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Category Archives: Uncategorized

Celebrity sighting

April 21, 2014 by braytonbb

I am not really someone who gets crazy over seeing or being around a celebrity. I mean, they are not any different than you or I. However, that does not mean that I don’t enjoy getting the opportunity to spend some time and get to know someone that I might have never had the chance to meet. I have said this before and I will say it again. The best part of my job is getting to meet so many wonderful people. Honestly, a lot of the time I don’t even know that someone is a celebrity until we start a conversation and realize that we have  more in common that either of us knew. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is very generous at sending people are way. A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of meeting Ms. Kara Laricks . I loved her style from the moment she walked in our door and her energy filled the inn and lifted my spirits. We sat for for nearly two hours during breakfast, just her and I talking freely and exchanging thoughts. I walked away feeling very lucky to have met her and inspired by her story of taking chances.  I hope one day, she may be back in Oshkosh again.  

Can you guess what this is?

January 23, 2014 by braytonbb

Can you guess what this gadget is? This week, no recipe, but a gadget that helps me in the kitchen. I will give you a few hints.

grapefruit cutter

1. It is used a lot at breakfast at our inn.

2. You can buy one of these yourself very inexpensively.

3. This tool makes eating this breakfast item much easier

4. This tool makes preparing this breakfast item much easier.

5. People that did not know this tool existed always ask me how I am able to prepare this one item so perfectly. Then they find out how and are amazed at this little gadget. I think Williams and Sonoma should send me a thank you card for the sale of this item.

To find the answer, you will have to go back to this previous post in our Blog.  If you don’t get it by looking at the picture, email  me. It will be fun to see how many will know.

The Busy Trap

December 16, 2013 by braytonbb

A friend of mine posted this this other day on Facebook and it really resonated with me, a lot! The Busy Trap. That is exactly what it is. We are all soooo busy and we feel like we are trapped. In reality, most of of us do it to ourselves. I know I do. I felt like this article was important to share since the author said so many things that rang true with me and so many of my friends. This time of year, I think it is also a great reminder how important it is to slow down, enjoy the season, and give something back to ourselves; time.

As you read this article, we are not all authors or bed and breakfast owners or stay at home Mom’s, or whatever it is that you do that makes you so important, but I think we will all understand that it is okay to say no once in awhile or to heck with it. In fact, soon after I read this, I picked up a book and enjoyed an hour to myself this afternoon. It was really nice.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/opinionator/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/

 

Brayton B&B gets an intern

June 18, 2013 by braytonbb

For the last couple of years I have been talking about getting an intern. Fox Valley Tech, here in Oshkosh, has a hospitality and tourism program.  I thought it would be great to be able to give back to someone by providing experience and possibly a career path. I wasn’t seeing the big picture though until a past guest and I got talking about social media. I know many of my other innkeeper friends will agree that we all spend a great deal of time promoting our businesses through Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc. It seems endless  and at times mind boggling trying to shuffle running an inn by physically doing all the tasks at the inn and then behind the scenes as well with things such as this. So for the time being, instead of training someone to do everything at the inn, I decided to get an intern to do some of my blogging to start off with.

If you don’t know this about me, I like to do everything myself. I have a hard time giving up control. Ask my family and friends. So, having someone blog for me is a huge step of trying to let go and manage my time a little better. This process though will be baby steps. I will still be blogging every week myself with recipes, since sometimes I don’t even know what I am going to post until the day of. I will also still blog about personal events, and things that happen at the inn( I think), until I can give up more maybe down the line.

So, I would like introduce you to Kyle. No, you can’t see him, but you will be able to get a sense of who he is from his blog entries. Kyle attends UWO, works a full time job and now interns for me. Kyle is interested in marketing, so he hopes to gain experience from blogging, analyzing  my Facebook page and working with Google. My hopes is that he can take away some experience by using me as his learning device and I can gain a little more freedom from my computer. Thanks Kyle!

More Amazing Guests!

June 11, 2013 by braytonbb

We all have met someone in our lives that makes an impact someway or another. Lucky for me, It happens a lot! Running a B&B gives me that luxury, since I get to meet so many different people from all over the world. They arrive as our guests, but leave as our friends.  This past weekend, I had the privilege in meeting 4 sisters. There is actually 5 girls and 3 brothers to this family. I am hoping one day, I will be able to meet the entire clan. I can only imagine that they are all just as wonderful as Ann, Margaret, Sue and Terrie.

When they first arrived, Ann asked me if I could tell they were sisters. I had to be honest, I really couldn’t.  They didn’t look like each other but I could tell that they all had their own unique personalities.

Ann, made the reservation. Though she wasn’t the eldest, she was the mother of the group. You could tell she was the glue. She held everyone together. Then there was Margaret from California. She was the funny one! She made everyone laugh, A LOT, including me. I have no doubts that if she lived in Oshkosh, we would probably be friends. Next was Sue. From the little bit that I could tell, she was the strong one.  My husband is always goofing around and she was able to dish out whatever he could give. It was a fun show just listening to the two. Finally, Terrie. She was quiet one. She absorbed everything that was going on around her; She listened contently and spoke wisely. She had a wonderful energy about her.

More importantly though than the unique personalities of these women, was the way they were around each other. They truly loved each other  and thrived when they were together. The bond that they hold is truly inspiring. It made me long for my sister who moved out to Napa Valley this past Autumn. So much so, that I called soon after they had departed.

I hated to see them leave. I wish they could have stayed much longer, but I know they have family that adores them. Thank you for choosing to stay with us while in the area. You four are an inspiration to someone that holds family near and dear.

caruso4

Lets go shopping!

April 29, 2013 by braytonbb

Downtown Oshkosh has so much to offer when it comes to shops and retailers and we are within walking distance to all there is to offer. Not only will you find some unique stores and finds, but  great deals are going on this May as well.

Looking to spruce up your clothing wardrobe? Downtown Oshkosh has many great 2nd hand clothing store options. Atomic Katz is a fantastic store where you will find vintage clothing from the 20′s to the 80′s along with mid century modern furniture. Chic to Chic carries mall  and name brand items 1/2 to 1/3 of the original price.  Frugal Fashion and Klassy Kids are both great stores for men, women and kids.

How about taking home something truly unique. One of our favorite stores is Soiree which offers a few antiques, salvaged curb goodies, and retro funk.  This unique store  brings an eclectic shopping mix to downtown. Crescent Moon offers specializes in antique salvaged or reclaimed material provided for reuse in building restoration, new home construction and decorative arts from vintage flooring, doors or moldings and so much more.   Satori Imports has been in business for 44 years and offers everything from clothing, incense, jewelry to health and body products. A truly unique shopping experience.

How about a good book or music selection? Apple Blossom Books is an adorable shop that is independently owned and family oriented that offers fun special events, a general selection of new and used books and special orders. Just a fun place to shop. Exclusive Company is “Americas oldest full line record store”. Starting out from the trunk of his car to now owning 7 locations in Wisconsin, this store is must to visit.

All this shopping is probably making you hungry, right? Downtown has got that covered too. Gardinas wine bar and cafe offers an interesting and varied wine list, craft beer list, and a great selection of craft bourbons, single malt scotches and rare dessert wines available by the glass, along with pizza, paninis and sandwiches along with specials each and every day. Cranky Pats Pizza, makes a fantastic thin crust pizza piled high with mushrooms(if that is your flavor) along with pasta and a full bar. Caramel Crisp is another historic place to stop into. In business since 1933 they still use the same original recipe for the caramel corn but now offering a full lunch menu, ice cream and the best cookies ever.

Participating downtown stores are offering gift cards.  May 11 (Mothers Day Weekend), Destination Downtown will be happening where the ultimate ladies day is celebrated.  Start the day off on May 11 where you can enjoy lunch, a style show, & tons of prizes and a silent auction. In the afternoon there will be great sales and discounts at local downtown businesses.

Of course, downtown has so much more to offer, but that is just a sampling of the shops you will find just a few steps out our front door.

Hey, look we were mentioned!

April 22, 2013 by braytonbb

brayton_family-4Every once in a while, our name appears in an article, not necessarily promoting us specifically, but what may be around us or things to do in the area.  The first article is from Travel Wisconsin and as you can see Oshkosh made the list of things to do, see, and places to eat. The second article is a feature story for the Circus World Museum in  Baraboo. Though Baraboo is roughly a 2 hour drive from Oshkosh, it is an easy enough day trip for those who are looking for something different to experience. I hope you enjoy both articles as much as I did.

 

“Wisconsin’s Event City,” Oshkosh is home to over 1,000 events and festivals, including the famous EAA AirVenture and the Country USA music festival. The city on the western shore of Lake Winnebago also has more than its share of year-round fun. Here are our top picks for an Oshkosh weekend getaway, any time of year.

Where to brunch

Pilora’s Café dishes up the café essentials – friendly service and wholesome food – with a dash of originality. From jazz music in the background to some unusual menu items (like cornbread pancakes with Door County cherries and the Moroccan ham sandwich) Pilora’s makes a point of offering something different. They also brew Alterra coffee, so you can fuel up on a proper cup of joe before heading out for your Oshkosh adventures. 

Where to explore

The EAA’s AirVenture fly-in every August isn’t your only chance to experience Oshkosh’s world-renowned Experimental Aircraft Association. The EAA AirVenture Museum, open year-round, features over 200 historic airplanes, plus movie theaters, galleries, flight simulators, and two “hands-on” interactive galleries for all ages.

Where to shop

You’ll find a lot of unique shops on (and just off) Main Street. A few to get you started:

If big-name stores are more your style, The Outlet Shoppes at Oshkosh, across from the EAA, is home to 55 of the best. We recommend adding a whole day to your Oshkosh itinerary if you want to hit the outlets!

Where to get your culture on

The Grand Opera House, built in 1883, is the oldest operating theater in Wisconsin. It puts on a fun variety of entertainment, from the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra to musicals, rock ’n’ roll shows, and karaoke nights. The Paine Art Center and Gardens is a 1920’s estate with an amazing art collection and display gardens. Their Family Discovery Gallery offers hands-on art experiences for children. Admission: $9 adult/$5 youth. 

Where to go for dinner

Gardina’s Wine Bar & Café has a great menu of American/Mediterranean starters, cheese plates, salads and sandwiches, with nightly entrée specials. But it’s their pizza that steals the show. Bring an appetite and brace yourself for some tough decisions: there’s an impressive selection of wines, craft beers, and – bonus – individual-sized cheesecakes. Jam to live music Friday and Saturday nights. 

Where to stay

The Brayton Bed & Breakfast is just a short walk from Main Street. Warning: if you stay in this beautiful, friendly B&B, you might not want to leave…especially on the weekends, when you can enjoy an afternoon wine and cheese social in the living room, and homemade desserts later in the evening. Rates: $129.00-$299.00 nightly.

Learn more about all the fun Oshkosh has to offer here.

Liven Up Your Vacation: Visit the Circus World Museum

If you have enjoyed luxuriating yourself in your suite at Brayton B&B, drinking fine wine, eating local cheeses, and visiting the occasional museum, take a vacation from your vacation. Plan a day of highly charged entertainment at the Circus World Museum. The Circus World Museum is a two hour drive from Oshkosh; far enough away to be a significant day-trip, but close enough that you can still make it back to your suite for an evening drink. A premiere Wisconsin attraction, the Circus World Museum is a historical site that attracts thousands of visitors a year, and is loved by both children and adults.

History

What sets the Circus World Museum apart from your average circus is its remarkable history. The circus, originally named ‘The Ringling Bros. Circus’, was founded in 1884 by the five Ringling brothers. The Ringling Bros. Circus ran for thirty-five years, and in that time expanded to an empire consisting of the three largest circuses in America. In 1959, after the circus industry had gone into decline and The Ringling Bros. Circus had long been closed, its gates once again opened. This time it was named the Circus World Museum, a museum with a mission to preserve the circus industry, so it could be understood and loved by future generations.

Sights

The Circus World Museum is home to several of the original buildings used by The Ringling Bros. Circus; these buildings are the largest groups of original circus buildings in North America. Located on the north bank of the Baraboo River, they date from 1897 and 1918, and the area they comprise is now a National Historic Landmark. As well as these historic buildings, artefacts from the old circus are displayed in the many exhibits on offer across the site. Here you can see everything from the cage wagons in which lions were kept, to original poster art advertising circus shows.

Performances

Of course it would be unheard of to go to a circus and not see a show. With the spirit of the original Ringling circus, there are a variety of shows on offer to suit a multitude of interests and tastes. Gymnastics, acrobatics, elephant shows, clown shows, and contortionist shows, are just a few of the performances on offer for visitors. Just make sure to look at the performance schedule on arrival so you won’t risk missing your favorite.

Eating and Drinking

If your trip to the Circus World Museum falls during the summer season, then their deluxe onsite restaurant, Cookhouse Grill, is open for business. If not, or if you would prefer to eat away from the circus, why not venture into Baraboo? Baraboo is a bustling city with a diverse range of eateries. Here you can sample the best burgers American cuisine has to offer, as well as some top-notch Mexican and Italian food.

Getting There

Driving is certainly the easiest, and most cost-effective, way of getting to the Circus World Museum, and will give you the chance to experience some of the beautiful scenery of Wisconsin between Oshkosh and Baraboo. It is important, however, that you consider safety before hitting the road. Whether you plan to rent a car or bring your own with you to Oshkosh, you must ensure that you are covered against breakdown in the Wisconsin area. Purchasing breakdown cover is simple, as it can be bought quickly and easily online, and there are many cheap deals to be found. While it is unlikely you will need to use it, breakdown cover is priceless for the piece of mind it will give you during your trip. Once you’ve got your breakdown cover in the bag, and have set a date for your trip to the Circus World Museum, simply jot down the directions below and you are ready to go.

Directions:

1.    Head northwest on Church Ave towards Central St(0.4 mi)

2.    Turn left onto Wisconsin St (0.5 mi)

3.    Continue onto Ohio St(0.9 mi)

4.    Turn right onto W South Park Ave(2.0 mi)

5.    Turn left to merge onto U.S. 41 S toward Milwaukee (2.4 mi)

6.    Take exit 113 for WI-26/County Rd N toward Waupun (0.4 mi)

7.    Turn right onto WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S/Co Rd N. Continue to follow WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S (21.5 mi)

8.    Take the Wisconsin 26 S/U.S. 151 S ramp to Waupun/Madison (0.4 mi)

9.    Merge onto US-151 S (1.0 mi)

10.  Take exit 147 to merge onto US-151 BUS S/WI-26 S/WI-26 Trunk S/Fond Du Lac St toward Waupun. Continue to follow US-151 BUS S/Fond Du Lac St.(1.6 mi)

11.  Turn right onto EMain St.(1.0 mi)

12.  Turn left onto WI-68 W/Fox Lake Rd. Continue to follow WI-68 W (9.5 mi)

13.  Continue onto State Hwy 33 W/W State St. Continue to follow State Hwy 33 W (44.8 mi)

14.  Turn left onto Washington Ave(0.6 mi)

15.  Turn right onto Water St. Destination will be on the left.

Ice Shoves on Lake Winnebago

April 15, 2013 by braytonbb

I was telling a friend of mine that just moved to Oshkosh a few months ago about the ice shoves that we witnessed on Lake Winnebago and she didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. I showed her some of these pictures that I took and she was amazed. I told her to head to Menominee Park  and take a drive. Over by the Waters it is pretty extravagant!

If you still don’t know what I am referring to, it is worth it to keep reading and take a drive to see the beauty and mess these things can create, especially if you are living on the lake.  This usually happens every year when the temperatures start warming and the east winds pick up and actually move the ice across the lake to the Western (Oshkosh) shores. It usually doesn’t take much  more than 10-20 minutes for the ice to come piling up on the lake, docks and on shore. As the ice breaks up, you can actually hear it moving, breaking and crunching together.  Sometimes it is large chunks the size of a car and sometimes if you get small pieces that collect together. With the ice storm that hit here last week, it left a beautiful display of ice hanging from everything from, trees, houses and down power lines with a mess of branches and  limbs scattered across the city as well.

As you can see from some of these pictures, some backyards have gotten smaller, docks have been taken out, and ice making its way onto the street.

ice shove lake eeeerie ice shove lake ice shove watersice shove pana ice shove trees

 

 

Family history this holiday season

December 31, 2012 by braytonbb

If  you have ever been to our place or been to our website, you will know that we are not like your typical bed and breakfast. You won’t find lacy pillowcases, flowered wallpaper or that 80′s country motif and we are completely doily free, and proud of it. Now, we know that there is a place for that. We have stayed in many lovely B&B’s that do a great job with these themes.  We hope that you can appreciate the architecture that our Creme City Brick Italianate home offers. We have brought in a lot of dark, warm colors to compliment the high ceilings and tall windows and doors.

Now we appreciate history just like you do. We love to tell people that our home is almost 150 years old and that it has gone from a residential home, to a boarding house, to group home to now our home and bed and breakfast. “Full Circle” is how I feel and what I tell most people. That is why we do have a few antiques in the home. Maybe a handful at the very most. In fact the ones I am the most proud of, are a piece of my own family history.

rocking chairWhen I was pregnant with my daughter I had a baby shower just like many. The best gift of the day came from my Grandmother who gave me her Fathers rocking chair. I never had a chance to meet him, but this rocking chair was always in my Grandparents house and I had never known the history.  She had cleaned it up and tweaked it to be squeak free. On the bottom of the chair seat she had written me a letter describing how her Father had sat in this chair every day on the porch smoking his pipe. It brought tears to my eyes that she was giving me something so precious, that meant so much to her and something that I could rock my baby in. Now my baby is teenager, so  it sits on the front porch at our other property where I can enjoy it just like my Great Grandfather.

 

floor lampNot long after we opened, my Mom gave me a floor lamp that was my Great Grandmothers. I was lucky enough to know her. In fact she passed away just a few weeks after my my daughter was born who is now 15. Its pretty cool that my daughter got to meet her Great Great Grandmother. She may not remember, but I do have a picture of the 5 generations. This lamp fits perfect in the B&B. It has a wonderfully warm glow that shines through the delicate beaded rice paper shade. I am so careful not to touch it too often, since it is in such fragile condition, but I love to show it off.

 

 

table lampMy family is very generous. Not just around the Holidays, but all the time. A couple of Christmas’s ago, I was unwrapping one last present. To my surprise, my Grandfather gave me a table lamp from my Great Grandmother. It is a very simple Tiffany design but something I adore. It is one of my favorite gifts that sits by the front door and illuminates the desserts I put out each evening.

 

 

 

rug2When I was a teenager, I was allowed to walk through the home of my Great Grandparents that they no longer resided in or had resided in for many years, but still kept full of clothes, dishes and furniture. I was asked at that time if there was anything I was interested in. At 16, at least for me, many things were beautiful, but I really did not have a use for anything. I spotted an area rug that I thought that maybe someday I could use, somewhere. I left and that was it. It was never brought up again. The home stayed empty until this last summer when they decided they would finally have an auction. There was this area rug. Water had been on it from a leaky ceiling and the years of mustiness had gotten to it, but it still looked incredible to  me. I put a bid on this rug along with one other one and they ended up being mine.  These rugs were steam cleaned twice but still had a long way to go to bring them back to their luster. My wonderful husband hosed them down and hung them on the clothes line over the summer where they were sun dried and cleaned again.  We rolled them up and stored them until we were ready. A week ago, I convinced my husband to help me bring one of the rugs inside the inn and replace it with a newer one that we had. He wasn’t so sure, but once it was among the other furniture and colors of the inn, it felt like it should have been here the whole time. I still have  not found a place for the other rug, but I know I will.

I felt like this was the ideal time to share a little piece of our homes history along with a little piece of mine as well. I am very fortunate to have a such a wonderful family who allows me to share  the history of my family with the history of this wonderful place we call home. Happy New Year and thank you to  my Great Grandparents, Grandparents and parents and to all of you who we have had the pleasure of seeing and meeting this year.

Nicole, Scott and Chase

 

Proudly displaying local artist

December 17, 2012 by braytonbb

Scott and I were out one weekday evening enjoying a couple of glasses of wine at one of  our favorite establishments in town. Gardinas. We love that we can just walk a couple blocks and check out downtown Oshkosh and enjoy so many wonderful treats. I am pleased to say that so many local places display great artwork by so many of the wonderful local artists that we have in our city.

Immediately my eye went to this amazing painting on the wall inside Gardinas.  I knew exactly where I would put it.  I just had to have it! Sometimes I can look for a long time for something that I want, not really ever knowing what it may be, but knowing that when I find it, I will just know.  That was the same in this case.

The following day I got in touch with the artist, Leif Larson, whom I had never met before. He was so kind to hold this piece for me until I was ready for it.  A few days ago, I called him up and said I was ready, at least for the most part. He was so gracious to deliver the piece for us.

I am so proud to be able to show this piece at the B&B for the sake of displaying a local artists piece of work, but also showing off the beautiful Algoma Club building, which is only a few blocks away from us.

If you are ever looking for a piece of local art, abstract, or figure painting, I highly recommend the work of Leif Larson.

Congratulations UWO Titans!

November 27, 2012 by braytonbb

Our own UWO Titans are off to Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon for the NCAA playoff game on Saturday, December 1st.   Both teams are unbeaten! UWO has a 12-0 record after winning this last Saturday to Bethel University in Minnesota. The Titans have won 14 consecutive games for the longest active winning streak in NCAA football.

Linfield College is going to be a challenge but  one that the Titans will no doubt do well with.  UW-Oshkosh is appearing in postseason play for the first time in school history, while Linfield College is competing in the playoffs for the 24th time, including its ninth in the NCAA Division III Championship.

Both teams rank among the NCAA Division III statistical leaders in several categories. UW-Oshkosh ranks ninth in the country in total offense (501.2 yards), 11th in scoring (40 points) and turnover margin (+16), 12th in scoring defense (14.2), 14th in rushing offense (263.4) and 17th in rushing defense (89.7).

Saturday’s game will be the first between UW-Oshkosh and Linfield College. The winner advances to play fourth-ranked University of St. Thomas (Minn.) or seventh-ranked Hobart College (N.Y.) in a semifinal of the 32-team tournament on Dec. 8. The national championship game (Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl) is scheduled for Dec. 14 in Salem, Va.

We would like to wish our hometown team the UWO Titans good luck in your upcoming game!

Buy Local

November 19, 2012 by braytonbb

As the weather has gotten colder, we have brought out the sweaters and have probably started planning for that  Thanksgiving dinner we are about to prepare or enjoy elsewhere. The day after Thanksgiving means the start of holiday shopping.

Your local retailers and service professionals play an important role in Oshkosh’s economic development. You are investing in your city’s growth and vitality.  There are so many unique retail stores in our back yard from consignment shops to boutiques to non chain type restaurants to your neighbor who specializes in electric and plumbing needs.  Another way to help Oshkosh businesses grow is to purchase Oshkosh Chamber gift certificates which are good at hundreds of different locations in the area. They can be purchased in several denominations at a variety of financial institutions. They make great gifts and the receiver can use them at many Oshkosh businesses.

Your downtown businesses will be open Saturday,  November 24 from 10:00-4:00 for Small Business Saturday.  This is the perfect opportunity to buy local!

Holiday Open House is also Saturday, December 1 from 6:00-9:00 through the downtown Oshkosh. Gallery Walk will be going on with food and refreshments at area businesses along with horse carriage rides

FYI – Did you know that for every $100.00 spent at a local small business, that $68.00 returns to the community? Just one more reason to shop small and support your local economy.

 

Celebration of Lights

November 12, 2012 by braytonbb

 

 

November 21-December 31, Oshkosh will feature the Celebration of Lights at Menominee Park for its 11th year  from 5:00-9:00. Each year it gets bigger, brighter and better as the entire park is lit up by over a half million holiday lights for more than a mile through the park on the shores of Lake Winnebago.  The park also features live reindeer and a 100 foot holiday tree. Don’t miss this Oshkosh holiday tradition.

 

Need advice

November 8, 2012 by braytonbb

The Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce puts on these great seminars that are free of charge. Its hard for me to get to them most of time since they are at 7:30 in the morning and I am usually making breakfast.  A few weeks ago, I noticed they were having a seminar on blogging being presented by Dealer Fire. Fortunately, I was able to attend this on. I have been blogging now for over year, but I knew that there was so much more than I needed to know. First, off let me say, the folks at Dealer Fire are really nice and really knowledgeable. I learned a lot, thanks!

One thing in particular that was mentioned though to me was to try and post Monday-Thursday between 12:00 and 3:00 on my social media sites (Facebook, twitter, etc.) The logic to this is that  a lot people do not look at their social media sites right away in the morning or later afternoon and never on Fridays. I had not really thought about this, but it seemed to make sense. The problem I was thinking about was that I always posted what was happening in Oshkosh every Monday morning and my food blog every Friday morning. Apparently two big no no’s. This week I decided to post my food blog Thursday around lunch time and  not mention that I was doing it differently.  Now, it hasn’t been that long, but  too many people have not seen the recipe this week. By the way, it is scrumptious and perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

So, my question goes out to you. What you think? Stick with the Friday morning recipe or do you think I am better off switching it up to lets say, Thursday afternoon? When do you log on?

Meet our friends that have been coming the longest!

September 24, 2012 by braytonbb

Phil and Robin-butternut

 

 

I want to introduce you to two AMAZING people. Robin and Phil started coming to see us in 2007, soon after we first opened. We donated a gift certificate to our Oshkosh Convention and Visitors Bureau where in turn, these two won a stay with us, along with dinner, a salon package, tons of coupons and trickets and I am sure a lot more things that I am forgetting to mention. Since 2007, we have seen Robin and Phil more than a dozen times.  Sometimes participating in our murder mysterys and sometimes being introduced  to their family and friends.  Not only have they brought others to stay with us, including children, Mom, Sister and Brother in law and several friends but we have visited them as well. These two people are our guests, but they have also become our friends. We chat often over Facebook and try to stay up to date with everything going on in their lives. I count my blessings often that we have found such dear friends through a chance meeting that would have never existed if I didn’t do what I do. This is for two positive people that always seem to find sunshine around every corner.

Best Engagement thus far at the inn!

September 5, 2012 by braytonbb

Josh and AlyssaI would like to introduce you to Josh and Alyssa. Josh called me up a few weeks ago wanting to plan something big for his girlfriend Alyssa, who he was planning on asking to marry him. I got right into engagement planner mode asked a lot of questions. Josh brought out all the stops. He wanted a couples massage at Mode Salon, bouquet of flowers in the room when they arrived, chocolates, wine and dinner at Beckets were all reserved along with a pontoon boat ride Captained by my very own Captain Scotty. Then he asks me if I knew of anyone to do a caricature drawing. I didn’t but I made some calls. I didn’t have much luck though in finding anyone to do the job in 4 days, but once again, Josh came through and found someone from the University. We planned for Captain Scotty to drop this lovely couple off at Menomonee park where he would just happen to come across an artist who would ask if they would like there picture to be drawn. Hmmm. Clever, huh? In the picture Josh would be down on one knee proposing. When Alyssa saw the picture, Josh would do the same. Ahhh, how romantic!

Stop! It didn’t quite work out that way. If only the movies played out in real life. The morning Josh and Alyssa were to arrive, Alyssa was so sick that Josh had to cancel everything. I was just as disappointed and let down as Josh. Well, maybe not quite the same. Josh had been so nervous and anxious and I know he really wanted this to go off without a hitch.

No problem, I said, lets do it next weekend. Nice, this poor boy had to wait another whole week, but we were going to make this work. Everything was rescheduled to the best of our ability. When meeting Alyssa for the first time, I was already so excited for her. I played dumb though and always asked lots of questions, but she kept saying that Josh was keeping her in suspense. She really didn’t know what he had planned for the weekend. The third morning they were here, they went out on the boat as planned with a picnic basket that I packed for them. Captain Scotty had it hidden in the boat and after a few hours asked Josh and Alyssa if they wanted to stop at the park for a picnic. TaDah. Lunch already packed! The two had lunch, then appeared the artist, then their portrait and then finally the question was asked? Did she say yes? Of course she did with tears in her eyes all the way back to the inn after calling all loved ones.
What a wonderful couple. We both are so excited for you both and hope that we can celebrate with you in your future plans.

What makes a B&B guest different than a hotel guest?

August 20, 2012 by braytonbb

I get asked all sorts of questions about the guests that have stayed with us over the years. One popular one is “Aren’t you afraid, since don’t know the people that are walking through your door”? Heck no! I never thought about it that way before. If I did, I don’t think I would be the right person for this job. Besides, our guests don’t know us either, so its a two way street. Another question is, “tell us about all the crazy people and stories that have come through the B&B. I feel like I usually disappoint people with my answer. I really don’t have any. Everyone is so nice! Seriously! The difference between a B&B guest and a hotel guest is that everyone is usually here for the same reason; to meet new people, socialize, gain a new experience, and love of older homes. Yes, we do get business travelers, but they choose us to relax from their long day, rather going back to a stale, predictable hotel. Mostly though we get honeymooners, anniversary couples, family reunions, friends traveling together and so on. They look forward to their stay and we do whatever we can to  make their stay unforgettable. So what really makes the bed and breakfast guest different than the hotel guest. Their contagious happiness.

That being said, these ladies that stayed with us this past week, were the epitome of happiness and it rubbed off on me everyday that they were here. They travel together every year. Sometimes the 5 of them, sometimes up to 12 of them. Usually in the  Midwest, but they have gone as far as Washington DC. All friends with each a unique personality. They wandered out smiling each morning in search of coffee. Some were up  way before I was and some like to sleep in until right before breakfast at 8:00. Their stories of their adventures on past trips and history as friends were a joy to listen to at the breakfast table  and in the afternoon when they would get back from their journey around town. I think they may have even added to their stories for their next trip. I hope they made some wonderful memories in Oshkosh and at the inn. I know I will think of them often and smile when I do.

EAA Celebrities

August 6, 2012 by braytonbb

In a previous post I talked about how excited I get every year for EAA. We tend to usually have the same group ( or mostly) the same each year. This year though we had a couple from Australia looking to buy a plane. I think he was more confused when he left though then when he first got here. It was a lot more than what he bargained for. I hope we will see them again though or least hear from them because I am very interested to fine out what he settled on. We also had another young couple here from Brazil. They have been in the States for a couple months and will be for a couple more, but his Grandfather wanted to experience EAA, therefore they got to as well. They were exhausted by the time they left from so much to see.

As for our regulars we have a couple that worked for American Airlines when we first met them 5 years ago but who are now retired and loving life with their new puppy. We also have a couple from California that fly out each year in their Long-EZ which I find absolutely beautiful! Every other year though, Mom and Dad come along for the fun. You see there is a race known as The Airventure Cup Race which is flown to unite aviation’s rich history with its promising future. The competition is a timed race with 11 or more classes of aircraft based on engine size and landing gear configuration, thus enabling aircraft to achieve best times according to class. The goal is to combine aviation history with innovation, new technologies and individual craftsmanship into a fun filled race that partcipants and spectators alike enjoy. After a mass arrival at the Oshkosh Whittman Regional Airport, the race aircraft were on display during EAA week in the homebuilt parking area. You can visit http://www.airventure.org/ for more information.

We want to say congratulations to Paul and Pam who took first place, AGAIN, in the experimental class with their Lancair IV and Jenny and Klaus who took 2nd in the Formula FX Blue Class in their Long-EZ. We look forward to seeing everyone next year and good luck to those who participate in the race.

Great day for a hike!

June 26, 2012 by braytonbb

For the past three years Chase and I have taken one day of the summer to go hiking. We have always gone to High Cliff State Park, just North of Appleton. It is a relatively short drive for us and we have always enjoyed ourselves. It over looks the lake and the walks along the bluffs are AMAZING!  This year, Chase asked me if we could go somewhere different.  ”Sure”, I said. “Do some research and let me know where you would like to go within a couple of hours of Oshkosh.”. She came up with Manitowoc. Point Beach Hiking trail goes along the beach on Lake Michigan.  Sounded perfect. We both like it warm and thought this will be great walking along the beach. We planned on June 25 th. When we woke up yesterday though, the temps were pretty cool. Though it was supposed to reach 75 here in Oshkosh,  the weather in Manitowoc and Two Rivers was only supposed to be 65. That was a little too cool for us. So at the last minute we decided to go to Waupaca. The drive was about 50 minutes and we found ourselves at Hartman Creek State Park.  With seven lakes with crystal clear waters, a sandy swimming beach, and miles of different types of trails made this an ideal spot. We hiked about 7 miles with different types of terrain from paved, crushed  limestone to jumping over trees and mud. We even took a bit of a scenic tour back home and went on the great back roads with shaded trees hanging over and wonderful wildlife.

We decided that we favored High Cliff because the trails were better marked, but still it gave it rave reviews. We are planning a trip to Manitowoc later in the summer still though.

Wherever you decide to go, check the websites and find out how far you are willing to drive, what kind of terrain you can handle and what it is that you would like to experience. I would highly recommend.

Strawberry Season

June 18, 2012 by braytonbb

I use to go strawberry picking with my Grandma and Mom when I was small. I remember only going a few times and often wondered why I didn’t go more. When I became a Mom, I took my daughter strawberry picking to Oakridge Farms in Neenah. I think the first time I took her, she must have been around 4. At that time we would pick two flats. I would ask her to pick one and I would another. The usual story went that after about 30 minutes she would start complaining that she was either bored, tired or her belly was too full from eating so many strawberries or I would get frustrated because every other one she would say, “look at this one” or “look how big this one is”. It took a long time to pick two flats.  I remember thinking back to my childhood, now realizing that is probably why I didn’t get to go more often because of the complaining that I just can’t seem to remember me doing.

Each year though we would go and though the time got longer after she would complain, I kind of dreaded going even though she wanted to go, it took so long. By the time she got to be about 8, we were picking 4 flats. With the bed and breakfast, I had to make more jam, freeze  more berries and bake more shortcake. We started going to Prellwitz Produce in Ripon.  The drive was a little bit longer, but the berries were always bigger, sweeter, more plentiful and less weedy and they had a tractor that took us into the fields.  Chase (my daughter) thought this was the coolest!  Finally she got to be about 12 and like every year, I would say that it was strawberry time. That year she said she din’t really want to go. Though I was slightly disappointed, I was somewhat overjoyed thinking that I had some “me” time and I would get through this in no time at all. So, I put on my Ipod and went into the fields. We had been going to Prellwitz’s now for several years so I knew what to expect. I had a great time, jamming out to  music and had four flats picked in no time. I even had extra time to make it home and start making jam

This year strawberry season came a bit early. I told my daughter that I was going and even before I could ask her if she wanted to go, she said “Mom, you know that I am not going with you, right?” I just said, “no big deal. More shortcake for me”. I was kidding of course. I love to share. I was a bit disappointed though this year. This was the first year that I had gone that the berries were much much smaller. The were still ripe, abundant and very sweet, but much smaller than I was use to. I did ask if there was another variety available, but to my dismay, this was it. So therefore, it took me twice as long to pick. I was very precise in the ones I wanted. I left many behind so the people picking behind me probably thought I was crazy.  I did get 4 flats picked though, made jam, froze some berries to use this winter, made some shortcake and treated my guests to strawberry cream cheese stuffed french toast.

Wherever you decide to go for your strawberry picking, have fun, enjoy. Feel free to check out both of these places I mentioned. They always have peas, blueberries, raspberries and so many other wonderful treats as well.

 

Top 10 questions about staying at a bed and breakfast

May 14, 2012 by braytonbb

We get a lot of people that stay with us that have  never been to a bed and breakfast before.  I always gets really excited about this, since we then,  are not compared to anywhere else, and now others have to live up to what we offered.  Before the reservation even gets made, I get some pretty typical questions from those that do not know what to expect. I have the the top 10 that I get asked the most often along with my responses, in no particular order ( in case you were wondering as well). Don’t stop the questions coming though, we like it when you ask and we love to tell you what we offer.

1. Do I have to share a bathroom with someone I don’t know? Nope, not at Brayton Bed and Breakfast. Yes, some B&B’s do have shared bathrooms, so this is an excellent question to ask. All of our rooms and suites have their own private bath. Some with two person soaker tub and steam like showers as well.

2. Do I have to eat breakfast with people I do not know?   The choice is yours. You can eat the main dining room with a group, on our sun porch with individual tables or or even in your room. Interact as much or as little as you like. Each bed and breakfast is unique, so if this is a concern, this is another great question to ask.

3. I have food allergies and restrictions. Is this a problem? Not for us it is not. Just let us know when you make  your reservation if you a vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, atkins, etc etc etc. We have a lot of tried and true recipes and love a challenge occasionally too.

4. What kind of breakfast can I expect in the morning? We always offer two choices. A sweet dish choice such as a stuffed french toast, waffles, or bread pudding to name a few and then a savory dish such as a quiche or breakfast burritos which are some of the favorites. Your entree also will come with some type of fruit, bread meat and/or hash browns. We have never had anyone walk away hungry or disappointed.

5. Is there a certain time you serve breakfast? We serve breakfast between 8:00-10:00 everyday.  We try to be flexible on the times to be respectful of other guests wanting to sleep in, but if you do need breakfast earlier, please ask. We will do what we can to try to accommodate.

6. Is there a curfew? Nope. We are not your parents. You have your own code to the house, so you don’t even have to worry about taking keys with you. You can come and go as you like and stay out as late as you want.

7. Do I have to bring my own towels, sheets, shampoo, etc. Nope. We have everything that we think you may need. Not only do we provide fresh towels and sheets, soap, shampoo and conditioner, but everything is the highest quality. Each room also has a hair dryer and our suites have bathrobes to enjoy while you are staying with us.

8. Will we have our own privacy? Absolutely! We are here when you need us. We don’t believe in hovering. We have plenty to do behind the scenes to make your stay comfortable. As for hearing guests in other rooms, not true either. One thing  nice about having a 150 year home is that it is made of plaster and lathe and not drywall. Its so quiet, we never hear people coming or going.  The time is yours to do with what you wish. Our home is your home, so  make yourself comfortable.

9. Will I be able to get online or print something if I need to? Yes. We have WIFI throughout the inn. Most of our rooms have some sort of table, bench  or chest to work on, but if you need more room, we also offer a small work station with a printer on the sun porch and the Casa Suite offers it own work area. If you are meeting with a group of people, they are more than welcome to come over. Our dining room works well for that too, but please let us know so we can make sure that you get the privacy  you need along with our other guests as well.

10. Air conditioning, hot water, squeaky floors? Though our inn is 150 years old, our electrical and pipes are not. When we purchased in the inn in 2004 we did a complete remodel from top to bottom. That means adding all new windows, central air, new pipes for instant hot water, 3 hot water heaters so you will not have to worry about running out of hot water when you fill the tub and outlets that will allow you to plug in your hair dryer and curling iron without blowing a fuse. We have even furnished the inn with all new furniture and warm paint colors to make your stay relaxing and not stuffy. Though we can’t guarantee that the floors won’t squeak, in spots, since they are original we do think that you will appreciate their beauty.

I could probably go on and on, but these are the ones that get asked the most often. As I mentioned, each bed and breakfast is unique, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. It doesn’t matter where you stay, all innkeepers want the same thing and that is to make sure that you walk about happy and think of coming back or staying in another B&B in the future.

 

Did you know? University of Wisconsin Oshkosh….

March 27, 2012 by braytonbb

Did you know that the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is the 3rd. largest university in Wisconsin? Right out our back door and just blocks away from the B&B. How convenient that it is for students growing up in our community and parents sending their kids off to school and parents coming to visit.

Located on the Fox river and with so much to offer such as recreation, arts and culture, service learning and career building, Oshkosh is a great school to consider. Approximately 13,500 students benefit from the nationally recognized expertise of the faculty and a wide variety of courses and degrees are offered — including 58 undergraduate majors,17 master’s degree programs and one doctoral degree (Doctorate of Nursing Practice) — and modest class sizes.  With 80,000 alumni is easy to see why Oshkosh takes such pride in its campus.

Did you also know that the students at UWO have so much at their fingertips. Reeve Memorial Union is the place where students can go to relax, featuring a student involvement center, movie theater, club, food court and coffee shop. Throughout the semester, the University also hosts comedians, concerts, carnivals, workshops and many other events providing entertainment to students.

As a student, they also have free access to the state-of-the-art student recreation and wellness center.  This facility features multiple basketball and volleyball courts, an indoor soccer court, more than 80 cardio exercise machines, a jogging/walking track, climbing wall, aerobic studios, Cyber Café and many free-standing and machine weights. Albee Hall which is home to several racquetball courts and an indoor pool are also provided. For students interested in intercollegiate or intramural sports, Kolf Sports Center is the field house of the university, including a weight room, gymnastics area and large gym with a track. UW Oshkosh’s outdoor intercollegiate sports are played at the Oshskosh Sports Complex. This recently renovated facility is home to UW Oshkosh’s football, softball, baseball, men and women’s soccer, and men and women’s track and field teams.

When it comes to learning, there are ten academic buildings located on campus, which are remodeled on a regular basis and feature up-to-date technology. Classrooms have access to digital projectors, televisions and other forms of technology. All of UW Oshkosh’s colleges and programs are nationally or regionally accredited. UW Oshkosh also features 47 computer labs on campus located in convenient locations, such as the academic and residence hall buildings. Computer labs are kept on a three-year rotation to ensure students have access to the latest technology. Software is updated annually and computers are preloaded with the programs that students require for their classwork.

In addition to a low city crime rate, UW Oshkosh has its own, highly trained and professional state police officer force, as well as trained student community service officers that serve as police dispatchers. Students walking between buildings late at night can request for an escort or take the free, late-night bus service. Located throughout campus, blue light emergency phones provide added security and are a direct line to the University Police.

As you can see, as a community we are very fortunate to be able to offer so much to our children in learning and hopefully staying and building a life in our ever growing city.

What do people come to Oshkosh to do?

March 20, 2012 by braytonbb

That is the question I get all the time, especially this time of year when the weather is not always cooperative with peoples plans.

Hmm. Where do I begin I usually say. Thats the truth though. There is so much to do in Oshkosh year round and because we are the “Event City”, there is always something going on.

Let me just start with the obvious. EAA Museum! Hello, this is a nationally recognized museum. People from all over the world will come here once a year, but anytime of year is a great day to visit the museum.  Paine Art Museum and Gardens. Oh my gosh, this place is gorgeous with the Nutcracker over the holidays, Room of  Blooms in just the last couple of weekends, Faire on the Green, plus all their other exhibits throughout the year.   Oshkosh Public Museum is right across the street from the Paine. Each year they bring several exhibits to the city but also year round exhibits that portray Oshkosh, such as the history of the Sawyer family, The Apostles Clock, and lumbering and logging history are just to name a few.  The Grand Opera House is quite the sight to see as well. This intimate theater sits 668 patrons and hosts nearly 100 performances a year. The Wiowash trail, Menominee Park and zoo and  South Park are not to be missed either. Great walking trails, volleyball and basketball courts plus several events are held here every year.

I don’t want to leave out gallery walk where local artists can show off their work in our downtown retail shops.  Our new river walk will be able to connect area businesses that are on the water and bring in new business to the city as well.

Your going to get hungry with all this driving and/or walking that you will be doing. We are are so fortunate to have so many great downtown restaurants, spas and retail shops downtown. Soiree, Chic to Chic and Apple Blossom Books  are a few of my favorite shopping stores. When I get hungry I love to walk down to Gardinas and Caramel Crisp and then take in a pedicure or massage at Salon Mode. I could go on and on with all the events that Oshkosh puts together from fisheries, to festivals and concerts and free outings for families.  I guess you will just have to come to Oshkosh for a visit each season to take in everything we have to offer.

Friday Recipe of the Week – Maple Granola

February 24, 2012 by braytonbb

I love, love, love this recipe and so many of our guests do too. Easy, yummy, but not real good for the waist line, but oh well. Its always worth it to have a treat once in a while. I have included a picture during the baking process and then after it cools.

5 C Old Fashioned Oats, 1 C walnuts and/or pecans, 1/2 C brown sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1.5 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 C maple syrup, 1 C butter (melted), 1/2 raisins and/craisens.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the oats, nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Heat up the butter with maple syrup and blend. Pour over oat mixture and mix well.

Pour onto a well greased cookie sheet. Bake 30 minutes, but stir every 10 minutes to bake evenly. After 30 minutes, let cool completely. Break into pieces and mix with raisins and/or craisens.

Enjoy as a cereal with berries, as a snack or sprinkled over yogurt. Last about 1 week.

 

 

 

Jazz Orgy at Beckets on the Fox River

January 9, 2012 by braytonbb

Beckets on the Fox River is a great place to stop in for a martini, glass of wine and a wonderful dinner over looking the river. They are within walking distance from us which makes it the ideal place to go for a romantic dinner or to meet up with friends. Their banquet facilities are a great place to hold a weddings which means you also have us nearby for your honeymoon night or a whole house rental for your wedding party. One of our favorite nights to stop in are on Wednesdays, for Jazz Orgy.  They have $13 bottles of wine and amazing martinis. Ask for their house martini. Its my favorite!

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