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!