Monday, October 22, 2007

Foliage, New England Style

This weekend was another busy one for Sandra and me. My sister and her husband were celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary with a party and renewal of their vows in Ludlow, VT, which is where they have their winter home.

The drive to Vermont from our house normally takes around two hours, but this weekend we decided to go a longer way in order to visit our two daughters at the respective college dorms with some "care packages." We visited Harmony and delivered her vittles, and then she and her boyfriend, Jay, followed us to Keene where we visited Chardonnay. Keene on Saturday was a little bit busy—celebrating their annual Pumpkin Festival. This is a big event for Chardonnay's school, and she also had a friend visiting her at the dorm, so we just had lunch at the always-delightful La Carreta, and then bid her farewell as Harmony and Jay followed us northwest in search of Ludlow.

Despite a bit of a setback (tire blowout on Jay's Geo), we got to our motel with plenty of time to spare, all the time ooh-ing and aah-ing at the lovely autumn colors. It must be stated for the record that I believe that New Hampshire (and its sister state, Vermont) are the two loveliest places on earth to watch the trees turn during the fall, and the trees did not disappoint us this weekend. Once we were in Ludlow, we visited my sister for a bit and then we followed the family to Bear Creek Mountain Club (just north of Ludlow on VT Route 100) for the party.

At the mountain club, there was a cocktail reception with an open bar and some wonderful appetizers: Beef satay, Chicken satay, scallops wrapped in bacon, shrimp fried in wonton skins, and tomato and fresh mozzarella. After about an hour, everybody headed upstairs for the main ceremony, which was both romantic and quite funny (there were lots of stories about the oldlyweds), and one of their friends, who works with Condé Nast, gave them a poster showing the two of them on the cover of a fictional Bride magazine, with funny quotes and remarks about the two of them as the teaser "articles." The Red Sox game was on the television in the bar, and a few people kept in touch with the game as Schilling turned in a great performance backed up by the kicked up bats of the rest of the line-up.

Sandra and I spent the night in Ludlow at the Best Western, where we stayed at a reasonably priced spacious suite with a king bed in a stone cottage. On Sunday morning, Sandra and I had breakfast at The Hatchery, a breakfast and lunch place in downtown Ludlow, with family and friends.

At around 11 o'clock, Sandra and I started a leisurely drive home, stopping for lunch at a place that we visited a few times years back—The Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grill in New London, NH. I remember the place as having good food, very good beer, breathtaking views, and served at a leisurely pace that could be frustrating if you were simply looking for a quick meal en route to, say, a summer home seven hours away. Since we weren't in any sort of rush, we figured it would be the perfect place, if it was still in business. I remembered the location very well: New Hampshire state route 11, which was also exit 11 off Interstate 89 (about a half mile north of the interstate).

We were in luck—the place was still there. Mount Kearsarge was festooned in greens, yellows, oranges, and reds, and although all the seats next to the windows overlooking the mountain were taken, we still had a beautiful view from our table.

The menu at the Flying Goose is a bit eclectic, with seafood, pasta, and steaks, as well as burgers, sandwiches, and barbecue. I had the ribs and pulled pork BBQ combo, and Sandra had a "New Englander" which is a half-pound burger with smoked bacon, sautéed onions, and cheddar. We also had an appetizer of turkey-and-vegetable pot-stickers, which we ordered deep fried rather than the traditional steamed (served more like gyōzas than pot-stickers).

The Flying Goose, being a Brew Pub, has a huge selection of its own beers. I ordered one of their specials with the rather ugly name "GAK," which was described as being made from half-American, half-German ingredients. This beer was very malty with only a hint of hops, and it was served at a nice temperature of about 45°F.

The food was very good and plentiful, and the pace was as I remembered it as not too rushed. The service was cheerful and the portions were more than sufficient, and there it was a good value for the money. With the spectacular view of Mt. Kearsarge, the homey atmosphere, and the good food and brew, I can't help but recommend it heartily for anybody that is looking for a quiet, relaxing, and enjoyable meal in the area.

That's it for now!

Bon Appetit!


Harmony said...

Jay drives a purplr Plymouth Neon, not a Geo. That's from "Big Trouble."

lar3ry said...

Sorry. I hope neither of you were offended by my misrecollection.