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Boston Restaurant Blog >> 2011 archives >> April, 2011 >> blog entry

Boston Restaurant Blog -- April, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Five Road Trip-Worthy Restaurants

photo of Tavern on the Hill, Easthampton, MA It is nice to see the cold, dark days of winter and early spring being increasingly replaced with milder and more pleasant days. With days like the ones we've had over the past week or so, it seems like road trips to scenic and interesting parts of New England are not all that far off, which leads to the question, "What are some good restaurants to go to while traveling in the region?" Well, countless spots could be mentioned, but I'll narrow it down to places that have decent food and generally nice atmosphere, are within two hours of Boston, and are right in the middle of areas that have lots to offer for road trips. Here are five restaurants that fit the bill, in no particular order:

1) Vanilla Bean Cafe, Pomfret, CT
If you ride a motorcycle, or love taking "mystery rides" to nowhere, Route 169 in northeast Connecticut is a dream come true, with its gorgeous scenery and many twists and turns. Indeed, the road is listed as a national scenic byway, which should tell you something about it. There are relatively few restaurants along this mostly rural road, but one place that can be found on it--The Vanilla Bean Cafe--is a true destination spot. Freshly-made (and mostly healthy) food, a good beer selection, and outstanding desserts, combined with a rustic fireplaced interior and a tree-shaded outdoor patio make this a must stop while on Route 169. In addition to simply riding around the area, you can find wineries and antique shops, as well as narrow lanes for biking and walking within a few minutes of the Vanilla Bean. Address: Vanilla Bean Cafe, Corner of Routes 44, 169, and 197, Pomfret, CT 06258. Phone: (860) 928-1562 Our featured review can be found at: http://www.hiddenboston.com/VanillaBean.html

2) The People's Pint, Greenfield, MA
Located toward the northern edge of the Pioneer Valley in west-central Massachusetts, The People's Pint is an absolutely wonderful spot, with farm-to-table food, craft beers, and a colorful, historic-feeling atmosphere. And while it is located in a city that is interesting but perhaps not a place that tourists and other visitors come to in droves, there is a lot to see and do nearby, including the always-fun Montague Bookmill, the spectacular Mount Sugarloaf, and the ever-popular Mohawk Trail (Route 2 from Greenfield west to the New York border). Address: The People's Pint, 24 Federal Street, Greenfield, MA 01301. Phone: (413) 773-0333 Our featured review can be found at: http://www.hiddenboston.com/PeoplesPint.html

3) Grumpy's, East Dennis, MA
Route 6A on The Cape is such a lovely road that nearly any restaurant on it would make for a good experience, but if you like local favorites with lots of character (and characters), Grumpy's near the Brewster line is a great spot to check out. The restaurant has terrific breakfasts, sandwiches, and comfort food items, and their muffins can be particularly nice, especially early in the day when they are fresh. This is a perfect spot to go to after a bike trip along the nearby Cape Cod Rail Trail or a relaxing day at one of the small bayside beaches, or simply while meandering down the unforgettable Route 6A. Address: Grumpy's Restaurant, 1408 Main Street (Route 6A), East Dennis, MA, 02641. Phone: (508) 385-2911 Our featured review can be found at: http://www.hiddenboston.com/Grumpys.html

4) The Ramp, Cape Porpoise, ME
Out-of-the-way watering holes that feel like they are at the end of the world always hold appeal to me, and The Ramp, a dark and colorful spot at the end of the road in this little fishing village, is certainly one such spot. The type of seaside place where you feel like Quint from the movie "Jaws" might show up, The Ramp has an interesting mix of ruddy-faced fishermen, well-dressed tourists from nearby Kennebunkport, and locals from all over the area, enjoying burgers, seafood stew, and fried clams. Its location is so striking (it is literally at the end of the road) that one could simply spend the day here watching the boats go by, but there is plenty to do in the area, including sauntering around the charming villages of Kennebunkport and Ogunquit, or walking the scenic Marginal Way in Ogunquit's Perkins Cove. Address: The Ramp Bar & Grill, 77 Pier Road, Kennebunkport (Cape Porpoise), ME, 04046. Phone: (207) 967-8500 Our blog review can be found at: http://www.hiddenboston.com/blogentries/southern-maine-trip-1208.html

5) Tavern on the Hill, Easthampton, MA
Perhaps just a bit more upscale than the other restaurants we have mentioned here, Tavern on the Hill is nonetheless a fairly casual spot that, like the others, is a memorable place to go to while on a road trip. Situated at the height-of-land on Route 141 along the shoulder of Mount Tom in the Pioneer Valley, this eatery is in the running for most scenic location of any spot in New England. The interior is cozy and comfortable, but the outdoor deck is the way to go here, as one can enjoy brie puffs, oven-baked cod, and jambalaya from the eclectic menu while gawking at the stunning views of the valley below and the Berkshires in the distance. Nearby attractions include Mount Tom (obviously), the spectacular Chesterfield Gorge, and the funky communities of Northampton and Amherst. Address: Tavern on the Hill, 100 Mountain Road, Easthampton, MA, 01027. Phone: (413) 493-1700 Our blog review can be found at: http://www.hiddenboston.com/blogentries/tavern-on-the-hill-0910.html

As always, there are so many more restaurants we could have listed here, but these five will probably not disappoint while on road trips from the Boston area. One more note: If you have any favorite dining spots to go to while on road trips within a couple of hours of the city, feel free to comment about them here, thanks!

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