any profession there is a balance. It’s not all dirty dishes, mountains of laundry, scrubbing, and maintenance as our photos may imply. There is a lot to be said about setting your own schedule in a beautiful place you call home, taking up residence in a small hotel, playing with your passion for cooking, and getting to meet and share a space with new and interesting people every day. So there is work and there is fun. A job with fun is not necessarily WORK!

Of course, there is something to do all of the time. The balance is not letting a pre-occupation of thinking everything must be done today, get to you. It is not like we have to leave our home for 8-10 hours and then return to do everything. Our usual 6 loads of laundry, three rooms with common rooms needing cleaning, fixing that broken thing, and attending to an unsightly mark on the wall would surely be a nightmare if they needed to be done at the end of hard day of the office. The Blue Door is our office and they are manageable with a little creativity.

All in a Day–Long before our first guests are down for breakfast we already have two loads of laundry (from the previous day!) in the machine. The email from overnight is getting answered. The table and kitchen are set for the menu of the day. Our guests arrive and breakfast is served from 7:00 -10:00 AM with the dishes cleared and washed shortly after. A little quiet time. Guests Check out. More email is read, more loads of laundry. Rooms are attended to. More Email, a little marketing and some R&R time (mixed with fixing that broken thing, more laundry, playing with Leopold, escaping to the sailboat, answering some reservation questions). Check-in–greet visit with more of our wonderful guests. Turn down rooms for the evening with special treat. Relax and enjoy some more guest conversation… There you have it...

Innkeeping is more about pacing throughout the day with high degrees of flexibility for the interruptions that are bound to happen. Any experienced innkeeper will say, if you like having a structure to your day this may not the job for you. What you plan for is rarely accomplished in the order hoped and often things that were supposed to be addressed in the future become the center of attention. A guest arrival time significantly altered, a broken gadget in the kitchen necessary for the day’s breakfast prep, a contractor saying today is the day to make the repair requested with guests checking in that evening are all in a day’s activity. They give the appearance of us never taking a break, or seamlessly taking things in stride as chaos reigns, as we go about making your stay with us special. We can assure you there is some breathing time.

Of course there is always more to it than just the few short paragraphs you have read so far and we do not want to take all of your time. So while we go about our daily tasks making stays special at the Blue Door we would like to give our loyal followers a small task. Your Task: 2011 brought us 403 checked in reservations. We would love to have you venture and post your guesses on any of the following  statistics. 

How close can you guess?

  • Number of room nights served up
  • Breakfasts Served
  • Sheets Washed
  • Cookies served at turndown

Post your guesses in the comments section and have fun in our online community.

We will report back with the numbers when “Inn Keeping looks like it may be fun but it sure looks like a lot of work. So what is it like? (Part 2)” hits the Blogwaves in two weeks.

Tuesday
Jan312012

2012 Blog Announcements

Hello! We hope this message finds you well and in good spirits. We continue to greet and re-greet so many gracious guests. We (and Leopold if you have not had the opportunity to meet our new little innkeeper) so appreciate the opportunities afforded us to get to know and serve you. Please let us share some news.

Our Goal for 2011 was to better share our Blue Door experience with expanded website information, enhanced Blog and Facebook business pages, and Twitter presence. We hope that you may have had opportunity to drop in to take a peek at our candid photos, recipes, travel tips, and personal content. In 2012 we want to put "You Our Guests in the Spotlight". We are introducing three new featured discussions:  Ask the Innkeepers, Local Eateries, and "Names in Lights". These will also be broadcasted to our Facebook and Twitter fans.

Send us your burning questions on Innkeeping or things about Baltimore (Our first post "So What is it Like" - will provide a behind the scenes look at some of our inn keeping tasks and statistics). Add your comments to our in depth local restaurant features. Submit some information that you may have shared in your in-room guest log with some photos from your visit. Share the links with your friends and put your "Name in Lights".

If you have not had opportunity to check our new stuff out, make sure to like us on our Facebook Page.

As always, thank you for choosing the Blue Door for your visit(s) to Baltimore and we look forward to serving you again!

Thursday
Jan052012

A Special Discount From the Inkeeper in Training!

Hi, Leopold here!

I would like to wish all of our new friends and fans a Happy New Year. As many of you know, I am the Innkeeper in Training at Blue Door on Baltimore. I have been improving my greeting skills for our guests checking-in and upon arriving back after a busy day out and about in Baltimore. Of course, since I am a cat and a bit closer to the ground sometimes, I truly do look up to all of our guests. Oh, and put your allergies aside. I am a Bengal, after all, and as close to hypo-allergenic as a cat can be.

I have been growing quickly into my paws and am now a full 9 months old. I am so looking forward to my very first birthday in March. I am only going to get one of those, I am told. If you met me earlier in the summer I was only measuring half of the 13 pounds at which I now tip on the scale. My mom calls me a big bruiser compared to the dear Miss Megan you may have had opportunity to meet on a past stay. That has not deterred our guests to threaten to pack me in their bag and take me home with them. I really like them, too…

As the Innkeeper in Training, I have the opportunity to make marketing suggestions to my parents, Roger and Cecelia. So, for our blog and facebook followers we have something special for you for in 2012, MY FIRST BIRTHDAY YEAR! We would like to propose a special final rate adjustment to your reservation request.

Type in my name “leopold” in the Promo Code for your online request or mention me on the phone and we will add my weight in dollars as a bottom line credit to your reservation at the time of booking! I am still growing so the discount may not stop at $13.00.

Hope to see you soon... and if you cannot visit as soon as you might like, please do post a comment. We love hearing from our past guests and blog readers! How have you liked the Blue Door on Baltimore Blog so far? Do you have any topics you would like to hear about that we haven't covered?

Oh, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!