New England blog postings

New England Postings

Earliest: March 14, 2003Latest: July 18, 2018Total: 61

September 10, 2015

Food Tour of Waterbury Vermont

In the Fall of 2014, we took a ride up to Stowe, Vermont from Massachusetts. In that trip, we accidentally ran into 3 Vermont food establishments and created a mini food tour. I thought I would share it in case other people wanted to have a bit of fun on the way to Stowe and see some of Waterbury VT.

Ben and Jerry

This is the place that people go to see how their favorite ice cream is made. You can get a tour of the factory and get a sample of the flavor of the day - not really free since you do have to pay $6 for the tour. It's a fun tour where you learn a lot about the history and culture of Ben and Jerry.

Key tip: When you first arrive at the factory, get your tour tickets first. They do book out pretty quickly! In fact if you arrive later in the day all the remaining tours may have already been sold out. Still worth a stop for the gift shop and ice cream selection.

The souvenir store is great, they have all the usual collectables; Pens, T-shirts, toys and so much more. It's a great place to stock up. Yet, It's a bit smaller than I would have thought it to be.

Be sure to visit the ice cream graveyard and try to remember when you had all the different flavors that Ben & Jerry's don't make any more. There is a small playground for kids to work off their energy from eating ice cream.

If your a chocolate ice cream fan, here's something fun to try - When you place your ice cream order at the ice cream stand, let them know that you really enjoy Chocolate ice cream. Then ask for the most  chocolaty Ben & Jerry's ice cream. See which one of Ben and Jerry's has the most chocolate taste.

Cabot Cheese

After stopping for ice cream get back in the car and head up a bit on route 100 and visit the World of Cabot.

You'll find a Cabot Cheese store next to a wine shop. This isn't a factory tour type of place, it's basically Cabot retail establishment. However, there's plenty of free cheese samples and lots of different crackers to try. It's worth the stop for all the cheese samples.

This is a good place to find a lot of other Vermont favorites here too such as Maple Syrup, thick slice bacon and extra cheese popcorn. They do have some Cabot souvenirs to add to your food tour.

It's a good place to broaden your horizons on different cheeses. Don't eat too much as there's still one more food stop before arriving in Stowe.

Cold Hollow Cider Mill

Have you ever been to the Vermont building at Big E in East Springfield, Mass? Did you try the Apple Crisp? You'll be happy to know the last stop on this food tour is Cold Hollow Cider Mill. This is the company behind those awesome Apple Crisp desert treats.

Once you walk in, you'll smell someone cooking up a fresh batch of Apple Cinnamon donuts. Look around, because there is great amount of food and gifts to pick up here. In fact, you can by a kit to make their Apple Crisp at home.

This is a really good place to buy premium maple syrup in all sorts of sizes. (Really some one needs a gallon size?)  You can buy a personal size bottle which kids will like.

In the back of the store is where you can watch them make the world best Apple cider. You can even try a free sample.

There is an active bees hive in the middle of the store. Kids will like watching the busy bees in action. No chance of getting a bee sting, everything is behind a glass.

Fun Day!

Those are the three fun places that we discovered on our Waterbury VT food trip to Stowe, Vermont. It's was a long trip and stopping at those places helped break up the trip. It also made it a fun journey to go back sometime soon. Next time we'll not eat as much before the tour.

September 2, 2015

Katsiroubas Bros. Truck

If your driving around the Boston area, you may see a green Katsiroubas Bros. Truck. They are delivering some fresh produce to some of the finer restaurants in New England. On the truck you may see a little note by the driver's side door, "In Loving Memory of NPK." This is in reference to Nicholas P Katsiroubas the CEO of Katsiroubas Bros who died on May 21, 2013.

Nicholas was a graduate of Babson College. He was CEO of Katsiroubas Bros and his dedication grew the business into one of the leading produce and specialty suppliers in the North East. You can read more about his Bio on the Katsiroubas website.

Oddly enough that "NPK" actually has a different meaning among gardeners. NPK refers to the Nitrigen, Phosphorus and Potassium amount that is used in fertilizer.

July 29, 2015

Gluten-free Expo

Last Weekend we attend the Gluten-free Expo was at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.  We wanted to attend the show so that my daughter could to try different foods.

When we checked in at the registration desk we were given three large re-usable shopping bags. Within an hour, we managed to fill the bags with lots of samples and coupons.

There were a lot of exhibitors at the show giving away free taste samples. It was a good way to break out of the normal routine and try different pizzas and snacks. Some of the vendors were selling products, while others were handing out take-home size samples. There were a couple of Gluten-free bakery vendors selling cup cakes and flourless chocolate cakes that were very good.

I felt some of the pizza could have been cooked more for a more crispy taste, but I get it that the benders were try to get samples out as quickly as possible.

The exhibit floor was packed and moving between vendors was difficult at times. It was great to see a large turn out, however the hosting company should have space the booths out more.

One of the good things about going to a food expo is trying food that you normally wouldn't try. We stopped by the Schar booth to try their bread, thinking that no one could possibly beat the taste of Canyon House bread. We were wrong, as Schar tasted really good and has the texture of real bread. They even gave us a loaf of bread to take home. I think Canyon Bakery has a real challenge on its hand.

Part of the excitement of the Expo was the ability to attend some classes on Gluten-free cooking, but the announcement of the classes on the exhibit hall PA system was barely audible. There was so much noise that you couldn't hear any announcements. If you go, set up a reminder on your phone of the class that you want to attend.

Parking at the DCU center was a bit challenging, as it wasn't very clear on where to exit the garage to walk to the DCU center. We weren't the only ones with problems as several people were walking all over the garage, first to find the show and then later to find their car. Good Luck if you have a stroller and looking for an elevator in the garage.

Overall the experience was worth it and I would certainly recommend going to meet the vendors and to taste some good food. If your eating Gluten Free because of Celiac disease, you should attend the show. Before sampling some of the food, let the vendor know that you have Celiac disease, as one of the beer vendors told me that one of their beers did have some Gluten in it.

To help my daughter feel better about going the expo, I changed the wording of the theme song to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse...

Its the Gluten free Expo...
..come inside its yummy inside
It's the Gluten free Expo

You can watch a clip of the Worcester Gluten-free Expo as part of the YouTube Weekly feature:

July 28, 2015

Mendon Twin Drive

Recently we saw a couple of movies at the Mendon Twin Drive in Mendon, Massachusetts. The theater is located just outside of downtown Mendon. We went on a very busy night where both theaters were sold out.

It cost $25 a car to see a  double feature movie, this is much cheaper than the three if us going to a regular movie theater. If there's more than six people in the car, it's an extra $5 a person.

Since the theater is own by the Andelman brothers, who put on the Phantom Gourmet, I was really looking forward to trying the snack bar and my favorite movie snack - popcorn. The snack bar was loaded with lots of great choices, such as hot dogs and chicken fingers and most of it was made to order. As a result, the line was a little long for the snack bar, but it seem to move fairly quickly.

I was a little disappointed with the taste of the popcorn. I was thinking that it was going to be awesome, that I picked up two bags ($6 a bag). The popcorn was was anything but great. It had a strange burn taste and nothing at all what I expected. The popcorn machine was cranking out popcorn, so it was fresh - perhaps maybe the machine needed cleaning? I don't know just wasn't what I was expected.

I watched the movie sitting on the ground near the back of the car. We had the car radio on, but I could hear the sound coming from other people radios. It was pretty cool surround sound effect.

We left near the end of the second movie because it was midnight and my daughter was sleeping. We also decided to leave because it was going to take a long time to leave once the movie got over. 

We had a great first time visit and certainly will be back again to enjoy another movie. This was my first drive-in experience since the Capital Theaters Drive-in in San Jose, California - some ten years ago.

You should certainly go and enjoy the Drive-in experience, here's some practical tips:

  • Arrive early, especially on a Saturday night in the summer. Pack some sandwiches and have a picnic dinner at the theater. 
  • Park any place you want, we ended up parking up front and felt we had great view of the screen.
  • The bathrooms are very small and the lines are long. Plan your bathroom breaks carefully ( Avoid going just before the movie or immediately afterwards)
  • Use the express lane at the snack bar, you can save a lot of time.
  • Yes, you should visit the snack bar it's part of the drive in fun.
  • The only Gluten-free options at the snack bar that I saw were the Popcorn, ice cream (with sprinkles) and some of the candy.
What to bring

  • Whiffle Bat and Ball - Keeps everyone entertained before the show
  • Radio - I saw some boom boxes, but Walkman might be good.
  • Blankets to keep warm
  • Bug spray
  • Extra drinks and snacks.
  • Chairs - lots of people were setting up beach chairs to watch the show.
  • USB Charger - The cell phone signal is weak and will drain the cell phone battery.
  • Flashlight - In case you need to walk to the snack bar when it's dark.

July 9, 2015

Acton Fireworks

This past weekend we saw the July 4th fireworks in Acton, Massachusetts. They shoot them off at NARA Park around 9:30pm.

We parked the car at an off-site parking lot at Nagog Woods. There were plenty of parking when we arrived at 7pm. It was a quick walk to the first pickup spot. We weren't that familiar with the area and thought that the bus was the best way to NARA Park. In the future, we would research if walking would be a better option.

NARA Park

This was a very nice family friendly park. There is a nice fresh water beach where you can go swimming. There is an enclosed playground with all sorts of slides and climbing equipment where kids can play. This is great to keep kids busy while waiting for the fireworks to go off.

I didn't know anything about the park. NARA Park, the Nathaniel Allen Recreation Area, is located at 25 Ledge Rock Way in Acton and operated by the Town of Acton Recreation Department. The park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset and staffed seasonally from Memorial Day weekend through late August.

Picking the Perfect Spot

When we arrived, it wasn't clear where the fireworks were going to be launched from, as some people thought it would be over the pond. The fireworks are actually fired near the baseball field on the opposite side of where you enter NARA Park.

To get an awesome view of the show, you are better off walking the distance towards the hill. However keep in mind the further you walk away from the entrance only means that you'll have to walk all that way back after the show with a large crowd.

We watched the fireworks near the playground and beach area. However, it appeared that the best spot to watch the fireworks was up on the hill just beyond the pond. There were some low level fireworks that would have been better to see up on the hill or on the other side of the hill.

Show Time

The fireworks show was great, it started around 9:30 and finished just before 10. People were marking their spots around 7pm. Just about everyone was sitting down during the whole thing.

The show lasted about 25 minutes and featured all sorts of different types fireworks. You could hear the usual "Ooohs" and "Ahhhs" and the occasional cheering for people's favorite firework.

It Would Have Been Better if...

The only complaint that I have about the show was how hard it was to get back to the official off-site parking lot. The organizers had only seven buses running. As a result, it took several bus trips before everyone could clear out. People were pushing and shoving just to get a spot on the bus. So much for the family friendly aspect.

Things didn't get any better once you arrive at the parking area, it was a traffic mess of everyone trying to get out at the same time. Police were doing their best to keep the traffic moving, but it didn't seem to make much difference.

Had we known about the walking we might have walked

One solution to this would be to have additional buses plus two areas for off-site parking. This would help break up the rush at the end of the show, and keep the crowds moving within the park and on the various main streets around Acton.

It's a fun show and I would recommend going. It certainly would be interesting to see what changes the town does in 2016. We didn't do the all day activity but it looks like that's a way to have a great fireworks day.

May 30, 2012

Wrentham Village Premium Outlets

Some little little factiod on the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets that I found out this weekend:

  • The Wrentham Village Premium Outlets is located 45 minutes from the Bourne Bridge.
  • The exit to get to Wrentham Village Premium Outlets off of 495, is very easy to remember! It's exit 15, the nickel and dime exit. So the next time your traveling down or up 495 and wonder what exit the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets is, think about 'it's the Nickel and Dime exit!'
  • When leaving the outlets to get back onto 495, at the lights by South St, near the Cracker Barrel Restaurant, stay in the left lane if you plan on going South on 495. Say in the center lane if you are going North on 495.
  • Visit the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for some unique snacks for the road trip home.

September 17, 2010

Wayside Inn

Earlier this week we had an early dinner at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury Massachusetts. The Wayside Inn is a historic Inn that opened in 1716 and is a perfect place to go for a great New England meal. Forget the Colonial Inn in Concord, or the Union Oyster House in Boston, this is place to visit if your looking for a great New England meal.

The dress code for the Wayside Inn is casual. We saw plenty of people in jeans, there were some people that were dressed up but most people were dressed casusal. You don't need to dress up to eat at the Wayside Inn.

We were seated in the main dinning room and on our table was plenty of bread and crackers on the table. The bread was fresh and the cheese and crackers was also good. I rarely get an appetizer when I go out, but the Wayside Inn has a great cup of Clam Chowder that I wanted to try. My only disappointment was that it was only a cup of clam chowder. It was really creamy clam chowder good. If you like your clam chowder creamy, and who doesn't, you need to try this!

My main course was Scallops (baked) and mash potatoes. Everything was cooked perfectly and I ate everything on my plate. The scallops were evenly cooked with a nice breadcrumb toping and cooked with real butter.

I would highly recommend going to Wayside Inn, and this is certainly the time of the year to go. They have some special events going on in the next few weeks. There's plenty of things to do around the Inn, and it's the perfect place to have a wedding reception.

April 19, 2010

Bloody Angle

Happy Patriots Day!

If your looking for something interesting to read today; learn about "Bloody Angle" and the impact it had on the American Revolution.

September 24, 2007

Nice time in New England

What a great time to be in New England:
  • Red Sox Clinch a playoff spot this weekend.
  • New England Patriots are 3-0 and looking good
  • Lots of Excitement over the Boston Celtics
  • Fall Foliage are showing up everywhere
  • Metro-Boston's Apple Picking Farms are opening up.
  • The Big E is in full swing
  • The Economy is doing really well in New England.

July 19, 2007

White House Inn of Wilmington

Planning a trip to New England for the Fall Foliage season?

White House Inn of Wilmington
178 Route 9 W, Wilmington, VT
(802) 464-2135

The spirit of Mrs. Martin Brown is said to haunt the historic White House Inn of Wilmington, Vt. Both staff and guests have reported unexplainable cold spots, doors that open by themselves, and visible apparitions. One guest reported being visited by an elderly lady in the middle of the night, who sat in a chair by the bed and exclaimed, "One Mrs. Brown in this room is quite enough!" The guest's name also happened to be Mrs. Brown.

The Inn itself includes a vast attic with creaks included, a dungeon-like basement with dark areas and coal boilers, a locking iron vault and even a hidden staircase.

Halloween weekend features a "Haunting" with a ghost hunt and seance.