Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Favorite New England Restaurants

Article and photo (Salem Cross Inn) by Eric H.

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This list is always changing, but here are my five current favorite restaurants in New England:

Salem Cross Inn, West Brookfield, Mass. - Charming, historic restaurant beautifully situated around open fields and rolling hills in the idyllic, Norman Rockwell-type central Massachusetts town of West Brookfield. Wonderful New England fare abounds for lunch and dinner, including chicken pot pie, Yankee Pot Roast, maple salmon, apple pie, prime rib, and homemade breads made in a beehive oven from 1699. With gleaming hardwood floors, post and beam ceilings, roaring fireplaces, antique furnishings, and a serene candlelight glow at night, the Salem Cross Inn will truly make you feel like you're in New England! The Salem Cross Inn also features some very "New England" special dining events, including multi-course fireside feasts, apple pie contests, herb sampling, fireplace pit roasts and hayrides and sleigh rides at various times of the splendid New England four seasons. Salem Cross Inn, Route 9, West Brookfield, Mass.. Tel. (508) 867-2345

The 1761 Old Mill, Westminster, Mass. - This former sawmill offers one of the most scenic restaurant settings we've seen in New England. A pond (with lots of ducks) and waterfall, two covered bridges, and a lovely restaurant interior with old wooden floors, and post and beam ceilings in the main dining rooms create a very cozy atmosphere. The food, while not quite as good as the Salem Cross Inn, is, nevertheless, very good -- especially the roast duck with apple-based stuffing and a choice of orange glaze or gravy, and a chicken pot pie with tender chicken, fresh vegetables and a perfectly-formed, flaky crust. If you're a fan of dessert, the homemade apple crisp and carrot cake rank amongst the best we've sampled in New England. The Sunday morning buffet is a traditional favorite with a nice variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner selections (the popovers are a highlight!). The 1761 Old Mill also features a downstairs gift shop with architecture twists and turns that seem to go on forever. The 1761 Old Mill , Rte. 2A, Westminster, Mass. Tel. (978) 874-5941

Parker's Maple Barn, Mason, N.H. - Rustic and secluded, this rural breakfast and lunch spot specializes in the "Parker's Special" with two eggs, two pancakes (or one french toast), two bacon strips, two sausages and ham or ham hash in place of all meats, home fries and toast. The maple baked beans with ham, maple Swiss burger with maple caramelized onions and maple ribs (do you detect a theme here?) are simply delicious and worth any extended drive to this isolated southern New England restaurant. The atmopshere is wonderful, too, set within an authentic 1800s dairy barn and silo. Inside, antique cow stanchions are integrated into handmade wooden tables and antique farm items. Over a small walking bridge near the restaurant resides a country store with maple products, jams, gourmet coffee, toys, herbal teas, a folksy book collection, natural log furniture and an impressive Native American section downstairs with arts, clothing and jewelry. Parker's Maple Barn, 1316 Brookline Rd., Mason, N.H. Tel. (603) 878-2308

Wright's Farm Restaurant, Nasonville, R.I. - Wright's features wonderfully succulent family-style chicken, homemade rolls, salad (with Wright's Farm Classic Italian Dressing), fries and macaroni at ridiculously low prices in a restaurant that seats over a 1,000 people. Not for the Atkins Diet set, but for those with no respect for calorie restriction, the comfort food is simply fabulous. Wright's also features one of the area's better gift shops, most notably for its figurines, jewelry, leather goods, souvenirs, and toys, games and stuffed animals. Wright's Farm Restaurant, 84 Inman Rd., Nasonville, R.I. , Tel. (401) 769-2856 (call ahead for days of operation and hours)

Clay Hill Farm, Cape Neddick, Maine - Lovely upscale but casual rambling farmhouse restaurant set in the countryside, but yet near the all coastal splendor of southern Maine (and only two miles from the famous Village of Ogunquit). Clay Hill Farm is a true dining romantic getaway with candlelit ambiance on the inside and rolling lawns, colorful gardens and protected woodlands on the out. The city sophistication that meets country atmosphere presence results in everything you could ever want in a "date night" restaurant. The food is expertly prepared, and the service classy and friendly. The menu is seasonal and never misses the mark; we've had roasted duck, scallops and steak dishes that were as memorable as the special atmosphere. Down East Magazine recognized Clay Hill Farm as "one of the five finest and reliable restaurants in Southern Maine!" Clay Hill Farm, 220 Clay Hill Rd., Cape Neddick, Maine. Tel. (207) 361-2272

Do you have a favorite New England restaurant? Please feel free to post a comment in this post!

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