by Jan Davies McDermott on August 29th, 2013

Like corn on the cob?  Too hard to do at a tailgate?  Maybe not.  Here's a simple method for cooking loads of corn on the cob perfectly for the tailgate crowd.

  • 1 Coleman cooler, wiped clean
  • Corn on the Cob - lots of it
  • 2 Kettles of boiling water
Fill the Colelman cooler with the shucked ears of corn.  Pour two kettles of boiling water over the corn.  Close the top of the cooler.  Wait.  Not even 30 minutes later, the corn is perfectly cooked and will remain at the perfect level of doneness for a couple of hours 

To make this truly Maize & Blue, whip butter with blue cheese and let your guests brush it liberally on the corn.  Yum! 

by Davies House Inn Staff on April 9th, 2013

Our owner, Jan Davies McDermott, was recently a featured speaker at the Professional Association of Innkeepers International 2013 Innkeeping Conference in Las Vegas, NV.  Invited to discuss Bigger Sales to Corporate Customers, Jan presented the methodology Davies House uses to attract corporate business travelers to the inn.   

Based on the book, "Whale Hunting", by Barbara Weaver Smith and Tom Searcy, Jan presented the three stage, nine step proven process to "Scout, Hunt, and Harvest" the right "whale-sized" corporate customers for Davies House. 

"Too often, small businesses, like bed & breakfasts and small inns, use a hit or miss approach to sales, not subscribing to a well-researched process for finding and bringing major customers to their inns", McDermott said.  "In today’s economic climate, an organized process brings a sustainable, replicable method - that B&Bs can learn - to 'Scout, Hunt, and Harvest' corporate business, which is key to highter occupancy rates."

As the book teaches, 'Whale Hunting'  gives small businesses the same edge larger companies use to target, pursue and close major deal that are often 5,10, 20 times bigger than their typical sales. 

"In committing to a sustainable future, competing against larger, branded lodging options, we must examine how to adopt and implement a disciplined, collaborative process that understands the economic concept," Jan said.   

Jan will present her workshop at several state conferences over the next year to help other small business owners improve sales and increase occupancy.  For more information about sales workshops, contact Jan at or use the website contact page. 

by Jan Davies McDermott on April 5th, 2013

Foodies take note:  you too can learn to bake those amazing Zingerman's baked goods, from crusty French breads to melt-in-your-mouth coffeecakes.

The recipes are secret, of course -- except to students who enroll in Zingerman's Bakehouse baking classes. The two-day and four-day programs, called "bake-cations," provide intense hands-on instruction in making some of the eatery's most popular offerings.

The bakehouse is part of a family of Zingerman's eateries in the Ann Arbor area, including the delicatessen, coffeehouse and roadhouse restaurant.

"Zingerman's is definitely one of the places that has put Ann Arbor on the map as far as a destination for great food," said Mary Kerr, president of the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. "People from near and far come to Zingerman's for the classes they offer."

The next two-day course comes up May 4 & 5, 2013, and students can focus on either pastries or breads. A two day session costs $500. 

Bake-cation classes are limited to 12 students to allow for one-on-one instruction, and Zingerman's staff members take care of measuring the ingredients and cleaning up afterward.

"The instruction is in sound techniques that one can apply to any other recipe, so if you learn how to laminate a dough properly, it improves your baking skills for the rest of your life, and that's an invaluable skill set to build," said Shelby Kibler, Bakehouse principal. "Whether it's kneading or shaping or cutting or understanding the fundamentals of bread or pastries, the instruction that we give is fundamental."

A typical four-day bread class costs $1000 and includes quick breads, such as muffins and flatbreads; straight doughs, such as pretzels, challah and multi-grain breads; naturally leavened sourdough breads; and pre-fermented yeast breads, such as French baguettes.

Students especially enjoy making the Jewish rye bread, Kibler said, because most of them have tasted it on the well-known Zingerman's Reuben.

Pastry classes also cover a wide range of recipes, from chiffon cakes to pie crusts to cream puffs.

Zingerman's also offers more than 50 one-time classes, which focus on a single recipe or technique -- such as "Bakin' with Bacon" and "Cinn-ful Cinnamon Rolls." These classes last three to five hours and usually cost $75 to $125.

If all of that sounds too intimidating, don't worry. Zingerman's classes are open to students of all skill levels, even those who don't know how to use a measuring cup.

"We try to make it comfortable for beginners, so they're not overwhelmed and don't feel behind," Kibler said. "We're giving detailed instructions on the whole process."

In the meantime, more experienced bakers can work on refining their skills.

Two-day classes are the most action-packed and intense, Kibler said. The four-day classes, while still busy, allow for a bit more flexibility and fun -- including short excursions to the deli and roadhouse.

"I think it's a valuable experience to go and hang out and taste things," Kibler said. "To me that's the best part, seeing all the wonderful foods gathered in one place and being able to taste them."

Thinking of coming to take a Zingerman's class? Reserve lodging space at one of Ann Arbor's delightful Bed and Breakfasts. Davies House Inn is closest to the training site and offers a luxurious Jacuzzi Queen Suite with a kitchenette, a slightly smaller Queen Suite with fireplace and kitchenette, a first floor Queen Suite with private bath, or economical Standard Rooms that share a bath. Fill out your inquiry for availability on the contact page. Come and get your hands dirty!ype your new text here.

by Jan Davies McDermott on April 1st, 2013

Downtown Ann Arbor will be a glowing, magical gala Friday, April 5, 2013 , dusk to midnight for the FoolMoon Festival.  Then into a bright sea of colorful folks and massive papier mache characters on Sunday, April 7, 4:00-5:00pm, a parade of bright, colorful, massive papier mache characters will march through downtown.  It's all part of the 2013 FestiFools.  This pair of artsy street celebrations full of fun for the whole family. Shimmering handmade lantern sculptures are the highlight (literally) of the free nighttime FoolMoon event, which returns for a second year. These objets d'illumination, crafted and wielded by the Ann Arbor community, form a humongous processional taking over the sidewalks downtown. Admire the host of glimmering creatures and shining shapes, or make your own to add to the mix. (You can find instructions for making an "illuminary" on the event's website.)

Revelers of all ages will gather at dusk (around 8 p.m.) on Friday night at one of three starting points: Slauson Middle School, Kerrytown at the Farmers' Market and the U-M Museum of Art. From there, they'll dance, skip and frolic their ways to the intersection of Washington and Ashley streets in the heart of Ann Arbor. The sparkling street party runs to midnight, with live music, treats and a host of artful delights, like roving shadow puppet shows and building-sized experimental films.

Tree Town's FestiFools street fair. A gigantic public art spectacle, the array takes to Main Street from 4 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, traveling between William and Washington streets. Watch for all manner of eye-popping papier mache puppets – of "magnificent, huge, bizarre, politically incorrect, human powered" varieties, promises FestiFools' Facebook wall – created by the community and U-M students.

Best of all, it's all free!

Don't fret if rainy weather attempts to infringe on your fun.  if you bring a luminary sculpture to any one of three constellation stations, you'll receive some fashionable plastic rain gear and fancy little umbrellas on Friday night.

by Jan Davies McDermott on March 20th, 2013

Ann Arbor's Argo Cascades on the Huron River received state and national honors. 

It seems Argo is continuing its winning ways.  Although the Argo Park in Ann Arbor has nothing to do with the Oscar-winning movie that goes by the same name, it's still gaining statewide and national attention lately.

The Argo Cascades on the Huron River is a popular destination for kayakers.

Courtesy of city of Ann ArborThe city of Ann Arbor has won the 2012 Michigan Recreation and Park Association's Park Design Award for the Argo Cascades feature along the Huron River.The annual award is given to MRPA member organizations for outstanding work in the areas of facility and landscape/site design.

MRPA is a statewide nonprofit association representing the parks and recreation industry with a membership of nearly 2,000 professionals.

"It is an honor to be recognized by MRPA for the Argo Cascades," said Colin Smith, the city's parks and recreation manager. "Many elected city officials, staff and departments worked together to make the Argo Cascades a success. This project addressed challenges and, at the same time, created an opportunity to improve the recreational experience for people on the Huron River."

The Argo Cascades also received a "Frontline Park" designation for the month of March by the City Parks Alliance, a national organization. That honor is reserved for projects that demonstrate inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation and stewardship.

The Argo Cascades is now highlighted at

Ann Arbor completed the Argo Cascades project on the Huron River in May 2012 with the $1.17 million reconstruction of the bypass channel around Argo Dam in the old millrace.

For the first time since 1830, when the channel was built to power mills, the section of river became free-flowing with a cumbersome portage removed and transformed into a series of nine drops and pools for people in tubes, rafts, canoes and kayaks.

Other new features include a wider and paved Border-to-Border Trail section and pedestrian bridges installed at each end of the millrace.

"The Huron River in Ann Arbor is now a fun and exciting destination, more than ever before," said Canoe Livery Supervisor Cheryl Saam. "The number of livery customers paddling on river trips has basically doubled since the Argo Cascades were built; and the Cascades has allowed for more recreational opportunities such as tubing and rafting."

If you haven't already, when the weather warms up, Ar-go check it out.

Reprinted article by Ryan J. Stanton

by Jan Davies McDermott on March 20th, 2013

No time to fuss for Easter, but want something to make things special.  Try this easy, quick, and fun idea.  

Use any sort of frozen or homemade bread dough, form your rolls, snip and lift/shape the ears during rising and carve the eyes once baked!

Brush with Garlic Butter and sprinkle with sea salt for the perfect accompaniment for your ham.

by Jan Davies McDermott on March 19th, 2013

Easter is right around the corner.  Want to do something special?  Here's a suggestion from Betty Crocker that kids and adults alike will love.  Watch their eyes looight up when you serve this cute little bunny cake at Easter Dinner. 

Easter Bunny Cake

  • 1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow or white cake mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  • Tray or cardboard covered with wrapping paper and plastic food wrap or foil
  • 1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting
  • Red food color
  • 1 large marshmallow, cut in half
  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • Green food color
  • 2 strawberry or cherry stretchy and tangy taffy candies (from 6-oz bag)
  • 1 roll Betty Crocker® Fruit Roll-Ups® punch berry chewy fruit snack (from 5-oz box)
  • 3 green-colored sour candies, separated into strips
1. Heat oven to 325°F. Grease 1 1/2-quart ovenproof bowl (8 inches across top) with shortening; coat with flour (do not use cooking spray). Lightly grease 3 muffin cups in regular-size muffin pan.
2. Make cake batter as directed on box. Pour cake batter in 3 muffin cups, filling two-thirds full. Pour remaining batter into 1 1/2-quart bowl.
3. Bake cupcakes 17 to 21 minutes, bowl 47 to 53 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove cakes from muffin cups and bowl; place rounded sides up on cooling racks. Cool completely, about 1 hour. If necessary, cut off rounded tops of cakes.
4. Spoon frosting into large bowl. Add red food color to make desired pink color. Place bowl cake on tray cut side down; spread 1/3 cup frosting over cake. Use frosting to adhere cupcakes to bowl cake for feet and bunny tail. Use toothpicks if necessary. Place marshmallow halves, cut sides down, on tops of 2 cupcakes to make heels of feet. Spread thin layer of frosting over side and top of cake to seal in crumbs. Freeze cake 30 to 45 minutes to set frosting.
5. Spread remaining frosting over cake. Sprinkle with 2 cups of the coconut; press gently to adhere. Shake 1 cup coconut and 3 drops green food color in tightly covered jar until evenly tinted. Surround bunny with tinted coconut. Use rolling pin to press strawberry candies into 2 large rectangles. Cut 2 large ovals and 6 small circles out of candy. Press onto bottoms of bunny feet, using frosting if needed.
6 Roll up fruit snack to make carrot shapes. Cut green sour candies in half crosswise; press into large end of each carrot to make greens on carrot. Cut ears from construction paper; wrap ends that will be inserted into cake with plastic food wrap. Insert into cake. Remove ears, plastic wrap and toothpicks before serving. Store loosely covered.

by Jan Davies McDermott on March 13th, 2013

The man of the house at Davies House Inn is Larry McDermott - Irish to the core.  His favorite St. Patrick's Day Dessert includes all the things he loves: chocolate, whipped cream, chocolate, cheese, and Oh yes! Did I mention, chocolate? 

However you celebrate St. Patrick's Day - green beer, a big parade, shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey - make sure you make this Irish Cream No-Bake Cheesecake to top off the day!  Enjoy!

Irish Cream No-Bake Cheesecake

•12 Oreo cookies, cream removed
...•3 tbs. unsalted butter, melted
•1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
•1 (8-ounce) block reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
•1 (8-ounce) container light whipped topping thawed
•1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur
•2 tsp. vanilla extract

•whipped topping (optional)
•nuts (optional)
•caramel (optional)
•sprinkles (optional)

1.Place the Oreos into a food processor and crush into crumbs. Or you can also place them in a freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin. Divide the crumbs evenly amongst individual serving dishes and push the crumbs down to form a crust. Spoon a little bit of the melted butter over the crumbs in each dish. Try to cover as much of the crumbs as possible.

2.Place the chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl. Melt in the microwave. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth with an electric mixer. Stir in the vanilla and Bailey's. Fold in the whipped topping until well-blended.

3.Pipe or spoon the mixture evenly amongst the serving dishes. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

4.Add toppings, if desired.

by Jan Davies McDermott on November 20th, 2012

Know The 3-1-1 Rule
Unless you've never seen the inside of an airport or haven't flown since before 9/11, you likely know the TSA fundamentals and have some understanding of the 3-1-1 rule: Liquids and gels must be in containers of 3.4 ounces or less, and these containers must be in a single quart-size zip-top bag.  But the gel part is where things get tricky. What, exactly, constitutes a gel? According to the TSA, gravy, jam, jelly, lotion, salsa, peanut butter, spreadable cheese, and cranberry sauce are all gels, and therefore must be in those little containers or bust. Cakes and pies are okay (though most pie fillings seem pretty gel-like, if you ask me). And cheese viscosity is highly variable. A good rule of thumb: If you could squeeze it through a pastry bag, don't bring it through security.

Wrap When You Get There
Especially around the holidays, it's important to remember that wrapped gifts, while not officially prohibited, could get torn open at the checkpoint. According to the TSA, "If a bag alarms our security officers, [they] may have to unwrap a gift to take a closer look inside." An agent tearing opening your presents like a kid on Christmas morning is sure to slow your progress through the checkpoint, not to mention undo all your hard work

Pack Well
Don't pack so much in your bag that you have to sit on it to get it closed. If the TSA elects to open your bag, you'll waste time (and hold up the security line) gathering the overflowing contents and trying to get that zipper closed as a crowd of impatient passengers looks on.
An organized bag will cause less confusion when going through the X-ray scanner, too. A mess of wires and bundled clothes is more likely to get flagged for extra screening than a bag with folded, neatly stacked items. The TSA recommends that travelers pack items in layers and place "shoes, boots, sneakers, and other footwear on top of other contents in your luggage." The agency also advises, "Don't stack piles of books or documents on top of each other; spread them out within your baggage" to facilitate X-ray scanning.

Dress for Success
First off, empty your pockets (coat and pants). Spare change, keys, and any metal frippery that may be jangling around in your pockets will set off the metal detector and invite extra screening. If you can, don't wear any body piercings through the metal detector. Jewelry that sets off the alarm is cause for additional screening—in private if necessary. Belts with metal clasps also set off the alarm (and must be taken off at the checkpoint), so wearing an outfit without a belt could make things a little easier.  Since shoes must be kicked off during screening at U.S. airports, remember to wear easily removable ones if possible

There's An App For That
The TSA has an excellent app; with it, you can type the name of an item in a "Can I Bring?" field for instant answers. It also features security wait times, plus a guide to TSA rules for travelers. The free app is available for iPhone and Android. Get more information at

by Jan Davies McDermott on November 3rd, 2012

A Homestyle Stay in a University Town
Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2012 by Buzzy Gordon on

Just three miles from downtown Ann Arbor and the central campus of the University of Michigan, on the green fairway of a lush golf course, sits a Bed and Breakfast with the evocative name Davies House Inn Georgetown. Owned and managed by the entrepreneurial Jan Davies McDermott, this B&B in a quiet neighborhood is a good bet for visitors looking for either short or extended stays.

With five units to choose from, the inn is configured to suit individuals, couples and families. The top of the line at Davies House inn is the efficiency apartment — which is a lot sexier than it sounds. It has a desk for a working space — and like the entire house, a free WiFi signal — but also a four-poster queen-sized bed (with gauze drapes that can be drawn) and a whirlpool bathtub in the en suite bathroom. With a kitchenette and private entrance, the small apartment is ideal for visiting professors, researchers and others on temporary assignments that might last for weeks or months. Yet the romantic amenities also make it a lovely retreat for couples. Although there is no official honeymoon package, innkeeper Jan happily gifts newlyweds or those celebrating an anniversary a split of champagne.

Other options include a suite with queen bed, kitchenette and faux fireplace that casts heat on the nearby easy chairs; a ground-floor unit with walk-in shower that is perfect for guests with mobility problems; and a family suite with two separate bedrooms for parents and children, with a shared bathroom in-between. All rooms come with small televisions with built in VHS players; a selection of cassettes, as well as books and magazines, are available in the library in the common room. While private coffeemakers are available only in rooms with kitchenettes, there is both a coffeemaker and refrigerator for guests in the main kitchen, as well as ice buckets. Pampering robes and slippers add to the “home away from home” atmosphere.

In fact, personal touches abound in a B&B where the innkeeper sees her role as a “problem solver.” Jan consults with guests in advance on preferences for breakfast and keeps items like umbrellas and extra luggage tags on hand when needed. If you’re in town for a U of M football game, ponchos and seat cushions are also available to take to the stadium. Another popular feature is grilling on the Davies House Inn’s roomy deck overlooking the golf course; just place your order for the main course, beverages and fixings, and the ingredients for pre- or post-game barbecue will be on hand. Indeed, the deck and lawn are both lovely places for breakfast or snacks when the weather is pleasant.

For eating out, there is a list of recommended restaurants, both in the neighborhood and downtown. There is plenty of parking for guests with their own cars — but public transportation is also very nearby. Other transportation requests, such as airport transfers, can be arranged as well.

Published rates: $90-$240.

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