This Keene-area village will have families giving thanks By Jacqueline Tourville
Tucked away in the rolling countryside of the Connecticut River Valley, northwest of Keene, the quaint white clapboard village of Walpole is a New England postcard come to life.
Best known as the hometown of award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, Walpole is pretty and picturesque. And it offers really tasty foods. From cheese to chocolates to ice cream to organically raised meats and vegetables, this tiny town is packed with a mouth-watering array of family friendly gourmet delights.
A good first stop on this foodie day trip is L.A. Burdick. The famous chocolatier's flagship cafe and restaurant in the heart of Walpole village offers fine, handmade chocolates (check out the chocolate turkeys, a November specialty), European pastries and some of the yummiest hot chocolate around. For kids with slightly more adventurous taste buds, the adjoining restaurant's French Bistro fare includes such menu classics as beef stew, roasted chicken and a tantalizing cheese board, and yes, they have fries.
Next up is Walpole Creamery, which on the northern end of Main Street, not far from Burdick's. Named 2009's Best Made-from-Scratch Ice Cream by New Hampshire Magazine, the creamery is cups and cones above the competition because each batch of its sweet dairy confection is made by hand and with lots of local ingredients; all the milk used in the ice cream is produced just down the road at Echo Moon Farm. Open year-round, visit the scoop shop for an ice cream cone, milkshake or sundae, buy some take-home pints and see where the ice cream is made.
And then it's time for cheese. On the outskirts of town, Boggy Meadow Farm produces its popular raw cheeses from its own heard of dairy cows -- the cheese making room is right next to the dairy parlor. The farm's shop sells a nice selection of Boggy Meadow's signature Alpine Swiss and Fiddlehead Tomme cheeses. Time your visit right and you can watch the cheese being made.
Finally it's time for a stop at the Walpole Valley Farm. Call ahead and order a NH-raised turkey just in time for the holidays, or buy some of the farm's pastured-raised meats and chickens and in-season vegetables. Best of all? The farm is part of the Inn at Valley Farm, a family friendly resort that's the perfect place to sleep off all that food you just ate. Stop by the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce at 48 Central Square in Keene to pick up a map and brochure, or go to www.keenechamber.com for more information.
L.A. Burdick: 47 Maine St. Come for the hearty fine French bistro or stop by for cup of hot cocoa and a rich, delicious pastry. Can't make it to Walpole? Visit Burdick's second location on Brattle Street in Cambridge, Mass., near the heart of Harvard Square. 756-9058 Walpole Creamery: 532 Main St. Get a cup or cone full of creamy goodness at Walpole Creamery's scoop shop, open daily from noon to 8 p.m., or pick up a pint of such Thanksgiving-appropriate flavors including pumpkin, maple cream and cinnamon. 445-5700 Boggy Meadow Farm: 13 Boggy Meadow Lane. Watch artisan cheesemakers at work and then go visit the herd of cows that made it all possible. Call for hours. 756-3300 Walpole Valley Farm: 663 Wentworth Road. Love eating local foods? This vibrant organic farm raises grass-fed beef, pastured chickens, eggs and turkeys (as well as herbs, heirloom vegetables and edible flowers, in season). The farm is part of the Inn at Valley Farm, a family friendly resort destination -- kids will love helping out with the farm chores. For farm hours or lodging information, call 756-2805, or go to www.innatvalleyfarms.com.