BOUNTEOUS BREAKFASTS AND SWEET INDULGENCES
By Joe Yonan, Globe Staff | October 23, 2005
BRANDON, Vt. -- Blame the rain, the traffic, and MapQuest. I arrived so
late at The Inn on Park Street that innkeeper Judy Bunde -- and everyone
else in the place -- had already gone to bed.
That was fine by me. The front door was unlocked. But that still left one
not-so-small question: Which room was mine? The door to the large
downstairs guest room was wide-open, the nightstand lights were on, and
little cookies and water awaited on a table inside. This had to be the one.
I popped one of the chocolate macaroons in my mouth, sighed with pleasure,
and then scarfed down the other one, followed closely by two little ganache-filled
tartlets. If this is what it's like to stay in an inn run by a former
pastry chef, I thought, I'm in for a
A gracious one, too, because Bunde knows more than mere baking.
Take that late arrival, for instance. As it turns out, I had walked right
past a large note that Bunde had tacked to the front door of the inn,
welcoming me and making sure I found the right room. If she couldn't be
there to greet me, she would leave the next best thing.
Such details can turn an ordinary bed-and-breakfast into a home away from
home, at least for a few days. It was too rainy for hiking, biking, or much
else that would require a trip outside, and the foliage was missing those
fiery reds this year, but the pitter-patter of drops on the windowsill made
for top-notch sleeping and decent reading. Worse things can happen than a
Bunde helped me salvage other activities, with dinner at the top of the
list. Before I had even arrived, she offered in an e-mail exchange to make
a reservation at Cafe Provence, the town's delightful -- and very busy --
French restaurant. When I asked her by phone to help me find a massage
therapist for my sore neck, she immediately went to work.
Hospitality seems to come naturally to Bunde, who took over the inn about a
year ago after her wholesale pastry business, Sweet Endings, burned down in
Watertown, and she moved to Brandon. In this six-room Queen Anne Victorian
inn, Bunde whips up such bountiful morning meals that it could just as
easily be called a bed-and-brunch. Indulge in everything she offers at the
breakfast table, and your stomach won't growl again until dinnertime.
On Saturday morning, I chatted with a young couple and wondered aloud why
the table was set when we already had plates and a seemingly full breakfast
buffet awaiting us in the parlor. Then Bunde came in and explained the
drill. We could graze off the buffet, which included granola with yogurt,
fruit, plus homemade banana bread and bran muffins, then she would cook to
order our choice of pecan-maple waffles or squash-and-tomato omelets. With
sausage, of course. In other words, two breakfasts in one.
If, like me, you need a jolt of caffeine before facing your fellow
travelers over the breakfast table, Bunde offers what she calls ''dressing
coffee," a tray with a Thermos of java, cup, creamer, and sugar waiting
outside your door first thing in the morning. Now that's service.
Bunde's other claim to fame is her 9 p.m. dessert buffet. I had missed it
on Friday, which no doubt is why she left me the macaroons and tartlets. I
wasn't about to let that happen again. So on Saturday, after a stroll
around downtown, poking into the Warren Kimble gallery and store, and a
trip to a spa at nearby Killington for a massage, I hightailed it back to
Cafe Provence and skipped dessert.
When I walked back into the inn, the fire was crackling in the
green-and-yellow parlor, and Bunde was holding forth on the pros and cons
of innkeeping for two guests intrigued by the lifestyle. She had set out
four kinds of cookies, each better than the last; my favorite was the
perfectly buttery shortbread studded with pistachios and dried cranberries
-- but the maple-walnut cookies were a close second. She ran to the kitchen
to slip a dish of apple crisp under the broiler, and returned with a
generous helping, topped with a scoop of ice cream.
It may not sound that way, but there is more to the inn than the food. My
room, the only one of the six that is outfitted with cable TV, was also
stocked with videos, from ''The Sound of Music" and ''Singin' in the Rain"
to ''The English Patient" and ''Wag the Dog." It also has a Jacuzzi-style
tub big enough for two or even three, although when I tried it out the hot
water didn't last long enough to fill the thing, leaving the bath lukewarm
before I even got in.
No matter. It was bedtime anyway, and I needed to get my strength back for
tackling the next day's challenge -- no, not the drive home -- breakfast.
Bunde had promised, among other things, scones. Something was telling me
hers would be close to perfect.
Contact Joe Yonan at email@example.com.
The Inn on Park Street , 69 Park Street, Brandon, Vt.
Call 800-394-7239 or visit
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"Want to fork over the dough?"
- Boston Globe, October 31, 2004