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October 2, 2008

Let’s Go Again!
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 07:53 PM * 30 comments

The autumn leaves are peaking this weekend through next weekend in New Hampshire.

I’ve mentioned visiting to see the leaves before. A year ago, in “Let’s Go” I gave some routes that Leaf Peepers might like to try. (See the comment thread also for more Local Color.)

Here’s another trip: Your best route to I-93, then whip up to the end of the road in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. When you get there, visit the Fairbanks Museum. Miss Teresa visited there, the trip where she saw a moose. The Lovely and Talented Miss Teresa was amazed by the patriotic pictures made from beetle shells. (They also have fossils, a stuffed moose, Jeff Davis’s checkerboard, and many other wonders.) The Eye on the Sky weather reports on Vermont Public Radio are broadcast from the Fairbanks Museum. The museum is open all year Tues - Sat 9 AM - 5 PM and Sunday 1 - 5 PM. Closed Mondays.

As long as you’re in St. J, drop by Maple Grove Farms to get a factory tour and visit the shop (maple sugar candy seconds, very good, very cheap, and samples of all kinds of grades of maple syrup). No matter what kind of painting of Happy Rural Life in Vermont you see on their catalogs’ covers, the actual Maple Grove Farms is a concrete building on a railway siding. It’s a farmers’ cooperative and this is their central location.

When it isn’t maple season they make a wide variety of other foodstuffs in their factory. They’re located on US Rt. 2, on your right as you head east out of town.

Speaking of places to go, for dinner there’s Angelica’s Restaurant in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. Bethlehem (for no obvious reason) bills itself as the Poetry Capital of New Hampshire. But this has nothing to do with Angelica’s. It’s located in the middle of town, across from the stone horse-watering trough, (2085 Main St Bethlehem, NH 03574 (603) 869-5420) The owner is a gent of Portuguese extraction whose family is in the fish business in New Bedford, MA. He gets fresh fish at family prices by whipping down I-93. Which is why he specializes in fish and other seafood (scallops! yum!).

Other places to eat on your trip: Diners in New England.

If the weather is cloudy (or even rainy) that just makes the autumn colors a bit more glowing. Do pack a sweater.

Comments on Let's Go Again!:
#1 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2008, 08:39 PM:

While on Rt 2, take Route 7 south in North Adams, MA, where you can get a breathtaking view of Mount Greylock across a wooded valley. Truly, a sight to see.

#3 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2008, 08:56 PM:

As I understand it, it's the temp differential between high and low, along with sunny days, that gives the good colours to the leaves. Coming week looks perfect for that.

#4 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2008, 09:56 PM:

I will actually be down south (southern Massachusetts) for my the opening of a show of my father's design work in two weeks. Yay! Fall Colors!

I will have to smuggle Canada Mints and maple sugar candy back into California.

#5 ::: Jenett ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2008, 10:01 PM:

I love the Fairbanks Museum, though it's been a number of years since I was there. (I grew up in MA, and my family had a time share in Stowe for a few years as a good family desination with my older siblings.) It's one of those cool old Victorian museums with all sorts of random stuff in it, in glass cases and corners, and where you turn around from looking at Japanese dolls brought back by a trader to a dinosaur fossil.

And the landscape is truly lovely. (I adore Minnesota, but I oddly enough miss the MA/VT/NH mountain ranges and hills far more than the ocean.)

We were also fond of the Shelburne Museum, which is about 30 minutesish south of Burlington (and on the other side of the state), and which is another of those random collections of interesting stuff (everything from a house full of duck decoys to Amish quilts to Impressionist art to a major circus display with the most gorgeous carousel animals carved out of glowing satiny wood and an entire scale model of a circus parade that requires a quarter-mile long building to display.) Excellent for families who have lots of different interests.

#6 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2008, 11:06 PM:

I have to admit that this time of year I miss the North. Although since the back of the hurricane season seems already to have broken, and something awfully close to the trade winds are blowing again, now is when Puerto Rico just gets breathtaking. Sunny blue skies from now until June, and the nights are cool enough to sleep without the air conditioner again.

But I do miss the leaves turning.

#7 ::: deCadmus ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 12:47 AM:

Vermont's Autumn color is setting in early this year. I took pictures last weekend at Lake Iroquois (just south of Williston) where leaves are turning a full two weeks earlier than last year... and snapped photos around Danville, VT on Tuesday where the hills are really peaking right this moment. (Here's some of my snaps from the last few days on Flickr.)

If you're dithering between this weekend and next, I'd recommend going sooner than later.

#8 ::: pixelfish ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 01:29 AM:

Up in the Vermont area: When I was visiting my cousin up in the Warren area, they took us to this awesome place called Flatbread in Waitsfield. We played around on the farm and they had outdoor seating the day we went. It was really lovely.

The Mad River Valley in Vermont is awfully pretty this time of year too.

#9 ::: numbertwopencil ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 02:06 AM:

The Fairbanks Museum! Their planetarium is so, so, well, cute, for a planetarium. And, if you are in St. J. don't miss the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum. It's as whack as the Fairbanks--minus the RLS letter display. Kinda like a zombie Gaddis novel, in paint.

#10 ::: martyn ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 04:34 AM:

A stuffed moose! Now there's a challenge a gal can't resist. I should be free any time after November 5th.
Sarah

#11 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 07:13 AM:

Just turning in the southern UK; should be spectacular in a week or two. (My partner is briefly going back to our old place near Windsor Great Park today, which should be something.)

#12 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 08:53 AM:

There's apparently a leaf-falling event that sounds absolutely lovely and incredibly elusive that some of you might be in a position to see at some point.

From Little Blog in the Big Woods:

For perhaps a half an hour, the sky rains leaves. Quietly, with only the occasional drip of melted frost to accompany the swish of the sailing leaves. What happens when some compound leaf loses a leaflet or two on one side? Unbalanced, they twirl, and swirl, and... well, dance is the only word. Each an individual; a sky full of brilliant, flashing, variations.

Walking in it is transfiguring. Walking through it with a loved one- moreso. Walking through it with a small child- neither you, nor they, will ever forget.

It's a throat-hurtingly beautiful thing; a rite of change I've shared with my loved ones whenever I could. This is IT; the exact instant of change, from summer to fall- the world has turned, successfully, once more. That "successfully" bit is not a given, you know.

It's apparently a once-a-year alignment of factors that only happens at dawn. Greenpa (the blogger) describes it fully at the link above.

#13 ::: Tracey S. Rosenberg ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 09:39 AM:

Michael @6 - I'm with you on missing the leaves turning. I can't say I miss the midwestern winters (ah, fond memories of Mom and Dad shoveling snow off the flat part of the roof...) but I do miss autumn.

I cut open a pumpkin today, though, and I smelled it a little.

And then there's Injun Summer. Anyone know if the Trib still runs it?

#14 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 11:48 AM:

Just because the word "maple" came up, and it's cold season, and all. (Not much colour here yet, but then Toronto is the warm south. Shall be lugging camera and self to the Rouge valley this weekend all the same.)

Maple-Garlic-Orange Sauce

Peel, section, seed, and subdivide the sections of two oranges; toss these in a sauce pan of moderate capacity, three or four halves of a litre. (Mostly so it's wide enough to take the strainer later.)

Peel and pulp into the pot between a dozen and a score cloves of garlic, depending on whether they be good plump cloves or no, or if you take any particularly delight in garlic.

Add to the pot a goodly dollop of brandy and enough water to almost cover the oranges. Cast enough powdered cinnamon on it to cover lightly half the surface.

Put the pot on heat at the high end of medium. Stir; squish any of the orange sections that look a bit large.

When the water steams, stir in an eighth litre or so of maple syrup; from this point, if you stop stirring, the maple syrup will tend to fall out and stick to the bottom of the pot, so don't do that.

Once the mixture boils, turn the heat down and simmer another five minutes, stirring all the while.

Remove from heat; pour into a blender. Rinse the pot, and put it back on the (off!) stovetop ring.

Blend the mixture on 20% speed (2 out of 5 on my blender) until it is entirely homogenized. (Any seeds you hear at this point mean stopping the blender and fishing them out again. Ingesting ground orange seed = bad!)

Place a wire strainer over the pot; pour the mixture into the strainer. Give it a minute or three to finish dripping, remove the strainer, and turn the heat back on just below medium.

Stir, and stir in a tablespoon of tapioca starch already blended with a tablespoon of cold water. After a minute, turn the heat up to just below high, and keep stirring until the sauce thickens.

Remove from heat and serve.

Good over flesh or fowl; excellent with egg rolls. Can be consumed directly with a spoon. Good for what ails you.

Emphatically in the "either the entire company shall, or the entire company shall not" category.

#15 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 12:46 PM:

Autumn leaves, from yeller ta purple;
Gotta love fresh maple surple....

#16 ::: Tracey S. Rosenberg ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 03:16 PM:

Anyone got any good pumpkin recipes? I just made soup (yum) and the seeds are drying in preparation for roasting, but I still have half the thing and my freezer is plenty full of soup for now.

Bonus points for a recipe that combines pumpkin with apple. Extra bonus points for a recipe that combines half a pumpkin with the entire contents of an apple tree....

#17 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2008, 06:12 PM:

I spent many happy childhood hours in that time capsule called Fairbanks Museum (my mother was raised in the area). The main floor had changed little between the late 1800s and the early 1970s. They did add a few "hands on" exhibits to the basement during the '60s.

One of the best views of sugar maples is about 20 miles north of St. J. around Willoughby Lake. There's a surprising view of what a glacier can do to a mountain - split it in half.

There's also a terrific diner on Route 5, near the Lyndonville exit of 91 - The Miss Lyndonville Diner. Particularly great pancakes.

And, don't forget that when you stop at one of those roadside stands to buy Vermont maple syrup, get grade B. It's cheaper than the grade A and tastes better. It is, however, a little darker.

#18 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2008, 10:27 PM:

Tracy S. Rosenburg @16:

Pumpkin Cookies

I can't take credit for this recipe: it's from the old alt.callahans Cookbook, and was contributed by Damien Saunders of Tasmania.

  • 2 cups raw sugar (Turbinado, or raw sugar from the organic section of your supermarket; white sugar will work in a pinch)
  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin
  • 1 cup salad oil
  • 4 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups raisins (I use either golden raisins or a mixture)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, and oil. Add remianing ingredients and mix well. Drop tablespoons onto trays and bake at 350ºF/175ºC for 18-20 minutes.

#19 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2008, 10:57 PM:

I guess this means that it's time once again to start the hunt for pumpkin flan.

#20 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2008, 11:18 PM:

I wonder how well pumpkin sorbet would work? Harold McGee's The Curious Cook has one chapter with comprehensive charts of sorbet recipes for almost every fruit (or possibly vegetable; he includes tomatoes and describes the avocado result with approval); the other ingredients are usually sugar, lemon juice, and sometimes water depending on the desired consistency. Apples could certainly be factored in, perhaps along with mulling/pie-type spices?

Incidentally, some years ago when I first tried (I think) Haagen-Dazs' chocolate sorbet, I noticed that the nutritional info looked equivalent to Hershey's chocolate syrup diluted 1:1 with plain water-- which in fact creates a fairly similar result when thoroughly mixed and stuck into the freezer until solid. Substituting milk for water resulted in an odder texture with larger flat ice crystals, though.

#21 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2008, 01:19 AM:

I made a decent pumpkin icecream ages ago, but that relied on canned pumpkin, and I'm not sure what I did with the recipe if I even had one.

#22 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2008, 03:31 AM:

I have a pumpkin pudding recipe (from the kids insert in the Sunday WashPost comics) that uses canned pumpkin, but you could probably convert to fresh:

1.5 cups milk
1 package sugar-free instant vanilla pudding
1 (14 ounce) can pumpkin
0.5 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Combine milk & pudding. Mix well.

2. Stir in the pumpkin & cloves. Mix well.

3. Pour into serving bowls. Cover and chill.

Makes 4 servings

I've never made this, but I cut it out because I like pumpkin food.

#23 ::: Tracey S. Rosenberg ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2008, 03:57 AM:

Thanks, everyone! I went with pumpkin/tomato soup and roast pumpkin with other vegetables (and meanwhile baked three apple cakes from 2 pounds of apples), but I will note these recipes for the next pumpkin - which, if my friend's crop comes in, will be my task *next* weekend....

#24 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2008, 08:39 AM:

Laurie Mann@17

It's cheaper than the grade A and tastes better.

Interesting combination of qualities. So why is grade B maple syrup both less expensive and better-tasting?

#25 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2008, 09:59 AM:

Grade A is for the restaurant trade, and looks better on the table.

It's also debatable about the "better tasting" part; it's one of those strong flavour/subtle flavour things. I will myself take a good medium Grade A over most Grade B.

But, anyway, Grade B is darker, and therefor cheaper, because it doesn't look as refined on the table in a great hotel. There are also historical implications about how long it's been since the last time the boiler was scrubbed or how likely it is that some burnt bits have gotten in and applied some undesirable darkening.

#26 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2008, 09:38 PM:

Grade A is said to have a more delicate taste than grade B; I've never tried them side-by-side to be sure. I'm unconvinced that color ever affected restaurant choice; the colors are close enough that I doubt people could tell them apart without a reference.

#27 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2008, 08:12 AM:

So why is grade B maple syrup both less expensive and better-tasting?

Because back when the grading system was being invented, the goal was to have the maple syrup be as much like sugar as possible; lack of discernable maple flavor was a good thing.

#28 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2009, 04:24 PM:

Looks like this Saturday through next Saturday will be peak up here.

Y'all might be interested to know that the Colebrook House is running a Leaf Peepers' Special: Stay three nights, get the fourth for free.

Looking at the hills we're getting more brilliant oranges than we've had for years.

#29 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2009, 11:05 PM:

The leaves are gone; brown and swirled to the ground.

Next year....

#30 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 08:18 AM:

...and the skies are grey (and the skies are grey)
I've been for a walk on a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A.
California dreamin' on such a winter's day....

(sorry man, but you tripped a trigger)

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