My Favorite Place in New Hampshire is not, technically, in New Hampshire. It’s in Vermont. Hanover is on one bank of the Connecticut River, and my favorite hangout is just on the other side.
(I understand the importance of rivers separating states. I was born on the shore of the Savannah River, in Savannah, Georgia, but grew up and went to high school in North Augusta, South Carolina. In-state tuition for Clemson was on the South Carolina side of the river. Rivers make a difference. But I digress.)
My faithful blogosphere friends understand that I am in New Hampshire for six months. That doesn’t keep me from slipping across the Connecticut River to walk in Norwich, Vermont. While that’s a beautiful village, with an interesting store called Dan and Whits (“If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”), that’s not my favorite place either.
My Favorite Place in New Hampshire is King Arthur Flour. My favorite bakers in South Carolina, Mark and Angie Lowrey at Crust Bake House in Columbia, told me about King Arthur Flour before I came up here. Others did as well, then, I forgot its name. But if you settle in the Upper Valley of the Connecticut River, you will soon hear about King Arthur Flour.
The residents of the area seemed to be inordinately proud of King Arthur. I was told you could take tours there, but you can’t. That’s because, actually, it’s not a flour factory. That part of the business is in Kansas where the wheat grows. They cultivate Maple Trees in this part of the world. Are you following this? My favorite place in New Hampshire is on the Vermont side of the Connecticut River where they celebrate wheat harvested and processed in Kansas.
What King Arthur Flour does extremely well is bake bread and pastries. I’m eating a sticky bun right now. They teach baking to amateur chefs and professionals. This is where Mark and Angie ((of Columbia Crust fame) learned to bake. Since I began visiting Crust Bake House and spending approximately $50-$100 each week on bread, raspberry muffins, cookies, scones, biscuits, and assorted pastries too numerous to catalog, I say these King Arthur folks taught Mark and Angie well. Crust Bake House once posted a notice that they were looking for part-time help to wash dishes. I considered applying, but the notice required that the employee have a good attitude. I decided my best option was to remain a faithful customer and not complicate our lives.
After arriving in New Hampshire and exploring a variety of bakeries, coffee shops, and restaurants, I decided to search for King Arthur Flour. (My favorites on the New Hampshire side of the river are Umpleby’s, Lou’s, Market Table, and the Dirt Cowboy, all excellent options. Serious question: Why would anyone ever go to Starbucks and purchase one of their recently unfrozen cardboard concoctions when there is a local bakery nearby? Human behavior puzzles me.) I found the King Arthur Bakery and discovered why it has achieved cult-like status. It’s a bakery on steroids. They have every pastry and bread imaginable, more even than Crust. I’ve had chocolate croissants in Belgium and raspberry croissants in Paris, but at King Arthur Flour you can buy a chocolate raspberry croissant. King Arthur sells soups and sandwiches. They sell pizza and salads. They have a gift shop where you can pay way too much for King Arthur pancake mix or vanilla from Mexico.
You can eat three meals a day with King Arthur, not in the healthy way of a South Carolina restaurant where you can consume grits, sausage, eggs, and biscuits for breakfast, devour a meat and three vegetables for lunch, and enjoy a barbeque sandwich with French fries for supper.
At King Arthur Flour, you would eat a couple of sticky buns for breakfast, have a Rueben sandwich with bread made on the premises for lunch, then purchase soup, salad, a blueberry muffin, and cookies to take home for supper. I hate to admit it, but now I’m trying to get my King Arthur weekly bill down to $100.
My Favorite Place in New Hampshire: King Arthur Flour (and Bakery)