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Friday, September 19, 2008

Getting Into the Fall Spirit at Parker's Maple Barn, Mason, NH


Article and Photo by Eric H., at VisitingNewEngland.com

The journey to Parker's Maple Barn in Mason, NH, is almost as fun as the final destination. Coming from Boston, MA, we eventually leave the Masachusetts to southern New Hampshire urban and suburban madness, once west of Nashua, NH. The roads in quaint towns like Hollis and Brookline feature roll-down-the-car-window fresh air, farm stands with apple picking, serene lakes and ponds, and winding country roads with some of the best fall foliage color in New England. All of this splendid New England scenery just might be the best appetizer to any impending meal.

There's no letdown when arriving at the dirt parking lot at Parker's Maple Barn. The look is classic rustic New Hampshire with a slightly-worn 1800s reconstructed dairy barn and silo housing the restaurant, and a small footbridge leading to the equally rustic Corn Crib Gift Shop specializing in maple products and a great variety of gifts.

Inside the restaurant is equally special with antique cow stantions -- once used when milking cows -- integrated into handmade tables, and "tons of old tools and "doo-dads" (that) adorn our walls and beams," as stated best by the Parker's Web Site.

Parker's features hearty New England breakfasts and lunches with my favorite being the Parker's Special featuring two pancakes, two eggs, bacon, ham and sausage, or all ham, hash, home fries and homemade toast served with Parker's own maple syrup. For lunch, the maple ribs is a fabulous concept that results in a truly memorable, unique taste that requires repeated visits. The roast turkey with stuffing, mashed, potato, gravy and vegetable of the day is also a splendid choice - fresh, tender and possibly the next best thing to a homecooked Thanksgiving meal. The maple baked beans with ham and the chicken pot pie also rank right up there as truly wonderful choices.

Parker's also features great homemade desserts including pies, apple crisp and a terrific Indian pudding. Service is usually quick and rough-around-the-edges personable -- sort of like some diner service.

There's also a sugar house -- open from March until mid-April -- where Parker's makes maple syrup the old-fashioned way, with a wood fire.

Overall, a visit to Parker's Maple Barn is a great way to get into the New England fall spirit. The rural location is beautiful and the regional and traditional food plentiful and the service straight out of your salt--of-the-earth New Hampshire neighbor's dining room. As always, we can hardly wait to return.

Parker's Maple Barn is open from Valentines Day till the weekend before Christmas at 1316 Brookline Rd., Mason, NH. Tel. (603) 832-2308
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