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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Restaurant in the Hood: The Milk Bottle, in Raynham, MA


The Milk Bottle Restaurant in Raynham, MA, is not your typical homogenized, pasteurized restaurant. With a gargantuan milk bottle structure jetting above the trees and no sign out front, the truly unusual-looking Milk Bottle Restaurant stands out as a curiosity to uninitiated drivers passing by and as a wonderful hometown restaurant to the locals.

Open for breakfast and lunch, the Milk Bottle is best known for their delicious omelets, but this diner/restaurant also features a nice variety of other familiar selections like pancakes (excellent chocolate chip), waffles, sandwiches (they make a great tuna melt) and even ice cream ( I guess it's no surprise, given the dairy theme). Once inside the Milk Bottle, you'd never known you were inside a milk bottle. The ceilings are normal height and the booths and counter space look like any other local breakfast and lunch place. Perhaps the Milk Bottle's greatest accomplishments reside in the well-prepared food served in big portions at low prices and the beyond friendly service. The staff seems to get along quite nicely with each other and the customers -- most of whom they seem to know each other. It's this type of welcoming, sincere dining atmosphere that every hometown restaurant should offer!

So, it's really not the "bottle talking," that massive exterior structure, when choosing to dine at this southeastern Massachusetts roadside landmark. As always, it comes down to food, value and service. The Milk Bottle doesn't have to rely on a hokey structure to stay in business, but, then again, it's always kind of a fun thing to witness that huge milk bottle out front!

On a closing note, yes, they do serve milk here!

The Milk Bottle Restaurant
785 Broadway
Raynham, MA 02767
(508) 822-6833

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The New Bedford Whaling Museum: A Whale of a Good Time

Article and Photo by Eric H.

Our latest VisitingNewEngland.com feature travel story is on the New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford, MA. Far more than a museum with just boats and whale skeletons, this modern, spacious museum educates and entertains in an interactive, non-stuffy way. The staff is tremendously knowledgeable, personable and focuses on thoughtful answers, not generic sound bites left to leave you clueless. Located in the heart of the charming New Bedford Whaling District, the New Bedford Whaling Museum truly captures the historic flavor of New Bedford's presence as the most well-known whaling industry city, back in the mid-1800s -- and one of the richest cities in the country, at that point. The complete article on the Whaling Museum can be read here. Additionally, photos of the charming Whaling District -- a terrific New England urban coastal travel destination -- can be viewed here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Putnam CT: Where Antique Shopping Never Grows Old

Article and photo by Eric H.

The latest travel review at VisitingNewEngland.com is on Putnam, a small town located in northeastern Connecticut, and known as one of New England's best places to shop for antiques. The antiques scene is indeed amazing with more than a collective 50,000 sq. feet of merchandise amongst the several shops! Equally appealing in Putnam is its small-town feel, perfect for a day trip of relaxation, combined with shopping. Once a dying mill town, Putnam has really come back to life with its nice downtown array of antique stores, mom and pop stores, several restaurants, boutiques, galleries and some wonderful historical preservation in its buildings.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Latest Review: Lakeview Farms Restaurant in Bellingham, MA

The latest restaurant review at VisitingNewEngland.com is for Lakeview Farms in Bellingham, MA. A family-style restaurant that also features a seasonal outdoor ice cream stand, Lakeview Farms has undergone extension renovations and looks terrific in its gleaming, knotty-pine look. Lakeview Farms has also hired former Daniel Webster Inn chef John Hollis to create some wonderful house specialties -- all under $10.00 at this writing. Turkey pot pie and fresh-roasted turkey dinners are two signature specialties, as well as a meatloaf dinner with pommorodoro sauce and provolone cheese. To read more about Lakeview Farms, please click on the link above.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Traditional New England Dining at the Salem Cross Inn

Article and photos by Eric H.

If you're looking for a traditional New England restaurant with wonderful Yankee-style food and Colonial ambiance, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better place than the Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield, MA.

This charming central Massachusetts landmark, with its original building dating back to 1816, features some delicious, classic New England fare, including Yankee pot roast, chicken pot pie, apple raspberry roasted duck, Indian pudding, butternut squash, pumpkins muffins, homemade breads, New England clam chowder and homemade pecan and apple pies. With the post-and-beam ceilings, dimly-lit Colonial atmosphere featuring a roaring fireplace and polite and personable waitresses dressed in Colonial apparel, the Salem Cross Inn looks like the kind of place George Washington would have frequented for a hearty meal and beer.

To add to the trip-back-in-time ambiance, the Salem Cross Inn features a brick beehive oven, restored from 1639, that turns out some wonderful baked goods. The nation's only-known roasting jack, from 1700, employs an intricate system of weights, cogs, and pulleys for turning a spit -- a good thing for those who love beef, game and fowl from the hearth. Seasonal events create a community meeting place, not only for the West Brookfield residents, but also New Englanders who know the Salem Cross Inn as a revered regional dining gem. The Fireplace Feast is one such event offering a 1700s style feast, with prime rib prepared on the roasting jack over the open hearth of a spectacular field stone fireplace. The Feast also features pie making, mulling and chowder demonstrations and a sleigh or hay ride across the beautiful countryside!

Out of all the great restaurants in New England, the Salem Cross Inn is at the top of our favorites, each and every time. It's a special destination that will make you feel good all over, courtesy of that wonderful, traditional New England ambiance and some of the best food, of any genre, that you'll ever taste. After happily leaving the Salem Cross Inn after a more-than-satisfying meal and overall "New England" experience, we can hardly wait to return again to one of our most beloved dining spots in New England.

We highly recommend you exploring the Salem Cross Inn Web Site for seasonal hours, events, menus and detailed historical information.

The Salem Cross Inn | Route 9 | 260 West Main Street, West Brookfield, MA 01585 | Tel: 508-867-2345

More Salem Cross Inn photos:





Sunday, February 8, 2009

Warming Up to Soup in the New England Winter

Article Preview and Photo by Eric H.

Suffering through the freezing New England winters frequently requires a tasty bowl of soup as an antidote. It is warming, nourishing and filling, but sometimes the store-bought brands throw in too much salt, MSG and mediocre source ingredients bordering on something that tastes like it came out of.. well... a can.

The New England Soup Factory, in Newton, MA, brings fresh-made soups to perhaps the highest level we've experienced, not to mention truly unique and wholesome concoctions you won't find anywhere else. We recently featured the New England Soup Factory in a VisitingNewEngland.com article. Like us, we think you'll find the New England Soup Factory a staple of your dining out preferences during the New England winter!

Friday, February 6, 2009

A February School Vacation Travel Suggestion

Article and photo by Eric H.

If no have no plans to travel someplace warm during February School Vacation, then we heartily give a thumbs-up recommendation on visiting the Children's Museum in Easton, located in the North Easton, MA, neighborhood in this South of Boston suburb. This is one terrific museum that could meaningfully fill up a morning or afternoon at an incredibly low admission charge of $6.00 per person (and plenty of parking in the Museum's own lot, or around the corner on Main Street in North Easton Village).

Located in a former fire station, the Children's Museum is certainly the Little Engine That Could -- small in square footage but larger-than-life in regards to cultural, education and social opportunities for the kids. You can read the entire article here, featured this morning on VisitingNewEngland.com

As you can see, we have covered North Easton quite a bit this week, and deservedly so. It's a real New England hidden gem. Next week, however, we will travel to Raynham, MA, to feature a very unusual dining attraction!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

American Idle: Stuck in Time in West Brookfield, Massachusetts

Article and Photo (of the West Brookfield Town Common) by Eric H.

Today, we bring you to West Brookfield, MA, a traditional Massachusetts community that perhaps best represents the classic, rural flavor of small-town New England. As part of The Brookfields -- a region also including Brookfield, North Brookfield and East Brookfield -- this Central Massachusetts area remains one of the last relatively unspoiled parts of New England that is relatively close to the industrial seaboard. West Brookfield might be The Brookfield's shining jewel with a stunning town common, and its entire downtown district placed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can read more about West Brookfield at VisitingNewEngland.com

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Separated at Birth: Northeast Harbor, Maine and North Easton Village, MA

Northeast Harbor, Maine, is scenically located where the ocean meets the mountains in magical Acadia National Park, Mt. Desert Island, Maine. North Easton, MA, is a southwest Boston suburb with stunning examples of H.H. Richardson architecture, nice tree-lined streets, a quaint historically preserved downtown and many trails, ponds and streams.

What do the two communities have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing, but they do share a hauntingly similar looking downtown district. So as to not stretch the truth, Northeast Harbor's downtown is a bit longer in size with more shops, but the general architecture strikes an uncanny resemblance:

Northeast Harbor, Maine...


and North Easton Village, MA!


Incredible isn't it? We'd actually like to start a "Separated at Birth" section on the blog. If you know of communities that strike a resemblance with each other, please feel free to post on this blog!

Sick of the New England Snow? Take a Warm Weather Vacation!

We love New England. It is a place we live and love with its great mix of mountains, ocean, history, excellent quality of life and all the fun attractions. But winter 2008/2009 in New England has become unbearable -- one nasty storm after another. Before you break your back shoveling snow once more, consider a warmer destination vacation getaway. Have Junior down the street do the shoveling (and please pay him!) while you're walking a nice warm beach in beautiful places like Aruba, Cancun, Bermuda, and Cleveland (just kidding on the last one). After this winter, you deserve it!

Don't get us wrong: Winter is a nice place to be in New England. The snow-covered villages, the skiing, the winter community events -- this is the place to be if you like a quaint, cozy winter vacation. But to live here year-round and endure a tougher winter than usual has its limits. With a higher than average snowfall this winter, we feel stronger than ever that a warmer climate would provide a nice respite. Here are a few vacation getaways that should do the trick:

Aruba

Grand Bahama Islands

Bermuda

Cancun, Mexico

Grand Caymen Islands

Key Largo, FLA

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Miami Beach, FLA

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Orlando, FLA

San Juan, Puerto Rico

If you have a favorite warm weather place, we'd love to hear about that destination. Although we New Englanders are loyal to our native land, we also feel the need once in a while to come out of the frozen tundra.

Additionally, as always, please let us know your favorite places in New England. That is our business, but on this post we'd thought it'd be nice to warm up to the thought of a summer vacation in the winter!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thoughts on the Main Street Cafe in North Easton, MA

Article and photo by Eric H.

We recently reviewed -- and reflected upon -- our experiences at the Main Street Cafe in North Easton, MA. In the article, we not only focus on the delicious breakfasts and lunches at the Main Street Cafe, but how this restaurant brought back childhood memories of a revered bakery in Northeast Harbor, Maine (Acadia National Park). We think you'll enjoy the connections we draw -- and photos to validate the possible nexus between the two businesses.

Strictly from a food point-of-view, If you're looking for an excellent traditional, old-fashioned breakfast and lunch dining experience, we heartily recommend the Main Street Cafe!

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