The Summer is upon us! People are coming out of the COVID woodwork to travel! Smith Mountain Lake is a-buzz! If you are wanting to visit and rent a boat, be sure to plan ahead with all reservations!
Here in the B & B, we have been testing a few new recipes that we hope to introduce soon to guests.
We have had our #1 granddaughter staying with us this summer and she is learning to prepare some of the famous Bedford Landings dishes. She is also a driver in training! So we have a chauffeur!
There is a Distillery in town! We are planning a time to go taste, but 11:00 in the morning on ribbon cutting day was not when I wanted to sip on legal moonshine. Located in the Westlake Area, be sure to visit Roosters Rise-n-Shine Distillery.
Napoli by the Lake had a very elegant ribbon cutting in the Bernard’s Landing outdoor covered venue. You must see that. Since it was our (15th) anniversary, we went to dinner afterwards and the service and food were excellent! It is located in the former Landing restaurant space.
There is also a new seafood restaurant called Pier 122 (for Route 122) and is located next to Copper Kettle on Firstwatch Drive. An all seafood, hushpuppy, corn on the cob menu, they hope to contribute to the seafood lovers palette. Jack loved their crab legs.
Drifters is as fun and packed as ever! They offer entertainment, great food, wonderful service and a burger called the Bedford Landings!!!
So far, the summer is about food and lake visitors! But, stay tuned! The summer is shaping up with even more activity!
Karen will be the emcee for LOTL the afternoon of June 26th at Mango’s. Come support the Children’s Miracle Network.
And Pirate’s Weekend is around the corner! July 15-18, get out your eye patches, bandannas, and water pistols!
We are moving toward the one year anniversary of the year I call The Great Sadness. 2020 was tough on a lot of people. Our guests tell us tremendous stories of loss and occasionally we share our stories. We love keeping busy with interesting guests to keep our minds off the great sadness. So this summer, we will just continue to eat, host, and sing our way through 2021.
People often ask what there is to do at Smith Mountain Lake. The lake has an array of activities from horseback riding to fishing, visiting wineries, picnicking and walking trails. We have wonderful restaurants, many located lakeside. There are cute gift shops, mini golf, and 18-hole golf courses. One favorite activity is boating.
If you are planning to rent a boat, our advice is to reserve it BEFORE you get here. Pontoons are a favorite for families and many young adults like to dash about on a jet ski. But we have seen people disappointed who try to reserve them the day of arrival and no boats are available. There are several marinas (Bridgewater, Parrot Cove, Bernards, Parkway, Captains Quarters, Mitchells–and there are others!)
You can apply for and get the Virginia Boating license online. There are about 15-16 modules and a quiz after each one. But then you are all set to be the captain of your craft. If you do not have a boating license, the rental establishment will give you a 15–30-minute crash course. You will need to complete it along with everyone else renting that day and it may cut into your boating time but it is required! You can take coolers aboard the boats along with towels, floats, noodles and sunscreen.
You are allowed to pull someone on the tube behind the boat but you must have a spotter keeping an eye on the tuber! You will make a large wake so be sure to stay at least 50 feet (200 feet is even better) clear of any docks and other boats!
Flying out of the SML Airport, there is an airplane on floats that occasionally lands on the lake. DO NOT APPROACH the seaplane. The pilot sits up very high and they may not be able to see you on a jet ski or pontoon even. Particularly during takeoff, a seaplane has very poor visibility. Stay well clear of a seaplane even though you may be curious. You can schedule a discovery flight through SML Aviation if you want to explore that sport further!
Anyone who has stayed at Bedford Landings B & B knows that we try to accommodate people with special diets. Possibilities could include a Keto diet, gluten free, dairy-free, no sugar, or no cheese. Most drink coffee but a few prefer hot tea and occasionally one wants decaffeinated coffee. With 10-12 people gathered for breakfast, keeping it all straight is a challenge, but I think we have been pretty successful.
When guests complete their reservation form, they are asked about food allergies or aversions. Ninety percent of the guests we host are open to anything we serve. Some have special diets. The strangest one was a guest indicating he was lacto-vegetarian. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacto_vegetarianism ) That stumped us! We weren’t sure if we should soak his veggies in milk or not. But apparently, it is a person who abstains from eating meat and eggs, but who eats dairy products!
Many of us try to cut calories from time to time, but on a vacation a scrumptious breakfast at Bedford Landings should be a treat! We hope people come hungry and leave full! We do try to serve food that people will eat so defining food aversions is important too! One guest saw me serving up cheese grits and said, “Oh don’t give me any of those, I hate grits!” All one must do it tell us and we will make a special note! We do not want anyone to go into shock, become sick or break out in hives! Some folks have nut allergies, but then we need to dig a little deeper to see if that includes pecans since our signature dish is pecan-encrusted bacon!
Be sure to tell us if you can’t have common breakfast elements such as dairy, eggs, cheese, flour-based products, and sugar! These are staples in our kitchen! One recipe we tend to make for our diabetic guests is cloud bread! We are sharing it here for you! Bon Appetit!
6 eggs, separated
½ teaspoon Cream of Tartar
½ cup low fat Cream Cheese
½ cup skim Ricotta Cheese
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon Black Pepper (original recipe called for 1 Tbsp, but I think that is too much)
Preheat oven to 425°. Separate eggs. Combine the yolks with the cheeses and pepper and mix well. Addition of herbs and spices is optional.
Combine cream of tartar with the egg whites and whip to extremely stiff peaks. Temper the yolk and cheese mixture with a scoop of egg white foam and mix well while trying to not stir too much air out of the foam. Fold the yolk cheese mix into the whites. Spoon the desired portion onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and bake 10 to 15 minutes until browned. Reduce heat to 350° and bake 10 more minutes. Serve immediately or cover overnight.
If you have someone special you want to show love to this Valentine’s Day, consider their Language of Love (Gary Chapman, Five Languages of Love). It’s a simple concept, but not one we often pay attention to on a regular basis with our loved ones.
We all have a little of each of these languages, but most likely you have a dominant one. Let me first explain the languages, then give you some examples and ideas.
The easy way for me to remember the five languages is Tell me, Touch me, Show me and Show me has three types.
Jack is a “Quality Time” guy. So, if I fly in the airplane with him, go to the (Indianapolis 500) races with him, or work on some project building something, then he feels I really love him. I do love him but I may have other things I would prefer to do… but I know that doing what he loves while spending time with me feels like love to him!
I am an “Acts of Service” gal. Before I understood the languages of love, I was delivering act of service upon act of service to Jack and he didn’t notice, nor appreciate what I had done. I felt so under-loved! I rearranged his pantry, purchased new curtains and hung them and even bought an oil painting he had admired (that’s a gift though). He could have cared less. You see, If you deliver love in your love language it may be ineffective. It has to be THEIR language. Once Jack recognized how much I love my children and grand children and he would offer to help them (act of service), or that I needed something particular built and didn’t know how to do it but he did…he realized that was an act of service! And I love him back for just doing these things!
Once when I was speaking to a group, I was describing these love languages. I told them I wasn’t that big on gifts and conveyed that verbal compliments just rolled off my back as platitudes. I explained (as an example) that I much preferred Acts of Service. At the end of the speech, they delicately brought out a potted plant as a gift of appreciation. We all had a laugh and of course I accepted the plant graciously!
So what do we do as love gestures for each of these languages? First, try to assess your love languages. There is a brief quiz on love languages online. Once you complete the quiz, as a couple, discuss the results and laugh over past times. Assessments don’t just have to be for partners, but also they work for children. Discuss these languages with children to better understand each other and how to be effective in communicating.
Tell me people really like love letters outlining special times you have had together. For children that may take the form of lunch box notes or messages left on their pillows. Of course ongoing verbal affirmations is their primary language.
Touch me people love a caress, a hand on the knee, a peck on the neck, a little longer cuddle, or being helped into their robe or coat.
For Show me – Quality time people, think about what they enjoy. Is it watching old movies, bowling, taking a drive, building something together, eating out? Then package up that “something” with a gift certificate to do just that. If your favorite things are antiquing, riding horses, and baking but these are NOT their favorites, that is not a quality time gift for them.
Show me – Gift people seem the easiest to me. Chocolate and flowers work but also things they drop hints about. I did see a list of the 10 worst things to give your spouse which included vacuum cleaners, gym memberships, and new socks. So give with the person you love in mind, not their bad habits or what you think they need!
Now what do we Acts of Service people want as a love gesture? Part of the problem is we want it without having to ask for it and we don’t need you to gloat after doing it (“See I folded the clothes in the dryer!”) Granted, these are difficult to come up with. Here are some suggestions, however…wash the car, take on a chore they hate, help them with a project they are working on, any household chores not already ”assigned” to you, clean up after dinner, put away the dishes, make a music playlist, have lunch delivered, clean up an area of the house that is driving them nuts, help without being asked, handle travel logistics, start their car to warm up, toss their towel in the dryer ready for when they get out of the shower (I love that one!)
Happy sweetheart’s day!
Do you recall watching the movie, Backdraft? I watched it with my (career) firefighter-brother, Mike. We both cried at the end as Mike was touched with the brotherhood among firefighters. I became emotional because one of the firefighters died. I told him I could never imagine something like that happening to him.
Mike was an author, worldwide training specialist, and instructor in rope and confined space rescue. He was the alpha team leader for FEMA in charge of search and rescue at the Oklahoma City bombing, overnight lead on search and rescue at the World Trade Center September 11, 2001 and rescue worker following Hurricane Katrina. He had some stories to tell and we always wanted him to start a book about these experiences. I feel that many of the mental images, however were too painful to bring up again and write about.
Having served over 30 years as a firefighter than battalion chief in Virginia Beach, he didn’t die in active duty. In fact, he had retired 10 years prior to his death. He died July 27, 2020. My brother – Michael Gordon Brown, was my hero.
Mike was three years younger than me and six year younger than my older sister, Sherry. We grew up in one of those 1950-60’s homes where the dad worked, mom was at home cleaning and cooking until we were of high school age. We owned one car. We played Kick-the-Can until dark and the neighborhood mothers all used different whistles to call us home.
In high school, Mike was a police dispatcher and served on the volunteer fire and rescue squad in Blacksburg. He pretty much blew off college weighing in at about a 0.0 his freshman year. This was much to my father’s dismay as Dad was a university administrator at Virginia Tech. His love was fire and rescue. Dad along with the rest of the family were ever so proud when he graduated at the top of his fire school training class in Virginia Beach.
Mike was a social kind of guy and just fun to be with. His booming voice and massive presence would fill a room. He was my little brother; but he was bigger than life to me!
Mike saved so many people throughout his lifetime. And he could have died in the line of duty time and again. But he didn’t. We were gifted with his presence for 63 years. When he died, Mike tripped and fell at home. It was later deemed a stroke, but it was apparent, it was his time to go.
Mike had retired to Little River in Floyd County, Virginia with his wife Lisa and dog Ax. When we spoke on the phone, he would tell me “Ax” stories. He told me how Ax just looks at him as if he understood him and related how Ax was the “smartest dog” he had ever had. He had an idea that he wanted to write a children’s book featuring Ax. Since I had written a few children’s books, he asked me how to start. He identified Fire Safety as the topic. I told him to start conceptualizing the book and I would come take photos of Ax to use within the book. The day we visited Mike and Lisa to take photos was the last day I saw him alive. He gave me a big bear hug, as always, but this time, he lingered… comforting me. The reason we were there was an escape from our day-to-day reality. We were in mourning (as he was), after the death of my daughter 20 days prior. He and Lisa put together a little picnic lunch, and we drove his ATV down by the river to let Ax play while I took pictures for his book.
His death was a complete shock for all of us. We held a memorial service (during a pandemic) and honored his life with friends, firefighters, and family in attendance at his home, outside by the river. Ax was there too.*
Following his death, Sherry (my sister), and I were determined to complete Mike’s book. He had already entitled the book, “Oh Snap! It’s Ax!” Indeed, we completed the ABCs of fire safety children’s book. It is available on Amazon.
We are the final phases of having it translated into Spanish. I give credit to my long-time friend, Julia de Atiles for helping us understand that first of all an ABC book doesn’t translate word for word alphabetically. Ax, for example, in Spanish is Hatcha. Watch for the Spanish version entitled, “Oh Snap! es Ax!” We feel this is a great book for families, schools, and fire departments. It and can be used to highlight safety during fire safety week October 3-9, 2021.
We honored Michael following his death by completing a book. Of course, I would far rather have him still here with us but have so many proud memories of my brother, my hero. Who is your hero?
To honor Michael, a scholarship fund has been established to help train future firefighters. Contributions may be sent to the fire training academy scholarship fund that is being established in Michael‘s name. Checks may be made to: Fraternal Order of Virginia Beach Fire Chiefs, address is P.O. Box 56151, Virginia Beach, VA 23456-1151. Note the contribution is for the Michael G. Brown scholarship fund.
* Ax now lives with Mike’s son Garrett and enjoys life with Mike’s grand daughters pictured here.