Lobsters, Wineries and Foods of New England
August 19 - 25, 2007
This interesting Elderhostel began on late Sunday afternoon
at Newport, Rhode Island. I drove up to Rhode Island on Sunday the 19th.
My good friends Doris and Dick Green flew in from Iowa for this program and
I was able to met them at the airport in Warwick, RI. We were to spend two
nights at the Best Western Main Stay Inn at Newport. We started the
Elderhostel program with a tasty dinner of scrod, we then
had our usual orientation to the week long program.
Our week of touring and learning started promptly after breakfast on
Monday the 20th, with a visit to the Prescott Farms just outside Newport.
The farms are a collection of buildings and gardens that are being preserved
to provide images of the early 18th century settlements of Rhode Island.
The building above was used as an interpretive center. We learned about
New England's traditional corn meal cooking dishes. We sampled corn
or Johnny cakes. They told us that the British commander,
General Prescott was captured in this building by our colonial troops.
This working windmill was used to grind grain into flour. We were able to
go inside to explore the working mechanisms of the mill. There were
several well marked gardens on the farm that provided
seasonings for colonial times cooking.
After our Prescott farm visit we traveled to the nearby Newport Winery for a tour
and a Rhode Island Clambake for lunch. Above is the entrance to the winery.
The Newport Winery vineyards. The original vineyards were planted in 1977.
They winery currently grow grapes for Chardonnay, Merlot,
Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling,
Sauvignon Blanc and Lemberger wines.
We are enjoying our Rhode Island Clambake. During the meal we
samples 5 of the wines produced by the winery. They were
quite good and we were able to buy these various wines in the winery
gift shop. The meal included a clam soup made without cream or
milk. The soup was made with clams and mussels. We also had chicken and salt potatoes.
Watermelon was served for dessert.
After our winery stop we had a bus tour of Newport. It was interesting
to see the sights of the city and the large mansions located around Newport.
There was a city stop for those group members who wanted to walk
around downtown Newport. Our evening meal was at Atlantic Beach Club
restaurant located in the harbor area. We had scrod for dinner.
Luckily for us it was a different preparation from the previous evening.
On Tuesday morning we were on the road bight and early. Our first stop
was at the Lollipop Tree in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This family owned
specialty food manufacturer was started in 1981 and has manufactured the
Lollipop brand of all natural baking mixes, condiments and jams as well as
exclusive products for private label retailers. The had a small show room
with samples of many of their products available for us to sample.
The products this company manufactures were terrific. We also had a
tour of the manufacturing facility. We left the Lollipop feeling
quite full from all the yummy samples we tasted.
The Lollipop showroom with samples.
Our lunch stop was at the Stonewall Kitchens in York, Maine. We
had a small box lunch which was rather average compared to our
sampling at the Lollipop Tree. The Kitchens were really a small snack bar
with lots of kitchen and cooking materials available for sale.
They also had many jellies and jams available for sale.
Our last stop of the afternoon was at Finestkind Scenic Cruises located
at Ogunquit harbor on the Maine coast. We were scheduled to take part in an
hour long "lobster pull". Above is a photo of the pedestrian drawbridge
located at the opening of the harbor. The harbor was very busy with
lots of boats to check out as we waited for our boat ride.
Some of the boats in the harbor.
We sailed out into the ocean for a couple of miles and then the ship's captain
began to pull up lobster traps. He is pictured above
using a small winch to help pull up the traps.
The boat Captain measuring a lobster taken from the trap to see
if it is of legal size. If not the right length over the side to continue growing.
A crew member holding up a lobster so the passengers
could see the lobster eggs under the their tail.
A lobster up close and personal!
The Atlantic surf was crashing on the coastline.
After our lobster boat experience we drove to Oqunquit River
Plantation motel where we would spend the next two nights.
This evening we had a delightful dinner at Clay Hill Farms. Following the dinner
we returned to the motel where we had a presentation by Jim Amaral of
Boriealis Breads. He is a custom baker of all natural bread products.
Our day ended with a beautiful Maine sunset.
I am with my friends the Greens. We just finished breakfast at the
Huckleberries Restaurant on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. It was a beautiful
sunny day and we are off to Portland, Maine Fish Exchange.
The main refrigerated auction room at the Portland Fish Exchange.
It was really chilly in this room.
The manager of the Fish Exchange explaining how the exchange operates.
Fish on ice waiting to be auctioned off. Their next stop,
your sea food local store or restaurant.
The Exchange uses tons of shredded ice each day that it is open.
Barrels of bait fish waiting to be used by local fishermen.
Workmen unloading a fishing boat. Note the fish coming out of the
unloading derrick. The fish are being loaded into plastic containers for shipping to
a nearby processing plants. The sea gulls are waiting for a possible
handout from the ship spillage.
There were several truck loads of fish unloaded this morning.
After our Portland Fish Exchange visit we traveled to the
Cold River Vodka Company near Freeport, Maine.
Distilling equipment. The vodka is made from Maine
potatoes and water from the Cold River. The distillery
had the usual over priced gift shop like other places we visited.
Our lunch stop was at this restaurant where we enjoyed lobster rolls and micro beers.
A large sand sculpture outside the entrance to L. L. Bean. We had a two hour break in
our eating program to shop at L. L. Bean and the other stores in Freeport.
After our Freeport stop we returned to our motel to rest up for our
traditional Maine Lobster Bake Dinner at Fosters. Above is a photo of the
saw marsh and pond behind our motel.
The next morning was an early departure for New Hampshire and our
first stop of the morning at small Candia Vineyards.
The vineyards grapes were getting close to picking time!
The vineyard owner touting his wines. This was the only stop without a gift shop!
Lunch was served at the Farmer's Diner at Quechee Gorge Village.
This was a neat stop with several large and interesting
gift shops. One shop had great cheeses and dips to sample.
There was a miniature train for kids to ride on at the village.
The bridge over Quechee Gorge. We walked from the village across
the bridge where we got some great photos of the gorge.
Quechee Gorge from the bridge.
Our next stop was at the Vermont Water Buffalo Farm in Woodstock, Vermont.
The farm has over 600 Water Buffalo and 250 of which provide milk for
cheese and yogurt production. Water Buffalo provide
the milk for pure mozzarella cheese.
A traditional New England covered bridge located on the
edge to downtown Woodstock, Vermont.
The Brandon Inn served as our headquarters for our last two night of our
Elderhostel program. Brandon, Vermont was one of those typical New England
towns with old classic houses and a traditional town
square where the farmers market was held.
The morning of August 24th found our tour starting after breakfast at the
Cold Hollow Cider Mill. We had a tour of the mill and learned about its cider
operation. The mill had two gift shops and sold home made donuts for
50 cents each. The owner was very emphatic in telling our group that
apples loved cool temperatures. The best temperature for apples
according to him is 36 degrees. We had a picnic lunch at the cider mill.
The apple press used for squeezing the cider from Northern Spy apples.
The room where the cider is bottled.
Our next stop was at the Morse Sugar Farm where we learner about
maple syrup and candy production. Above is a shot of one of the buildings
where we saw a multi-media shot about maple sap gathering and syrup production.
Burl Morse one of the farm's owners discussed the maple production in a
very New England style. He used humor to make his
presentation very interesting. We also had a taste of
maple syrup on snow (shaved ice).
Maple syrup production machinery.
Morse farm was the home to a replica of the Vermont State Capitol.
A photo of the real state capitol in Rutland, Vermont.
Our last stop of the day was at the Neighborly Farm, an all natural
organic dairy farm run by Rob and Linda Dimmick. The farm
was nestled in the rolling hills of Randolph Center, Vermont. The
farm produces milk that is used in cheddar, feta and Monterey
Jack cheeses made on the farm and sold
through out New England.
The entrance to the dairy barn.
On Saturday morning, we checked out of the Brandon Inn early to begin our
trip back to Newport. We had one last scheduled stop at the famous
Vermont Country Store in Rockingham, Vermont. They carried a wide variety
of hard to find merchandise along with traditional gift show fare.
A vintage car parked near the Vermont Country Store covered bridge.
A cute sign at the exit from the Vermont Country Store.
We were off to Newport and then home after a neat
week of food and dining experiences. New friends were
made and new experiences were had.
All in all it was a terrific week.