3 1/2 Reasons To Go To Walpole, NH
1) The Restaurant at Burdick’s. You need to be of a certain age to remember when the Upper Valley had a French restaurant or two. (Can someone please remedy this?) Burdick’s, an hour’s drive away, now fills the bill. The French-inspired menu lists the classics, sometimes with more global touches, like the Togarashi Roasted Sweet Potato starter (above), Trout with coriander-spiced corn purée, chorizo, and hominy, and Birra Adobo, lamb stew with tortillas and other fixings (below). Looking for a lighter lunch? Try Ken’s Salad, named for filmmaker, restaurateur and Walpole’s own Ken Burns.
2) Burdick’s again. L.A. Burdick’s (same name, different company) handmade chocolates, pastries, and tea room is just next door. Pricey and delicious, these sweets (and oh, don’t forget the killer hot chocolate) can now be found at satellite locations including one in Cambridge’s Harvard Square. But this is the mothership.
3) Bellows Falls, Vermont: You can almost work off a Burdick’s lunch and/or an L. A. Burdick’s chocolate coma by strolling through Bellows Falls, just across the river. It’s an old town with great architectural bones. And an arts scene. I have previously written (click here) about the Canal Street Art Gallery. River Artisans Cooperative, established in 1975, is a space for local artists to display and sell their works. On my next trip I am hoping to drop in on Chris Sherwin, glassblower and glass artist, with a studio on Bridge Street. If you are familiar with my previous post (click here) about the famed and irascible Hetty Green (once known as “the Witch of Wall Street” and America’s richest woman), you’ll be charmed by the remains of a town-sponsored scavenger hunt. Shop windows have numbered pages, each with a sketch of Hetty looking back at you (above) and a brief factoid about her and her life in Bellows Falls. And the previously dilapidated motel that bore Hetty’s name? Under renovation, it is well on its way to becoming attractive and affordable housing.
The 1/2? It’s the Walpole Grocery, a few doors down from both Burdicks. The butcher case is appealing. We go for the excellent housemade lamb sausage. We neglected to call ahead, learned that the sausage was sold out, and thus, came home with an empty styrofoam cooler this time. Hence the “1/2”, alas for us (not for the grocery, which deserves a full integer.) We’ll be smarter in the future.
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.