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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A COUNTRY TREASURE--THE BLUEBERRY HILL MARKET CAFE

Blueberry Hill Market Cafe
The Blueberry Hill Market Cafe
We pass through some very small upstate New York and southern New England towns on our way up to Vacation Village in the Berkshires in Massachusetts.  We like to take the Taconic Parkway rather than travel up the New York Thruway.  It’s a windy country road most of the way with very little traffic.  It’s pretty too,  with a wide wooded center island and woods and pretty scenery along the borders. We can see deep into the woods this weekend because it is still winter, and the ground is covered with snow.  It's a great start to a weekend away.

Once we get off the Taconic, we are in farm country.  Upstate New York is rural, a surprise for people who visit for the first time.  They often expect one big New York City, but that's not the real nature of our state.  Small towns.  Little shops.  Wooden houses, many with front porches.  It's a nice ride as we head toward Massachusetts.

Just as we are about to leave New York State, we drive through a little town on Rte. 20, New Lebanon, New York.  There aren’t too many places to stop for lunch along the way, but we spot the Blueberry Market and Café as we drive past and decide to turn around and try out this small breakfast/lunch/grocery store. You can't miss it; it's right on Rt.20.  (518 794-2011)

It’s a delightful surprise.  There is still ice on the driveway, so the main entrance to the restaurant is closed, and we enter through the grocery store.  It’s more of a specialty store with local products, freshly baked goods, and a chalkboard menu that tantalizes.  It takes longer to decide on our lunch choices here than in a diner with a 12 page menu.  Everything looks great.  The aromas in the air make our mouths water, and it’s more a matter of eliminating one choice after another than choosing what pops out from the menu! 

We place our orders at the counter and are given a stand with a number to put on our table.  We’re also given huge empty mugs to fill from the selection of their own roasted coffees.  Yes, there is that beautiful aroma in the air as well, and plenty of choice.

Carrying our full cups (probably equal to 3 or more regular cups), we choose our table upstairs. You'll have your choice of several wonderfully aromatic and freshly roasted coffees or if you'd prefer, a choice of teas.  Very pleasing.

The restaurant and grocery was once a house, and the restaurant section is a collection of glorious old tables and chairs.  Remember those marvelously brightly colored metal kitchen tables with the drawers?  The one here is a bright, sunshine yellow. Remember those chairs with the metal rivets down the strip on the side?  They’re here too.  Wooden tables, dining chairs with covers, round tables with cross-stitched table clothes under the round glass, and other tables with cloth table clothes unprotected.  It’s incredibly inviting, picturesque and comfortable all at once. 

Blueberry Hill Market Cafe
The ladies who lunch in this picturesque cafe
We stop by a utensil station and pick up whatever we will need for lunch, and we settle in at a table for two near the window so we can observe the traffic passing by.  This is one of those round tables with a cross-stitched tablecloth under a round glass.  Cozy. It’s frigid out there, and there are no walkers out on the street..

There are other diners: a few groups of ladies, some single men, and several other couples.  One single woman sits down near us and immediately opens a thick library book. She reads intently.  She flips the pages with purpose, and I know I am going to speak to her before I leave.

Blueberry Hill Market Cafe
How pretty is this?!  Frittatas
Within a few minutes, our lunch arrives.  Don’t think for a minute that there is anything small town about our meal.  We’ve both chosen a frittata.  But they are different.  Look at the lovely presentation.  These and the delicious coffee are more than a satisfying way to begin a relaxing vacation, wouldn’t you say? 

Blueberry Hill Market Cafe

When we finally decide we really need to push on, we are sated and smiling. Lunch was perfect. We take our dishes to the station where they are to be left, and Rob goes to pay our bill.  Remember the reader?  I stop to talk to her.  She had just come from the library where the book was highly recommended.  "Nothing better than an panini and a good book," she says, "especially when I've been cooped up so much this winter."  I leave her to enjoy her day.

How much did we enjoy the Blueberry Market and Café? Well, a week later, on our way home from the Berkshires, we stop for breakfast.  Once again, the selections are all so tempting and the coffee so hot and delicious.  There were breakfast frittatas on display, but we resist this time.

Blueberry Hill Market Cafe
How delicious does this look?  And that English Muffin bread. Yummy!
Never had something like that before.  There are scrumptious homefries
hidden under that bacon.  Yes, we rolled out of there!
Look at this breakfast.  This is maple cured bacon that is to die for!  Just enough flavor to set your taste buds a-tingling.  See those thick slices of bread.  That’s homemade English muffin bread.  Superb! 

We decided to pick up some of their home baked pastry to take with us, but somehow we used our heads and rolled out empty-handed.  Not without regret.   

If you’re heading this way, make sure you stop in.  It’s pretty special!
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