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Stowe

Food & Foliage at Nancy’s Airfield Cafe

As a mom who loves good food and a cool experience, I’m pretty open to dining adventures that allow my kids to be included.  This weekend, we celebrated my husband’s birthday with lunch & extended family at Nancy’s Airfield Cafe in Stowe, MA. We loved every buzz and bite that came our way.

After a ride along the foliage filled backroads that left me mesmerized we wound our way to Nancy’s Airfield Cafe.  Situated at the edge of Minuteman Airfield,  Nancy’s offers aviation aficionados the opportunity to watch aircraft depart and arrive at this small air field while enjoying a hot meal and cool cocktail. Ideally situated for arrival by car or aircraft, this dining destination will have those who came by car rubbing elbows with those who made Nancy’s part of their leisurely flight.

The quaint interior is filled with country charm. From the artwork for sale on the walls to the simple tables set to allow guests to catch sight of the aircraft coming and going, the simplicity of Nancy’s lures in locals who regularly make this a must for breakfast and lunch.

Lines around the corner are a normal part of dining at Nancy’s where reservations are not allowed (although large parties are encouraged to call) and 10 is tops for those seeking seating together. If dining with kids be warned that the best seating is in the exterior room on the runway. However, children are not allowed to be seated in that room due to an unlocked emergency door that opens onto the runway (apparently too many kids have tried to escape). Topping out this week with our party of 10, we were seated within the interior space of Nancy’s where the windows offer obstructed views of the choppers and planes parking on-site.

Expecting little of the food at a place that pride’s itself on its location, I was more than pleased by my meal. I took a chance ordering a specialty cocktail, hoping that at it’s $9 price tag it would please my picky palate. And it did, just strong enough my gin based libation was tart and refreshing with little sweetness; I enjoyed it so much I ordered a second.

After skimming the regular menu and specials I decided on something I would not typically order- bratwurst on a pretzel roll. For $14 two hearty sausages, topped with sauerkraut and mustard arrived with a few pickles on the side.  A bit too much for me, I quickly passed one to someone with more of an appetite and set to work enjoying what was on my plate. The meat was juicy, and full of flavor with just enough topping to enhance the flavor and just enough bread to enjoy the juice. I ate every last bite and left feeling comfortably full. Those with me ordered an array of dishes ranging from lamb burgers  to breakfast favorites like pancakes and egg sandwiches. Everyone left happy.

When the kids got restless and their food was gone a few adults brought them to the small expanse of lawn in front of the landing strip to run around while we finished our drinks and payed the bill. At that point, it was clear Nancy was ready to turn the table; upon seeing part of our party depart, she rushed over to request we relinquish one one of the tables we were using so she could set up another party. One can’t fault her as many of those lined up had hungry kids in tow and no chance of being seated in the other room so we happily obliged and made our way outside for goodbyes.

Much to our pleasure, a helicopter had landed on the lawn mid lot and our final treat was a close encounter of departure, which left the kids cheering and the adults happy to have successfully made it through a meal in a restaurant as a family without any tears (from kids or adults).

-Filling your desire to dine one family friendly spot at a time, Jess

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Winter Attire Tip: Layer Up & Embrace the Cold

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Bundled up to brave the elements

I was once winter phobic, self diagnosing myself with “seasonal affective disorder” the second I heard it was a thing, and hibernating until the last bit of snow had melted. I was mostly miserable from November until April, and really unsure of why I lived in Boston (in truth, I like to be able to see my family, and that’s the reason I never left). Fast-forward to my mid-thirties, 2 kids and a job that has me traveling to check out winter activities, and my outlook has totally changed; I’ve learned to embrace winter and it’s made me a better person.

Bundled up, in every warm layer I own, with a value pack of hand and foot warmers in my bag for “just in case”, I have fun, outdoors, all winter long.

My new found love affair with winter started when my son began ice skating and my husband built him an ice rink in our back yard (a city kid myself, I still think this is the most amazing thing I’d ever seen). I wanted to be out there so badly that I’d toss my figure skates and ski pants with a cute little hat and fashionable wool coat to take a few twirls before finding myself frozen and begging my then two year old to come in.

Mommy & Marcus hockey in our yard
Mommy & Marcus hockey in our yard

I was so disappointed, I turned to my winter expert, my husband (who has not bought himself an article of clothing since before we met, and has me choose his suit daily)  for winter fashion tips. And although I really did not like what I heard, I slowly succumbed to his suggestions, and as much as I hate to admit it; his tips are 100% responsible for making me a winter warrior.

He taught me how to dress for warmth (rather than style), and layer myself into a nice cocoon of warmth that can get me through a few slope-side hours in the (sunny, windless) single digits. I replaced my Ugg boots with REI recommended warm, waterproof  Vasque  boots, traded my dress socks for Smartwool socks (snag for less at Nordstrom Rack where they’re often only $10/pair) and layered the crap out of my clothes. I’ve been known to pile 5 (thin) layers beneath my coat and three beneath my snow pants (Under Armour & The North Face are my favorite layering brands). I bought thick, insulated, waterproof, $70 winter gloves (because I lost one of mine enroute to Stowe last weekend) and a hat I hate being seen in, but love on my head on a cold winter day. And when the cold takes my breath away I turn to Turtle Fur to protect my neck and face.

And I’m warm.

Skiing at Stowe this past weekend, the weather was frigid, the staff of locals at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa, where I was staying, made it clear they would not be visiting the mountain that day, the room on the shuttle, short lift lines, and crowd in the lodge confirmed it was a crazy cold day. But we were determined to brave it.

Snow Shoeing home from Thia's
Snow Shoeing home from Thia’s

Truth is, dressed for the weather, we hardly noticed the sub-zero temps, making my first time on skis in five years, the best ski day skiing I’ve ever had.

Not only was I toasty warm, but I got to enjoy my daughter’s first day skiing, my son’s first time on the chairlift and my husband’s ability to make even the coldest outing fun.

So, I’ll keep the layers on, forget how silly I look, skate, ski, snowshoe, build snowmen all winter long, and enjoy every moment of fun that winter has to offer- with or without my kids by my side.

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.Anton Chekhov

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