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Our New Chef: Brian Maher

August 11th, 2014 by blairhouseinn

Our New Chef: Brian MaherBlair House Inn is proud to introduce our new chef, Brian Maher. Brian is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America with 25 years’ experience preparing high quality, delicious cuisine. His career has included such well known restaurants as Julia Child’s Kitchen in Napa Valley and The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, among others. Brian has shown a talent for creative dinner options and traditional dishes with a unique touch. He has stepped right into hosting our nationally recognized cooking schools. Offering guests a complete view of classic technique and modern improvements on French, Italian, BBQ, & Mediterranean cuisine. Join us for a cooking school or Saturday evening dinner. Open to outside guests, as well as guests staying at Blair House, Brian Maher’s newest gourmet meal is sure to please. Enjoy a perfect weekend getaway in the Texas hill country. Join us at Blair House Inn.

September 8th – 10th : Country French Cuisine – Chef will teach you basic French techniques that you can apply to all of your home cooking. In the process, learn how to make dishes like Steak Diane, Poulet Wellington, Raspberry Tarts, and Chocolate Crème Bruleé. Plus Sauces Francais 101! Never again feel like recipes are written in a foreign language!

October 6th – 8th : Barbeque Camp! – Summer in Texas means BBQ. You’ll be the envy of your friends and family once you learn the secrets to preparing wonderful meals on the grill. Try your hand at Cedar Planked Wild King Salmon with Jerk Spice and Mango Salsa, St. Louis Style Baby Back Ribs with Cherry Coke Glaze, Chicken Fajitas, Texas Brisket, and Fredericksburg Peach Cobbler with Home-made Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

October 20th – 22nd: Taste of New Orleans – Spend 3 days & 2 nights in the beautiful Texas Hill Country while learning a variety of New Orleans cooking skills. This class will focus on the two main cuisines in and around New Orleans – Creole and Cajun – and will deliciously reflect their mix of Spanish, African, and French heritages. You will learn to prepare dishes such as award winning Gumbo, Blackened Snapper, Cajun Barbequed Shrimp, Louisiana Brined Roasted Loin of Pork, King Cake and the classic Beignet.

Blair House Inn Has New Owners

August 6th, 2014 by blairhouseinn

New OwnersThe Blair House Inn, located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, has recently been sold. The previous owners, Mike & Vickie Schneider, developed the business into one of the top inns in the country. After 13 years, they decided the time was right to move on to new endeavors and have left Blair House to an eager and excited couple. The new owners, Chris & Lois Mahoney, plan to build upon the inn’s reputation as the best inn in the Texas Hill Country.
Lois and Chris bring expertise and many years of experience in hospitality and customer service to Blair House Inn. Lois’ career in hospitality has spanned over the last 30 years. Her family owned hotel/motels, bed & breakfasts, and RV parks. After obtaining a degree in Accounting from Corpus Christi A&M and becoming a CPA she entered the world of finance and accounting in the hotel industry. She has worked for well-known hospitality companies such as Wyndham International, Renaissance Hotels, Aimbridge Hospitality, Prism Hotels and Resorts, and Highgate Hotels. Chris is a graduate of UT with a degree in Business Finance. He brings an operations, customer service, and sales background with 20 years’ experience in operations management for two large global logistics companies and the insurance industry.
Owning and operating an inn has been a lifelong dream. They fell in love with the Blair House Inn’s panoramic views, peaceful setting, and spacious rooms on their first visit and knew it was the right opportunity for them. Lois and Chris will continue the tradition of providing a unique dining and hospitality experience guests can expect at Blair House Inn.

A Word From The New Owners

We are very excited about starting a new chapter of our lives at the Blair House Inn. We not only purchased a beautiful property, but also inherited a wonderful staff and have added a fabulous Chef. All are focused on making our guest’s stay relaxing and enjoyable. We know that our greatest assets are our guests and we would love to meet all of you who have supported the Inn over the years.

Top 50 US Bed and Breakfasts for Food

July 6th, 2014 by Lois Mahoney

Top 50 US Bed and Breakfasts for FoodThe Blair House Inn restaurant was recently featured on thedailymeal.com. In an article titled, The Top 50 US Bed and Breakfasts for Food, Blair House Inn was ranked number 5. We take these awards seriously. Our goal is to provide the very best meals and accommodations to all of our guests. A few times a year Blair House is recognized for outstanding service and hospitality. We want everyone to experience the Texas Hill Country first hand. Join us for a Saturday evening dinner as a guests staying with us or make a reservation as an outside guest. Saturday evening dinners are open to everyone, depending on availability. Hopefully, thedailymeal.com article illustrates the quality of Blair House Inn. Take a look and book a stay with us today.

Don’t forget about our cooking schools. Nationally recognized courses designed to improve the cooking skills of everyone from first time cooks to seasoned chefs. Learn the tips and tricks to preparing your own award winning meals at home. Find a cooking school just right for you and give us a call to reserve your spot. Below are just a few of the upcoming classes we offer.

July 21st – 23rd : Barbeque Camp! – Summer in Texas means BBQ. You’ll be the envy of your friends and family once you learn the secrets to preparing wonderful meals on the grill. Try your hand at Cedar Planked Wild King Salmon with Jerk Spice and Mango Salsa, St. Louis Style Baby Back Ribs with Cherry Coke Glaze, Chicken Fajitas, Texas Brisket, and Fredericksburg Peach Cobbler with Home-made Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

September 8th – 10th : Country French Cuisine – Chef Chris will teach you basic French techniques that you can apply to all of your home cooking. In the process, learn how to make dishes like Steak Diane, Poulet Wellington, Raspberry Tarts, and Chocolate Crème Bruleé. Plus Sauces Francais 101! Never again feel like recipes are written in a foreign language!

September 22nd – 24th : Sauces 101 – This class has no shortage of flavor! Enjoy learning dishes with a common main ingredient and tasting the dramatic different flavors sauces will bring. Start by learning the Five French Mother sauces Béchamel, Veloute’, Tomato Sauce, Hollandaise, and Espanole. You will also make vinaigrettes, mayonnaises, and flavored oils. Don’t forget the dessert sauces, caramel, fruit Coulis, crème Anglaise, Chantilly cream, and syrups. Pack your friends and families taste buds with maximum flavor.

Fun in the Texas Hill Country

May 22nd, 2014 by Lois Mahoney

fun in the texas hill country

Come have some fun in the Texas Hill Country. With crystal clear streams, majestic giant oak trees, and wildflowers that blanket open fields, this is a country all it’s own. Wimberley is located in the beating heart of this enchanting land and offers new wonders and experiences for every traveler. Below are just a few of the things the hill country has to offer. From shopping to wine tasting, hiking to swimming, there is always fun in the Texas Hill Country.

Wimberley is full of unique shops that offer traditional and not-so-traditional art and wares. The main shopping areas are clustered around the Square and Olde Towne Plaza. Antiques and Art Galleries are mixed in and anyone is sure to find a diamond in the ruff. The first Saturday of each month, March through December, Market Days draw visitors from around the state. Always a fun weekend!

Texas wineries have a special allure. Each is unique in its setting and personality. A distinctiveness shared in their wines. Wineries throughout the Hill Country offer public tours of their facilities and tastings for individuals and groups. It‘s an enjoyable day trip, weekend escape or vacation destination. In ever-increasing numbers, consumers are visiting Texas wineries, attending community wine festivals and enjoying the delicious difference of a fine, Texas vintage.

Designed to reflect a traditional Italian family farm, Bella Vista Ranch is home to over 1,200 producing olive trees, seasonal fruit and vegetables, olive press, winery, tasting room, and gift shop. Bella Vista offers tours of the frantoio (olive press), winery, orchards, and gardens for individuals as well as groups. Tours provide an opportunity to learn about the agriculture and cultivation of their olives, grapes, and other fruit before participating in a guided tasting of fresh-made products.

Just a taste of fun in the Texas Hill Country and the colorful culture that awaits the creative traveler. Make sure to mark this as a destination and join us at Blair House Inn for an amazing getaway.

Texas Hill Country Wine Road

March 25th, 2014 by Lois Mahoney

The Texas Hill Country Wine Road is a beautiful stretch of highway 290 northwest of Blair House Inn. The heart of Texas wine making. Over a dozen wineries producing great wines. This group of wineries gets together to have events showcasing their best bottles. Music concerts, special tastings, and food and wine pairings. Enjoy a day trip sampling wines and return to Blair House Inn to relax. Lounge by the pool and hot tub. Or walk our nature trail to see the bluebonnets. Book a stay at Blair House Inn before it’s too late. Now is the time to see the best of the Texas Hill Country.

 

Texas Hill Country Bluebonnets

Texas Hill Country Wine Road

Bell Springs Winery Paint and Sip Event
April 12, 2014, 2:30 – 4:30 pm
Paint your own “Vineyard Themed” picture while sipping Bell Springs’ vintage wine. This painting is bright, easy and lots of fun! What could be more entertaining than sipping, painting and enjoying music?

Vino al Pastor
June 21, 2014, all day
Each winery will team with a restaurant to prepare a recipe using pork shoulder meat, usually marinated with a blend of different spices and herbs, and some “summertime” presentation.  When you visit the winery during the trail day of the event you will enjoy a wine especially paired with the PORK recipe served using PORK shoulder meat.  A GREAT way to spend a Saturday in June enjoying Texas Hospitality at the wineries finding out why we are the number TWO wine destination in the US(after NAPA) and one of the top TEN wine destinations in the WORLD!

16th Annual Becker Vineyards 2014 Lavender Festival
May 4, 2014, all day
Join us for the 16th annual and best ever Becker Vineyards Lavender Festival. Sip and swirl with live music, artisans and lavender fields in bloom. There will be lavender products, plants, vendors, cooking demos, guest speakers, culinary delights, concessions, wine tasting & tours, vintner luncheons, music and much more. This event is complimentary but there is a $5.00 parking fee.

Blair House Gallery Christopher Mayes

March 24th, 2014 by Lois Mahoney

Texas Flag Christopher Mayes

Artist Christopher Mayes Texas flag is on display at Blair House Gallery.  The energy escaping Christopher Mayes art is profound. Our gallery features several pieces from this hill country artist.  The flag canvases have become a collectible series.  Blair House Inn has both a Texas and American flag within the gallery.  The flag project has a recognition all its own.  The flag series originated in 2005. Chris attempted a more traditional concept when approaching the flag project. This approach was a success.  The flag paintings reside in Texas Inns, very famous Texans’ homes, amongst regular folds, as well.  A jury room in Harris county adorns a flag from the series, after the judge decided to spread the inspiration past the piece he bought for his chambers.

Growing up in the Texas panhandle, and residing in Houston for years, Christopher Mayes has decided to call the Texas Hill Country his home.  His studio in Canyon Lake, near Wimberley, is home to a rock garden designed by Mayes himself.  In recent times, he’s taken on a desire of limestone mining.  The proposed outcome will be a massive piece of land filled with rocks, colored with natural substances, modeling the Texas flag.  Meanwhile, Mayes stays busy with  graphic design and illustration projects for corporate clients across the nation.  Christopher Mayes art is as diverse as the land in Texas.

The Texas Flag at the Blair House Gallery has made its home in our dining room.  It can be in yours in the future.  Feel free to drop by the Blair House Art Gallery when in the Wimberley area.  There’s a vast collection of art from other artists, many local to Texas!  Blair House Gallery is open seven days per week til 7 pm. We look forward to meeting you!

Upcoming Events: Blair House Inn

March 16th, 2014 by Lois Mahoney

Upcoming Events

Here are some upcoming events we thought everyone would like to know. Spring has arrived again and everyone is having a ball. Take a look at a few upcoming events to plan your next trip to Blair House Inn.

EmilyAnn Theatre

16th Annual Butterfly Festival

April 26th 10am-4pm

Come to the EmilyAnn Theatre for a day of fun. The festival features the live release of 3000 butterflies (cages released every 30 minutes throughout the day for a total of 3000 butterflies); opening ceremonies at the Veterans Memorial Plaza; a Commemorative Air Force flyover (weather permitting); displays of butterfly art; carnival games and crafts; concessions; guided nature walks by the Hays County Master Naturalists in celebration of Earth Day; and live music. Admission is free. Donations are gratefully accepted and concession/game tickets may be purchased.

Smokin' Red Chili Cook Off

Smokin’ Red Hot Chili Cook-Off

April 22nd 11am-3:30pm

Gather up your friends and have a whole lot of fun!  Sample dozens of chili entries, vote for your favorite chili and your favorite booth, enjoy live music all day long. Food, Drinks and Prizes. Home-baked goods, soft drinks, and beer will also be available. Award ceremony at 3:00pm. $5 admission.

Sponsored by Wimberley Community Civic Club     www.wimberleyccc.com

Blair House Inn Cooking Schools

All Summer Long

Blair House Inn has many upcoming events for our cooking schools. We offer a little something for everyone. Whether you are a professional cook wanting to learn some new recipes or someone who has never stepped foot in a kitchen. Chef Chris Huffman can help you be the best chef you can be. Take a look at all of our cooking schools to decide what is the best fit for you. Our March 31st Mediterranean Cuisine cooking school has plenty of room left. This class is sure to please.

March 31st – 2nd : Mediterranean Cuisine – If you can’t make it to the Mediterranean this summer, let Blair House take you on a culinary tour of the region from the Strait of Gibraltar to Cypress with plenty of tasty stops along the way! You will prepare Risotto, Hummus Pita Bread, Pasta, Fruits de Mer, Calamari, Baklava, Classic Greek Salad, Focaccia, Polenta and Crema Catalana. These are just a sampling of what you have to look forward to on your journey.

Upcoming Cooking Schools at Blair House Inn

February 20th, 2014 by Lois Mahoney

cooking schools

March is a busy month for upcoming cooking schools here at Blair House Inn. Every week we host a different hands-on cooking school for our guests. Some are already sold out. Some only have a few spots remaining. There is even room left for the very popular Barbeque Camp in April. That will go fast! We love sharing our love of food and cooking with as many people as we can. We want to kick off the cooking school season with a bang. Bring your husband or wife to the Texas hill country. Bring your friends. Have a girls trip. Everyone is invited. Call, 512-847-1111, or book online for your spot in our upcoming cooking schools at Blair House Inn.

 

Cooking Schools

March 3rd – 5th : Taste of New Orleans– Spend 3 days & 2 nights in the beautiful Texas Hill Country while learning a variety of New Orleans cooking skills. This class will focus on the two main cuisines in and around New Orleans – Creole and Cajun – and will deliciously reflect their mix of Spanish, African, and French heritages. You will learn to prepare dishes such as award winning Gumbo, Blackened Snapper, Cajun Barbequed Shrimp, Louisiana Brined Roasted Loin of Pork, King Cake and the classic Beignet.

March 17th – 19th : Italian Cuisine – Come enjoy the taste of Italy as you prepare classic dishes such as Osso Buco Milanese, Roasted Red Pepper Risotto with Pine Nuts, and Italian Espresso Tiramisu. You’ll learn traditional Italian sauces such as Fresh Basil Marinara, and Roasted Garlic Alfredo, and how to make the fresh pasta and potato gnocchi.

March 31st – 2nd : Mediterranean Cuisine – If you can’t make it to the Mediterranean this summer, let Blair House take you on a culinary tour of the region from the Strait of Gibraltar to Cypress with plenty of tasty stops along the way! You will prepare Risotto, Hummus Pita Bread, Pasta, Fruits de Mer, Calamari, Baklava, Classic Greek Salad, Focaccia, Polenta and Crema Catalana. These are just a sampling of what you have to look forward to on your journey.

April 21st – 23rd: Barbeque Camp! – Summer in Texas means BBQ. You’ll be the envy of your friends and family once you learn the secrets to preparing wonderful meals on the grill. Try your hand at Cedar Planked Wild King Salmon with Jerk Spice and Mango Salsa, St. Louis Style Baby Back Ribs with Cherry Coke Glaze, Chicken Fajitas, Texas Brisket, and Fredericksburg Peach Cobbler with Home-made Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

Wellness Vacation at Blair House Inn

February 12th, 2014 by Lois Mahoney

The pursuit of a wellness vacation is something we take seriously here at Blair House Inn. Recently, this article came across my desk from traveltowellness.com. I think it expresses the same ideas we hope for our guests. Life in the Texas hill country is a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. Something we want to share with as many guests as possible. Whether it be a romantic getaway, spa day with the girls, or preparing healthy meals at our cooking schools. Your time here can be as exciting or relaxing as you wish. Find the goal and direction you want to travel and let us help you get there. Come to the Texas hill country for your wellness vacation at Blair House Inn.
 
Wellness Vacation

What to ask yourself before booking a wellness vacation.

 
1. What is the intent or goal of my wellness vacation?
Perhaps it’s to lose weight? Learn how to make healthier food choices? Enjoy a bit of “Me Time” to reconnect with Self? Learn how to manage stress? Give it some thought. What do you really need to maintain, promote or kick-start a healthy lifestyle?

2. How much do I want to spend on this time away?
The last thing you want to do is stress over money. Remember you don’t necessarily need to travel far from home for a wellness vacation. Depending on where you live and your goal, you may find a suitable wellness vacation destination in your own town or within an easy drive.

3. Who might be my best wellness vacation companion?
Think about someone you simply love to enjoy time with. Significant other? Sister? Girl friends? Perhaps you’d love to meet new like-minded people. Try to avoid travelling with people who may be a trigger for stress. Instead, look for travel companions who calm you and make you feel good about yourself.

4. What kind of food do I want?
Since food is the foundation of a wellness lifestyle, and what we eat is something that we have absolute control over – think about what type of food you want on your wellness vacation. Healthy gourmet? Buffet with lots of healthy food options? Calorie controlled? Fresh, local, seasonal? You decide.

5. How do I want to spend my daytime hours?
Getting physical in the great outdoors? Participating in yoga classes and educational sessions? Hanging out at the spa? Enjoying local foodie tours and cultural activities? All of the above? Or, something else? Your answers will help you trim the list of possible destinations.

2014 Vintner Dinner Series

January 6th, 2014 by Lois Mahoney

Gourmet Cuisine. Award Winning Wines.

2014 Vintner Dinner SeriesThis is our 13th annual Vintner Dinner Series. Owners Mike and Vickie Schneider, who have a strong interest in wines and vintners, created this series to showcase Texas Wineries alongside our notable cuisine. A popular event among guests of the Inn and local residents alike, the Vintner Dinner Series provides the opportunity to learn about the winemaking process, to taste and explore local wines and how they are paired to enhance the flavors of the foods.

Saturday evenings from January 18 until March 1, excluding Valentine’s Day, vintners and/or their representatives will be on hand to explain their winemaking process and the unique character of the wines they create. Our innovative Chef, Chris Huffman, is committed to preparing a truly memorable dinner. Choosing fresh, high quality and seasonal ingredients his masterful creations are specifically designed to highlight the unique character of the various wines being offered. This year the Vintner Dinner Series schedule is as follows:

January 18 – Flat Creek Estate
Set amidst the beautiful rolling hills of Central Texas is a most pristine piece of land, perfect for growing grapes and making wine. Flat Creek Estate is nestled on this 80 acres, happily proving for a decade that quality Texas grapes produce quality Texas wines.

January 25 – Sunset Winery
Winemakers Birgit and Bruce Anderson make their wine in the “little house on the prairie” where they raised their three daughters. To date, every Sunset wine entered into competition has earned one or more medals, including a Gold in the Lone Star International Competition for the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon.

February 1 - Hye Meadow Winery
Located on gorgeous property under towering oak trees, Hye Meadow Winery will make you feel right at home. Both the covered patio and the tasting room are the perfect spots to kick back, relax and enjoy a glass of well-crafted wine.

February 8 - Dry Comal Creek Vineyards
From a fledgling winery in 1998, Dry Comal Creek Vineyards now produces 8,000 cases a year, with expansion plans to produce 12,000. Dry Comal Creek has developed a series of award-winning specialty wines including French Colombard (Demi-Sweet and Bone Dry), White Black Spanish, Comal Red, Black Spanish and 1096 Port.

February 22 - Bell Springs Winery
Bell Springs Winery offers a selection of wines crafted from various regions across Texas and the United States. Their philosophy is great tasting wines with a little bit of something for everyone.

March 1 - Llano Estacado Winery
The simple mission of Llano Estacado, from its beginning in 1976, to its role as industry leader today, has been to embody the fabulous potential of Texas wine. Today, Llano Estacado is the largest, best-selling Premium Winery in Texas, producing wines of World Class Quality, and has been an ongoing pioneer in introducing not just Texans, but also the entire world to the great wines made in the Lone Star State.

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