December 25th, 2010 by Jim Beazley
Born a runt with a useless right paw she could have been doomed at birth. Another breeder might have buried this imperfect puppy. But not Gary Miller. He had a heart which could see perfection takes many forms.
So this crippled runt was offered to us. And we too saw a puppy not a problem. We named her Autumn for her beautiful fall coat, but quickly shortened it to “Tummy” because she loved to have her tummy rubbed.
But at the Beazley House she was all business. Tummy’s business was retrieving, and she took it seriously. She couldn’t just walk so she chose to run. As a three legged dog she wasn’t just special, she was amazing.
Guest’s concerned “awwwws” quickly turned to awe, as she leaped, ran and scrambled for balls. We cautioned, “she’ll retrieve until YOUR arm falls off, before she’ll quit.”
She had a perfect role model in her “big sister” Sissy, our first Golden.
She did anything Sissy could do; she knew no better. Sissy could jump into the car, Tummy learned. Sissy could run like the wind; it was a breeze for Tummy. Sissy climbed hills like a rock hound, Tummy was a trooper.
But while Sissy was a Golden Retriever, Tummy was a RETRIEVER. Sissy chased squirrels, but Tummy was all about the ART of retrieving. She never changed; rubbed her poor little crippled foot raw, no matter, it grew tough. And she used her little clubbed foot as a tool to knock down the balls when necessary.
And she wouldn’t quit. She might rest a bit as she got older, but “quit” wasn’t in her.
Even when she stopped eating just after this Thanksgiving, she didn’t stop chasing balls. Nor did she stop going to work. She’d skip breakfast, but she wasn’t going to miss “Let’s go to work!”
We tried everything to get her to get back on her feed, but she knew better. After all there was the “new kid” Pumpkin to train. And Corgi pups aren’t born retrievers, they have to be taught.
Tummy used every bit of her energy and patience to prepare Pumpkin for her role as the Beazley House canine companion. She endured pulled ears, milk teeth and inattention with a mother’s patience. She knew she didn’t have much time.
We didn’t. She hid it well, stringing us along with eating bits here and there. Sleeping in these last mornings only so she could rebound in the afternoon and playing full on in our den with the puppy at night.
Just two days ago she finally couldn’t go on: she couldn’t even stand up. Oh, she’d bat a ball into submission if thrown to her, grab it and await another, but she couldn’t stand. Just retrieve.
A trip to the hated Vet’s office confirmed the terminal cancer so many of her litter mates died from. They re-hydrated her, gave her something for her nausea and the gift of a goodbye evening with her family.
For a couple of precious hours she could stand again and catch a ball and take a hug while licking away a twelve year old’s tears. She played with the puppy and then laid down for one last night at home. Their paws touched as they stretched out on the den’s floor.
The next morning it was off to work to say goodbye to her Beazley House family. She lay like a pampered princess as innkeepers, housekeepers and friends bid her a tearful farewell.
Her last vision was our tear-streaked faces as we cradled her and Doctor Mary sent her on her way to a place where her Sissy would show her where lost balls go and all dogs are perfect like her.
We were left to go back to a place of empty spots where there should be a Golden Girl but now just has abandoned tennis balls waiting to be retrieved.
Pumpkin now waits to show guests all she learned from the best Retriever this side of Tennis Ball heaven.
December 22nd, 2010 by Carol Beazley
With winter arriving and fall just leaving I thought it still appropriate to share our popular Ratatouille recipe. This is a side dish we came up with when zucchini was coming out of our ears and we had an abundance of tomatoes! It was met with such enthusiasm we kept it on the roster of menus since the ingredients are easily found at any time of year.
In a medium sauté pan, soften the onions and peppers until the onion is translucent. Add the diced tomatoes and zucchini. Season to taste with Mrs. Dash and salt and pepper. Cook over medium to low heat until vegetables are soft. Just before serving, sprinkle with feta cheese.
Vegetables can be prepared, marinated & refrigerated over night. Eggplant is an optional addition.
December 1st, 2010 by Jim Beazley
I’m writing this on December Eve..that’s right, November 30th.
In the past I looked forward to “The Holidays” about as much as Scrooge.
This year will be different. I’m getting an early start. The family was fully involved in Napa’s Christmas Parade two days after Thanksgiving. Pheenix drove our decorated PT Cruiser as Spencer tossed out candy. (That lasted about 1 block!) Sidney manned the ’47 Packard, daughter Brooke accompanied Carol and me walking the Historic Inns of Napa banner. And Daryl took pictures.
Tonight I’ll watch the George C. Scott version of the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” and drink good wine. I’ll cry and then I’ll watch Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life.” That should do it.
If it doesn’t, getting ready for the 6th annual Napa B&B Holiday Tour and Taste on Saturday December 4th will slap me into the spirit. There are lights to string, a tree to build, decorations to resurrect and cookies to bake.
With 12 of Napa’s finest B&Bs en holiday regalia, we will kick off the season featuring wine from John Anthony Vineyards and Napa Cellars; tasty bites from Pearl Restaurant and Grace’s Table; and divine chocolate truffles from Anette’s Chocolate Factory. Francesca Fanelli (harp), Sonia & Lenny Murphy (guitar & vocals) will provide the carols to get the spirits flying.
If you haven’t bought tickets definitely plan for next year…because over 350 others have once again made this charity event a sellout.
So why am I telling you about an event that’s sold out? To offer hope for the rest of your Christmas. Because even if you’ve missed the Holiday Tour, there’s still LOTS of ways you can show your loved ones you care.
Take our Gift Certificates (please!) You decide the amount we issue the good news. We’ll even throw in a $50 gift card for YOU to use for your next visit.
Don’t feel THAT generous? Buy a set of our super sheets for YOURSELF! At just $150 for Queen size and $160 king we’ll help relieve any guilt by including a $50 gift card to pass on to loved ones. Sleep on THAT!
It’s already freezing here at night. And with this Winter predicted to bring record cold, what better place to be than a cozy Beazley House room with your own fireplace and hot tub? Our December rates are HOT! Right now they’re nearly 40% off our regular rates.
And in December and January you’ll find there’s no waiting in the tasting rooms, nor for that choice table right by the fire at our finest restaurants. And they practically wipe your chin. (Okay. Probably not. But they will lay the napkin right in your lap!).
Just like home, but with better food. Winter never felt so welcoming!
November 9th, 2010 by Jim Beazley
They say you can see a New England Fall from outer space. But if you come to the Napa Valley in November you won’t have to go that far. And with temperatures in the upper 60s it’s downright balmy by comparison.
Early rains in October and the first Sunday of November have greened up our hills, turning California gold into Irish green. But the real show is in Napa’s vineyards.Whether they’re on hillsides or the valley’s floor the vineyards are a rich tapestry of yellows, oranges and reds.
Used to be we’d say they “cut the phone lines and blocked the roads” when November came…that’s how abrupt the High tourist season would end. With Napa’s rebirth as the valley’s food and Wine capital, things are changing.
On the Napa River, “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto continues to wow his many followers at his new, high-end Morimoto Napa with his East-Meets-West combinations and imaginative sushi. Steven Barber, of Napa’s Barbers-Q, has opened his new restaurant Fish Story to rave reviews. And Tyler Florence, a TV celebrity who has penned five cookbooks, is planning a rotisserie restaurant to fill out the new 3rd Street Waterfront complex on the new Napa Riverwalk.
Local’s favorite Winter dishes and comfort foods–fresh vegetable soups, steaming mussels and simmering stews–are migrating back onto the menus at long established Napa eateries. Chef Marcos’ award-winning chili is back at Celadon. Served with freshly baked cornbread made with jalapeno and sweet corn and a mixed green salad, it is only available at lunch. At night Celadon’s signature mussels are sure to warm more than just your heart.
The word’s gotten out how beautiful the Napa Valley is in November. It’s like high season but without the crowds, and with the color turned up to maximum instead!
The harvest hurry is over and vintners are taking a hint from their wines resting on their lees and refocusing on their guests. Harvest celebrations abound as yet another Napa Valley vintage is history.
Beazley House guests enjoy our famous Sherry and cookies by the glow of the fire in the mansion’s living room. Soon it will be hot mulled wine time.
November weather, while occasionally wet, is never New England cold. And the rain has the good taste to not outlast its welcome. A Pacific storm will blow in and out before you can recall its name; leaving much faster than distant relatives.
After all, we didn’t get the nick name “Sunny California” just for our smiles!
October 19th, 2010 by Carol Beazley
I made three chocolate cakes last week… a treat that can be ordered by our guests to enjoy while staying here with us or to take home. So I thought it time to share the recipe!
This recipe is simply decadent. No worries about making it heart healthy. It is just meant to be enjoyed!!
For the cake you’ll need:
For the Decadent Frosting you’ll need:
In large mixing bowl combine the melted chocolate and butter (oil) (mix well until smooth) then add sifted cocoa, sugar, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Add baking powder, baking soda & sifted flour, a little at a time mixing thoroughly after each addition. Lastly add boiling water and mix well until smooth. This recipe makes one large or two small bundt cakes. Bake at 350º (F) for 15 minutes; reduce to 325º until done (about 35-40 minutes).
Mix all ingredients together, blending until smooth. If too thick, heat in microwave until pour able. This will frost one large or two small bundt cakes.
October 4th, 2010 by Jim Beazley
It was harvest 1981, October 1st. Our mentors, Jack and Essie Doty–owners of Chalet Bernensis, were gone; not just out of town, but out of the COUNTRY!
They had taught us all we knew about innkeeping and then gave us the best possible send off: it was up to us: we could fly or flop. The Dotys, Napa Valley’s second B&B owners, were the reason we had become innkeepers.
It was an easy choice for us really…Carol had been a head nurse and I a photojournalist. We lived in Reno where I had been raised. We were both burned out of our careers and wanted a change.
Our first harvest was a total sensory experience.
The vines turn from green to gold to red, responding to the shorter Autumn days. The sun’s angle adds drama and an overall golden hue to mornings and late afternoons.
Workers crowd the vineyards picking the rapidly ripening fruit. The excitement is contagious as the fruit is rushed to the wineries. The crush has literally begun.
The fall air is pungent with the scent of fermenting grape juice and the stems and seeds which are spread in the newly harvested vineyards.
We were nearly overwhelmed with new guests and the experience of an entire community caught up in bringing in the harvest.
It was a time of promise of fine things to come, a memorable vintage for the Napa Valley and the beginning of a 30 year career of hosting happy guests for new innkeepers Carol and Jim Beazley.
September 21st, 2010 by Jim Beazley
What do you get when you add a particularly wet Spring to the coolest Summer in memory?
One of the latest Napa Valley Grape Harvests in history.
But our Autumn has started EARLY! The Grapes may not be turning, but the leaves sure are.
Mother Nature sure has a sense of humor, doesn’t she?
As innkeepers Carol and I don’t mind the cooler weather. Our air conditioning bills are down and our guests enjoy the reprieve from sweltering weather at home in the REST of the Nation.
Unlike grapes, we humans can layer in cool weather. About the best the vintners can do is cut back the vine’s canopy to let in more sunlight and drop their unripenning fruit.
It’s reminded Carol (a farmer’s daughter) and me how grateful we are NOT to be farmers.
The 2010 Vintage would have been a challenge without Mother Nature messing with the weather. The recession has meant fewer migrant workers to do the heavy labor and fewer guests to drink the wine which fuels the engine of our local economy.
We are seeing a change, though.
The weather this coming weekend is supposed to be hot which will spike the sugar levels pushing the grapes to harvest-ready.
And the funny thing about wine grapes, the more they are stressed and miss-treated by M.Nature, the better wine they become.
So 2010 may have been a tough year for us humans, but a great vintage for Napa Valley.
I’ll drink to that!
IT’S NOT NICE TO CRITICIZE MOTHER NATURE!
No sooner did I post this blog then Ms. Nature, as she prefers to be called, having read it IMMEDIATELY TURNED UP THE HEAT! Like WAY UP!
We’ve had FIVE full days in the 90s and even a 100+.
Okay, so NOW the grapes are getting ripe! Q U I C K L Y!!!!
Sorry Mother Nature.
Now please turn the heat down.
August 25th, 2010 by Jim Beazley
Ever notice how “WE the people” know stuff long before the news media?
Take Napa’s renaissance for example.
Our Beazley House guests have certainly noticed the many changes to our little town over the last couple of years. New wine tasting rooms have blossomed, new restaurants have popped open and new entertainment venues have thrilled audiences after years of darkened stages.
We’ve been saying it for years, now: the town of Napa has finally joined the rest of the Napa Valley as a world class destination. Now the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle are saying it too!
“Downtown Napa has become a destination in itself,” the Times reporter gushed. “Today, thanks to the new…thriving restaurants and tasting rooms and the much-heralded reopening of a classic Art Deco theater, a roughly six-square-block area has re-established itself as the West End,” which marks a bold new chapter for downtown Napa.
You, dear guests, have already been enjoying this new scene…for weeks now. You’ve strolled down the street from the Beazley House, our reservation cards in hand, to enjoy the Norman Rose Tavern, Grace’s Table, and Oenotri.
You’ve taken in live, big name entertainment at the restored Uptown Theater and our lovely Napa Valley Opera House.You’ve even learned to Salsa on a Saturday night at Ceja vineyards tasting room.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Food and Wine section raved that “Napa has come into its own.”But you know that too! After all, YOU’VE been here enjoying the 20 wine tasting rooms and award winning restaurants for years now. And there’s MORE !
Carol and I enjoyed her birthday dinner at the new Morimoto Napa with our friends Keiko and Arthur Russo. Iron chef Morimoto’s new digs are on the Napa River and very popular. The cuisine was “East meets West” with an emphasis on Asian spices perfected by Morimoto. The tastes were superb, the prices reflected the value…something rare these days.
A new wine tasting room has opened just three blocks from the inn named after its owner JOHN ANTHONY Truchard. Not only do they have fantastic Syrah and Cabernet but they stay open until 2 a.m. with small plates to match their vino. You may be greeted by the lovely Helen Buehler who actually came to pour at the Beazley House last Thursday. She’ll be back.
Wine, women and song.
Napa now has it all!
August 25th, 2010 by Carol Beazley
With summer’s bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits I would like to share one of our most popular savory Flan recipes. You would never believe it by tasting our delicious flans that I have always tried to prepare and serve dishes that are healthier than the average breakfast recipe. Instead of heavy cream we use whole plain yogurt. Instead of high fat cheeses we try to use reduced fat or lower fat cheeses such as Italian blend. This summer recipe features fresh tomatoes and basil, however, a winter variation is also popular.
In a blender, whirl together:
In 10″ pie plate or flan plate sprayed with vegetable spray, evenly distribute:
Pour blended egg mixture over cheeses then lightly sprinkle with Mrs. Dash garlic herbs. Distribute fresh cherry or roma tomato slices and fresh coarsely chopped basil on top.
For our winter variation add:
Bake in a pre heated 350º F oven for 45-60 minutes or until mixture is set.