Give me a car a train a ship or a plane and I'm off. Just the sound of a plane engine revving gets my blood running! I, of course, am a travel addict. Love it. And I've always been an independent traveller, never joining tours or even hopping a tour bus.
But yesterday I changed my mind. Yesterday I attended an event at one of my favorite country inns in New Hampshire, Colby Hill Inn in Henniker. The well-travelled owners are putting together a special Culinary Wine Cruise for September 2011 and they invited a group of us to come listen and learn and see if we would be interested in joining them. I arrived interested and I left convinced.
What made me change my mind? Well, although I speak fluent French, there are people that don't that really want to visit France and Italy but are hesitant that they will get enough out of their trip without understanding what anyone is saying to them. A cruise on an American ship (Royal Caribbean Cruise Line), and a personal tour with American hosts, Cyndi and Mason Cobb, owners of the Colby Hill Inn, would make all the difference.
Also traveling in a small group that dines together and explores together would make it a fun and friendly way to travel. Even more, this cruise tour is being co-hosted by Ken Scupp of Kobrand, a company that owns vineyards around the world, which means that the tour gets you into places you can't get into on your own. For instance, a private sit down lunch with one of the vineyard's owners.
So, my friends, I decided to share this information with you because it sounds like a wonderful way to travel the Mediterranean.
They are flying over to Barcelona to stay overnight before boarding the ship for a cruise that visits Toulon and Nice in France, then visits Livorno, Rome, and Naples in Italy. One day there will be a private tour with wine expert Ken Scupp to Chateau D'Aqueria in France and one day a visit to Nozzole Vineyard in Italy including a lunch with the owners. The other days are free to explore Provence and the Chianti region and Rome. If guests want to join Cyndi and Mason on special trips around the countryside they can do so for sightseeing, shopping, or whatever the group decides they'd like to do.
While I was at the event learning about the cruise, I realized yet again why I like this inn so much. It's more than being a comfortable cozy home serving great food in an intimate dining room with a view.
As with all inns, it really comes down to the personalities that run it. Cyndie and Mason are great hosts. They also know their food and wines! Here is a picture of my favorite of the appetizers they served yesterday. It's Country Pate with Lavender Mustard (thank you for the recipe, Chef Gage!)
Yes, I got the recipe. It was that good. His secret was to crush lavender (you can buy it online) in a mortar and pestle before combining it with stone ground mustard and Dijon mustard. So delicious!
I took a walk around the inn before leaving. The fire was crackling and comfortable chairs were placed nearby. Guests wandered in and out for coffee or to play a game of cards or to snuggle into a sofa with a book before dinner.
I only live an hour away but I know I'll be coming back soon for a meal, perhaps their Sunday brunch. Then a sit in one of their living rooms with a cup of tea and a notebook to sketch in, and I'll be happy.
For more information on the Culinary Wine Cruise in September 2011 give Cyndi or Mason a call: 1-800-531-0330. (and tell them I sent you!)
or: HAPPY TRAVELS Travel Agency handling the cruise
Tel: (603) 995-4019
Tel: (877) 378-4097 (Toll Free)
Fax: (877) 310-1692