Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Tribute to "Mr. Chips"

If you've ever spent a few minutes in the Silver Bar Cocktail Lounge, you may have noticed something peculiar. While most of the wood carvings around the Inn are impeccable, a stretch of wooden beams and cornices near the bar remain unfinished - bearing only the black marker outlines of what would have one day been carvings.
The late Alexander Zeller, a renowned Bavarian woodworker from Munich, Germany, was the artist responsible for the intricate wooden carvings throughout the Inn. Nicknamed "Mr. Chips," he had been commissioned by churches, public buildings, commercial businesses, and numerous individuals to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind works of art. In the early sixties, he was hired by Mr. and Mrs. Madonna to sculpt an array of wooden masterpieces for the newly-constructed Inn.
Unfortunately, Mr. Zeller fell ill shortly after the Inn's grand opening in 1961 and passed away before he was able to finish all his projects. Although this meant that the woodwork near the Silver Bar wouldn't be completed, Mr. and Mrs. Madonna felt that leaving the work unfinished was the proper tribute to "Mr. Chips."

Friday, August 8, 2014

Cherubs, Cakes, and Dinosaurs?


Madonna Inn is synonymous with many things. "Pink," "cherubs," "waterfall bathroom," and "cake" come to mind pretty instantaneously, but many are not so quick to associate MI with dinosaur fossils... until now, that is!

Outrageous as it may sound, Madonna Inn is currently home to two fossils which are nestled inside boulders used in some of the rock work between the Steak House and the Silver Bar. Legend holds that there were once three fossils until one extraordinary specimen was removed and given to a museum! Next time you're in for dinner or a drink make sure to check out this little piece of history.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What's for Breakfast?

What's the secret to a great day? A great breakfast of course! And whether your a.m. cravings call for a classic American breakfast like Eggs Benedict or Corned Beef Hash (we make our hash from scratch and it is PHENOMENAL); something sweet and decadent like our crisp, fluffy Strawberry Waffle with real whipped cream; or a lighter option like our Breakfast Sundae with fresh fruit, vanilla yogurt, and a sprinkle of granola; there's surely something on our menu to suit your fancy.
Mr. Madonna, himself, loved a good hearty breakfast and actually came up with his own personal twist the most important meal of the day. He would start with a cup of hot tea, making sure to crush the sachet before putting it in the water to get a slightly stronger flavor. After his tea, he would take a cup of black coffee. When he was finished with his first cup of coffee, then he was ready for food. He would request the end slice of the apple strudel - heated with butter until piping hot and bubbly, accompanied by two strips of thick-cut bacon on the side. While this breakfast was never officially on the menu, the marriage of sweet and salty was Mr. Madonna's mainstay for years. So if you just can't decide what to order next time you're in the Cafe, give Mr. Madonna's old favorite a try!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Forgotten Guestroom

Madonna Inn has become quite famous for its 109 individually themed guest rooms, but many are unaware that there is actually a 110th room. The curious room, literally titled "No Name," sits adjacent to What's Left, room 158. No Name was built but never quite finished and today it mainly just serves as a storage room. But who knows what the future holds -- perhaps one day room 110 will be finished out and given a "real" name! What theme would you choose for this room?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Through a Different Lens

I often get asked what it's been like growing up around the Madonna Inn. Besides serving as my second home, I like to describe it as something of a Disneyland meets Willy Wonka fantasy world. And although I know most of the Inn like the back of my hand, I am continually amazed at how I can still find little details I've never noticed before. Lately, I've been combing through the internet looking for photos to add to Madonna Inn's Pinterest account (http://www.pinterest.com/madonnainn/) My favorite board thus far has to be "Photo Shoots at Madonna Inn," because I just love seeing the countless different ways people re-interpret the Inn's whimsy and decor. To know that others love, enjoy and appreciate MI as much as I do - as well as getting to see my "home" through another's lens - is such a gift! Here are just a few of the shots I'm loving right now -- Enjoy!
PC: Jonathan Grassi, Laura Austin, Jason Lee Parry, Jordan Fraker, Jeffrey Porona Boyces/Stacey Ann, Raquel Leal, and James Elliot Bailey. Check out our Pinterest account for more! :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Time, Circus Time!

You know that summer has officially arrived when Circus Vargas rolls into town and sets up on the Madonna Meadows. I'm continually amazed at how quickly the big top takes shape (typically in a matter of mere hours!) Jon Weiss, ringmaster extraordinaire, along with the entire Circus Vargas family, has developed quite a wonderful and friendly relationship with the Madonna family over the last four years of coming to San Luis Obispo. Today, he made a surprise visit to the Inn and had some fun clowning around with a few MI staff members.
I can NOT wait to see this year's performance of Magikaria on Sunday. I'm not sure how they do it, but each year the program gets even better and more exhilarating than the last - and I expect this year will be no exception! Don't miss the opportunity to experience a world-class performance, featuring master illusionist Patrick Marinelli (who recently appeared on the hit show America's Got Talent) and many other incredible performers. Get your tickets before they sell out at https://www.facebook.com/CircusVargas/app_115388171892641!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Roll out the Barrels

I finally turned 21 this past March, so when the opportunity to attend Roll out the Barrels in the Mission Plaza was presented to me earlier this week, I excitedly jumped on it. Between the live music, the plethora of wineries, and tons nummy nibbles to pair with the pours - this event was a blast! I even got to try a few local beers and a hard cider. If you love wine, food, or both, you should certainly attend next year!
This year, the Madonna Inn was paired with Autry Cellars. We served a goat cheese crostini, which consisted of a dried pear slice with a dollop of goat cheese, a sprinkle of chopped nuts, and a drizzle of Winter White honey. Paired with the Autry chardonnay, this combo was definitely my favorite of the evening, but perhaps I'm biased :)