Good eats for this road trip?

We’re vaguely thinking about a New England trip. We were last in the area in 2012 and have always reckoned we’d want another visit.

The plan, so far, is that we’ll fly into Newark or JFK and make our way north through the Berkshires, heading for Burlington, VT. From there, we’ll go south east, through Montpelior, Hanover and Concord (NH) to Cape Cod. And finally, back towards the airport through Rhode Island and southern Connecticut. Perhaps needless to say, good eats are always an important part of any holiday we take.

Apart from our first and last nights, which will be within easy driving distance of the airport, we’ll not have a schedule of “if it’s Tuesday, it must be Hanover”. As such, I appreciate that means we’ll have to exclude restaurants which require reservations well in advance. But, other than that, are there any places that I really wouldnt want to miss out on?



I will be interested what response you get, John, to me that is largely a food wasteland. Not much to look at in some of those places either. Have you considered mid-coast Maine? Portland has some amazing restaurants and things to see and heading up the coast all the way to Belfast there is gorgeous coastal scenery, interesting museums and galleries and lots of good food. But with your current plan I am sure there is good food to be found, I just can’t help much with it. I did just have a fairly good meal on New Year’s Eve in Wellfleet (Cape Cod) at Wicked Oyster.

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Funny, I too was thinking about all that the Portland area of Maine has to offer in terms of food and scenery.


On the Burlington -> Montpelier leg, Prohibition Pig in Waterbury is worth a stop. South of Montpelier is Worthy Burger in South Royalton. Past there, it is slim pickings until you get near Boston, where there are, of course, any number of good places.

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Forgot Worthy Burger, that is indeed worthy of a stop! Great place and food.

Also, in Montpelier, Down Home Kitchen for a southern breakfast/brunch, and Three Penny Taproom are good choices.

We visited Boston last trip (as Gretchen will recall…Jan & I still talk about meeting you and Linda for dinner) and “did” the coastal area up as far as Portland - hence the idea of being inland for a chunk of this new trip.

Loved Cape Cod though so a revisit to that part of the coast.

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what time of year are you planning for this odyssey?

I lived in Maine for a handful of years. I spent a lot of time growing up, and as an adult seeing much of the state. then when I was a full time food/beverage consultant and writer I chose, of all locations, to live in Mid-Coast Maine. I agree with the folks who said go to Portland and preferably up into Mid-Coast Maine. Fly to Portland, from NY and ten rent a car. Or fly into Boston and take the plane, train, or bus to Portland.

In Mid-Coast make sure to hit all the restaurants in the Rockland and Camden area. Some amazing places. Plus the real Maine doesn’t really start until you get into the Mid-Coast area. Pemmaquid Lighthouse and Park is some of the best scenery there is. And DownEast isn’t as touristy, more rural, and just non-stop gorgeous. South and just north of Portland is all tourist stuff. Mainers tend to nickname the southern part of the state, “Boston North.” Portland is a great food town, but being a full city turns me off. But I would drive down from mid-Coast to get some great ethnic eats and city style food. But once you get into Mid-Coast and DownEast, you get some amazing scenery, small towns, and wonderful food. It’s completely different than the southern area.

Then you can possibly go inland on the way back, maybe going into the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Green Mountains of Vermont. Again, totally different view of New England.


Early June I think - sandwiched between three weeks in Tenerife and a trip to South Africa. And “something” for Jan’s birthday (a significant one this year)

Depending how far you get out on the cape . . . . I’m curious if anyone else has been to this place - PB Boulangerie Bistro in Wellfleet.

We stopped in for lunch for the first time right before New Years. The apple tarte was fabulous, the croque monsieur was great and the place was packed. They were getting ready for a big evening party and watching the french chef in the kitchen making sauces and stocks made me think dinner must be good. We looked through their dinner menu and have it on our list of places to return next time we are out that way. The place even reminded us of a little restaurant in the french countryside - especially the “bar” which was essentially a few shelves on a side wall (which is just so different from an “American” restaurant bar that has a huge wall of liquor . . . . .

Anyone else been for dinner?

Not been for dinner but have had baked goods from there and they are fabulous. My friends who have a house in Wellfleet rave about their dinner (Friday night only I think? limited, anyway).

Yes. I have. It is a weird scene. The owner, Mr. Groper as we call him, plays a music box and sings. This is a regular occurrence. The food was decent, but too ambitious for the staff he has to work with. We left feeling that, even with a generous gift certificate, that it was not worth the money that it cost.

The croissants and breads that they sell in the bakery however, are wonderful. Tarts and cakes have slid since the [I think] B of PB left and opened Cafe Madeleine in the South End of Boston. If you want a lemon tart, and trust me you do, this is the place to go.

PB is fine for baked goods if you’re already near Wellfleet, but I think the offerings from Maison Villatte in Falmouth are much better. Boris Villatte, the “B” in PB Boulangerie and the baker of the pair, started MV around five years ago. I love the viennoiserie there; I’ve often half-joked that the best croissants in Boston are in Falmouth. The boulangerie and patisserie are also good.

I’ve never dined at PB Bistro and have heard mixed reviews.

If your routing towards Burlington is through the Hudson Valley you may find some ideas on the NYC suburbs board. In the Berkshires North Adams might be a good bet thanks to the Mass MoCA crowd.

Burlington VT has some interesting interesting eateries with a farm-to-fork focus. I usually check what’s new at Seven Days VT before I visit. Haven’t been for a few years but have good memories of Misery Loves Company in Winooski. For more casual and quirky there’s El Cortijo downtown and Meyer’s Montreal-style bagels in South Burlington. Speeder and Earle’s near there does good coffee and Muddy Waters will provide the full-on hippie experience. Al’s French Frys (sic) out by the I-89 is a retro fast-food institution.

Don’t know Concord NH. In Manchester I’m fond of Republic Cafe.

You’ll probably get a lot of recs on the Cape. I like Karoo for South African, especially the chef’s specials where she really shines.

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If you happen through Hartford, CT I had a very good meal at Trumbull Kitchen a while back.

If Rhode Island includes Newport, I had some fabulous meals there (it requires several visits to cover all of those “summer cottages”). Unfortunately, the only restaurant name I recall is The Black Pearl (think fairly pricey fine dining for dinner). Also, the pub-like restaurant next to the Tennis Hall of Fame was good enough to merit a return lunch visit each time we were there. Although we didn’t make it to Providence, I hear it has a pretty good dining scene.

As we’re “loose” travelers, none of these spots would have required reservations.

We havent yet given thought to the actual route back to the airport but I think it may. We visited on the last trip where Mrs H had what she reckons was the best ever burger at a place on the waterfront (I reserve my “best ever” for Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen in Tupelo, MS) - and I foresee a return lunch visit if we can recall the name of the place.

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Second the Three Penny Taproom

Mass MoCA is my single favorite museum/indoor tourist site in all of New England. I’ve been an avid fan since it opened back in the late 1990’s. Food-wise, North Adams has come a long way, but I wouldn’t stop for the food. Public is probably our favorite place to eat, but it’s not extraordinary. If you go, you may be interested in staying on top of Mt. Greylock (MA’s tallest peak), where there is an awesome Arts-and-Crafts-style B&B which serves lunches to hungry hikers on the Appalachian Trail and dinner to guests and I think the public (we haven’t tried dinners there but we’ve stayed and it’s a fun experience).

As a native Rhode Islander, I always jump at the chance to promote my home state. As you’ve already been to Newport, Tiverton and Little Compton are both a bit below the radar. Red Dory in Tiverton is a must. Sakonnet Vineyard is great (more for the grounds than for the wine) and nearby Westport Rivers Winery is wonderful, as is Buzzards Bay Brewing (both with same owners and offering food trucks and live music on weekends…it’s a chill and wonderful scene for young and old). And Jamestown is a place I’ve visited since I was a wee one. Village Hearth Bakery puts out awesome breads, sandwiches, and pizza (pizza only on Sunday nights, I think) which you can take down to Beavertail for a picnic, and the there are several restaurants on the main drag that may not be the tops food-wise, but they offer a relaxing alternative to the hustle-and-bustle of Newport. Plus, you can take a tiny ferry across the bay from Jamestown to Newport (a ~15 min ride). Matunuck Oyster is superb but if you are not beach people, it will take you way out of your way (though the RI coast is pretty damned nice). I’ll probably think of more before June. With our sub-arctic weather here in Boston, it’s fun dreaming about June!


We were in Waterbury, VT, in November for three nights and loved Prohibition Pig…went there all three nights. I’m from NC and their Eastern NC vinegar barbecue is wonderful, and we also loved the pimento cheese balls, hush puppies,and salads. Better BBQ than we can get here in Boston. I’m not a beer drinker but my husband loved all the craft beer he tried in Vermont. Also, good hard cider and cheese.

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