Learning a craft

Ever thought of learning a craft?  Painting.  Pottery.  Cooking.  Knitting?

Grandmothers used to be the only one who knit..  However today both women and men enjoy knitting.  As a matter of fact in 1973 people were surprised when LA Rams star Rosie Grier wrote a book “Needlepoint for Men”.   In addition to needlepoint Grier was also an avid knitter and crocheter.  Film star Cary Grant was a trailblazing knitter, too!

Knitting offers a wide variety of benefits:

  • Create beautiful things for yourself.  There’s a certain satisfaction in wearing something you have created with your own hands.
  • Gift giving becomes more personal.  When you’ve knitted something to give as a gift the person receiving will appreciate the time and care you put in to create it.
  • Knitting is a great way to unplug and unwind (no pun intended).  Knitting takes your mind off your day to day worries and helps you relax; listen to music or an audiobook

Learning knitting is fairly easy.  We’ve all heard, “knit one, purl two” and really those are the two basic things you start off with.  Once you’ve mastered those you put them in various combinations to create textures and patterns.  With the wide array of yarns available the choice is endless.  YouTube is full of how-to and tutorial videos if you get stuck.  Websites like LoveCrafts and Ravelry offer patterns for free or for purchase and include projects for everyone.

These days learning a craft couldn’t be easier.  Most yarn/crafting stores like Joann offer either free or low cost beginner classes, too.

Try it!  You’ll love it!

Baked Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

With the bounty of fresh tomatoes from my garden I was looking for recipes to help us use them up.

In a recent Sunday New York Times I found this recipe tucked away in the corner.  The recipe is unusual in that the stuffing is entirely made of cheese.  Most recipes for baking tomatoes have the breadcrumbs in the stuffing.  This one has them on top.  Gluten-free?  Just leave them off or use GF breadcrumbs instead.

Don’t worry about the anchovies!  When cooked with the garlic the fishy taste disappears. Then you’re left with a wonderful savory alternative.

I’ve made these several times. It only takes about 20 minutes and is absolutely delicious. Follow the directions to the letter and make sure you use firm tomatoes!

  • 2 to 3 large firm tomatoes, or 4 to 6 small firm ones
  •  Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 3 tablespoons goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 anchovies, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup panko or other coarse bread crumbs
  •  Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. If necessary, slice a very thin layer off bottoms of tomatoes so they will stand upright. Core tomatoes, and carve them out, stopping about about 3/4 inch from bottom and sides. (Do not remove too much, or tomato will collapse when baked.) Season inside of each tomato with salt. In a small bowl, stir together mascarpone and goat cheese.
  2. To prepare topping, melt butter with oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and anchovies, and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in bread crumbs, and sauté 2 minutes more. Season with pepper.
  3. Fill each hollow with mascarpone mixture. Top generously with bread crumbs. Transfer tomatoes to a baking sheet, and bake until they are slightly blistered and the tops are golden, about 10 minutes.

Eating Outdoors

Eating oEating outdoorsutdoors is a summertime favorite: enjoying the beautiful weather while enjoying equally beautiful (if not more so!) food “al fresco”. Of all the bed and breakfasts and inns in town The Croff House has the unique amenity of lovely exterior spaces which guests can enjoy almost year round.  Since the inn opened in 2009 guests wondered if they could have their breakfast served outside and, up until now, the answer was almost always “no”.  That has now changed!  The Croff House is pleased to introduce our outdoor dining space.

Eating outdoorsWe’ve moved the four Adirondack chairs that were placed around the fountain to more shaded areas in the back yard.  In their place we have installed bistro tables and chairs and created the perfect spot for eating outdoors; tables for two provide privacy for those that want it and personal space for those guests that aren’t “morning people”.  The Croff House breakfast will remain a freshly prepared three-course gourmet feast.

Naturally those guests that choose to have their breakfast inside in the Dining Room are most welcome to do so, but those that want the option of breakfasting “al fresco” now have that opportunity as well, weather permitting.

Outdoor seatingAs for the fate of the Adirondack chairs, they were placed in pairs under two of the very large trees with new side tables between them.  The shaded areas will stay cool in the summer and allow our guests the opportunity to relax with a good book, good conversation, a glass of wine or refreshing beverage or simply take a nap.  The sounds of the fountain provide ideal background sounds for all to enjoy.

Naturally the covered rear porch is still available for guests to use and they can enjoy breakfast on these table as well.

We’re very excited about our new outdoor dining area and believe it is a unique amenity available exclusively to guests of the inn that they won’t find anywhere else in Hudson.  Eating outdoors just became a reality at The Croff House and we couldn’t be more pleased.

New Amenity: Electric Vehicle Charging Station

TCH Charging station

The Croff House newly installed charging station

If you have an electric car and are staying at The Croff House we are pleased to offer a new amenity: electric vehicle charging station!  In preparation for our welcoming a new Nissan Leaf we have installed an electric vehicle charging station.  Most of our guests are aware that we believe very strongly in protecting our environment.  The Inn has been a member of the Trip Advisor Green Leaders program since it was initiated 5 years ago, and our recycling and water-use reduction efforts are an important part of The Croff House mission.

As individuals take steps to reduce their carbon footprint, automakers have made great strides in advanced electric vehicle development.  Elon Musk of Tesla is a pioneer in the field, but most people found the cars being offered were way out of their price range.  As the technology for electric batteries has evolved, as most technology does, hybrid cars (a combination of gas and electric) became affordable for many.  SMART car launched an affordable “mini” all-electric car, but the range (the distance the vehicle could travel before needing to be recharged) meant that the car was only usable for shorter trips.  Our 2018 Leaf is able to travel 155 miles before needing a charge, up from 75 miles for the 2017 model – doubling the range.

Our 2018 Nissan Leaf all-electric vehicle

Gas versus electric: to fill a tank on a car similar to the Leaf would cost approximately $15.  The cost to fully charge the battery on the Leaf will be about $4.  So helping protect the environment and saving money at the same time just makes sense.

We’re very excited to be able to offer this new amenity to our guests.  So the next time you’re up in Hudson bring an electric car and….CHARGE IT!

Our First Dinner at The Croff House

The Croff House Dining Room

Our first Dinner at The Croff House event was a huge success.  On Saturday, January 13 three couples who were staying with us enjoyed a 5-course dinner, freshly prepared at the Inn.  Outside the temperatures dipped into the single digits and a light sheet of ice seemed to be coating every surface.  Inside, however, the crackle of the Living Room fireplace and the camaraderie of the guests started the evening off with the warmth of hospitality for which The Croff House is well known.

Dinner @ The Croff House place setting

The Dining Room was closed off to set the tables with gleaming sterling silver place settings and sparkling Waterford crystal, both adding a touch of elegance to the comfort of the room.  The Dinner started off with Hudson-Chatham Winery Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine paired with warm Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Tartines in the Living Room.

Dinner @ The Croff House place setting

A short while later guests were invited into the Dining Room to continue their Dinner.  The meal ended with a White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Poached Cherries, Quinta do Noval “Black” Port, and freshly brewed coffee and tea.  All in all it was a lovely evening and we are so happy to have been able to share it with such a wonderful group of guests.

Place setting

Painting a “Painted Lady”

According to Wikipedia, the term “Painted Lady” was coined in 1978 by writers Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen in their 1978 book Painted Ladies – San Francisco’s Resplendent Victorians.  The post continues, “The best-known groups of ‘Painted Ladies’ is the row of Victorian houses at 710–720 Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square park, in San Francisco. It is sometimes known as ‘Postcard Row’.”  Hudson has it’s own row of “Painted Ladies” on Willard Place and one of them, The Croff House at 5 Willard Place, is about to get a makeover.  Just prior to the inn being sold in 2008 the owner at the time contracted to have the house repainted from the all-over white to more closely stay in keeping with the style of the houses of the period and with the inn’s next door neighbor.  The house at 4 Willard Place, having been completely renovated, had been painted in an elaborate Painted Lady style.  But while the painting at #5 was completed quickly, the quality of the work was not especially good and the years and weather took its toll.

Beginning in March contractors began scraping the old paint away, beginning the process of the house’s exterior makeover.  During the scraping patches of wood repair on the 1875 clapboard siding also were completed, and now the painting can begin in earnest.  The biggest challenge in the execution of the Painted Lady style is the selection of proper colors that work together to highlight the intricate details of the woodwork and carving details of the exterior, an important feature of the Second Empire Victorian style.

The color palette that has been selected for the re-painting is not a large divergence from the current color scheme.  While The Croff House is currently painted using three colors (green, rust and tan), the new color scheme includes five colors (see photo below)

Curious to know what the “new” inn will look like?  Stay tuned!

What’s in a name?

Hudson Opera House

Exterior of the Hudson Opera House

Visitors to Hudson enjoy walking up and down our main street, Warren Street, which boasts beautiful and historic architecture throughout.  One of the more significant buildings is the Hudson Opera House and the history of the building’s use is rather noteworthy.

Built in 1855, the building was designed by local architect Peter Avery. For more than a century, it housed various civic offices, including the Post Office and Police Station, and was home to the Franklin Library and the First National Bank of Hudson.  Shortly after City Hall moved further up Warren Street in 1962, the building was sold to an out-of-town developer.  For nearly thirty years it sat vacant, decaying and accumulating debris. During this time, lower Warren Street was virtually abandoned and considered by many to be a lost cause.

Today the building is undergoing the final phase of full restoration.   When complete, the performance hall will be

Hudson Opera House

Interior performance space at the Hudson Opera House

adapted for modern use, creating a unique, intimate and flexible 300-seat theater to provide contemporary programming reflective of today’s audiences.  For the first time in the building’s history, the performance hall will be accessible to all, including those who, because of age or disability, are unable to use the historic staircase.  he character of the historical building will be retained. The current proscenium arch and raked wooden floor stage were late 19th century additions, and will be preserved.  The historic fabric will also be retained, and new elements will be sensitively incorporated to retain the overall historic character of the spaces.

A “new” facility deserves a new name and, as such, the Hudson Opera House has added Center for the Arts to it’s title, expanding the scope of the programming being offered.  When you are next in Hudson the renovations will be complete.  Make it a destination while exploring Warren Street.