Lemon-Cranberry Buttermilk Bread

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Welcome Spring!!! Use those frozen cranberries you have leftover from the holidays to create a flavorful bread with a  fresh burst of Spring.  The cranberries rise to the surface while baking and create a sweet/tart topping for the bread, especially when you add the sugary glaze after baking.  These loaves freeze especially well, so if you have a large mixer, make the full recipe and you’ll have a nice treat for transitioning into warmer weather.  Cut only the slices needed with a large chef’s knife and you won’t have to thaw the entire loaf.   I love the color and flavor of fresh cranberries and try to keep them in the freezer year-round for Baked Cranberry-Blueberry French Toast, Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread, Cranberry-Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes, or Cranberry-Jalapeno Preserves (a hot pepper jelly which I sell in our gift shop).   They can usually be substituted for dried cranberries as long as your recipe includes plenty of sugar to temper the tartness.

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare (4) 4X8 or (3) 5X9 loaf pans by spraying with a light coat of cooking oil and dusting with flour.

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar + 1 cup sugar for glaze
  • 4 lemons, juice & zest
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 12 oz package fresh or frozen cranberries (not dried)

Reserve 1/4 cup lemon juice for glaze.  In a large mixer, beat eggs, oil &  4 1/2 cups sugar, remaining lemon juice, and all lemon zest.  Add baking powder & salt, mixing well.  Add flour alternately with buttermilk and mix well.  Add cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.  Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350 about 1 hour until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove to wire rack. While still warm,  glaze with 1 cup sugar mixed with 1/4 cup lemon juice.

Special Note:  Spoiled milk products such as half and half or regular milk work well in this recipe as a substitute for the buttermilk. However, fat free products can sometimes cause the cranberries to sink rather than rise. If using fat-free skim milk or fat-free buttermilk, eliminate the cranberries, glaze as directed, and you will have a delicious, healthier version of lemon pound cake!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Spring!!

Donna Alley, Innkeeper Since 1984

Colonial Pines Inn Bed & Breakfast, and Miss Rebecca’s Cottage

Click for SPECIALS or call: (828) 526-2060 or (866) 526-2060 Toll Free


Happy New Year!

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It was a beautiful White Christmas in Highlands, but today the New Year’s rain is washing it all away. The locals say the woolly worms are predicting a snowy season, so keep in touch if you want to come see the mountains in white, go snow tubing or (if cold temperatures continue) ice skate on Harris Lake. Miss Rebecca’s Cottage, near the lake, is open every day of the winter, and the Inn is open weekends.

If you look carefully in this photo, you can see our beautiful (frozen) Thanksgiving pumpkin covered with snow & circled by a wreath.

My New Year’s resolution is to put the Inn on Facebook. Wish me luck keeping up with it all and please visit Colonial Pines Inn on Facebook to check on my progress.

A heartfelt thanks to all our guests for making it a great 2010.
We wish for you and your family all things peaceful and joyous in 2011!

Please join us January through March
for Second Night Half Price
and plan ahead to get the best choice of rooms for Summer & Fall
at Colonial Pines Inn.
Donna & Chris Alley
Innkeepers Since 1984

(866) 526-2060 Toll Free

Stay without A/C?? No Way!!

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Do you dream of beating the heat by coming to the mountains to stay in a hotel room with the A/C blasting? Probably not, and it’s certainly not necessary here in Highlands. This photo was taken at high noon today on our porch, and nights are always in the 60s (and sometimes 50s) in July. In fact, the average July low is 57 degrees, according to the statistics. What keeps it so cool here? Well, the elevation is one thing – 4000′ makes a big difference – and the rainfall is another. Highlands is in a temperate rainforest with 80-100 inches of rain a year. Moist air hits the cool mountains bringing cooling showers almost every afternoon.

That rainfall accounts for the lush flora seen all over the area. This is a true plant-lovers paradise and especially enjoyable when you stay off Main Street at a place like Colonial Pines, surrounded by two beautiful acres of shade trees and July’s blooming day lilies. A recent visitor to Highlands wrote about her surprise at having no A/C: “Fans were all we needed to stay cool. In fact, we turned them off at night!” Clean mountain air, open windows and evening breezes are one reason to visit the mountains and one reason to stay at Colonial Pines Inn. Join us this Summer to see for yourself. Arrive Monday or Tuesday for Third-Night-Half-Price. (828) 526-2060

Synchronous Fireflies

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What a treat around 10pm this week! Just happened to look out on a dark little corner of the property in back of the Inn to see fireflies all lighting up at once. There were several really bright flashes, then a short period of complete darkness, then more flashing. Chris & and I walked out in the middle of them and enjoyed the enchanting show.Synchronous Fireflies, Photinus carolinus, were identified in the 1990s in the Smokies where they draw crowds in June, but I didn’t know they were in Highlands, too. Colonial Pines is just far enough away from the lights of Main Street that a dark patch of English Ivy on the back of the building provided a perfect backdrop for their mating ritual – and pure magic for us!


Mention the FIREFLIES when making reservations, and your second night will be at half price on any stay through June 22, 2010 (new reservations only). Maybe you’ll see them, too!
(866) 526-2060 Toll-Free

Snowy Specials for 2010

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We’re off to a snowy start this New Year and there’s plenty of fun for everyone whether it’s relaxing by our warm, cozy fireside with a glass of sherry, sliding lickety-split down a snow tubing run, or viewing the enormous icicles hanging from waterfalls and growing out of cracks in the granite cliffs. It’s a sight to see and in addition, Harris Lake has frozen solid for the first time in a decade – so bring your ice skates for a true Currier & Ives experience!
Second-Night-Half-Price rates are in effect through April and that means Colonial Pines continues to be the best bargain in town with hearty breakfasts to get you going and hot chocolate, tea & cookies to warm you up when you return. We’d love to have you as our guests! Call us toll-free at (866) 526-2060.

Flags, Flowers, and Free Nights in July!

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Happy Fourth of July! We’ve flown a large flag between our columns for 25 years, but today it seems especially beautiful rustled by a slight breeze with the sun coming through the leaves on this cool 52 degree morning. Avoid the weekend crowds and join us on a Monday in July for a four night stay and one night is FREE! This cannot be combined with other offers and does not apply to rooms already booked. July is a great month for hiking and viewing the native rhododendron which is profuse this year and usually lasts several weeks. Enjoy these beautiful photos of native rhododendron and mountain laurel blooming next to the Inn, or better yet, come see for yourself! Email us at sleeptight@colonialpinesinn.com or call (828) 526-2060 for availability.

NATIVE RHODODENDRON (Rhododendron maximum)
Blooms late June – July in Highlands with evergreen leaves 4-10″long and large clusters of pale pink or white flowers that are 1-1/2″ or more across.

MOUNTAIN LAUREL (Kalmia latifolia)
Blooms late May – June in Highlands with evergreen leaves 2-3″ long and 1/2″ bell-like petals in white to pink.

Snow Tubing at Scaly Mountain

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A blue-sky winter day is perfect for snow tubing at Scaly Mountain, about 15 minutes from the Inn. An exciting advanced slope and a more gentle slope for younger kids make this fun for all ages. Bring waterproof clothing and sun screen for this reasonably priced winter entertainment. A good BBQ restaurant is on site and you should call ahead to check on the conditions. (828) 526-3737.

They’re usually able to make snow December through March which coincides with our discounted winter rates!!! Check out our Miss Rebecca’s Cottage which can sleep up to six, or take B&B rooms and see the Inn all decorated for Christmas! www.colonialpinesinn.com

The Highlands Christmas Parade & Peanut Butter Brownies

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Two Saturdays after Thanks-giving at 11am, Main Street is the place to be. The Highlands Christmas Parade has some of the best floats you’ll ever see in a small town event like this. My favorite is the campsite near a waterfall shown here, but there were also live camels, a walking porta-potty, three colorful male senior-citizen toothfairies with tutus and giant toothbrushes, fabulous vintage autos decorated for the holidays, dogs, horses, and of course, Mr. & Mrs. Claus. My nieces Lauren & Peyton were visiting and the highlight for Peyton was the Toys for Tots float that gave out large Shrek dolls. After it was over, we all came back to the Inn for Peanut Butter Brownies and Hot Chocolate. Try these at home!
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1-1/4 cups natural p.n.butter
1/2 cup melted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
dash salt

Combine first 4
mixing well.
Add remaining
and stir
until blended.
Pour into 9X13 greased pan.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 min.
Cool completely.

1/4 cup natural p.n.butter
1/4 cup melted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 to 5 tbsp milk
Beat first four ingredients
until smooth.
Add milk until frosting
is of spreading consistency.
Yield: Two Dozen Brownies

Expect: Happy smiles like this one!