My favorite places (locals only)

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My favorite places (locals only)

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Fev 26, 2008, 10:06 am

Needless to say, our favorite places aren't necessarily going to be the same as those of visitors to New England. Here's a spot for the local New Englanders to share their favorite spots.

Fev 26, 2008, 1:05 pm

One of my favorite places...well in Warren, RI called Rod's Grill. Its this small little shop and they just make the best hamburgers and hot weiners around.

Oh and the Chinese restaurant, Luke's Inn, (also of Warren) makes the best chicken chow mein. They make it ina way that I've yet to see any other chinese place do. Which is highly disappointing because I can't always make the long drive to Lukes (ie ~40 min) just to grab take out.

And yes, 40 min is a long way to go when you born and raised in RI. We suffer from distance phobia!!

Fev 26, 2008, 3:00 pm

BPL Courtyard
Catalonian Chapel at the MFA
Appalachain Trail and AMC cabins
Odyssey Bookstore, South Hadley (RIP)
Lake Champlain Ferries

Fev 26, 2008, 3:55 pm

The book barn in CT

That place is my heaven. =)

Editado: Fev 26, 2008, 4:42 pm

Favorite place for breakfast: Chutes Coffeeshop in N. Windham, Maine. They make their English muffins from scratch (in a tube); irresistible!!!

Still like Kimball Farms in Westford, Massachusetts for ice cream. I've been going there since the 1970s. It's a bit of a mega-ice cream place now with corporate outings, bumper boats, mini-golf...etc. but they still make their own ice cream (my fave is chocolate walnut). The Kimballs special: (picture is clickable if you need a closeup view:-)

Places I have loved:
1. the North Pack trail starting from Greenfield, NH (less traveled than the South Pack trails). Great blueberries in season about 2/3rd the way up.
2. St. Gaudens National Park. Cornish, New Hampshire. A lovely, elegant place to picnic or just chill (BYOB - bring your own blanket).
3. the jetty at Pine Point (part of Scarborough), Maine where I spent hours at low tide writing mournful & angst-ridden; or optimistic & forward-thinking adolescent poetry.
4. Sebago Lake, southeast shore, in the clearest, cleanest water ever. Drop my ashes near here please (or on North Pack).

Fev 28, 2008, 11:33 am


I am reminded of the courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, with your reference to the courtyard at the Boston Public Library. I also like the Arthurian murals at the BPL.

I remember liking the Flume in New Hampshire, despite it's being touristy, and I will miss the Old Man in the Mountains.

As a railbuff, I like the Park Street station of the T. The upper section is where the trolleys of the Green Line come in and some routes turn around: many of the trolleys are linked together, in my younger days it was common for three to be coupled (when PCC's were used). Park Street Under has platforms on either side of the tracks, so there are three platforms for two tracks on the Red Line. Not many places do this, Jamaica on the Long Island RR is one of them.

Fev 28, 2008, 12:25 pm

As a railbuff, have you visited the Berkshire Scenic Railway in Lenox, MA? One of my best friends serves as both a conductor and engineer on that train.

Fev 28, 2008, 12:48 pm

There is place in Winslow, Maine I went to once called Big G's. They served the largest and most delicious sandwiches ever. All their desserts are giant sized as well.

To get an idea on the size of the sandwich...take your average slice of bread. Then place four of them in a square & you have a Big G's whole sandhich.

Fev 28, 2008, 12:57 pm

eek....I HATE the green line. Always so slow and crowded. Most lines still only have 3 or 4 cars attached but its never enough for the amount of people who are traveling. Especially on game days!

South Station now also has 3 levels of trains. There is the street side commuter rail (purple line) then in the middle there is the relatively new Silver line....and then below that you have the Red Line stop. Porter Square has many levels too...with Red Line and Commuter Rail. If I recall correctly the stairs at Porter station are very steep. =)

vpfluke - ever been to London and seen their tube station set ups?

Fev 28, 2008, 4:43 pm

# 7
We've been by the Berkshire Scenic Railway
I guess we need to experience it.

When my folks were living in Wilmington, VT, we used to drive through this area, because it is so attractive, and liked shopping in Great Barrington

If you see a four-car train on the Green Line in Boston, it means that one of the cars couldn't make it and it was hooked up to the other three. The Green Line has been overwhelmed ever since the first time I rode in 1961. People say that back in the days when the Tremont Ave trolleys came down into the subway before 1960, they acted as a safety valve, but it was a relatively light line, but I think these cars went all the way to the loop at North Station. As they left the Green Line proper at Boylston, what they did was to gather a lot of the short trip riders and get them off the long lines. This line went to Egleston Square where the old elevated stop was on Washington St. (the Orange Line has been moved to the main line of the old New Haven Railroad)

I've been to London and it is an impressive system.

The Green Line in Boston was the first subway in the United States - 1897. The oldest electrically operated subway in Europe was in Budapest, Hungary - 1896. The Underground in London was operated by steam (Metropolitan and District lines, essentially). The London tubes (which are deep down), per se, weren't built until after the turn of the century, as was the Paris metro. New York had elevateds before 1900, but no passenger subway (there was an experimental pneumatic tube somewhere in New York early on).

Fev 29, 2008, 11:34 pm

For excellent ice cream in MA, check out Hodgies's in Amesbury. I've been in Texas for 6 years and still haven't found an ice cream place that can compare. One warning, Last I knew, Hodgies was a seasonal place, so look it up and double check before you go.

Fev 29, 2008, 11:46 pm

Is there still Friendly Ice Cream? The Porter (I think) brothers founded it, and one of them lived within trick or treat distance and gave out ice cream cones on halloween. Consumer Reports rated the ice cream as among the best, but it just cost ice cream prices. They were bought out by some larger corporation which installed tables with table service, and they stopped carrying peppermint stick ice cream year 'round.


Mar 1, 2008, 8:41 am

Well, the restaurants still exist, rdurick; however, the ice cream is nothing to write home about these days.

Mar 1, 2008, 9:51 am

I'm very fond of Friendly's Vienna Mocha Chip (or something like that) ice cream. And hard though it may be to believe that anybody would go to Friendly's for a real meal, I go there for breakfast several times a year. I work graveyard shift, and they put together a very nice breakfast after a hard night's work.

Mar 1, 2008, 4:27 pm

I still take my mother out to a Friendly's in Brunswick, ME occasionally. It's a pretty good one, imo.

Mar 1, 2008, 10:54 pm

My mother always insisted that the ice cream at the Newport Creamery was the best she knew of. I think they had outlets outside of Newport, RI. I remember seeing one on the east side of Providence.

When we lived in Mattapoisett in the early 60's, there was an independent ice cream store in Onset or Buzzards Bay that was quite good. As a result, the nearest Howard Johnson's ice cream parlor was as good as Howard Johnson's got (for ice cream, that is). The best Howard Johnson's food place (that I ate in) was in Brookline.

It seems to me the name of a good ice cream parlor in Boston was Brigham's.

Mar 2, 2008, 11:23 am

For a long time there were Newport Cremery's all over RI. They were more of then than Friendly's. Sadly several years back they hit a bad financial patch and the bulk of their stores closed. There are only a handful left scattered around the state.

I think that Brigham's makes the best ice cream. Most supermarkets in MA and RI carry the brand. It is yummy.

Mar 2, 2008, 12:09 pm

Two words: Ben + Jerry.

Mar 2, 2008, 12:30 pm

Wasn't it Newport Creamery that had the Awful Awful? Awful rich, Awful good. I've never been to a Newport Creamery, but I heard about them from the fattest guy I've ever known.

Mar 2, 2008, 12:51 pm

yes Newport Creamery had the Awful Awful. Used to love getting the vanilla one with chocolate jimmies.

They used to have a promotion that if you drank 3 in a row then you got the 4th one for free.

Mar 2, 2008, 12:56 pm

>18 A_musing:. Two more words: Phish food!

>20 Irisheyz77:. 'jimmies' - hooohaaa! now there's a local NE word, eh?

Mar 2, 2008, 6:33 pm

I'm sorry to hear about the Newport Creamery's problems. Their coffee ice cream was wonderful.

I had forgotten about Ben & Jery's, Vermont's contribution to good ice cream.

On the subject of coffee, my mother had a friend whose father worked for Autocrat Coffee (presumably Providence), does this still exist?

Mar 2, 2008, 6:36 pm

Well, I googled "Autocrat Coffee", and found their website: , so they still exist, but are now located in Lincoln, RI.

Mar 2, 2008, 7:07 pm

20/21 My husband STILL makes fun of me whenever I talk about putting 'jimmies' on my ice cream. Guess i'll always be a NE girl at heart.

Mar 2, 2008, 11:35 pm

Friendly's had Awful-Awfuls when I was young. After they turned themselves into restaurants, sorta, they didn't have them anymore.


Mar 3, 2008, 5:28 am

VPFluke.....Autocrat is still very much in existence. My mom and I often have to send bottles of the stuff to my sister in New Mexico because they don't sell it out there & being a true Rhode Islander she loves her coffee milk.

rdurick....the Friendly's version of the Awful Awful is called a Fribble...and IMHO it just isn't as good.

Mar 3, 2008, 10:49 pm


A_musing, is the Odyssey gone again? I remember the original store burned down twice in the 1970s, and Romeo's daughter resurrected the name. That was my favorite place in the world in the 1960s, and still my ideal of what a bookstore should be. I don't get up to South Hadley much any more, but had the idea that Dorothy was doing pretty well with it. Another Amazon casualty? Or maybe it was just time..? Makes me sad. (I unearthed a bookmark from the Gaylord Library, half a mile down the road, and was going to send it to them for their amusement. In retrospect, it wasn't the world's greatest library, but I liked it a lot then.)


Irisheyz, Friendly's actually called the Fribble the Awful-Awful back when they started it up, and had to change it. Since they were just a porous state line away from Newport Creamery, I was always curious about why they thought they could get away with it.

Mar 3, 2008, 11:19 pm

Friendly's showed, I think on their menus, that they licensed the Awful-Awful from somebody in some odd state like Iowa, anyway, not New England or one of the interesting states. I assumed that when I went back and couldn't find an Awful-Awful they had yielded up or had taken from them their license.

They used to use flavored syrups to make soda, so we would ask for, and usually get, non standard flavors like root beer Awful-Awfuls. This was before anybody had stores that specialized in things like that -- there were vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate milkshakes in the fifties and early sixties.


Editado: Mar 4, 2008, 2:39 pm

Odyssey lives! I hadn't realized his daughter has resurrected it - I just found it on Google! I frequented it in the 80s, and it had gotten shut down in the late 80s or 90s, and I just assumed it still wasn't there. I thought it was a fire followed by retirement.


Mar 5, 2008, 3:30 pm

>29 A_musing: We'll expect a full report when you get back:-)

Mar 5, 2008, 5:07 pm

The best ice cream on Cape Cod can be found at Four Seas in Centerville.
If you watch closely you'll see Ted and Caroline there on a warm summer's night.

Mar 5, 2008, 6:08 pm

Since Four Seas has been around since 1934, according to their website, I can imagine having gone there in the mid 50's or early 60's. I'll have to keep it in mind if I'm down there,

Mar 30, 2008, 7:20 pm

Irishey speaks the truth. If you are ever passing on I-95 North/South (for everybody outside of CT who knows the compass points, that's East-West along the coast) get off and head over to the Book Barn:

Set 12, 2008, 3:17 pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Jan 22, 2009, 5:16 pm

For anyone who goes to Kennebunkport, ME... I recommend the Goose Rocks Dairy. That ice cream was so yummy!
And if you are around Boston I recommend the Arnold Arboretum... such a beautiful, relaxing place to walk and get away from it all while enjoying nature.

Editado: Out 6, 2011, 5:18 pm

From earlier in this thread I concluded that Friendly's was not what it had been when I was a kid. Still the closing of the restaurants makes me feel that there's something else I can't go home again to. In my youth hamburgers were the mainstay of the menu in the restaurants, the seats in which were originally, if I remember correctly, all counter seats.

Avaland, above, says that their ice cream was no longer anything special. Their peppermint stick and pistachio among others were special, and they made milk sherbet among which pineapple was marvelous. I wonder whether the closing of the restaurant means that there will be no more Friendly's ice cream even in its latter day debauched state or whether the ice cream operation might be something different.


Editado: Out 7, 2011, 12:09 pm

Actually, I noticed yesterday that the Friendly's restaurant in my town (in metrowest) is still open, and even has "help wanted" signs outside. So I think at least some of them have been retained.

And I agree that they make the best peppermint stick ice cream. I can occasionally find it in my market at times other than the holidays.

I'm shocked that no one's brought up Bailey's hot fudge sundaes, though... :)

Out 18, 2011, 3:54 pm

>37 Marissa_Doyle: I'm in metrowest also and I can't even think of a Friendly's in the area... When I need a fix, I scoot off toe Kimball's in Carlisle (MA), only because the big Westford location is such a zoo now. My son swears by Sullivan's Ice Cream in Tyngsboro (MA), not too far from the Peasant Lane mall in Nashua (NH).

Out 18, 2011, 5:09 pm

>37 Marissa_Doyle: Try Rte 20 in Sudbury :)

Out 21, 2011, 2:55 pm

In the Metrowest Area, there's Bubbling Brook in Westwood, Park Street Ice Cream Shoppe in Natick, C & L Frosty's in Sherborn. These are more Ice cream shops, rather than restaurants, though. Is the Friendly's still open in Medfield?

Editado: Out 22, 2011, 2:24 pm

Ah, Friendly Ice've brought back memories.

When I graduated from high school, I started working at the local Friendly's. At one point, we were taken on a tour of their plant in Massachusetts. I remember the cavernous freezers that we walked into, briefly!

When I worked at Friendly's (late 1970s) they'd not yet been bought by Hershey, and it still was a good place to work, or eat. The coffee was really good (I started the java habit at that time), their iced coffee was fantastic, and so was the ice cream!

Ah, remember Toasted Almond Fudge? Buttercrunch? Mocha Chip? Pistachio (hard to find in NC)? My favorite was Black Raspberry, the like of which I've not tasted since then.

Friendly's had the square hamburgers long before Wendy's came out with them. If you wanted a 'soft drink', the employees would have to put syrup in a glass and then add seltzer water. The great thing about that was you could make orange soda or strawberry soda, or even vanilla!

The only other local ice cream that was on a par with Friendly's was from the UConn Dairy Bar. The agricultural students would make the ice cream fresh from the cows right there on the university grounds!

I was in Connecticut last year, and made that side trip to Storrs in order to have some of that wonderful ice cream. The little dairy bar is gone, but the new place is fine, and the ice cream is still very good!

Ah, memories...

P.S. Shady Glen was pretty good too, from Manchester CT.

Jan 14, 2012, 4:15 pm

My favorite place is the Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT. It has one of the most beautiful walking trails near my home.

Jan 14, 2012, 5:02 pm

I love Mass MOCA in North Adams, MA and the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, MA. They both mount visionary and profound exhibits almost all of the time.
Of course there's the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem for equally engaging exhibits and programs.
Because I live in RI, I love Marble House Mansion in Newport, the Fantastic Umbrella Factory in Charlestown, and Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown. Completely different experiences!

Editado: Jan 14, 2012, 7:12 pm

Ah the Umbrella Factory!

I once lived a couple miles from there (I'm now in CT). What a great place. Has been for over 20 years...

Jan 14, 2012, 9:56 pm


My dad was a Naval Officer at the radar station at Beavertail in the mid 1950's. His Chief Warrant Officer died when his car swept away by Hurricane Carol while crossing the bridge to Jamestown from Saunderstown. I took a look at the Google map of Jamestown, and can see that parts of Beavertail Road could have been overtaken by the hurricane, and I see little evidence of a radar station. But my dad take our 4th grade class from East Greenwich on a tour of Beavertail (early 1955?)

Jan 15, 2012, 3:51 pm

The Boston Globe had a nice review today of the new Peabody Essex Rare book/ephemeral exhibit.

Set 3, 2014, 5:41 pm

So apparently Friendly's is still in business, and some folks love it.

It doesn't look like the Friendly's of my youth, half a century ago and more, but I'd kind of like to try it again — I probably won't.


Fev 10, 2015, 2:29 pm

Yes, Friendly's still exist; however, they closed quite a few stores some years back. The food is okay, good in a pinch.

Abr 16, 2015, 9:56 pm

And they still have glacially slow service :)

Nov 11, 2015, 9:45 am

Let me see. I was just tidying up my Groups and noticed I belong to this one. Never weighed in here so I will. Probably this will have a Vermont bias. These are few off the top of my head.

Champlain Ferries. I concur! The Fort Ti ferry is particularly nice - it goes back and forth on a set of chains and the ride is very short. You never wait more than 20 minutes for it. I use it constantly in the summer. Alas, it shuts down in late Oct, not to reopen until the spring.
That bookstore in Montague Ma
The Emily Dickinson house - and even better - her brother's house next door
Monroe St Books Not on Monroe st in Middlebury anymore but out on Route 7, couple miles north of town.
The Red Hen Best croissants, soup along Route 89 in Vermont (Middlesex exit - um - maybe exit 9?

Jun 3, 2016, 4:42 pm

>50 sibylline: Will keep the Middlebury suggestions in mind when we head up to the Vermont Quilt Festival late this month.

Jun 16, 2016, 3:47 pm

Does anyone in the Boston area have suggestions for the best way to get to the Blue Hills Pavilion (previously known as Harborlights)? I have tickets to a concert there in August. We usually get into the city by parking at Alewife station and taking the T, but I am always a little worried about running late and missing the last one of the night.

Jun 17, 2016, 11:10 am

I understand your problem with the T. Of the large metropolitan areas in the U.S. I think it is the largest which doesn't really want to run all-night service.