Baked Cheese Grits – A Southern Tradition

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Baked Cheese Grits

I have to confess that I never ate grits until I was married. There, I said it! I was born in the North and raised in Florida, and in my family, grits were held in slight disdain. At the first family Thanksgiving after I married Paul, I spotted an unknown dish on the overflowing table. Feeling the pressurecheesegrits to fit in, I added a small helping to my plate. It was love at first bite! Not only was it rich and creamy, hot and cheesy, but also when I learned that Baked Cheese Grits is ALWAYS invited to a family get-together I popped it right onto my personal list of Comfort Foods.

When I read the recipe, I saw that the specified cheese was Coon Cheese. That raised my eyebrows a bit, but I soon learned that Coon cheese is named after its American creator, Edward William Coon of Philadelphia. Coon patented a method, the Cooning process, for fast maturation of cheese through high temperature and humidity. It’s difficult to find these days, so a sharp cheddar is more often used. At Stonehurst Place, we use grits milled at Nora Mill, in Helen, Georgia – one of our favorite day trips.

I’ve done my part in passing down the Baked Cheese Grits tradition, and my daughter even called the other day for a reminder of the ingredients. Find the Stonehurst Place recipe here, and start a Southern tradition in your family.

Innkeeper Lori


Are you among the Leaf-Watchers?

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Guests at Stonehurst Place have felt some cooler temperatures in the last few days, and spirits are high that fall has arrived. According to Gallup polls, fall is American’s second-favorite season, only slightly behind spring. Fall-lovers have many reasons to embrace the months of October and November, whether it be relief from summer heat, a change in fashion, or just a tangy, crisp apple. But everyone seems to look forward to the changing color of the leaves. Once the temperature begins to drop, park rangers begin to hear a common question from leaf-watchers and nature lovers alike, “When do the leaves begin to change?”

Beginning now, leaf-watchers can keep track on how leaf color is progressing across the Georgia mountains on a website called “Leaf Watch.” Filled with top trails and overlooks, fall events, and safe hiking tips, leaf-watchers are encouraged to post their favorite shots to the Georgia State Parks’ Facebook page and Instagram.

State Parks near Stonehurst Place for Leaf-Watchers

A multitude of state parks are just a short distance from Stonehurst Place, and our guests can plan a variety of day trips to enjoy the views! Blue Ridge Scenic Railway offers fall leaf excursions each October on their historic railway. Travel along the Toccoa River in a vintage rail car, and catch the breathtaking views. Brasstown Bald, near Blairsville, is Georgia’s highest mountain, and is usually the first to show off the season’s colors.

amicalola-falls-state-park The Southeast’s tallest cascading waterfall is found at Amicalola Falls State Park. The park has both easy and strenuous hiking trails. Pumpkin farms, corn mazes, fall festivals, and apple orchards are all nearby. Just a short distance away is the Apple Capital of Georgia, in Ellijay, where leaf-watchers can also experience the Georgia Apple Festival.

At the end of the day, return to Stonehurst Place, have a delightful dinner at a restaurant nearby, and tuck yourself in to one of our incredible beds. Who knows, maybe we’ll have the fireplace crackling for you!

~ Innkeeper Lori


A Chocolate-Covered Weekend!

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At Stonehurst Place, we are repeatedly asked, “Are you close to Piedmont Park?” Our answer? A resounding, “Yes! It’s only two blocks away!”  A great majority of our Bed & Breakfast guests visit the park during their visit, whether it’s for a good run, a few photos, a concert, or to roam the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The thirty acres of gardens, located at the north end of Piedmont Park, is one of County Gardens Magazine’s top 20-favorite public gardens.

The Botanical Garden hosts a bounty of events, and this weekend I took off down Piedmont Avenue to experience a Chocolate-Covered Weekend! Knowing that I’d have more time to look around later, I headed straight to the outdoor kitchen to learn about truffle-making from Chef Instructor Crystal trufflesLeach. The words ‘Chocolate Ganache’ may have once intimidated me, but no longer! Homemade truffles will soon be found on the Stonehurst Place sideboard!

You can never get enough chocolate samples, so after experiencing the truffles, I set off in search of more. I will admit, dark chocolate will always be my favorite, but I even sampled chocolate cheese! On my way through the park I founcocoatreed the cocoa tree, and took my first look inside of a cocoa pod.  The guest chefs presented chocolate demonstrations all weekend, and there were chocolate activities for children, as well. In just a short bit of time I came away inspired!

The amount of special activities in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens may surprise you. Check out their website, and plan a trip! Of course, we’d love to have you stay with us when you do!

~Innkeeper Loricocoapod


Rules by Artist Corita Kent – her Art of Self Improvement

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Timeless Art, Timeless Rules

If you read our newsletters and blogs, you already know I’m an admirer of artist Sister Corita Kent. I wrote a bit about her art at Stonehurst Place a few months ago, and she sticks with me. I’m hunting for a vintage collector’s edition set of her drawings, and every once in a while a Google alert pops up with search results for me. It’s usually an auction house or eBay with the reprint of her collector’s edition, so no help. Today, however, a Google alert popped up and it took me to an inspirational blog post. If I thought I admired Kent before, this sealed the deal. It is Kent’s ten rules for students and teachers, and full of inspiration.

Immaculate Heart College Art Department Ten Rules, hand-lettered by artist Lisa Congdon

IHM Art Department Rules, by Corita Kent and hand lettered by Lisa Congdon

Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules

Written for a class Kent taught in 1967-1968, the rules need not apply to an Art Department – it feels like they apply to me.  I’ll bet you, dear reader, will feel the same as you carefully read them over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  A glass of something that will give you time to savor the moment; savor her rules (and the art of Lisa Congdon’s hand lettering.)

Barb Shadomy Improvement Department Rules

It’s easy to pick out the ones just right for me to incorporate into my life (I could try all of them, but that’s too much when we’re so close to the end of the year) so here I go:

  • Rule 4 – Consider everything an experiment.  That’s pretty much how I operate, until I feel like I’ve mastered it and then it becomes something to perfect and refine. Constantly. Maybe I should go back to letting it be an experiment and ease up on myself.
  • Rule 6 – Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win & no fail. There’s only make.  I think I am pretty good at this, except for when I’m just awful at it. I’m a big fan of mistakes, and I support and encourage those who make them because they’re such learning experiences and we grow from each and every one of them. But I almost always forget to encourage and support myself when I’m the one making the mistake. 
  • Rule 7 – The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. Good to remember on those mornings when I sit at my desk with a cuppa and just look at the keyboard. Look at the monitor displaying unopened emails. Look at yesterday’s pile of papers left unfinished. Look at my dogs for suggestions (none forthcoming). What I should do is see there is an opportunity right in front of me, somewhere in the pile or in the emails below the fold, that will lead to something.
  • Rule 8 – Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time.  They’re different processes.  I thought they went hand in hand. Enough said.
  • Helpful Hints: Read anything you can get your hands on. Perfect, spot on. For the last fifteen years I’ve been trying to carve out just one hour a day, not at night last minute, but during the day when the sun is shining. When everything around me is still buzzing, choosing not to hear the buzz but instead left myself be seduced by a book. Any book. Just something interesting, funny, smart, clever, insightful. I’m going to go do it now. Signing off.

Shadomy, Stonehurst Place


Stash Hotel Rewards®: the Hotel Loyalty Points Program and Visa® Card you should know about!

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Confessions of a Points Junkie

We all know it – I’m a calculating traveler. A million miler. A points junkie. I work hard to earn those miles – through travel and through credit card spend – and I love to cash them in.

British Airways®, Delta Airlines®, American Express®, and Stash Hotel Rewards® are my favorites.  I love British Airways program for the affordable ‘Book and Upgrade’ that I use on long-haul flights. With Delta I rack up miles with credit card spend for my business, but use the Membership Rewards®  (I just call them miles) for friends to come visit me when I’m in Europe.  American Express is my business card of choice because of the 2% cash rebate when I pay our bill early – but the personal benefit is being able to transfer miles to Delta and use for those Friends and Family tickets. Yay! Free is good! But, so far, I seem to be using all these points and miles for others…

Stash Hotel Rewards

Then, Stash Hotel Rewards® entered my life. Game changer! Something for me! What I like best about Stash is that it’s a rewards program made up of independent hotels – just the kind I like to stay in. The points you earn when staying at a Stash Partner Hotel – 5 points/$1 on room rate – rack up fast and are available for stays at all Stash Partner Hotels. US News & World Report lists them among the top rewards programs, ranking them higher than mainstay programs from Kimpton, Omni, Fairmont and Loews. The New York Times recently wrote an article about travel programs you may not know about but should – and included Stash. So now, even if you don’t read the NYT you, too, know about Stash and the great value it offers.


 Getting hitched?

I just got married – it’s expensive! The new Stash Hotel Rewards Visa® Card is well-rated and using it will get you to those free stays at Stash partner hotels faster than you can imagine. I joined ASAP when I learned that I could earn a bonus 10,000 Stash points by spending $1,500 within the first 90 days of opening my account. That’s enough for a free night at some of their Partner Hotels.  With all you might spend on a wedding, you could have your pick of so many romantic hotels for a honeymoon using your Stash points!  Click here to learn more and decide if the Stash Hotel Rewards Visa® Card is right for you too.

Stash Hotel Rewards. No blackouts.  No expirations.  No chain hotels.  Just awesomeness.

Shadomy, Stonehurst Place


It’s Hot Now, but Fall is Just Around the Corner!

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I admit, I’m thinking of Fall. Yes, it’s still warm in Atlanta and we still get our summer showers in the afternoons. I’m still serving Georgia peaches in a variety of ways, still baking Lemon Bars because anything citrus is cooling. I haven’t succumbed to Pumpkin Spice ANYTHING, but wheFallPorch3Webn I hear the leaves rustle and see the Back-to-School displays, I get hopeful.

There’s so much to do in the Atlanta area the Fall, and rooms book quickly at Stonehurst. Might I suggest sitting down with a cool glass of sweet tea and investigating a Fall trip to Atlanta, including a reservation for a beautiful room at Stonehurst ?

There is certainly a Fall Festival to suit most everyone! For those who love cosoplay, science fiction, gaming, and film there’s Dragon Con, held on Labor Day Weekend. For those that like to rock, Music Midtown has been an Atlanta classic since 1994. Celebrate all things southern at the Fall Folklife Festival, including traditional foods, music, crafts, and local brews. The foodie in you can choose Taste of Atlanta or perhaps the Cabbagetown Chomp and Stomp. There’s plenty of pumpkin patches nearby, as well.

Check out the Atlanta Falcons schedule, and pick a game! And don’t forget, this is the last season for the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Whatever your interest, just remember – we’d love to see you at Stonehurst Place!



“Best B and B ever”

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Ok, you’re paying for a luxurious b&b, and it is a beautiful house, but what I loved about Stonehurst Place was the extras and the outstanding service. I flew in from the UK and I knew I’d be arriving at about 9pm. I was delayed going through customs and was over an hour late. Paul’s welcome was nonetheless delightful. Even though it was late, he gave me a full tour of the house, the various sitting rooms and, the lovely cookies, coffee, tea and wine all on tap. Breakfasting was brilliant. Unlike the UK where everyone has their own table and no-one talks to each other, we all sat down together and Paul made sure we were all introduced to each other. I find the US fascinating and my trip was part of my 40th anniversary tour marking my very first visit as a student, so I loved hearing about where the other US guests came form. Lori’s breakfasts were outstanding, I’m sorry I ended up leaving some! And wonderful to be greeted late afternoon on my return from sightseeing around the city with a complimentary glass of wine. Utterly fab!

Posted on TripAdvisor by henmammurray, Birmingham, United Kingdom on August 8, 2016



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My sister and I had a lovely stay in the Master’s Suite at the end of July. Paul and Lori are very gracious and extremely attentive, even so far as Lori making special gluten-free brownies for an afternoon treat and baked goods for our morning breakfasts. May I say that they were of exceptional quality – truly delicious. We’d love those recipes, Lori!
The entire inn is charming, relaxing and filled with amazing artwork. We stayed in the Master’s Suite which is lovely and has an incredible bathroom/shower/tub! We will definitely be back and hope to have more time to just relax at the inn. Thank you for a wonderful stay, Paul and Lori.

Posted on TripAdvisor by sbsbsims, Huntersville, North Carolina on August 7th, 2016