Tucked into the Woodley Mountain Range, past the goat farm and the ivy covered home that’s long since lost its roof, sits Blanket and Spoon. Here, wind chimes adorn eaves and Adirondack chairs speckle the lawn. This small B&B is nestled in the center of six acres. It looks as though it was plucked from a Jane Austen novel – from a time when days were slower, men opened doors and long afternoons of sipping wine weren’t just dreamed about, they happened. And here, they do.
Your room comes stocked with a small cheese platter and wine. Take it out on the deck or instead opt to curl up on the large daybed. (The 8-inch Tempur-Pedic mattress is so comfortable you might just never get up. Don’t say you weren’t warned.)
Owned and operated by the husband-wife duo, Shayne and Carol Shepherd, this slice of quiet heaven is their home. But, it feels like yours too by the time you leave. Perhaps it’s the feather pillows, multi-head showers and personal hot tub. But, I think it’s the company. The warmth with which the Shepherds greet you and invite you into their home feels like the peaceful familiarity shared between longtime friends – happy to see you, but not overbearing.
Arrive hungry. If you need to skip dinner to do so, do it. This isn’t any continental fare. This is an event. Chef Shayne, a French-trained chef who cut his teeth in some of the finest Vancouver restaurants and moonlights at the renowned Mahle House, crafts a meal meant to be savored. His subtle seasonings allow the bold flavors of the locally sourced ingredients to shine. While the menu changes – often daily – it frequently incorporates both sweet and savory courses.
Love cooking? Make sure to get to the kitchen early so you can watch chef Shayne in action. He’s a whiz. The man moves with such skill it hardly looks like work. Where the average cook might be sweating up a storm, fumbling, bumbling and unable to talk – chef Shayne glides from cutting board to stove to grill, all the while happily answering questions.
He and Carol do a wonderful host and hostess dance, filling coffee, plating breakfast and sharing tidbits about the house and the art. They display a collection of pieces by local artist Rob Kernachan.
You might begin with a blueberry puff pastry strudel. When I visited, this baby arrived still warm from the oven and packed with blueberries so sweet the only added sugar came dusted right on top. It was followed by a pear poached in local tea and sprinkled with bee pollen from the nearby honey farm, Fredrich’s Honey. (Bee pollen is antioxidant rich. It’s a little bit hard, reminiscent of chia seeds. While it does have a touch of sweetness, it carries more of a floral note, adding texture and additional depth to a dish.
For the main event, you might have poached eggs on top of grilled asparagus and a chanterelle potato cake, accompanied by bourbon smoked and locally source grilled bacon.
(I just had a foodgasim all over again.)
Unlike pan-fried mashed potatoes with their soft, gummy center, Shayne’s potato cakes are filled with texture and thickly studded with chanterelles. (Shayne forages for his own chanterelles in the Woodley Mountain Range. His picking locations are a closely guarded secret. But for those interested in dabbling with mushroom picking, he and Carol strongly recommend David Arora’s, Mushrooms Demystified. They have a copy on hand and are more than happy to share during your visit.)
*Shayne and Carol are both very conscious of any dietary restrictions or special needs their guests may have. With a little advance notice, they’re more than happy to create something special just for you.
While this B&B may be small (it only has two suites), the rooms are anything but. They’re spaciously situated and feature large beds perfect for lounging. But, most impressive are the small details which didn’t go begging. Prior to opening Blanket and Spoon, Carol spent many a night traveling the world, staying in a wide variety of motels, hotels and bed and breakfasts. She discovered the small nuances which really make a room, some of which you might not have even realized you wanted.
From top down/bottom up shades and expertly placed light switches to shower heat lamps and great toiletry products – Carol didn’t miss a beat. She even stocked the Carriage House – their detached suite, featuring a king bed and private hot tub – with hot tub specific towels.
The grounds themselves at Blanket and Spoon are idyllic. There are towering trees, slopping grass hills and flowerbeds teaming with color. A large fire pit sits just behind the house and is ringed with Adirondack chairs. The trails at the base of the Shepherd’s home lead down the mountainside. They twist and turn through forest. Their causeways run past valleys where deer can often be seen. If you’re up for a light hike or easy stroll – this has your name written all over it.