California Association of Bed & Breakfast InnsOctober 2010  

in this issue

Halloween Hauntings at Bed & Breakfast Inns

Thanksgiving Specials & Packages

How I Became an Innkeeper: The Inn of First

CABBI Cookbook Recipe: Butternut Squash Omelet with Wild Mushrooms, Bacon, and Brown Butter


CABBI Cookbook Recipe: Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Cherry Pinot Noir Sauce

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How I became an innkeeper

Inn on First

The Inn on First

Jim Gunther and Jamie Cherry

Who says an ex-Catholic priest can't be an innkeeper? Especially one who left the priesthood to study culinary arts in San Francisco and, finding that it didn't pay well, moved into software quality assurance engineering?  After 10 years in software, I was called into my boss’s office for what I thought was going to be a promotion, but instead was instead laid off with no idea what to do next. Taking the advice of William Bridges in his book Transitions, I sat in silence for one week asking, "Who am I and what I am I called to do with my life?" At the end of the week nothing had arisen, and I decided that it was time that God and I have a little "chat." When I finished my rant, my inner voice asked: "Are you finished?"

Uh-oh.  I knew that voice and its implications.  So I waited. And waited. And waited.

Carl Jung describes a psychological process when a man or woman receives a single drop of golden illumination that can change their life forever. For me, it was one word that finally came out of the silence: innkeeper.

No lights from heaven, no choirs of angels singing, but that one word became a blazing beacon in my dark retreat, and brought instant joy and peace.  It was the perfect transition for me. With a background in people skills, culinary skills, management skills, and computers, I knew that being an innkeeper was a task I could take on.  I also knew that my husband's twenty-five years in customer service and management would serve any inn well.  I only had to convince him when I got home. His response wasn’t encouraging: "Intriguing… Maybe in three to five years."   I didn't want to wait, but without his support it would never happen.

Two weeks later his sister came out to visit and, while visiting, her husband was killed in a plane crash.  He was the same age as my husband and it was a wake-up call.  Shortly after the funeral in January 2007, we had a six hour conversation on the feast of Epiphany, a Christian celebration of "divine manifestation".  We realized we were having a divine manifestation of our own and he agreed to go the distance.

I could stop here and say: "That's how we became innkeepers," but it’s really only half of the story.

The following week I found CABBI and the Aspiring Innkeepers Workshop. It was a turning moment as we realized that although we had very romantic notions, the process of running a bed and breakfast inn was more about running a business.  The next month, Jamie and I attended a three-day, hands-on workshop at a bed and breakfast inn to be sure that we understood what the work would demand of us daily.  We were exhausted every night, but we agreed that it was a heck of a lot better than software. The day we finished the training I asked Jamie, "Are you still sure you want to do this?"  He said "Absolutely!"  

That was when little "events" (some might call them miracles) starting occurring.  As we were pulling out of the parking lot from the workshop, our realtor called about a property in Napa owned by Jim and Carol Beazley.  We had met them at CABBI's workshop, and they had decided that we might be good prospects for one of their two properties. We fell in love with the property, and the following week, we began negotiations. The day I was looking over the contract, an old friend, who happened to be a real estate attorney, reconnected with me. He said he would be happy to review the documents.  Two weeks later, another friend who is a mortgage broker, saw my car and decided to stop in to say "hello".  She helped figure out the financing.  The day we put our home in San Francisco on the market, the prime market fell and housing prices began to tumble. Where there had previously been bidding wars over houses in San Francisco, only three offers were made on our home, and only one met our asking price, but it was what we needed to make the deal work.  A friend who had just come into a lot of cash provided the funds for a bridge loan. Another friend from church connected us with innkeepers at the Albert Shafsky House, Steph and Rita, who advised us on the daily details we would need to manage.  It seemed that every day another "angel" showed up with exactly what we needed to keep us moving on the path.  By March, the deal was signed, and in May, we rolled into the driveway of our newly purchased inn in Napa.

That was three years ago.  We still go to bed exhausted and tired.  We still worry during winter if we'll make it another year.  We still learn and grow with the demands guests make of us.  And I still ask Jamie on our anniversary: "Are you still sure you want to do this?"  His answer, gratefully, remains the same: "Absolutely!"


Halloween Hauntings at
Bed & Breakfast Inns

While many historic bed and breakfast inns are renowned for their period architecture and antique furnishings, some are also known for lingering old spirits who have stayed long past their check-out times. For a hair-raising Halloween experience, spend a night in one of California’s haunted inns.

1859 Historic National Hotel (Jamestown): After staying in this historic inn, even non-believers have been known to change their convictions about the super-natural. Many guests have shared accounts of doors slamming, lights going on and off, clothing being dumped from suitcases onto the floor, and a woman's sobbing coming from the hallway in the middle of the night. A ghost named Flo is to blame. It’s believed that her fiancé was shot dead by a drunkard who had stumbled through the front doorway of the hotel. Flo found her fiancé lying at the bottom of the stairs in a pool of blood by the opened door. For days she sobbed uncontrollably in her room, and then there was silence. The hotel staff found her dead in her room, wearing her wedding gown, presumably having died of a broken heart. Flo's ghost generally stays upstairs in the hotel, favoring the rooms in the front of the building although she has, on occasion, been seen early in the morning downstairs, floating through the dining room and right through the walls.

Albert Shafsky House B&B Inn (Placerville): Albert Shafsky built his home in 1902, and it appears his ghost has never left. According to the innkeepers, he sometimes locks guests out of their rooms, leaves pennies in strange places and has even been seen standing at the foot of one guest’s bed.


Bissell House (Pasadena): With a well-known reputation as being a haunted building, current and prior owners have stories to tell that will have you looking over your shoulder. The Bissell House has felt its fair share of paranormal activity through the years, including unexplained voices and footsteps on an empty third floor, lights that seemed to have a mind of their own, and a woman wearing a red dress who is believed to be the restless spirit of Anna Bissell McCay.


The Goodman House (Chico): This colonial revival foursquare home was confirmed as having a strong spirit presence by San Francisco Bay area medium and psychic Marge Cuddeback. Before it became a B&B, the house was converted into law offices. Rumors of haunting began soon after the lawyers occupied the building, including one attorney whose desk nameplate was repeatedly thrown on the floor.

Lyle's Room at the Groveland HotelGroveland Hotel (Groveland): Book room 15 at the Groveland Hotel near Yosemite and you could have unexpected company. “Lyle,” a gold miner who met his demise in 1927, appears to have taken up permanent residence in the historic hotel. Lyle is finicky about his room and guests have often complained that he moves articles placed on the dresser. Several paranormal investigation teams have come to pursue Lyle and report that he may not be the only permanent guest at the hotel. A gambler and a lonely bride are also said to be persistent visitors. Lyle’s room is the most popular of the Groveland Hotel's 17 stately guest rooms. Book Lyle’s room to conduct your own personal investigation.

The Queen Anne Hotel (San Francisco): Deemed one of America’s most haunted hotels, this historic building was originally built for “ Miss Mary Lake” as a finishing school for girls. An apparition believed to be Miss Mary has been seen so frequently that a popular “San Francisco Ghost Hunt” event begins nightly at the Queen Anne Hotel.


Springville Inn (Springville): The Springville Inn caters to four permanent guests who have roamed the inn—formerly the Wilkinson Hotel—for almost 100 years. The ghosts include a handsome young logger who is believed to have been shot on the streets of Springville and then carried inside the hotel, where he bled to death. He has been sighted around the bar and the grand staircase and has a flirtatious habit of brushing up against women to make his presence known. In the past, he has also been seen walking hand-in-hand with another ghost, who appears to be an eight-year-old girl wearing a turn-of-the-century dress. Another resident ghost appears to be a blonde-haired woman wearing a long dress, who has been seen floating on the balcony surrounding the Penthouse or wandering the second floor hallways in the main building. The fourth ghost, an old man, seems to keep to himself and generally only appears in the main kitchen of the inn or the upstairs service kitchen. He is usually seen staring up or down into the dumbwaiter joining the two kitchens.


MacCallum House Inn (Mendocino): According to town lore, Donald MacCallum – born in 1880 as the only son of Daisy and Alexander MacCallum – has never truly left the second floor. Many guests over the years have testified to strange and unexplained happenings in one of the inn’s rooms. It’s believed that Donald’s spirit still resides in “Room 4” – the bedroom where he slept from the time he was an infant.




Thanksgiving Specials

The Martine Inn invites you to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner overlooking the Monterey Bay. What began as an offering to the inns’ employees who worked on Thanksgiving Day has evolved into a event for out-of-town guests over the holiday weekend. The inn offers traditional Thanksgiving Day fare-- turkey, ham and duck--with all the trimmings. The tables are set with Gorham Silver from the 1890’s. Each guest is individually hand-served and then offered additional helpings from our lavish buffet. The fire is roaring, the waves are crashing and all those gathered together are immersed in the spirit of thankfulness and good cheer.

Martine Inn

Savor a traditional Thanksgiving at the Inn at Locke House November 25-26. The inn's Traditional Thanksgiving package includes a relaxing two-night stay, two delicious award-winning breakfasts, a private wine tasting experience, a Thanksgiving Bountiful dinner featuring local products and wines, and a CABBI cookbook to take home. The two-night package is $395 per couple for Main House, and $565 per couple for the Water Tower Suite. Request your reservation by November 5. If you only have one night to stay and celebrate Thanksgiving, check in around noon in time to catch a parade or a football game, experience the private wine tasting and then enjoy the Thanksgiving Bountiful dinner. The one-night Thanksgiving package is $269 per couple for the Main House, and $349 per couple for the Water Tower Suite. One night package reservations open after November 6. The packages require a $100 non-refundable deposit.

This year leave the holiday cooking to the MacCallum House Inn & Restaurant and join in for their annual Thanksgiving feast, prepared, as always, from local farm and wild-crafted ingredients. Seatings are at 2:30, 5:00 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 26. The cost is $70 per person, or $30 for children under 12, not including tax and gratuity.

Enjoy a Thanksgiving getaway at the Elk Cove Inn & Spa. The inn is serving a sumptuous buffet of roast turkey and traditional side dishes and desserts on Thanksgiving day. The cost is $35.00 per person. In addition, the inn is offering a Fourth Night Free Special. Stay any three nights and add a fourth night FREE. (May not be combined with other discounts or specials.)

At the Groveland Hotel, Zagat-rated executive chef Greg Lutes is creating a Thanksgiving menu that extends from the traditional to more extravagant fare, and the ingredient lists are definitely enticing. The hotel is a cozy place to snuggle into featherbeds or sit by the fire. Make reservations for a Thanksgiving visit or just for Thanksgiving Dinner.


CABBI cookbook recipe

Casa Laguna Inn & Spa
Butternut Squash Omelet with Wild Mushrooms,
Braised Bacon, and Brown Butter
Makes 4 servings

Butternut Squash OmeletFor butternut puree:
2 lbs. butternut squash
2 tbs. olive oil
4 tbs. unsalted butter, softened at room temp
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For wild mushrooms:

2 lbs. King trumpets

2 lbs. Beech mushrooms

2 lbs. Chanterelles

4 tbs. olive oil

6 ea. thyme sprigs

5 ea. garlic cloves

For braised bacon:

1 lb. bacon slab cut into ¼ x 1½” strips

3 cups chicken stock


For brown butter:
1/2 lb. unsalted butter

4 tbs balsamic vinegar

6 tbs crème fraiche

Salt to taste


Peel squash and cut in half. Scoop out seeds. Rub with oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375° until soft and easily pierced with a paring knife. Remove from oven and transfer to food processor. Add butter and puree. Season to taste, then cool.


Coat mushrooms with oil. Add garlic and thyme and toss together in a bowl. Transfer to a sheet pan and bake at 375° until roasted. Remove from oven and let cool.

Place bacon and chicken stock in pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until bacon is soft and tender. Remove and let cool.

Brown the butter over medium heat being careful not to burn. When brown, with a nutty flavor, add vinegar to stop the browning. Remove and cool. Incorporate brown butter into crème fraiche and season to taste. Put into a squeeze bottle.

Whisk two eggs. Pre-heat non-stick omelet pan over moderate heat. Add eggs and 2oz of butternut puree, season, and cook. Flip and cook the other side till done but not dry.

In separate pan cook mushrooms and bacon, add a dollop of crème fraiche and season. Plate omelet open faced with mushroom bacon ragout in the center of the omelet. Drizzle brown butter mixture over omelet and ragout. Serve.

CABBI cookbook recipe

Ballard Inn & Restaurant
Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Cherry Pinot Noir Sauce

Makes 4 Servings


For the duck:
4 duck breast halves (8- to 9-ounces each)
4 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic, chopped

For the cherry pinot noir sauce:

3 tablespoons dried cherries
1 tablespoon raisins
3 tablespoons brandy
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup Pinot Noir wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon butter


For the duck: Score the skin of duck in a crosshatch pattern. Trim excess fat. Rub duck with thyme and garlic. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat oven to 400oF. Sear duck, skin-side-down, in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, until some of the fat is rendered and skin is golden brown. Turn duck and transfer skillet to oven. Roast duck for 8 minutes for medium-rare, or to desired doneness. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with cherry Pinot Noir sauce. For the sauce: Soak cherries and raisins in brandy until plump. Strain; reserve brandy. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots; cook until shallots are softened. Add cherries and raisins. Deglaze pan with reserved brandy. Reduce until nearly dry. Add wine; reduce until nearly dry. Add vinegar; reduce to syrup. Add chicken and beef stocks; reduce until sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in butter until melted and combined. Season with salt and pepper.CABBI Cookbook

For more delicious recipes from CABBI-member inns, order our CABBI Cookbook online at or peruse recipe collections at our new, Online Recipe Box at

cookbook Sandpiper House Inn