Bloomsbury Inn

1707 Lyttleton Street, Camden, South Carolina 29020
Innkeeper(s): Bruce and Katherine Brown
  • Sensational in Every Season! Bloomsbury Inn

    Sensational in Every Season! Bloomsbury Inn

  • Front View of Bloomsbury Inn

    Front View of Bloomsbury Inn

  • Fall at Bloomsbury Inn

    Fall at Bloomsbury Inn

  • Enjoy the beauty of the southern veranda at Bloomsbury Inn!

    Enjoy the beauty of the southern veranda at Bloomsbury Inn!

  • Mary Chestnut Bed Chamber

    Mary Chestnut Bed Chamber

  • General's Bed Chamber

    General's Bed Chamber

  • Ladies' Parlor

    Ladies' Parlor

  • Commons Area

    Commons Area

 

Bloomsbury Venison Tenderloin 15 Mar 2015, 6:09 am

Venison is a wonderful red meat.  Recently our niece shared a venison back-strap…that is deer code for venison tenderloin.  It was from a hunt enjoyed by our great nephew.  As I was not cooking it on the grill, wrapped in bacon of course, I thought our “1/4 marinade” was a great option.

Bloomsbury ¼ Marinade

¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

¼ cup brandy (or your favorite spirit or red wine)

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ tablespoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon crushed garlic

¼ pound thick cut bacon

wooden toothpicks soaked in marinade

 

 Mix the first 5 ingredients well.  Place the tenderloin in a glass baking dish and cover with marinade; depending upon your dish you may need to turn your meat while it is resting in the marinade.  It is best to marinade at least 3 hours on the counter or cover for overnight in the refrigerator.   If you place it in the refrigerator, be sure to remove it at least 1 hour before you are ready to cook.  This venison marinade bath not only enhances the flavor, it tenderizes. Remove the tenderloin from the bath and dry it with paper towel/clean dry cloth.  Tightly wrap the tenderloin in bacon, secure with tooth picks that you soak in the marinade. 

 Cooking

In a lightly oiled, heavy, oven proof skillet (I use one of grandmother’s cast iron skillets), brown the meat on all sides.   When browned (not cooked/just seared), place in a 400 degree oven for 8 minutes for medium, 6 minutes for med-rare.  Remove from the oven.  Tent the tenderloin with foil for 10 mins.  This step allows the meat to retain its juices.  If you slice it without it resting, the juices will escape.  At this point our family enjoys the venison tenderloin as the feature of a great meal.  But, you can also make a fruit sauce or brown gravy if you desire.

Thank you great nephew and niece for sharing…it was delicious!  

Dillinger’s Machine Gun 6 Mar 2015, 6:30 am

The best gun collection in the southeast is located in Camden, South Carolina.  The Ross E. Beard Gun Collection has over 1,000 items; currently the Camden Archives and Museum  displays about 400 of the collection.  One of the most popular to see is a John Dillinger machine gun.   Mr. Beard was given this gun by his Godfather, Mr. Melvin Purvis.  Many of the other items on display are attributed to Melvin Horace Purvis, Jr. (October 24, 1903 – February 29, 1960), an American law enforcement official and FBI agent.  He was given the nickname “Little Mel” because of his short stature.  He is noted for leading the manhunts that tracked such outlaws as Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger.  

John Dillinger (1903 – 1934) was a gangster, bank robber, and murderer.  He robbed twenty-four banks and even four police stations.   He killed  police officers in East Chicago, Indiana during a notorious shootout.  Even in the day of Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd, he stood out.  After receiving a tip as to his whereabouts in Chicago from Ana Cumpanas, a brothel madam, police attempted to arrest him outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.  In the pursuing shootout, Melvin Purvis along with other FBI agents, killed Dillinger.

One of Dillinger’s famed machine guns is displayed at the Camden SC Archives and Museum.  Evidently, Dillinger had several machine guns.  In an earlier raid, he robbed a police station and requisitioned him several.  Thus, Mr. Purvis recovered one as a memento.

Our guests at Bloomsbury Inn, Camden SC, are always excited to visit this exhibit.  Many of them visit Camden specifically to see the Archives and Museum which is located in the Carnegie Library .  The gun collection is a permanent display and the other exhibits are rotating to exemplify the history of Camden.  With the Library celebrating its centennial, guests are treated to a special display covering 100 years, including original building correspondence.    This is a must visit while staying at the award-winning (ranked # 12 of an estimated 17,000 by TripAdvisor) Bloomsbury.

Duel of Honor! Colonel Henry Nixon and Major Thomas Hopkins 10 Feb 2015, 1:19 pm

It was a manner of honor.  Colonel Henry G. Nixon (1800-1829) was a darling of the Camden community. Well-liked, polished, and generous, Col. Nixon was a local attorney and politician. With differences to settle, on January 15, 1829, he and Thomas A. Hopkins (1803-1831) met to dual at the Sand Bar Ferry near Augusta, Georgia where state jurisdiction was questionable . The genesis of the dispute started in 1824 when the Hopkins family sued the Nixon family.  William Nixon, Henry Nixon’s father, was accused of fraud in a land deal. The Hopkins family won the dispute in court. Both men were in the militia with Henry Nixon a Colonel and Thomas Hopkins was a Major. Folklore has it that the duel was because of a critical remark by Nixon regarding the maneuvers of Hopkins’ regiment. The duel was held at one o’clock. Col. Nixon is described as wearing a fancy coat with a white handkerchief showing from his breast pocket. Legend says that Hopkins remarked that “the man has marked his heart for me to hit.” Hopkins had practiced his marksmanship in the Quaker Cemetery in Camden firing at the grave stone of Neil Smith. You can still see the pit marks of bullets on the back of the stone. Hopkins, a superb marksman, marched his paces, turned and was the first to fire hitting Nixon in the right breast.  Nixon fell instantly dead with his pistol going off harmlessly.  Hopkins regretted the necessity of the duel and felt it has been forced on him by Nixon’s comments. It is said that Hopkins died from a broken heart for killing Nixon. Thomas Hopkins soon followed, dying just two years later. In 1832 Nixon’s father enclosed the grave of his son behind a wall of granite with iron railing. Henry G. Nixon is the only one buried in this plot at the Quaker Cemetery in Camden. Thomas Hopkins is buried at the old Swift Creek Church Cemetery. The history to be learned in the Quaker Cemetery is amazing, and it is just over two miles from Bloomsbury.

Bloomsbury Meatloaf!!! 30 Jan 2015, 6:28 am

When we were growing up, meatloaf was one of the regular meals…regular as in the Tuesday night meal.   The recipe was simple.  A big clump of ground meat, one chopped onion:  mix well and place in baking pan.  Top with catsup.  Bake 425 degrees for 2.5 hours.  OK…it wasn’t that bad, but it was bad enough to make me strive for a better meatloaf!

  •  1.5 pounds ground meat (love to us ground lamb, venison, a mix of beef and pork…turkey and chicken are not the best choices; but, lamb is our favorite)
  • ½ cups old fashion oats
  • ½ sweet onion, chopped
  •  ½ cup favorite BBq sauce (I don’t really measure, somewhere between a third and half cup)
  • Salt/pepper (not too much salt)
  • Cheese (whatever you like to stuff inside the meatloaf; we like gruyere or cream cheese)
  • Veges (peppers, celery, peas, asparagus, whatever you like to stuff inside the meatloaf)
  • Meat (ham, cooked bacon, whatever cooked meat you like to stuff inside the meatloaf)
  • Leftovers (make the best things to stuff inside the meatloaf)
  • Herbs/spices to your liking (fresh minced garlic, jalapeños,  chives, cumin…)
  • 2 small cans tomato paste

Mix the ground meat, oats, onion, BBq sauce, salt/pepper well.  

Pat it out into a rectangular shape…works well to place on a piece of foil.  Place cheese down the middle of the rectangular.  Place other assorted items (veges, meats, etc) on top of the cheese, add whatever else you like.  Roll the meat up around the center ingredients and seal it by pressing together at all points.   Place a greased baking dish over (upside down) the meatloaf.  Using the foil to help hold the meatloaf in place, flip the dish right side up.  Spread the tomato paste over the meatloaf (one can may be enough if you like a thin topping…we like it thick). Bake 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until completely cooked.  But it will not take 2.5 hours at 425!  Enjoy a moist, delicious meatloaf on Tuesday night or any other night.

The leftovers make great sandwiches.   One of the great aspects of this meatloaf is that you can design it to your likings.

Bloomsbury Beef Wellington 9 Jan 2015, 8:27 am

Bloomsbury Beef Wellington

First comes the shopping!  For a good beef wellington you must purchase quality items.  We buy trimmed beef tenderloin, 1 ½ inch thick.  The pate is always a duck/goose liver pate…no chicken and no additives such as port wine or peppercorns.  Mushrooms, parsley and scallions:  mixed mushrooms, only fresh, are a good choice.  And, quality frozen puff pastry is a must.  Everything else in this recipe is standard kitchen staples…but, check the list to ensure you have everything.  This entree is perfect for “farm to table” fare.

Puff Pastry.  Be sure to remove your dough from the freezer to the countertop to defrost.  You do not want to let it get warm, but you want it to defrost to the point you can unfold, cut the pastry into a small square that will encase the tenderloins.  You can always place the pastry in the refrig vs freezer for 3 days before use…we just use freezer to countertop.

Pate. The easy step, slice into ¼ inch slices.  You will only need one slice per tenderloin.  The pate needs to be a very rich (not $80.00 a pound rich) item.

Tenderloin.  We purchase and prepare individual wellingtons (often times people make them with the whole tenderloin); but, individual wellingtons allow you to cook the tenderloin to the desired temperature for each guest.  Our dinner guests range from rare to well-done (yikes) and it is our desire to please everyone.  One and 1/2 inch tenderloins are a great size…we usually have part of  the wellington for dinner and save the other half for lunch the next day…1 1/2 inch is a large portion of meat.  Yes, you can purchase thinner, but you sacrifice the end product…just go 1 1/2 and save some for the next day!

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt/pepper

Very carefully dry the meat on/with non-linting paper towel.  In a very heavy skillet (we use grandmother’s iron skillet), heat the olive oil.  Sear the tenderloins, top/bottom/all sides, in the olive oil.  This is the point at which you control the final meat temperature.  For the rare lovers, just quickly sear…for those who prefer a little more done, sear a little longer.  Salt/pepper.  Set the meat aside to rest and to completely cool.

Mushroom duxelles.  The mushrooms are chopped finely and then cooked until all of the juice is gone.  “No juice” is critical to ensure the outer puff pastry is not soggy.  Once you cook/remove your duxelles, if you find it is moist, rest it on paper towel to ensure it is not juicy.

1 pound mixed mushrooms, well chopped

2 scallions

1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil

2 TBS fresh parsley (or, 3 TBS dried) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

½ cup dry white wine

Place all ingredients except the white wine in a large skillet and cook on low, stirring almost constantly.  You do not want to allow your mushrooms/scallions to “fry”.  It will take 20+ minutes to have them fully cooked to a rather pasty state.  Add the white wine and continue to cook until all juice is gone.  Set aside to cool.

Crepe or not.  Many recipes call for inserting crepes when you assemble the wellington.  We have done with and without.  If the duxelles is prepared properly/dry, you will not need the crepe.  I have not included the crepe in this recipe as we think it adds nothing but another dough layer. (So, make beautiful crepes and serve them with fresh fruit or chocolate for breakfast.)  Likewise, some recipes call for thin slices of cured ham…have never used it.

Sauce or not.   We make a basic red wine or port sauce, laced with scallions to serve over the entrée.   Any basic recipe (that does not used packaged gravy mix) works well.  We reduce the wine by ½, add the scallions and continue to cook for a few minutes…thicken with cornstarch slurry (one tablespoon in ¼ cup cold water). and serve.

Egg Wash.  You will need an egg wash twice.  One whole egg and one tablespoon of water, whisk together.

With everything cooled, it is time to assemble the wellington.  Lay out your squares of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface.  Add a very thin layer of duxelles all over the pastry…leaving about ½ inch of the pastry edge not covered.  Lay the slice of pate in the center on top of the pate.  Place the tenderloin on the pate.   Paint the egg wash around the edge of the pate where you did not place duxelles.   Pull the pastry up around the tenderloin and make sure it is fully covered; the egg wash will make it stick to itself.  Be sure it is tight and formed into a compact bundle.  In a nice sized square of plastic wrap, place the wellington at one edge and roll up very tightly, twist the ends and allow the wellington to rest in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.  Prep in the morning after the crepe breakfast and cook in the evening.  A nice glass of white wine makes the cooking step much more enjoyable.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Unwrap the wellington, score the top with a knife point or decorate with extra puff pastry leaves.  We actually cut initials from the puff pastry and place on each individual tenderloin to ensure that each guest receives one prepared to their desired meet temperature.  Paint the entire wellington with the egg wash;  this will ensure a nice, crisp, well-browned exterior.  Lower the oven temp to 375.  Place the wellingtons on a heavy baking pan lined with parchment paper.   Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the interior temperature reaches 135 degrees.

Allow the wellington to rest for at least 10 minutes before you plate it.  Fresh sautéed asparagus makes a perfect side to this very rich entrée.  A nice, medium-bodied red Zinfandel matches perfectly—be careful to select a medium-bodied wine as a heavy wine overpowers all the flavor layers of this dish.  Sounds complicated…it is not.  This has become our “Happy New Year” dinner menu.  Just do your prep early in the morning and bake when you are ready to serve.  It is so delicious!!!  Happy New Year.  Gail Prince and katherine Brown

Bloomsbury Quail and Grits 16 Dec 2014, 6:28 am

Quail and Grits

Quail and grits, two of South Carolina’s beloved foods, conjure up a folkloric, mythical presence right before your eyes. All across our great state, every community and ethnic group touts their favorite recipe. Each reflects cultural influences. From Native Americans to post Civil War households to the twenty-first century, quail and grits honor the best of times and the worst of times, hard times and happy times, poverty and riches, simple and gourmet — quail and grits are Southern Hospitality in a pretty serving dish.
Breakfast Grits
4.5 cups chicken stock
5 TBS butter
1 cup stone-ground grits
1.5 – 2.5 cups heavy cream
salt, white pepper to taste
fresh lemon zest, .25 of lemon
Bring stock and butter to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Slowly (it is the South) stir in the grits and return to a boil. Reduce heat, allowing grits to cook for 15 mins or until the grits is thick. Stir often to keep the grits from sticking to your favorite pan. Add slight cup of heavy cream and reduce heat, allowing grits to cook slowly for another 10 mins. As the liquid is absorbed, add more cream, cooking grits to a thick and well-done, full-bodied state. Salt, pepper to taste. Stir in lemon zest.

Sautéed Quail
20 quail breasts with skin
.5 cup butter or enough to coat quail breasts as cooked
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat a large sauté pan to the high temperature. Melt the butter in the pan (don’t brown it). Season the bird with salt and pepper. Place quail breasts into pan skin side down. Leave flame on high long enough for the pan to recover its heat, then turn flame down to medium or medium high. The object is to sear the breasts quickly so they to medium, but the skin is dark golden brown. Once you’ve achieved that, flip the breasts and cook until done.

Quail and Grits Sauce
6 or 10 (to your liking) thick slices of good bacon, chopped
3 TBS flour (bread flour has the best cooked flavor)
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 medium yellow or red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
.25 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 TBS worcestershire sauce
.5 tsp hot sauce
1.5 cups heavy cream
butter
salt/pepper to taste
Sauté bacon, to render fat, until almost crisp. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and mushrooms. Sauté until bacon is crisp and veges are transparent. Remove bacon and veges to drain. If you have less than 2.5 TBS fat in skillet, add butter to equal 2.5. Bring fat to high heat, stir in flour. Work flour in fat to make a dark roué. Salt/pepper taste. Add chicken stock, worcestershire, hot sauce…yes, it will appear lumpy…that cooks out as the sauce thickens. Gently add heavy cream along with the bacon and veges. Return to temp and serve.

Grits is … Grits are
Grits is a “is” word…and, a dead givaway to where you were raised. In the South we say, “Ummmmmmm, emerson fine lookin’ aigs, I’ll have sum a em, sum beckon, when them there grits is dun, under sum fawl. I’ll be skippin’ da coal ciril.” (Ummmmm, those are fine looking eggs. I will have some of them and some bacon, when the grits are done, in aluminum foil to go. I will skip the cold cereal.)

Thank you for joining us Bloomsbury Inn, HAPPY COOKING, and may your plate overflow with Quail and Grits.

Famous Faces linked to Bloomsbury Inn 11 Dec 2014, 8:20 am

Compliments of Carolina Living!
Carolina Famous Faces
www.carolinaliving.com

Mary Boykin Chesnut
1823-1886

Fascinating. Riveting. Amazing.

One of the characteristics of the Carolinas which remains so appealing to many is the wealth of history – people, places and events – which occurred here as the United States was evolving. There are so many battle sites that can be visited – from both the American Revolution and the Civil War. There are plantation homes which can be found along the rivers and byways. And there are the stories which have been handed down, or in this case, written down.

I must confess that I had never read Mary Chesnut’s A Diary from Dixie, nor the expanded, annotated and thoroughly remarkable Mary Chesnut’s Civil War, which was published in 1982 and received the Pulitzer Prize for history. (Many historians consider it the finest literary work of the Confederacy.)

Here’s what one reviewer on Amazon said: “Mary was a witty and perceptive woman who was ahead of her time. She’s someone I’d like to have lunch with.” I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s a bit of her story. Mary Boykin Miller was born into a world of privilege and politics. Her father served as U.S. congressman and Senator, and was elected Governor of South Carolina. Educated first at home, then in Camden, SC schools and finally at Mme. Talvande’s French School for Young Ladies (in Charleston), in 1840, at 17, she was married to James Chesnut Jr., a man eight years older, who had already begun to make a name for himself as U.S. Senator.

As the only surviving son of one of South Carolina’s largest landowners, the pair were evenly matched in terms of aristocratic background and interest in politics. For the next 20 years, Mary spent most of her time at Mulberry, a plantation in Camden, owned by the Chesnut family. (She also spent time at Bloomsbury, another family plantation which is now an award-winning B&B which attracts guests from everywhere).

Her husband resigned from the U.S. senate when Lincoln was elected President, returning to South Carolina to help draft the ordinance of secession. He became a Brigadier General and served as aide to President Jefferson Davis.

As a political and social insider, Mrs. Chesnut was in a position to know the inner workings of the confederacy and the war. Moreover, she was intelligent, and possessed a keen sense of irony. She was witty and articulate. And she kept a diary, beginning with Lincoln’s election. The result is endlessly fascinating.

It may be hard to describe a Civil War diary as riveting, but in many ways it is. Readers discover what’s happening in the war as it happens. As readers, we know the ending of course, but each page is a revelation. One little known fact is her relationship with her slave, Molly, who became her business partner in later life. Her interaction with Molly is quite interesting.

Mary Chesnut died in 1886. The couple never had children, and Mrs. Chesnut gave her diary to her best friend, Isabella Martin. Published several times, the most recent edition is carefully researched and annotated. More than 200 of her photographs are held at the South Caroliniana Library, on the Horseshoe of the University of South Carolina.

Don’t Miss the Candlelight Tour of Homes!! 30 Nov 2014, 5:34 pm

The 38th Anniversary Candlelight Tour of Homes will take place on this Saturday, December 6th, in Camden, SC from 3:00 to 8:00 pm. It is a great opportunity to tour some of the most elegant homes of our fair city. It is a wonderful opportunity to visit our great city’s restaurants and shopping. So many things to do beyond just the tour of homes. To get a taste of what is available,visit the “Things to Do” page at BloomsburyInn

Why is the Camden Tour of Homes special? Not only are you going to see so many special homes, but your admission goes to charity. The Camden Junior Welfare League uses the money to provide scholarships and grants. It provides funding for eye and ear exams, eye glasses for children, purchases winter coats and socks to name just a few of the many great things these young women do for our community.

Of course, you can stay at Bloomsbury Inn and be right in the middle of all the action. Yes, we are on the tour this year and have started the decorating. Seven of us will be decorating for the entire week just to get Bloomsbury ready for your enjoyment.

It is going to be a fabulous tour this year seeing homes that have not been on the tour before and ones that have not been shown in several years.

It all begins at the Camden Archieve and Museum at 1314 Broad Street (where you will pick up your tour book). Tickets are $15.00/person in advance or $20.00/person at the gate. There will be a military discount on the day of the tour, military ID required. For ticket information please contact the Junior Leagueu at (803) 300-3762 or (803) 729-9224. You can also email them at tickets@camdenleague.org.

For more information please call (803) 300-3762 or (803) 729-9224. You can also email: tour@camdenleague.org

Colonial Cup this Weekend! 12 Nov 2014, 1:23 pm

If you want an exciting day at the races — come to Camden!!   Saturday, 15, November, is the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup.  This has often been called the Superbowl of Steeplechase.  The first race was in 1970 and it attracts fans from across the country.  What I love about this event is that it is more a family day than many other steeplechases.  While you can expect 20,000 to 25,000 attendees, it is obvious that this is a famly event with plenty of tailgating and family fun.  Included in the day are the Jack Russell terrier races, mule wagon rides, a carousel and the Paddock Shoppes in the retail village behind the Grandstand.  Rent you a parking place on the infield and stand at the fence while youwatch the horses thunder by.  In between races return to your tailgate for a libation and picinic fun.

Gates open at 0900 a.m. with the first race at 12:30 p.m.   Go to http://www.carolina-cup.org for more information.

 

Bloomsbury Baked Pumpkin French Toast 3 Nov 2014, 7:00 am

4 cups day-old bread (use whatever you have:  biscuits, croissants, muffins, load bread)

3 large eggs

2 cups milk

1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (yes, canned is perfect)

1 1/2 TBS pumpkin spice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup brown sugar

butter

This is the great part…mix all your ingredients the night before.  It needs to sit at least 8 hours in the frig.  In one large bowl, tear apart all of your bread.  In a second bowl, mix together eggs, milk, pumpkin,vanilla, brown sugar and spices.  Pour the wet mixture over the bread.  Mix well and be sure there is enough liquid to soak all of the bread.  (Sometimes things happen:  if not well soaked, mix one more egg with 1/2 cup milk and add to mix).  Cover, chill overnight.

I prefer to make mine in individual ramekins.  But, a 9×11 baking dish is also perfect.  Butter your dish.  When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator and preheat oven to 385 degrees. Place toast in prepared dish(s) and dot the top with butter.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Serve hot with hot maple syrup (the good syrup). 

             The History:

This wonderful crowd pleaser dish is so easy to make and very adaptable; it can be halved or doubled. If your family loves nuts, just add ½ cup pecan pieces to the mix or cook them in the syrup. If your family does not favor syrup, just top the toast with fresh whipping cream or powdered sugar. At Bloomsbury Inn, we try to alternate our savory and sweet breakfasts. Katherine has an uncanny ability to “feel” when food is right. She edited several time-consuming and difficult dishes to develop this baked French toast. She is continually altering recipes to offer variety. The options to this dish are as wide as your imagination (put fresh fruit in the bottom of your pan and delete pumpkin and pumpkin spice…blueberries are great). Start cooking and enjoy.

3 November 2014