I am so sorry for the tardiness of this long overdue letter. No excuse, just that we have been changing over web hosts and that has been a trying experience. I am relived to report that it is now complete and all is running smoothly. So here goes, once more unto the breach dear friends once more; —– I will not finish the speech, except to say that I hope in our lifetimes it will not be needed. Just a phrase to get your attention. Now read on – read on, I hope you enjoy my ramblings.

Earlier this year I shared with you our Euro trip experiences and reflections. In April we visited Southern Africa. Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. It was a photo safari holiday full of wonder, beauty and tragedy. It was a wonderful trip leaving us with many fond memories of the people and the magnificent landscape of Africa. The animals were the icing on the cake. The tragedy was seeing so much poverty in a land so rich with natural resources. I cannot dwell on some of the cultural experiences we had as they were very personal and moving to say the very least. Those of you that have also travelled to this part of Africa will know.

Most night were spent in tent like accommodations built on wooden platforms out in the wilds. Sounds of hyenas in the night while in the Kruger. Hippos while staying on Impalilia Island in the Okavango Delta where the Chobe and Zambezi rivers collide. We were there during the flood stage of this area so it was an amazing sight to behold. Then at Victoria Falls where it was showing off its magnificence. Rainbows and water covered us as we walked the paths facing the falls. Elephants, giraffes and water buffalo by the hundreds. A few lions, many of the antelope species and lots of birds. All in all it was an amazing experience. After a couple of days in Cape Town we had a day driving down to The Cape. Only to be capped off by a ride up to Table Top Mountain at 5.30 0n the last cable car of the day. The previous 2 days it was closed due to inclement weather. So we spent the early evening watching the sunset from the top of Table Top Mountain. That was the last day of the trip. What a way to end 21 days in Africa!

The food at all of our camps was quite amazing. We are outside under the stars, candles and camp fires burning. Delicious food and wonderful gracious caring service at every outpost. And outposts they were! Great food served in remote locations that made my early challenges in Winslow seem nominal at best. All of hospitality people we met were so warm and genuine. It was humbling from a professional standpoint to experience what they could accomplish in such remote areas. We were so grateful.

It seems as the years go by all moves at a faster pace. I recall thinking that as nice and relaxed life is in Winslow that it would slow some more as I became accustomed to the changes from Orange County. Well it’s been 17 years and counting. Thanks to you and your continued support we are still keeping busy so slowing down is only for the elk and other wild life as they cross the road. Oh and especially for our many visitors congregating on the “Corner”.

It, the corner has become quite the busy place of late. I have observed each year as I drive by on my way to the restaurant that there seems to be more and more visitors. The town overall has made some improvements so things are slowly transforming.

The construction of the depot is now underway. The contractors are on site so progress is being made. This will be a museum and art galleries once it’s completed. There is an observation rail car at the end of the platform that is also undergoing restoration. All of this will be an added attraction to the property. Lots more changes to see therefore lots more reasons for you to return and see the progress.

The gardens have really looked great this year with lots of apples, apricots and now quince being harvested for your enjoyment. We will have quince throughout the winter in various dishes. First off will be in the pies. I will make a confit, slowly cooking the sliced quince in a honey syrup. McClendon’s organic honey. Orange, oil and spices complete the dish. They will keep over the winter months for use in various dishes. I will make a chutney as I always do and this will be served with the Smoked Heritage Pork loin roast over the holidays. We have a bumper crop this year so I will also make some relish and other dishes to surprise you on your next visit.

So what else is happening?

Life goes on. Guests arrive. We continue to strive to do our best. Our staff come and go. We train and retrain. Pray and pray again for our staff to show up and allow us to serve you. Does it get easier as the years go by? No.

We had a close call this year with 5 of our employee’s being blessed with having given birth. All within 3 months of each other. All front of the house. Servers, hostess and bartender. A record year for us. Not sure who could beat that. With a staff of 50! However we persiviered and got through. It was a testimony to the management team of Johnny, Tanita, Dennis and Jerod that all is well and back on track. Not forgetting the kitchen team led by Jesus who have also had their share of staffing challenges. Without their commitment and hard work your visits would not be as memorable.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner so before we know it the year will be over and we will be getting ready for the next big push in March.

The Thanksgiving menu is posted on line and the Christmas one will be up by the end of October.

I have fresh local traditional turkeys raised in the China valley Arizona at the Ridge View Farms. True Heritage from Frank Reese of the Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch, Kansas. They are prepared in a special way so as to capture the flavour and nuance of these special rare birds. We will have Prime Rib from cattle raised and processed here in Arizona. Churro Lamb from Irene Bennally. Gloucester breed of Heritage Pork and lots more wonderful items. Lots of vegetables and fruits from McClendon’s as well as from Whipstone Farms.

All are a la carte menus. No fixed price menus.

Please make your booking early so we can accommodate you at your preferred time. Many times are already booked for Thanksgiving.

The Christmas Dinner menu will once again be served the 23rd, 24, 25 and the 26th. A la carte with flavours of Southwest and some of my English favourites.

In closing I have to say that this has been a challenging year for many people who have had to face tragic natural disasters never before seen. May they see life in the year ahead return to a new normal that is both safe and rewarding? As the fires continue to burn in Sonoma we hope they too can overcome the tragic losses and rebuild.

As to all of the other tragic occurrences we are all dealing with on a day to day basis. No one goes through life without as we say; life’s challenges. But my oh my at times does it ever throw some huge things at us all! I stay clear of political and religious commentary. There are pundits aplenty out there showering us with their opinions!

Which leaves me to say only this. I look forward to next year being a more positive, peaceful and safe year for everyone. Hoping that change will bring peace and that there will be better times ahead for everyone.
Wishing you, your families and friends a very Happy Christmas and Healthy New Year. From all of us at the Turquoise Room.

John and Patricia Sharpe