The Colors of Spring

SpringWe’ve been plotting and potting and preparing and planting throughout the last several weeks, eager to get the dark browns and greys out of our visual colour palette all the while searching for signs of life. In that way, the green house is the most promising place to be during the cruelest months…especially when the skies open up with torrential April showers. That’s when the green house roof plays a keyboard of percussive sounds all the while protecting plant and animal kingdom from the ravages of high winds and possibly hail. Now in this safe space there is evidence of somethings to eat and somethings to see. At this moment, the window box plantings are basking in warmth and light, and all manner of lettuces and herbs and greens and micro greens are developing their unique flavours each day… reassuring signs that spring can shove winter offstage every time.

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So You Want To Be An Innkeeper

Spring GardenHere is a rare career opportunity. Are you the right candidate?

Position:
Assistant Innkeeper
Seasonal:
Mid-June until late-September, 2017
Compensation:
Weekly salary pegged to experience & qualifications
Room and Partial Board
Earned Income Gratuities

This is a job for a highly motivated professional considering a career as an owner/operator of a fine intimate country inn serving a discriminating clientele. Growth & learning opportunities will include practicing the fine art of guest services, earned income development, marketing strategies, bar and light kitchen duties. Preference will be given to candidates who are either mature in years or temperament. The position is intended for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit who wants to learn about being an owner, not an earner.

Parlor at Kingsbrae ArmsCandidate must be self-paced and willing to work to client demand. Work routines are responsive to the demands of guest needs on weekdays after business hours and all day weekends. Personable & gracious guest relations during these on-call hours include but are not limited to welcome & accueil, check-ins, guest room prep, development of welcome & farewell gift bags, concierge planning, preparing and serving breakfast. Candidate will have an opportunity to propose & develop streams of earned income for the inn incorporating such services as wine sales, bartending, light meal preparation for late arrivals and others. A pleasant demeanour through periods of calm and chaos is a must.

The right individual must be capable of performing a variety of duties at the front desk, in housekeeping & kitchen—multi-tasking with the ability to prioritize & complete each challenge with excellence; shouldering responsibility for the smooth operation of a charming inn; and adding value to the stays of each and every guest.

Late Arrival MealThis position requires a thorough knowledge and practice of wine service, bar tending, light meal prep, inventory control, maintenance of public areas, and all guest needs from check-in to checkout.

The successful candidate will possess a keen sense of detail, order, reliability, responsibility, and initiative. Superior appearance, grooming and manners are expected; excellent spoken and written English—bi-lingual French preferred. Competent computer skills, a laptop, and local cell phone are all job requirements as important as a suitable wardrobe. Your own vehicle is desirable since there is no public transportation in the area.

Please send CV, photo and cover letter detailing why this position is right for you to:

Pamela Rigby, Innkeeper & Reservation Manager
reservations@kingsbrae.com

Kingsbrae Foyer

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Throwback in Time

Glorious GardensYears back when this historic property was rescued from the passage of time, tangles of brambles & overgrown weeds, the original garden plat was discovered. The landscape design featured long perennial borders, knot garden parterres & terraced lawns for the enjoyment of the original owners at the turn of the 20th Century. Today, the garden is groomed once again and shared with our guests along with more recent additions of pergolas, fountains, herb gardens & a fanciful folly built to the proportions of Brunelleschi’s 14th C. cathedral dome in Florence. This dome has been the happy location for many garden weddings. 10-12 copyWith the passing years the garden stitches together the waxing and waning seasons of growth and respite adding another dimension to the inn’s throwback to another less hurried era.

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Suite Breakfast

One Bedroom SuiteThis leap year all throughout our 20th Anniversary Spring, we’re adding more than one extra day. We’re adding one extra perk. Book a cozy ground floor room any dates between April 8 and June 11. Or pamper yourself with a luxurious one bedroom suite. Continental BreakfastNot only will you enjoy our lowest pre-season rates, but we’ll include a delicious breakfast at no extra charge…buttery pastries, homemade jams, piping hot coffee, juice and more. Begin planning your spring days in our lovely resort town.

Area NSt. Andrews is a quiet place in spring, but always stunning surrounded by dazzling water, expansive parks, walking trails and a wealth of natural and social history.  We’ll be busy in the greenhouse and vegetable garden getting ready for the growing season. tender greensAnd just as our restaurant opens on June 11, we’ll be ready to provide tender early crops for the table. Booking is easy. Done in just four easy steps. Leap year comes but once every four years. You can start your leap year reservation here:

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You bring the wedding rings….

Here comes the brideYou bring the wedding rings, and we’ll provide the estate.

For the occasion of a lifetime, our entire one-acre estate with landscaped gardens is available exclusively for your wedding. The inn has been the site of many small-scale weddings over the years. We specialize in customized events. Wedding bouquetBooking the entire inn, dining room and grounds ensures that nothing interferes with your big day. All our attention is focused on the needs of you, your wedding party and guests. We have a range of luxury double occupancy accommodations for 28 adults plus space for added family up to 42.

Wedding DinnerFor 2016 our main dining room seats up to 30 for dinner and makes a perfect venue for gathering family and friends. Chef Ciaran Tierney serves an ever-changing menu featuring the freshest ingredients in a relaxed atmosphere each evening. It’s hard to beat the seasonal nature of Kingsbrae Arms cuisine. Our kitchen works with items just picked from our garden, and sourced from land and sea. Seasonal menus feature a Wedding appetizercornucopia of flavours. Chef is always pleased to meet with you to ensure that your favourite items are on the menu. And our Maitre d’ is on hand to suggest the perfect wine pairings. Let the toasts begin!

Wedding DayIf a small-scale, intimate wedding is what you envision, then Kingsbrae Arms is perfect for you.  Buy-outs include luxurious overnight accommodations, twice-daily housekeeping, sumptuous continental breakfast each morning, exceptional made-to-order dinners, and attentive service. Send us your details. Our prime wedding season from June through September is always just around the corner and the inn does book up early.

Honeymoon & Anniversary SuiteDo you have something a bit smaller in mind? In addition to exclusive all-inclusive estate bookings, we have also hosted a number of smaller wedding ceremonies in secluded spots on the property. A favourite is on the balcony of the honeymoon suite with views of the garden below and the sea beyond. Another spot is under our garden dome.Wedding Ceremony

Whether your plans include booking the entire estate, or gathering with a small group of friends, we can offer a variety of options. Let us consult with you to see if we can make your dream wedding come true at Kingsbrae Arms.

 

 

 

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What’s Gonna Be Growing

The winds may be howling and the snow may blow for several more weeks, but vegetable & produce seeds are in hand and plans for our 20th Anniversary Season garden are fully underway. We stare at this list and imagine the colors that will be treating our eyes when the inevitable change of season turns to spring. Then it’s just a daily harvest to our summertime dinner table.Seed Crops

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House Tour

IMG_7580The first Algonquin Hotel was built in 1889 and charged [fun fact] $3.00 to $5.00 per day. Eventually, guests started building their own summer “cottages” nearby. Sixty years ago, the St. Croix Courier [still publishing today] featured an article about a charity house tour of some of these cottages in St. Andrews. Here are excerpts with some misty Norma Desmond glimpses of the past:

“A tour of “the stately homes” of this summer resort by-the-sea will be held Tuesday, August 2, 1955, from 2-6 p.m. The tour will take in 14 houses and gardens. Many of these homes contain valuable antiques and painting by well known artists while others are famous for the original design and furnishings.

“The tour’s attractions:

IMG_7573“Les Goelands, [now Kingsbrae Garden Cafe & Gift Shop], built by the late Fred H. Markey in 1912 and remodelled in 1951 by the present owners.

 

 

 

IMG_7572“Next will be Kingsbrae [now sadly torn down]. Sir Donald Walker built this house in 1900.

 

IMG_7574“Topside is next on the program. This house was built in 1897 by Thomas R. Wheelock of Boston [now Kingsbrae Arms Relais & Chateaux].

 

 

 

IMG_7577“Pansy Patch, built over 40 years ago, features a carved fireplace with inscriptions.

IMG_7578“Bellenden, was built in 1897 by Rev. Robert Bowser of Boston. The house has been redecorated within the past year and the gardens are described as “beautiful.”

 

 

 

IMG_7579“Penryn [now Tara Manor] will complete the tour. Last year over 300 people viewed leading homes and gardens here.”

Note: Thanks to ongoing preservation efforts, many of the homes on tour back then can still be seen in St. Andrews. When visiting us, we can steer you along a house tour path that is so much a part of the history of this seaside resort.

And finally, we can’t pass up the opportunity to quote this “Summer People” comment about the man who built what is now Kingsbrae Arms, published by the Beacon in 1901:

“Mr. T. R. Wheelock, who has a delightfully situated summer residence here, has extensive business interests in China. When not giving them his personal attention, he makes his home in Boston. He is a man of bright, active disposition, a keen golfer, wheelman and yachtsman. His son Geoffrey and Gordon Wheelock have his love for outdoor sport, they are recognized as two of the steadiest golfers this side of the Atlantic.”

Well, there is it.

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Scallops: The Lead & Supporting Cast

We’re rapidly approaching mid-summer with high expectations for garden yields of tomatoes, Roma beans, cucumbers, summer squash and more. But we can’t ignore the contributions that our supporting cast of garden produce have made to one of our most talented seafoods–Bay of Fundy scallops. Here are just some of the variations prepared by Chef Ciaran Tierney employing garden items since the first days of summer in June.

Loveage polentaServed with polenta flavored with spring loveage puree
PappardelleHandmade pappardelle tossed in tarragon & sherry beurre blanc
NasturtiumPolenta flavored with nasturtium pesto and red giant mustard greens
FarfalleHandmade farfalle with sugar snap peas and sherry beurre blanc
Garlic ScapesHandmade pappardelle with garlic scape pesto
CevicheCeviche seasoned with coriander & purple mizuna
7-14Tarragon infused risotto, snap peas & tender fava beans
TartareTartare with green onions & micro cilantro shoots

Our aim is to feature the rhythms of the garden. Eat what you see. Pick what you eat. As the summer matures, the stories of our dinner plates will continue to unfold with new colors and characters every day.

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Garden Dinner FAQs

Rain barrel

Rain capture

A lovely couple staying at the inn came down to the vegetable garden this morning to see “Kingsbrae [F]Arms where we’ve been getting the salad greens, radishes, pea shoots, Speckled Trout turnips and tat soi blossoms they’ve been eating during their stay. The rain was steady and I commented about what good sports they were trudging through wet grass and ducking dripping vines. They said “there is no such thing as bad weather…just bad clothes.” Good point. We soldiered on. MizunaFrankly the weather has been about as good as it gets for gardening. Plenty of precipitation to fill the rain barrel where we steep comfrey tea bags to produce a powerful organic fertilizer. Plenty of intermittent sunshine for steady growth. It’s crazy to think that much of the ground now filled with spring vegetables was buried by snow drifts just two short months ago.

Lovage Polenta & ScallopsWe get a lot of questions about our dinners. The simple fact is that we don’t have a restaurant so much as a dinner party open to all who’d like to come each evening. When we get asked for a menu, all we can show are some menus from the past because we never serve the same thing twice. Afternoon callers will find there’s a good chance that Chef Ciaran Tierney is out in the garden thinking about combining lovage with corn polenta for the Bay of Fundy scallops or grilling tender green onions to drape over cod. Grilled onions over codHe might be doing a rainbow Rainbow Saladappetizer salad of speckled trout, purple mizuna and red giant mustard greens or deciding to harvest some early new potatoes so he can whip up a batch of puffy pommes dauphines to accompany the short ribs. Ribs & Pommes DauphinsIt’s a bit of…errrrr….a crap shoot, but we love it and hope our guests do as well. You never know what you’re going to get, but in the talented hands of Ciaran, the food will be honest, well seasoned and true to its flavorful origins, so you’re in good shape. If we have to put up with trendy dictates, the ones from the garden and sea are certainly inspiring us with ideas for our summertime dinners.

Here’s one. Whoever was the first to say, “o look, oysters…let’s eat’em,” must have been thinking about our Kingsbrae Arms “oysters & pearls” prep. OysterPrince Edward Island Malpeque’s with garden chamomile & lavender infused tapioca mignonette.  Salty, savoury & sensual on the tongue. We know that now. Must have taken a bit of courage back then.

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Spring Comes to Kingsbrae [F]Arms

2-22A2-15Despite the snow drifts of such immense proportion this season that they defied measure, spring is only about one week behind last year. As the last of the snow ebbs, tulips, daffodils and crocus waste no time piercing the soil. Crocus

Cultivation is another matter. Some of the raised beds which should already be planted are still buried under the last layer of snow and frozen sold. Meanwhile, others are sunning themselves with a fresh coat of organic composted manure. The trick is figuring out the Copernican angle of the sun in combination with the ancient hedge shadows. Still the winter recedes and spring comes steadily on with all of the promise it holds every year at this time.4-19

Gardening is an act of faith. Tiny seeds seem so helpless in the friable soil. Lettuce seedlings even more so with their translucent first true leaves. We had to talk ourselves into removing these seedlings from their greenhouse protection.4-16 (2) ‘Bring your jacket and come along,’ we murmur. You love cold weather and can even survive a light frost. [Spring definition: light frost occurs when the temperature drops below freezing, but the ground has warmed and is no longer frozen. Hard freeze occurs when both temperature and ground are frozen.] Hard freeze is pretty much curtains for most vegetables except the hardiest like the Brassicas, which include the super foods like kale, collards & turnips. Tough guys in the garden.4-17A

Today we completed tilling and manuring all friable areas of the garden and then planted peas, broad beans [favas to “Silence of the Lambs” lovers]  a few rows of turnips, carrots, beets, radishes, green onions. We also planted out some lettuce and mizuna seedlings. Returning indoors for the evening we bid them good luck. But we think they’re on to us. They know we’re hedging our bets and haven’t yet stored the snow blower for the season.

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