Not so long ago, heading out of the office for lunch in Boston would have meant Subway in the Longwood Galleria food court or an overpriced bean burrito from Souper Salad. Things got better when the Clover Food Truck added a Longwood location, but word got around, and the line was long. Those were dark lunchtime days.
Now that I’ve left Longwood Ave behind and live in the country, my lunch options are perhaps more limited, but much better. Basically everyday (when I don’t pack my own) it comes down to three choices…the Dublin General Store, Nature’s Green Grocer in Peterboro, or the loveliest of the three, the Harrisville General Store. These are basically all general stores — with Peterboro being more of an organic market — and it still fills my heart with small-town community pride when I walk inside and see regulars picking up their coffee and newspaper, signing up for homemade pies at Thanksgiving, checking out the board to see what events are coming up, and greeting each other hello with actual familiarity. It’s how things should be.
Today we’re heading to Harrisville. I wasn’t driving and taking photos at the same time, I promise.
Harrisville is a town of under 1,000 people in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire – where I live and work. The town’s general store (built in 1838) sits up a hill, with a steep, winding road separating it from the town center.
How picture-perfect is this?
Inside you’re greeted by a large chalkboard menu, but most people immediately wander over to the large glass case to see what sandwiches, salads, and desserts are chilling inside…or what pizzas, macaroni and cheese, and quiches are piping hot on top. The store’s kale salad is so popular among Yankee staffers that we’ll be featuring it in the Homegrown column for Nov/Dec (which I wrote, and celebrates kale!) – so keep an eye out for that.
The seating area (a cluster of 2 and 4-person tables) was full and I didn’t want to disturb any diners by snapping their photo, so I took my fancy egg salad sandwich (made from local eggs, of course) outside with the latest issue of Yankee. They didn’t have any of the sandwiches pre-made when I arrived, but they had egg salad for sale by weight, so I asked the “young man” behind the counter to just throw some between some bread for me and he was happy to. They are always friendly and fast at the HGS.
After battling the ants for my lunch it was time to wander.
Harrisville’s town center is notable for its preserved cluster of brick mill buildings dating back to the 19th century alongside Harrisville Pond and the adjacent canal. People say it looks virtually the same as it did 150 years ago, plus cars.
Scenic Harrisville Pond bumps right up against downtown.
In fact, the public library actually juts out into the pond, and the canal winds its way from the library through the rest of downtown. I loved this sign advertising a community bean supper. If I thought they’d be meatless, I’d seriously go.
The brick church (home to the aforementioned bean supper) sits next to a yard filled with flowers bordered by the quintessential white picket fence.
Still more brick…
And even more brick.
I have a thing for doors, and Harrisville’s doors stick to a theme.
One of the buildings is now home to Harrisville Designs, which offers products and services for the weaving and knitting enthusiast, including looms, yarns, custom spinning, workshops and classes.
And there you have it. Harrisville!
Full and happy with my dose of sunshine and stretched legs, I headed back to Dublin and Yankee. Every time I pull into the parking lot and see our cheery red building, where the editorial heartbeat of New England has been pulsing since 1935, I think about how proud I am to live and work here.
And the lunches are better, too.