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August trip through New England...looking for suggestions.

j
JDog12 Mar 27, 2011 07:06 PM

My girlfriend and I are going to be traveling around New England for a couple of weeks in August. We'll be starting in West Hartford and heading to Portland, ME for 3 or 4 days...possibly stopping in Portsmouth, NH on the way (want to hit the Portsmouth Brewery). We'll then be heading to Montreal for another 3 or 4 days, then head back to CT via VT (will stop for a few nights if there are any strongly recommended locations). We tend to be rather casual, but love to find great food wherever we go (and great beer!). We're extremely familiar with restaurants in CT and the Boston area, but haven't spent much time in northern New England.

Any suggestions (money is not an issue) regarding recommended potential stops along the way would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

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Portsmouth Brewery
56 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

  1. s
    solargarlic Mar 27, 2011 07:25 PM

    I live in NH and I am jealous that you are going to Portsmouth Brewery! I think you should check out Smuttynose while you are there too. Further west, near Manchester, is the White Birch brewery. They have just finished work on a store front, and I think it would be worth a stop on your way through. (If you can't, just be sure to find some while in NH since it's not available in CT) When I head out towards Portsmouth, I love getting seafood by the beach at a place like Petey's in Rye. That stretch of coastline is beautiful, so it's worth driving for awhile along Rt. 1. I know there will be others with great seafood options though. Portland has been discussed so many times on this board - there are plenty of suggestions already in the archives. No shortage of great beer up there either.

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    Portsmouth Brewery
    56 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

    1 Reply
    1. re: solargarlic
      s
      shaebones Mar 27, 2011 11:19 PM

      I enthusiastically second Petey's and the beautiful ride to get there. The broiled haddock is out of this world and they have the best cole slaw. We go there often and its an hour away from home.

    2. l
      lucywellington Mar 27, 2011 08:08 PM

      Thinking of the most common routes you'll probably take, I recommend stops at:
      - Rein's Deli off I-84 in Vernon CT (this is probably close enough for you to visit from W Hartford anyway)
      - Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier near Kittery ME off I-95
      - Standard Baking Co, Portland ME
      - St. Viateur Bagel, Montreal
      - Bilboquet (sorbet), Montreal
      - Noodle Factory (homemade noodles & dumplings), Montreal
      - Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury VT off I-89
      - Simon Pearce restaurant in Quechee VT off I-89
      - Mocha Joes Cafe in Brattleboro VT off I-91

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      Standard Baking Co
      75 Commercial St, Portland, ME

      Mocha Joe's
      82 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301

      Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier
      16 Chauncey Creek Rd, Kittery Point, ME 03905

      Simon Pearce Restaurant
      1760 Quechee Main St., Quechee, VT 05059

      1 Reply
      1. re: lucywellington
        Morganna Mar 28, 2011 09:30 AM

        I strongly recommend a stayover in Central Vermont. There's a lot of lovely places to stay in the Stowe area, and Hen of the Wood (just off exit 10 on I-89) is one of the best (if not the best) restaurants in Vermont. There are also some other grand places to eat and places to see in the immediate area. Including some brewerys and brew-pubs.

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        Hen of the Wood
        92 Stowe St Ste 1, Waterbury, VT 05676

      2. Moedelestrie Mar 27, 2011 08:08 PM

        I would suggest the Tomifobia Restaurant on the Quebec side of the Beebe. The menu is somewhat limited but whether you chose the crepes, pasta or the Stanstead rabbit I don't think you will be disappointed. I know it is 300 yards north of New England but sometimes you just have to deviate from your parameters. The menu and the descriptions are available on line and if the weather is nice the back porch is wonderful.
        On your way to Montreal you might also want to stop at La Station Frommagerie near Compton and pick up some of their raclette which I would rate as one of the best cheeses on this planet. There is a great bakery in Compton and the strawberries and blueberries can make for delightful dining.
        I would suggest that for a truly casual but ethereal experience a stop in Coaticook at the dairy where you might pick up ice cream (I suggest maple walnut) and sit out front and watch the world go by. Then pick up some fresh cheese curds and go to the park and take a hike over the suspension bridge.
        Vermont's Northeast Kingdom and the eastern townships in Quebec in August are a visual and culinary marvel. Quebec has some wonderful beers as well but if you have a chance the ice ciders should be sampled. On your way to Montreal the Chambly Brewery produces a number of superb brews.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Moedelestrie
          c
          crawfish Apr 14, 2011 09:16 AM

          What a great post, Moedelestrie! I drive through this area every year on our way to Maine from Toronto. I can't wait to stop for ice cream in Coaticoke this summer and walk the bridge. Thank you!

        2. MidCoastMaineiac Mar 28, 2011 07:01 AM

          You only add approx. 3 hours to your entire trip if you go to Quebec City and then come back via Montreal thru VT back to CT. One big loop. And Quebec City is a fantastic foodie destination. Just a thought.

          5 Replies
          1. re: MidCoastMaineiac
            Moedelestrie Mar 28, 2011 07:42 AM

            I agree wholeheartedly but August and Quebec City being wonderful year round L'Estrie and Ile D'Orleans just scream for attention. Fresh berries, great hospitality, fine baking and artisan cheese just scream August. The gorge in Coaticook and Coaticook icecream it just doesn't get any better than that and Sherbrooke's farmer's market and great restaurants put Montreal and Quebec City to shame in August speaking as a Montreal foodie.
            One of the things that one might consider for August is a trip around Lake Memphremagog where given the right food and beverages a sighting of Memphrie might not be a remote possibility especially after the mead, cheese and fruit at the Abbey (Saint Benoit sur Lac incredible cheese)..

            1. re: Moedelestrie
              p
              Point Oct 12, 2011 04:52 PM

              Moe, do you have any problem taking Canadian produce like the Abbey's cheese and fruit into the US when you drive around the lake? We're in Montreal now and don't want to find out that Russet apples or raw-milk cheese we buy will just be confiscated on the way back in to the US. Any suggestions?

              1. re: Point
                Moedelestrie Oct 12, 2011 08:19 PM

                I don't seem to have any problems. Actually a lot of Vermonters shop here in Stanstead despite the excellent cheeses and meat available in Vermont some things in Quebec are just better. We can pick up raw milk in Vermont and bring it into Quebec but it is illegal to sell it here. Things like citrus fruit and tropical fruits are illegal without licence and inspection.
                All that said the Border guards really are a law unto themselves and can make life difficult if they chose but that is a rare occurrence my wife and I have had very few problems.
                Fruits and vegetables grown in Canada are permissible except possibly potatoes from certain western regions when there is a disease outbreak )(make sure you have something that says product of Canada for the russets. All Canadian dairy products are permissible except if they have imported meat in them. Meat and poultry is fine as well. Just don't bring Cuban cigars they are a no no. I think that if you can clearly identify every food item you bring across as a product of Canada you should have no problems. Raw milk cheese is legal you just can't sell it.

                1. re: Moedelestrie
                  p
                  Point Oct 21, 2011 05:31 AM

                  Thank you so much. For completeness I declared the bread, cheese, wine, and apples but the guy was interested in tomatoes, which we didn't have. He waved us right through. I've only got a couple of apples left.

                  1. re: Point
                    Moedelestrie Oct 21, 2011 07:12 AM

                    So glad things went well. Speaking of apples I was in the midwst when people suddenly wanted Honeycrisps and after having some I could not figure out the big fuss. I now know because I guess this is a vintage Honeycrisp year in our area. They are the size of grapefruit, crisp and juicy an amazing apple. I imagine the apples on the Vermont side of the Northern Kingdom are equally fantastic.
                    Thanks for the heads up on tomatoes must look into it.

          2. invinotheresverde Mar 28, 2011 09:53 AM

            I'm not familiar with the Northern New England dining scene, but wanted to mention that last time I was at Portsmouth Brewery, the downstairs bartender made me a ridiculous eucalytus cocktail. It was delicious and gin-based, if I recall (this was after a couple pints, so I don't actually recall all that well). ;) It's a must try.

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            Portsmouth Brewery
            56 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

            1. RC51Mike Mar 28, 2011 11:33 AM

              In Burlington, Vt my wife had an outrageous eggs Benedict pizza at American Flatbread. They are also a brewpub with good beers. In nearby Waterbury, The Alchemist is an absolute must stop. Stay at the Old Stagecoach Inn a couple blocks away. Also in town is Black Back Pub, a tiny little bar with outstanding beers. Same town as Hen of the Wood but we're more beer centric. Buy some bread at Red Hen Baking then head down to King Arthur flour to the bakery and cafe and buy some sacks of flour.

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              Hen of the Wood
              92 Stowe St Ste 1, Waterbury, VT 05676

              American Flatbread
              46 Lareau Rd, Waitsfield, VT 05673

              1. whs Mar 31, 2011 03:15 PM

                Pretty wide-ranging itinerary. If you're in the White Mountains, here are a couple of suggestions for accommodations and dining:
                http://sugarhillinn.com/the-culinary-experience/
                http://www.notchland.com/countryinndining.html
                Near Portsmouth NH in New Castle, a pleasant place to watch the sunset:
                http://www.wentworth.com/dining/latitudes-waterfront-dining.aspx
                New Hampshire is pretty casual; even though these are considered "fine" dining places, jeans are OK in all of them. For beer, try the Woodstock (NH) Inn and Brewery: http://www.woodstockinnbrewery.com/ho...

                1. j
                  jackattack Apr 15, 2011 03:47 PM

                  Eat........................ice cream.................daily.

                  (Or twice a day like me.)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jackattack
                    p
                    pluot Apr 15, 2011 09:51 PM

                    Mr Jack speaks the truth. There's a reason why New Englanders eat the most ice cream per capita.

                  2. s
                    susan moira Apr 18, 2011 07:10 AM

                    I am from Burlington, Vermont. I also agree with the post about stopping at Rein's deli off 84 in CT since the Jewish food is amazing and I am a Jew from New Jersey. But do stop in Burlington and try any of our amazing cafes such as August First off Main for thier Hungarian Sweet Rolls with Walnut Merengue, try Nunyun's Cafe for the lemon bars if he has them or anything he makes since he makes something new and delish every day, try Panadero's for thier fruit tarts;I love the blueberry and the tart cherry, and of course Mirabelle's for anything your heart desires. We have bakeries with bread to rival any major city so try Aug. 1st, and a few bakeries on Pine Street including Great Harvest for free samples and a bagel maker who makes Montreal style bagels called Meyer's. Don't leave without trying the Skinny Pancake at the bottom of Main near Echo at the water front since they have great beer on tap, a wonderful casual atmosphere and great crepes of all kinds with all local ingredients. I could go on and on but to stop me please try Burlington!! You won't want to leave.

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                    Panadero
                    203 N Winooski Ave, Burlington, VT

                    Skinny Pancake
                    60 Lake St Ste 1A, Burlington, VT 05401

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: susan moira
                      b
                      bobbert Apr 19, 2011 09:34 AM

                      I too love Rein's but the OP lives just down the road so I'm sure it's a pass on that one. Actually, for anyone coming this way from the New York metro area - you probably have better (or at least as good) deli where you live. It's like recommending a good NY lobster place to someone driving in from Maine. On the other hand, when a former New Yorker heads that way from Northern New England, Rein's becomes a must stop. Check out some of the Portland threads on where to eat during your three days here. There are so many great places. I go out about once a week and I still have a good size list of restaurants in town that I haven't made it to. What kind of budget are you looking at while in Portland? That can make a huge difference on where we send you and, are you looking for the more traditional NE fare, or just great food in general?

                    2. m
                      MsMonet Jun 2, 2011 02:48 PM

                      I live in Burlington VT (stay tuned for those recommendations), but just returned from Portland. Had a knocked-out dinner at Emilitsa, thanks to Chowhound recs for Portland. We ordered a sampler of dips with pita to start. I had a delicious Greek red, and a braised lamb dish that melted in my mouth. (Decide what you want to order, then ask server for a recommended pairing; our server was very knowlegeable and make the perfect choice for me.) My friend had a grilled fish, also outstanding. We were too full for a dessert. It's a favorite of many locals and started filling up around 8pm on a weeknight. We arrived around 6:30 and had no trouble being seated.

                      In Burlington, I strongly recommend American Flatbread. This is the brew pub the home brewers prefer - a huge selection of outstanding zero gravity brews, plus many others from around the region. In addition, wood-fired oven flatbreads, crispy crispy crusted, and topped with locally sourced ingredients. The lamb sausage and herbs is our favorite. Specials every night. Great ambiance. No reservations; they'll give you a blinking plastic pizza slice gizmo to let you know when your table is up. Have another pint in the meantime.

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                      American Flatbread
                      46 Lareau Rd, Waitsfield, VT 05673

                      1. i
                        IronStomach Aug 14, 2011 08:28 PM

                        Have you gone on your trip yet? If not, don't miss Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal. The food is fresh and delicious. They offer almost everything that has to do with a pig, including Roasted Pig's Head for 2. Their Duck in a Can is a classic, and they serve up many, many variations of foie gras. Stay away from the pricy ingredients and you can have a delicious meal at a reasonable price. Ah, but you are in Montreal, live a little...

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                        Au Pied de Cochon
                        536 Avenue Duluth Est, Montreal, QC H2L 1A9, CA

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