It has been over twenty five years since I sat in a white rocking chair on the front porch of a charming home, turned gift shop, in Savannah, Georgia. I'd just discovered the original Silver Palate and couldn't stop marveling at the innovative ideas and recipes that were contained within. Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukens had me hooked!
We'd heard about the Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, MI. The innkeepers are none other than Julee Rosso and her husband, Bill. It has been on our list of places to visit for years. Our good friends paid the Inn a visit last month and had so many good things to say about it that we decided the time had come.
The inn is quietly nestled into a neighborhood just steps away from shops, galleries and restaurants. There is off-street private parking for guests and plenty of street parking (in October at least). A buffet breakfast, served from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., featured a number of Silver Palate recipes. There is coffee and tea available all day in the library. Too, there are sweets. Always the S.P. chocolate chip cookies and an additional daily surprise. From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., an array of appetizers are served along with wine. We found it especially nice as we had good visits with other guests during this time.
The gardens surrounding the lovely old white clapboard home were still in colorful bloom when we arrived last week. Trees were dressed in full-fall color all around town. A gentle wind sent leaves skittering along the sidewalks as we visited galleries and gift shops.
Oval Beach provides a beautiful vista of Lake Michigan. It was a bit too cold to even think about a toe in the water or a stroll along the shore.
We came upon this charming little scene in a park at Lake Kalamazoo. It housed the public "necessaries".
Day one of our visit was just about perfect. Day two, I awoke in the middle of the night to what sounded like sleet or snow against our bedroom window. Nothing could have enticed me to leave our warm featherbed to check it out though. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee did get me out of bed--well, it got me to get Andrew out of bed to bring us a cup in our room. It was then I threw open the shutters (really) and saw a winter wonderland in the garden.
We were certainly grateful for the roaring fire in the living room where we sipped our second cup of coffee and waited for breakfast to be served. We also plotted our day in case we could get out and about. By the time we'd finished a delicious buffet and visited with several other guests, the snow had melted and we decided to carry on with our plans. There are so many delightful areas to visit that we just started out with a thought to stop at whatever looked interesting. Then it rained. Then it sleeted. Then it snowed. Then it repeated all once again. It wasn't cold enough for icing of pavement so we decided to put up our hoods and, again, carry on.
Hot tea was in order when we got back to the Inn. I was delighted to find hot ginger tea. It was a delicious infusion of ginger in hot water and a bit of brown sugar.
I've attempted to duplicate it at home. Thinking honey would be better, I opted for that as a sweetener. The second time, I used the brown sugar and liked the taste a bit better. Disclaimer: the photo of the tea is not at the Wickwood Inn but taken here at home.
Ginger Tea inspired by the Wickwood Inn
1 knob of ginger, about four inches, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups of water
1 Tbsp brown sugar or honey (more, or less, to your taste)
1. Place the ginger and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and steep about 20 minutes.
2. Stir in the sweetener.
3. Enjoy right away or refrigerate and reheat when desired.
With all the weather forces at work, we were happy to be settled in our comfortable and quiet room. Summer in Santorini seemed a warm and appropriate name. There is no television, telephone or alarm clock in the rooms. There was a CD player and, forewarned, we brought some of our favorite music. We also brought our current reads.
Thanks to the inn keepers who anticipated and saw to our every need--at times even before we knew we needed anything!!