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The Secret Life of Blueberries

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Secret Life of Blueberries

We’ve all seen blueberries in the grocery store, those plump, dark little gems usually housed in a square, pint-sized box or basket. They’re unique in that they are the only naturally blue (well, blue-ish) food I can think of. With their mostly sweet, kind of-tart, kind of sour flavor they’ve always been the perfect accompaniment to other fruits.  They’re also my top choice for adding to scones. I even like them frozen, as a cool, healthy snack right from the freezer. But I always thought blueberries were just a “seen-one-seen-them-all” fruit. That is, until I became an innkeeper at Domaine Madeleine Bed and Breakfast.

In the neatly planted rows nestled in the front part of the grounds (what we call “the farm”), there are not one, not two, but six varieties of blueberries ripening at this very moment. Some varieties are riper than others, as each has a somewhat different growing season. While each individual crop may last about four weeks, when thoughtfully planted, fresh blueberries of some sort are available for ten weeks, from Early July to late September, making our summer season berry, berry exciting.

With names like Spartan, Blueray, and Elliott one begins to appreciate the subtle and sometimes not so subtle variations in taste and appearance. Capable of growing to the size of a large grape, Bluerays have a classic, mild flavor. Spartans on the other hand are small, but pack a powerfully tart punch. This culinary palette inspires us to develop creative uses like pairings, baking, juicing, and garnishing.

For example, we like to serve sliced strawberries with a variety of blueberries, the tart flavor complimenting the sweet strawberries. We’ve discovered Bluecrops hold up well in baking, providing a delightfully juicy oasis within a warm, crumbly scone. And since Darrows often need to be seen to be believed, they garnish our apple crepes and are the perfect story-starter to introduce guests to our many blueberry varieties.

The secret life of blueberries is only one agricultural surprise I’ve discovered since coming to Domaine Madeleine. I haven’t even begun to delve into learning about our numerous plums, apples, or hazelnuts. But that’s what makes every day fun and interesting, for both me and our guests who have sought out Olympic Peninsula lodging. There’s always something more to discover. What lies around the bend in the path? What new vista awaits, if only I take a few more steps? Everywhere I turn enlightenment beckons me. Look closer. Slow down. Just listen. What will YOU discover?

Great day for a sail

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in Outdoor Adventures | 0 comments

Great day for a sail

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The weather at Domaine Madeleine is perfect for watching a lone sailboat pass by.

Sustainability through Green Energy

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Sustainability through Green Energy

What: Solar Power Sustainability

Where: Here!

 

Good news!

We have produced over 30,000 kilowatts of electrical power since we upgraded to a 7.8 kilowatt system in June 2011!

 

The array of 20 Silicon Energy panels on each pole can be rotated by hand to follow the course of the sun.  What started as an experiment to see if it made sense to install mechanical solar tracking (we found it doesn’t) has turned into something of a meditative practice on sunny days.

In April, we often have clear, bright, cool days and  from mid-June through September there’s hardly a cloud in the sky.  On those spectacular days, every two hours after breakfast is over, one of us will go out to shift the panels 30 degrees.  With the view of the mountains, and cooling sea breezes from the Strait, it sometimes feels like attending to a prayer wheel.

Come experience our lovely environment and enjoy the fruits of our sustainable practices!

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Local Theatre in August

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Blog, Local Arts | 0 comments

Local Theatre in August

What: Ondine, by Jean Giraudoux

When: Friday and Saturday, August 8 & 9 at 8 PM (Doors open at 7:30), Sunday August 10 at 6 PM (Doors open at 5:30)

Where: Alle’ Stage, up the stairs within Studio Bob in downtown Port Angeles; 118 1/2 E Front Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

Ticket Price: By Donation, suggested: $10.

This month Ondine, by Jean Giraudoux, is THE only theatre production to go to.

Directed by John Manno (also a classical musician) this play is part comedy, part tragedy. You may remember a movie with the same title. This play shares little with the film but its origins: the old folk tale about a mermaid that falls in love with a knight. A different, modern take on the tale, Manno’s modern take on the play includes inspiration from the Italian born dramatic style of Commedia Del’Arte.

It seems that there has been quite a buzz around town building up around this show. Manno’s plays tend to be art genre, though he has delved into comedies such as “Dearly Departed.” Other shows he has staged have included “Equus” at Peninsula College and “Beckett” at Port Angeles Community Playhouse, both of which received rave reviews for the quality of both the direction and acting.

The Heights of Hurricane Hill

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Blog, Outdoor Adventures | 0 comments

The Heights of Hurricane Hill

What: Hurricane Hill

Hike Length: 3 miles round trip

Where: ~ 2 miles from Hurricane Ridge

Time to get there: 15 Minutes to Base of Hurricane Ridge, 35 minutes  to Base of Hurricane Hill.

 

I recently had a chance to do a morning hike up one of our popular trails: Hurricane Hill. Any clear summer day will cause a lineup of cars at least 20 deep by 11 AM – so we recommend guests that are hungry for the amazing experience of the Olympics – Hurricane Ridge and Hurricane h=Hill – opt for our To-Go Breakfasts and head out to the Ridge by 7 or 8 AM.

The hike up Hurricane Hill was absolutely gorgeous. Not too hot, not a cloud in the sky – suffering from the heat wave everyone else is experiencing we are not!

Every peak and valley of the Olympics were visible – and as we got near the top, we could see Port Angeles, Victoria and nearly straight to the Pacific Ocean. At the time, a huge cargo ship was docked in the Port Angeles harbor – if you look closely at the picture, you can pick it out!

wpid-img_20140802_111715.jpg I wish I had brought my camera, to capture the views better. We passed at least twelve photographers who had brought all their equipment, and I kicked myself every time – the camera I used just doesn’t do the views justice – but check out what I was able to capture!

wpid-img_20140802_111126.jpg wpid-img_20140802_110211.jpgwpid-img_20140802_114815.jpg

 

Blue water in the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 in Blog, Outdoor Adventures | 0 comments

Blue water in the Strait of Juan de Fuca

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Our view from Domaine Madeleine its simply stunning most every day, but today was really spectacular. The weather has been absolutely beautiful… mid 70s, clear, nice breeze… We are truly blessed here.

Our Favorite Port Angeles Restaurants

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in Blog, Restaurants | 0 comments

Our Favorite Port Angeles Restaurants

We’ve really enjoyed these Port Angeles area restaurants – they seemed to have the best meals, service, and overall appeal. Here’s the list of restaurants we’ve really enjoyed so far:

 

 

 

 Bella Italia – Two words: Mushroom Ravioli!

118 E 1st St, Port Angeles, WA 98362, (360) 457-5442

 

Blue Flame BBQ – There’s a reason they sell out every day.

2947 E Hwy 101, Port Angeles, WA 98372, (360) 452-6355

 

Cafe New Day – Pancetta Fig Pizza!

102 W Front St, Port Angeles, WA 98362, (360) 504-2924

 

C’est Si Bon – French cuisine – it’s like dinner and a show!

23 Cedar Park Dr, Port Angeles, WA 98362, (360) 452-8888

 

Kokopelli Grill - Fresh Southwest inspired cuisine.

203 E Front St, Port Angeles, WA 98362, (360) 457-6040

 

Michael’s Seafood and Steakhouse – Traditional steak and seafood in a wine cellar environment.

117 E 1st St, Port Angeles, WA 98362, (360) 417-6929

 

Sabai Thai – Thai fine dining, five star quality.

903 W 8th St, Port Angeles, WA 98362, (360) 452-4505

 

Soho Asian Bistro – Casual, Pacific Northwest Asian fare.

134 W Front St, Port Angeles, WA 98362, (360) 417-8966

 

We’ll be making more rounds soon, so we can detail exactly what we loved about them. Check in with us as we take a culinary journey through the area!

Recommended Restaurants in Sunny Sequim

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in Blog, Restaurants | 0 comments

Recommended Restaurants in Sunny Sequim

The past few weeks we’ve taken up restaurant hopping to see which restaurants in the Sequim area seemed to have the best meals, service, and overall appeal. Here’s the list of restaurants we’ve hit so far.

 

 

 

Alder Wood Bistro – Amazing New American cuisine.

139 W. Alder St, Sequim, WA 98362, (360) 683-4321

 

Blondie’s Plate – Pacific Northwest cuisine, small plates to share.

134 S 2nd Ave, Sequim, WA 98362, (360) 683-2233

 

Dockside Grill – Seafood with a water view!

2577 W Sequim Bay Rd, Sequim WA 98362, (360) 683-7510

 

Gabby’s Java – A Gourmet sandwich drive through.

471 Business Loop Park, Carlsborg, WA 98362, (360) 683-8839

 

Nourish – Authentic Farm to Table concept.

1345 S Sequim Ave, Sequim, WA 98362, (360) 797-1480

 

Old Mill Cafe – Casual, rustic dining – Prime Rib!

721 Carlsborg Rd, Sequim, WA 98362, (360) 582-1583

 

We’ll be making more rounds soon, so we can detail exactly what we loved about them. Check in with us as we take a culinary journey through the area!

A Night on Hurricane Ridge

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in Blog, Outdoor Adventures | 0 comments

A Night on Hurricane Ridge

The beautiful, clear night sky we had last night reminded me of last May, when I went up to Hurricane Ridge near midnight to catch the meteor shower that was meant to light up the sky. We brought up blankets and snacks, and of course we were not the only ones to bring telescopes and cameras. The photographer that runs Subsonic Photography joined us on our trip, and was kind enough to send me the photos he took that night.

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From the Ridge, we could see all the way across the Juan de Fuca to the lights of Victoria. Even with the Canadian city shining in the distance we could clearly see the stars, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. It felt like we could see almost to the edge of the galaxy. As we lay on our blanket and sipped our hot cocoa, we could see hints of the Aurora Borealis.

Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge itself is an amazing place to go – in the day time, it is absolutely gorgeous, and when the peaks and valleys are visible it feels like you’re in the Swiss Alps. There are plenty of wonderful hikes – from the Ridge itself, you’re a hop and a skip away from the hike to Hurricane Hill, which gives you a clear 360 degree view of the surrounding area. And at night? A prime location for a clear view of the stars, away from light pollution and surrounded by nature.

Below, we managed to capture one of the meteorites on camera. It also caught a thin, nearly transparent cloud overhead that our naked eyes completely missed – photography is amazing!

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Theater, Theater Everywhere!

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in Local Arts | 0 comments

Theater, Theater Everywhere!

Plays in Port Angeles and Sequim

The (Almost) Totally True Story of Hansel and Gretel

Where: Port Angeles Community Theater

When: July 25, 26 at 7:30 PM, July 26, 27 at 2 PM

Ticket Price: Tickets by donation

Les Miserables, by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg

Where: Sequim High School Auditorium

When: July 17-Aug 2, Thursday through Saturday at 7:00 PM, Saturday July 19th at 12:00 PM

Ticket Price: Premium: $20, Adult: $15, Senior/Children $12, Balcony $10.

Shelock Holmes: The Final Adventure

Where: OTA in Sequim

When: July 11-27, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30 PM, Sundays at 2:00 PM, special performance Thursday, 17th at 7:30 PM

Ticket Price: Adults $16, Children 16 and under $10, Pay what you can Thursday

As I may have said before, one of my favorite things about the area is the support for the arts that exists here. There’s always a plethora of events to go to or participate in. Take, for example, the many live theater productions taking place around Port Angeles and Sequim.

I had a chance last weekend to see Peninsula Family Theater’s production of “Les Miserables,” which opened for Lavender Weekend. Regardless how tragic the story of the show is, the music itself has a beauty that sticks with you, and the voices of the chorus – which, for me, has always effectively plucked the heartstrings – were beautiful to listen to.

Photo credit Jamie Scott

Photo credit Jamie Scott

Robin Hall is the director spearheading this production, and it was immediately apparent that she’s deeply invested in the quality of this production. Opening to audiences on the Sequim High School stage July 17th,  John Lorentzen accompanies her as its music director. The production also includes Lorentzen’s children, talented singers in their own right – with a bit of national fame from a while back as The Lorentzens. One might imagine that this would go to their heads, but each of the family members are incredibly friendly, approachable, and obviously pursue their craft for the love of it – that’s become clear as John Lorentzen and I have traded stories.

This production’s Madame Thernardier is played by Amanda Bacon, a professional singer (who in the past has been invited to sing the national anthem for the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field). Gavroche is played by a very precocious boy who’s grown up in the theater, and whose last appearance can’t help but hit you in the gut.

Peninsula Family Theater's Les Mis Gavroche

Peninsula Family Theater’s Les Mis is only one four or five theater companies that are active in the area, many of which have productions playing July/August. Readers Theatre Plus recently closed their production of Wild West Mikado, a cowboy take on the well-known operetta, which included among its cast members Elise Ray, an aspiring opera singer. Currently running is Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure at Olympic Theatre Arts in Sequim – which has an aria within the play that was composed by a member of the production.

PACP’s Children’s Theater was born a couple years ago, after the community – overwhelmingly supportive of the arts – demanded that a children’s theater company be created. “The (Almost) Totally True Story of Hansel and Gretel” will be their second production, the last year’s being “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”

Photo credit to PACP's Children's Theater

Photo credit to PACP’s Children’s Theater

I’m looking forward to seeing each of these shows – I invite you to do the same!