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Springfield Vt and surrounding area...What to eat?

My husband and I are taking a trip to Springfield VT mid August and wanted some suggestions on where to eat...also we are driving up from Philly...are there any good places to stop along the way? Does VT have a specialty or regional food we shouldn't miss? I dont know much about the area and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Thanks in advance!

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  1. Springfield is a very gritty down-on-its-luck factory town, and you are not going to find much worthwhile for dining choices there. Most of the factories have long ago closed, and the town's downtown centerpiece, the old movie theater, was torched by a teenage arsonist last month.

    You would be better off stopping for dinner in Brattleboro, 30 minutes before Springfield, or Quechee/Woodstock, 30 minutes past Springfield. Plug in those towns in this board's search mechanism and many, many high quality choices will pop up.

    1 Reply
    1. re: signothetimes53

      Wow...Well thanks for the advice and I will def check out other cities for places to eat!

    2. The only thing that I can recommend with any certainty is the Springfield Royal Diner (....and Corvette Musuem!) This is a classic old-school diner that actually serves that endangered species; real hash browns! http://springfieldroyaldiner.com/

      As signothetimes53 stated my sense is that you'll have to travel a bit for Chowish options. In addition to VT, there are probably some good options across the CT River in the Claremont/Lebanon, NH area. Hopefully, our #1 radio personality of the Boston board, Joanie, will weigh-in at some point. She being a Springfield girl, born & raised.

      Harp

      19 Replies
      1. re: Harp00n

        Sadly, the Springfield Royal Diner has been closed for some time now...

        1. re: Bri

          Yeah, "thanks" for that news Bri!
          I just looked it up on the web and they closed their doors on 08/12/07. The decor was a bit kitschy but they did serve very solid road food. I normally stopped by whilst on my bi-annual fishing safaris to the Black River but this past Fall & Spring I opted for Key West & Colorado instead. The death of any good diner is a sad thing indeed and hopefully someone will revive it. Not to harangue, but the last thing we need in another bastion of Fast Food Nation filling its void.

          Harp

          1. re: Harp00n

            I totally agree and was so disappointed when Bruno and I drove up and saw the sign. We're big diner fans and were so sad to see a good diner close (if not for the real hash browns alone).

            1. re: Harp00n

              My father is a business associate/turned friend of the owner, and my step-mother got a part time job tending their bar through that. I found the food to be hit or miss, sometimes I'd get really great diner fare, other times the cook couldn't get an order right if his life depended on it.I only make it up that way once every 2-3 months or so to visit my dad so I didn't see a lot of the decline firsthand. The Royal Diner is an especially sad story as it was the town itself that killed it. Basically 2-3 cops would sit across from the diner at night in the bays of the car wash across the street. Then it got worse and cops started walking through the bar harassing patrons during the nights the diner brought in bands. Basically, people stopped going and he was bleeding money from it. Way to go Springfield, no wonder your town is dead.

              1. re: Whydon

                Thanks for the post Whydon.
                That's a very sad bio for the town, whether its springs from political correctness run amok, small town revenue enhancement schemes or Barney Phyfe cowboy-cop syndrome.

                Harp

                1. re: Whydon

                  I'm not surprised by your report, Whydon.

                  I lived in Springfield 35 years ago, and my father was a graduate of Springfield High School back in the mid-1940s, so my roots go back a long way there. In the early 70s, the town was beginning its death spiral then as the machine tool factories downsized and closed....and the police back then acted similarly at local places that might serve alcohol. I don't begrudge police using appropriate enforcement, but you can tell the difference between proper enforcement, and revenue enhancement and harassment. Springfield's police have a reputation for the latter that is well-earned.

                  I had forgotten the RD had closed a year ago or so, but I remember it fondly. Springfield may be Vermont's biggest basket case town, there's almost nothing left there that would make people want to stay there, tourists or residents. The residents who ARE there are mostly just trapped, can't get out.

                  1. re: signothetimes53

                    Wow...Im rethinking my trip...is the city really that bad? If so, what is there to do near springfield that isnt so bad? We planned on flyfishing, hiking, etc but really wanted to find some cool little stops w/ super fresh food and really good cheese, etc? Is there anything like this anywhere in the vicinity?

                    1. re: bythebayov

                      There must be some reason why you picked Springfield, can you talk about it so that we might understand your interests better? The choice of Springfield absolutely baffles me, because Vermont has so many great places to visit, and Springfield simply has nothing to offer for the tourist. And it's not a "city", it's a town, population roughly 6,000.

                      You don't have to travel far from Springfield to find good food and good accommodations. For instance, a 15 minute ride west of Springfield is the village of Chester, filled with lovely B&Bs.

                      1. re: signothetimes53

                        Well, one reason to stay might be cheap motel/hotel rates simply because it's NOT a tourist hot spot. Though they did get the Simpson's movie premiere to be there! :) It is close enough to plenty of lovely stuff. Though nothing in Vermont is really that far from fly fishing, hiking, camping, etc. :)

                        As for food, I've tried eating there before, as well, and I agree that it's not a good place to find anything worth eating.

                        Another thing to consider is the state park system. Many of the campgrounds have actual cabins now, along with the other amenities, and there's even a bed and breakfast in Groton State Forest (Seyon Lodge, I think it's called, $69 a night for a really nice B&B!!). The prices are very reasonable, the nature is very real and lovely, the parks are well maintained, and there is no dearth of outdoor fun right -there- when you're staying at a park. :)

                        The park system even has a handy online amenities locater:
                        http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/map.cfm

                        Also, lots of the parks are within a reasonable drive of great restaurants. :) Whoo hoo! :)

                        1. re: Morganna

                          wow, that sounds awesome...thnaks so much for the tip :)

                        2. re: signothetimes53

                          My father has a friend that owns a christmas tree farm on the connecticut river. We have a free place to stay there so I thought it would be a nice vacation. (we are also going whitewater rafting in WV (oak hill), going to Philly for a few days then to VT and returning bk to Va). Most of our vacation (4 days) will be spent in VT near Springfield.

                        3. re: bythebayov

                          Springfield is what you make of it. There is good hiking, fishing, etc that is close by. I'm guessing that it is less expensive to stay in Springfield than Chester. Check out VRBO.com and you may be able to find some great deals for country homes instead of a hotel or B&B.

                          1. re: katie78

                            what's the town that was Norman Rockwell's home town? We went there was I was much younger and I really liked it. Are there any good places there? How far from Springfield?
                            Thanks a mil :)

                            1. re: bythebayov

                              Norman Rockwell lived in Stockbridge, Mass for much of his life, not in Vermont. It's a couple hours or more from Springfield VT.

                              Morganna mentioned the movie theater in Springfield where the Simpsons movie had its worldwide premiere....sadly, it was torched by an arsonist last month.

                              You will find plenty of great places to fish, hike, dine around Springfield....you just won't find them in Springfield proper.

                              1. re: signothetimes53

                                Not really signo..,
                                OP is correct, Norman Rockwell lived in Arlington, VT from 1939 till 1953.Some of his most famous and evocative painting came from that time period.There's even a museum in town but not even close to the magnitude of the one in Stockbridge, MA

                                Harp

                                1. re: Harp00n

                                  You're right, I had forgotten about his time in Arlington.

                                  That's about an hour's drive from Springfield...

                                  1. re: Harp00n

                                    There's a Rockwell museum in Killington too. :)

                  2. re: Harp00n

                    Well, here I am after Harp pointed this thread out to me, chowhound's "#1 radio personality" Springfield raised girl, ha ha. I was actually there the last weekend of June (talked into attending my high school reunion) so can give updates.

                    The diner is open again. Not sure if it's the same name, but it's definitely serving food altho the Corvette museum doesn't exist (I don't think). Didn't eat there, had had okay experiences before. Never heard about the police issue, or sadly about the torching of the movie theater. That place has been there forever, I hope they can get it back in working order.

                    There's a cute cafe on Main St. but the owners are moving somewhere and it's up for sale. I hope it can continue, decent baked goods, coffee, sandwiches. The cafe across the street is more of a real restaurant now and I haven't been to it since it changed format. Next door is a cute art/gift store with some decent jewelry and artwork.

                    The Hartness House up the hill does good fine dining and is an inn. McKinley's below Penelope's (next to the theater) has good pub grub. P's is fine but too much $$ for Spfld VT. Speaking of too much money, that Holiday Inn ain't no bargain, $155 for the nite I was up there. But it's a nice hotel, pool, good breakfast.

                    I like the Miss Bellows Falls Diner and Fat Frank's in Bellows Falls, 10 miles south. (Ask Fat Frank's owner for a dog w/ a buttered grilled bun and see how he reacts.) There's a very cute cafe owned by former Ontario people just off Main St. in BF. I also like Allen Farms w/ their wonderful maple frosted cookies and cider donuts, just off the Westminster Exit. There's also a little cafe up Rt. 5 from there (heading toward BF). As mentioned, the Heritage in Charlestown NH just across the river is decent. DJ's in Ludlow is good (wonderful baked stuffed shrimp). There are diners in Chester and Windsor, and the Harpoon brewery is in Windsor. Don't they have some bbq fest in Aug.?

                    That's all I got.

                  3. A great summertime regional specialty you should try is a maple creemee (or creamie or creamee). It's basically maple soft serve ice cream, usually available at most roadside stands. Here's a link to one in Wilmington, VT: http://www.creemeestand.com/

                    And lo and behold, one in Springfield:
                    http://www.yelp.com/biz/country-creem...

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: dukegirl

                      That sounds awesome...will def have to check this out! Thanks for the tip!

                        1. re: trufflehound

                          Hi Truff,
                          I would submit, if you haven't tried them, that Top of The Hill Grill in The Brat blows Curtis's out of the mop sauce, IMO and a lot of other Hounds who've compared them. http://www.topofthehillgrill.com/home/

                          Harp

                          1. re: Harp00n

                            Does Vt really do bbq? I am a little wary of BBQ that far North...live in VA and went to college in NC :) and love bbq so id be down to try it...with an open mind

                            1. re: bythebayov

                              I haven't found any BBQ in Vermont that is superior to what I do on my own smoker on a weekend. However, I haven't made a serious attempt and finding out.

                              Finkerman's in Montpelier was pretty good when it started out, but it quickly became hit or miss (and is now gone). There's a new BBQ place opening in Barre soon, that I'm hoping will be good. The guy has been doing a sort of BBQ catering service for a while, and sells his sauces online (http://edsbarrrbq.com/) but I have no idea if they're really going to be any better at the low and slow pit smoking that I wish I could find locally. :

                              )

                              Even River Run, in Plainfield, doesn't really do pit smoking and there's no real smoke in their BBQ ribs or pulled pork. They do pan smoking on a grill in the kitchen. For all that it's nice and tasty, I can't complain about the pulled pork, though I sometimes think the ribs are too dry...

                          2. re: trufflehound

                            Here's my beef with Cutis' in Putney. I've eaten there several times and have been served jerky-like ribs and hard, dry chicken. This is surely a sign of over-cooking or sitting too long in a warmer, not sure which. Also, we have witnessed him throwing frozen meat right on the grill. Frozen.

                            I don't have any complaints about his sauce, I happen to like a spicy sauce that is vinegar-based and am happy to buy the jarred stuff. But the inconsistency of how well the meat is cooked and the apparent lack of defrosting, makes me pass it up for my own bbq or Top of the Hill.

                            Someone posted on another thread that they ate at the (fairly new) restaurant in Chester and that the meat was moist and tender. That is truly good news. Its also a different guy doing the bbq'ing.

                            1. re: Bri

                              It is his son-in-law that does the cooking in Chester, VT

                              1. re: Bri

                                IAWBri.

                                I never know when I eat at Curtis' BBQ whether I'm going to get "Great Curtis" or "Bad Curtis" BBQ. It's extremely hit or miss. Everything Bri has cited I've also experienced. To the point where I won't go back there anymore, it's so obvious that he'll serve up whatever he has at the moment, good, bad or indifferent, ready or not, overcooked or not.

                                1. re: Bri

                                  I agree that the Chester location is outshining Putney.

                            2. Walpole, NH has Burdick's, which is on the expensive side, but worth it. Also check out Curtis' BBQ in Chester or Putney, VT. For breakfast, I've enjoyed the Heritage Restaurant in Charlestown, NH.

                              3 Replies
                                1. re: bythebayov

                                  Walpole is about 25 minutes south of Springfield. Just cross over into NH and follow Route 12 south. It is a really nice little town with some great architecture on their Common.

                                  Charlestown is 5 to 10 mintues away. Just cross the bridge that brings you over the Connecticut River into Charlestown. Turn right on Route 12 and the Heritage is on your right. On your way, you'll also pass Fort #4, which is a decent way to spend half a day.

                                  You'll see signs to Chester when you're in Springfield...you can't miss the road that brings you into Chester.

                              1. As others have pointed out, Springfield proper will probably leave you hungry. BUT...there are some very good options not far away (within, say a 20-min or half-hour drive).

                                The Old Town Farm Inn in Chester (http://www.otfi.com/Dining1.htm) has a very good Japanese restaurant.

                                The Inn at Weathersfield (http://www.weathersfieldinn.com/webpa...) has some of the best upscale dining in the area. Chef Jason Trostrup has some fine national cred, and is a champion of locally grown foods.

                                And for another BBQ option, Rowell's Inn in Simonsville (http://www.rowellsinn.com/) does it up on Friday and Saturday nights. Looks like they haven't updated the website in quite some time – it's no longer a white-tablecloth place; the atmosphere is low-key, funky and charming, and it's a big fave with the locals. Mike's ribs (St. Louis cut) are soft, tender, falling-off-the bone succulent, and his sauce (available mild or hot) is perfect. There are also other choices on the menu – BBQ boneless chicken thighs, fajitas, tequila shrimp skewers, lamb kebabs, and very good homemade desserts. Can you tell I love the place? My husband and I try to get there every weekend. Best part is that they serve LATE – until 10 PM.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: GG Mora

                                  Speaking of Chester.... is Raspberries and Tyme in the center on the common still in operation ? Used to have quite nice lunches there. Also Baba a Louis Bakery just west on Rte. 11 for fab baked goods and sometimes sandwiches!

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I just remembered ..... Ludlow is west of Springfield on 103... Cappuccino's on Depot St in Ludlow is a pretty nice restaurant. IIRC: nice servers, pretty good food and the drive there is typical VT scenery along the Black River ....
                                    http://www.cappuccinosrestaurant.com/...

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      The Phoenix Cafe, in the same building as Baba a Louie's bakery in Chester serves great lunches. Soups, Sandwiches, and a killer Quesadilla. Lunch for six people was $40. Don't forget to buy bread while you are there. THE BEST BREAD IN VERMONT!

                                      1. re: dharma

                                        Been to Baba Louie's and like their products a lot but not anymore so than Vermont Bread Company's. http://www.baldwinhill.com/home

                                        Harp

                                        -----
                                        Vermont Bread Company
                                        80 Cotton Mill Hlll Rd, Brattleboro, VT 05302

                                        1. re: Harp00n

                                          While not in VT, Stone Arch Bakery in Claremont, NH has some pretty tasty bread.

                                          1. re: katie78

                                            Not on my usual routes of meanderings katie78, but good info for all the Hounds. :-)

                                            Harp

                                    2. re: Gio

                                      Sadly, Raspberries and Thyme is no longer...according to my folks. There is another restaurant in its place - I'm not sure what it's called but I'm sure it's nowhere near the niceness of the former occupant.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        A restaurant is still there but it's not R&T any more.....Pretty much the same feel as R&T but something missing...R&T's Monte Christo was one of the best I've ever had.

                                      2. re: GG Mora

                                        Rowell's sounds like our kinda place...I love fun, funky, different...Thanks for the tip will def check it out as long as it's not too far :)

                                      3. The Putney Inn is not that far from Springfield and last I knew the food was pretty decent but it's been 5 years or so. But I do have friends that have eaten there and enjoyed it.

                                        1. Juniper Hill Inn in Windsor would be a good alternative.

                                          hdb

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: hdb

                                            I have no personal experience there, but my parents had a very nice meal at the Castle near Ludlow 15 minutes away

                                            http://www.castlehillresort.com/wine%...

                                            1. re: negrazer

                                              I would also suggest Juniper Hill Inn in Windsor, or the Windsor Station Pub (under new ownership). While in Windsor you can make a day of it by going to the three museums, visiting the longest two-span covered bridge in the world, traveling the short distance to Cornish, NH to see St Gaudens National Historic Site ( A National Park)..........Rudy