Explore Milford and Wilton
A gray March weekend with rain forecasted didn’t promise much skiing, so we opted for antique shops, old movies and some restaurants we’d been hearing about
At our table beside the fireplace in Mile Away’s candle-lit dining room, we began with a savory pâté of veal and pork and a bowl of onion soup gratinée. From three choices of wienerschnitzel we selected the classic version and jaegerschnitzel, topped with a white wine mushroom sauce. We finished with sweet apple-filled strudel.
We joined other guests for a casual breakfast of muffins and fruit breads, next to the big tile stove in the Stube, where guests at Zahn’s Alpine Guest House also gather in the evening. The inn’s sturdy blond wooden furniture, wrought-iron lamps, featherbeds and colorful rag rugs made us feel as though we were in Bavaria or the Austrian Tirol.
After a swing around Milford’s Oval, we began our day’s browsing at Robin’s Egg, an eclectic group shop with small antiques, collectibles and new china, glass, silver and decorative items displayed on white-painted vintage country furniture — all for sale.
From here we moved on to Consigning for Good, a shop brimming with bargains whose sales profit local charities. Furniture — a spool bureau, a roll-top desk, a carved library table and more — joined teapots, musical instruments, and mid-century modern lamps in a mélange that was sure to hide treasures.
My Sister’s Kitchen is just across Rte. 101A from our next stop, and its menu includes a whole list of Russian specialties. The seven-table restaurant is run by two Russian sisters, who brought us delectable plates of Vareniki — mushroom-filled Russian pierogi topped with butter-braised onions — and tender white-meat chicken served with a creamy sauce. We split a huge plate of buttery blini filled with farmer’s cheese and topped with their own peach jam.
Thus fortified, we crossed the street into the astonishing world of the NH Antique Co-op. More like a museum than a shop, the antiques and art are displayed in room settings and in glass cabinets so each piece with its label and price tag is clearly visible. The rest of the afternoon we spent among entire cases of Art Nouveau porcelain and pottery, pre-Columbian artifacts, estate jewelry and Native American art, then in gallery after gallery of Asian and American furniture, historic paintings, antique clocks, sculpture, primitives, architectural details and an entire room of highboys and chest-on-chests. In the tower we found an art gallery of works by prominent contemporary artists.
Dinner at Roam Café
We’d heard about this Wilton restaurant, where the menu changes weekly to highlight a cuisine or seasonal theme, and were delighted to find that this week’s was wild game. Hearty elk stew and a trio of sausages made from pheasant, venison and wild boar were just right for this blustery March night. We saluted sugaring season with maple-bourbon s’mores — Roam makes its own marshmallows.
After a second cup of coffee in the cheery warmth of Union Coffee Company in Milford, we searched out Treasures Antiques, another group shop in the Ponemah section of Amherst. The 18th-century farmhouse and barn are filled with retro kitchen décor, vintage furniture, mid-century modern and older antiques and collectibles. On our way back to Wilton we stopped at Toadstool Bookshop, where we never leave empty-handed.
Lunch was at Hilltop Café, in the restored 1765 farmhouse of Temple-Wilton Community Farm, one of the first CSAs in the country. Veggie melts spilled over with spinach, avocado, cheddar, carrot, pickled red onion and sprouts. We expected to see the beautiful handmade Shaker boxes Frye’s Measure Mill is famous for, but did not expect to spend two hours discovering nooks and crannies of this old water-powered mill (it’s on the National Register of Historic Places) filled with boxes and measures displaying beautiful small antiques and vintage needlework — all for sale. So artfully were these treasures arranged that I wanted to show my own collections in Frye’s boxes.
We spent so much time here and admiring William Schnute’s woodcarving at adjacent Oak Leaves Studios that we barely had time to get hot, buttered popcorn before the movie started at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre. This 1886 vaudeville stage was converted in 1912 to a silent film house, then to modern technology and digital surround sound. Today it shows art films, classics and silent movies with live music accompaniment.