Thursday, March 22, 2012

A sweet day trip to Norwich. Vermont

Along the Appalachian Trail in Norwich, Vermont

With all the unusually warm weather we've been having lately, we decided to make a quick day trip up to one of our favorite food/baking-related destinations... The King Arthur Flour Company Store in Norwich, Vermont.  We typically head up to King Arthur a few times a year.  Sometimes for their baking classes, but other times just for browsing/shopping.  This was one of those browse/shop trips, combined with some hiking/geocaching, and a little eating too.  Google Maps puts the drive at about 1 hour and 45 minutes, but it always seems to go just a little faster... more like an hour and a half, unless we make extra stops.  The drive is easy and you get beautiful views of the countryside in New Hampshire and Vermont.  In addition, there are plenty of places to stop on the way (Keene, Walpole, Bellows Falls, Quechee, Hanover, etc) if you want to explore.

This time, we made a quick stop in Keene, then headed for Norwich.  If you keep up with happenings at the King Arthur Store, either through their e-mail newsletters or their website, you already know that they've been undergoing an expansion project that started last June.   The store is still in the original building, but according to the folks at King Arthur, the new store will be opening in April.  Then, the construction will to move on to converting the original store into a bigger bakery and cafe, with the whole project finishing up in the summer.  (Here's a link to the Renovations page on the King Arthur website.)

So, we did our shopping and our "big" purchase was a nifty space-saving stacked baking rack that holds 4 cookie sheets.  It was definitely an impulse-purchase, but the hope is that it will come in handy as we make our granola and breakfast treats for the local Farmers' Markets which will be starting up again pretty soon.  We are looking forward to participating at both the Monday Fresh Chicks Market at Monadnock Community Hospital and the Wednesday Market at Depot Square again this year!

Next, it was on to the geocaching.  We had considered a few caches along the hiking trail at King Arthur, but it was closed due to the construction, so we opted for one on the Appalachian Trail just a few miles away instead.  As we started walking, we realized that this was the first time that either one of us had done any hiking on the Appalachian Trail!  The walk through the woods took us first alongside and across a pretty little stream and eventually past some small wetland ponds still holding on to a bit of their ice (see photo at the top).  One interesting feature we kept coming across were these big white rocks that at first glance looked like big snowballs or chunks of ice!  They were quartz, sometimes covered in moss, but their size and their color was really striking.

We found the cache and headed back to the car.  Our GPS told us we had walked a little over a mile on the Appalachian Trail.  According to Rob, that's one mile down and only 2, 179 miles to go!

On the way home, we stopped to eat at Lui Lui Restaurant in West Lebanon, NH.  Their menu features Italian entrees and brick oven pizza (cooked in a wood fired oven shaped like a tomato!), and we are never disappointed by their warm and yummy rolls served with herb oil for dipping.  It's kind of funny... we just sort of happened across the restaurant many, many years ago when we missed our exit between highways on the way home from a ski trip... and we have been finding our way there ever since.

It was a great little day trip all around!

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