The Unexpected Culinary Delights
of Jackson, New Hampshire
By Jenny Wojenski

I have found a place that truly is one of the “hearts” of New England.
Geographically it would not be centrally located in New England, but it
captures the spirit, soul, look and feel of what makes New England unique.

I’m talking about
Jackson, NH.  This is a place I have been going to for over 20
years now.  Most everyone has heard of North Conway with its famous
shopping outlets but Jackson may not be so well known.

It is just a short jaunt up the road from North Conway -- yet worlds away. The
first indication that you have reached the ultimate in New England “quaintness”
is when you drive through the covered bridge welcoming you into the village of
Jackson.

In the village center is the cutest little library you’ve ever seen and across the
street is the local elementary school.
One of my favorite sights is the school
during the winter with the children’s skis all lined up against a fence outside
the school … no different to them than it would be for city kids to bring their
scooters or bikes to school!

You won’t find any outlets in Jackson but you will find an grocery store, lots of
hiking trails, golf courses, cross-country ski trails and several really good
restaurants.

Restaurants You Won't Want to Miss

During my most recent trip to Jackson I stopped in at a new restaurant called the
White Mountain Cider Co. (actually just over the line on Rt. 302 in Glen, N.H.)

The building has that “new rustic” look with a replica of a turn of the century
fireplace; hand made granite tables and wrought iron candle sconces on the
walls. The original building was a 1890s farmhouse.

In the late 1990s the farmhouse was renovated and housed a store, bakery and
cider mill. More recently the
Cider Mill restaurant was opened on the property
by Scott and Teresa Stearns, graduates of the Culinary Institute of America.  

Time did not allow my group to be able to stay for dinner but we were able to
enjoy a cocktail by the fire. The bar manager, Christof Schneider, recommended
we try the "Gorgonzola Mountaineer Chips," paper thin, perfectly crispy and
deeeeelicious! Other specialties include: pan seared venison and grilled apple
cider pork tenderloin could have easily been a choice of mine.  I have made
mental note to make time for a full meal next time I’m in the area.

By the way, we later found out that the bar manager, Christof,  is the grandson of
Hannes Schneider, the Austrian skier who brought Nordic Skiing to the US in
the 1920s and  helped to develop Cranmore Mountain in North Conway . He
leaves Jackson every January to spend the winter in Austria to ski the Alps. Now
that’s the way to enjoy New England –- spend the worst of the winter in Austria
and summer, fall and early winter in Jackson, N.H.   

Favorite Brunch Spots

Another favorite in the Jackson area is the
Red Fox Bar & Grille.  I have been
going to the Red Fox for several years both for dinner for their Sunday morning
"Jazz Breakfast Buffet." For those of you who really like the “breakfast” part of
brunch this is the place to go. It is complete with hash browns, baked ham,
French toast, Belgian waffles, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit and pastries and a
made-to-order omelet and egg station.  

One thing I have learned in my years of working in, and going to, restaurants is
that workers come and go but at the Red Fox I think Chef Roland must hold the
record for working in one restaurant the longest. He has been the face behind the
omelet station as long as I have been going there which must be 7-8 years now.  

The other great thing about this brunch is that it runs from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (not
like many brunches that don’t begin until 11am) -- great for skiers and families
who don’t like to wait.

While you are enjoying the brunch don’t forget to try one of their
awesome
Bloody Mary’s
–- it is worth it just for the garnishes … we’re not talking about a
stalk of celery –- here you will get  Pepperoccini, lime, lemon, olive AND
celery!  One other really good thing about this brunch is the price: ($6.95 per
person) a family can get in and out without giving away their youngest child to
pay for the meal.

Other Jackson, N.H. Favorites

Another great restaurant in my favorite Northern New Hampshire town is the
Thompson House Eatery. Yankee Magazine gave it their “2004 Editors Pick”
and I give it mine as well.  I once sent some vegetarian friends there and they
came back reporting: “The best vegetarian meal we’ve ever had.”  

The Thompson House is in an old building that is just so charming in New
England (especially if you don’t have to live in it). The menu offers a variety of
foods with hints of tastes from around the world. “Luscious Lamb” is lamb
served with a Mediterranean pesto, Kansas City Sirloin, “The Breast of Dundee”
is roasted chicken breast glazed with Jackson N.H.’s own maple syrup and
served with herb sausage and cornbread stuffing, tofu with an Asian slaw and
Thais spiced peanut sauce, and “T.H.E. Outer Banks” -- seafood galore –-
shrimp, scallops, salmon and mussels.

All meals are served with a salad of mixed greens and garnishes. The garnishes
-- roasted nuts and dried fruits are served in old muffin tins. Don’t miss this
restaurant if you happen to be in Jackson.

About the author: Jenny Wojenski, a freelance  writer, is owner of Hors D’Oeuvres
Unlimited, a catering service based in Keene, New Hampshire.  To contact her, drop her a
line at
jwojenski@ne.rr.com
The Honeymoon Bridge, Jackson,NH
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