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Daytrip from Boston?

I just moved to Boston for a new job and am looking for a fun day-trip outside the city for this weekend. I apologize for not doing advanced research but this is a last minute outing and most of my time has been spent unpacking and getting settled in my new job. Does anyone have suggestions for a nice destination that includes good food? maybe within 2-3 hrs of the city? I just found a nice thread from twentyoystahs about heading up to Bar Harbor but I'm afraid that's a little too much driving. I'll have to quote him on what I'm looking for - "good food, served in a casual environment, emphasis on authentic, local cooking. The more history a place has, the better." Nothing too expensive and I have to say I'm willing to give a little on the food if its a really cool place. Thanks in advance...

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    1. This time of year, you can't go wrong going in any direction out of Boston. Here is one trip that I would personally choose over almost any other if you're talking 2-3 hours from Boston:

      The Thompson House Eatery, Jackson, NH. About 2 1/2 to 3 hours from Boston, Jackson is one of the nicest towns in New Hampshire. It's at the base of Mount Washington, so the scenery is fantastic. The Thompson House Eatery is on the village loop, and features such entrees as crab cakes, pork tenerloin, and lamb chops. The atmosphere is pure New England, with a colonial feel to it.

      Other daytrips (including good restaurants) that I would take include Wellfleet on Cape Cod (Duck Creeke Tavern for dinner), Stonington, CT (Noah's), Ogunquit, ME (Bintliff's), and central Mass. (Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield).

      8 Replies
      1. re: hiddenboston

        I think THE is pretty average, actually. And the waitstaff is unbearably slow. That part of NH is gorgeous; it's too bad that Coyote Rose closed down - best option in the area. What about Duck Fat up in Portland?

        1. re: gini

          We were at the THE a few weeks ago and got pretty prompt service. Maybe they were having a good night. ;-b

          To me, it doesn't really matter where you eat in the Jackson area; just being up there is good enough for me. Having said that, some of the other places I like in that area include the Stonehurst Manor and the Moat Mountain Smokehouse (both in North Conway), and the Red Parka (Glen), though I wouldn't classify any of them as a destination spot.

        2. re: hiddenboston

          Bintliff's ? would never go to Ogunquit for that. Ogunquit is 90 miles from Boston. Beautiful place, georgous beach lots of places to eat. For lobster, steamers and chowder, rum punch-sitting out on the deck next the the water- BArnicle Billy's. For excellent food with wonderful ocean view- MCPerkins Cove- eat from the bar menu if you can- less expensive and more consistently good (fish tacos, fried haddock and chips, lobster roll, crab cakes, excellent chopped salad and ceasar salad.
          Another day trip that is wonderful is to Westport MA- about an hour. Visit Westport River Winery for a tasting, see Horseneck beach and eat dinner at Back Eddy on the water.

          1. re: emilief

            A beautiful spot in Ogunquit is the Ogunquit Museum of Art: http://www.ogunquitmuseum.org/ Unlike the rest of the town on a weekend it's not entirely overrun with tourists. The setting is spectacular, just behind Perkins Cove. You could combine it with a trip there, though a caveat: parking is almost impossible on PC on a weekend. We ended up eating at Jackie's Too because it had a private parking spot in front of it, though the $12 lobster roll was not bad.

            1. re: whs

              We have a house in Og and spend most of the sumer there. II am ashamed to say I have forgotten to mention the Museum which is quite lovely. A gem. Jackie's is our very last choice of places to eat in Perkins cove. Both Barnicle Billy's and Billy's etc have free valet parking. Barnicle Billy's etc has a nice menu- in addition to lobster, steamers etc. they have fried fish, clams, shrimp., scallops- also can be broiled; broiled swordfish, hamburgers, fried and grilled chicken, steak etc. Both Billy's have excellent chowder- thin broth and full of clams and potatoes. Some of the food at Jackie's is ok but generally not.

            2. re: emilief

              As an update to this thread I stopped in Barnacle Billy's today. I would not suggest this place to any one. You can get a better lobster roll at McDonalds. Terribly over priced ($18) and tiny portions (4 oz maybe) straight off the back of a Sysco truck. Nothing but a tourist trap.
              Everything I saw was pre fab frozen crap.

              1. re: Docsknotinn

                We were there last night and I had a delicious lobster roll. Very fresh lobster, roll chock full of meat. Don't know where you ate. The chowder, steamers and rum punch were all excellent too. I guess some people have different expectations.

                1. re: emilief

                  At least a dozen people around us were getting lobster rolls and they were all tiny. I guess some might consider 4-6 ounces acceptable for $18. I can honestly say it was THE most over priced and worst lobster roll I have ever had. Full of mayo, celery but no tail meat. The lobster was obviously previously frozen. Maybe the rum punch had you seeing double stuffing? LOL

          2. getting out of boston is one of, perhaps the, best thing about boston. i think going up to the north shore (essex/ipswich/etc.) to get fried clams--a regional thing for sure--is a great idea. along the way, you can stop in at a pick-your-own farm (not sure what is in season at the moment) or farmstand. there's a great bakery, a&j king i think it is, in salem, and there you can check out the essex-peabody museum too. also, you can hit one of the local ice cream options such as richardson's, and play mini-golf. i think this is a great daytrip--we did it ourselves a couple weeks ago and had a great time.

            there's another ice cream/mini-golf place out west of the city somewhere, which i think has better mini-golf than richardson's. the name escapes me, but i found out about it on the board, so if you search you'll find it.

            then there's western mass (amherst, northhampton) and beyond that, the berkshires. i'm not so familiar with the dining scene out in those areas, but they are lovely to drive around. and, if you wait a couple weeks, apples will be in season!

            1 Reply
            1. re: autopi

              The other ice-cream-cum-mini-golf stand is Kimball's in Westford.

            2. A few options for destinations:

              North, 50 minutes - Newburyport/Plum Island - beaches, shopping, dining from clam shack (Bob Lobster) to (relatively) fine dining.

              North, 1:15, Portsmouth NH - A cute little city on the water, shopping, submarines, and many restaurants - I am always there with family (young kids) so my knowledge of fine dining there is limited, but there is a brew-pub that is reasonable.

              North ~2 hours, Portland ME - Another cute small city with a very good market, lots to do and eat.

              West 1-2 hours, Berkshires - farms, hikes, antiques, nice inns.

              South - 1.5 hours - Newport RI - Another nice port city with lots of great restaurants, many options for recreation and overnights. Had a great time one weekend in the admiral farragut inn - hit it off immediately with the concierge who arrange all kinds of great dining opportunities.

              Have fun. It's a great area.

              1 Reply
              1. re: tdaaa

                Reading the original post again, I think I would have to add Fall River as a destination for portugese influences. Its a trip I have been meaning to make myself...

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  I know that Barnacle Billy's gets mixed reviews, but a special day trip that I've done many times is to park at Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, walk along the Marginal Way (spectacular ocean walk) into town, then head back and chill out with some decent seafood at Barnacle Billy's in the cove. Ogunquit is only about an hour and a quarter from the Boston area, so it's an easy day trip. There are several interesting art studios and craft shops in Perkins Cove, too, so if you're into that, it can be a lot of fun wandering around there.

                  1. re: hiddenboston

                    We had a nice meal at MC Perkins Cove the other day. We lke both the food and service there. And the view is great! If you're day tripping and go for lunch, try the (half of a small)lobster with a cuban sandwich.

                    http://www.mcperkinscove.com/

                    1. re: hiddenboston

                      I like the casual B. Billy's very much, in fact. The "higher end" one not so much.

                      The deck is a great place to hang out.