My Travels

My Travels

Hello, everyone!

Greetings from Phi Phi Islands in Thailand!

I thought I would give an update on my travels if you are interested.

I am finishing up on my third month of travel (halfway, no way!), and each day I have a life-changing experience. From the top of the highest peak in the German Alp to the Indian Ocean to amazing cities to rural areas across the global, I can’t help being sad that I only have three more months of experiences similar to these.

Highlights

It is difficult to chose experiences and say these are the “best” when there are so many best experiences. Given that, let’s call the experiences below “highlights” instead of best. I am shining a light on meaningful experiences that are at the forefront of my memory at this moment. Let’s go!

Eating Amazing Food

I have had so many exquisite dishes everywhere I have gone. I have to say, tho, Thailand’s food beats all other countries, including Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia, and England. I in fact have not had a bad meal in Thailand where I have been for three weeks! My favorite has been yellow curry with extra tofu! Addictive.

I can honestly say, however, that I have not had a better breakfast than what we serve at Northfield Inn. I am trying but no luck yet. (pathetic plug but true)

Being Adventurous

I am normally not an adventurous kind of guy. My adventure in Minnesota is cleaning the inn’s water fountain in front of the property. That has all changed on this trip. I have climbed the bell tower at the Church of St. Peter just to experience the ringing of the bells as I looked over Munich, paddle boated in the Indian Ocean, visited/climbed Zugspitze which is the highest peak in Germany, visited seven castles and spent the night in two, gasped at Prague during sunrise, watched countless sea and ocean sunsets in over three countries and four islands, swam under waterfalls that are 100 feet in height, and floated on a raft between mountains to listen to the sounds of a trumpet and echo off the mountain walls. There are so many other adventures I have taken. I will write a blog post about those experiences later.

Meeting People

By far, the best experiences have been meeting local people during my stays. I have found that where ever I go, people have a sense of pride and honor for their neighborhood, providence, country, and region of the world. They love to share local food, textiles, drinks, and festivals. Many have opened their doors to their homes and communities to me like I have never experienced before. I have laughed, cried, ate, drank, and played with children of all ages. These people have captured my heart and restored who I am at my core being. I am most grateful and humbled for these experiences above all.

Experiencing the Arts

I have visited some of the most famous museums, concert halls, and theaters in London, Prague, Austria, Munich, and Bangkok on this trip so far. All have been awe-inspiring. My favorite experiences, however, have been the local festivals, markets, small shops, and historical sites. This is where I have experienced cultural at its best. From Oktoberfest in Germany to Loy Krathong on the Phi Phi Islands and everywhere in between, I will never forget these local festivals.

Taking Photos

Those of you who know me know my love for photography. I have been in heaven since September 4 when I started this journey. I believe the best photography tells a story by capturing a significant moment in time. I have taken some mighty good photos the last three months! You can visit my travel photography portfolio to view over a 1000 photos I have taken. Here are a few of my favorites:

Please stay tuned, I will write at least one more post before my trip ends — No!

Best regards,

Andy

Owner of Northfield Inn

Holiday Dessert Cooking Class

Here ye, Here ye!!

I have a private cooking class that has one suite available and opening up for one lucky person or couple. The class is the weekend of December 7th. the cost is $419 and includes two nights with a fabulous breakfast each morning. Saturday morning you are on your own to explore our wonderful downtown retail shops which will feature a 10% discount at the Kitchen Spoon. Saturday afternoon we will hunker down with Chef Gwen Anderson to try our hands with a Buche de Noel with chocolate ganache and lemon, Holiday Cheesecake and Cranberry pecan Swirls. Saturday night I will have my famous chili, wine , salad, and focaccia. Enjoy hanging around with everyone with good conversations and fires in both fireplaces., Bring a book or your knitting.

Let me know as soon as possible. It is first come first serve. My apologies to everyone who won’t get into the class….Look for a special weekend in January featuring detox cleansing, yoga and relaxation. We will go vegetarian that weekend, vegan available.

#stayinNorthfield #northfieldhotel #onlyinMN #visitnorthfield

Paint

Paint

It has been a few weeks since my last blog. Forgive me but a lot has happened since the middle of September.

First, my son Nate was married at the Inn. It was a beautiful weekend and confirmed what I had suspected since I arrive here. The Northfield Inn is a very special place. The wedding weekend (less than 50 people) was a very intimate and meaningful event. My daughter-in-law’s family stayed here while all of the out of owners hung out for a variety of events. Friday there was a pizza party, Saturday morning bagels and coffee while everyone got ready, flowers were put together and there was just all around socializing. The ceremony took place the lawn. It was chilly, 52 degrees but no one seemed to mind. We had several tornadoes the week before so we took a neighbor’s cut up tree and decorated the lawn with logs and simple mums. Okay, they were huge mums, if you go to Costco, you know what I mean… The food was casual but delicious,. Everyone hung around the Inn. Dancing on the stamped concrete patio, fire pit in the driveway and just chatting around the fireplaces inside. Of course, Sunday morning we had bagels from Tandem Bagels, a couple of my delicious breakfast casseroles (savory and sweet) and fruit, while everyone got ready to take off to locations around the country.

As soon as I have photos I will post them. If you think the Inn might be a good place to hold your special event, let me know. The Inn cold be yours for a weekend to have an combination of events.

At least once a week I am asked what color paint we have on our walls. It is Restoration Hardware’s Silver Sage. When the paint was selected, the guys just took a paint chip and had it matched at Sherwin Williams. But DON’T get the Sherwin Williams Silver Sage. It is the wrong color. My neighbor made that mistake. In case are you want to know the trim is Sherwin Williams’ Dove White (and not White Dove).

It is not my intention to brag about the cookie recipe in my last blog but I had a chance to do something slightly different last time I made them. My friend Heather went to the East Coast to attend Elton John’s last tour concert (lucky!!) and brought me back a Bernie Sander’s Candy bar. it was dark chocolate with a “liberal dose of sea salt” :). I grated that bar into my recipe and OMG it was so delicious…

Cookies

Cookies

We have had a great couple of weeks welcoming back our students from St. Olaf and Carleton. First came the athletes, golfers, volleyball players and football, then the freshman excited and nervous about starting their next life phase.

The Defeat of Jesse James Day brought in guests excited about the reenactment and eager to have “fair” food without the fair crowd. What beautiful weather we had the entire weekend! The Northfield Inn is always an excellent place to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays and we have seen quite a few guests doing just that.

As promised, I wanted to share some recipes. The first is a recipe that was shared with me by a psychiatrist. Okay, so the story is my best friend from college Debbie and I decided to celebrate our fortieth birthdays with a weekend at a rustic spa in Central Illinois On Saturday night a psychiatrist spent the evening helping us get in touch with our “left’ brain and the next morning at breakfast she decided to share her cookie recipe. Since then, it has been my go-to cookie recipe. Over the years I have added peanut butter ships, butterscotch and Heath bar crunch. I hope you enjoy the recipe. If you don’t feel like baking just spend a few days with us here at the Inn.

Northfield Inn Chocolate Chip Cookies:

 

Adapted from Mrs. Field Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

2 C. Sugar

2 C. Brown sugar

2 C Butter (room temperature)  {I have substituted butter flavored Crisco for a non-dairy version and it is still tasty}

 

Mix thoroughly, 2-5 minutes (I like it fluffy)

 

Add 5 large eggs, 1 ½ T vanilla, ¼ C water, beat until mixed.

 

Dry ingredients mix in a separate bowl (no I really don’t do this I just add the small ingredients and flour right into the “liquid”):

 

1 t salt

1T plus t tsp each baking soda and baking powder

4 C flour (sometimes I sub in 1-2 C whole wheat flour to add a little nuttiness)

 

Mix until just incorporated (don’t over mix or you get a tough cookie and sometimes we like our people like that but not cookies)

 

This is where I change the recipe from the original.

 

6 C oatmeal (you can pulverize to make oat flour and I used to when I was a perfectionist but you know, it really doesn’t matter…)

 

Add and then fold in 3 C. good chocolate chips (Nestle’s or Kirkland brand are very good) and 3 C chopped walnuts.  

 

Bake at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes.  I put them in for 3 minutes 37 seconds and turn the pan and bake for another 3 minutes and 37 seconds.  I know that sounds crazy but there is a thin lie between done and too brown…

 

So this makes a million cookies (about 14 dozen) so I get tired of making them.  (After about 8 dozen cookies are baked, I shove the rest of the batter in a glass bowl and freeze to bake at a future time.)  Of course, when I am done baking I freeze the cookies and bring them out as needed.  

 

I have tried cutting this recipe in half and it never turns out well….

 

 

 

My First Blog

My First Blog

As a new chapter at the Northfield Inn begins, I need to thank my friend and "partner" owner Andy Howe for his help and inspiration.  It was Andy's vision that made the Northfield Inn the preeminent Northfield destination it is today.  My goal is to carry on in his footsteps.  In a few days Andy will be leaving the Inn and embarking on a life changing six month trip around the world.  I wish him a wonderful and fulfilling trip!!

I have been encourage by many friends and guests to put together a cookbook.  Frankly, I am not so egotistical that my simple recipes would be interesting enough to comprise an entire book.  But I will add recipes on this blog.  Look for some of my favorites in the coming days and weeks.  Along with the recipes I will try to add some interesting details about local goings on, new venues and just plain old ideas you might find helpful!!

Northfield Inn Gardens

Northfield Inn Gardens

New Breakfast Menu

New Breakfast Menu

It's been awhile since I posted a blog, so it's about time! What better blog post than to tell you about our new breakfast menu! If you watch our Facebook page, you know much of this.

Supporting the local community has always been part of our mission and goals at Northfield Inn. We decided then to change our menu so that we could use more fresh, delicious, and local foods that are in season. This is a win-win for both the community and our guests. The best way we feel we can accomplish this is by preparing and serving gourmet breakfast sandwiches! 

We have been "testing" this idea and menu for the past week with our guests. They all loved the sandwiches! They used words, like "phenomenal," "excellent," "delicious," and "scrumptious!" Below are five sandwiches we have tried. We are perfecting one more, Egg in a Hole Benedict. Stay tuned for more info!

You can also watch our Facebook page as we continue our quest to have the best B&B for our guests! 

Tested and Approved Sandwiches

BLT+

BLT+

English muffin with stone ground Dijon mustard, bacon, lettuce, tomato, two oven baked eggs, avocado, and Gorgonzola crumples. 

Ham-licious

Ham-licious

A crispy Ciabatta bread with honey mustard spread, baked ham, smoked Gouda, and two oven-baked eggs with with cream.

Herb Sensation

Herb Sensation

Ciabatta bread with whole grain mustard, spring lettuce with lemon balm, two baked eggs, Asiago crumbles, asparagus with thyme and lemon zest, cherry tomatoes with oregano, and thick cut bacon (optional).

Moz-zilla!

Moz-zilla!

Crispy English muffin, spring lettuce, layers of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, and topped with oven-baked, runny eggs. 

Sliders

Sliders

A simple, soft bun, baked egg with cream, herbs, and Gouda cheese wrapped in bacon

Mornings at Northfield Inn

Mornings at Northfield Inn

6:30 a.m.

Coffee, tea, orange juice, water, fruit, yogurt, and english muffins are provided in the butler's pantry to start a healthy day!

6:30 a.m. until Breakfast

After grabbing starters from the butler's pantry, hang out in the living room while listening to some light jazz and read the paper, or stay in your suite to sleep a little longer, or take a long hot shower.

 

8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Enjoy our chef-designed breakfast. You tell us what time you want to eat, and we will bring it to you in the dining room or your suite. 

After breakfast, let us help you plan your day!

Breakfast Starters

Breakfast Starters

New at Northfield Inn!

Grab a coffee, tea, juice, or water and a healthy snack while we cook your breakfast. We offer these breakfast starters at no additional cost to our guests.

Before and After

Before and After

We bought the property in October 2015 with the intent to open a bed and breakfast. We thought it would be fun to show photos of some of the rooms before and after the renovation. We open January 21, 2017, so come check us out!

Home: October 2015

Before: Foyer

Before: Living Room

Before: Dining Room

Before: Kitchen

Before: Secondary Kitchen

Before: Bedroom One

Before: Bedroom Two

Before: Bedroom Three

Before: Spiral Stairs Entry

 

Home: December 2016

After: Foyer

After: Living Room

After: Dining Room

After: Kitchen

After: Butler's Pantry

After: Suite One

After: Suite Two

After: Suite Three

After: Laundry Room

After: Suite Four (Added as an Addition)

Our Story

Our Story

We have completed the Northfield Inn's promo booklet, Our Story, which provides history and amenities of the property and Inn. Feel free to download and share!

Holiday Window Scenes

Holiday Window Scenes

If you haven't seen the holiday window scenes at the shops in Northfield, it's worth a trip! Here are just a few from this year's Winter Walk. 

Our Ecological Footprint

Our Ecological Footprint

One of our guiding principles is to reduce our ecological footprint constantly and consistently. When we open in January, here are a few ways we will be living this principle: 

Throughout Home

  • Two new efficiency central air units (one upstairs and one downstairs)
  • New efficient furnace
  • LED bulbs in interior and exterior of home
  • Use of green-sealed cleaning products
  • Bathroom and bedroom linens washed only between guest stays (unless guests ask during their stay)
  • Recycle or donate plastics and aluminum 

Each Suite

  • Wireless lights that can be turned off from smart phone
  • Ceiling fan in each bedroom
  • Extra blankets
  • Trash and recycle containers
  • All new, efficient water-flow, rain shower heads in each bathroom
  • Friendly reminders how to reduce water consumption

Food and Nature Ecology

  • Buy locally grown
  • Vegetable garden on property
  • Rain garden on property
  • Community walking, sitting garden on property
  • Composts egg shells, coffee grounds, fruits, and vegetables
  • No-kill but repel pests

Future Transportation Partnerships

  • EcoTrans 
  • Northfield Bus Lines

A Few Photos

A Few Photos

As we get ready to open next month, I thought it would be fun to post some photos of the details of the Inn. Here are a few to get started! 

Our new sign and matching lamp post.

Games

Games

 

During your stay, grab a game from our game box. Below is a list of some of the games you can choose. 

  • 5 Second Rule
  • Apples to Apples
  • Bananagrams
  • Cards
  • Checkers
  • Chess
  • Clue
  • Code Names
  • Connect Four
  • Dominoes
  • Michigan Rummy 
  • Monopoly
  • Outburst
  • Over Ten Puzzles
  • Parcheesi
  • Payday
  • Pit
  • PlayStation 4 with Games
  • Scattergories
  • Scrabble
  • Sorry
  • Speak Out
  • Telestrations
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Yahtzee

Don't see a game you like? Let us know! We will do our best to find it and have it waiting for you upon your visit. 

Winter Walk

Winter Walk

Coming to Northfield for the Winter Walk on December 8, 2016? Consider staying at Northfield Inn!

We currently have availability for the event. 

Mention you saw this ad on Facebook and get 25% off your stay!

Coffee Equipment

Coffee Equipment

We will have hot coffee waiting for you from breakfast through happy hour each day of your stay. If you wish to make your own coffee, however, here is a list of tools we have ready for you:

Poor Over Single Filter

Coffee Bean Scale

Manual Bean Grinder

Chemex

Timer

Mug

Goose Neck Kettle

Percolator 

Scoop

French Press

Chemex Paper Filters

Spoon

Breakfast at the Inn: MAKE YOUR OWN APPLE BAKE

Breakfast at the Inn: MAKE YOUR OWN APPLE BAKE

Granola, cranberries, and almonds

Raisins, cranberries, yogurt, and syrup

Yogurt, cinnamon, and raisins

We have created another item you will find on our menu at Northfield Inn. We decided to bake apples filled with raisins, brown sugar, and butter. We then experimented with different topics, and we liked them all! That's when we decided to let our guests create their own by choosing the toppings. Here are a few of the toppings you can choose:

  • Raisins
  • Almonds
  • Yogurt
  • Whipped Cream
  • Cinnamon
  •  Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Granola
  • Apple crisps
  • Cranberries
  • ...and more.

 

Breakfast at the Inn: COFFEE CAKE MUFFINS

Breakfast at the Inn: COFFEE CAKE MUFFINS

Every breakfast at the Inn will feature a muffin as a side dish. Today we experimented with a recipe, Coffee Cake Muffins, from Damn Delicious. We followed the recipe as written because it is oh, so good but with one exception: we made our muffins Texas style -- BIG! These muffins are great as a side dish or entree and served with coffee, our many teas, milk, fresh orange juice, or water. 

We hope you are enjoying our blog. Keep following us as we build a great menu for our guests before we open on November 1, 2016.

Breakfast at the Inn: TRADITIONAL MIDWEST BREAKFAST

Breakfast at the Inn: TRADITIONAL MIDWEST BREAKFAST

Another option on the menu at Northfield Inn will be the more traditional breakfast items found in the Midwest. All the items are locally grown and organic. We start with baby round potatoes roasted in rosemary, sea salt, and coarse pepper. The eggs are from free-range hens and are prepared with salt and pepper. The bacon is from a sustainable farm down the road and is prepared with honey and coarse pepper. The toast is bread from a local bakery and topped with rosemary butter.

As with all of our breakfast entrees, you can also choose any of the following:

  • Greek yogurt cup with oats, nuts, fruit, and drizzled with honey
  • Cottage cheese
  • Muffin 
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Milk
  • Apple or orange juice
  • Water