October 16, 2014 - Now in Healdsburg
In the seasonal “spirit” of ghosts and goblins and things that go bump in the night, did you know that the Camellia Inn used to have a ghost?
Maybe it’s inevitable for such a stately building to have had a ghost in its past. The building that is now the Camellia Inn played a historic role in Healdsburg. Contractor, William H. Middleton built the Inn as a home for pioneer Ransome Powell in 1871. In 1892, Powell built a new home and sold the North Street residence to Dr. J. W. Seawell in 1908. Dr. Seawell established the first Healdsburg hospital in the east wing of his home. It was a five-room sanitarium, called Healdsburg General, where a doctor's visit cost $2.00.
Ray and Del Lewand purchased the home in 1981, with the intent of creating the gracious Camellia Inn. Renovation for the Inn began – and included removing the old water tower. A gentleman assisting in the renovation saw her first: the ghost. She was from a bye-gone era, and later research determined she had been a maid at the house.
Once the water tower was removed, and that area re-built into modern rooms, she disappeared. Perhaps she was not fond of 20th century conveniences!
Looking beyond Halloween, the Inn is filling up for Thanksgiving. Our vacation rental homes in Geyserville still have space available, and are a good spot to watch the annual Geyserville Tree lighting and Tractor Parade of Lights. Businesses and tasting rooms will be open, offering treats and shopping. Santa will be stopping by, too.
A Classic Halloween Treat
Caramel Popcorn – not for the faint of heart!
2 cups light brown sugar
½ c. light corn syrup
2 sticks butter
½ tsp. baking soda
pinch cream of tartar
About 7-8 quarts unsalted “popped” popcorn
Butter a deep roasting pan. Keep pan warm in 200 degree oven while making the syrup.
Put the “popped” popcorn into the warm roasting pan, and back into the oven.
Mix sugar, syrup and butter in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. Watch carefully – do not let this burn! Remove from heat and add baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Stir. Pour over popcorn and mix lightly but thoroughly. Bake in a 200 degree oven for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
When done, pour onto waxed paper and separate into bite-size chunks.