Friday, May 18, 2012

Group Gatherings Mother's Day Weekend

We had several lovely families stay at The Buttonwood Inn this past Mother's Day Weekend.  Our inn is large enough for families and group gatherings because we can seat about a dozen people in our Living Room and in the Mt. Surprise Room.  Our front porch is a popular spot for guests to enjoy their morning coffee or afternoon tea watching the hummingbirds and birds.  We have several double-seat Adirondack chairs on the lawn for those who want solitude just staring at the mountains and forest.  The in-ground heated pool is fun for anyone who likes to swim or float on a tube.  Families with children can play and rejuvenate before heading off for dinner.

The daughter and son-in-law who reside in Boston arranged the Mother's Day weekend for her mother, father, and sister who flew up from Louisiana. It was the perfect getaway because they were able to reconnect and relax at our inn, and yet shop, hike the trails on Bartlett Mountain, and go on a fly fishing excursion.  On the first day of their arrival, they headed downtown to shop in Settlers Green Outlets and local curiosity shops, had dinner at a local restaurant, then came back and relaxed in the hot tub.  The daughter also reserved an hour-long in-room massage for her mother on Mother's Day morning, which she thoroughly enjoyed.  Bill booked a half-day fly fishing excursion for the father and son-in-law with North Country Angler.  They were thrilled to have caught four brook trout (caught and released).  While the men were fishing, the women hiked the Mt. Surprise and Buttonwood Inn Trails to get up to the Bartlett Ledges.  At the end of Mother's Day, the entire family had pizza and watched movies in the Mt. Surprise Room. 

I made a lime cake frosted with lime cream cheese icing for Mother's Day afternoon tea service.  Here's the recipe.

Lime Cake with Cream Cheese Icing


Butter, for greasing pan
Flour, for dusting pan

One 3-ounce package lime flavored gelatin
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large eggs, slightly beaten


1/2 cup lime juice (from 3-4 large limes)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar


1/2 cup (1 stick butter), room temperature
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
One 1 pound box confectioners' sugar
Zest of one lime

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a 9”x13” cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the gelatin, granulated sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir to mix well. Add the oil, orange juice, lemon juice, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until well combined. Pour the batter evenly in the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Test for doneness inserting a toothpick. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes.

For the glaze: While the cake is still hot, mix the lime juice and confectioners' sugar together well. Pierce the cake with a skewer to allow the glaze to soak in better and pour it over the cake. Allow cake to cool completely as you prepare the icing.

For the icing: Cream the butter and cream cheese. Beat in the confectioners' sugar until mixture is smooth and easy to spread. Add the lime zest until combined. Spread the icing on the top and sides of the cake.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Scaling Bartlett Mountain

When my soul yearns for the peace and beauty of nature, I head out the back door of The Buttonwood Inn and hike the trails with our two dogs, Britt and Clyde.  There are two trails, the Mt. Surprise Trail or the Buttonwood Trail, that you can take to get up to the Bartlett Mountain Ledges, which is about a 35-45 minute hike.  These are the rock outcroppings that are visible from the back of the inn, particularly in the field.  We suggest that our guests bring a camera to photograph the views of the valley, Moat Mountains, Cathedral Ledge, and The Presidentials off in the distance.  

Our neighbors who maintain the trails also remarked in yellow the Bartlett Moutain trail from the Ledges to the summit.  This piqued my interest in reaching the summit, so one afternoon I took Britt with me to check out this new trail.  After reaching the Bartlett Ledges, I immediately headed up the mountain along a scenic switchback trail.  We crossed over a few smaller rock outcroppings stopping to take in the views of Cranmore and Black Cap Mountains.  But we had to stop after a half hour and head back because it was hot and I didn't bring water. 

Several weeks later, my neighbor (a different one) mentioned that he made it to the summit and that it was another hour to the summit from the Ledges.  When he reached  the summit, he was disappointed that the trees blocked any view of the surrounding mountains and valley.  He said the best view on Bartlett Mountain was at the Ledges.

However, he did see faded white markers for a old trail that was bushwacked years ago leading from the Bartlett summit along the ridgeline to Mt. Kearsarge North.  The summit of Mt. Kearsarge is mostly a granite cap with a fire tower on it that you can climb to take in a glorious 360-degree view which rivals some of the 4,000 footers.

If this old trail is remarked and cleared, a loop trail will be created from the back door of The Buttonwood Inn to the trailhead for Mt. Kearsarge North on Hurricane Mountain Road--just 10 minutes from the front door our inn. Bartlett Mountain is the shoulder of Mt. Kearsarge North and reconnecting this trail would provide a full-day of adventure for hikers who enjoy nature at its best.

If you enjoy hiking, stay with us and reserve on-line or call 1-800-258-2625.