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

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

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  1. 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

      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. 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

        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. 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

          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. 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

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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. 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