Friday, August 29, 2008

A bit of Green Magic in New England

Almost thirty miles into Vermont from the southern border lays a confluence of healing and incredible food. The virtual sister towns of Westminster, Vermont and Walpole, NH sit opposite each other across the Connecticut River. In Walpole, a classic New England, white clapboard village you will find Burdick’s Chocolate Store and Restaurant (you can’t miss it as it is the only place with both American and Swiss flags outside). The chocolates are like none you have ever tasted, and the restaurant, unique to this Burdicks, serves delicious food (and the best Pomegranate martini’s – is that green? they serve them with lime… does that count?) Really they serve local produce and meat, incroyable pastries and hot chocolate that should be regulated as a controlled substance – wow! Burdick’s owns the Walpole Grocery, two doors down, which sells a variety of specialty cheeses, gourmet and local foods.
A place of special healing is located at the Stillpoint Center where for over twenty-five years, Meredith Young-Sowers has been offering courses about energetic components to health. Her latest program is called, What We Hunger For, groundbreaking work on our spiritual, emotional and physical needs. Please visit the website for full information about all Stillpoint has to offer, as well as What We Hunger For.
Across the river in Westminster, Vermont, is the Sojourns Community Health Clinic. Operating out of a renovated and expanded farmhouse, the non-profit center offers alternative and conventional health care, with over thirteen types of bodywork, acupuncture, naturopathic physicians and a natural apothecary in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
About one and a half miles up the road on Route 5 is Harlow’s Farm Stand selling local, organic produce and flowers from their farm and others, as well as some specialty foods.

These four “magic green” points are set in the backdrop of the New England landscape – lush green in summer, brightly colored in the Fall, and snow-covered in winter.

Unfortunately a major green downside of this area is the lack of public transportation. The reality is it is simplest to get around with a car, so try to rent or drive your own fuel-efficient vehicle. If you want to attempt public transport, there is an Amtrak train that stops in Bellows Falls, Vermont (about four miles north of Westminster) once a day – The Vermonter. The only local bus service makes four trips a day from Bellows Falls to Westminster, but the times do not correspond to the train arrival. And believe it or not, there is no bike rental store in the town. The closest are in Putney, about ten miles south (West Hill Shop) and a number in Brattleboro (the stop before Bellows Falls on the train and about twenty miles south of Bellows Falls). So if you are in good shape, you could take the train to Brattleboro, rent bikes there, and bike up to Westminster and Walpole.

However you get there, you will be sure to have a nourishing and nurturing visit - enjoy!

Harlow’s Farm, Westminster, VT (802) 722-3515 or 9203; Two miles south of Bellows Falls on Rt 5. Open daily 9-6.
Sojourns Community Health Clinic, Route 5, Westminster, VT – - Open Monday-Saturday
Burdicks Restaurant and Chocolate Shop, 47 Main Street, Walpole; cafe: 603.756.2882 –; Chocolate Shop Open:
Monday, 7:00am - 6:00pm, Tuesday - Saturday, 7:00am - 9:00pm,
Sunday, 7:30am - 5:00pm; Restaurant open for Sunday brunch, plus lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday
Walpole Grocery, 47 Main Street, Walpole, NH; 603-756-9098; Open: Tuesday-Saturday 8am-8pm, Sunday 9am-5pm, and Monday 8am-6pm
Stillpoint, 22 Stillpoint Lane, Walpole, NH; 603-756-9281– and ; Open Monday to Thursday 9-5

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gluten-Free Desserts in New York City

I don’t even like cupcakes – never have - but I am now a devotee of the gluten-free cupcakes at the BabyCakes bakery in New York. Somewhat hidden in lower Manhattan, four blocks south of East Houston, 1 block south of Delancey Street, between Orchard and Ludlow, in the northern beginnings of Chinatown, Babycakes serves up yummy baked goods, lemonade, coffee and tea. This place is tiny but sells goodies that don’t make me sick – all some combination of Gluten-free, vegan and refined-sugar-free. Their delicious lemonade is made with Agave nectar – refreshing like regular lemonade but without the sugar-sick feeling afterwards. Take note- a few products are made with Spelt – these are not gluten-free, but tolerated by some people. All items are labeled.
While I am not so crazed as to order these online for overnight delivery – it can be done. Check out the website, or savor the treat for when you are visiting New York City. For travelers: a few blocks from Babycakes there is a new, large Whole Foods Market at 95 East Houston Street, open 8am to 11pm, seven days a week. See for detailed directions and other store locations.

Babycakes, 248 Broome Street, New York, 212-677-5047;; Open Tuesday-Thursday 10am-10pm, Friday-Saturday 10am-11pm, Sunday 10am-8pm
The Babycakes Cookbook is coming out in April 2009 (ISBN: 978-0307408839) available through the Traveling Naturally Bookstore (see link at bottom of the blog page) powered by Amazon(of course).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

HAVE to Love the French Willingness to Protest

In the tradition of French protests, Oyster farmers dumped over 12 tons! of oyster shells on government office doorsteps in Bordeaux, the capital of Aquitaine, a large oyster producing region of France. Can you imagine this happening in Virginia Beach?
In another twist in the ever-evolving effects of climate change and human environmental recklessness, oysters in France this summer are afflicted with a herpes virus. The oysters, a French favorite, seem to have weakened immune defenses, making them susceptible to the virus. French researchers are working to find causes and solutions to the oyster herpes crisis – all well and good – but unfortunately I fear it is not a local problem. The balance of the earth’s ecosystem is severely compromised. The French should know- when the “terroir” and “milieu” are not healthy, neither are the plants or animals.
So if you are traveling in France this season, pass on the herpes oysters, but love the French for their passion and spirit and look for multi-ton piles of oyster shells - I wish I had a picture of that! The abundant French markets in almost every village will have plenty of other delicious food to savor.