Tag Archives: beer

Downtown Littleton, antiquing and some seriously good beer.

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Every time we stay in the White Mountains of New Hampshire we try to explore a new town. This trip it was Littleton….

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A charming place with a delightfully quirky downtown area.

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They’ve been voted Best American Main Street numerous times and once you stroll around… it’s easy to see why.

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Of course when you’re strolling with my husband that means ducking into every antique store you see.

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Clearly this fellow takes his wine selection seriously.

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But wait… what’s that on the floor in the back?

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Weeee! Another vintage alcohol related crate for my vinyl collection. I paid more for this one than any of the others, but we haggled 20% off and there’s no sales tax in New Hampshire so I’m calling it a win.

Husband doing the dishes in our resort condo as well? Score!!!

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Heading to the riverfront area we discovered a pedestrian covered bridge.

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Which afforded some great views..

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And that old red building with the waterwheel on the left?

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Turned out to be Schilling brewery which made yours truly very happy.

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They kept the feel of the old mill with a rustic interior…

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And served a fabulous wood fired artisan pizza with chicken, bacon, cheese, spinach, tart apples and maple syrup. Sound weird? Yes… but it was heavenly.

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As was their beer, which they take very seriously. The bartender was extremely knowledgeable and quizzed you before you chose. It wasn’t pass or fail, but it definitely resulted in him pouring you the perfect beer suited to your tastes.

My liquid ambrosia this visit? Schlaumeier – a Hefeweizen (wheat beer) with delicate notes of banana and clove. It sounds bizarre was positively grand.

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And we’re off! Again.

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Yes, it’s true. We took another mini trip and I’m about to flood you with more travel photos.

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This time we just jumped across the border and headed to the White Mountains of north western New Hampshire.

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It’s one of my favorite areas… filled with scenic beauty and wondrous natural places to explore.

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These photos are from the famous Kancamagus highway. A 30 odd mile stretch of road cut right through the mountains.

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In peak foliage season it’s divine and while we were two weeks late for that, there was still some residual color.

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Until you reached the top.

But back down the other side it brightened up again.

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The resort we chose this time around was literally right off this road at the end of the National Forest.

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And for us, you can’t get much better than that.

Since check in wasn’t until 4:00pm, we headed to Woodstock.

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A quaint New England village…

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With a big brewery/restaurant/inn.

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You knew that was coming, right? The autumn beer on the far right was my pick. A rich, creamy amber with notes of pumpkin and nutmeg. Perfect!

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And right above my head, teasing me with every glance? A vintage ale crate, damn it. The husband was determined to purchase it for me but the manager didn’t care how much beer we drank, the answer was always no.

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And though our lunches didn’t appear appetizing?

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They were both delicious. Baked haddock, garlic smashed red potatoes and squash for me. Charbroiled mushroom Swiss burger for the hubs.

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A good start to the vacation… except for this uber creepy spare parts facsimile of a doll hovering alongside the bar.

That is the stuff of nightmares.

😳

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The Notch and a (boozy) meal.

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Since resort check in wasn’t until 4:00pm we had some time to kill. And when you have time to kill in this area of Vermont? You drive through The Notch.

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It’s basically a road cut right through the mountain and it’s one of my absolute favorite drives.

Twisty, turny and littered with glacial granite boulders…. it’s a rock lovers dream.

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Not that it’s the easiest road to navigate mind you. The switchbacks are breath taking, the proximity to boulders cringe worthy. In places you’re absolutely blind and are left crossing everything you have that nothing is coming the other way when the road narrows so tightly only one car can pass.

My husband drives it like sport.

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On the other side of The Notch? Stowe… a lovely village I’ll highlight later. And in Stowe?

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An amazing local brewery.

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We had to stand in line half an hour to get in, on a Tuesday, at 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s that good. I was willing to wait longer to sit in one of the artfully decorated dining rooms (the giant velvet cow print couch was calling my name) but the husband snatched two seats at the bar as soon as they became available.

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One flight in…. on an amazing polished copper bar, we were already loving this place.

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The Kolsch was delightful, the Pink and Pale seriously puckering.

And since we were at a brewery….

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I had to try the monster soft pretzel. Not only does Idletyme brew their own beer, they make their own beer cheese and grind their own mustard. A win win.

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As was this hot spiced cider with rum. Hey, when in Rome…

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My chargrilled mushroom Swiss burger with crispy onions and Caesar salad was good, but my husband’s choice?

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Ooh la la! So beyond the normal pub fare … we might have drooled. Butternut squash ravioli with maple cream sauce, sliced almonds and a hint of cayenne for bite. It was utterly fabulous.

Too stuffed for dessert, we headed back through The Notch and it’s amazing selection of rocks.

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And mini waterfalls breaking through at random intervals.

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And by then, it was time to check in.

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Yes, the resort is named after The Notch… which was originally used by smugglers and bootleggers. Yet another reason to love it.

A little history if you’re interested…

With cliffs on either side that sometimes reach a height of 1,000 feet, it’s also easy to see how very few people would have been caught on their way to and from one country to another. The landscape looked completely different in the early 1800s and there were far fewer people – and towns – meaning this region was even more remote. After former president Thomas Jefferson passed the Embargo Act in 1807, the restriction of trade between countries had a drastically negative impact on the state of Vermont. As the state shares a border with Canada, this trade route was by far the easiest to use, and once that was cut off there were many citizens and businesses that suffered in the northern part of the state.

This route was not only used for trading. Fugitive slaves would also utilize the route to make their way through Vermont and into Canada, which gave it another historic purpose.

The use of Smugglers’ Notch didn’t just end there, though. As Vermont progressed into the 20th century, they would be subject to yet another restriction – this time, on alcohol. When Prohibition came about in 1922, the state was lucky enough to have opened Smugglers’ Notch to automobile traffic. This meant that those using the route would no longer need to cross on foot or horseback, which opened up even more illegal trade route options. In this case, it was Vermont’s loophole during the time when it was legally a dry state.

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*Not my photo , but it gives you a better idea of the scope*

The Notch is closed to tractor trailer trucks due to the precarious turns, and though there are ample signs warning them not to enter, a few idiots try it every year, getting stuck and causing horrible traffic jams and back ups.

The entire road is closed for the season starting in mid October so we were lucky and slipped in right before the gates came down.

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A flea market bust but a brew pub win.

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My husband heard about a large flea market in Fryeburg , Maine… and since the 90 minute drive did not deter him, over to the western part of the state we went.

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There was indeed a flea market, but that’s the only good thing I can say about it. Yes, there were a few antiques scattered here and there… but mostly it was tacky new merchandise. Like this:

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Clearly Barbie has reached menopause age.

It was hot as hell that day with no breeze whatsoever and that made me cranky. The only thing that made me smile?

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Martian chauffeurs.

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After a few fruitless hours of my husband searching for treasure and me searching for shade, we left empty handed. And since it was well past lunchtime and I’d worked up a terrible thirst.. there was only one place to go. The penultimate brew pub.

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If you don’t know where it is, you’ll never find it… tucked away down a narrow wooded residential road, alongside a golf course in a quiet town near the border of New Hampshire called Lovell .

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The barn is the pub, and there’s outdoor seating as well.

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If you’ve never heard of Ebenezer’s? Good. That means more beer for me.

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But if you live in New England, chances are you know this award winning shrine to suds. A visit there never disappoints.

To be continued….

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Leave my ice cream alone!

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I’m not a huge ice cream eater and normally don’t have any in the freezer at home, but I do enjoy a nice creamy coffee or mint chocolate chip cone now and then. And while those are my go to flavors I’m always game to try something different. Apple pie? Sure. Passion fruit sherbet? Why not. But there’s a line I’m not willing to cross and the following are on the other side of it.

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I won’t. And you can’t make me.

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Yes. Someone thought it would be a good idea to make eggplant ice cream.

And may I just say…. they were wrong.

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Miller brewing company? Your dishwater beer is bad enough.. what were you thinking?

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Tobacco smoke ice cream? For the love of all that’s holy, no.

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And now, the treasure.

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You knew the husband wouldn’t come home empty handed from all those antique stores we visited, right?

It was a banner day for ephemera and since the market is pretty much dead right now, these little gems were only a few dollars for the batch.

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An old Maine prohibition postcard.

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It’s takes 160,000 children to keep me in gin? Thank you boys and girls. River appreciates all your hard work.

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Continuing in the alcohol vein… vintage beer coasters for the man cave.

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So many brews I’ve never even heard of.

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1939 World’s Fair. Very collectible.

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Trade cards. These used to go for $20+ each.

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And because I still haven’t found any crates to house them, another old vinyl record.

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Round two at the Pig

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Our second trip to the Blind Pig Tavern was shorter but no less wonderful than the first. Jumping back into their amazing craft cocktail menu, I tried a strawberry rhubarb margarita.

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I dislike rhubarb. But this was made with fresh strawberry purée and the rhubarb balanced the sweetness perfectly.

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The pole of shame, reserved for those who don’t pay their bills or stiff the waitstaff.

This visit was a quickie with just drinks and appetizers, but neither disappointed.

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Yes, it looks like they were wrapped in condoms, but the cold marinated shrimp with cherry tomatoes, spring greens and avocado in rice paper with tequila lime aioli was sublime.

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As were the wings and Philly cheesesteak flatbread.

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The pear mojito? Magnificent!

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Their array of dried fruit is impressive and rotates in clever little containers like this.

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The on tap beer list?

It’s folkin’ hoppy.

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It means boat.

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Bateau – def. a light flat-bottomed riverboat used in eastern and central North America.

A bateau is a boat, but in my neck of the woods? It’s also a brewery.

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Perched on the river in a turn of the century mercantile building, we met the owners recently and had to check it out. And though the outdoor seating had a great view….

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It was hot, so we opted for indoor.

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Which also had a good waterfront view.

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I liked the vibe, and I liked the beer.

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I did not like the fact that my husband and our friend found the strategically placed cribbage board and left me twiddling my thumbs for an hour .

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But I joined the Maine Beer Trail and checked in accordingly.

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And I drank.

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It was called pucking sour… and it was, with cherry and pomegranate undertones.

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A recipe, a spoiled cat and something worse than dishwater beer.

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While I’m usually not a recipe poster, my husband raved about this one after the first bite… and he’s not a man for random compliments. I’ve been cooking for him for 38 years and while I’m no Julia Child, I can hold my own in the kitchen. But when I find a quick and easy recipe? I have to share.

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This works just as well with haddock, as long as the pieces are thick.

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Spoiled cat? No. What gave you that idea…

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Proof positive there is something worse than dishwater beer.

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