Yes, Orvis is a pricey retail store, but it’s so much more. Its flagship store in Manchester has the ambiance of an Adirondack lodge, but one where you can buy all the outdoor clothing and gear you would ever need. Beyond that, Orvis runs fly-fishing and wing-shooting schools from its Manchester operation, and the price includes all the equipment you need to make it happen.
If you’re curious to know what a little drug money can do for you, make a trek to the Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert. The center, comprising more than 3000 acres of field and forestland in the southwestern corner of the state, is a nature lover’s paradise with its hiking trails and campsites. In keeping with its mission to promote sustainable farmland and forest management, the center runs workshops on trail tending, identifying wild plants and managing small herds of livestock.
The Vermont Country Store is not so much a retail experience as a trip down memory lane. The store, which takes up much of downtown Weston, sells things that nobody else does anymore: antique-style gadgets, soaps and powders that no longer appear on drugstore shelves, candies that were once sold in a glass jar for a penny or two. If you’re over 50, this will bring you back. If you’re under 50, well, you can Tweet about it.
The Dorset Playhouse — in a renovated historic barn on Cheney Road — has hosted the Dorset Theatre Festival for more than three decades. The professionally produced plays are not your typical summer fare: This year, they’re doing St. Nicholas, Merton of the Movies, The Hollow, Marry Me a Little and Alice in Wonderland. Speaking of ideal settings, Dorset is a picture of summer wealth.
The Manchester-based multifaceted arts center is a sophisticated enterprise comprising the Wilson Museum, the Yester House Gallery, a sculpture garden, an education center and a café, among other things. The Arkell Pavilion has been hosting musicians, singers, dancers, actors and writers for 50 years — don’t miss the Ellis Marsalis Trio on July 24. The setting is the 400-acre Manchester estate of Gertrude Divine Ritter, and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The galleries and gardens are closed on Monday.
(Published in 7 Nights 2009-10)
For folks who haven’t had the pleasure of exploring the Italian countryside, it’s possible to dine at Pane e Salute without sampling a single familiar dish.
At the eight-table eatery — which blends cool, modern décor with a few rustic touches — the menu is based on “heirloom” recipes that Caleb Barber and Deirdre Heekin have gathered during their annual travels to “il bel paese.”
(Published in 7 Nights 2009-10)
When bars advertise they’ve got “rock,” they’re usually talking about music.
At McGrath’s Pub, in an inn on Pico Mountain, they mean it literally: The dining room and pub are built around a massive boulder.
At 4,800 feet, Mount Moosilauke is the tallest of the western White Mountains. The 3.8-mile Gorge Brook trail leads to its windswept granite summit. On a clear day, the view is one of the finest in New England, a sort of old-fashioned Google Earth, where you can look down on Killington, Mt. Ellen and Mansfield, and up to Mt. Washington. The Dartmouth Outing Club keeps a big log cabin open to the public at the most popular trailhead, located at the end of Ravine Road.
If you worship succulent organic strawberries, mark June 28 on your calendar. In addition to acres of pick-your-own strawberries, Cedar Circle Farm hosts an annual strawberry festival with live music, a barbeque with stone-fired pizza, and all the strawberry shortcake you can eat. Situated along the Connecticut River in East Thetford, it’s a sweet spot on a sweet summer day.
Woodstock is a classic 18th-century New England town — minus the avaricious loggers. George Perkins Marsh, a noted naturalist and statesman, was one of the first to see the error of those ways. He set aside 500 acres of conserved forestland that is now the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. More than 20 miles of carriage roads weave through the park, making it a spectacular place for a leisurely amble.
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