dine and dash, new england edition

Culinary travel is hotter than ever and New England in summer is one of the best places to do the surf and the turf. Here are just a handful of packages recently found via New England Inns & Resorts, a collection of nearly 250 aligned inns, resorts, and B&Bs. The website has a handy reservations widget so you can search availability across the collection – or download their free app to view info on each property and plan a vacation.

Farm to Fork Weekend (Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport, ME) – As the farm-to-table movement continues to grow, this weekend showcases Kennebunkport’s best local purveyors. Begin with a meet and greet that includes demonstrations from Cabot Cheese, Urban Farm Fermentory, and Shipyard Brewing Co. Saturday starts with breakfast in 95 Ocean Dining Room followed by a customized Foodie Tour of the Kennebunks, a lobster boat ride on the Rugosa, cooking class with the resort’s Executive Chef and a private dinner featuring a “Farm to Fork” menu. The weekend ends with a sunset walk and a Jazz Brunch. Starts at $598 per couple.

Now We’re Cookin’ (Johnson & Wales Inn, Seekonk, MA) – This package includes overnight lodging for two in an executive suite, a $50 dinner gift certificate for Audrey’s Restaurant, a 3-4 hour recreational cooking class for two at the campus of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, two Chef’s Choice aprons and breakfast for two at Audrey’s Restaurant. Starts at $369 per couple. Tax and gratuity not included.

Inn to Inn Culinary Herb Tour (Inn at Ellis River, Jackson, NH) – Visit 10 different inns for tasty herb treats, recipes, seeds or plants for the garden, and culinary lore. This package includes a welcome reception, herb-themed breakfasts, tours, and a gift from the inn from $249-$469 depending on room choice. A limited number of one night packages are also available for $159-$179 or stay a third night for an additional $99-$139.

King Arthur Flour Discount (Norwich Inn, Norwich, VT) –  Aching to get baking? Sign up for a class at King Arthur Flour’s Baking Education Center and take advantage of a 20% discount on accommodations at the Inn. Additionally, the Inn and King Arthur offer a 10% discount on memorabilia at the Inn and many items at the Baker’s Store (excluding Cafe and baked foods). Classes cater from beginners on up to expert bakers and include such favorites as Pizza Perfected, Bread: Principles and Practice, and Cake 101. This is a midweek-only deal available Sunday – Thursday. Rates at the hotel start at $129 per night.

Roaring Ramble Package (The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA) – Hit the road on your motorcycle with Executive Chef Brian Alberg for a freewheeling half-day ride through Berkshire farmlands and back roads before stopping at one of the chef’s favorite farms or a microbrewery.  Package includes a Sustainable Foods dinner for two at the Inn, overnight accommodations, and a sustainable breakfast the next day. Available from $525, including tax and gratuity, it’s available for overnights Sunday June 19 and Sunday August 21, with rides taking place the following day.



bucket list: 2009 edition – October



PROVIDENCE:  I’ve said it before in print and I’ll say it here again:  Providence is perhaps the coolest little city you’ve never visited.  An atmospheric and restored downtown, a robust restaurant scene, a groovy community of artists and designers, plus some of the prettiest colonial architecture this side of Williamsburg:  I don’t understand why the place is not choked with tourists.  Well…okay, I do: the 1980’s and early 90’s were not kind to the city, which saw crime skyrocket and downtown abandoned.  Despite a massive decade-long renewal, the news of its rebound seems to be traveling slowly.

One of the inventive ideas that shepherded the city’s revitalization is WaterFire, a massive public art project that’s the brainchild of sculptor Barnaby Evans.  Defying logic, over the course of almost six months WaterFire sets three conjoining rivers of downtown Providence alight each night at sunset.  It’s by far the most successful public installation of art I’ve ever seen, drawing visitors and locals down to the center of the city after dark to listen to music and interact with the fire, the river, and the community that nightly springs up along its banks.


RIVIERA MAYA:  I know in an earlier post I had waxed rhapsodic over my adventures in Mexican street food, as well as hiking the ruins of Tulum, so let’s take this moment to appreciate the unheralded art of Mexican towel origami.  I’ve not seen it practiced elsewhere, yet in Mexico the housekeeping staffs are masters of the art.  More often than not towels are rolled into swans, hearts or flowers, usually accompanied by a handful of rose petals or hibiscus blossoms.  Here however, we have a much more playful – if less technically difficult – Mayan towel god.


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