Today we’re going to veer off the restaurant path to a pleasant fork in the road.
Our first president, George Washington, celebrated his 280th birthday on Feb. 22.
To commemorate the day, a local bed and breakfast, the George Washington Inn, hosted a special event: a High Tea on the Piazza — with a personal appearance by Gen. George Washington himself to celebrate the occasion.
This sure looked like a wonderful excuse to while away a beautiful (and as it turned out incredibly windy) afternoon. So I told a few girlfriends and we had a ball!
The George Washington Inn has become a landmark bed and breakfast here.
As you enter the foyer of the inn, above the stately winding staircase looms a larger-than-life portrait of the Washington family by Edward Savage. The original hangs in the National Gallery of Art. This reproduction, interestingly enough, takes artistic license and flips the image to put the spotlight on the president. But I see it as symbolic: The inn is a replica of our Founding Father’s Virginia home, Mount Vernon. What better place for a West Coast mirror image of his estate since the 42nd entry to the union pays homage to this extraordinary statesman.
And I must mention this: Make sure to see the portrait of Gen. Washington by Arnold Friberg. Washington kneels beside his beloved horse, Blueskin, its cold breath hanging in the frigid winter air. The “Prayer at Valley Forge” is a truly emotional scene to behold.
The inn sits on the bluff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Victoria, British Columbia.
As the three-course tea was beginning, Mr. Washington arrived and addressed his guests. As if on cue, several bald eagles hovered over the cliff riding the air currents, appearing as if they were suspended in time.
The president was extremely affable, taking time to sit at each table and answer a plethora of questions. I learned a lot.
Lining the long driveway approaching the inn are hundreds of lavender bushes. And from those lavender bushes innkeeper Janet grinds this favorite aromatic plant of Mrs. Washington to enhance her many recipes served to her B&B guests.
A bed and breakfast isn’t set up for large crowds.
While under normal circumstances, Janet would prepare a meal at the B&B with her own talented hands, for such a special event she called in some help; Cameron’s Custom Catering worked under Janet’s close supervision.
Although this tea featured items you would enjoy as a guest of the inn, it also included typical tea fare.
For our first course, there was Black Forest ham and lavender cheddar scones, and dried cherry, orange and fresh lavender biscuits served with assorted flavored butters and jams. Guests at the inn will revel in the repertoire of Janet’s homemade jams. And while I’ve never been a fan of scones (usually taste bitter to me), these scones were sweet and flaky and the flavored butter really set them off.
For our second course we were treated to petite spinach and Swiss quiche, smoked salmon mousse-filled cucumber cups and lavender cream cheese and turkey finger sandwiches. The bread looked a lot like pumpernickel but was delightfully soft and airy. And anyone who left a turkey finger sandwich uneaten ... well, it soon found a home in me!
Ahhh and then came dessert! There were chocolate-dipped strawberries, assorted petit fours and raspberry lemon lavender cheesecake, oh my!
If you are lucky enough to be a guest at the inn, you will savor sumptuous breakfasts.
The menu changes every day but always includes house specialties. Those seated at the breakfast table will start out with a fruit dish such as hot apple soup with lavender. The main course often features a variation of their speciality dish, baked eggs. Some describe it almost like an omelette — but with a whole egg. To accompany the main attraction, there’s plenty of homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, biscuits and scones. For those who wish something lighter, granola and yogurt are offered along with juice and a very special “brand” of coffee.
The inn is the home of George Washington Coffee, made from “only the finest Arabica coffee beans.” You probably don’t associate the first president with coffee, but at that time in our history, drinking coffee was nothing short of an act of patriotism by Americans protesting excessive taxes. And you don’t have to be a guest to take some home.
Stay tuned. Soon the Sequim Lavender Weekend will be upon us and Janet is planning to have another tea.
I’m planning to go again and look forward to sharing a unique afternoon with just me and the gals ... and, of course, Father George.
Shelley Taylor and her husband relocated to the peninsula from California. By her own admission, Taylor likes to eat. Reach her at columnists@sequim gazette.com.
A fish tale for Sequim
Wed, Mar 6, 2013
The Oasis: A place to eat, drink, play
Mon, Feb 4, 2013
El Cazador: the cure for winter weather
Thu, Dec 13, 2012
Dining choices abundant at 7 Cedars
Wed, Oct 24, 2012
Westside Pizza to the rescue
Tue, Sep 25, 2012
You won't be stymied for a good meal here!
Wed, Aug 29, 2012
Adagio is Italian for "at ease"
Wed, Jul 25, 2012
Curbside dining at The Home Depot
Wed, May 30, 2012
Great view, great food at P.A.’s CrabHouse
Wed, Apr 25, 2012
George Washington tea’d here!
Tue, Mar 27, 2012
Port Angeles’ Traylor’s: All things to all appetites
Thu, Oct 27, 2011
Bent on Teriyaki? Try Bento!
Fri, Sep 30, 2011
Pancakes? You betcha! and then some …
Wed, Aug 24, 2011
Round and round we go, where we stop is ... Hardy’s Market!
Tue, Jul 26, 2011
This Rick’s Place is much closer than Casablanca!
Wed, Jun 22, 2011
Friendly fare from (almost) everywhere
Thu, May 26, 2011
C’est Si Bon is ‘si bon!’
Wed, Apr 27, 2011
The Curious Collection of Dr. William Wickline
Mon, Apr 4, 2011
All fired up? Here’s somewhere to go
Wed, Feb 23, 2011
Return once more to visit an old friend
Tue, Jan 25, 2011