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May 1, 2007 07:21 AM


I’m planning a trip to the Upper Valley later this month and was hoping that I could get some updated information on the following restaurants:

Peyton Place, Orford, NH – Has anyone been recently? I was there many years ago and found the atmosphere and cuisine delightful.

Stone Soup, Strafford, VT – I understand it’s for sale. Is the food still good?

Perfect Pear, Bradford, VT – New owners from what I understand. Should we make a reservation?

Carpenter & Main – Norwich, VT – Did the long-time chef leave recently? I notice that they do not have a functioning web site.

Fairlee Diner, Fairlee, VT – Is this a good breakfast spot?

Many thanks for all of your feedback.

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  1. Better breakfast spots in this area are Miss Lyndonville Diner in Lyndonville and P&H in Wells River.

    1. I can't comment on the places you list. However, for many years, on our way up to Canada, we have stopped overnight annually in St. Johnsbury. Finding good spots for dinner in town was a lost cause until a few years ago when Elements opened in a converted mill. Delicious New American cuisine, friendly service, and very nice ambiance. When the weather is conducive, you can dine on the outdoor terrace.

      1. My wife and I moved to Newbury, VT, not far from the various restaurants you mention about 18 months ago. We have been several times to the Perfect Pair, and it has been spotty. At times, excellent and romantic, with nice outdoor seating if weather permits, good wine/beer, and excellent dinner and desert. At other times, perhaps, if I recall correctly, during the week as opposed to peak days like Friday and Saturday, it has been mediocre -- food less nicely presented, and less tasteful. I do not know if we have been since the new owners took over, so I cannot comment on that.

        We do have some recommendations however, as long as you are in the Upper Valley. Try Peyton Place, one of the locations you mentioned, for a more traditional French dinner in a very small farm house atmosphere. We had our wedding rehersal dinner there and very much enjoyed the food and the style of the woman and man who own and run the place. I would recommend that more strongly than Perfect Pear.

        For rather good Italian food, Colatina Exit in downtown Bradford is worth trying. It has a pub atmosphere, which is good or bad depending on your taste and style, and great brick oven pizza and very respectable pasta dishes. Nothing over the top, not North End Boston, but respectable. Worth a visit.

        We have eaten at Carpenter & Main, probably about 12 months ago. Nice romantic meal, good service, quiet atmosphere. Not sure how to provide more details since my memory is a bit vague.

        You might try Lou's in downtown Hanover for simple, fun, crowded breakfast food and donuts and coffee.

        Hope this is helpful.

        1. I rather like the Fairlee Diner. Good home fries, and I've had some really good pancakes and waffles there.

          It's been a bit over a year since my last visit to Peyton Place, but the several times I've been it was very good.

          Haven't been to any of the other places since they changed owners, although I haven't heard any negative comments, either.

          Since you're in the northern Upper Valley for your visit, Isabelle's in Thetford is pretty good as well, make sure you try the cinnamon rolls.

          Check out for reviews as well (they tend to be diner reviews, however).

          1. Hi hdb
            Our favorite place up here for dinner is Parker House Inn in Quechee - can't beat their seafood and the porch overlooking the river could not be more beautifu and the owners are so nice Simon Pearce is great for lunch. I've heard nice things about peyton place as well but have not been yet.
            Dana's by the gorge is also one of our favorites for breakfast.
            We tend to stay away from the places in transition because the experience can be spotty on service and food.