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Oct 18, 2009 09:05 PM

Foodie Family Moving to New England


My husband, myself and our two little girls are moving to New England to be closer to family and we are trying to decide where to move. We currently live in Montana. My husband is a chef so we are looking for a good foodie town that is not too big (boston is too big) and is also outdoorsy, progressive and family-friendly. My family lives in Western Mass and we're open to living up to 3-4 hours away. We have spent the last several years catering for weddings and second home owners and although it's been fun, we are so excited to move to a place with ethnic food, high end restaurants and just lots of options! Thanks so much for taking the time to help us out!

  1. Everytime I visit Burlington, VT, I'm astounded at how truly great the food scene seems to be. Local farms all over the place, and a restaurant scene that shuns chains and places a lot of emphasis on locally-sourced food. Amazing local beer, amazing local cheese... what more could you want?!

    1. Come back to Western Mass! There is now Vietnamese in Amherst, better Mexican than a Yankee has a right to expect on Rt. 9 in Hadley, some of the best beer bars and coffee roasters / espresso bars I've been to anywhere in the world. On the fancy tip, it's mostly upscale French Bistro (Chez Albert, Gypsy Apple, Bistro Le Gras) but it's done well. And there's a local beef burger joint in Northampton that merited a NY Times write-up.

      Burlington is a good town too. Sometimes it snows in June, but otherwise a lovely place.

      6 Replies
      1. re: andytee

        Greenfield, MA seems to have a burgeoning dining scene, with the Peoples' Pint and Hope and Olive leading the way. Are there other places that have opened up in their wake (I am in Boston, so I am not familiar with the daily goings-on).

        Providence is cool but the schools are not great unless you want to shell out $$$ for private school. Food scene in Portland ME is much better than Portsmouth NH, but Portsmouth is a bit closer to Western Mass. (Although, I guess you guys are used to long distances in Montana.)

        1. re: digga

          Hope and Olive is great, People's Pint is very good, there are also a bunch of other good places in Greenfield. Turner's Falls has Ristorante Di Paolo, a great fancy-night-out Italian place, The Rendezvous - a pub with great food, drink, and events, and a new burrito place, Burrito Rojo.

          1. re: andytee

            Don't forget Gypsy Apple in Shelburne Falls.

            1. re: hilltowner

              Gypsy Apple is one of my favorite spots in the valley, only left it off b/c I was responding to the post about Greenfield.

        2. re: andytee

          What/where is the Mexican on Route 9?

          1. re: eleeper

            Mi Tierra - its a bit hard to find because it's set back. The location used to be the Hadley Pub, if that helps. They now have a new bigger sign at the street, it's on your right if you are heading from Amherst to Northampton, and it's between the whole big box mall scene and Rt. 47. Great homeade tortillas, good pork tacos, great shrimp dishes.

            Mi Tierra
            206 Russell St, Hadley, MA 01035

        3. Portland Maine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          4 Replies
            1. re: ciclista

              Probably more ethnic food than Montana, but not by much.

              1. re: the_MU

                Definitely Portland. I'm a foodie transplant from NYC, and I love this place.

                1. re: miradan

                  Also an NYC transplant to Portland and a major foodie. Been here 7 months and NOT disappointed in the food...or the town!

          1. Burlington Vermont gets great ratings on the scale of "great small cities to live in". I highly recommend looking into it.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Morganna

              Consider Concord NH not too much in the way of unusual ethnic but Manchester is close, Portsmouth is less than an hour, Boston is an hour south and The Mountains are only an hour north. Very family friendly. Lots of kayakers and bicyclists. Great apple orchards, etc. Check out the free Hippo Press newspaper. The new Red River Theater. We might not have as many cheese makers as VT but there's more and more emphasis on local food. More people raising local meat and poultry, FRESH seafood available.

              1. re: dfrostnh

                Respectfully disagree - NYC transplants here so our starting point maybe skewed... Concord and the surrounding area is nearly devoid of restaurants that are "foodie" quality. I approximate Boston to the south, Portsmouth/Kittery to the east, Burlington to the North to be a perimeter of sorts.

                In terms of cooking in, there are "hidden" places to find special things, but sourcing items overall is difficult without heading out of Concord.

                Burlington and Portland would be my two suggestions...

                1. re: wongadon

                  Respectful disagreement is good, it brings out a discussion of options. I balanced foodie with family and outdoorsy requirements. Yes, you have to drive to Manchester for a decent variety of ethnic ingredients and better restaurants but on my daily commute to a Concord suburb I pass or am within minutes of several farmstands. Daily availability of fresh corn, local eggs, apples ranks high. Neighbors who make maple syrup, another plus. Outdoorsy family could easily find a home where they could cross country ski from their back door, kayak, fish and hike nearby. Also hope an outdoorsy, foodie family will have their own garden and maybe a 4-H animal projects (Merrimack County has some of the most active 4-H programs in the state.) A local grower has dozens of varieties of heirloom tomato and pepper plants for sale each spring. There's also a good chance new friends/neighbors might share fresh game (we had bear steaks a couple of weeks ago).
                  It's an easy drive to a variety of sources but I still think Concord has a lot to offer where daily eating and family needs are concerned and more to offer an outdoorsy family than many. Providence = better restaurants but skiing isn't as good.

              2. Check out Northhampton, and Great Barrington, Mass.