Sunday, August 26, 2007

Oh Canada

We've had dozens of guests from Canada this summer -- from Toronto, Montreal and others parts of "The Great White North". Some are including Gloucester as part of a swing through the Northest US. Others are past guests of the Blue Shutters, making their annual visit to the inn. And there are many newcomers -- folks who have heard about the changes here from friends, or have liked what they've seen on our website. We've heard the exchange rate is a big attraction -- as is our accesibility to Boston (about 45 minutes from the Shutters). Once here, they've enjoyed the beach, the bars, the gallaries and shops, the restaurants -- and of course, the inn itself. Speaking of restaurants, one of our favorites here in Gloucester has a Canadian connection. La Trattoria, located in downtown Gloucester on Main Street, features some of best authentic Sicilian food you'll find anywhere. The Canadian connection? While there's a distinct Italian flavor to the restaurant, the family members hail from Montreal. Yet another reason to celebrate our neighbors from up north.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Old Friends Gather for a Late Summer Night's Dream

It was a beautiful night -- the end of a beautiful day -- and we gathered on the yard for some wine, some munchies and some song around the outdoor fireplace. What made this particularly special were the friends who joined me, Patty, Eddie, Ann Marie and Hayley. Deb and Kathy -- who were with us early on here at the Shutters, cleaning and painting and bringing new life to the big chairs in Deckside -- provided sandwiches, wine and a growler of beer. Rick and Suzie -- who installed the new hardwood flooring in the Main Room and the uncovered the original hardwood on the second floor -- were back for yet another visit. As was Mary Igo, who has worked with Patty for years -- and who returns to the Shutters regularly with a fresh batch of brownies. Ralph and Cindy -- who met the Comers on a trip years back -- came back to the Shutters to stay a few nights, along with their son and Cindy's mom. They all gathered in the screen house and by the fire, as Eddie played guitar and Ralph&Cindy's son sang show tunes. Guests watched from the the Beachside porch overlooking the lawn, or settled into lawn chairs after returning from dinner. In a nutshell, it was a typical night at the Blue Shutters Beachside Inn.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Blue Shutters Takes on the Sea Gulls

While we've been innkeepers for just seven months, we've been through quite a lot. There's the usual -- making fruit cups at midnight, changing beds in the morning, responding to inquiries from around the world (just last week we fielded emails from Australia and Germany). But tonight we were pressed into a new kind of service. One of our guests returned from a whale watch trip with a coat of sea gull droppings all over their car. It turns out they parked their vehicle under a street lamp that is a favorite hangout for these Gloucester birds. So when the pulled into the driveway, we pulled out the garden hose and rags. The car is now clean as a whistle -- and our guests are happy. Which is what it's all about.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cape Ann's Restaurant Renaissance

Another fun part of being an innkeeper is sharing insights on things to do and places to go around our B&B -- and I personally enjoy talking with guests about the area's restaurants. Not just offering my opinions on local eateries (my wife and I have lots of experience at this); it's also great to hear what our guests think. One couple from Montreal stood out when it came to food talk -- each night we'd offer suggestions and/or get a report from that night's dining experience. Among the spots that stood out (that we're new to us)....Jalapeno's, a cool Mexican place in downtown Gloucester; and Cygnet, a neat little high-end restaurant in nearby Beverly Farms. We shared with them some of our favorites, including Alchemy (for a nice meal with a unique atmosphere) and Amelia's (for a quick sandwich walking distance from Good Harbor Beach). A few days ago, we joined my brother (a chef at the Langham Hotel in Boston) and his wife for a great dinner at Mad Fish Grill in the Rocky Neck art colony (he and his wife are tough critics and they gave the Mad Fish a big thumbs up). Whatever folks prefer, one thing is for certain -- there's loads to great restaurants to choose from on Cape Ann these days. So many great places that the couple from Montreal decided to extend their stay (OK, there may have been more than food involved in that decision -- they were also pleasantly surprised by all the changes at the Blue Shutters).

Friday, August 17, 2007

A "Bright New Penny"

We've had a lot of great guests this summer, and we'll try to mention a few of them over the next few weeks. One of the more interesting groups was a mom, a bunch of her daughters and their girls. They have been coming to the Blue Shutters for years, and they were very impressed with all the changes (a "bright new penny" is how one of the daughters describe the Shutters). I lost track of everyone in their party -- but it was a big group, spread across three rooms here at the inn. And it was clear they were having loads of fun -- at the beach, around town and just hanging out on the lawn. At one point, one of our other guests looked out at this family gathering out front before a trip to the beach and asked if we were hosting a Girl Scout jamboree!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Goings On Around Gloucester

It has been another great week for beachlovers -- with temps into the 90s, guests here at the Blue Shutters have been spending many hours enjoying the cool breezes and refreshing waves of Good Harbor Beach. But folks have been doing up the town as well. The annual sidewalk bazaar continues on through the weekend, drawing visitors to downtown Gloucester. And there they'll find some of the Greater Boston area's finest restaurants. There's the new Captain Vito's, located in the Gloucester Cruiseport, which opened earlier this year (we stopped by last weekend and enjoyed some of the finest fried shrimp we've ever tasted). Old favorite Alchemy continues to impress our guests (you have to try the Uptown Mac & Cheese), and for late night entertainment, folks have given a thumbs up to the Mad Fish, The Rudder and The Studio on Rocky Neck and Captain Carlo's downtown. For those looking for daytime fun away from the beach, we've heard the whale watch cruises are great for kids and adults. We've been gathering information on all of the happenings around Gloucester -- or you can check the Cape Ann visitors website.