Western MA-Berkshires/NH/VT Must Eateries
My wife and I will aimlessly cruising around Western MA, VT and NH for a week in mid-Sept. Any and all recommendations for must eat places will be much appreciated. I know that's a too-broad question, but as yet we have no plans to be anywhere in particular, so if there are experiences we simply must have (food-wise, that is), then we will build our trip around those.
I just got back from a week at Tanglewood in Lenox Ma. Been going there for over 10 years and this year I finally hit a restaurant that was 2 cuts above the average. John Andrews in Egremont (just south of Great Barrington). The chef, Dan Smith creates dishes you will not find anywhere else and which taste and look so wonderful you wish you could have everything on the menu. I had crisp sweetbreads with potato leek cake, tuscan salami bits and capers. Supurb!!! Then for a salad I had the fried oysters which were so light and sweet they almost sang and were joined with baby greens, anchovy mustard vinaigrette and a parmesan crisp. Out of this world!!! and just wait till you get to the entrees (I won't spoil the surprise). This was one of the best and laid back quality restaurants I have visited in many a day. JA is not to be missed if you are within 50 miles of Egremont, MA
I don't know how it is today (as it's been too many years to admit), but the Shady Glen in Turners Falls used to be a good, decent, old fashioned diner. (OK, I'll admit that I used to go there 45 years + when I was a teeny tyke, then ate there later, a couple of times during return trips in adulthood). I'd forgotten the name, but saw it in a search in this website: http://www.turnersfallsriverculture.org/
Would love to hear more recent experiences - if I get out there, I'll be sure to post.
Looks like there's lots of interesting things to do around there, now, too. My favorite route going north from Turners Falls into Vermont was going north on the back roads - always was such a beautiful ride - and there's so much to see in the Berkshires, too.
Be sure to post your experiences later!
since bellows falls has already been mentioned, let me make a pitch for 4 area restaurants:
boccelli's on the canal - bellows falls - italian style trattoria - fresh, local, all good, but try the lobster ravioli. chef owned/operated
leslie's - just north of bf. chef owned/operated for more than 22 years. all good, but check out the rockingham chicken.
saxtons river inn - 5 miles west of bf. gorgeous victorian b & b w/ pub and full restaurant. love it all
walpole inn - 5 miles south of bf on rte 12 in nh. 200+ year old beautifully restored inn. pecan encrusted salmon is always a winner. prime rib to die for.
I just tried Skip's Polish Roadside Diner in Gill, MA. Wonderful little spot and a must. I think they are seasonal, but I think it is through the tourist season.
Another great place is in Windsor called the Windsor Station. It just changed hands and I haven't gotten up to Vermont as much as I wanted this year. Gas prices and rain. Windsor also has the Juniper Hill Inn, which has unbelieveable views and elegance.
In Plainfield,NH - I heard Home Hill Inn just reopened. A real fancy place, french cuisine.
Simon Pearche in Quechee is a must for the ambience.
Joy Wah in Bellows Falls- Great view of the CT. River, great chinese food in my opinion.
Eatons Sugarhouse (for breakfast) in Royalton, VT? or really close by.
My recomendations is go to Windsor as it has a days worth of things to see and do, plus natural areas for hiking, kayaking, fishing, etc.
I just picked up this year a book called "Getaways for Gourmets in the Northeast". "A guide to the best dining in 24 areas appealing to the gourmet in all of us" I highly suggest it. We have been using it quite a bit as it helps with great "foodie" restaurants and nice places to stay. Perhaps your local library can get it for you? It has great white linen tablecloth restaurants as well as local watering holes. Pretty accurate, but as most books do, it may be a hair dated (as some of the restaurants have closed).
Recs from Montpelier to Burlington:
Restaurant Phoebe, Mplr (from 89 take exit 8 through 3 lights, then turn left at the fourth light, that's Main Street. Go to the next light (not the flasher by the fire station) and turn left onto State Street, Restaurant Phoebe is near the information booth at the end of that first block, there's a parking lot on the left near the booth)
Sarducci's, Mplr (from 89 take exit 8 through 3 lights, then turn left at the fourth light, then an immediate right into the Sarducci's parking lot)
Hen of the Woods, Waterbury (if you're heading north on 89, get off exit 10, go right, then right at the light, then it's about a block down on the right, turn left off the exit if you're heading south on 89)
The Cider House, Waterbury (this isn't a "must eat" but it's a decent place, and they serve lunch on Fri and Sat, but not during the week, last I checked)
Trattoria Delia, Burlington
Single Pebble, Burlington (all three are in Downtown Burlington)
I highly recommend heading further up, past Burlington to South Hero and Allenhome Farm. They have pick your own apples from very old, very good trees, their apple pie can't be beat, and it's just a really sweet Vermont destination.
You are right, it is a too broad question! If you are looking for quintessential New England Dining, You might consider the Salem Cross Inn in W. Brookfield, Ma. It's a sprawling farmhouse/tavern with reasonable (imho) priced New England style entrees in a great country atmosphere. They always can accomodate my veggie desires, Love the summer vegetable ratatouille. Mid September (14th?) They do a traditional Drover Roast. Strictly a carnivore's outing, but my friends raved about it. That might be the New England Foodie experience you're looking for.
Mid september will be the begining of Apple picking season. I'd suggest a visit to a local orchard for fresh made cider donuts or apple pie. Hamilton Orchards in New Salem or Atkins Farm in South Amherst are personal favorites, but there are many more local orchards with apple barns & snack bars for a very seasonal New England Experience.