Cape Cod Meets Super Blizzard Nemo

Snow on the front walk of the Palmer House

We survived Blizzard Nemo with a bit of damage to the trees, and Cape Cod survived too.

Snow on the front walk of the Palmer House
A snow-covered front walk.

When the snow started on Friday morning it was light at first and the flakes were very small. That is usually an indication that a significant storm is in the offing.  As the day progressed, the snow was mixed with rain and by evening we had near white-out conditions. Throughout the night the wind was blowing wildly. It was in the morning when the storm was tapering off, as we walked the property, that we saw how much damage had been done. Bill has called a man with a plow but it is doubtful that he will be here today.  Almost half of the homes in Falmouth are without power and we have had many calls from people who are looking for warm rooms. We wish that we could help but we are “Snowbound”.

Snow on the Cape Cod B&B sign
Snow on the B&B sign.

I grew up in Haverhill, Massachusetts which is a little over a hundred miles north of Falmouth. Our home was a beautiful per-revolutionary colonial, in the section of the town known as Rocks Village. The house was built on the banks of the Merrimack River in 1774. The village was just a few miles from John Greenleaf Whittier’s homestead. One of Whittier’s best known poems was “Snowbound”. It was written about a massive storm that hit New England when he was a boy in the early eighteen hundreds. In the poem he talks about the snow being so deep that it almost reached the second story windows of his home. They were safe and warm in the house but they could not get to the barn to feed the animals. They decided to dig a tunnel through the snow to  get to the barn. The poem tells about that project.

Snow covered tree at a Cape Cod B&B
Snow covered tree.

Thinking about that long past dilemma and how it was solved, helps to put our plight into perspective. The Whittiers did not have to think about air travel, automobiles, electricity, snow plows or oil deliveries. Our lives are very different in the twenty-first century. Cape Cod usually does not get much snow. In fact last year we had little more that just a few dustings. That is what we get used to. Most of the towns on the Cape do not have town plows. Those of you who are familiar with New England  winters know that the snow removal fleet is an important item on each town or city’s budget. Traditionally, on the Cape, we get so little snow that our towns call upon local private contractors to do the job when needed. This storm is living up to its billing. It is a very heavy wet snow. We have sustained a lot of damage to our trees and shrubs. Bill is outside with the snow-blower working on clearing the walkways. We have been in contact with a plowing service to have the lot cleared, however, he could not give us a time when he could get here. We have had many calls today from folks in town who do not have electricity and need a warm place to stay but we cannot take guests until the lot is clear.

We’ll be digging out, shoveling the steps and preparing warm breakfasts for our guests. It will be a wonderful winter wonderland for a while. We always enjoy the cozy fires when we have a good snowfall. We’ll have a warm fire waiting for you in the parlor and a truely romantic fire in the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodor Roosevelt room and the Emily Dickinson room.

Cape Cod’s Italian Cooking Class Review

Italian Cooking class students.

Once again Executive Chef Fabio Pozzati of Osteria La Civetta has given an outstanding demonstration at Cape Cod’s Palmer House Inn.

Today’s instruction for our Tagliatelle alla Bolognese Class. This was a classic bolognese sauce and how to create and form several  types of egg pasta. We watched as Fabio prepared his native region’s signature dish, Tagliatelle al Ragu (handmade egg pasta ribbons with bolognese sauce).

Mixing pasta dough.
Mixing pasta dough.

Food from Emilia Romagna is very different from the foods from southern Italy and from traditional Italian-American food. Fabio explained that very little garlic is used and when it is used it is perhaps put into olive oil as a flavoring, and then discarded. Northern Italians use much more onion and the meat of choice is pork. They use much less tomato, more potatoes and butter is the fat of choice over olive oil. All of the wines in the restaurant are Italian as are the cured meats and cheeses.

Osteria La Civetta get all of their fresh fish from “The Clam Man” fish market on Gifford Street in Falmouth and most of the produce from the local Farmer’s Market. All of the pasta is prepared daily around noon. Fabio prefers to work on a wooden table because, “The wood is alive”.

During the class, he first mixed the pasta then allowed it to sit for about 20 minutes while he showed us how to prepare the bolognese sauce. When he returned to the dough he cut off a section and began passing it through the pasta roller. Each time he passed it through, he folded it and adjusted the machine and rolled it again and again. He explained that this process makes the dough strong and smooth. When he decided that it was thin enough, he laughed and said, “In Bologna, they say that when you can see through the dough to San Luca, the highest church in the city, that’s the perfect thickness for tagliatelle.

Rolling out the pasta.
Rolling out the pasta.

During the class chef Pozzati taught us to form tortellini and tortelloni, its larger form. It was stuffed with ricotta and spinach. Later when we sampled the prepared dishes we were able to sample the chosen wines that he had brought along. A good time was had by all.

Chef Pozzati demonstraiting the use of a pasta tool.
Chef Pozzati’s pasta tools demonstration.

Osteria La Civetta opened on Main Street in Falmouth just five years ago and soon became a popular meeting place for locals and visitors alike. An osteria is a kind of Italian restaurant with a bustling atmosphere. The volume is loud and the tables are nestled close together. One can also buy groceries such as cheeses, nuts, oils and the like. The restaurant’s symbol is, la civetta, a small owl that symbolizes good luck in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Emilia Romagna is a triangular shaped part of Italy that is located in the north eastern part of the country. Some of its cities are; Reggio, Parma, Modena, and the best known Bologna, which is where bolonaise sauce was developed. It is also where balsamic vinegar was developed and where Parmigiano-Reggiano and Prosciutto originated.

Italian Cooking class students.
Italian Cooking class students.

The owners of Osteria La Civetta are an energetic young couple, Sara Toselli and her husband Andre Poggi. They are also from Emilia Romagna as is Chef Pozzati. When designing the restaurant’s interior the goal was to make it look like an authentic old world osteria. All of the tables, chairs, dishes, lamps, art work, vintage advertising, and the metal grill-work were shipped from Italy. Even the handmade menu covers are made from Italian wall paper and feature fruits, vegetables, nuts and wine bottles.  One Palmer House guest said after returning to the Inn from a memorable meal, ” It was just like stepping off the Cape Cod sidewalk and into Northern Italy.”

We are looking forward to Chef Pozzatti  being with us three more times this season. Join us for more Cape Cod Cooking Getaways.





Romantic Cape Valentine Getaway Guide

Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast white wine

Cape Valentine Getaway Guide

From cozy fireplaces, to warm pubs, to miles of pristine seashore, the Cape has a fantastic array of romantic sights and cozy nooks for you and your love this Valentine’s Day weekend.

Cape Valentine Getaway Guide white wine
White wine by a fireplace.

Thursday, February 14, 2013 – Valentine’s Day

Fire in the parlor fireplace.
Fire in the parlor fireplace.

Your Cape Valentine Getaway Guide starts Whisk the object of your affection away to our romantic B&B on the Cape. With the Palmer House’s Cape Romance package – arrive to romantic accommodations complete with a split of champagne and fine chocolates. Spend the afternoon sipping tea by the fire in the parlor and settling into the charming room of your choice. While all of our rooms have their own romantic charm, we would suggest the Harriet Beecher Stowe Room, the Theodore Roosevelt Room, or the Emily Dickinson Room for our February is for Lovers Package.

Then head to one of Falmouth’s fine restaurants for delightful Valentine’s Day cuisine. You and your love can walk to a number of romantic restaurants from the Inn. If Italian is what you desire  La Civetta and La Cucina are wonderful; if fusion fits your fancy the Glass Onion is superb; for a more casual atmosphere try the Stone Oven Pizza Co or Liam Maguire’s; and if a little spice is what you love Anejo Mexican Bistro & Tequila Bar is the choice for you. Falmouth restaurant map.

Friday, February 15 – Valentine on the Vineyard

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard from the Cape Cod Ferry
Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard from the Ferry

After breakfast at the Palmer House, take the 10:45 am ferry to Martha’s Vineyard (Steamship Authority Schedule). Snuggle with your Valentine inside the cabin, as watch the waves crash outside. When you arrive at Vineyard Haven (11:30 am) hop on a bus to tour the small towns of Martha’s Vineyard. Be sure to stop in Edgartown for lunch at the Newes From America Pub at 23 Kelley Street or the Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven Harbor.

With the warmth from the pub inside you, wander the small town New England streets and explore sea captains homes with your love. After you’ve worked up an appetite, share an evening meal on the island (Martha’s Vineyard restaurants). The last ferry is at 8:30pm. After your sumptuous meal, return to your room for a relaxing soak in one of the Inn’s jacuzzi-style tubs.

For more information on a Martha’s Vineyard Day Trip, view notes from the innkeeper’s diary.

Saturday, February 16 – Romantic Cape Daytrip

Bristol Beach, Falmouth, Cape Cod.
Bristol Beach.

Take a daytrip drive along the coast to the small Cape village of Woods Hole. Start your trip with a stop on Falmouth’s Main Street for Bill & Ben’s Chocolate Emporium to stock up on Valentine’s Day sweets for the road (and maybe a few extra to take home).

Then head towards Woods Hole. Take leisurely drive along Surf Drive to admire the New England coastline. There is a small area for parking next to Salt Pond. Take a walk on the beach looking for seashells and taking photograph souvenirs.

Captain Kidd, Woods Hole, Cape Cod
Captain Kidd

After arriving in the village of Woods Hole have lunch at the Captain Kidd pub. Sit by the stove on the enclosed porch and views the boats on Eel Pond.

After your meal, walk over to the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. This “small public aquarium that displays approximately 140 species of marine animals found in Northeast and Middle-Atlantic U.S. waters. The aquarium is designed for self-guided tours of the main exhibits and a behind-the-scenes look at aquarium operations.” -WHSA
There are frequently rescued seals in the pool in front of the aquarium. Seal feedings are at 11 am and 4 pm daily.

Nobska Lighthouse
Nobska Point Light

Next head to Nobska Point Light for a romantic sunset at 5:34 pm. Built in 1829, this lighthouse was rebuilt in 1876 as the iconic cast iron and brick lighthouse you see today. It is closed to tours for the season but it is a romantic spot to watch the ferries from Woods Hole.

After watching the sunset at Nobska you can return to Falmouth Village And the Palmer House Inn. You can refresh yourselves, then stroll down Palmer Avenue to Main Street for one last romantic Valentine’s evening meal.  It is just a seven minute walk back to the Inn and your cozy bed chamber for your last evening of your Valentine’s getaway.

Sunday, February 17 – With Love

Cape Valentine Getaway Guide heart shaped french toast.
Two french toast hearts.

Enjoy the last morning of your romantic Cape Valentine’s  getaway savoring a leisurely Cape Cod gourmet breakfast. At that time you can depart for home, relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated to begin the new week refreshed.