I love New England. I love its history, and architecture. I love its brutal winters, breezy summers, and it’s gorgeous fall foliage. I love it’s obsession with lobster cookouts and Dunkin Donuts coffee. I always thought I would move back to the Boston area after college, but instead I met a cute from New Jersey and decided that was a pretty good place to live too.
And while I miss Beantown, moving away has given me the chance to see it from a completely new angle. I realized the other day that while I was from Boston, I really didn’t know anything about the city anymore. I has been over 9 years since I actually lived in the Boston area, and so much has changed since then, including me. I knew Boston as a child and teenager, but never as an adult.
So when Bryan and I decided to take a few days off and road-trip it through New England for a few days, I was excited to experience the city in a way I hadn’t before. We started in Boston, popped up north to Portsmouth for a night, and ended the trip in Brattleboro, VT. Along the way we met up with friends and family, ate and drank everything in our path, and bought a few momentos to take back home.
Below are some of my favorite moments from the trip! Be sure to check them out on your next New England visit!
Stop #1: Tatte Bakery – Boston, MA
Given the late hour of our arrival to Boston (hello 1am, I see you), the first crucial stop in Boston that morning was for coffee. Per the recommendation of my cousin, we popped into Tatte Bakery, on Boylston Street near Fenway Park. The second we walked in, I knew I would love it. Tatte has major french bistro vibes – large subway tile, painted white brick, display case of delicate pastries, and a open window into the kitchen where pastries chefs were hard at work. It was the perfect kind of quiet – subtle noise so that you didn’t feel intrusive, but not so loud that you couldn’t read a good book in the corner.
Bryan and I started off with an almond croissant and some drinks (me, cappuccino | him, earl grey tea). The croissant was perfect – flaky and flavorful on the outside, but soft and buttery on the inside. The almond paste was fantastic – you could have eaten it with a spoon. We then split a bacon egg and cheese sandwhich on home-made sourdough. There are no pictures because it was literally so good that I forgot that I do this now. You’ll have to use your imagination.
(side note: food blogging really makes you harness your self control. Picture first, then bite.)
Tatte set the perfect vibe for the trip – no rush, just perfect food, drink and company.
Stop #2: The North End – Boston, MA
I grew up going to the North End constantly, so this one was admittedly not new. My family and I would often visit this part of Boston for the Italian food, pastries, and festivals that they hold every summer (if you’re heading that way in August, check out the The Fisherman’s Feast). So while an “oldie but goodie”, we stopped by this waterfront area to hit up the favorites.
We ate lunch at Regina Pizzeria, the original location that has been open since 1926! If cheese could talk…omg. I ordered the Quattro Formaggi which was incredibly – super cheesy, perfectly crisp and flavorful crust, tons of oregano flavor. Heaven.
We then went down the street to Mike’s Pastry. And before the haters jump in here, I know Mike’s is a tourist attraction that the locals turn up their nose at. But I really am not worried about that. It is quite an experience to go to, battling the crowds and aggresive pastry-eaters, and they make one heck of a cannoli. So haters, sit down.
Stop #3: Downeast Cider House – Boston, MA
Hard cider is not only delicious, but it is straight up American. The husband completely turned me on to it, and now it is a staple in our wine fridge. If you find a really good cider, it can be like a mix between a deliciously dry champagne and a really fruity and tart wine.
Our absolute favorite is Downeast Cider, which just happens to be brewed in Boston. It is unfiltered, so you can see real pieces of apple floating in it, and so sooo good. Really tart, and not too sweet. They make an original, cranberry, winter blend, pineapple… the list goes on and on. The Cider House “tasting room” is in their actual warehouse, and has a great “behind the scenes” vibe to it. God Bless America.
Stop #4: Popovers On the Square – Portsmouth, NH
Popovers is one of our favorite spots in New England. A small cafe right on the main Congress Street in downtown Porstmouth, it blends all the best parts of a big time bakery and small town coffee shop. They are most famous for their namesake popovers, served with a side of maple butter. Popovers themselves are seriously dangerous – they are so light and fluffy that you feel like you can eat 5 of them, but upon doing so realize “hey, that was a lot of freaking food” and end up in a coma.
Personaly, I think a popover-induced coma sounds pretty awesome.
Stop #5: Stonewall Kitchen Cafe – York, ME
Stonewall Kitchen products are a staple in most bakers cabinets. Their mixes and jams, syrups and spreads! What’s not to love. The headquarters for the brand is about 15 minutes north of Portsmouth in York, Maine. They have every product you could possible want, plus an adorable little cafe that puts their money where their mouth is and serves you up their favorites right on a plate. Bryan and I split their belgium waffle which was perfectly crisp and flavorful.
I walked out of that cafe with a great cup of coffee and about $150 worth of merchandise. Whoops.
Stop #6: The Grafton Village Cheese Company – Brattleboro, Vertmont
The final stop on our whirlwind trip was Brattleboro, Vermont – a quaint and artsy town right in nook where Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire meet. Some good friends of ours just moved there, and this trip marked the perfect chance to stop in for a visit. One of the neatest spots they took us was the Grafton Village Cheese Company – a cheese company founded in 1892 by local dairy farmers. The factory still produces cheese on-site, the process of which you can watch through a glass wall. They also sell their own cheeses, as well as local meats, syrups, chocolates, and more.
Alright, that’s a wrap on our New Englad trip! Hope the next time you pop up to the
East Best Coast, try out some of these fabulous places.