First Day of Spring. Outdoor Dining’s Comeback in the UV
And some news about Artful and its readers.
The higher altitude at our house means a yard still buried in snow and colder temperatures by several degrees, so we opted to drive to Colburn Park in downtown Lebanon NH to celebrate the arrival of spring. We weren’t disappointed. Sunny, snow melted into oblivion, and just about balmy for the third week of March.
We placed our take-out order at Three Tomatoes and discovered that the town’s park had sprouted many new picnic tables (photo, top). We stationed ourselves at one while we people-watched and waited for our order to be ready. During last year’s pandemic ritual of meeting friends outside for lunch or conversation, the old picnic tables were a comforting resource that welcomed people into the park. Then and now, they serve as prime seating that partners nicely with a take-out latte from nearby Lucky’s Coffee Garage.
While restaurants and the vaccinated among us are moving toward the idea of possibly dining in, dining outdoors—that creative response of last summer and fall to COVID-19 restrictions—will be returning to the Upper Valley. Three Tomatoes will reclaim its block on Court Street, and Salt Hill Pub will resume its outdoor seating options. Tents are scheduled to go up in just a few weeks in early April. Hanover restaurants have been approved to do the same. (No official word on Vermont yet, but one assumes . . . Tuckerbox in White River Junction, for example, is already providing outdoor seating, weather permitting. Its neighbor Piecemeal Pies is touting brunch outside at its sidewalk tables.) Turns out that using streets and parking lots to provide outdoor dining options was not just sensible in the face of a deadly virus, it brought life and conviviality to towns across the Upper Valley. It aims to do that yet again.
Some news about this blog/newsletter Artful, and you, its readers. Just last week Artful hit a milestone as one of you became its 1,000th subscriber. Thanks to all who read religiously, or casually, or just when the mood strikes. Thanks to those who comment, and those who share my posts on your own social media. It’s a privilege to write about the pleasures (and occasional pains) of culture and art in the Upper Valley. I appreciate your joining me. Here’s to you, and to the next thousand subscribers.
Welcome! You’re reading Artful, a blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley, and I hope you’ll subscribe and then share this with your friends and on your social media.
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.