≡ Menu

No matter what you think about bears, when someone says, “I saw a bear,” you listen.

Big Mill Bed and Breakfast innkeeper blog post talks about the Black Bear Festival every June. Black Bears can be seen through the low lying areas of eastern North Carolina | @bigmill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/black-bear-festival-plymouth-nc

Bears in North Carolina are usually black with a cinnamon color muzzle

Increasingly, we are beginning to see bears here in eastern North Carolina. They are mostly in the mountains and coastal regions – bears love our coastal pocosin habitat.

In one of the articles I read, eastern North Carolina was said to have the highest Black Bear population of all the states. A 500-pound bear is not at all uncommon and bear biologist, Colleen Olfenbuttel, confirmed that they are seeing “an increased frequency of 700+ pound bears.”

Click to read more about Black Bears and the Black Bear Festival in eastern NC

When I was growing up we had mules: Big Red, Little Red, Rock, Kit and Mary. There were other mules before my time, but I don’t remember their names.

Big Mill B+B is a Farmstead Inn, located in Williamston in Eastern North Carolina. The old mule barn has been converted into the Mule Room Suite. It's perfect for long-term guests who want all the comforts of home - including a full kitchen. See more photos and read about the newly renovated Mule Room on Chloe's Blog. | @bigmill.com

The living room in the Mule Room Suite has great views of the lakes

We have spiffed up our mule Mary’s quarters and we call her home the Mule Room Suite. Much discussion went into what to call it. A good friend wanted me to call it a shed, but on this farm sheds only have 3 sides. Click to read more about the Mule Room — past and present …

The Hen and The Hog Restaurant in Halifax, NC, is a wonderful surprise.

Looking for fun dining in Halifax, NC? The Hen and The Hog is a NC farm to table restaurant specializing in edgy southern comfort food and an easy day trip from Big Mill Bed and Breakfast in Williamston NC. | @bigmill | chloesblog.bigmill.com/hen-and-hog-gourmet-restaurant-halifax-nc

I love to explore local gems and this one is perfect. The restaurant is located in an old hardware store and the old floors remain – no trendy marble tiles here. But don’t be fooled – this is an upscale place; it just retains its local character. Read more about Hen & Hog

This Recipe for Banana Bread is a Guest Favorite

Sometimes it seems all banana breads taste the same. Well, not this banana bread.

Banana Bread with a Secret Ingredient

Banana Bread with a Secret Ingredient


  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup corn oil
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mashed over-ripe banana (1 VERY RIPE banana)
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup fresh blueberries


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 mini loaf pans with cooking spray with flour like Baker's Joy.

  • Whisk the egg in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the sugar, corn oil, vanilla, milk and stir. Stir in the mashed bananas.

  • Stir the flour into the banana mixture. Add chopped nuts.

  • In a small bowl mix the Tablespoon of flour and the blueberries until berries are coated with flour. This will keep berries from "bleeding" in the bread. Gently stir the blueberries into the bread mixture.

  • Fill loaf pans about 1/2 to 3/4 full; don't be tempted to overfill, the loaves will be ugly.

  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer or straw inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on rack and serve with butter or cream cheese.

  • Yield: 2 small loaves
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes

Did You Spot the Secret Ingredient?

My recipe for Banana Bread is a wee bit different from other recipes you’ll find.

The secret:  Use VERY RIPE bananas, almost fermented. And you know how good fermented foods are for you. Click to read more about why the secret ingredient is so good for you …

Spiced Mulled Cider Recipe

Hot, Spicy Apple Cider Warms the Heart

Warm mulled cider is a great way to please a crowd on chilly days. It is easy to make and doesn't cost much. A great way to start the holidays! @bigmill | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/spiced-mulled-cider-recipe

Spiced Hot Apple Cider tastes great and you can kick it up with a shot of brandy

A great way to welcome fall and the chill in the air is to make up some hot, spicy cider. If you live where apples are grown, then you can use fresh-pressed cider.

The rest of us can pick up some great cider in the store and create our own brewing spices. North Carolina apples are the best – I see a road trip coming!  Click to get the easy spiced apple cider recipe!

The most easterly Barn Quilt on North Carolina’s Quilt Trail is on the Pack House barn at Big Mill B&B in Williamston, NC. I just love it!

The eastern-most barn quilt trails in North Carolina comprise the Tar River Quilt Trail. The most easterly barn quilt is on the Pack House barn at Big Mill Bed & Breakfast near Greenville NC @BigMill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/big-mill-nc-barn-quilt-tar-river-quilt-trail

Barn Quilt in eastern NC at Big Mill B&B in Williamston

I used to go to Quilting Bees with my mother when I was a child. I would play under the quilt all by myself. There were no other children.

The ladies made such beautiful works of art. Mother would sew the pieces of fabric together and let me help. When it was all pieced together, we put it in the frame along with the backing and the batting. Then Mother’s friends would come for several days until the quilt was quilted. My father used to make cotton and wool batts for his mother to quilt. I wish I had gotten him to show me how.

In 1976, everyone had caught Bicentennial Fever and felt patriotic so Mother (also named Chloe) made a quilt of red, white and blue. Click to read more about Barn Quilts and Miss Chloe’s LaMoyne Star …

Fig Jam Is Just So Southern

Figs are so special – they are a real delicacy.  

Easy, homemade Fig Jam recipe with fresh figs from the farm (or your local Farmer's Market) is a favorite of guests at Big Mill Bed and Breakfast, near Greenville, NC. Uses less sugar and is Southern comfort food in a jar! | @bigmill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/homemade-fig-jam-recipe-has-less-sugar

Fig Jam is oh so southern and such a treat!  This fig jam recipe actually uses less sugar than you’ll typically find, so that is good for every body.

I had fun making it because this is the first fig jam I have ever made using figs I grew! I have seven fig trees in several varieties — the oldest is five years old and two are not quite a year old. I remember most of their names, but there is one that has slipped my mind.

With this recipe (as with a few others on Chloe’s Blog),  Don’t Double the Recipe! And be sure to make enough jam so that when holiday entertaining is in full swing, you can wow your guests with your Creamy Brie & Fig Preserves Appetizer – what a treat! Click to get the Recipe for my Fig Jam with Less Sugar and some great photos too …

Refreshing Summer Punch is Perfect for Those Lazy Summer Days 

This pretty citrus punch is a real crowd pleaser - Big Mill Bed and Breakfast guests love it. Recipe on Chloes Blog | @BigMill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/summer-punch-recipe-nc-bed-breakfast

This Citrus punch is perfect for your summer parties

Ah, the Halcyon days of summer are coming to an end at Big Mill Bed and Breakfast and that saddens me. When the green leaves turn to gold and then fall away, you can hear the whine of the train and the lonesome whippoorwill. There are fewer whippoorwills; that too is sad. And you just know that is a country song.

So on these last balmy nights of summer, grab a cool glass of Summer Punch, loll in the hammock and listen to the sounds of the changing season. You can hear the quiet except for the cicadas. Click to get Chloe’s Summer Punch Recipe

Bill’s Hot Dogs in Washington, NC is an institution

Bills Hot Dogs is a Mom and Pop eatery that serves up great hot dogs in Washington NC. Read more on Chloes Blog. @Bigmill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/bills-hot-dogs-eastern-north-carolinas-best-hot-dog

Bill’s Hot Dogs in Little Washington, NC

It doesn’t matter if you like hot dogs or not — you just have to eat a Bill’s hot dog if you are in Washington, North Carolina. Bill’s has been open as a hot dog “stand” since 1928 and it hasn’t changed much; not that I can see.

Located on Gladden Street in “Little” Washington, NC, it is just a short distance from the Pamlico River. Bill’s is an institution for most everyone who has ever lived in Washington or eastern North Carolina. For the locals, this is Road Food at its best. Click to read More about Bill’s Hot Dogs in Washington, NC

Big Mill B&B is going to be part of the Tar River Quilt Trail

The Eastern side of North Carolina is joining the Barn Quilt Movement with the first quilt block going up on the barn at Big Mill Bed and Breakfast in Williamston, NC. This quilt square will become part of the Tar River Quilt Trail. Learn more on the NC innkeeper's blog. @bigmill www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/big-mill-bed-breakfast-barn-quilt-williamston-nc

Kim Young & Chloe Tuttle examine Quilt Block for Big Mill’s Barn Quilt

How did the Big Mill B&B barn quilt idea and project happen? In essence, I read about the American Quilt Trail and I wanted to be part of it. I picked a favorite quilt pattern – one that my mother made. And I joined the Tar River Quilt Trail. Now this pattern is being painted on plywood and will be installed on the side of my Pack House Barn here on the farm.

The Tar River Quilt Trail is part of the Franklin County, NC Arts Council. After I joined the Quilt Trail, they started to work. First, the pattern had to be approved. It has to be one that no one else on the Trail has chosen.

Take a behind-the-scenes peek as Big Mill Bed and Breakfast prepares their Barn Quilt block which will be placed on the Pack House Barn of the B&B near Greenville, NC. | @bigmill www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/big-mill-bed-breakfast-barn-quilt-williamston-nc

Each color on the blocks is painted separately

My quilt square will be 8′ x 8′. Charles Powell built four 4′ x 4′ blocks and primed them with a special paint and marked off the pattern onto these blocks.

The barn quilt design is drawn and painted on blocks before mounting onto the barn at Big Mill B&B | @bigmill www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/big-mill-bed-breakfast-barn-quilt-williamston-nc

Charles Powell sketches the design for Big Mill’s Barn Quilt

Suzie Parron, who wrote the book Barn Quilts – the American Quilt Trail Movement, describes a Barn Quilt this way:

“You know that quilts are made up of squares? Well, a barn quilt is a replica of one of these squares,  painted on plywood, usually eight-by-eight feet, and hung on a building for passersby to see. Most of them are mounted on barns, so they are called Barn Quilts. There are thousands of them all over the country – currently in thirty states – and in Canada.”

In fact, there are barn quilts in at least 48 states in the U.S. and as far north as Canada. She also says there is usually is a cast of characters, going back many years, who are involved in the production of a Barn Quilt.

My Barn Quilt idea goes back as early as 1976, when the United States celebrated its Bicentennial. Everyone wore Red, White and Blue. My mother Chloe made me an Eight-Point-Star quilt in red, white and blue. Her friends met once a week and quilted it as a work of love.

This is the quilt pattern I chose to put on the wonderful Pack House Barn my dad built in 1935 (2nd picture in the left column). That barn is now part of Big Mill Bed & Breakfast and three of our rooms and suites are actually in this renovated barn. I have since learned that this pattern is called LaMoyne Star and I have named my Barn Quilt Miss Chloe’s LaMoyne Star. To see the finished project check out my blog post Eastern North Carolina Quilt Trail.

Inspiration for the Big Mill Barn Quilt is the LaMoyne Star quilt made by the innkeeper's mother and her quilting circle during the USA's Bicentennial celebration in 1976. See more about the Quilt block and Barn Quilts on Chloe's blog. |The barn quilt design is drawn and painted on blocks before mounting onto the barn at Big Mill B&B | @bigmill www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/big-mill-bed-breakfast-barn-quilt-williamston-nc

Quilt made by Chloe’s mother in 1976 is called LaMoyne Star

I read about the American Quilt Trail Movement many years ago and really wanted to be part of it. At the time, I thought I had to paint a quilt on my barn. Well, I knew I could do it – but I didn’t think I will live long enough to finish it. Then I realized I didn’t have to do this myself. I called the Western North Carolina Quilt Trail folks and they were wonderful; they sent me to the Tar River Quilt Trail folks, part of the Franklin County NC Arts Council.

I joined the Tar River Quilt Trail and after a few months of behind-the-scenes coordinating, my Barn Quilt is almost finished! Thanks to Kim Young, who painted my quilt. Kim is an artist who works in watercolor, oil and acrylics. You can see her work at The Art of Kim Young. And thanks to Charles Powell and the Franklin County Arts Council for all the work behind-the-scenes to bring this vision to life.  These folks are volunteers and they do a great job. Soon they will mount it on the barn for all to see.

The Martin County Arts Council in Williamston, NC is also getting a barn quilt. They have chosen the pattern Crossed Canoes. Hopefully, the Town of Williamston will join us.

Wherever you’re travelling across North Carolina, you are likely to find a map of all the Barn Quilts in each area. That makes it so easy to plan your trip to ride by and look at these wonderful replicas of our heritage. I am so excited to be part of the Tar River Quilt Trail.

You can see Miss Chloe’s LaMoyne Star quilt painted on the barn at Big Mill Bed & Breakfast. It’s time to set your GPS for Big Mill Bed & Breakfast, 1607 Big Mill Road, Williamston, NC 27892. And if you get lost, give me a call – (252) 792-8787.

Take a behind-the-scenes peek as Big Mill Bed and Breakfast prepares their Barn Quilt block which will be placed on the Pack House Barn of the B&B near Greenville, NC. | @bigmill www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/big-mill-bed-breakfast-barn-quilt-williamston-nc

Hover over photo to PIN FOR LATER

Chloe Tuttle Big Mill Bed and Breakfast near Greenville NC