Posts Tagged ‘the empress bed and breakfast’

Pumpkin Puff Pancakes, an Autumn Treat…

October 21st, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

pumpkin puff pancakesThe Empress of Little Rock has long been known for the amazing breakfasts that are served daily in the grand formal dining room.  Bob Blair and Sharon Welch-Blair have created a menu influenced by both their travels and their many years as owners of The Empress.  Each day at The Empress promises a new and even more delicious entree for you to eat by candlelight.  Some of our favorites include Ham and Asparagus Bundles, Grand Marnier French Toast and warm Toasted Cheese Strata.  But one of our most popular dishes is only served in the fall and winter, and guests await impatiently for Pumpkin Puff Pancake season to roll back around.  The Empress is now serving this delectable dish, but we are including the recipe here, so that all of our friends can enjoy them at home as well.

Good luck on your version of our well-known autumn favorite, but if you want to get them directly from the source, book a night at The Empress now!

PUMPKIN PANCAKES USING BISQUICK
2 Cups Bisquick
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (check color of mixture to make sure this is enough can go up to ¾ cup)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
2 slightly beaten egg yolks
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons oil
4 egg whites beaten till they form peaks
Combine milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, & oil to Bisquick- stirring just to blend.

Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter. Check thickness – if necessary add more milk

HOT CIDER SYRUP:
3/4 CUP APPLE CIDER
1/2 CUP BROWN SUGAR
1/2 CUP LIGHT CORN SYRUP
1/2 TEASPOON LEMON JUICE
1/8 TEASPOON GROUND CINNAMON
1/8 TEASPOON NUTMEG
Combine ingredients and heat 20 minutes to reduce

 

Better Way to Stay…Adult Way to Stay

October 11th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

bwts

Better Way to Stay supports bed and breakfasts across the nation.

Last month we introduced you to the Better Way to Stay website and their “Hotel Package” video.  We enjoy the fun that it had showing the differences between hotels and bed and breakfasts and we hope you did too.  What other videos does the website have to offer?  How about an amusing take on why an “Adult” way to stay might be better.  Many bed and breakfasts are adult only (the Empress will allow children over 6, but very rarely have any children present) and this differs greatly from a hotel, where the crying infant next door might keep you up all night.

Why else is adult-only sometimes preferable?  How about a wine hour and champagne chilling in your room and a quiet soak in one of our jacuzzi tubs.  We at the Empress love our own children, but know that sometimes it is wonderful to just get away…and we hope to offer you the very best way to stay.

To book your next adult getaway at the Empress, call us at 501-374-7966 or visit our accommodations page.

 

 

75th Annual Arkansas State Fair!

September 26th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Department of Parks and Tourism Photo

Department of Parks and Tourism Photo

Along with dozens of pigs, poultry, cattle, and goats, the entire state of Arkansas will be celebrated at the 75th annual Arkansas State Fair held in Little Rock.

This 10-day family-oriented event, which will run from Oct. 10–19 this year, serves up entertainment and educational opportunities that emphasize livestock, agriculture, the arts, and technology. Throughout the fairgrounds, visitors can enjoy a variety of shows and activities designed for all ages.

At the New York Daredevil High Dive Show, spectators can see performers plunge from dizzying heights into pools of water. Visitors also can watch swine go snout to snout in a series of competitive pig races. During the Swamp Masters Gator Show, viewers can witness a man wrangle an 8-foot, 200-pound alligator.

Arkansas State Fair Photo

Arkansas State Fair Photo

To commemorate the 75th anniversary, an act unlike any other to ever appear at the Arkansas State Fair will entertain guests. Rock-It The Robot is a 9-foot-tall robot that will ramble around the fairgrounds awing crowds with its built-in sound system, light show, and dance moves.

In addition, the fair always features livestock shows, an exotic petting zoo, arts and crafts, and carnival rides. Competitive pageants and rodeo events round out the activities.

The fairgrounds are located at 2600 Howard St. in Little Rock. Tickets will be available beginning Sept. 2.

Call (501) 372-8341 for more details, or visit www.arkansasstatefair.com.

And don’t forget to book your room at The Empress, only a short drive from the fairgrounds!  Call us at 501-374-7966.

Better Way to Stay…The Hotel Package

September 16th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

hotelpackagesAs a continuation of last week’s “Free at a B&B” post, we thought you might like to see Better Way to Stay’s video “The Hotel Package”. What is Better Way to Stay?  I think their own words (from their website) say it best:

“The Better Way To Stay, is a grassroots campaign to help travelers discover today’s inns and B&B experience. Brought to you by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International and hundreds of B&B associations, directories, vendors and innkeepers, the Better Way To Stay campaign seeks to bust myths and build confidence in the B&B brand. While hotels and motels are one option, inns and B&Bs add amenities like complimentary breakfasts, free parking, afternoon or evening refreshments, free wi-fi adding up to $150 per two-night stay in extra value. Add a smile at check in and an innkeeper who remembers your name at the end of a long day, and the list of B&B bonuses becomes priceless.”

Pretty neat stuff, that aligns perfectly with the mission of The Empress and other bed and breakfasts.  So enjoy this fun and funny video and then book your room with The Empress to get the “bed and breakfast package” where it began!

 

 

Great War Memorial Balloon Race

August 27th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

balloonThis year the Great War Memorial Balloon Race celebrates it’s 3rd anniversary. This three-day event takes place on August 29-31 and in addition to filling the sky with spectacular balloons for three days, there will be jazz music, food, vendors and more. There will also be children’s activities, such as a splash fountain, carnival games, inflatables, interactive projects and fun foods like ice cream, shaved ice, lemonade and corndogs.

Take a tethered balloon ride 50-100 ft. into the air or attend a church service with music. There is plenty to do for the whole family! Stay the whole weekend at The Empress to get all three days of fun and the third night is only $79! (call 501-374-7966 for details)balloon race

Ahh…to be young…

July 26th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

The Blair’s granddjena blairaughter Jena has spent the summer busily working at The Empress.  She has been a huge help, doing everything from answering phones and taking reservations to cleaning rooms and checking in guests.  Another great thing she brings to the table is the optimism and ingenuity of youth.  A great example of this young, fun attitude is a recent birthday celebration we had for Shana, Sharon’s executive assistant.  A birthday of a staff member is always celebrated with a card and a cake (or sometimes cupcakes!) and it fell on Jena to order the cake and buy the card for this particular celebration.  The cake was ordered in plenty of time (and, being from Community Bakershana birthday picy, was absolutely DELICIOUS) but the card was forgotten until the last minute.  Instead of a last minute dollar store run or a quick search for appropriate clip art, (solutions we old people would embrace)  Jena wasted no time in breaking out her youthful creativity and art skills  and quickly created a card using nothing but paper, pens, sharpies and a lot of imagination.  Shana pronounced it the best card to ever be presented at The Empress (and the cupcake wasn’t all that bad either!).

Cultural Cuisine at Forty Two

July 17th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Want a uniquforty two atw wineglassese and fun-filled dining experience while staying at the Empress?  How about an opportunity to explore the world, while leaving your passport at home?  Forty Two, the restaurant at the Clinton Presidential Center, offers this opportunity at its Around the World dining event.  Every third Thursday of the month, they invite guests to explore the sights, sounds and flavors of countries across the globe.  A different country is featured every month, giving diners the chance to have their taste buds take a tour from Italy to India, without having to leave Little Rock.

 

A five-course tasting menu provided, with a bargain price of only $27.95, giving visitors the unique chance to sample distinctive flavors from around the world while enjoying a beautiful waterfront Arkansas setting.  Enjoy the culture of Melbourne, Australia on July 17th, and then come back for Jeonju, South Korea on August 21st!forty two plates

Reservations are required, as this event is extremely popular and seating is limited.  See more at Forty-Two’s website.  Or you can call them at 501-537-0042 to make your reservation.

 

 

 

Green Thoughts about Rising Food Costs

July 17th, 2014 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Homemade loaves of bread

Fresh out of the oven!

I’m guessing you’ve already figured out foods are going up in cost rapidly.  What a challenge it has been to continue to provide a rich and varied menu that makes a meal special and stay within a budget.  In the last couple of years, we’ve been looking at ways we can improve the experience while cutting the costs, from food to cleaning.  With nine guest rooms, it doesn’t take long to add up.  So here’s a couple of things we’ve come up with that we feel good about that might work for you also.

1-Make you own bread (bread makers make it easy and you know what’s in it) .  But mixes are very expensive.  We decided that making our own mixes made sense and making 10-12 at a time and putting them in zip lock bags allowed us to buy flour in bulk.  We can rinse and reuse the bags, so we don’t add more plastic to the environment.  It costs less than $1 a mix making that many at a time, including your time.  Our guests love the smell of fresh baked bread wafting thru the house.  But they really love the 1″ thick slices of decadent french toast and the cheese strata made with the heels and tops of the loaves.

2-We have our own “Victory Garden” where we raise our own herbs, squash for our golden breakfast pie,  cucumbers for our tea sandwiches, figs we use as fresh fruit and we even created a new fig soup for the fall, and now we have our first crop of grapes.  We’ve also added a persimmon tree, and we have blackberry canes as well.

Tune in for more “green” ideas and how our experiements have worked out.  We’d also love to hear about what unusual thing you’ve done to reduce costs and be “green”

Art Exhibits, Fashion Exhibits, Little Rock has a bit of it all Exhibits!

July 16th, 2013 by Lisa

little rock skyline for blog

If you are thinking that there isn’t enough to-do in Little Rock for a weekend getaway…think again!  Here are just a few of the exhibits that will be in town this month:

1) “How People Make Things” at the Museum of Discovery”-this exhibit was inspired by the factory tour segments from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and offers hands on activities using real factory tools and machines to create objects with four manufacturing processes: molding, cutting, deforming and assembly.  Dress up in coveralls, lab coats, aprons, safety glasses, boots and hardhats to become a factory technician, worker or supervisor.  You can also use a die cutter, operate a mill to carve a block of wax, assemble golf cart parts, mold pourable wax or play a matching came where audio clues and stories help you match a person to the object they make.  This exhibit runs through September 22.

2) “Oscar de la Renta: American Icon”- This is an original exhibit curated especially for the Clinton Center.  Trace the fashion evolution and inspiration of Oscar de la Renta from the Dominican Republic, Spain, France and the United States.  The exhibit will feature more than 30 of de la Renta’s iconic creations worn by style leader ranging from First Ladies to Hollywood stars.  Runs through December 1.

3)”Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London”- this special exhibition showcases 48 masterpieces from the collection known as the Iveagh Bequest.  These paintings reside at Kenwood House, a neoclassical villa in London.  This exhibit is a unique opportunity to view these paintings, many of which have never before traveled to the United States and are rarely seen outside of Kenwood House.  Can be seen at The Arkansas Arts Center through September 8.

4) “Lights! Camera! Arkansas!”- an exhibit featuring the state’s ties to Hollywood, through both movies and television.  There are artifacts related to films shot on location in the state, actors born in Arkansas and literary figures whose works were the basis for films shot in Arkansas.  Five galleries exhibit costumes, scripts, film footage, awards, photographs, theatre posters and props.  The cast of the exhibition includes Mary Steenburgen, Harry Thomason, Julie Adams, Lisa Blount, Johnny Cash, Gail Davis, Levon Helm, James Bridges, Jeff Nichols and Joey Lauren Adams among others.  Runs through March of 2015 at the Old State House Museum.

And don’t forget the Empress, an exhibit of Victorian living at its finest!  There are daily tours at 11:30 and 3:30, high teas and of course: overnight stays in all of our luxurious bed and breakfast rooms!

 

125th Birthday Brings Celebration and Discounts to The Empress!

June 18th, 2013 by Lisa

empress-mobileWe have donned our party hats and blown out the candles for 125th birthday of the Hornibrook Mansion, also known as The Empress of Little Rock.  We want to invite everyone to join in this momentous celebration, so we are offering a summer birthday special!  Between now and Labor day if you stay two or more days, we will take 25% off of your room price!

The Empress of Little Rock was originally built in 1888  by Saloon Keeper James H. Hornibrook and is known regionally as the finest example of Gothic Queen Anne architecture. Totally restored into Little Rock’s most award-winning bed and breakfast in 1995, entering the Empress of Little Rock is like taking a step back in time. With an authentic peek into Victorian opulence; Whether you are lounging in our gentleman’s parlor or soaking in an antique claw foot tub (original to the house!) you are sure to feel as if you should don your petticoats or top hat and ride off in a horse and carriage. But don’t mistake historic as dated, as The Empress offers the finest of modern day conveniences including featherbeds, museum quality antiques, state of the art hydro massage spa showers, steam and aromatherapy and first class business amenities including wi-fi and on site conference center. Located at 2120 Louisiana Street, The Empress is open to the public for tours Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Groups by pre-arrangement.

The Empress of Little Rock is the subject of numerous magazine articles including Delta Sky Magazine, Southern Women, Southern Living, Arkansas Times, National Geographic Traveler, Country Inns, Victorian Decorating Lifestyles, Victorian Homes, and programs on HGTV. For further information, please call (501) 374-7966.

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