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Weekend Breakfast Strata

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Well it’s back to work after a super dreamy week-end in Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Lots of chores to catch up on in the garden and kitchen.  The raspberries are turning red a full two weeks early this year and I already have enough pepperocini peppers to start off my canning fest.  It’s not even summer officially yet but the solstice will be here before you know it. 

Here is the recipe for that delicious breakfast casserole my friend Vicky made for us in her galley kitchen while docked at Kent Island, Maryland. Perfect to bring on an overnight trip as it is a make ahead recipe and is super yummy. 

14-15 slices whole grain bread thin sliced
3 c. diced cooked ham
2 c. shredded montery jack and cheddar cheese blend

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced green pepper, optional

1/2  tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
6 eggs
3 c. milk

 Cut bread into small cubes. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, ham, cheese,green pepper, onion, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Beat eggs until foamy; stir in milk. Add egg mixture to ham mixture, stirring well. Pour into a lightly greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan; cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 1 hour or until golden brown. Serve immediately. Garnish with a slice of tomato or fresh fruit. Cheers!

Makes 10-12 servings.                     

Dream Week-end on the Eastern Shore

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Dream Week-end on the Eastern Shore

 We usually don’t get to take a week-long summer vacation as spring and summer is prime plant and flower season at our shop, The Antique Garden. But the long week-end, a mini vacation, is almost as good, and I highly recommend it if you can get away. So when long time friends Jimmy and Vicky invited us to spend a week-end with them on their boat we said heck yes! Actually I haven’t spent too much time on boats at all, let alone get to spend two nights on one, and the prospect was pretty exciting. My dream of sleeping on a water craft was about to take place, check one-off the bucket list! Plus this was actually a lux yacht that has the same name as what Queen Elizabeth wears on her head sometimes.

One of the great things about living in Maryland is the access to the Chesapeake and the Atlantic Ocean. Just a few hours from our home in Western Maryland, we boarded the boat in Annapolis. We got a fantastic view and went under the Bay Bridge that leads to the Eastern Shore to our destination of Kent Island. Barges from all over the world waited in line to get into the harbor of Baltimore.

I love Vicky’s fish table.We arrived at our slip at Kent Island and had a little of this delicious organic vino. ….Later after a wonderful dinner at Annie’s steak house, we rearranged the cabin and voila a bed was created. The galley kitchen was another dream, with everything compactly in its place. In the morning we awoke to a delicious Breakfast Strata and ate on the deck. I will post this excellent casserole soon.

Am I still dreaming?? No I’m back to reality and potting up sedums, although my legs are a little wobbly, a reminder that our trip was indeed real-pinch me!  Where do you like to go to get away for a quick get-away? There are so many great places to travel that are close to home.  Let me know on my Facebook page and feel free to “like” it if you get a chance. http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Antique-Garden/130855370269292

Beach Road Trip to Lewes, Delaware

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You have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat the Bay Bridge Beach traffic in the summertime.  Let’s see, we set the alarm for 5:30 am, finished packing the car and dropped off the dog at 8 am, and headed to the highway.If you’ve never driven over the more than 4 mile Bay Bridge, then you are in for a real treat.  If you have a fear of heights then you may want to have a designated driver, as this is an intense span of architectural wonder.  It takes a steady hand and calm nerves, on this elevated highway over the Chesapeake Bay which is one of the largest ever built.

We arrived at our destination, Lewes Delaware at about 11 am, plenty of time to head to the beach.  The same beach that we took our wedding vows five years ago.  The Delmarva , that’s Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, for those of you that don’t know, has miles of wonderful mid-Atlantic shore line. While we’ve enjoyed Ocean City Maryland and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, the place we really love is Lewes, Delaware and the Cape Henlopen State Park beaches.

While both Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach both have their board walks, Lewes, pronounced like the mans name Lewis, is more laid back and serene.  While one can board the ferry here to Cape May, New Jersey we like to relax on the beach.  Miles of ocean are protected by the Henlopen State Park, with no development except for a bath house, pavilions, and camp grounds.  We arrived at the perfect spot and the guys tested the waters of the Atlantic.A little brisk, they ventured into the refreshing surf…..While I basked in the rays, our beach started to fill up.  Beach blankets and umbrellas dot the landscape like  a French Impressionist painting.Night life in Lewes consists of a few restaurants and an ice cream parlor all within walking distance of our motel.  Lewes, Delaware is the first state and has a charming downtown with very early historic buildings.  On our last day, we headed to the “launching pad”, where we had our wedding ceremony and reception. We are a little saltier after a day at the beach.Lewes, Delaware is a great little get away, and that is something we all need from time to time.

Creekside 12 Bean Salad

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Conococheague Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River, is a free-flowing stream that originates in Pennsylvania and empties into the Potomac River near Williamsport, Maryland. It is approximately 80 miles (130 km) in length, with 58 miles (93 km) in Pennsylvania and 22 miles (35 km) in Maryland. By definition of the Delaware Indians, this creek translates to mean ” water of many turns”.

We were lucky enough to have a beautiful, sunny, spring day to visit our friend’s land on the Conococheague Creek, this week-end.  Unless you have lived in the area for a while, it is near impossible to pronounce this water way correctly, let alone spell it!  The Conococheague was flowing after weeks of serious rains and floods and is a beautiful spot for camping and enjoying nature.   I climbed out on a limb on the old Sycamore tree and hung on, not to get swept away by the current.

Our friends supplied the amazing setting along with  hot dogs, watermelon, chips, drinks and  I brought along some wraps and bean salad.  I make this bean salad every summer and while I call it 12 Bean Salad, it rarely has 12 beans, just mainly what I have on hand in my pantry.  The basic ingredients are:

1 can of green beans

1 can black beans, pinto, kidney 0r navy beans

1 can chick peas

1 can of corn

1 jar of marinated red peppers, chopped

Green or black olives

Yellow banana peppers

Onions are optional

Good vinaigrette or bottled Italian dressing

Fresh garden herbs of your choice really perk up the flavors.  I added fresh parsley, oregano, basil and even some  mint. Blend well, refrigerate and transport to your picnic in Tupperware.

My wraps were on whole wheat tortillas and were a combination of grilled chicken breast, fresh arugula, bottled red pepper slices and mayo.  Very easy to transport to a gathering.

I made extra grilled chicken for these easy wraps. Just add your greens, make a chicken salad and your ready to go.

Place greens and chcicken salad on a wrap.Kayaks are stored in the cabin.

Yummy wraps are easy to bring to a picnic.Smile Lars!

A great way to curl up and relax!

 

Georgia Bound for Pottery

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Georgia is a state with many great things.  Top of my list includes peaches, peanuts and what we took to the road for, pottery.  It makes sense, after all the soil in Georgia is, let’s face it, red clay.  The perfect ingredient for a potter’s paradise.  Many pottery manufacturers have been producing genuine American pots for centuries.  Many companies have a long family heritage making this craft.  Here are some photos of our trip with information at the bottom about our store.

We were in search of large pots, the kind you use for plants and flowers.  My husband and I decided to take the ten-hour drive south on the interstate to check out a few wholesalers who make pots and cast concrete containers. Besides being well worth the trip, the scenery was outstanding.  We headed south through the Shenandoah Valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.  After spending the night in the twin cities of Bristol Virginia and Bristol Tennessee, (State Street  divides the two states), we headed further south. By the way, Bristol besides being known as the birth place of Country Music and home to Nascar,  also has an old-fashioned Southern downtown LOADED with antique shops and malls.

The trip through the mountains of North Carolina and into South Carolina is gorgeous.  After  arriving in Georgia, we visited several pottery companies. The selections were vast and we filled up our work van with some great new pots, which are on display at our store in Leitersburg, Maryland.  The trip home was, well, rushed, as we decided to leave Northern Georgia at 3pm and head  straight to the highway.  Home in Maryland by 1 am, it was quite the journey.  Now we have some wonderful containers that are made right here in the USA by craftsmen.  Stop on by if you are in the neighborhood or email us to set up an appointment. We would love to show you our pots!

The Antique Garden is located in the square of Leiterburg Maryland in a 1895 General Store.

Highway for Antiques in Carlisle Pennsylvania

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 I have always just driven by the exit for Carlisle on trips to and from New York, but recently have discovered wonderful antique stores and malls in this region.  I love to hunt for antiques, collectibles and curiosities for our store and online. While I have done some shopping as far south as Atlanta to the famous Scott’s Flea Market, I find, I can source goods pretty close to home. I am lucky to be located on the East coast because let’s face it, this is where it all began.  Even George Washington himself visited Carlisle and it was near enough to Gettysburg to see action during the civil War. My recent trip included a stop at Northgate Antiques.

Here is a website with more information about historic Carlisle  http://www.visithhc.com/carlislepa.shtml  An excerpt from the site:  Carlisle is hidden among the beautiful rolling hills of Cumberland County, and  the old buildings and architecture invite you to slow down and savor the past in a relaxed rural setting. Founded in 1751, this patchwork quilt of pastures, farmhouses, bed-and-breakfast homes and small towns display historical charm and the region’s natural beauty in every season.  It was home to the nation’s school for native Americans, of which Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe is an alumnus. Historians and military buffs alike will enjoy exploring this area, first occupied and then shelled by the Confederates; both Civil War and Victoria Era memories abound.

If you like taking home a bit of the past, Carlisle is your treasure chest. From indoor antique shops to outdoor antique flea markets, you’ll enjoy discovering the perfect souvenir finds to enhance your life back home. Other types of collectors will find excitement in Carlisle as well, as some of the largest collector car shows in the world take place year-round on the 82-acre Carlisle Fairgrounds.

For South Central Pennsylvania’s natural beauty, there’s no place like Carlisle and its surroundings. Fishing fanatics will rise to the angling challenge afforded by Cumberland County’s plethora of world-famous creeks and streams. Hikers will find happiness on a stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Campers and day trippers won’t want to miss the 969-acre Pine Grove Furnace State Park, with beach swimming, boat launching areas and more than 70 campsites. ****We love to stop here and take a dip in the summertime in the lake.  FREE admission and new bath houses make this stop a big plus.

It is truly a beautiful area and not far from Hershey or Harrisburg.  For me it is about a 45 minute drive and in the same valley as Hagerstown.  In fact the man behind the counter at Northgate Antiques corrected me that I was NOT from out-of-town.  People travel from near and far  to check out this large antique store with two levels.  It is open 7 days a week and is located on route 11 also known as Hanover Street.  I spent several hours pouring through the booths and found some excellent buys.  Most venders had at least a 20% sale going and the staff was polite and helpful.  They asked if they could take my heavy finds to the counter for me which I always appreciate.

Here is a partial list of my new goodies, some which I’ve already listed for sale on eBay: old Wilton Armetale  pewter coffee pot, metal flower frog for flower arrangements, old rusty egg basket, hat box with vintage hat, stainless steel teapot by Cuisinart, Swedish Orrefors crystal bowl, marked as glass, very old advertising 19th c. biscuit wooden box,  and vintage cookbooks. I actually love to go on these trips, it also helps when you score some “good stuff”.  I wish I could go more than once a week, but alas my day job of teaching school gets in the way.  Let’s see school gets out in a few more months so then maybe I could go shopping more often….. There are other antique shops and malls in this area so be sure to check them out next time you travel I-81 and get off the highway.

Northgate Antiques

726 N. Hanover St.

Carlisle, PA  17013

717-243-5802

Skiing Heroes at White Tail Resort

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While the weather has shifted and the hint of Spring is in the air today, my youngest son and I had a wonderful snow day at White Tail Ski Resort near Mercersburg, Pennsylvania this week.  On Monday night, Western Maryland received about 6″ of fresh snow, which made end of February skiing and snow boarding most excellent.   We took the 20 mile drive to the 1800 foot mountain over the state line. 

 Old friends from New York can’t believe that Washington County, Maryland is so mountainous.  We are actually located in the Cumberland Valley and surrounded by mountains, the beginnings of the famous Blue Ridge Mountain chain and the Appalachian and Allegheny Mountains to the West.  While only 60 miles to Washington D.C., one has to cross several mountain ranges to do so.   White Tail Ski Resort is very popular because while located in the country it is also close enough for a day trip from many metropolitan areas. 

On this mid-week day there were many visitors and while not too crowded, the week-ends can be extremely busy.   Not an expert mountain like those in Vermont or out west, this ski spot is perfect for the beginner or intermediate skier and is certainly convenient for us. In fact, at night I can see the lit up trails from my back yard.  This is also a full service resort offering everything you could need from rentals, lessons, restaurants, and snow tubing.  Offering 23 trails and 9 lifts, there is also a terrain park that is fun for the snow boarder to test out their tricks.

John and I headed out early and got a good spot in the parking lot.  The staff was helpful and pleasant and we headed to the Starbucks to settle in.  With my ski boots on, we headed to rentals,  helmets,  a snow board and boots.  We went to the intermediate blue run first and enjoyed the ride.  Later, it was up to the top and a 935 foot vertical drop, on the high-speed chair lift. What a beautiful view from the top, as you can see three states spread out in panoramic glory.

 By this time we needed food and went inside to eat our picnic lunches.  The weather was great, not a cloud in sight and temperatures in the upper 30′s, Spring conditions.  While we were eating we noticed a guy coming down the mountain on what looked like an upright sled.  He was flanked by a skier with the White Tail ski jacket.  White Tail is part of the Adaptive Mountain Sports Foundation, which gives disabled people the ability to enjoy skiing.  In fact, since the war there are disabled veterans that are out there skiing.  Wounded Warrior Project gives these vets a chance to enjoy what most of us take for granted.  Here is a link to a YouTube video of one such hero, a young man named Todd, who lost both his legs and part of his arm in battle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yMm2vK8gAs&feature=player_embedded 

I applaud the folks at White Tail for making these heroes dreams come true.  I can recommend this resort and hope that you make the trip as it is a wonderful way to enjoy the winter.

A Day at White Tail Ski Resort

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Just back from a day on the slopes at White Tail Ski Resort with my youngest son John.  With a new 6″ of fresh powder, conditions were excellent, with plenty of sunshine and temps in the 30′s. Only minutes from Hagerstown, Maryland this is an ideal family trip, for skiers of any skill level.  Will write complete blog on Friday of this fun snow day with my son,  the snow boarder.  Check out this link to White Tail    www.skiwhitetail.com

Dixie Goes To Washington

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We just got back from a wonderful overnight buying trip in Southern Maryland and on the way stopped at our Nation’s Capitol for some sight-seeing and culture.   On our week-end trip, we decided to leave on a Sunday and spend the day in Washington, D.C. which is about 60 miles away from our home and store in Washington County, Maryland.   Sundays are an excellent time to see Washington, the government is basically closed and traffic is lighter.  What a great plan, not only did we find parking right on the street, it was free on Sundays with no time limit.

Did you know that the Smithsonian National Museums are totally free?    According to the literature, the Smithsonian Institution consists of 19 national museums and the National Zoo, in Washington, D.C.   Most are open daily from 10 AM to 5:30 PM and they are located right on the National Mall.  The telephone number is 202-633-1000 and information can be found at www. smithsonian.org .  We parked very close to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.  This is right next to the  fascinating Air and Space Museum and the Smithsonian Castle and information Center. 

I dove right into the Hirshhorn and enjoyed the modern art from Andy Warhol to Alexander Calder and many other masters of fine art.  Outside on the mall it was a mild winter’s day and Dixie enjoyed the sights , not to mention the grass. If you bring your pet make sure to bring an emergency bag for any indiscretions! We walked all the way to the reflecting pool outside of the Capitol Building. The view is amazing and at the other end of the mall is the Washington Monument, truly breathtaking.  Dixie was very impressed.

Other places not to miss are the American History Museum, the Natural History Museum  and the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue,near the Washington Monument. Be prepared for plenty of walking  on the cinder walkways, so comfortable footwear is a must.  Fast food is available at  kiosks selling hotdogs, pizza and pretzels if you get hungry.   There is also a children’s carousel that is sure to delight.

While Dixie was allowed at the outdoor areas of the mall, pets are not allowed inside the museums.  We love to travel with our little dog, Dixie.  Lucky for us several major hotel chains now take pets free of charge.  The two we have had good experiences with are La Quinta’s Inn and  the Drury Inns chains.  Pets are welcome in any room and according to staff the pets are often better behaved than many of the human guests. Make sure to pack your pets food, water bowl and a few dog biscuits to make them feel right at home. 

All in all it was an enjoyable trip, and one that everyone should experience at least once, including Dixie!

Taking the Back Roads for Antiques

Get off the highway and explore the back roads.



 

Get off the highway and explore the back roads.

 

 My husband has taught me a few things about driving.  #1 rule is when your on the highway and there is a traffic jam or accident, get off at the nearest exit.  While many people just sit in a tie-up and wait it out, we get off the interstate, even if we don’t know the territory.  While understandably, commuters in major cities have no choice in the matter, we travel only occasionally by highway.  His #2 rule is get rid of the GPS and use a map, he has practically thrown the thing out the window!  That’s fine when he’s driving, but when I’m on my own, I always use my navigation system.  The point is, that most of the time taking the back roads is lots more fun.
  You never know what scenic route you may find or that great new antiques mall or yard sale you’ll find. 

Victorian Corbels were a great find!

 

 
While we have been stocking up on inventory for our Spring season at The Antique Garden, we have taken the back roads on several occasions.  We came across an apple orchard and lots of old barns on our recent trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Try out a local restaurant or pub for lunch and explore new territory.  Last time I took my mother-in-law to Lancaster to go shopping all the poor woman saw was highways and warehouses.  Not a Amish person or farm insight!  It really was a tiresome trip with all the traffic and congestion.
 
While we plan on hitting Virginia and the Southern States this week-end, we map out a few antiques malls that we like and then head for the back roads.  Not only is the scenery better, the traffic is better and there is the sense of adventure.  My advice is to fill up your gas tank, get a travel companion, some maps and head off the highway.  This is a beautiful country once you get off the interstate and away from suburban sprawl and strip malls.  Like the song says, “looking for adventure, better off the highway!”.Getting off the highway means adventure to us.
Check out some recent finds from The Antique Garden!  My items are available from us directly or from our Ruby Plaza link or occasionally on Ebay.  Slow down, enjoy the ride, you may just come across a new treasure.  It maybe your new find is priceless.

Vintage woodenware cutlery box.Antique French Copper cookware!Old 19th Century tools.

 

 

Antique French Copper cookware!

Old 19th Century tools.