Friday, September 18, 2009

Flashback Friday ~ Won't Someone Please Buy the Ann Starrett Mansion?

Today's flashback is to another time..the turn of the century and another place...the cute Victorian Seaport of Port Townsend. On our recent roadtrip we had the pleasure of visiting this area and it's where we disembarked on our Whale Watching tour. It was my job to pick a place to stay and what a job..there seemed to be an endless supply of Victorian B&Bs and hotels to choose from. One least from my perspective was a pet friendly place due to Jigs traveling with us. This narrowed the list, but there were still quite a few to chose from. I settled on a colorful, whimsical looking place, The Ann Starrett Mansion. It was at one time called the Queen of Queen Anns.

It had been featured in the past in several magazines and seemed to be an important historical landmark in the little town. The rooms were surprisingly reasonable..they had a stay one night, get one night free sale going on. After booking, I ran across a few reviews of the place that had me a tiny bit worried..mostly related to the place needing some "work". I just chalked it up to the fact that more people comment on the negative things than positive things and didn't worry much about it.

We arrived a bit late, but I had called ahead to let the night innkeeper know. He was waiting on our arrival to check us in. The mansion was just as it had appeared in photos..a dark salmon pink color and lots of character. The interior was ornately decorated..albeit a little bare and without the homeyness and personal touches of other B&Bs I've been in. The innkeeper (not the owner) gave us a run down of the "rules"...with not that much emphasis on hospitality..and showed us to our rooms. I already knew that we weren't staying in one of the upper rooms due to the fact we had the dog with us. We were staying in the carriage house, elegant doublespeak for basement and old Garage.

It had actually been redone, I believe, for living quarters for the owners probably in the 80s..well done at the time, but NOT redone since then! Again there was the lack of personal touches in the rooms and a general lack of decor. The bathrooms were dated to the 80s and no real attempt to vintage them up. Fixtures looked like they bought them at Wal-Mart. Here is Jigs making himself at home on the bed we slept in..which was comfortable. (Note the palm tree sheets and the light knob) It would take so little to decorate and upgrade these rooms!

My parents room was a little more "done up".

But then I'm a sucker for an iron bed.

Both ours and their rooms had doors that opened to the outside which was handy, especially with dog walking. My parents had a little courtyard, which could have been a little more had potential for sure!

Our entrance was a little obscured by overgrown bushes and could have used a sweeping...but handy none-the-less.

I'm still not sure if I like or don't like the faux stained glass in our bedrooms, but it did brighten it up a bit.

Now I don't want to sound like I didn't like the place..I DID. It is a beautiful old home and has such possibilities. I hope to emphasize the fact that the place needs someone to LOVE it. The owners are selling and would seemingly have lost interest in pampering this old gem of a home.

The current substitute innkeeper while polite was not so enthusiastic and really didn't do anything to play up the greatness of the place. Although I requested a tour and there were vacant rooms, he basically wouldn't commit to doing it, so I looked around on my own....although I didn't peek in any bedrooms! The Ann Starrett mansion deserves so much more!!! It deserves someone to primp and prop warm it up. To speak kindly of it. So this is my plea to any of you out there that might be able...won't someone PLEASE buy the Ann Starrett mansion and give it some tender loving care??? I promise to come visit if you do!!!

The home was originally built by a doting husband, George

for his wife, Ann.

Her images are seen throughout, especially here in the dome.

This dome is above a marvel of a staircase.

It was at one time requested to be disassembled and sent to the Smithsonian because of its novelty and mysterious would appear to be unsupported.

What holds it up?

The interior paint was redone when the current owners bought the place and there are some beautiful touches.

The ceilings are especially detailed

Look at this sweet floral motif

And I really loved this

There were interesting little medallions throughout

Some of which accent the fact that painting may need to be done soon...

REAL stained glass IS a feature of the upstairs area, like this panel above the entrance to the hallway towards the bedrooms.

And this in the salon downstairs

The lace curtains are a nice touch

This is the dining room..beautiful, but not really inviting. It's been a while since a meal was served there. The place used to advertise themselves as a bed and breakfast, but no longer. I guess the current innkeeper isn't at home in the kitchen. Even bakery bought pastries in the morning would have been a nice touch.

The neighborhood is like many older ones..some nice houses...some showing their age. But still a very quiet one with a neat little house next door. Check out this cool side door.

The neighbors also have a nice plum tree to sneak a few fruit from.

The mansion itself also had a fruit tree or too..apricots I believe. And what the innkeeper lacks in the kitchen he must make up in container gardening.

Plenty of try to get you to ignore the lawn that wasn't watered this summer!

Notice the netting...

Believe it or not..right there in the little town they have deer that roam the street munching garden goodies!

This place is really a treasure..and on the National Register of Historic places. If I could..I would buy the place and give it the tender loving it needs.

Isn't there one of you out there that would love to return it to it's original glory?

It's been reduced to much less than the original asking price. You know you're curious. Go check it out on the realtor's site HERE . OH did I mention is has a great view of the ocean from the upper rooms?

If the place was mine I would definitely turn it back into a bed and BREAKFAST! It would be a great excuse to try a new recipe like this one I've been wanting to try.

Strawberries and Cream Stuffed French Toast

(inspired by Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book, as well as a dear friend of mine)

  • 6 (approximately 2″ wide) slices artisan-style Italian, French, or any other dense white bread
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 ounces Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (plus more for garnish)
  • 6-8 fresh plump, large strawberries (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 level tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter


Laying each (2″ wide) slice of bread on its edge lengthwise, create a *pocket* by slicing through the middle of each piece but stopping as you near the opposite crust, so as to create a single, hinged piece (much like a clam shell). DO NOT SCOOP OUT ANY OF THE BREAD. Do this for all 6 slices until you have created 6 pieces, each with a hinged *pocket*. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix cream cheese, Mascarpone cheese, and powdered sugar until well blended. Set aside.

Slice 6-8 ripe, large strawberries to desired thickness.

Opening the *pocket* of each piece of bread, begin scooping and smoothing the cream cheese, Mascarpone, and powdered sugar mixture into each, creating a thick layer of cream in all. Following the same procedure, lay 1 row of sliced strawberries atop each layer of cream, slightly overlapping the berries as you go. When you are finished, each *pocket* of bread should contain a single layer of cream and a single layer of strawberries. Set aside.

In a medium-sized oval or rectangular dish, mix buttermilk, eggs, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and lemon zest with a whisk until blended. Melt (and spread) 2 tablespoons of butter in a 12″ skillet over medium heat.

Dip (don’t soak) each stuffed piece of bread into the buttermilk and egg batter using tongs, taking care to cover both sides and the edges. Drain slightly before setting each piece into the moderate skillet containing melted butter.

Frying no more than 3 pieces at a time, flip each piece over after the bottom reaches a light, golden brown. Continue frying until second side turns a light, golden brown as well. Keep cooked pieces of French toast warm in a 250 degree F oven while you continue cooking the remaining pieces of stuffed French toast.

When all the pieces of stuffed French toast have been cooked, place each on individual serving plates and dust lightly with powdered sugar. Garnish plates with additional whole strawberries, or slice and fan additional strawberries to garnish.

Serve warm. Enjoy!

I'd like to use this as my contribution to Foodie Friday over at Designs by Gollum and also for Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound since I think a large dark salmon pink place might qualify!

Anyone else that might like to share a Flashback of any kind please add your link here.


♥peachkins♥ said...

Thank you for a very nice tour..

Michael Lee West said...

This was a delightful tour. What an awesome house! I love the riot of colors in the potted plants on the steps. And that awesome staircase. I would have to just lie on the floor and stare up at it five times a day and pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
Love the recipe! It is just the perfect compliment after this tour.
I'm adding last week's FF to your link as the tea sandwiches were a flashback to another FF.

She'sSewPretty said...

Oh! I would love to buy that beautiful place! It would be gorgeous all foofed up and well loved. What a dream that would be. Thanks for the tour today! Happy Pink Saturday!

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Oh my....wouldn't it be fun to redo the rooms? That place is gorgeous with beautiful architectural details inside. The new owners wouldn't have to do much as far as a breakfast went. Someone could make jam from the apricots from the gardens and just serve hot biscuits with the "famous" apricot jam, tea, coffee, and juice for breakfast. There you go! LOL...

Dishesdone said...

Suzy, that was an awesome tour! I wish you could buy that place, we could definitely all meet up there, couldn't we? It'd be a fantastic bed and breakfast if you were running! What a cool place, full of history! I love this post and the flashback French Toast!

I linked my last flashback from a week ago because I don't think I did last week. Or something? LOL! Would that make it a flashback to a flashback?

Suzie Button said...

That really could be a magnificent home, I can't imagine the money to finish it off right and to heat/cool it though! I'm sure it's difficult to keep up with a home that size. What a treat for you to get to visit it! Thanks for sharing! Happy Pink Saturday! Suzie

SmilingSally said...

It's easy to see why you love it.

Cynthia said...

Suzy, what a lovely post and a wonderful tour. I can tell from your post how much you love the mansion. It IS full of wonderful quaint, architectural touches ... definitely built and designed with love. ... It is sad to see the decline of such a wonderful place.

The French toast sounds delicious and totally decadent. You certainly find some fantastic recipes.

Foley said...

Suzy - what an interesting tour..sounds like you have a great many ideas for the place!!!
One more thing to add to the list if the lottery is won!! lol

Debbie at Mountain Breaths said...

Suzy, the first thing I do when I win the New York State lottery, is make that purchase for you :-) You sooooo deserve it, and then we will have a place to visit.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I enjoyed reading this post! What an exquistite home! You are right that it would be a wonderful Bed and Breakfast. I looked at the RE lisiting and I can't belive the inexpensive price for a fully furnished mansion. The rooms look better decorated on the RE listing however...I wonder if soem is in storage?

It must cost a fortune to heat this home and maintain it, but I really do hope that soemone will love it and bring it back to a functioning B&B.

Your french toast sounds rich and yummy!

Suzy said...

Glad you all enjoyed the send the link to all of your rich friends..maybe someone will have to have it lol.

I would imagine heating would be a cost..good thing is the weather is so mild in the summer that cooling isn't an issue. I'm not sure about the rest of the house, but the rooms we stayed in had small heaters in the rooms themselves so I guess they only heat what they need to.

The upper bedrooms are much more fancy..we were just relegated to the basement due to having Jigs with us. I have wondered though if maybe the owners didn't remove some choice pieces before putting it on the market as furnished. That's probably why it struck me as a little empty. Still beds in every thats the important part lol.

I really hope it came through that the home is not that far just needs someone to START keeping up before it becomes a problem. It really is an amazing price given the type place it is. The housing slump probably hasn't helped it sell but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Lynn..great idea about the jam. As I said..the effort to make it more homey would really be minimal and it would probably help sell it!

Jillian said...

Oh my gosh the house is amazing! WOWIE.

And so is that recipe. Yikes!

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

What a beautiful house and I totally agree with you about the possibilities for a B&B. Wouldn't that be fun?
~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

ButterYum said...

Stunning, and super yummy french toast. Thanks for posting the recipe.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What a beautiful place! I love all the detail and that shot of the dining room is beautiful.

Looks like Jigs enjoyed it too :)

Jayne said...

Suzy, it IS a gem and deserves love and attention. I hope you find a buyer for it! ;-)

Marsha said...

Suzy - this is a beautiful home...maybe you and R should start a new career and buy it :) Lots of room for the family to visit.

That strawberry stuffed french toast sounds divine!

Things are slowing down...I can't wait to rejoin flashback fridays!

Joyce said...

Thanks for the tour of this amazing home. I am a bit short of cash to buy it but maybe if I win the lottery I could purchase it but only after I buy myself an island:)

Kathleen said...

I missed this one! That's pretty reasonable for the size and view...a bargain here in NY..but a lot of work.
Love all the details..hope it finds someone to love it soon!

Angela said...

We will buy it! We will! We will! Suzy - obviously, we don't know you - but this blog post INSPIRED US! And it really had a huge factor in pushing us toward going for it! We are going to try to buy it! We are in the works right now! In fact, I'm doing a blog right now on our journey and I link to your blog and this post on my "About the Mansion" page. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

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