Read Roberta's reflections on the Bar Harbor bed and breakfast experience. The following items are included in the forthcoming collection by Roberta Chester called “Be My Guest: The Inside Story of a B & B in Maine.”

“News and Notes from the Shorepath Cottage”

Owning a Bed and Breakfast is like having a child in perpetuity; to my guests who ask when and how and if I ever get away, I have often remarked (only half in jest) that the B & B and I are connected by umbilical cord from the house to the end of the driveway; actually, though, the connection is impervious to geographical distance.

Given that reality, during the off season when I am overseas visiting children, the B & B, my “other child” claims my attention at every opportunity. I listen attentively to weather reports worrying whether heavy rains in the northeast are leaking through my attic window on the ocean side of the house. Whenever I come across an appealing item in a store window, I imagine it in one of the guest rooms, or if I find a recipe in the newspaper, the Shorepath Cottage is my immediate point of reference.

So when I saw instructions for chocolate covered strawberries, I imagined my guests sitting on the porch sipping lemonade and enjoying this marvelous confection I associate with pleasant memories, like graduations and wedding receptions during lovely summer days. Years ago, before you could just google any recipe, I had made several attempts that didn't work. But even now, for me, googling for information is a solution of last resort (a function of being over 50); I usually only turn to the internet when personal contact and reading material don't suffice. Overseas for several weeks, I saw this recipe in the English edition of the local newspaper and was delighted with the simplicity and the reminder that chocolate covered strawberries are actually low in calories.

No sooner did I mention chocolate-covered strawberries to my granddaughter, Rosie, age 11 who with her sister Tuki, age 8 are bona fide “foodies” (they introduced me to Giada, one of their favorite programs, on the food channel), that I heard they've tossed off chocolate-covered strawberries many times. They have their own tried and true recipe which they will share and compare when they arrive from California on a family trip in July. In the meantime, here's mine, compliments of Faye Levy, who writes the food column for the “Jerusalem Post”:

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 lb. strawberries

Pat rinsed strawberries (stems on) with paper towels and place on try lined with foil or waxed paper. Melt chocolate in double boiler (over water) on low heat, stirring often, just until thick enough to adhere to strawberries. Dip pointed end of berries into cholcolate so that 1/2 is coated and set berries on prepared tray. Refrigerate 15 minutes 'til chocolate sets. Gently lift to unstick them and serve cold.

(Makes 4 servings)

Now, of course, I'll have to cultivate my bed of strawberries that has gone pretty much to seed. No strawberries in the world can compare to Maine berries (of every variety). Of course, Maine's strawberries (like our blueberries) are much smaller than those that are store bought and imported from other states; those berries look huge and flashy, but the food chemistry methods have not been perfected, and the taste is disappointing. Subjected to the taste test, regarding our Maine berries (like our B & B), less is more, and sweeter, too.

- Roberta Chester, Spring 2010