Dentzel Carousel Near Troy-Bumpas Inn

Burlington’s Beautiful Carousel

A short drive east of the Troy-Bumpas Inn is the Dentzel Carousel in City Park in Burlington, NC. The large carousel features a menagerie of beautifully hand-carved animals including 26 horses, 4 each of cats, pigs, rabbits, ostriches, and one each of a deer, giraffe, lion, and tiger. No two animals are alike.

The carousel is an historic treasure. It was built around 1906-1910 by the Dentzel Carousel Company in Philadelphia, PA. After installations at two Ohio amusement parks, the City of Burlington purchased the carousel in 1948.  The carousel and surrounding building were lovely restored from 1981-1985.

For just 75 cents, you can enjoy a ride accompanied by calliope music featuring several happy tunes from Disney movies. Visitors to the carousel include many parents with young children, but you’ll also see plenty of grown-ups enjoying a trip down memory lane! To learn more about the carousel, visit the Dentzel Carousel web site.

Greensboro’s Bog Garden at Benjamin Park

One of the hidden gems of Greensboro is the Bog Garden at Benjamin Park. This seven-acre park is tucked into an urban setting close to Greensboro’s large Friendly Center shopping complex. But what I love about the Bog Garden is the fact that while you are there, you feel as if you are in a peaceful nature preserve far removed from city life.

The garden has an elevated boardwalk and stone pathways that meander through natural wetlands. The bog is home to many wildlife species and native plants. Benches along the path make it easy to linger if time permits. But even if you only have 30 minutes or so, you can follow the main loop of the trail and escape from city life while surrounded by nature, artistic bridges, sculpture, a lake and assorted wildlife.

The Bog Garden, a short 3-mile drive from the Troy-Bumpas Inn, is located at Hobbs Road and Starmount Farms Drive at Benjamin Park. You can easily park streetside at the entrance on Starmount Farms Drive, just southeast of the intersection of Hobbs Road and Starmount Farms Drive. Oh, did I mention that this lovely park is FREE! For nature lovers, this park is a must-see while you are in Greensboro. Click on the photos below to get a peak of the Bog Garden. These shots were taken during a visit in April 2012.

When the Civil War Came to the Troy-Bumpas Inn

One of the marvelous things about living and visiting the Troy-Bumpas Inn bed and breakfast is that you can stand in rooms that were briefly inhabited by Union officers who were in Greensboro in spring 1865 at the conclusion of the Civil War. Talk about bringing history to life!

We know that Union officers stayed at the Bumpass home and used a second floor room as an office in May and June 1865. And, although the Troy-Bumpas Inn has been renovated several times since being built in 1847, we have layouts of what the original house was like, so we can be fairly precise in determining where a small chapter of Civil War history took place.

The following excerpt from the book Women of Guilford County, North Carolina; A Study of Women’s Contributions 1740-1979 describes an interesting interaction between an officer under the command of General Jacob D. Cox and Frances Webb Bumpass and her children Eugenia, Duella, and Robah. The parlor described is the present-day living room; the officers were staying in the present-day Allah guest room.

Frances Bumpass at midlife“A Sgt. Sweitzer settled his troops in a meadow [also described as the apple orchard] near Frances Webb Bumpass’s home and lodged his officers in a second-story bedroom overlooking the camp. The following morning the Bumpasses had begun their regular morning prayer service when the Yankee officers were heard coming down the stairs to the parlor door. When the officers explained that they too had come from Christian homes, Mrs. Bumpass invited them in, and the family continued their morning services with the army of the occupation standing all around them.”

 

 

A Troy-Bumpas Inn Recipe: Chocolate Ecstacy Cookies

Rich Chocolate Ecstacy CookiesGuests at the Troy-Bumpas Inn bed and breakfast can always help themselves to complimentary home-baked cookies, which are available in our second floor guest lounge. Two recent guests loved the Chocolate Ecstasy Cookies that we served in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day so much that they had to have the recipe. The main ingredient in these cookies is chocolate and the recipe calls for a mere 1/4 cup of flour. Be sure to let the cookies sit for a minute on the cookie sheet before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ecstasy Cookies

12 ounces (2 cups) semi sweet chocolate morsels, divided

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate 

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Dash of salt

2 eggs 

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup medium chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Position the rack in the center of the oven. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In a heavy saucepan, heat 1 cup of the chocolate chips, the unsweetened chocolate squares and butter until melted, stirring constantly (Or, you may melt this mixture in a microwave-safe bowl in a microwave oven). Transfer to large mixer bowl to cool slightly. In a small separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add eggs, sugar and vanilla to cooled chocolate mixture and beat well. Add flour mixture and beat again. Stir in rest of chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Edges should be firm, and the surface should be dull and cracked. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then remove to a wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Boxwood House: Amalgam of Architectural Styles, Near Troy-Bumpas Inn

One of the things I enjoy about being innkeeper at the Troy-Bumpas Inn is our neighborhood. The inn is located in Greensboro’s historic College Hill district. Part of the Greensboro College campus is directly behind the inn, and the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) is two blocks west.

Boxwood House

Boxwood House on Mendenhall Street, Greensboro

The Troy-Bumpas Inn is the second oldest home in the neighborhood; another home just two doors to the north on Mendenhall Street comes in as No. 3. This stately home was built in 1859, two years after the Bumpas House was built and just before the Civil War. The home was originally the residence of Rev. Nathan Hunt Daniel Wilson, Presiding Elder of the Raleigh District of the North Carolina Methodist Conference and a leader of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Wilson was a trustee of Greensboro College and was also involved in the early formation of Trinity College (which became Duke University), 

Rev. Wilson might not recognize his home if he walked by it today. Originally the home had simple lines appropriate for a member of the clergy. However, in the 1950s, then owner Julian Johnston, who operated a nursing home in the house that he called Boxwood, added a great deal of ornate trim and architectural detail salvaged from Greensboro residences that were being destroyed. Bay windows, eve brackets, finials, and interior features were pulled from the Bellemeade Mansion a short distance away. Gable ornaments were salvaged from the home of W. C. Boren, who had co-owned and operated Pomona Terra Cotta, one of the largest manufacturers of clay pipes and sewer lines in the nation. Windows and doors were recycled from other Greensboro sites. All of these additions remain, and so does the Boxwood name.

Nowadays, Boxwood is a true “painted lady,” a term used for Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings painted in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details. Boxwood was designated a Guilford County Landmark in 1990, two years earlier than when the Troy-Bumpas Inn became a Guildford County Landmark.

In the coming months, we’ll post more information about the wonderful homes in the College Hill Historic District, a place the Troy-Bumpas Inn is proud to call home.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Honeyed-Cranberry Sauce

Pancake on the griddleToday a guest who had stayed at the Troy-Bumpas Inn this past fall sent me an email requesting the recipe for pumpkin pancakes that I served while she was staying with us. These pancakes are especially delicious in the fall and winter, when both pumpkin and cranberries are popular and plentiful. The cranberry syrup is a great accompaniment and very attractive. You’ll find the recipe for the pancakes and cranberry syrup below.

This recipe calls for egg whites beaten to stiff peaks. Did you know that whole eggs separate most easily when cold, but the whites beat most easily when the egg whites are at room temperature? If you’ve never folded beaten egg whites into batter, check out this video for an excellent demonstration.

All pancakes taste best when served immediately and I only serve freshly made pancakes to guests. That said, I have found that these pancakes are remarkably good when stored and reheated. Cool any leftover pancakes completely on a wire cooling rack. When cool, stack the pancakes, using a piece of wax paper to separate each pancake. Place in an airtight, zipper sealed plastic bag. Refrigerate. To reheat, heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Remove the wax paper separators. Place pancakes in a single layer on ungreased cookie sheet and heat for approximately 10 minutes or until desired temperature.

Pumpkin Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
4 eggs, separated
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups skim milk

In large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, egg yolks, oil, vanilla extract and milk. Stir until smooth; set aside.

In a medium bowl with straight sides, beat egg whites until stiff.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture.  Mix just until moistened and ingredients are combined. Gently fold in beaten egg whites, mixing just until all ingredients are blended.

Spoon batter onto hot, oiled griddle using a ladle. Cook until golden brown on first side. (Batter is thick so bubbles may not rise to the surface.) Flip and cook pancake on second side. Serve immediately on a warm plate with Honeyed Cranberry Syrup. 

Honeyed Cranberry Syrup
1-1/2 cups honey
½ cup cranberry, orange, or grape juice (I like to use orange juice.)
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, divided (do not bother to thaw if using frozen cranberries)

In medium saucepan, combine honey and juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in 1-1/2 cups of the cranberries and cook until cranberries pop, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ½ cup cranberries and let sit 5 minutes before serving. This sauce reheats nicely. Makes 2 cups.

Chocolate Crinkles, a Favorite Cookie at the Troy-Bumpas Inn

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

One of our recent guests requested a copy of my recipe for Chocolate Crinkle cookies. Many of the recipes I prepare for guests are ones that I developed myself, but this one is an old recipe that came from a Betty Crocker cookie cookbook. It’s fun to watch these cookies bake because as the dough softens in the heat of the oven, a crinkled appearance forms. Besides being tasty, the cookies are dairy free and contain no lactose.

Chocolate Crinkles

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

½ cup vegetable oil

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Melt chocolate by placing squares in small microwaveable dish. Heat in microwave oven at high for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Squares may retain their original shape. Stir completely until melted.

In large bowl, mix melted chocolate, oil, and granulated sugar until well blended. Stir in eggs, one at a time, blending well. Add vanilla extract. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt to form a soft dough. Chill several hours or overnight until firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Shape teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Drop into confectioner’s sugar and roll until well coated with sugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until set. Remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire racks. Enjoy!

Makes about 72 cookies

Greensboro Neighborhood has Magical Holiday Light Display

One of the “must-do” things to experience while in Greensboro for the holidays is to drive through the Sunset Hills neighborhood to see the magical display of lighted Christmas balls. A good place to start viewing is the corner of Madison Avenue and Ridgeway Drive. Most of the homes in the neighborhood participate. The homeowners make Christmas balls by wrapping strings of holiday lights around a chicken-wire base. The first Sunday after Thanksgiving, hundreds of light balls are thrown over branches of trees and then they are all plugged in. The effect of muti-colored balls of light dangling over the streets and yards is magical and wonderful. Thousands of cars drive by during the holiday to view the lights. Everyone is encouraged to leave behind donations of non-perishable food for the local food pantry at several collection sites throughout the neighborhood.

A 2009 YouTube video does a great job of giving you an idea of how cool the neighborhood looks at night. (My photos just don’t do it justice!) The video also tells the story of how this all got started. You can also visit their blog for more information and instructions on how to make Christmas Light ball.

The Christmas Light Balls in the Sunset Hills neighborhood are part of what makes Greensboro special. Come and visit to see for yourself! And, of course, we invite you to stay at the Troy-Bumpas Inn whenever you are in Greensboro, NC.

 

Why are North Carolinians Tar Heels?

December is the month for parties, so if you’re looking for some ice-breaker trivia, look no further. When the conversation need a little pick-me-up, you can pose the question: ‘Ever wonder why North Carolinians are called Tar Heels? Then, be a smarty pants and tell ’em the story:

The origin of the nickname comes from the fact that North Carolina has an abundance of pine forests that for centuries were our country’s chief source of tar, pitch and turpentine used for painting, caulking and preserving the wood and ropes used in navel and merchant vessels. By 1768, North Carolina produced 60 percent of the colonies’ supply of these three products. Production involved heating pine lumber in charcoal beds to extract and collect a black ooze. This was a messy process that often caused the soles of the workers’ shoes to be coated with tar. Popular legend says that after a Civil War battle in Virginia in which the Virginia troops fled while the North Carolinians stuck to their positions, as if held fast by tar, Confederate General Robert E. Lee is said to have exclaimed, “God bless the Tar Heel boys.”  The story goes on to say that Confederate President Jefferson Davis asked jokingly if there was a surplus of tar available from North Carolina for other commanders to use to smear it on the shoes of their soldiers’ heels to help them hold steadfast against the Union attacks.

While it is unproven that Robert E. Lee actually coined the Tar Heel nickname, he certainly popularized the term and gave it a positive meaning. North Carolinians have been proud to be called Tar Heels ever since.

It’s no surprise that the pine is the state tree of North Carolina. There is a spectacularly tall long needle pine tree in the front corner of the yard at the Troy-Bumpas Inn in Greensboro. While the age of the tree is unknown, it towers over the inn, which is three stories tall. This tree has no doubt been witness to a lot of history. Greensboro is a great city for history buffs. Come see for yourself, and we welcome you to stay at the Troy-Bumpas Inn, 114 S. Mendenhall St., Greensboro, NC.
The tall Troy-Bumpas Inn pine tree

This long needle pine tree
has towered over the Troy-Bumpas Inn
for many years.

Greensboro Museum Tells How Sit-Ins Were Catalyst for Civil Rights Movement

If you ever doubted that a small group of people can spark significant and meaningful change in the world, be sure to visit the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC. The museum, located at 134 S. Elm St. in the historic 1929 F.W. Woolworth building in downtown Greensboro, tells the story of how four college students at NC State A&T began the nonviolent protests of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins. Their actions served as a catalyst in the U.S. civil rights movement.

Museum docents lead visitors through the chronologically arranged exhibits, explaining the conditions under which blacks lived in this country from its founding to the 1960s. The exhibits help build an understanding of the Injustices experienced by African Americans in times when segregation and “Jim Crow” laws permeated society. Through a variety of videos, interactive exhibits, and displays of artifacts, visitors are transported back to a dorm room at the nearby NC State A&T campus so see what went through the minds of four black college students — Ezell Blair, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond – as they planned to sit at the “whites only” lunch counter of their local Woolworths. They intended to ask to be served food seated at the counter rather than having to pick it up as carryout at the end of the counter. This original lunch counter and stools where the four students began their protest on Feb. 1, 1960, are preserved at the museum. In the six months following the initial Greensboro sit-in, the non-violent sit-in movement expanded to other college campuses elsewhere in North Carolina and in Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, GeWoolworth Building (1929), 132 South Elm Street (corner of Elm Street & February One Place), Greensboro, North Carolinaorgia and Mississippi. As a result of the movement, Woolworth stores as well as others took down their “whites only” signs and and permitted all customers to eat at the counter.

At our recent visit to the museum, docent Anita Johnson did a fantastic job of leading our group through the exhibits. Her compassion for teaching about civil rights was evident, and she truly brought history to life.

Greensboro is filled with history from the Revolutionary War to modern times. I highly recommend a visit to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. (It’s less than a mile from the Troy-Bumpas Inn.) The high-tech displays are especially well done and the docents are enthralling. I found the hour-long visit very moving, educational and extremely worthwhile. The museum is appropriate for all ages although more sensitive visitors should be aware that there are a few graphic images that help tell the story of some of the violence inflicted upon African Americans. For hours and admission fees, visit http://www.sitinmovement.org/index.asp.  

Desegregated

If you’ve already been to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, share with me your thoughts about the museum! This museum is just one reason why Life in Greensboro is good!