I just had to get away. I was tired of the cold, the dark, the winter. Who wasn’t? I escaped with my family during a particularly bleak week in February to Victoria, BC and one of the most beautiful bed & breakfasts I had ever seen.
Fairholme Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn is a jewel in Victoria’s crown, complete with fabulous ocean views; the manor is located on almost a full acre and is adjacent to the manicured gardens of the Lieutenant-Governor’s house (the Queen of England’s representative in British Columbia) in the historic Rockland district of Victoria. The beautiful gardens are open to the public from sun up to sun down and are a wonderful way to walk off the incredible breakfasts that await you each morning at the manor (more about that later).
Conveniently located, the 110-year-old Italianate manor is a five minute walk to Craigdarroch Castle, a well-known Victoria attraction, a quick walk or drive to the quaint Village of Oak Bay (a must-see for antique lovers and tea enthusiasts) and five minutes to Victoria’s bustling inner harbor, featuring the Parliament Buildings, the Royal BC Museum, the Royal London Wax Museum, shopping and dining. The Fairholme itself is at once contemporary and full of old-world charm, with soaring 14-foot ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces, walk-out balconies in Fairholme’s two upstairs suites with unparalleled ocean views of the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains beyond, and all the modern comforts of home (including a mini-fridge in each suite).
The Fairholme features five spacious suites (the two upstairs have nearly 1000 square feet each), and though your needs are always attended to, hosts Sylvia and Ross truly afford you the privacy and relaxation of a luxury hotel without the anonymity. Fairholme is perfect for couples, or older families with children aged teen and up. Now, back to breakfast! Fairholme’s breakfasts and brunches are so fabulous, guests encouraged Sylvia to compile a cookbook with the manor’s signature recipes, and we’re glad they did! Every morning, guests are treated to their choice of tea or coffee, milk, juice, Fairholme’s homemade granola, yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit, baking and a tantalizing warm entrée in Fairholme’s cozy breakfast room. Our favorites included the Baked Raspberry French Toast, the Fairholme Eggs Benedict, and Apricot Almond Scones with crème fraiche and homemade preserves. You too can experience a taste of Fairholme without having to leave home. Fabulous Fairholme Breakfasts & Brunches is available in Calgary at Chintz & Company and Chapters or visit amazon.com.
Our favorite part about visiting Victoria’s Fairholme Manor – waking up in February to the sound of a lawn mower and the smell of freshly cut grass and spring flowers! For more information, visit Fairholme’s website at fairholmemanor.com.
Recipes from Fabulous Fairholme: Breakfast & Brunches:
Baked Raspberry French Toast (Makes 2 servings.)
4 slices day-old Italian bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries or blueberries
2 oz. cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 eggs1 cup milk
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. poppy seeds
The night before: Grease two 8-ounce ramekins or large muffin tins. Line bottom half of tins with bread cubes. Cover with raspberries or blueberries and cream cheese cubes and top with remaining bread. Mix eggs, milk and syrup and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Pour mixture over bread, cover and let soak overnight in refrigerator. In the morning: Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes or until puffy and golden. Remove French toast from ramekins and top with Berry Compote or Lemon Sauce (see recipes below).
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. water
4 cups fresh or frozen berries
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until berries begin to break down and sauce starts to thicken. Serve over French toast.
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp. lemon juice
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 tbsp. butter
Whisk together first four ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. After sauce begins to thicken, stir in butter just to combine. Serve warm over French toast as an alternative to the berry compote.
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