Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cranberry Scones

cranberry scone
Cranberry scones.

 Just in time for the holidays! A bright, cheery cranberry is exactly what you need in your life. Full of antioxidants and nutrition and wrapped in a yummy, biscuit-y dough.


2 cups all purpose flour, extra for work surface
5 tbsp sugar, extra for topping
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold butter, unsalted, cut into small pieces
2/3 c half & half, plus a little extra for brushing tops
1/2 c halved cranberries

Preheat oven to 425

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. (I never reach this state, it's always flour-y when I give up and add the liquid!) Add half & half and stir until moistened. Fold in cranberries. (A hint about the cranberries- they have wee, tiny seeds that get everywhere. You can rattle the cranberries around in a sieve to get rid of the seeds or don't worry about them at all!)

Lightly flour your work surface and plop the dough ball in the middle. Knead gently about 10 times. Pat into a 1" thick round. Place on a cookie sheet and cut almost through into 8 wedges. Brush tops with half & half and sprinkle remaining sugar on top. You can also sprinkle cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Tops should be golden brown. Cut through to separate. Serves 8.

These come out with the consistency of a shortcake biscuit rather than the density of what we know as a scone.

Great afternoon snack with tea or hot cocoa. Easy to pack breakfast for the train. (Which I'm thinking about a lot because I hear the whistle during the day!)

cranberry scone alt=

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tidebrook Trail

Red trail: Harraseeket River
Decided to try one more time to figure out where Tidebrook Trail (part of the Freeport Conservation Trail System) starts. We drove down Bartol Island Rd and measured .25 on the odometer and found the cedar trees and parked the car. I have come down here several times, assumed the 'parking' area was a turn around as the road beyond the cedar trees is a private driveway and thrown my hands up and gone home. There are NO indicators to let you know 'You Are Here'. Once you get out of the car, you are on your own, especially if you come here in the summer when the trees are all filled in.

So, feel free to use this handy pictorial guide to find your way.

Park car at the cedar trees. Space for about 4 cars.
After you park the car you have 2 options: walk about 75 yards down the private drive (see why it is hard to find!) and the red trail along the Harraseeket starts on the left. This trail winds along the river (go at low tide) and thru the fields along the river. The photo at the very top was taken at low tide. (If someone can tell me what that tower is I would be grateful. I know Tom Ring told me years ago when we went out to Eagle Island, but I've forgotten!)

Or, head across the road toward the big white house. (Hidden behind more cedars.) Walk along the orchard, down the driveway toward the small kiosk where you can sign in. Continue on toward the yellow, green and blue arrows that mark the other trails. Please respect the owner's personal yard space and stick to the trails! The orchard is gorgeous in the spring, filled with daffodils. (Yes, I drove down here in the spring, too.)

Start of yellow, blue and green trails.
We did not walk the yellow trail. Once you see the hills on the blue trail you'll understand why we only walked 3 of the trails! If you're training for x-c running, the blue trail is for you. If you're one donut away from a heart attack this is not the place for you!

Blue trail: You really are thankful for these handrails, believe me!

Green trail: Someone with a sense of humor was here before us.

Enter here for the yellow, blue and green trails.
Now I know you're saying to yourself, 'She couldn't find this when it is clearly marked?' Well, you're right. I never saw that (tiny) sign until I turned around to take the photo after we had hiked the green and blue trails and we were headed to the car! So, now you know- #38 Tidebrook is where you want to walk in.

Walk down this road a little way for the red trail. The trail is mowed and there are red arrows to follow.
It was a bit brisk the day we went. OK, it was frigid! But, there's no such thing as bad weather, just improper clothing. Any day you can haul yourself out of bed is a good day to get out of the house and go for a walk.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main Street Freeport, Maine 04032

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fort Baldwin State Park

Fort Baldwin steps to gun emplacement.

How many times have we driven down the road to Fort Popham and never even knew there was a whole other fort hidden behind the trees? Well, we've been here for 8 years now and you've seen all the photos from Popham Beach so you know the answer is 'quite a lot'!

battery cogan at fort baldwin
Battery Cogan at Fort Baldwin
Yesterday we took a different road and found this fort. Fort Baldwin is newer than Fort Popham. Built about 40 years after Popham it is constructed of concrete (which you can see is leaching out in the photos above and below). The tops of the three batteries are covered over with soil and grass to better blend them into the surrounding terrain.

Most of the trees you'll see in the photos weren't in place when the fort was in use (WWI and WWII) so the view was quite expansive from up on the hill. Still is if you walk around a little!

Remember you can enlarge these photos by clicking on them.

Fort Baldwin State Park is 38 acres on both sides of Rt 209. Next time we're out that way we'll go down a different road to see what's on the other side. (So, there's the answer to why the chicken crossed the road....)

The trail we were on kept going long after we decided to turn around. It looks like it might be good in the winter for snowshoeing! Remember in hunting season that many local and state park grounds are open to hunting. No hunting allowed on Sunday.

Some scenes from the fort:

pond island light from fort baldwin
Pond Island Light from the top of the battery.

fort baldwin lookout tower
Around every corner of the trail was another discovery.

Will have to come back in the fall for the colors!

fort baldwin circular gun placement track
Circular gun track overlooking the Kennebec.

fort baldwin fireplace
The batteries all had fire brick walls and ceilings. You can see there is another opening at the back. It's a rabbit warren of hallways and rooms in the batteries.

moss on the trail maine
This moss was growing all along the tree roots.
fort popham from fort baldwin
Fort Popham as seen from the parking area for Fort Baldwin.

pinnace virginia marker
A marker near where the first ship built by the Popham Colony was constructed.
fort baldwin park sign
Sign at the bottom of the hill. 500' straight up.

Directions: To get here take Rt 209 almost all the way to Fort Popham. Where the road takes a sharp right (just before the Fort Popham library) go up the very small road straight ahead of you (Fort Baldwin Rd). This is a one lane road so go slowly and be prepared to back up!

There is a parking lot across the street from the entrance to the park. Great views! Space for picnicking. Walk the park road (Sabino Head Rd) past all 3 batteries and to the tower. After that the road ends and the trails begin. Trails are on both sides of Rt 209 but there is NO parking on Rt 209. (We'll be checking for other parking areas next time out.)

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

chocolate chip cookie bars
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
If time is short and you need a treat for a group or for a bake sale this should be your go to cookie bar recipe!


1 box yellow cake mix
2 eggs
5 tbs butter
1 bag chocolate chips

Yup, that's it. You could use chocolate cake mix as well for a double chocolate recipe! I will add walnuts to this next time as I thought it needed a little something else.

Mix together the first 3 ingredients using a mixer. The batter is really thick. Fold in the chocolate chips, I used a spatula. Spread in a greased 9x13 baking dish. This was the hardest part...spreading it out! I used the spatula for this, too.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the top of the 'cookie' is lightly browned. It will puff up while cooking but it falls in after cooling. My oven took 30 minutes to bake this up so you'll have to experiment.

Cool, cut and enjoy!

Printable recipe here.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Amtrak Downeaster to Freeport

lobster wreath on Downeaster
Check out the lobster wreath on the front of the train!
The inaugural run of the Downeaster to Freeport & Brunswick rolled into town today. It's been over 50 years since the last passenger train stopped here. The scheduled runs for the train can be found here.

There are certain sounds that evoke deep feelings- the sound of a church bell in a small town gives me a sense of community and a train whistle signals the wanderlust many of us have to see new places and meet new people.

The train whistle is calling...will you answer?

Amtrak Downeaster in Freeport
The guy who made sure all the signals worked right today!

Crowds greet Downeaster in Freeport
The crowds at the station

Senator Snowe in Freeport
Senator Olympia Snowe praises joint efforts to get train running again.

Downeaster heads out of Freeport toward Brunswick.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Moon

After the Storm

surfers at Popham Beach
Surfing after Sandy
Decided to check out Popham Beach after Sandy. Even though we didn't have the torrential rains and excessive winds here, there were definitely some topographical changes at the beach. We noticed that all the trees and shrubs between the water and the changing rooms are gone and there are now concrete barriers in place to hold back the erosion. It's amazing that just a couple of years ago the changing rooms were a hundred yards from the high tide line and now the water laps at the very edge of the building.

A couple of surfers hit the beach while we were there. You can see Pond Island Lighthouse in the background. We watched them for awhile and they were constantly being swamped by one wave after the next, sometimes with barely the chance to take a breath. After 20 minutes or so they decided to come out and walk up the beach aways out of the cross currents.

Civil War cannon at Fort Popham
Remember- there's no such thing as an unloaded gun.
Heading back toward the car (we park down by the fort) Rock noticed this cannon up on the dunes. How many times I've walked by there and never seen it I can't count! You can see the fort in the background. Looks like the folks at Popham defending themselves against the folks across Atkin's Bay on Cox's Head. 

Next trip out there I'm going out to Fort Baldwin as well.

cannon markings
Cannon markings

You can see the markings here dating the cannon to 1865.

If you're headed to or from Popham Beach, there is an excellent historic drive from Rt 209 on Parker Head Rd back to Rt 209. Take your time through here and stop to see some graveyards from the early settlers as well as the alewives run and a couple of lighthouses along the way.

You can use this PDF guide from the Phippsburg Historical Society for more information about what you're seeing.

Along the way- Squirrel Point Lighthouse.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Better Way to Vacation

Your vacation time is precious to you. Why spend it jumping through corporate hoops? Try a different way to stay...a B&B!

Just a few ways a B&B is different from a corporate hotel stay:

tuscan scrambled eggs
Full, sit down breakfast included in the price of your room.

Lots of processed fats and sugars.
bed and breakfast room
A room designed with comfort and relaxation in mind.

The same old corporate designed room you see everywhere.
your innkeepers
The owners are the innkeepers and will be taking care of you like family.

A bored front desk staffer with better things to do.
If you've ever been treated at a hotel as if you're taking up their valuable time by trying to check-in or check-out or get directions, if you've ever been told to come back at 6 PM because your room isn't ready, if you've ever been told there is no confirmed room for you no matter when you come back it's time to come back from the dark side. 

Make your next reservations at a charming B&B. WiFi is free. Breakfast is on the house. Parking is included. We won't hit you with 'resort' fees when you check-out. We don't expect a tip if we carry your suitcases to your room.

Come, enjoy your vacation for a change!

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Monday, October 15, 2012

Autumn Poached Pears

poached pears with blue cheese
Poached pears
This breakfast starter is actually a play on words. The pears themselves were 'poached' from a neighbor's tree and then 'poached' in a sweet, buttery broth. The recipe was poached from another B&B on Cape Cod.


1 pear per 2 servings (or 1 pear per serving, if you like)
brown sugar
orange juice
pumpkin pie spice
blue cheese or goat cheese with cranberries 

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a baking dish (size of dish depends on number of servings, pears should not be squished in dish). Sprinkle a thin layer of brown sugar in bottom of dish.

Slice pears in half lengthwise, core (a melon baller works very well!), leave skin on. Lay pear halves cut side down in pan. Pour in enough orange juice to cover the bottom of the pan and an 1/8" up the side of the pears. Sprinkle pie spice over the pears.

Pop in oven for 20 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the pear. The pear should be soft but not falling apart. Baste with pan liquid and return to oven if not done. Ripe pears should take between 20-30 minutes. Not quite ripe pears may take up to an hour. (Kind of like baked potatoes.)

When done, remove pears from oven and plate cut side up. Fill cavity with cheese and pour some of the pan juice over the top. Let cheese melt a bit. Serve warm.

pear salad with vinaigrette

Bonus recipe: Pear and strawberry salad


Pears (1 for 3-4 servings)
Strawberries (1 per serving)
Goat cheese with cranberries (1 oz per serving)
Chopped walnuts (a handful per serving)
Mixed greens
Balsamic vinaigrette (just a little, don't drown the greens!)

Put the mixed greens into a large bowl and dribble a little vinaigrette on top. Gently mix the greens and vinaigrette by tossing. Let sit.

Peel, core and cut the pears into bite-sized chunks. Top and slice strawberries. Crumble the goat cheese.

Starting with the greens, layer each ingredient on a plate. Sprinkle walnuts on top.

Vinaigrette- mix 1/2 c olive, 1/3 c balsamic vinegar, 1 heaping tbsp of Dijon mustard, 1 clove garlic finely chopped. Shake well before using, the mustard settles.

Printable recipe here.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Autumn pears

Autumn pears
Many of you know there is a former church at the end of our driveway. There is a glorious pear tree right at the front door. For years, the owner of the building was not in residence so I would pop over there and take a few pears to make a crisp with of an October morning.

I always called it 'The Fruit of the Forbidden Tree Crisp'. Well, forbidden no longer! The owner is back in residence and she kindly allowed that I could stop by and take a few pears whenever they ripened.

It remains to be seen if the crisp will taste as good now that it is no longer 'forbidden'! Ah, don't we always want what we're not allowed to have!

Here's the recipe for the crisp. (And it is a crisp, not a cobbler.) You can make it with any kind of non-tropical fruit you like- berries, apples, pears, plums, peaches, etc.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Amtrak Downeaster Comes to Freeport

Amtrak service from Boston to Freeport starts on Nov 1, 2012! I was interviewed  for a story in the Portland Press Herald yesterday. Read the report online

We're looking forward to more folks from Boston trying out the train. Ticket prices now are $27 one way. Not a bad deal considering gas prices and tolls. Plus, you can enjoy the scenery, bring a 'picnic' lunch with you, watch a movie on the way and plain old relax!

Here's the temporary schedule of the new train times.

Talked to a couple of sisters today who may try the train from Connecticut next year. 

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Five Islands Scenic Drive

Five Islands Maine foliage
Reflections on a drive to the Five Islands.
Took a drive at sunset yesterday out to the Five Islands in Georgetown. Hung by my toenails on the side of the road to get this shot, hoping not to be pitched into the water by a speedy driver coming around the corner.

Tested a lot of settings on the camera and finally decided this was a good one. Enjoy!

A couple more shots right from the pier...

Five Islands Maine lighthouse

Five Islands lobster boats

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Maine Audubon- Gilsland Farm

monarch butterfly, Gilsland Farm Audubon Maine
Monarch at Gilsland Farm Audubon
Took a drive to Gilsland Farm Audubon the other day. The leaves had not really started to change except on the the sumac shrubs. The Farm is part of the Maine Audubon Society and is open year round. Donations accepted at the trail heads. Trails open from dawn to dusk. 

Rather than have me go on and on, just take a look at some of the photos. Relax, get yourself a nice cup of tea and enjoy a crisp fall day in Maine...

West Meadow Trail at Gilsland Farm Audubon
One of the trails

Autumn Meadowhawk Dragonfly
Autumn Meadowhawk

beehives at Gilsland Farm
Beehives at Gilsland (those little spotty bits overhead are the bees!)

crow sculpture at Gilsland Farm
Crow sculpture

on the Pond Trail at Gilsland Farm
On the Pond Trail
pond at Maine Audubon
Lily pads at the pond
Presumpscot Estuary Maine
From the West Meadow Trail
red sumac with dragonfly
Another dragonfly

great blue herons at Cousins River Freeport Maine
Herons in flight over Cousins River (not at the Audubon, on the ride home!)

 Directions to the Maine Audubon Center at Gilsland Farm: Approx 12.5 miles south of the inn on Rt 1, just past the intersection with Rt 88, turn right on Gilsland Farm Rd (there is a very small sign). Drive straight thru past the farm to the Audubon Center. Parking is available at the end of the drive and also at the trailhead for the North Meadow Trail. (There is a trail map box in the parking area.)

 White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032