Monday, August 10, 2015

Polar Express Excitement in December!

Tickets are now available for this year's Polar Express event. Call for details at 1-800-258-2625.

Here is what you will have to look forward to so don't delay.

As the first families began arriving for their Polar Express experience this past December, the Buttonwood Inn was decorated throughout as Bill and I had begun decorating the week before Thanksgiving.  Our own children are married and live in New Jersey, so we do not always get to spend the holidays with them.  We are transported back to those Christmas holidays we experienced with our own children when families arrive at the Buttonwood observing their excitement and wonder as the children “discover” all the Inn has to offer.  Cupcakes and hot chocolate await them on our Dining Room table at our afternoon tea service.  On Saturday afternoon, I put out my hand-decorated sugar cookies for the children and their parents to enjoy before they leave for the Polar Express train ride.  

The Journey to the North Pole - Polar Express event is a re-creation of the 1985 Chris Van Allsburg book and the 2004 animated movie starring Tom Hanks.  It originated in North Conway back in the 1990’s.  On Saturday, our families arrive at the Victorian Conway Scenic Railroad station located behind the charming New England green, which faces the decorated shops and restaurants.  The slopes of the Cranmore Mountain Ski Resort, which overlook the town, are all lit up and conjure up visions of Santa Claus and his reindeer’s impending arrival.  Everyone is ushered onto the train traveling through the forest to the North Pole where the magical journey begins.   

Back here at The Buttonwood Inn, when we are all alone, we can hear the train whistle blow several times marking the beginning of the Polar Express journey to the North Pole.  That train whistle always sparks my memory of our Polar Express experience several years ago.  We were caught up in the merriment of the passengers singing carols while hot chocolate and candy was passed out by the chefs on the train.   Upon arriving at the North Pole, we all filed off the train and proceeded up the lantern-lit path while being greeted joyously by elves.  When I looked back down the hill at the Polar Express lit up inside waiting for us to return, I felt like we were seeing the same vision of it as if we were in the movie. 

The next morning at breakfast, the children happily tell us about meeting Santa Claus and show us the bells that they received from Santa. There is joy in air as the children of the different families finish breakfast and head down to the Mount Surprise Room to play games with each other.  We had two fathers take turns on Saturday and Sunday mornings leading the children in playing “Cooties.”  The young children were laughing and squealing with delight so loudly that one of the mothers and I ran down to make sure they were happy noises…of course, they were.  This kind of merriment is what we take pleasure in most when families or other guests come stay with us because they are comfortable enough in our home to share their cheerful moments with us. 

Several families have come back to The Buttonwood Inn for the Polar Express.  If you are interested in coming back or you would like to reserve with us for the first time, please call us at 1-800-258-2625 for information and pricing.

PO Box 1817  64 Mt. Surprise Rd.  North Conway, New Hampshire 03860-1817800-258-2625  603-356-2625  Fax: 603-356-3140  Send us an E-mail!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

March Maple Madness!!! Maple Meatballs Recipe

Today, March 21, 2015, from 10 am to 5 pm, we received many visitors to The Buttonwood Inn for the annual March Maple Madness inn-to-inn tour.  In order to win the grand prize, we provided them with answers to questions and a piece to solve the puzzle.  The participants also sampled maple inspired treats, either sweet or savory, at each stop.  Check out our package and book on-line or call us at 1-800-258-2625 for next March 2016! 

I created a low fat recipe of Maple Meatballs that are my riff on Swedish Meatballs made with ground turkey.  I've been obsessed lately with incorporating toasted and mashed juniper berries in sauces for various meats and fish.  When toasted and mashed, juniper berries are complex and smell like the forest with honey, pine, berry, and bitter at the end.  I added them to the sauce, while adding garam masala to the meatballs.  Here's the recipe which is great as an appetizer or entree served with creamy polenta, rice, or pasta.

MAPLE MEATBALLS                                           Yield:  About 50 1-inch size

2 pounds ground turkey
½ cup plain bread crumbs
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup onion, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 large clove fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

1-1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon juniper berries, toasted and mashed
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon corn starch
3 tablespoons water
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Form into 1-inch meatballs and drop with a 1” cookies scoop into a hot saucepan in 2 tablespoons of canola oil until browned on both sides.  Fry in several batches (may need to add more oil to the pan) and place on a sheet pan until all are done.

In the empty sauce pan, add chicken broth, maple syrup, juniper berries, bay leaf and bring to a simmer.  Meanwhile mix the corn starch and water until dissolved and add to the pan to thicken the sauce.  Salt and pepper the sauce to your taste.  Then add meatballs and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes until completely cooked.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snow Shoeing and Trail Mapping

All of us who live on Mount Surprise and Abbot Brook Roads that border Bartlett Mountain have been reveling in the fact that we can strap on the snow shoes and hit the trails.  The soft snow this winter has also been perfect for downhill and cross-country skiing. 

This afternoon, Bill and I strapped on our snow shoes and “bootied up” the dog to map out the Buttonwood Inn and Mt. Surprise Loop Trail beginning in our back yard. This is the first of many more trail maps on Bartlett Mountain we will create for guests to download on their Smart phones and follow without getting lost. 

It was a balmy 39 degrees Fahrenheit with a crystal clear blue sky with not a cloud in it.  The sunlight revealed the glittery snow in the field and the shaded path reflected blue on it.  Britt’s (the dog) coat exposed its pinkish red hues that complemented his red booties, so I nicknamed him “Ginger.”  We were taking in the view of the Moat Mountains at our favorite spot on the Buttonwood Inn trail.

Along this loop trail, we observed a lot more deer track paths intersecting the snow shoe trail this year.  We also noticed the hollowed out snow where they slept.  It’s a good sign that the coyotes have gone deeper into the Whites for the winter allowing the deer population to flourish.

All along the trail, we periodically stopped listening to the quietude of our enchanted forest.  Once along it, we heard a bird chirping in the distance, otherwise nothing but peace.  This is the attraction not only for us to enjoy the serenity, but for our Buttonwood Inn guests and neighbors too.

If you want to explore these beautiful, peaceful trails behind the Buttonwood Inn, you can reserve online or call us at 1-800-258-2625.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Valentine’s Day – a celebration of love…

And romance in the U.S. and many other parts of the world.  It is believed that Valentine’s Day may have originated in the 5th Century in Rome, while there are other versions on how it may have begun at

The first time I became intrigued with this holiday, I was in grammar school in the 1960’s and our teacher encouraged us to handout simple Valentine’s cards to each member of the class.  When I went to middle school, this tradition ended.  In high school, I met my real Valentine in my late teens and we’ve been exchanging cards and chocolates since then.  We like to keep it simple because we both feel it’s more important to show our love and appreciation for each other every day with modest gestures.

Valentine’s Day weekend is also fun for us as innkeepers because we are fully booked at The Buttonwood Inn and have a lot company.  During this cold winter weekend, Bill has both fireplaces roaring in the Living Room and Mount Surprise Room making it cozy for everyone.  It gives me the chance to bake chocolate confections for afternoon tea service and make more creative gourmet breakfasts.  Since I’ve been making breads lately, I plan to make a new sweet breakfast of Cinnamon Swirl French Toast stuffed with Hazelnut Chocolate, Slivered Almonds, and Bananas.

If you would like to join us next year, check out our Valentine Weekend Lovers Package and reserve online or call us at 1-800-258-2625/

For family, friends, and guests we will not see on Valentine’s weekend, we wish you a lovely and romantic one with your sweetheart.

Monday, July 7, 2014

B&B's best food Daily Meal


“providing the best in service, hospitality, and attention to detail”

Bill & Paula Petrone
Innkeepers at the Buttonwood Inn
P.O. Box 1817
North Conway, New Hampshire 03860-1817
Fax: 1-603-356-3140

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Can you guess what this is a photo of?

This photo was taken during the Photography Workshop: Winter Landscapes.  Joe Klementovich, local professional photographer, provided guidance to the amateur teenage photographer who wanted to learn more after taking a photography course in school.  Having learned the mechanics of operating his camera, this student wanted to go out in a natural setting and apply his knowledge in a creative way.  He proved that he has an artistic eye in shooting photos from zeroing in on the minute aspects of nature to capturing a landscape. #Winterlandscape of #WhiteMountains.

Joe took this young man and his father out to Diana’s Bath during the morning shooting many photos.  Joe’s style is to provide guidance on camera use and allow the student to freely shoot photos.  Afterwards, they came back to The Buttonwood Inn #TheButtonwoodInn for lunch prepared by me and reviewed the photos.  Joe goes into the semantics of photography providing information on whether the shot is good or how it can be improved upon.  Other workshop participants favorably remarked that they felt the workshop was beneficial and enjoyable because of the intensive one-on-one instruction.
If you enjoy photography and are either new to it or more experienced, you may want to sign up for this half day workshop on Winter Landscapes held on March 21, 2015 or the Photography Workshop:  Capture Waterfalls held on April 18, 2015

Check out our two-day photography workshop packages at #TheButtonwoodInn for Winter Landscapes or Capture Waterfalls.  You can either reserve on-line or call us at 1-800-258-2625 today!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Our Guest Friendly Outdoors in the Forest

Bill and I wake up to a morning like every other looking out our windows viewing Merriman State Forest and various mountains which are part of the Green Hills

For example, if we look out our office and kitchen windows in the morning light, we see Bartlett Mountain and notice the wildlife, mainly birds.  On some mornings, we may get visited by a bear cub trying to scoff up some bird seed for its breakfast.

We've noticed over the past seven years of innkeeping at The Buttonwood Inn, that guests enjoy our acres of serene property as much as we do. We have purchased some very comfortable cedar Adirondack chairs, double benches, double Adirondacks, and an 8-foot long picnic table/benches, coffee table and various birdhouses from local Jackson woodworkers, RandR Woodworkers, who hand-cut and screw all furniture together from scratch.  Bob and Robin (the R&R in R&R) make a great product.

Here are a few photos of the woodworking as Bill prepared to stain it with Cabot Australian Timber Oil.


Of course, whether it's hiking or snowshoeing you can always take the Buttonwood or Mt. Surprise trails right from our backyard and explore to your heart's content!

July 4th Cookout at The Buttonwood

July 4th  Cookout at The Buttonwood Inn

As the summer approaches, we thought we'd talk about activities and events at The Buttonwood Inn this past July onward in this blog.  

2013 was another great year at the Buttonwood because we welcomed back many return guests and new guests who stayed with us from 3 to 12 days.  We enjoy it when guests stay for longer periods of time because we get to know them much better.  We especially enjoy it when our return guests come through the door because it feels like friends came to visit again.  We catch up on each other lives and we all feel comfortable and at home.

During the July 4th holiday week of 2013, we had several families return and stay nearly the full week.  The weather was beautiful, but hot, which was great because all of our guests returned early to mid-afternoon.  They either swam in the heated pool, relaxed on the recliners, or conversed over a glass of wine by the table under the umbrella.  The children and adults also played the bean bag and ball string toss lawn games in the back yard, and the croquet game set in the front yard garden area.

Last summer, we added a new 10-foot long cedar picnic table, benches, and more Adirondack chairs from R&RWoodworkers.  In June, we purchased more vinyl Adirondack chairs to accommodate more guests in the evening around the fire pit.  We also purchased more pool tubes and lawn games for our guests of all ages to enjoy.

The Saturday after July 4th, we invited all of our guests to a backyard cookout.  Everyone attended and got to know each other.  Paula made potato salad, pasta salad, and baked beans.  Bill manned the grill making hot dogs and hamburgers.  The hamburgers were especially delicious because the Johnson family provided their ground beef and goat combination burgers from animals raised organically on their farm.

We set out the food on the new picnic table and everyone gathered around to eat and tell their stories.  It was particularly enjoyable for Bill and me because we don’t get to spend time with our own families during holidays and our guests allowed us to be a part of their families for this short time.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Our Story
We are always asked the question by our guests, “Why did you become innkeepers?” Here is our story…
In the winter of 2007, we made the serious decision to leave New Jersey and purchase a Bed & Breakfast in New England. We almost bought one in Brattleboro, Vermont but decided it wasn't the perfect place for us. We continued on with our search in New Hampshire and Maine. Though we had often vacationed in Maine and enjoyed the seacoast, we were not convinced that we should live and work there. After viewing several Bed and Breakfasts in New Hampshire, we fell in love with The Buttonwood Inn. In the heart of winter, we were amazed by the amount of snow and the serene beauty and peacefulness. Driving past the Village Green in North Conway that evening, we spied families ice skating and marveled at all the shops and restaurants decorated in holiday lights and holiday greenery, as snow fell around us. Above the town, Cranmore Mountain’s ski slopes lit up the night sky creating a veritable winter wonderland. We were sold!
The inn is located on nearly six acres on Mount Surprise with access from our back door to the hiking trails in and around Merriman State Forest and Bartlett Mountain. This location was particularly appealing to us because we wanted our guests to be able to explore the peaceful surroundings and enjoy the solitude, while being only minutes away from the village and wonderful shops and restaurants.
Please Join Us in The Heart of New Hampshire's White Mountains 
Innkeepers: Bill and Paula Petrone
PO Box 1817  64 Mt. Surprise Rd.  North Conway, New Hampshire 03860-1817
800-258-2625  603-356-2625  Fax: 603-356-3140  Send us an E-mail!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Latest Improvements at The Buttonwood Inn

It's been a busy couple of weeks for Paula and I as we complete the addition of a new roof and thirteen new energy efficient windows on the West Wing of the Inn.

The roof is burgundy in color which is our dining room's theme color. The contrast with the clear blue sky really sets the old facade off nicely.

Once the roof was done and the windows arrived the job of removing the old windows, and storm windows took a few days but it's always best to take your time when removing both the outer and inner trim to preserve as much as possible for the installation. 

We had extra insulation on-hand to make sure that the benefits gained form these multi-paned, vinyl clad windows wasn't lost on leaks around the perimeter of the windows.Even though the forest and mountains surrounding the Inn are very quiet we immediately noticed that the rooms were even quieter. The other benefit was that more light is now let in compared to the older windows. Another plus, the new windows are super-easy to clean both inside and out now and both Paula and I were amazed by how simple it is to remove the new windows totally from the frame, pop out the screens and, voila, gain easy access to the 2nd floor roof and front and side of the dormers! This is going to make cleaning and touch-up in the future a breeze!



On my next installment of this renovation project I'll let you know how we made out with the final exterior and interior trim patching, priming, and painting.

Please Join Us in The Heart of New Hampshire's White Mountains 
Innkeepers: Bill and Paula Petrone
PO Box 1817  64 Mt. Surprise Rd.  North Conway, New Hampshire 03860-1817
800-258-2625  603-356-2625  Fax: 603-356-3140  Send us an E-mail!