Owner’s Memo: Weddings and Such

Cindi and I spend time quite often (okay daily!) talking about ways to make your  Mayor’s Mansion Inn Bed and Breakfast experience here in Chattanooga a  memorable one. We are the only AAA Four Diamond Inn in Chattanooga, so we must be doing some things right and for most folks, we exceed their expectations. We do earnestly strive to make your stay here at the Inn the best it can be.

Weddings, receptions and rehearsal dinners have now entered into these chats as Cindi continues, even after 25 years of being married to the likes of me, to be an incurable romantic. A small wedding package called “The Almost Elopement” was started about a year ago because my wife said, “Just because a wedding is short and sweet doesn’t mean you can’t have an elegant and beautiful one”.  The couples we are seeing are ‘second time around’ couples, couples with a limited budget, or with an even more limited resource-time.  Some simply want to spend their wedding budget on a spectacular honeymoon hiking the Rockies, touring Europe or sailing away on a long cruise. They let the Inn handle the details of the BIG DAY.

Based on the overwhelming, successful response to this little Package, the Inn is now expanding our offerings to give the Bride and Groom more choices and still stay stress free and in budget.  I won’t go into the details-you can see those on-line, but we hope that, when your Wedding Day is here, it will be celebrated in this lovely old Mansion with close friends and family gathered round.

One more thing, Cindi says, ‘Let’s make it easy on the Groom’s family as well’.   Our rehearsal dinner packages in Chattanooga can accommodate up to 55 people for a sit-down extravaganza.  For up to 75, we have heavy hors d’oeuvres or dinner buffet packages. Consider the Mayors Mansion Inn for your intimate wedding and/or rehearsal dinner. And, remember, we have 11 rooms, so, bring the family and take the entire Mansion for your special day!

 

Relaxing in the Library

Relaxing in the Library

Owner’s Memo: First Time Bed and Breakfasters

Are you considering a first time bed and breakfast experience?   Here at the Mayor’s Mansion Inn, we want to make this a fun and easy adventure to add to your Chattanooga visit!  What I’d like to talk about today is the “bed and breakfast” experience here at the Inn. We get questions from novice “b and b-ers” often and I thought we might be able to answers these questions before they get asked.

First and most frequently asked is, “Do I have to share a bathroom?” That is actually a legitimate question. We have stayed in places where you have to share a bathroom with other quests. (It wasn’t a big deal for us, but, I can see there are situations where it could be a problem or make someone uncomfortable.) Of course, the answer for the Mayors Mansion Inn is that all eleven rooms have their own private baths.

Relaxing on the Front Porch, "wine anyone?"

Relaxing on the Front Porch, “wine anyone?”

Another question we get is this: “Do I have to eat breakfast with ‘strangers’?” Our Tiffany dining room is set up with one table that can seat four or more Guests, however, the other 7 tables in the room are just for two-think cozy bistro. But, again, this is a legitimate question. I have been to b and b’s where you do, in fact, sit at a big sort of community table. Frankly, we have enjoyed that sort of experience when we have encountered it in our travels. But, at a romantic Inn, the focus of your time with your sweetheart is to be alone. Here at the Inn, it is generally pretty easy for those folks who want to keep the focus on each other to “stay to themselves”. And, we also offer “en suite” breakfast for a slight upcharge.

Lastly, “are there TV’s in our room”? Yeppers. It may not be a TV like you are used to at home or in your favorite sports bar (no 60 inchers as we have generally tried to hide the TV in an existing piece of furniture), but, certainly something you could catch the news with!! All of them have DVD players and most are capable of connecting to your laptop or other portable devices (just your cable). We keep a small collection of DVD’s AND our wireless Internet connection is secure and free.

If you have other “newbie” questions about your stay at “The Mansion”, give us a shout. We’d like to make sure that your experience with us sets a high level of expectation for the next Bed and Breakfast stay. And, by the way, all eleven rooms are different. So, when you’ve stayed here once, you  have 10 more rooms to try.

Featured Cocktail: Leprechaun Spritzer

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Mansion! We’re celebrating with an easy-to-make, emerald green concoction created by our fabulous employees. We present to you the Leprechaun Spritzer!

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Ingredients:
-1 shot Bacardi Rum
-1 1/2 oz Green Apple Schnapps
-Sprite
-Ice

Instructions:
-Add Bacardi and Schnapps to a shaker and shake thoroughly
-Pour over ice and top with Sprite
-For a special touch, add brown sugar to the rim of your glass
-Innjoy!

Seriously, have a great St. Patty’s and be safe!

Owner’s Memo: Romance by the Numbers

Most people agree that February is the most romantic month here in Chattanooga. What do you think? This month we…

-served 116 dark chocolate truffles
-dipped 77 chocolate covered strawberries
-opened 42 bottles of wine
-delivered 18 en suite breakfasts
-scheduled 7 massages
-make 3 garden bouquets
…and had 1 proposal!

We hope you “innjoyed” this fabulous month. Think of us next time you need a getaway (and don’t forget to add a romance package)!

Featured Cocktail: Spiced Dark Cocoa

The days may be warming up here in Chattanooga, but the nights are still COLD! The best way to take advantage of this chilly weather is to snuggle up next to the fireplace and enjoy a cup of our Spiced Dark Cocoa. Easy to make and store in your pantry, having this mix on hand will give you a warm concoction in seconds.

Ingredients:
-2 cups powdered sugar
-2/3 cups Hershey’s® Special Dark Cocoa
-2 ½ cups powdered milk
-1 tsp salt
-2 tsp cornstarch
-1 pinch of cayenne pepper (this is optional…or add more if you want it really spicy!)
-1 tbsp cinnamon
-1 tsp ginger
-1 tsp nutmeg

Just add 1/3 cup of the mix to your mug and fill with hot water (or warm milk) for a creamy cup of bliss. Don’t forget the marshmallows and innjoy!

Featured Recipe: Shrimp and Grits Eggs Benedict

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Featured Recipe: Shrimp and Grits Eggs Benedict

This month we’re proud to share one of our newest spring recipes! This dish is the perfect savory breakfast for the seafood lover in your life. Note: The grits actually need to be prepared the night before so they can chill for 8 hours. This recipe serves 8. Let’s get started!

Ingredients:
-5 cups water
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup grits
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 cup grated Parmesan
-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
-1 tbsp butter
-1tbsp vegetable oil
-1 tbsp Tabasco
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
-8 large poached eggs
-1 pound asparagus
-parsley (for garnish)
-crumbled bacon (also for garnish)
-Creamy Shrimp Sauce (ingredients below)

Creamy Shrimp Sauce Ingredients
-1 lb fresh shrimp (canned is ok too!)
-2½ tbsp butter, divided
-1 small, diced shallot
-1 (14 oz) can of chicken broth
-1 ½ tbsp flour
-1 cup heavy whipping cream
-2 tbsp sherry

Instructions:

Add the salt and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil and gradually stir in the grits. Cook the grits on medium heat until they thicken (approximately 8 minutes). Stir in pepper, parmesan, Tabasco, garlic powder, and Cajun seasoning. Pour mixture into greased 11×7 baking dish and chill for 8 hours.

The next morning, snap off the ends of the asparagus. Add asparagus and water to saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Cook asparagus until it is crisp and tender. Then drain water.

Cut grits into 8 small squares and dredge in flour. After melting butter in a large skillet cook the squares on each side until golden. Top with poached egg, creamy shrimp sauce, and asparagus. Don’t forget to garnish with parsley and bacon!

To make the cream sauce, peel shrimp and save the shells. Melt 1 tbsp of the butter in a sauce pan on medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. Chop and set aside the shrimp. Next, add the shells, shallots, and chicken broth to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Then remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let it stand for 30 minutes. Pour the mixture through a strainer to remove the shallots and shells. Melt 1½ tbsp butter in the saucepan over medium heat and whisk in flour. Cook for 1 minute while whisking constantly. Whisk in the broth mixture. Bring to boil and let boil until thickened. Add whipping cream and reduce heat to low. Add shrimp and sherry and cook until heated.

Innjoy!

Featured Room: Ocoee River Room

DSC_0005This month our featured room is the Ocoee River Room! Named after the nearby river known for its white water rafting, this room offers a more calming setting with a queen sized four poster bed and flat screen tv. Put on one of our comfy bathrobes, order a drink from the happy hour specials, and relax in the royal red and gold armchairs. This is one of our most popular rooms so make sure to book soon!

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Romantic hint: This room pairs great with our “P.S. I Love You” Package. Really need to get out of the dog house? Add a dozen roses as well!

Owner’s Memo: The Great Outdoors

A great shot of a Great Blue Heron on the riverwalk, taken by one of our fabulous innkeepers!

An excellent shot of a Great Blue Heron on the riverwalk, taken by one of our fabulous innkeepers!

Having been in a business several years ago where I sent out a quarterly newsletter (via snail-mail), I thought that it might be time to leap into an electronic version for our Bed and Breakfast (OK, since blogging has been around a while, I guess I’m catapulting myself into the late 1990’s or early 2000’s—technology wise!!).

The thing that is on my mind this day (currently 37 degrees F outside) is something near and dear to Chattanooga’s identity—OUTDOORS! I’m sure there is something about the recent cold snap that is making me wish for an early spring. However, I did bundle up in my best cold weather gear earlier today to explore a portion of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway, along which I had never been.

Realizing that cold weather may not be what attracts people to Chattanooga’s outdoors, I’d like to help spread the word about the joys of exploring miles of walking, jogging, and biking the Greenways and the linear park called the Tennessee Riverpark we are blessed to have around us.

The Riverpark has been around over 20 years. It goes from Ross’ Landing (near the Aquarium) over 8 miles to the Chickamauga Dam, right alongside the Tennessee River. There are several restrooms and water fountains along the way and a “self-serve” bike repair station. The facilities and trail are very well maintained and the trail is a wide paved surface. BTW, there is a 3.5 mile expansion approved and underway going the opposite way from Ross’ Landing over toward the base of Lookout Mountain.

The Greenways range from the North Chickamauga Creek with its mixed use asphalt, crushed rock and grassy trails to the asphalt trail atop the levee called the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway. There are other segments left for me to discover, each one a new adventure.

You can find several sites which describe the various trails in and around Chattanooga. One site that I just discovered is called outdoorchattanooga.com. Oh, and one more thing. I often send our guests to the TVA Raccoon Mountain area. On the outskirts of Chattanooga, this facility is like driving through a park as you wind over 5 miles to the top of Raccoon Mountain. The views are spectacular. There are also hiking and mountain biking trails. From the Visitor’s Center, you look over the Tennessee River Gorge, sometimes called the “Grand Canyon of Tennessee”.

A view of the gorge from the Signal Point Hiking Trail. Ask your innkeeper for directions!

We look forward to having you stay with us at the Mayors Mansion Inn when you visit “the Scenic City”. Bring your bike and we will store it for you in our ballroom!

See ya soon!
Mark

Featured Cocktail: Mayor’s Apple Jack

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Can’t get enough of a good, crisp apple? Here in Chattanooga we feel the same and a great way to get your apple fix is with this delicious cocktail, the Mayor’s Apple Jack. Just a few essential ingredients make a treat as crisp and cool as the autumn air.

Ingredients:

- 1 oz Jack Daniel’s Whiskey®

- 1 oz sweet and sour

- 1/2 oz apple pucker

- Sprite®

Use a shaker filled with ice to mix whiskey, sweet and sour, and apple pucker. Pour into glass with fresh ice and top with Sprite®. For an extra festive beverage, garnish with a fresh Honeycrisp apple.