HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >


Picturesque New England town with a great restaurant?

Im looking to take motorcycle trip from manhattan to a picturesque New England town and of course it must have a great resaurant, preferably seafood. Ideally not more than 4-5 hours outside of Manhattan.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Shelburne Falls, MA is a great adorable New England town with a couple of great restaurants. Not really haute cuisine, but just solid good food. Also a great area for motorcycling. Not high in the seafood dining selections, however.


    1. Peterborough NH is in the Monadnock Region of western New Hampshire--the inspiration for Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town". There's a great seafood restaurant called "Pearl" in a strip mall just south of town. See this from Yankee mag:


      2 Replies
      1. re: whs

        actually you are thinking TEMPLE, NH that was the setting for Ourtown.

        I know this because as a child I was an extra in the town square.

        1. re: gryphonskeeper

          From Wikipedia, in reference to Peterborough NH: "The town was the model for the play Our Town, written by Thornton Wilder while in residence at the MacDowell Colony."

      2. thank you these are both a big help I'll look in to them. If you have any other ideas for picturesque motorcycle excursions that includes good food... please let me know.

        1. Try the wilmington/West dover VT area. Lots of good restaurants, both high scale and medium scale. And Route 100 is a gret ride for bikers. Nice twists and turns etc.
          Check it out.

          1. egremont, ma ( the berkshires )

            john andrews
            egremont inn
            old mill
            swiss hutte
            elm court

            all great restaurants ( JA my fave )
            all in this tiny beautiful quaint NE town

            1. Chester, CT is a tourists idea of a typical New England town which just happens to have a great French restaurant, Restaurant du Village, as well as a couple of other decent dining spots.

              2 Replies
              1. re: DonShirer

                I second the Chester CT restaurant recs. Restaurant du Village is great (although the service has been especially slow lately) and the River Tavern, which is almost next door, is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. These are both small, make reservations on Friday/Saturday nights. Also, not far down the road, still in Chester is Lupo, a very good Tapas restaurant (more small plates, not really spanish) which I love but it's not quite in the same league with the first two.

                1. re: wc93

                  I'd vote for River Tavern. As I said in another thread, I had far better food/service there on a recent visit than at Restaurant du Village. I had swordfish with a Thai green curry sauce, and it was fantastic.

                  If you're on a bike, it would be fun to take the little car ferry from Chester to the other side of the Connecticut River.

                  And, yes, it is a beautiful town!

              2. Grafton Vermont is a great tiny town & is about 4-5 hours from NYC. Take the NY Thruway up to Albany, cut across thru Troy & over to VT. It's a really pretty drive with nice, winding roads.

                The Old Tavern in Grafton has wonderful food & is the only restaurant in town. You can stay there & enjoy their fab breakfast. If you're spending more than 1 night there are good restaurants in Chester, just a few miles up the road.

                1. I'm not sure how far it is from Manhattan, but Nashua, NH is home to two great Michael Buckley restaurants. Michael Timothy's and his seafood restaurant, called I think, Surf.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: finewineserver

                    Sorry but Nashua, NH is far from a "quaint New England town". The Pheasant Lane Mall? (My mother grew up there and it is not even a 'sort of nice' New England 'city'.)

                  2. This is peak leaf-peeping weekend--better get up here soon!

                    1. Grafton is a great suggestion in Vermont. You also might go to Dorset, VT. The Inn at West View Farm is great and so is the Dorset Inn or the Barrows House.

                      That whole area is very nice for riding bikes and eating.

                      1. So many great options. Add Simon Pearce, in Quechee, Vermont, to the list.

                        1. West Side Cafe-Litchfield, CT-Not 4-5 hours
                          The Boulders-New Preston, CT " " "

                          1. How about Williamstown, Mass? Mezze is pretty good, and the town is about as picturesque as they come.

                            1. Head up to Portsmouth NH... on the seacoast, fantastic dining options and 4 hours from the GW Bridge... awesome riding in the area- up and down the coast and up to the white mnts if you have time... for dining try Pesce Blue, Victory, Dunaway, Jumpin Jays or Lindbergs- all will have excellent seafood options.. all are favs of mine...


                              enjoy... oh, head up the merritt to wilbur cross to 91 to 84 to 90 to 290 to 495 to 95 for the 4 hour time, and be careful when you leave!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: cepaulsen

                                Or cross the bridge from Portsmouth into Kittery, Maine, and check out Anneke Jans. I don't think they have a website, but here's contact info:

                                Anneke Jans
                                60 Wallingford Square
                                Kittery, Maine.
                                (207) 439-0001

                                Hours: Tuesday-Sunday for dinner, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

                              2. FYI--Keene NH is having its world-famous Pumpkin Festival the weekend of Oct 21. They light up over 20,000 jack o' lanterns around the town common. See:

                                1. I'd second Portsmouth NH! I'm a Manhattan addict and I love Portsmouth. It's lively but so "new england" at the same time.

                                  1. Can't believe nobody's mentionned L.A. Burdick in Walpole, New Hampshire: http://www.burdickchocolate.com/resta...

                                    1. Two of the best restaurants in the U.S.:

                                      Fore Street (Portland, Maine)
                                      Arrows (Ogunquit, Maine)

                                      1. Ditto on Keene NH (my home town!) (About 4 hours away from NYC). Pumpkin Festival (on Oct. 21) is NOT TO BE MISSED! Seems like a corny thing -- but lighting up 25,000 jack-o-lanterns all in one place and on scaffolding many feet up in the air is a very awesome sight indeed. I'd recommend Luca's restaurant right near the head of the "square" (near the big white-steepled church) for great dining. I also like the Thai Restaurant on Main Street...very good. But -- beware if you want to eat during Pumpkin Festival (especially for dinner). Crowds are Time-Square-like and the lines for the few restaurants on Main Street are long.

                                        HeartNE (Marcia)

                                        1. HeartNE, I can only assume if he's willing to drive 4 hrs he's staying overnight....and you won't find a hotel room near Keene this wkend.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: JaneRI

                                            Ah yes, good point...that is very true! Keene is booked solid for that weekend. Although I've had friends find hotels in nearby Brattleboro, VT.

                                          2. i have read all the previous posts, and have eaten at most of the recommended spots. my suggestions are going to be based on : fall color; attractiveness of the town/village AND THE SURROUNDING AREA;excellence of the restnt, and distance from manhattan.

                                            we just spent the past wkend in vt; driving all over.crummy foliage year there and, while i love vermont dearly, i think you can do as well further south given the guidelines above.

                                            portsmouth n.h. is charming, filled with historic buildings and things to do, popular place/lively; and pesce blue has wonderful seafood, mediterranean. and biking out through newmarket- a beautiful and historic island- would be lovely.also,15min south of portsmouth is one of new engl's most beautiful towns- newburyport.no great restnts.

                                            montague mass is not a destination town in my book. nashua or keene either.

                                            the berkshires up through williamstown,have many
                                            handsome towns and exc restnts. john andrews yes.foliage should be v good there now. but this area can get very congested/commercial.

                                            chester ct.is lovely town, with lots of nearby towns of interest and beauty.

                                            if it were me, i'd opt for the ocean- portsmouth and newburyport. foliage peaking now.

                                            1. Well at least stop in Greenwich, CT on the way - tons of foodie choices.

                                              1. take 95 north. stop at rowayton seafood for lunch (lobster roll, martinis). you'll be on the five mile river. pretty little town, great views out to the sound, not cheap.

                                                1. Peterborough, where I live, is charming and Aqua Bistro is wonderful and reliable. With a reservation, quite often you can get a table overlooking the river. They've won the award for best brunch in New Hampshre a couple of times.

                                                  I also find the village of Walpole quite picturesque and Burdicks is one of my favorite restaurants in the world, with excellent country French cooking and very reasonable prices for high quality, service, and atmosphere.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: susanl143

                                                    Acqua Bistro and Burdicks were the two places we ate over the New Year's weekend--both were very good. Burdick's wasn't offering a full lunch menu when we visited--they were setting up for their New Year's Eve bash--but we cobbled together a great meal out of their croissants, cheese platter and meat platter.

                                                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                        Since Thornton Wilder won the Pulitzer Prize for "Our Town" in 1938, you may qualify as the most senior poster on Chowhound. BTW, I used to love the Birchwood Inn in Temple when the Wolfs owned it. The food was delicious. Unfortunately, the English boys who bought it from them are doing British home cooking--even bland by New England standards. I think I used a half a shaker of salt last time I was there.

                                                      2. What an interesting discussion! The Green Emporium is a restaurant housed in an old church in Colrain, MA (western MA, Berkshire region). http://www.greenemporium.com

                                                        My husband and I got married in a nearby town, Charlemont, and this was one of the places we were considering for our rehearsal dinner. Everyone raves about the food, and I think the idea of converting a church to a restaurant is really cool.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: woostalicious

                                                          You need to call Green Emporium in advance because they do host a lot of private celebrations. The food is super (and the portions tremendous) and you get the feeling that the both the chef and the host are truly delighted to be celebrating your special event -- or life in general! Nifty art, including great neon pieces.

                                                          1. re: dimsumdoll

                                                            The Green Emporium is no longer in business. The building is for sale and the restaurant is closed, though I think Tony and Michael may open it up for weddings and similar private functions.

                                                        2. essex ct. very cute Town on the ct river. I like the wine bar at the Griswold Inn

                                                          1. Gotta do the Griswold just because.

                                                            Haven't been up that way in awhile, but is the Copper Beech Inn still doing well? Had one of my first best meals there in the early 90s.

                                                            1. copper beech still on mark - -they just opened a more casual bistro on the premises too. Haven't been yet hear it's good.

                                                              1. Outpost Farm, 216 Prentice, Holliston, MA 01746, SuperPages.com

                                                                Seriously, if you're driving up and are into some downhome food, this place is fantastic. Not a fancy restaurant but the food is incredible. Pick up some sandwhiches and picnic along the road.

                                                                1. Mystic, CT. you can eat in town at Bravo Bravo, or go up to Ledyard and eat at Stonecroft Inn.

                                                                  1. I would recommend the Quiet Corner of Connecticut. They have beautiful roads that meander over rivers and hills and pass by old farms. It's closer than you think. I would start off 1-84 and Mass Pike. (sturbridge, MA area) It's only 2 1/2 miles from the city. There are several b&b's that come to mind. Yankee Cricket,(remote off of rt. 20 in Brimfield near the Antique Fields, Publick House off Rt. 131has an old restaurant similar to the Griswold Inn in Essex or the Vienna House Restaurant & Inn on Rt. 131. It's in town and has a great german restaurant on site. From there head to route 169 and find all sorts of little B & B's in the area of Connecticut. I would call the "Last Green Valley" in Putnam?

                                                                    You'll not have to forget the Roseland Cottage and Vanilla Bean for Lunch! Bon Voyage!

                                                                    1. Kent Falls, Cornwall, north of the madness up route 7. The reverberation of a hog through the covered wooden bridge in Cornwall is a lifetime must. Separately, Thorton Wilder was my neighbor in Hamden Ct his last 20 years.

                                                                      1. What about The Golden Lamb Buttery in Brooklyn? When I was in school in CT that was a gorgeous place to roadtrip to.

                                                                        1. I recommend taking a leisurely ride up to The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. An Autumn ride up to New Marlborough, Mass would bring you to The Old Inn On The Green which has world class dining and lodging. From there you could go anywhere in The Berks and find great roads and restaurants to try. By the way the chef/owner of The Old Inn is Peter Platt who used to be the executive chef at Wheatleigh in Lenox.

                                                                          1. manchester, VT. Why do the equinox when there are so many b&b's. or do the equinox. Some excellent meals from classic French, new american, casual pub, etc. I had the best french toast extravaganza at this little breakfast place (ten tables tops). I can't remember the name, but it was the best breakfast I ever had.

                                                                            okay - i went to google. 'Little Rooster Cafe '

                                                                            unbelievable food

                                                                            Outlets galore

                                                                            1. I'd recommend Quechee and Woodstock, VT. Simon Pearce in Quechee is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. Plenty of other good food all around the area, and the Bakers Store at King Arthur Flour in Norwich VT is a fun stop.

                                                                              I wouldn't necessarily recommend this trip in February on a motorcycle, though. It's been delow zero every morning here for about three weeks!

                                                                              1. I know folks are probably going to tell me that it's not north or west enough, or not picturesque enough, but how about J's restaurant at the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, MA?

                                                                                I grew up in Bolton, and worked at the Winery as a kid -- very picturesque in terms of the orchard, and of the surrounding trees, etc...

                                                                                1. Francine Bistro in the village, Camden Maine. Unbelievable food, scenery, musuems, art shops, everything! Check out the reviews on trip advisor, that's how we found it. It is incredible.