Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Meals, New England Style in Massachusetts

Concord's Colonial Inn, Concord Mass. (photo by Eric)
Do you enjoy going out for Thanksgiving, having someone else do all the cooking for you?  If so, you'll find no shortage of such places in New England, but the key is to find a destination that will get you in the local spirit. Here are some traditional, historic and charming New England spots in Massachusetts that are sure to provide a fabulous setting for your Thanksgiving Day meal...

The Pilgrims were to first to celebrate Thanksgiving in America, so why not celebrate at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth? This wonderful outdoor living museum that recreates life during the Pilgrim days offers the traditional America's Thanksgiving Dinner, as well as a Thanksgiving Day Buffet. It looks like some seatings are already sold out for both Thanksgiving Day dinners, so we recommend making reservations soon if this event sounds interesting to you. Log onto http://www.plimoth.org/dining-functions/thanksgiving-dining-special-events for more information, or call (508) 746-1622 for reservations.

In Central Massachusetts, the historic Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield provides a beautiful restaurant setting for enjoying the bounty of New England's harvest on Thanksgiving Day with traditional free range oven roasted turkey and appetizers, unique drinks and homemade desserts (the deep dish apple pie is phenomenal!).  If you'd rather have something else than turkey, then broiled salmon and pepper crusted sirloin with gorgonzola cheese are also available. With a roaring fireplace, post and beam design, and 600 acres of beautiful rolling hills, this colonial restaurant -- with part of the building well preserved from the early 1600s -- will surely bring you into the heart and soul of traditional New England.  For more information, log onto http://www.salemcrossinn.com/CalendarEvents/thanksgiving_dinner.htm, or call (508) 867-2345 for reservations.

In historic Concord (birthplace of the American Revolution), Concord's Colonial Inn offers a comprehensive Thanksgiving Day meal with a carving station (yes, including oven roasted turkey with pan gravy!), pasta, fish,  salads, cheese, a raw bar, soup, bread and sides, including fresh vegetables. This restaurant and inn overflows with colonial charm and is located at beautiful Monument Square in the heart of this beautifully preserved town. One of the inn's original buildings was once used, in 1775, for arms and provisions while from 1835-1837, famous author Henry David Thorough (Walden and Civil Disobedience) lived here before moving to Walden Pond.

You can view the full Thanksgiving Day menu at http://www.concordscolonialinn.com/sites/default/files/docs/Thanksgiving%202012.pdf, or call (978) 369-9200 for reservations.

Editor's note: we strongly advise you call ahead for Thanksgiving Day meals details and to make reservations before embarking to the above-mentioned places.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy reading:
Walking along Plymouth Harbor
20 classic New England travel attractions
10 reasons to love Central Massachusetts

Monday, October 29, 2012

New England Christmas Holiday Season Travel Tips

One of our readers, Stacy, would like to visit New England in December. Here is what she wrote:

We want to do a short trip from Thursday-Monday from Atlanta Georgia in December. We have never been to New England and want to see as much as possible. Any ideas where to start? Where to fly into, rent a car, and possibly stay different locations each night?

Thanks for the question, Stacy! We could write a book on what to see and do in New England during December, but for bandwidth purposes, here are some suggestions that I think you'll love:

Fly into Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine, rent a car there, and drive 45 minutes south to Kennebunkport, Maine, where the spirit of Christmas saturates this beautiful small coastal town the first and second weekends of December. Amazing light displays, horse drawn sleigh rides, caroling, holiday musical entertainment, arts and craft shows, and historic trolley rides are just a few of the events that will get you into the holiday spirit.  We strongly recommend logging onto the Christmas Prelude web site for exact dates and times of events to correlate with the days you plan to visit New England. By the way, HGTV voted the Christmas Prelude the #2 Christmas town in America!

For lodging, we like staying at the Rhumb Line Inn Resort and for dining, we recommend Alisson's Restaurant , H.B. Provisions and Federal Jack's, as well as the The Maine Diner in nearby Wells. For more lodging options, long onto our Kennebunkport Hotels Page

While staying in Kennebunkport, you might want to drive about a half hour south to York Beach Maine, where famous Nubble Lighthouse is all dressed up in holiday lights. It's a spectacular scene at one of New England's most beautiful lighthouses.  When in York,, be sure to check out the Festival of Lights Parade scheduled for Sat., Dec. 1.  This wonderful event includes a lighting of the village festivals of gingerbread houses and trees, a Christmas tea, student art exhibit,  arts and crafts, and a holiday sing-a-long. We recommend logging onto the York Parks and Recreation Department Web Site for updates.

We also recommend visiting two lovely small cities, the previously mentioned Portland, as well as Portsmouth, N.H. Both cities are historic, filled with charm, as well as wonderful locally-owned shops and restaurants. Portland and Portsmouth do have big city amenities, but strolling through these two costal gems also brings about a small town feeling. We regard Portland and Portsmouth as two of the best small cities in New England.

Freeport, Maine (20 minutes north of Portland), is also a "destination," especially during the holiday season. This once sleepy town has transformed into a bustling attractive downtown with an impressive variety of outlet stores -- anchored by the  spectacular flagship L.L. Bean. store. It's really a great place to do your holiday shopping.

Hope this helps! Readers, if you have any more suggestions for Stacy's visit to New England, please comment below. Thanks!

We recommend reading the following articles to help with your southern Maine trip planning:
York Beach, Maine
Kennebunkport, Maine
Portsmouth, N.H.
Portland, Maine

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Main Street Market and Cafe in Concord, Mass.

Main Street Market and Cafe, Concord MA (photo by Eric)
When visiting Concord, Mass., last week, a local recommended dining at the Main Street Market and Cafe. Great recommendation!

 The building is historic, the setting "old-timey" and the crowds bustling at this spot that acts more like an upscale townie restaurant than a market (really not much of a market to speak of here). The brick walls, wooden floors counters and low and high rise tables will make you feel right at home and the location in the heart of downtown Concord is ideal for grabbing a breakfast, lunch or dinner.

I tried a bowl of beef chili with butternut squash and loved it! At first, I thought this might be too odd a dish -- that is, replacing beans with butternut -- but the combination turned out to be better than the traditional recipe. From Belgium waffles and baked goods to hot grilled paninis to pistachio crusted salmon filet, the Main Street Market and Cafe's menu is certainly extensive.

The Main Street Market and Cafe also has a dining spot out back in a charming, clean alley that serves burritos, pizzas, hot dogs, sandwiches, smoothies and ice cream. Having lived in Concord many years ago, one of my few complaints was lack of a downtown restaurant with quick service and a good selection of food at reasonable prices -- nice to see that the Main Street Market and Cafe has filled a much-needed niche in this beautiful town.

The Main Street Market and Cafe is located at 42 Main Street in Concord, MA. Tel. (978) 369-9948

Editor's note: tell us your favorite "local" restaurant in your New England hometown by posting a comment below. This will be a great help to those looking for a bite to eat in your area!



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