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Feb 22, 2008 12:27 PM

gastronomic tour tips please

Dear all

Travelling to Boston from New York in late September and whilst will spend a few nights in each I am wondering about either touring around between the two or heading out of Boston for a week or so after weekend of 26th/27th. Have never travelled out of either city before, so wondering where to track down the best chow in New England/Mass, while taking in some great scenery and a relaxed atmosphere

So, what would be best from a Chow perspective, at that time of year ? Recs on places to eat ( towns and establishemnts ), what to eat ( seafood and Italian being particular favourites ), places with great views even ( or especially ) in Autumn and any touring tips or suggested itineraries would be most welcome.

I usually enjoy places which are not stuffy ( unless they are outstanding ) and will avoid touristy places unless there is an exceptionally good reason for going. Am also considering travelling around by train, unless that will make seeing what should be seen, and eating what should be eaten impossible in the week or so we will have.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give

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  1. You may want to consider a trip to Westport, MA. Westport Rivers Winery could be harvesting and producing at that time. Also they own Buzzards Bay Brewing. The scenery in that area is fantastic.Great bike touring too The perfect nightcap-a sunset dinner at The Back Eddy and stay over at Lizzy Bordens house.You are near Newport, Providence, Cape Cod and Battleship Cove. You are in the New Bedford/Fall River area, home to the best Portuguese food in New England.

    3 Replies
    1. re: trufflehound

      Were you to visit Westport, there's no way you'd want to miss Butler's Colonial Donut House, an adorable little donut shop with the best fresh whipped cream filled donuts imaginable. Phenomenal apple fritters too.

      1. re: celeriac

        Thanks for those tips. Am also thinking of trying to get up to either the White Mountains or Acadia National Park. Any views or recs in these areas for late Sept/early Oct ?

        1. re: willowan

          I love both Acadia and the White Mountains in late Sept/early Oct. If you're looking for foliage, I think the Whites would have more (also bigger crowds around Columbus Day -- avoid that weekend or get reservations early).

          In the Whites, I like the North Conway area. I used to rent a winter place there, although I haven't been in a few years. I used to like Wilcat Tavern, 1785 Inn and Bernerhof Inn, among others. You can look for places at

    2. My friends and I very much enjoyed the Michelle Topor's culinary tour of Boston's North End (Italian). Well worth the money for the interesting historical info plus all the goodies, like the pastry tasting at the bakery. I can't remember which restaurant we ate in later but for lunch I would like to return to the little grocery/deli that made their own sandwiches.
      Wandering around Maine in search of the best lobster is a great idea. Some lobster shacks are still open but weekends only until Columbus day.
      If you decide to come up to NH, Gould Hill Orchard in Hopkinton NH (off Rt 89, west of Concord) grows a large variety of apples including some old varieties. The orchard might not be around much longer since the owner wants to sell. Very nice views from there, too. If you get sunny, warm weather I would also eat my fill of homemade ice cream while it was still available. There's Arnie's in Concord, Merrivale on Rt 3A in Hooksett, etc. Closer to the White Mountains is Sandwich Dairy (an adventure to find, sells small cartons and cheese self-serve/honor system) in Sandwich NH (slightly NW of Lake Winnipesaukee). We like the Red Hill Dairy lobster rolls and onion rings but it's just a small take-out place in Moultonboro/Center Harbor area.
      BTW a couple of years ago Chowhounds sent us to a wonderful Italian restaurant when we visited and needed a place near the racetrack outside Boston for a Circle du Soleil production. My friends who have been to Italy and love Italian restaurants thought it was the best restaurant they had ever eaten at. Small place and not busy the night we went. The name ??? It began with a Z. Zaffir ... Zatar ...? It was near a T station.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dfrostnh

        Probably was Zaffereno's, but unfortunately they have closed.

        1. re: gilliano

          Yes, it was Zaffereno's. What a shame. It wasn't crowded when we were there on a Saturday night in October 2006 which really surprised us as we thought it was a great restaurant.

      2. I agree that Westport MA is a great place- in addition to the winery and Back Eddy -Horseneck Beach is there- beautiful beach to walk on even if it is not beach weather.
        Another place that has a beautfiul beach as well as wonderful places to eat with views is Ogunquit Maine. You can get there in about 1 1/2 hours from Boston- day trip is easy enough or stay over. MC Perkins Cove is a wonderful restaurant with a great view- owned by owners of Arrows- a fabulous place in an old farm house but very expensive and probably what you would consider stuffy.
        Also in Ogunquit is Barnicle Billy's for lobster, chowder etc. - very casual- sit outside on the deck ovelooking the Cove.

        1. September is not truly Autumn, but it is a great time to visit New England. The weather is great--NO BUGS--with low humidity and moderate temps. Traveling by train will certainly limit your mobility--better to rent a car. I'm partial to Monhegan Island, Rockland and Camden in Maine, Block Island, Newport and Watch Hill in Rhode Island, and the lakes and mountains of New Hampshire. Better if you narrow it down, because there are great dining options in all.

          2 Replies
          1. re: whs

            Provisional plan is now to try to do a ( kind of loop) up to White Mountains, across to Portland for a night and then over tp Acadia for a few days. We have six or seven days to play with. Does this sound feasible ? Any recs on good places to both stay and eat, or any alternative routes for the committed Chowhounder !?

            1. re: willowan

              From Boston, drive up to the White Mountains with a stop for lunch at Lake Winnipesaukee. In Meredith, Town Docks is a casual outdoor place right on the water. The Inn at Church Landing has a lovely dining room with lake views. In the White Mountains, my favorite place to stay is the Notchland Inn, a historic b&b in Crawford Notch with fine meals. Their swimming hole is one of the most beautiful spots in the world. This places you between Mt. Washington and natural wonders, and the outlet shopping madness of North Conway. NC has many good food choices, from American Flatbread Co to Maestro for Italian. From there, on to Portland, which is a food destination in its own right. Scan this board for much debate about the merits of Fore Street, 555, DuckFat, Hugo's, etc. From Portland, it's a 3 hour hike up to Acadia National Park. I'm not that familiar with Bar Harbor and Mt. Desert Island (lots of discussion here--look at old posts), but if you get up to the Schoodic Peninsula (the northern arm of Acadia Park), you must try Chase's in Winter Park, an old diner with great chowder, crab rolls and pies. Nothing to look at, but lots of local flavah. Have fun!

          2. If chow is your main goal, spend a day or so in Providence RI. We have a wonderful dining scene. We have a few wine trails in the area (eastern CT, western CT and southeastern MA/RI shore) ....let me know if these interest you and I'll give you more specific info.

            6 Replies
            1. re: JaneRI

              These may be of definite interest, but where would that fit into my loop from Boston - apologies but i am in the UK so the geography is becoming a blur !

              At the moment I have two alternative itineraries in my mind. The first is recommended by Trailfinders, as follows

              1- Drive North from Boston to ? Brisbee harbour ? Cod Cove Inn ? 1 night
              - Drive to Moose Head lake for a night or two. Stay/Eat ? Where ?
              - Drive to north of White Mountains for a night . Stay Golbourne ?
              - Drive to Cape Cod and stay ? Sandwich/Falmouth/Provincetown. 3 nights ?

              2 - kind of devised or sketched out by myself
              - Drive to White Mountains via Conneticut River Valley road for a couple of nights
              - Possibly drive from there up to Moosehead ? ( only added in as Trailfinders say it is stunning )
              - Or head over to Portland for a night
              - Then head to Acadia for a couple of nights
              - Could reverse the last two so Moosehead- Acadia- Portland ?
              Am looking for great chow, stunning scenery while I am enjoynig my beer and decent places to stay - Have approx one week to play with and will fly home out of Boston.

              All views on how best to plan/ which sounds best itinerary for late Sept and where the best Chow is at would be very welcome ! If there is a good loop also including RI and some wine tasting, I'm all for that too but dont want to spend all day every day in the hire car !

              1. re: willowan

                I'm not much help with Maine, haven't spent much time there. The wine trails I'm talking about are RI/MA....could be incorporated w/Cape Cod. The two CT ones would both be between NYC and Boston. You could easily hit a couple on your way up by taking a scenic route rather than the freeway. Come back and post and ask for specifics, or check out

                1. re: willowan

                  Hi- you are in the UK- Is this your first trip to this area? Do you want to see a lot by traveling in the car or get to know a couple of places well? There are some really fine food destinations between NY and Boston along the coast line, which might include the Connecticut shore line, Rhode Island, Cape Cod and even one of the islands.

                  1. re: mvi


                    I am only familiar with Boston and New York as cities. Will be flying into New York on 22 or 23 Sept , 3 nights there then three nights in Boston as have managed to get Red Sox yankees tickets ( Great excuse for a trip !). Plan was to get train from NYC to Boston to avoid having to drive out of Manhattan and then see some of the countryside for a week afterward . After consulting various guidebooks the White Mountains, Acadia and Cape Cod all come out as must sees but only have seven or eight days ! As with most chowhounders am looking to escape overly toursity places so originally plumped for White Mountains/Portland/ Acadia but now am told must go to theCape/ M Vineyard/Nantucket if in the area. As I love seafood and it may be quieter/relaxing that ime of year aam now thinking of how I can get the best of all worlds in terms of scenery, places to stay and food ... Help !

                    1. re: willowan

                      Whoa- How did you score those tickets? We'll have to include the whole Fenway Park area now for game time.

                      1. re: mvi

                        Any help you can give will be much appreciated ! Got Sox tickets via Red Sox nation and three hours on the internet in a waiting room . Am off to Japan to see opening game this year, so couldnt believe my luck to get Sox/ Yankees tickets in final weekend of regular season too. Always struggle to get good food near Fenway so any help on that score would be great !