We’ve always wanted to go to Chile, so we blocked some time off in November to fly down and explore the country. November is spring in Chile and that was welcome, coming from the November gloom of Philadelphia. We really only explored the bottom half of Chile, but that was a 2000 mile chunk of this long (REALLY LONG) skinny country sandwiched between Argentina and the Pacific Ocean. We fell completely in love with one hotel in particular, really a country inn style accommodation on a point in Lake Villarrica,  called Hotel Antumalal, near the town of Pucon, which is about 500 miles south of Santiago. We chose to fly because it was a 14 hour drive! Here is a quote from the hotel’s website describing the property:

“On a wooded point overlooking the lake, between gardens, terraces and waterfalls sits the Hotel Antumalal. Meaning “Corral of the Sun” in the Mapundungun language, Antumalal’s vibrant and modern architecture fits harmoniously with its setting. The main rooms extend above a cliff with an entire wall of glass overlooking the lake. Wood-paneled walls, soft white carpets and an immense fireplace create an elegant yet simple ambiance. In a modern twist on 1950s style, the furniture uniquely blends native wood, iron, and rope. Recent additions, such as the pool and spa use wood, rock and cement to remain true to the original architecture and to integrate with the surroundings. Each bedroom is furnished with a wall-sized window so that the calming landscape is perfectly framed.

Construction began in 1945 on what once was a graceless piece of rocky outcrop. Influenced by the Bauhaus style the design was conceived by the owners themselves along with the Chilean architect Jorge Elton. Within five years they had successfully transformed the space into the magnificent building and stunning gardens that we enjoy today. The hotel represents a tribute to the Pucón area: nature came first and the complimentary linear design was designed to frame and honor it. The Antumalal remains an architectural jewel.”

The dining was spectacular in every way, with views over the lake and mountains, and featuring vegetables from their garden.

It was so lovely that we plan to return…if only to Antumalal. Yes, it was that good. Good enough for Queen Elizabeth, who visited when it first opened in the 1950s.

(Hoping to put some more pictures up from the Chile trip soon, Patagonia, etc…)

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Hotel Antumalal ensconced in 12 acres of gardens and woodland on Lake Villarrica near Pucon, Chile

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The lounge in the Hotel is surrounded by glass and has a wood-burning fire, constantly glowing

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View from the grassy gardens of Hotel Antumalal over Lake Villarrica at sunset

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Flowers are growing out of every nook and cranny in the gardens at Hotel Antumalal

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The simple and elegant dining room at the hotel. In Chile, a “natural” style for lampshades is in vogue. You see crooked lampshades everywhere, intentionally .

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The pool and spa is partially subterranean with a waterfall flowing through, a wood-burning fireplace and more great views

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A trickling, mossy waterfall flows through the pool area, next to the indoor hot tub

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November is spring in Chile so the hotel was decked out in spring flowers from their gardens


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Mark taking in a view over Lake Villarrica from the hotel’s dock



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Bauhaus-inspired furnishings and details are one thing that make this hotel distinctive

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Our bedroom was a simple affair; we reserved a basic room. We had a killer view and the room was beautifully appointed. Great textures.

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The Gardens at Hotel Antumalal are studded with mini-waterfalls cascading over indigenous plants. In a word: LUSH!


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A walk near the hotel with a view of still-active Vulcan Villarrica


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View on our drive from the hotel to Huerquehue National Park for a killer hike.


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A stand of Araucaria or “monkeypuzzle” trees at Huerquehue National Park

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Close up of those Araucaria trees

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A well-earned view after hiking at Huerquehue National Park over Lake Tinquilco and Vulcan Villarrica



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1) Bed and Breakfast…and COFFEE!

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Italian-made Cappuccino / Espresso machine at St Francis Inn

We’ve always thought coffee represented “low-hanging fruit”–easy to improve upon and impress guests at inns (and hotels for that matter). It’s obviously a big part of our culture (especially among young people), so WHY is the coffee so completely boring at 99% of the inns we visit? Sadly, the quality is so poor we often secretly bring our own. Typically, we’ve found the  quality of the coffee and brewing techniques deteriorate the further you move away from The Pacific Northwest or New England. Generally speaking, the coffee in the South is the weakest and least interesting. (Who are we–the coffee gods?) During our shoot in December of 2013, it was great to see what Joe Finnegan and his team at St Francis Inn in St Augustine have “brewed up”. They offer delicious cappuccino and espresso to guests, using their sparkling new cappuccino/espresso machine–a serious machine which the staff operates. We loved the fact that the specialty coffees are complimentary, and everyone LOVES them! Joe says it has been an overwhelming hit with his guests. Read a guest comment on Trip Advisor.

2) Adding a Contemporary FLAIR

In 2013, we saw many inns adding a contemporary twist to otherwise traditional spaces. It’s amazing what a little paint, new furnishings and bedding can do to make a room feel fresh and new. Sometimes it’s as simple as a new way of making the bed or arranging the pillows.


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At Lucille’s Mountaintop Inn in Georgia, they blend contemporary and traditional styles with finesse. The bedding, lampshade and color-palette make the room feel fresh.

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This traditional room at Blacksmith Inn on the Shore in Wisconsin employs timeless geometric patterns, and seems  a bit more fresh and new with a contemporary pillow arrangement

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Before (left) and after (right) of the Goodwin Room at Afton Mountain B&B. What a difference!

3) Re-Thinking Breakfast

If one word could sum up breakfast trends at inns in 2013, it would be CHOICE–regarding where you eat, what you eat, and when you eat. Early, more health-conscious buffet offerings and increasing dietary requests are on the rise. The age-old debate of THE ONE BIG BREAKFAST TABLE vs individual tables was addressed by many this way: “lets do both!” Hard-core socializers can hang out at the big table while folks who crave privacy have the individual option. Still think that menu choice is a luxury applicable only to large inns? Well, five-room Greenlake Guest House in Seattle offers a hot entree of the day as well as eggs to order, oatmeal or granola with fruit and yogurt, plus a fruit course and fresh bread offering. Provincetown Hotel at Gabriel’s in P-Town, MA, serves breakfast in your guest room,on your private deck, “fountain-side” in the garden, or at an individual table or a large communal table inside. In New England, lots of innkeepers do a buffet with cold/quick items and also offer a full hot breakfast. This is one of my favorite approaches as it caters to guests that might want something quick and then get on their way.

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At Garden Gables Inn in Lenox, MA they offer choice, New England style: the buffet as well as a full menued breakfast


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At Provincetown Hotel at Gabriel’s on Cape Cod, reviews on Trip Adviser rave about the good times at the communal breakfast table, while individual tables offer more privacy

4) Innovations in the Dining Room

Speaking of dining, we loved the breakfast experience at Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Massachusetts. For one thing, the room was over-the-top comfortable and elegant with soothing colors and banquettes around the perimeter, highlighting a view of the pool. They beautifully integrated a flat screen monitor in the wall, where they display gorgeous photos of local sites and activities–a great way to stir up breakfast conversation about the possibilities for the day. As an added bonus, the monitor makes the room effective for conferences, small parties, etc.

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The elegant breakfast room at Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, MA – the monitor inspires guest to see more of the beautiful spots in the area

5) Expansion Ideas: Think PREFAB

Iris Inn in Waynesboro, VA wanted to expand their inn by adding new accommodations. While there on a shoot a few years ago, we told them about our experience adding cottages at our former inn, The Woolverton Inn and how that transformed our business into a truly profitable enterprise. Dave and Heidi decided to expand and took a very interesting and cost-effective approach with pre-fab construction. They customized these pre-fab units with high end finished to create something new and exciting with tons of appeal. To see more pictures and read all about what they did, check out this blog post we wrote last summer.

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Think of adding rooms at your property? Before you do, take a look at what the Iris Inn did in 2013.

6) Oatmeal is Hot

As we mentioned above, CHOICE in breakfast offerings is a trend we’ve seen a lot this year. An easy way to offer choice is to provide a hot breakfast cereal like oatmeal as an option. In our experience, the best oatmeal we’ve encountered is actually made in advance (once or twice a week) and warmed to order, adding milk or water. The Swag in Waynesville, NC does just that, as does The Sayre Mansion and Settler’s Inn both in Pennsylvania. Oatmeal, especially long-cook Irish Oats actually taste better after being warmed up. Another fun thing about a hot cereal is you can get really creative with different whole grains…Irish oats, faro, wheat berries, quinoa…you name it. Then add another layer of customization by providing a choice of toppings–brown sugar, maple syrup, currants, candied walnuts, dried cherries…use your imagination. Here is our favorite recipe, “Rustic Grains”  from the Genzlinger family which owns and operate three fabulous inns: Settlers Inn, Sayre Mansion and Ledges Hotel, all in Pennsylvania:

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“Rustic Grains”, a great hot cereal recipe from The Settler’s Inn and Sayre Mansion in Pennsylvania

Rustic Grains

1 Cup Steel cut oats (Irish oats)

1 Cup Rolled Oats (such as Quaker Old Fashioned Oats)

1/4 Cup Wheat Berries

1/4 Cup Barley

1/2 tsp salt

4 Cups water

4 Cups milk

Soak the dry ingredients overnight in the hot water. Cook the next day in the milk for 1 hour at a simmer. Stir frequently. Add more salt to taste. Thin as desired with water or milk.

Leftover may be reheated. Will keep for three days for reheating. Serves 10.

*Note – we make ours dairy-free (just substitute water for milk) and just added dairy the day we reheat. This will extend the shelf life a few days in the fridge.

7) Re-Branding a Country Inn Restaurant 

Innkeepers Celeste and Chef Alain Borel have been at the helm of L’Auberge Provencale in White Post, Virginia for over 20 years…but instead of becoming complacent, they constantly embrace

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Al Fresco dining at newly re-branded La Table Provencale

change. Case in point: during their recent website re-design process, the White Stone Marketing team suggested renaming and re-branding their nationally-known restaurant, formally known simply in conjunction with the inn, L’Auberge Provencale. The restaurant was relaunched with a new name, logo and stand-alone website, now known as “La Table Provencale”. This major change offers great new synergies and internet marketing opportunities for both the lodging and dining aspects, allowing for “cross-pollinating” when folks search on either the inn or the restaurant. A major benefit of this separation is that it will help to drive more local restaurant business. Oftentimes, country inn dining can fly under the radar of locals who have little reason to search on lodging right down the road…or it can be associated with less-than-full-service or a less professional restaurant experience. Giving the restaurant a stand-alone presence and identity will elevate the visibility and perceived quality of the restaurant experience. This is a trend we have been seeing quite often in the city hotel, cruise ship and resort worlds, and we think they will see great benefits from marketing and branding with this new strategy. Check out the new stand-alone restaurant website for La Table Provencale.

Dan and Michelle Brown at Swift House Inn in Middlebury, Vermont made a similar move several years ago, when they re-branded their fine dining restaurant “Jessica’s”. They added lower-priced menu selections, jettisoned the white table cloths, added a deck for dining, and offered craft beers. Now they get reservations they might never have gotten on sites like Open Table.  Dan reports that the result has been a 40% increase in gross dining revenue at the Inn. They also created a stand-alone restaurant website – Check it out here.

8) Delicious Alternative to Maple Syrup

When we shoot for Deb Mossiman at Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast in Lancaster County, we look forward to breakfast. In August 2013, we visited again and fell in love with her signature syrup–a sinfully delicious alternative to pure maple syrup. Maple syrup is classic, but expensive, and perhaps even a little pedestrian. Deb’s brown sugar and butter based syrup is rich and AMAZING…and surprising! She gets constant rave reviews about it. When was the last time your guests “raved” over simple maple syrup??

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Swiss Woods justifiably famous brown-sugar syrup over blueberry pancakes

Swiss Woods Syrup

“This is a rendition of my mother’s sticky bun syrup which, as kids, we ate on everything from corn fritters, ice cream and French toast to actually using it to make sticky buns.  This version is somewhat tamer with less butter. The guests continually rave.. someday I may try to bottle it!” Deb Mossman, Innkeeper, Swiss Woods

This recipe makes a bunch, but it keeps forever in the fridge. Warm it up to serve.

46 oz Old Barrel Dark Syrup OR light molasses

3 cups brown sugar

6 Tbsp butter

¾ cup boiling water

Mix all the above ingredients together and bring to a boil. Boil for 7 min.

2 Tbsp Vanilla*

*Add to the syrup as it is cooling

Let the whole mixture cool. Pour into a large container and store in the fridge. Reheat portions as needed.

If you like this, check out another recipe we posted from Deb’s kitchen this summer - Parmesan Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

9) Outdoor Showers

In 2013, we made our annual pilgrimage to The Swag, near Waynesville, NC to shoot three new private outdoor showers…and rumor has it they are adding more in 2014. It’s a fabulous amenity at inn…there is just something very exotic and fun about showering outdoors in a beautiful place. Check out our post on The Swag’s outdoor showers and pictures from the shoot. 

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Shower with a view at The Swag in NC…This is a hot new amenity

10) S’mores Package

Ideas like this are what really separates inns from hotels, and truly makes them “a better way to stay”. On our recent shoot at St Francis Inn in St Augustine, Florida, they asked that we shoot their s’mores package. They have a gas-fueled outdoor fire pit in their courtyard and pass these packages out (complimentary) to their guests during cool winter evenings. These are the things that make memories, make guests return and make for great stories back home. It also minds us what a fun industry this is and how lucky we are to be asked to document it!!

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The S’mores amenity at St Francis Inn in Florida.







On the first day of winter this year, we made our very favorite winter dish, in honor of Judy Rodgers, the chef at San Francisco’s Zuni Cafe who passed away early this month. Judy was a fantastic chef and cookbook author and we were so sorry to hear of her death. We’re fortunate to have been to her restaurant in San Francisco several times and our copy of  “The Zuni Cafe Cookbook”, published in 2002, is in tatters from use. This Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken is a real winner. It’s a dry 24 hour salt-brined small bird cooked in a high-heat oven served atop a crunchy bread salad with greens, currants and pine nuts. Matthew has made this dish so many times he can do it with eyes closed. Please note that we like to add cauliflower to the mix–it’s optional.



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Zuni Cafe Chicken © Jumping Rocks Photography


Zuni Layout The Worlds Best Roast Chicken  A Salute to Judy Rodgers

Bread Salad before it goes in the oven and chicken resting before carving © Jumping Rocks

Zuni Cafe Chicken

Adapted from Judy Rodgers by Eric Asimov of The New York Times with further adaptions by Matthew Lovette

60 to 90 minutes, plus 1 to 2 days for dry brining 


  • One small chicken, 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 pounds
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, marjoram, rosemary or sage
  • Sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Two cups cauliflower, optional


Season the chicken 1 to 3 days before serving (for 3 1/4- to 3 1/2-pound chickens, at least 2 days): Remove and discard the lump of fat inside the chicken. Rinse the chicken and pat very dry (a wet chicken will spend too much time steaming before it begins to turn golden brown).
Slide a finger under the skin of each of the breasts, making 2 little pockets, then use a fingertip to gently loosen a pocket of skin on the outside of the thickest section of each thigh. Push an herb sprig into each of the 4 pockets.
Using about 3/4 teaspoon sea salt per pound of chicken and pepper to taste, season the chicken liberally all over with salt and the pepper. Sprinkle a little of the salt just inside the cavity and on the backbone. Twist and tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders. Cover loosely and refrigerate.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, heat the oven to 475 degrees. Depending on your oven and the size of your bird, you may need to adjust the heat to as high as 500 degrees or as low as 450 degrees during roasting to brown the chicken properly.
Choose a shallow flameproof roasting pan or dish barely larger than the chicken, or use a 10-inch skillet with an all-metal handle. Preheat the pan over medium heat. Wipe the chicken dry and set it breast side up in the pan. It should sizzle.
Place in the center of the oven and watch for it to start sizzling and browning within 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, raise the temperature progressively until it does. The skin should blister, but if the chicken begins to char, or the fat is smoking, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees. After about 30 minutes, turn the bird over (drying the bird and preheating the pan should keep the skin from sticking). At this point, toss in two cups of cauliflower florets that have been tossed in Olive Oil and salt. 
Roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size, then flip back over to re-crisp the breast skin, another 5 to 10 minutes. Total oven time will be 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove the chicken from the roasting pan and set on a plate. Pour the clear fat from the pan, leaving the drippings. Add about a tablespoon of water to the hot pan and swirl. Slash the stretched skin between the thighs and breasts of the chicken, then tilt the bird and plate over the roasting pan to drain the juice into the drippings. As the chicken rests, tilt the roasting pan and skim the last of the fat. Place over medium-low heat, add any juice that has collected under the chicken, and bring to a simmer. Stir and scrape.
Cut the chicken into pieces and pour the pan drippings over the chicken.
YIELD 2 or more servings
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They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. Well, they’re right! The facade of The Victorian Inn in Los Alamos (just an hour north of Santa Barbara) screams “quintessential Victorian Bed and Breakfast”. But step inside, and that whole idea vanishes instantly. “The Vick” (as it’s known to its fans) is about as far from Victorian as you can get. It is completely–and dramatically–themed inside, from top to bottom. We recently had the pleasure of photographing each of the six themed suites and it was fun, interesting and…wonderfully bizarre! Who can say they have photographed a full-size gypsy wagon INSIDE a guestroom, which, incidentally, is also the bed you sleep in? If sleeping in a Roman chariot is more your style, request the Roman Suite. It’s all about fantasy here–from Ancient Egypt to a Parisian Artist’ loft, you can live out your fantasy at The Vick.


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Stately and traditional facade…but this is NOT your typical B&B!

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A 1956 Cadillac is your bed in the 50′s room, complete with a private drive in movie screen and authentic sound system.

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In The Egyptian Room, the whole ceiling is tented, creating a golden glow… the bed and windows provide an air of ancient grandeur.

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The French Suite recreates a Parisian artist’s loft with a dramatic vaulted ceiling, a painting in progress and views over Paris rooftops.

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In the Gypsy room, you sleep in a Gypsy Wagon! This ain’t The Holiday Inn Express!


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Matthew risking his life for art in the French Suite’s “lofted” bed.

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One of our favorite things about late summer is great tomatoes, and especially the heirloom varieties that are packed with flavor and sweetness. Last week we were shooting at Swiss Woods Bed and Breakfast Inn in Lititz, PA in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish country. Innkeeper Deb Mosimann  is famous for the breakfast she serves at Swiss Woods; it’s always homemade, fresh and utilizes the incredible local ingredients of Lancaster Country. On this visit, we photographed  “Parmesan Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes”…it’s not a complicated dish, but PERFECT this time of year and it’s appropriate for breakfast OR dinner. Oh–it’s also beautiful!

Deb is also a broad. That is, she’s a member of the of the influential food-blogging collective known as Eight Broads in the Kitchen. They have hundreds of great recipes online–check them out.


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Parmesan Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes from Swiss Woods  Photo © Jumping Rocks Photography

Parmesan Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes from Swiss Woods



heirloom cherry tomatoes, red and yellow



panko bread crumbs



coarsely grated Parmesan cheese

cracked black pepper

sea salt



chopped herbs, any combination of basil, parsley, and chives



oil to drizzle


Cut the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise


In a bowl, toss with the panko, Parmesan, herbs, cracked pepper and salt


Spoon in 6 ramekins


Drizzle with Oil


Bake at 375F until a slight brown shows on some of the tomatoes, about 15 min


Serve hot

Servings: 6

Oven Temperature: 375°F