“Leaf-Peeping,” as it’s affectionately called, is a New England fall tradition (October 10th is considered the peak color for the season). But that was really just an excuse to get away for two nights to Woodstock, Vermont. Sampling a dear friend’s substantial culinary output, offset by hiking on her 800 acre property and seeing this well-known area through her eyes was most inviting.
These 48 hour getaways are invaluable – enjoy that shot in the arm guaranteed by a change of scenery, but don’t break much stride in your business and other obligations. Fall is late this year, but there were many views, vistas and appetite-pleasing moments ( at every meal) to make up for the lack of color. May inspiration abound in designing your fall entertaining menus!
Little Baldy Hill Farm’s oh, so comfortable main house and handsome barn.
All menus for our stay gave a nod to Vermont. Simon Pearce’s Butternut Squash Bisque (see recipe at end of story) greeted us upon arrival for lunch, accompanied by Vermont cheese and vegetable paninis. Quite a successful pairing!
What a stellar show for the cocktail hour!
Happy campers – and the first fire of the season.
My favorite chair! What a clever and tasteful way to add a bit of panache to a mountain house. Everything was homemade – even the paté and pan-seared toast.
A little mail order treasure arrived, straight from London, as we were gathering in the kitchen. With a name like Purdey, you know it has to be good…but who knew they had such luscious cashmere & silk challis scarves?
Off one day to visit the centerpiece of Woodstock, the Simon Pearce shop, glass blowing workrooms and restaurant; Swiss chard is the centerpiece in an effective as well as serviceable series of planting beds bordering their wonderful old mill building.
Fascinating to watch…and all about team effort and split-second timing.
Why not?! Blown glass beer taps from their studios.
The highlight for me at the Simon Pearce “mill” is the restaurant (cantilevered over the falls) and the menu that is comprised of farm-to-table ingredients!
What I wouldn’t give to be having this tonight for dinner! Succulent, cooked-just-right salmon with a melange of fall vegetables and cranberries accompanied by a beurre blanc sauce.
A long-anticipated morning hike over hill and dale, with camera-ready images at every turn; no tree “dances” quite so gracefully, or looks so good doing it, as Vermont birches.
Woodland vignettes – moss covered stone walls (Woodstock was originally all about growing sheep) and wood mushrooms on birch branches.
Young alpacas adding their touch of humor to the scenery.
A treat awaiting us on our last afternoon…Burdick’s of Boston gives new meaning to hot chocolate — dense, rich, thick and velvety served with fluffy marshmallow “pumpkins.”
The unforgettable entreé of our last night – Ina Garten’s “Roast Chicken with Bread (cooked in a cast iron skillet in the oven…notice the crispy croutons?) and Arugula Salad.”
My hostess’s signature dessert, to celebrate our last night. A 20-layer cake with chantilly cream, garnished with raspberry coulis. Really…it is 20-layers!
Butternut Squash Bisque
Created by Simon Pearce Restaurant
1 large butternut squash – peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion – peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
8 cups of water
8 oz unsalted butter
1 cup cream
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup Vermont maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Combine the butternut squash, onion and water in a sauce pot.
Place over medium high heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer until just tender.
Drain the water from the butternut squash and onions.
Place the butternut squash in the blender.
Then add the remaining ingredients and blend the mixture well.