Well, once again it rained overnight and we woke to a cold and dreary day. That’s ok, we hitched up the car and drove a few hours to Groton. This was to be a base for a few days, camping at Ricker’s Pond State Park (also dry camping) and exploring places like Franconia Notch in New Hampshire and Thetford to visit with old family friends and down to Windsor to Harpoon Brewing. Along the way we noticed a lot more color and finally found ourselves in the midst of yellow, orange and reds … finally the colors of fall! Once we were set in camp, we drove to the small town of Groton to sample at Artesano Meadery. Boy were we pleasantly surprised. The honey-based drinks were more like crisp wines than the meades we were used to from our beer festivals back home. It was tough deciding between blueberry, cranberry, apple and pepper flavors, but we settled on a traditional honey meade that seemed just right.
Winding through the wooded hills we kept expecting our New England Moose encounter, but no luck yet. We did spot several turkey along the roadside and in side yards. Also some colorful pastures with cows grazing. Last stop was a maple sugaring stop at Goodrich’s Maple Farm. Super friendly family operation and some delicious maple syrup. It was a good day, even though it was overcast. All was well back in camp as we made it an early evening.
It seems that the cloudy, rainy weather just won’t give us a break. Our next full day at Ricker’s Pond State Park was cool and cloudy, but with hints that the sun and blue sky might break through. Today was our day to venture out to Thetford and on to Windsor. As we drove south of the Groton area, the leaf color returned to mostly green.
Even though it was cloudy, the grass pastures were bright green and the countryside dotted with dairy barns. We saw several more groups of turkeys in fields and roadsides and more than a few skunks in the road, plus our second porcupine roadkill. I think maybe in Vermont the riddle should be “why did the skunk cross the road? Well, he didn’t really, he only made it halfway.”
We met up with our good family friends just outside Thetford center and had a wonderful visit sharing family memories and catching up a bit. Quite impressed that Barb was also a craft beer fan and had some local suggestions, knowing that we were headed to Windsor. We were told to stop at King Arthur’s Bakery for some pastries and what a good suggestion that was. A darn big operation, the bakery had some delicious looking chocolate croissants, danish and hard rolls calling our name. A few bags in hand, we drove on to Windsor.
So naturally we made it to Harpoon Brewing in time for a hearty lunch. Another delicious bratwurst on a bun with kraut and some flights of beer. I think we both loved everything they had: UFO White, UFO Raspberry,UFO Pineapple, UFO Pumpkin, Octoberfest, and the Dunkin Donuts Porter.
But the star of the show was Moose and Rocco, a delicious amber lager somehow brewed with elements of Moose Tracks and Rocky Road flavors (and a hefty 8+ alcohol content). Great spot to visit and good timing – in two days they will host a big Octoberfest celebration, with thousands expected. The tents and bandstands they were setting up looked like fun, but we were just as happy not to be fighting the crowds. Heading back, we drove through White River Junction to stop at River Roost Brewing, another small brewery that has earned local awards for their beer.
Back in camp we took those great hard rolls, some leftover steak and had ourselves a tasty dinner. Finished things off with a chocolate croissant after a few rounds of gin rummy and plans for tomorrow (the Flume Gorge in New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch).