Bloomsbury Inn

1707 Lyttleton Street, Camden, South Carolina 29020
Innkeeper(s): Bruce and Katherine Brown

Summer Garden 24 May 2016, 7:15 am

Growing up, my Mother had an old-fashioned Hydrangea planted under my bedroom window!    I loved that plant.  Plus, living in the South (at that time with no air conditioning), a slight evening breeze would fill my room with the gentle smell of that Hydrangea.   As I sit here…I can smell that gentle breeze.

From the gardens of Bloomsbury

Now living in South Carolina, I have one garden dedicated to Hydrangeas.  They love shade/partial sun and plenty of water.  Since last October, we have had rain and rain.  As a result, the Hydrangea garden is just beautiful this year.

The idea soil is consistently moist, well-drained, humus rich soil.  Plus, we use a fair amount of mulch to keep the roots cool and to retain moisture.  Since this garden space is large, very little pruning is required with old-fashioned hydrangeas.  Old-fashioned hydrangeas set their flowers on previous year’s growth, or what is referred to as old wood.   If you feel that you must prune, do so in early spring.  Be sure you just tidy up the plant by removing any dead stems and old flowers.  If you love to cut, go to a different plant.  Deep cutting will almost always result in zero blooms for up to a year.

We us a very slow release fertilizer twice during the summer, usually in June and August.  And, my go to secret weapon:   milorganite.   We have local deer…yes, right here inside the city limits of Camden.  Milorganite fertilizer will keep them out of the garden area.  The other great thing, you can not burn your plants with it.

Today, Hydrangeas abound in many colors and styles,  we mix and match all through our garden for a beautiful flow of colors and designs.  Still, still I treasure the old-fashioned varieties for their colorful, long lasting flowers.  The below picture was made in 2010…we’ve come a very long way since then.

The Perfect Bloomsbury Omelet 29 Apr 2016, 8:54 am

Lots of chefs believe that they make a perfect omelet.  They will boost of their special pan or only using gas heat or farm fresh eggs.  Well, I learned the perfect omelet method from a friend of mine who owns Common Earth Farms in Bedford NH.  When she first shared this method…I thought “right Gail”.  Then I tried it:

2 extra large eggs per omelet, room temperature

2 TBS heavy cream, actually I use Half and Half






1 sandwich size baggie, use a good brand

1 large pot of boiling water

Mix your eggs and cream until well blended.  Pour this mix into the baggie.  Add your favorite cheese – 2 TBS or so.  If you like meat, add 1 heaping TBS.  Season as you desire.  Roll, press all the air from the baggie and seal it firmly.  Now mix/shake up all your ingredients.  Place the baggie directly into boiling water for 13-15 minutes.  You will cook a perfect omelet.  Yes, more than one baggie can be in the large pot of water, but do not overcrowd as the baggies will want to stick together.

Suggested combinations:

  • Cooked bacon, spinach, onion, Swiss cheese.

  • Cooked ham, asparagus, gruyere cheese, fresh herbs.

  • Salted/well-drained tomatoes, multi-cheese blend, onion, fresh herbs.

  • Cooked sausage, parmesan cheese, celery and garlic.

  • Cooked turkey, eggplant, blue cheese.

  • Hashbrowns cooked with bacon, bell pepper and onion, feta.

  • Blend of grilled garden vegetables and herbs, tofu.

You can use this recipe for any of your favorite omelet recipes.  It will be perfectly cooked with no “brown” spots!  Enjoy your Bloomsbury Omelet!

Our Town Video 29 Feb 2016, 1:12 pm

(video/mp4; 94.18 MB)

Town or City 17 Feb 2016, 1:35 pm

February 2016

When seeking the magic of Camden, South Carolina, it matters not if Camden is a town or a city.  But, you will be interested in the answer after you have visited this perfect little place.

Speaking of visiting, pack a bag as you cannot possibly enjoy all that Camden offers in just a day trip (you really need 3+ days):

  1. You will definitely want to arrive early! A quick stop at the Kershaw County Chamber  of Commerce will arm you with additional information about visiting Camden.  Plus, the Chamber is located in the historic Robert Mills Courthouse (yes, the one and same, designer of the Washington Monument and many other historic building in South Carolina).  
  2. Before you get too ensconced in the museums, attractions and shopping, enjoy a self-guided driving tour of the historic district of Camden. The wide streets will allow you to meander by 40+ antebellum homes, as your read about each.
  3. While you are in this area, you will want to take a stop at Victoria Susan’s Wearable Art on Dicey Ford Road. That’s right – wearable art!
  4. Have you worked up an appetite, but you don’t want to ruin your dinner plans? Candy’s at the Granary, aka  Carolina Café as the locals call it, offers a great selection of salads, soups, and sandwiches.  Skip the coffee service because…
  5. Books on Broad, a privately owned, hometown bookstore, has an amazing array of reads and a gourmet coffee bar.
  6. Off to the Camden Archives and Museum. Not gun guru, the Ross Beard Gun Collection is a must see.  From 14th century weapons to one of Dillinger’s sub-machine guns, from genealogy research to Boykin Spaniels, you will enjoy this visit.
  7. Are you ready for check-in? The award-winning Bloomsbury Inn awaits you.  When you are all settled, take a stroll around the grounds and down to the Rectory Square where you will see the gazebo water.  Be sure to be back for the 5:30 pm Bloomsbury Social. Great food and drink with an opportunity to tell everyone about your day. At 6:30 pm you may want to take a carriage ride with Camden Carriage. Camden Carriage provides a 45 minute tour of our historic district which explores the city history and a few ghost stories.
  8. Seeking the most fun dinner in town, be sure Bloomsbury booked you a reservation at Salud Mexican Kitchen. No, you cannot order anything by the number and noting comes with gobs of beans and rice.  You will enjoy authentic, fresh, made-from-scratch Mexican food.  Oh yes, there are over 200 tequilas on the bar.  Oh yes, all the margaritas are made from scratch with fresh squeezed juices.  Not in the mood for the best Mexican cuisine east of the Mississippi, fine dining awaits you at the Boykin Millpond Steakhouse.
  9. When you return to Bloomsbury, you might like to sit in one of the big white rockers to enjoy the beautiful evening before you retire. You definitely want to get a great night of sleep as tomorrow is full – beginning with breakfast in the Chesnut Dining Room. Depending on the day, you may enjoy biscuits right out of Grandmother’s iron skillet, hot apple soup and Bloomsbury Benedict. 
  10. Your next trip might be the National Steeplechase Museum. You will see a short video on the history of the Springdale Race Track, and then have the opportunity to view the displays of jockey colors and trophy silver. In the mood for more horse-adventures, stop by the Tack Room. It is the largest on the east coast, with over 30,000 square feet of items that even those who are not “horse people” will find interesting: saddles, furniture, clothing, boots, house wares, and unique gifts.
  11. Trust me, since your breakfast will carry you well into the afternoon, head to the Revolutionary War Park. Here you will learn about the town/city participation in the Revolutionary War. While in this area, a drive through Quaker Cemetery is recommended.
  12. Next you will want to start touring antiques shops: Camden Antique Market, The Menagerie, Ellie’s Attic, The Habitat Store and the Heritage Antique Mall. This is a partial list; during your stop at the Chamber of Commerce, you will receive the antique guide/map or Bloomsbury always has them.

OH MY…you missed:
…the local parks

…a movie at The Little Theatre

…the Broom Store

…lazy swings in the Bloomsbury hammock

…Camden Military Academy

…Pearl Fryer’s Topiary and the Cotton Museum in nearby Bishopville

…visiting a local church

…a performance at the local Fine Arts Center

…Buckley School of Public Speaking

…a leisurely drive through horse country

…bird watching

…touring Carolina Motorsports Parkway just 17 miles north of Camden

…and, so much more!

Town or city?  In the United States, an incorporated city is a legally defined government entity, with powers delegated by the state and county, and created and approved by the voters of the city. You will love visiting the city of Camden, South Carolina.

February 2016, May LeBruin, Independent Writers Inc.


Helping a Little Friend with “Snack Day” 6 Feb 2016, 12:44 pm

Last Spring, one of my little friends invited me to participate in his school “snack day”.  We decided to have Dolphin Bowls with a Dolphin Story Time.  We prepared them at Bloomsbury Inn.  Remember to ask the teachers if there are any student allergies so you can prepare accordingly.


Disposable blue soup bowls, disposable dolphin tablecloth and a black felt tip marker


Green seedless  grapes

Red seedless grapes

Box of goldfish crackers

Set out the desired number of bowls.   Cut 1/3 off the bottom of each banana (save for another dessert).  Split the stem end of the banana to form a mouth to hold the goldfish.  Insert the goldfish into the slit. Dot eyes on the banana.  Place the banana, flat cut surface to bottom of soup bowl.  Fill around the banana with green and red seedless grapes to form the water in the bowl.  Add a few more goldfish to the water.  Repeat until you have produced the required number of Dolphin Cups.  Note:  add appropriately colored jelly beans to the water if desired.  And, stickers on the soup bowls are a nice add.

Write a short children’s story about Dolphins…informative, simple, fun…to be read while the students enjoy their snacks.  Or, checkout a book at the local library to share with the students.

You will be the hit of the “snack day”.  Perfect for kindergarten through second grade classrooms.

PS…take a container of “wet wipes” for easy desk and hand cleanup at the end of “snack day”.

Bloomsbury Biscuits 19 Dec 2015, 8:00 am

We are often times complimented on our biscuits.  They are just Southern biscuits cooked in my Grandmother’s iron skillet.  Maybe it is all the years of love (or the real butter) that makes them so soft and fluffy.   I tell everyone that I use the Pillsbury Southern Biscuit recipe.

  •  2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cubed (real butter)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, (more or less if needed)

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Cut butter into mixture until it begins to look like cornmeal or Grandmother’s pearls.

Make a well with flour mixture and slowly add milk into the middle. Very gently mix the dough with your fingers and add milk when necessary.  Gently pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface to desired thickness.  Cut with small biscuit cutter.  Well, of course, I use Grandmother Sallie Rose’s biscuit cutter.

Generously butter the bottom and sides of  the iron skillet (you guessed it – Grandmother’s skillet) and place biscuits in pan. Bake at 350 degrees until fluffy and golden brown.

For some reason, everyone thinks there are secrets, so I have made up some:

Secret – Preheat the oven .

Secret –  Use very cold ingredients…I am so hot natured that my kitchen is always cold.  If yours is not…chill you ingredients in the freezer before you begin.

Secret –  Use very cold butter in the biscuits. It can be lard like Grandmother used, but I like butter.  If using butter, cut the cold butter into small cubes. Cut butter into the flour mix using two knives or a pastry cutter until crumbly.

Secret –  Use buttermilk if you like.  A table spoon of white vinegar or lemon juice will make real milk into buttermilk.  But, of course, you knew that because Grandmother told you.

Secret – Cold dough. Remember, a successful fluffy and light biscuit comes from keeping the dough cold and not handling it too much. The heat from your hands will melt the butter, so you must work fast, but with a very gentle hand and soft touch because you do not want the dough to get warm (translate: get touch)!

Secret – Folding. There is no “kneading” of biscuit dough.  If you think it needs it, you can fold the dough a couple of times as you pat it out.

Secret –  No twisting! Dip you biscuit cutter in flour.  Use a cutter about 2 to 3 inches in size.  So just press down and lift up – no twisting!! If you love flat biscuits…twist away as it will bind the edge of the biscuit and keep it for rising very well.

Secret – Butter the iron skillet a little more than you think it should be…bottom and sides.  Place the biscuits in the skillet…the biscuits love each other and they want to touch.

Secret – It takes practice to make good biscuits…Grandmother Sallie Rose said, “Practice every other morning and soon you will have it right.”

Holiday Bug Bites 1 Dec 2015, 6:04 am

It is that time of year, the decorations are going up…you are feeling festive…you want to share a special time with friends.  Well, here is a great idea to consider:  A Champagne and Cookie Reception.  Not a cookie exchange, but a true Holiday Reception.

Select your date and design a pretty, seasonal invitation such as this one for Bloomsbury:


Design an interesting guest list, include a varied mix of individuals.  If at all possible, include someone new or several new guests for everyone to meet.  Be sure to post your invitations early to ensure all of the guests have time to plan…someone may need a babysitter or to re-arrange another appointment or to secure transportation.

The menu is so easy.  You will need a Champagne Bar — all the latest rage and several dozen cookies.  Of course, you will also want to serve a non-alcoholic punch.  But, back to the Champagne Bar:

A good quality champagne (it does not need to be expensive unless you so desire)

A bottle of Cassis

A bottle of Cointreau

Fresh mint, rosemary, and lemongrass springs (your favorite herbs)

Mini peppermints

Mini marshmallows

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries (your favorite berries)

and festive champagne glasses.  I love to use a wide variety of glasses…yes crystal or real glass.  Arrange your Champagne Bar in a location that will encourage the guests to help themselves and encourage them to try different additives.  You will need to have 1/2 to 1/3 bottle of Champagne on hand, and very well chilled, for each guest attending.

 The next task is to design a festive cookie table.  This table can host your non-alcoholic punch and your array of homemade cookies.  At this time of year, everyone loves to enjoy the favorite cookies of others.  t is wise to plan three to four cookies per guest.  You can introduce as many types of cookies as you desire, but six or more types is fun.  Use one of grandmother’s old recipes, select one from Southern Living magazine or from the latest Tea Time.  If you plan to use just serving trays and napkins (vs plates), it is smart to avoid bars and extremely crumbly treats.

Use a simple non-alcoholic punch:  mix 1/2 white grape juice and 1/2 ginger ale together, fill your punch bowl with crushed ice, add the punch mix and serve well chilled.  You can use punch cups or champagne glasses for this punch.

There are a couple of ways to collect memories of your event.  One is to ask a friend to take a few, unintrusive photographs and the other is to use your guest book to register your guests.

We hope that you enjoy a very festive and wonderful Holiday Season filled with much love and peace!

Designing Your Entry (the magic of the entry is you) 29 Oct 2015, 9:12 am

The magic begins before you ever open the front door, but today we are focusing on what awaits one just inside the door.  The perfect entryway is the window to your home or your business or your life.  As a re result, this first impression should reflect you.

The entry or entry hall may be one of the smaller rooms but it is one of the most important.  Or, it may be a large, grand statement.   It is the first impression you make…it is the first room that is seen…it sets the stage for initial opinions.  It is also a very functional space.  So it should be very welcoming.  It might be soft and gentle; it might be contemporary and engaging; or, it might be wild!

Regardless of style, there are several basic ideas to consider:

  1. Color is the first impression.  Select carefully a color palette that well-represents you and that transitions well into all rooms that open off the entryway.  Determine your core colors upon which you will base the entire space.  It might be one color for a monochromatic approach or three colors that enhance your final delivery.

It is time to think walls, flooring, ceiling.

2.  The flooring of the entryway should be selected to withstand the expected traffic, ranging from wood to tile to cork to carpet.   Once the primary flooring choice is made, don’t forget to strategically place the entry rug.  This first rug has a solid purpose:  collect everything crossing the threshold that should immediately stop upon entry.   Additional rugs are for décor.

 3.  The lighting should be designed in layers. First, good lighting for secure entering is necessary.  This might be a simple overhead light or a grand chandelier – it must flood the space with light when necessary.  To easily adjust the “feel” of this overarching lighting, a rheostat works wonders.  To further adjust the feel, space permitting, it is nice to have either wall sconces or table lamps as the second layer of light for the entry.

 4.  Introduce furniture based upon available floor space. Remember, this is the entry…leave room to entry.  It is nice to have a space to sit to tie a shoe or remove a muddy boot:

 A flat surface beside a table lamp is also enjoyed by those who enter with something in their hands.    Depending how formal the entry, a guest book or a business card dish might be present.

5.  Corralling shoes, warps, mittens, etc. can be challenging. Some entries have the perfect closet, while others have none.  If there is no closet, consider hooks or pegs or be prepared to place these items into another room.  But, above all, the entry is not the space for clutter.   If you intend to leave your keys upon entry, you need a hook or a small dish specifically for the keys.Call it old fashioned, but an umbrella stand can certainly save your flooring from water drips and damage.

 6.  A critical item that is often over looked is the mirror. A quick glance upon entering or just before departing is always appreciated. 

7.  If the space is large enough to host a table, a settee, books, plants, etc., by all means enjoy the additional decorating challenge. If the entry hosts a set of stairs, never – absolutely never, store/place anything on the stairs!

 The entry creates the first impression and is also the last impression.  Make the entry functional, as well as inviting. And, make sure it is not a “catch all” space.

Press Releases 22 Oct 2015, 10:14 am

Inspected and Recommended by Select Registry

and the South Carolina B&B Association.

Travelers’ reviews of Bloomsbury Inn on 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award, ranked one of the top 25 bed and breakfasts, of an estimated 17,000, in the United Additional Reviews

2015 Travelers’ Choice Award, ranked one of the top 25 bed and breakfasts, of an estimated 17,000, in the United States. Bloomsbury Inn moved from position 18 in 2014 to position 12 in 2015.  In addition to being ranked with TripAdvisor, Bloomsbury Inn earned both the Certificate of Excellence and Certificate of Service for 2015.

20 Unique Places To Stay, Only in SC>, “There is no time like the present to start planning that vacation and why not choose a spot that is the epitome of relaxation?. Located in the Historic District of Camden, this inn is so much more than you can ever imagine.”

September 2015, This Old House, “Porch ceilings: We painted the ceiling with Atmospheric blue.  It’s said to deter bugs.  Spiders and wasps don’t build on the ceiling.  I was a little skeptical took, but it really works!…Editor’s note:  While anecdotes may seem to support this paint idea, there’s no empirical evidence for its effectiveness.”

2015 August, Only In Your State  Are you ready for that late year getaway yet? I can’t believe where the time has gone, can you? Well, the children are back in school and we may need to sneak in a weekend before the holiday craziness sets in. So, I thought I would compile a list of some of the best bed and breakfasts for that perfect getaway.  #10, Bloomsbury Inn, Camden SC.

Fall 2015, BBOnline, featured a recipe from Bloomsbury:  “Bloomsbury Egg Nests….This simple egg dish is amazingly elegant and delicious!”

Summer 2015, Tesla Motors, “Bloomsbury Inn, a select Registry property now offers a Tesla car charging station and a universal charging station!”

April 2015, Vacations to the Americas, “Bloomsbury, situated in the Camden historic district, is a lovingly restored antebellum home with uncompromising attention to detail and a warm and welcoming environment. Sitting on two quiet acres of manicured grounds, several garden sitting areas and the wrap around veranda offer peace and tranquillity. Cool relief from the South Carolina summer can be found in two parlours on the main floor. ”

June/July 2014, The Virginia Sportsman.  “Bloomsbury Inn…Elegant surroundings and exceptional services have landed the inn on the B&B of The Year list multiple times.”

Spring 2014, The Connection, Kershaw County Chamber.  “It isn’t everyday that a small business in a small Southern city earns national recognition.  For the past eight years, the award-winning Bloomsbury Inn has consistently been judged to be one of the best inns/bed and breakfasts in the Nation.”

2014 Travelers’ Choice Award, ranked one of the top 25 bed and breakfasts, of an estimated 17,000, in the United States.

January 2014, Charleston Style & Design.  “The place to stay when you’re visiting Camden, South Carolina’s oldest inland town and Charleston’s sister city.” October 2013 Bloomsbury Inn has been rated among the best in the region! Bloomsbury has been awarded the

2013 Talk of the Town Customer Satisfaction Award.

2013 Bloomsbury Inn has been awarded the 2013 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence.

March 2013, HGTV Magazine (April issue.  )   “If the experts fill you shopping cart…Cascade Complete…no spots, no film…award-winning Bloomsbury Inn, Camden SC.”

March 2013, Carolina Living Magazine.   “Oh what a beautiful Breakfast.  A beautifully set breakfast/brunch table is perfect for  entertaining guests, hosting a business meeting, introducing students to the art of dining, celebrating a special occasion or just to enjoy!  At your next fête, include these scrumptious poached pears with creamed stuffing, courtesy Bloomsbury Inn, in Camden.”

January 2013, Best American Retreats.   “Bloomsbury Inn is the only bed and breakfast in the State of South Carolina to be selected as one of the best American retreats.”

January 2013, TOWN Magazine Past Perfect.  “Camden’s Bloomsbury Inn is an elegant journey to the 19th century.  In a town known for its rich history, Bloomsbury is the ideal place to stay…getaway.  Set off by two acres of live oaks, camellias, and azaleas, the house takes its name Mary’s childhood home…”

December 2012, The Real Yellow Pages.   AT&T Bloomsbury Inn was selected as the cover photo of the Area Code 803, 2012-2013 phone book.

August-September  2012, Mary Janes Farm Magazine.   “We noticed that Bloomsbury Inn has been ranked as one of the top ten bed and breakfasts in the nation (more than once) — CONGRATULATIONS!”

June  2012, Victorian Homes Magazine.   “At Bloomsbury Inn, you don’t just get a room.  The proudly old-fashioned Southern manor calls them “bed chambers”, just as they should be.”

June 2012, Camden Chronicle-Independent.   Travelers’ reviews earn Bloomsbury Inn Certificate of Excellence.  Bloomsbury has been awarded the Tripadvisor certificate with a rating of 5 out of 5.

May 2012, Top Three Great Bed and Breakfasts Outside of Arkansas! Bloomsbury Inn. “You don’t have to salute your hosts in this Revolutionary War era town, but you’ll need to mind your Ps and Qs in this inn run by retired US Air Force colonels. Katherine Brown spent her career in protocol, and she attends to the tiniest details at this inn she shares with her husband, an instructor pilot. Don’t miss Katherine’s fabulous Praline Peppered Bacon breakfast.”.

May 2012, Camden Historic Landmarks Commission.   In recognition of restoration of the old kitchen house of Bloomsbury, the Browns were awarded the Historic Preservation Award.

May 2012, Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce.   Bloomsbury received the Community Pride award for continual restoration and showcasing of Bloomsbury.

March 2012, Southern Living.   “Azaleas fill the Bloomsbury Inn’s front yard.  End the day surrounded by history and hospitality at Bloomsbury Inn.  The spacious Bloomsbury Inn invites its guests to gather in the evening over a glass of wine and some friendly conversation — just the way Camden has been welcoming visitors for more than 200 years.”

2012, Images Business Biz!  “Built between 1849-1854, the Bloomsbury Inn was used primarily as a family residence until 2004, when Bruce and katheirne Brown bought Bloomsbury and transformed it into a bed and breakfast.”

Escapes 2011, Inns Magazine.   Bruce and Katherine Brown, owners of Bloomsbury Inn, are featured in the “Inn Life” special on entrepreneurs sharing their stories about leaving their old lives and embarking on an innkeeping career.  Like many innkeerpers, “Katherine and Bruce find the most rewarding part of innkeeping to be their guests.”

October 2011, South Carolina Living.   “Now is a great time to celebrate autumn.  The Bloomsbury Inn Southern Pecan  Cheesecake is a featured recipe in this autumn celebration.  The recipe is on the Bloomsbury Inn Recipe page of this site.”

May 2011, Garden Club of South Carolina.   The Bloomsbury Gardens were one of only three selected to be featured in the statewide Follow The Blooms annual garden tour. “The gardens were glorious,”  Judy Dill.

April 2011, University of Georgia.   The Bloomsbury Cold Fruit Soup recipe was one of only three fruit dishes and the only SC Bed and Breakfast recipe selected to be featured in the University of Georgia Sunset Competition.

March 2011, Balentyne Magazine.   “Unbridled Pleasure in historic Camden, South Carolina. Want to Visit Camden? You can step back in time by staying at one of the most beautifully restored B&Bs: Bloomsbury Inn.”

October 2010, Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce.   “Bloomsbury Inn once again brings national recognition to the Historic District with their selection as one of the top ten bed and breakfasts in the Nation, Best of Awards, 2010-2011.”

October 2010, Chronicle-Independent.  Bloomsbury Inn has been selected as one of the Top 10 bed and breakfasts in the nation as part of the Best of awards, 2010-2011.

May 2010, Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce.   “It was a beautiful garden party evening in late May when Bruce and Katherine Brown were named Kershaw County Business Persons of the Year. They were recognized for both their very success bed and breakfast, Bloomsbury Inn, but also for their continued support of the community.”

February 2010, SearchWrap.  ” Like many top inns, the chefs at Bloomsbury Inn use only fresh, local farm products. I never expected a South Carolina Inn to be full of such scientifically talented people. But they’ve experimented with hundreds of dishes, and the creativity of their top picks boggles the imagination: hot apple soup, poached pears and baked peaches with toasted peanut butter rolls, creamed eggs in a puff pastry, baked cinnamon-raisin French toast, toasted bacon-pecan bread, homemade biscuits with chocolate gravy, peppered praline bacon and their own version of Eggs Benedict: a delicate crème sauce over croissant, wilted spinach, peppered ham, avocado and poached egg. Exquisite.”

May 2009, Traveler Planners Radio Show.   “It was great to speak with Katherine Brown of Bloomsbury Inn, and we are very fortunate that she has agreed to share her signature recipe, Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy, with our listeners. Southern Living Magazine believes that Bloomsbury is an inn to remember and so do we.”

Fall 2008, The Connection.   “Local B&B chosen as innkeepers of the year. Out of 7000 US and Canadian competitors, Bruce and Katherine Brown, who own Bloomsbury Inn of Camden, were selected as one of the top innkeepers of the year in the annual Bed and Awards, 2008-2009.”

17 September 2008, Chronicle-Independent.   “Not just another plate. The first piece of Paneled Grape Westmoreland that Brown owned belonged to her grandmother, Sally Rose Stites Chisam. It is her favorite functional china, and is used for daily breakfast service at Bloomsbury Inn.”

Summer 2008 Voices.   “Viewers of Ken Burns’ Civil War series may recall the vivid journals of Mary Chesnut. The Bloomsbury property was built in 1849 by James Chesnut, Sr., and through the combination of loving care and military precision, Bloomsbury has, well, bloomed.”

May 2008 Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.   “It is with great satisfaction that your Chamber of Commerce presents this 2008 Community Pride Award to Bloomsbury Inn for exhibiting the best in civic responsibility and leadership through its interest and personal contributions in maintaining and improving Kershaw County’s beauty and uniqueness.” 8 April 2008, “Manicured grounds….a new definition is Bloomsbury.”

Member of the Charleston Garden Club October 2007, The Honorable Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina.   “Congratulations! You are a great asset to our state not only through your successful business practices, but also by promoting our state’s history. I’m sure many of your guests leave the inn having learned more about James and Mary Chesnut and the Civil War era in which they lived. Jenny joins me in wishing you continued success. Take care. Sincerely, Mark Sanford”

September 2007, Bed and   The Bloomsbury Inn  was selected as one of the top B&Bs in the United States in the annual Best of Awards, 2007-2008.  With 6,500 eligible bed and breakfasts, The Best of Awards were presented based upon a qualitative and quantitative review of the nearly 10,000 independent reviews submitted to, the leading online B&B directory and reservation network worldwide. “We know how important independent reviews are. We’re delighted that inngoers concurred that Bloomsbury Inn is a favorite among those seeking B&B getaways,” explained Sandy Soule, Editor of and one of the most highly recognized authors in the B&B industry.  “Clearly Bloomsbury Inn earned high marks from reviewers for their fine accommodations, top amenities, and wonderful hospitality and service,” commented Soule.

7 July 2007, The State Home and Garden.   “It is a wonderful place and a wonderful home. The Browns accommodate visitors from all over who want to soak up the area’s rich history, and they greet all of them the same way…Welcome to Bloomsbury. Welcome to our home.”

3 May 2007, The State, Columbia, South Carolina.   “Nestled in nature, there’s room at the Inn. Guests at Bloomsbury Inn find birds, butterflies, history and great conversation. The Bloomsbury Inn joins more than 65,000 habitats certified since the program was launched by the National Wildlife Federation in 1973.”

2 May 2007, The State, Columbia, South Carolina.   That really is a special, special treat: Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy. Katherine Brown, owner of Bloomsbury Inn on Lyttleton Street in Camden, believes in presentation, too.

May 2007, Southern Living.   “Situated in a neighborhood of stately homes, the 19th-century home also boasts two acres of manicured grounds…AN INN TO REMEMBER.”

20 February 2007, The State, Columbia, South Carolina.  “Head to Camden on 3 March for a top-of-the-line kitchens tour in historic homes. You’ll see kitchens with state-of-the-art appliances and historic touches. The tour also includes cooking demonstrations by Camden chefs; demonstrations will be held in the original kitchen house of Bloomsbury.”

January 2007, National Geographic Society.   “The Officers and Board of Trustees have enrolled Bloomsbury as a member of the National Geographic Society, in recognition of support of this scientific and educational organization chartered in 1888 for diffusing geographic knowledge and promoting research and exploration.”

December 2006, South Carolina Home and Gardens.   “The Browns, perfect innkeepers…will welcome you to relax, step away from the stresses of daily life, and enjoy the comfort of being pampered. You will want to come back to Bloomsbury again and again.”

November 2006, She! Magazine.   “All of my life, I wanted a very historic homme on a quiet, quaint street…That is how Bloomsbury Inn came to be.”

2006 “The South Carolina Encyclopedia”, edited by Walter Edgar Page 771: “Rain porch. A sheltered exterior residential living area…notable examples…Bloomsbury (ca 1850) in Camden…”

24 September 2006 – The State, Columbia, South Carolina.   “Bloomsbury (the Colonel James Chesnut House), a circa-1849 home in Camden, features a good example of a rain porch. Rain porches feature elongated roof supports that produce an optical illusion of additional height and grandeur. They were common on houses built from about 1820 until 1860 in the 14 counties generally known as the Pee Dee.” It is also commonly referred to as the Carolina verandah.

30 August 2006 – Camden Chronicle-Independent, Camden, South Carolina.   “Then and now: Camden’s in-town estates. In 1916, the estate was downsized to “13 acres, made up of two parsels;” today Bloomsbury sits on two acres which features many native SC flora. “Katherine Lemay Brown, owner of Bloomsbury Inn in Camden, has been elected as the second vice president of the South Carolina Bed and Breakfast Association…responsible for insuring that the inspection policies of the association are followed and to recommend to the board any changes necessary.”

23 May 2006 – Camden Historic Landmarks Commission.   During the National Historic Preservation Month, Bloomsbury was named as an award winning historic property. The certificate was presented at the Camden City Hall by The Honorable Mary Y. Clark, Mayor of Camden, and Clarence B. Mahoney, Jr., Chairman Historic Landmarks Commission. Bloomsbury was specifically recognized for “renovation and re-use of c1830 Col James Chesnut home.”

22 May 2006 – Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.   During the annual meeting, Bloomsbury was awarded a certificate of distinction:  “It is with great satisfaction that your Chamber of Commerce presents this Certificate of Distinction as part of the Community Pride program to Bloomsbury Inn for exhibiting the best in civic responsibility and leadership through your interest and personal contributions in maintaining and improving Kershaw County’s beauty and uniqueness. You are to be commended for the restoration of the historic Bloomsbury home and converting it into an upscale Inn. We, on behalf of the people of Kershaw County, salute you.”

20 April 2006 – The State, Columbia, South Carolina.   “Spring at Bloomsbury Inn in Camden…the beauty at this time of year draws many visitors to the two acres of gardens.”

April 2006 – Southern Living.   Bloomsbury was honored to host Annette Thompson, feature writer, and Meg McKinney, photographer, in anticipation of being featured in the travel section of an upcoming edition of Southern Living.

2005 Candlelight Tour of Homes, Camden Junior Welfare League.   “Bloomsbury, one of the most significantly historic homes in Camden, South Carolina…is located on two acres of city property which features native flora of South Carolina. 100+ year old Live Oaks, Magnolias, fruit trees and many varieties of Azaleas and Camellias…The home features twenty-plus over-sized rooms with thirteen foot ceilings…Inside the loving restored home, with uncompromising attention to detail, the Browns have created a warm and welcoming environment for all who traverse the doorways.”

December 2005 – Charleston Magazine.   “Take a step back in time and experience the holidays in true Colonial-era fashion…Only a short drive from the Kershaw-Cornwallis House is historic downtown, where more than a dozen buildings – including the circa 1850 Bloomsbury House – will open their doors as part of the Camden Junior Welfare League Candlelight Tour of Homes.”

7 December 2005 – Camden Chronicle-Independent, Camden, South Carolina.   “The greenery is being garlanded; the Christmas trees are being decorated; and the candles are almost ready to be set aglow…The Browns, who have lived in 13 states, Europe and the Pacific, bought the house in November 2004 and have opened it as a bed and breakfast.  They have filled their home with antiques and such furnishings as a hand-carved table and chairs and hutch in the Gentlemen’s Parlor and World War I artwork.”

November 2005 – Golden Life, Pee Dee Area.   “Bloomsbury Inn, as the property is called, is not just another large antebellum house…The Browns offer more than a place to sleep and the morning meal.  They are hosts at the personal level, becoming acquainted with their guests and engaging them in conversation.  Dr Brown said guests respond well to that opportunity, pointing out it is one of the reasons people stay at bed and breakfast inns.  The Browns also offer a tour of the historic house…”

19 October 2005 – Camden Chronicle-Independent, Camden, South Carolina.   “A stay at the Bloomsbury Inn is complimented by true Southern hospitality, gourmet breakfasts, complimentary socials and well-appointed bed chambers…uncompromising attention to detail with luxurious amenities.”

18 October 2005 – The State, Columbia, South Carolina.   “The couple last month opened The Bloomsbury Inn, an upscale bed and breakfast in a historical downtown Camden home.  They searched nearly every small town in South Carolina before settling on Camden.  It really just has wonderful attractions and good Southern charm.” 2

September 2005 – Camden Chronicle-Independent, Camden, South Carolina.   “Stewards of history…They [Bruce and Katherine Brown] are completing renovations and landscaping work in anticipation of opening Bloomsbury to the public as a bed and breakfast…It is a house they plan to call home the rest of their lives.”

Common Earth Farm: Stuffed Dates 1 Sep 2015, 12:42 pm

You cannot even begin to imagine how wonderful this simple stuffed date is.  I promise that they will disappear off the serving dish before all else.  When my friend from Common Earth Farms first introduced me to these, I was totally hooked.  So, of course, I stole the recipe and now claim it as my own:   aka  Bloomsbury Inn Stuffed Dates.


Fresh Dates (you can find them at the better grocery stores); buy at least 2 per person and you won’t go wrong with 3 per person.

2 Fresh Limes (zest only)

Feta Crumbles (plain goat cheese feta is best)

Quality Almonds, 1 per each date

Sea Salt

Olive Oil (or as Rachel coined EVO)

Since I am one who likes to have all in order before I begin, I zest the limes before I begin.  It keeps very well in a covered dish so the task can be done earlier in the day.  I use a non-stick skillet.

Carefully pit the dates; be certain to extract the pit without cutting the fruit in half.

Place one whole almond in each date.

 And, then stuff the date with the feta.  Fill the pitted area full and press the date back together.  Fill it full, but be careful not to overfill.

Heat the skillet over low heat.  When warm, place the dates in the pan.  Drizzle olive oil over the dates…not too much, but enough to sauté the fruit.  Turn the heat up and sauté the dates; they will turn a little brown.  Be careful to turn them continually so as not to burn a spot.

Remove the dates to a pretty serving dish – a Mediterranean plate is perfect.  Sprinkle sea salt to taste and all of the lime zest over the dates.  Serve hot!

I started out by saying “simple” stuffed dates, and they are easy to make and delicious to eat.  They are well complimented by white wines…my friend, Gail,  would serve a chardonnay, but sauvignon blanc also pairs well.