Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

From our house to yours, we wish you all the best for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

As you reflect on the year ahead, we'd love to hear any ideas or questions you have for us. Is there anything you've wanted to know about the area? Questions about the inn or innkeeping? Just let us know how we can serve you in the new year, we'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Breakfast

Looking for ideas on what to serve your family on Christmas morning?

These blog posts and website links contain some of our favorite dishes:
  • Crème Brulee French Toast
  • Three Cheese Tart and Meat-Lovin' Man's Quiche
  • Gingerbread Pancakes
  • Baked Ham and Egg Crisp and Lemon Waffles

  • Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Customized Gift Certificates

    Are you looking for gift ideas? Consider giving or asking for a relaxing getaway at our inn. We can customize gift certificates for any amount over $25 and they are redeemable towards a romantic and relaxing Burlington’s Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast stay. As always, just let us know if you have any questions or if we can provide additional information.

    Gift certificates can be ordered over the phone or on our website.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Christmas Decorations

    Our Christmas decorations are up! The following images from last year will give you a peek at how we decorate the inn.

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    Let It Snow!

    Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be at the inn when it snows? As you can tell from the photos below, it is a cozy sight. Two of our guest rooms are equipped with gas fireplaces, and there is also one in the dining room for guests to enjoy during breakfast.

    The Cincinnati area averages 20 inches of snow each year, even though we had a record-breaking year in 2010! If you want the best chance of enjoying a snow-covered stay, the average statistics reveal the most snowfall is typically during the month of January.

    While winter hasn't arrived yet, it is never too early to plan ahead. A friend and her husband forgo exchanging gifts with each other over Christmas in favor of taking a weekend away to visit a bed and breakfast every January. She says there is nothing like escaping the cabin fever present at home; they have grown to look forward to new surroundings and warm breakfasts after the rush of holidays.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Burlington's 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Making Contest

    It’s time to preheat the oven, gather your creativity and supplies and enter the 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Making Contest sponsored by the Historic Burlington Business Association!

    As part of the 2010 Historic Burlington Christmas celebration on December 3rd and 4th, we are inviting people to register and participate in this exciting contest; judging will take place at Noon on December 4th. On December 4th, Eagle Bend Alpaca Farm will have a satellite shop with yarns, a spinning demonstration, and an Alpaca on-site.

    First Prize - Adult Category:
    * One-night stay (Sunday-Thursday) at Burlington's Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn
    (valid Sunday-Thursday, excluding all holidays)
    * $50 Gift Certificate to the Tousey House Tavern

    Second Prize - Adult Category:
    * Masterworks Photography Portrait Session & 8x10 ($29 value)
    * Gift Card from Farm Bureau $25
    * Gift Card from Superior Imports and Cabin Arts $25

    First Prize - Child Category:
    * Stuffed Alpaca Bear from Eagle Bend Alpaca Farm

    All ages are welcome to participate, but houses in the adult category must be made from scratch: photos will be required to prove that they are made from scratch, examples must show the person making the house in the photos.

    All houses will need to be displayed in the lobby of the Old Court House at 2988 Washington Square during the Historic Christmas Celebration to qualify. The Old Court House is at the corner of Rt. 18/Burlington Pike and Rt. 338, in the center of historic downtown Burlington. Creations must be delivered on Friday between 12:00-5:00pm. Judging will take place at NOON on Saturday, December 4th!

    How to Enter
    To register to participate in Burlington’s 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Making Contest, call Nancy Swartzel at 859-689-5096.

    Contest Rules/Details
    ALL HOUSES ARE TO BE MADE FROM SCRATCH IN THE ADULT CATEGORY. THE CONTEST IS OPEN TO ALL AGES. KITS MAY ONLY BE USED IN THE CHILDREN’S KIT CATEGORY FOR AGES 12 AND UNDER. For adults, photos taken during the process of making of the Gingerbread House will need to be shown with the person making the house in the photos to qualify.

    Need inspiration on how to make a gingerbread house from scratch? Martha Stewart is a valuable resource. Her book, Martha Stewart‘s Christmas Entertaining, Decorating, and Giving (1989), provides details and step-by-step instructions.

    You can also visit her website to download templates, click here to see gingerbread information on

    Martha's Gingerbread Recipe
    This recipe is from the Martha Stewart Show (December 2005), adapted from "Martha Stewart Living" (December 1995).

    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
    1 cup dark-brown sugar
    4 teaspoons ground ginger
    4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
    1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    2 large eggs
    1 1/2 cups unsulfured molasses
    6 cups all-purpose flour

    In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.

    In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt. Beat in eggs and molasses.

    Add flour mixture; mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Divide dough into thirds and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour.

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes, or using template instructions, if desired. Place dough shapes on ungreased baking sheets; chill until firm, about 15 minutes. Bake 15 minutes, or until gingerbread is firm in the center, but not dark around the edges.

    Good luck!

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Post-Thanksgiving Shopping Plans

    Are you one of the dedicated day-after-Thanksgiving shoppers? If so, you might want to consider the big city of Cincinnati for your shopping plans. The website lists a plethora of shopping destinations in the metro area. Our availability calendar may be helpful if you plan an overnight stay to recharge after your retail adventure. Pampering details such as air-jet whirlpool bathtubs, triple sheeting, down comforters, extra pillows, and plush robes and towels will be in place when you arrive, along with fresh baked cookies. You are welcome to bring your own wine or champagne to enjoy while you wind down, as glasses are provided. If you would like to extend your stay, our 15% Multiple Night Discount will apply to additional nights for guests in the retreat or suites.

    If your muscles are store from walking through stores and standing in line to check-out, massages by Adrian Underhill are available in select rooms by appointment (for an additional fee). For more information, you can visit Adrian on the web at or call 513-503-5668.

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Guest Feedback

    Every now and then we check sites like and to see what our guests have to say about their experiences at the inn. Since the reviews often do not contain names, we are unable to personally thank guests for their kind comments. It brightens our day to read comments like those below and to know that you enjoyed your time at Willis Graves. Our thanks goes out to you!

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Hibernating at the Inn

    As cooler temperatures draw people indoors, having plenty of materials on hand can help you pass the time...

    You can cozy up with a good book next to the fire.

    Read a magazine.

    Or watch your favorite movie.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Fall Travel

    It's not too late to hit the road for a fall getaway.

    Our main website has a thorough list of area attractions and parks that are ready for you to explore: click here for more information.

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Special Event: Northern Kentucky Wine Festival - October 16th

    On Saturday, October 16th, MainStrasse Village is sponsoring a festival to feature Kentucky wineries, local artisans, and entertainment. It will be held from 
3:00 to 10:00pm, rain or shine.

    Admission is $10 and includes a wine glass and four sample tickets. Additional sample tickets may be purchased for $1 each or six for $5. If an attendee wishes to purchase a full glass of wine, special tickets can be purchased for $5 each. Wines may also be purchased by the bottle or case. You must be 21 to attend.

    MainStrasse Village is an historic neighborhood comprised of shops, restaurants, taverns and homes. MainStrasse Village is located just off I-75/71. Take the Covington, 5th Street Exit (Exit 192). Free parking is available in the 5th Street Parking Lot, located between Philadelphia Street and Main Street.

    For more information, call 859-491-0458 or visit

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Halloween Decorating Ideas

    Fall is finally here and we enjoy decorating the inn for holidays. For Halloween, we use a Martha Stewart idea of creating ghosts in the window. This is an easy do-it-yourself project:
  • Purchase vellum at an art store in poster-board size sheets.
  • Draw one ghost on each sheet of vellum.
  • Cut out the ghost and tape to the inside of your window.

  • Last year we decorated the foyer table with gourds bought at the Locust Grove Antique Show; they were made by Holly Branch Gourds.

    Happy Halloween!

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    New Willis Graves B&B Robes!

    Guests in the log cabin's William Rouse Suite may notice a new addition - updated robes. Our new, customized robes have a terry cloth lining and are made in the USA. We will soon be adding them to the Graves' Suite as well.

    If you fall in love with the robe during your stay and decide to order one, just let us know and we can place an order for you. The robes are $135 plus tax, shipping, and the manufacturer's charge for your initials or the logo.

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Burlington Antique Show: September 19th and October 17th

    It's not too late to find great things at the Burlington Antique Show. The remaining dates for 2010 are September 19th and October 17th. Our property is right next to the fairground, so guests can easily walk over to browse over 200 antique dealers. You can check out their website for more information. Also, as we mentioned in an old post, Bob is our resident antique "expert" so feel free to let us know if you have any questions!

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Mugs by Deneen Pottery

    Some of our guests enjoy collecting coffee mugs during their travels. We worked Deneen Pottery to design our mugs, which are $18 (plus 6% sales tax). Deneen Pottery is a family owned business based out of St. Paul, MN. Each stoneware piece is made in the U.S.A. and is handcrafted to order.

    To learn more about Deneen Pottery, you can visit their website at

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    Labor Day Weekend: Riverfest in Cincinnati

    Looking for something special to do this weekend? Come celebrate at Riverfest, an annual event in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky:
    "Riverfest is Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky's big boom, the end of summer blowout that concludes with one of the largest fireworks displays in the Midwest.

    This signature Cincinnati event began 32 years ago, when WEBN treated the tri-state to a fireworks show in honor of the radio station's 10th anniversary. The party at Sawyer Point, held annually on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, has grown into an all-day affair with music, food and family fun and entertainment all day (Cincinnati's Sawyer Point is a no-alcohol zone for Riverfest).

    Nearly a half-million people attend on both sides of the river. Highlights: the Ohio/Kentucky shout-off just before the fireworks, and WEBN's soundtrack, choreographed with Rozzi's Famous Fireworks."

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    From Our Kitchen to Yours: Three Cheese Tart and Meat-Lovin' Man's Quiche

    As always, we welcome your suggestions for blog posts and/or recipe requests, so please feel free to drop us a note if you have any questions we can help answer. We recently received a blog comment from a guest looking for our quiche recipe, which inspired this post.

    The Willis Graves' Three Cheese Tart has been a prominent feature on our rotating menu for a few years, but we have recently added a new twist - named The Meat-Lovin' Man's Quiche - by adding ham, sausage, and bacon to the recipe below.

    Willis Graves' Three Cheese Tart

    ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms (optional*)
    ½ cup sliced fresh tomatoes (optional*)
    1 (9-inch) homemade or high-quality, store-bought pie crust
    Salt and pepper to taste
    2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
    1 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    8 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese
    4 eggs
    3/4 cup heavy cream
    1/4 cup white wine
    Dash ground cayenne red pepper for a little kick
    Fresh herbs to taste, such as thyme or rosemary
    Extra shredded Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of tart
    Freshly cracked black pepper
    Fresh parsley for garnish
    *Seasonal vegetables and/or breakfast meats can be substituted as desired.

    Bake the empty pie crust at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, remove from oven and let cool for approximately 10 minutes before adding other ingredients.

    Once the pie crust is cool, place mushrooms and tomatoes (or other vegetables/meats) in the bottom of the pie crust and season with salt and pepper. Add all of the cheeses on top of the mushrooms and tomatoes.

    In a separate bowl, mix eggs, heavy cream, white wine, fresh herbs, and cayenne pepper to taste. Be careful with the cayenne pepper.

    Slowly pour egg mixture over pie and sprinkle extra Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked pepper on top.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. To serve, garnish with fresh parsley.

    Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    One of Our Favorite Things: New Clothespins

    In the past, we have mentioned our love of freshly ironed sheets. And when weather permits, we like to save energy by letting the wind dry the sheets for us.

    Our ironing tips were compiled in this previous post, but we have an update to the original post: new clothespins!

    We found these "Supermollet Clothespins" on The Container Store's website. They are described as having a heavy-duty spring and a strong grip, which is true. Gone are the days of broken springs and clothespins falling off the line. We thought you might enjoy them as much as we do.

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week

    Participating restaurants include Orchids, McCormick and Schmick’s, Montgomery Inn, Morton's Steakhouse, Arnold's, Boi Na Braza, Bootsy’s, The Bistro, Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Local 127, Lavomatic, Mynt Martini, Nicholson’s Tavern & Pub, Nicola's, Palomino, Via Vite, and Washington Platform.

    Friday, July 30, 2010

    Farm Fresh Breakfast Eggs

    Next time you sit down to breakfast at our inn, you might notice a big change. We have started to get farm fresh eggs from nearby Eagle Bend Farm.

    We are using these fresh eggs in all our menu items. Besides great flavor, you might also notice a slight change in the color of our dishes since these eggs have the bright yellow yolks that are characteristic of quality farm eggs. We think you will enjoy them as much as we do!

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Special Discounts at Local Restaurants

    The Greater Cincinnati Independent Restaurant organization has announced they will be offering a 30% discount for gift certificates valid at area restaurants. Check out their homepage for more information and a list of participating restaurants.

    Sunday, July 4, 2010

    Happy Fourth of July

    We wish you and your loved ones a Happy Fourth of July this weekend!

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Summer Cleaning

    Last April we posted some of our spring cleaning tips. We were able to capture video of the sheets drying before the recent heat wave. The birds were singing brighty in the background, which made for a relaxing afternoon!

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    Taste of Cincinnati Festival: May 29-31, 2010

    Looking for something to do over Memorial Day weekend?

    P&G is sponsoring their 32nd Annual Taste of Cincinnati event. According to the website, it is the country's longest running culinary arts festival. For more information, visit:

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Second Annual Burlington Sidewalk Chalk Festival

    The second annual Burlington Sidewalk Chalk Festival will take place on Saturday, May 22nd, 10am-4pm at the Boone County Administration Building. The Festival will include live music, food, vendors and a children's area for family fun. The highlight of the Festival will be the chalk art surrounding the Boone County Administration Building. Each artist will be provided with a 6x6 area for their artwork and will be competing for cash prizes. Check the Boone County Fiscal Court website for latest information at:

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    The Graves' Suite and Thomas' Room

    We mentioned in a few posts that we made some improvements to the Graves' Suite and Thomas' Room. Our photographer came over and we now have new photos of the updated spaces.

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    Happy Mother's Day!

    Happy Mother's Day to all our past and future guests! Today we honor my mom, Jean, who you may have met during your stay. She keeps our linens pressed and ready to dress the beds, helps us with breakfast, and greets guests when we are away from the inn.

    If you missed any of her recipes on our blog, be sure to check out Grandmother Wehking's Holland Custard Dessert and our Marinated Flank Steak Sliders with Spicy Black Bean and Corn Salsa.