It’s that time of year, folks. The early heat wave made you feel as if summer would never end, but even now, you notice the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler.
If you want to sit in the sunshine or go outside at night without a down parka before it’s too late, you have to do it now.
And what better way to enjoy the last warm days of the season than by pulling up a chair on the patio of one of your favorite Upper Valley restaurants? We don’t claim the following list is complete. But if you’re looking for a place to eat outside while you still can, these are some spots to keep in mind.
- Hanover, New Hampshire. There are lots of places to enjoy a warm summer day or night at the home field of Dartmouth College. You don’t see it from the front, but there’s a shady patio at the backside of Molly’s on Main Street. It’s the perfect setting for one of their inexpensive house margaritas. The Market Table, tucked in behind Hopkins Center, has seating for 50 outside. Grab a Guinness and an outdoor table at Salt hill Pub on Lebanon Street, or a wrap under the shade trees outside Boloco on Main Street. Or how about elegant dining on the Appalachian Trail? PINE at the Hanover Inn has tables just a couple feet from the fabled footpath.
- Lebanon, New Hampshire. Three Tomatoes expanded into the great outdoors in grand style a few years back. A large awning provides shade from the sun, and a wall-sized door can be opened to seamlessly connect the inside with the outside. Right across from Three Tomatoes on the pedestrian mall, Salt hill Pub got in on the outdoor action a few years back, too. Lucky’s Coffee Garage, on North Park Street, closes at 4 p.m., but during daylight hours, you can feed your caffeine needs under shaded picnic tables set up with a view of Coburn Park.
- White River Junction, Vermont. Coffee, espresso, and Turkish fare can be enjoyed at tables set up along South Main Street at the Tuckerbox in downtown White River Junction. Just around the corner, at 85 North Main Street, you can bask in the sunshine or breathe in the sweet night air at Thyme Café. Not so long ago, it was the Tip Top Café. But don’t let the name change alarm you. Those garlic aioli fries are still on the menu!
- Woodstock, Vermont. Your best bets for outdoor seating in Woodstock are Melaza Bistro on Central Street and Worthy Kitchen on Woodstock Road. Caribbean fare, including cilantro dipping oil and coffee and chili dusted filet mignon, are available at Melaza Bistro. Craft beers and buttermilk fried chicken is waiting for you at Worthy Kitchen.
- Quechee, Vermont. The outdoors and casual elegance come together at Simon Pearce Restaurant. Nothing says New England like a view of the Ottauquechee River and a covered bridge, and with entrees such as seared trout and crisp roast duckling, your taste buds are sure to get a treat, too.
- Bradford, Vermont. Alexander’s Restaurant, on Main Street in Bradford, is another riverside location that’s pure New England—except for the food, which is Lebanese. The menu includes standard American options, but while you’re enjoying the last days of summer, why not try something new, like zaatar? It’s a thin baked dough topped with thyme, summak, sesame seeds, and olive oil. Or try the Shish Tawouk—chicken marinated in lemon, garlic, and tomato, skewered and served over rice and sautéed vegetables.