CLARKSBURG -- It's all about the destination at The Golden Eagle restaurant, an iconic memory from the days of motor tourism on the Mohawk Trail. Located 1,700 feet above sea level, this tourist attraction has been nestled on the hairpin turn since the late 1950s.
These days, and after many structure shifts and reorganization of priorities through the years, The Golden Eagle is a casual, but upscale, dining experience for anyone who wants decent food and a view.
Overlooking the Hoosac Valley and the surrounding Berkshire hills, the Eagle is essentially a two-in-one stop. Starting downstairs, customers can stop in the lounge for a full-service bar and seating area. Here, the Eagle also can accommodate banquet parties and get-togethers.www.thegoldeneaglerestaurant.com, offers plenty of seafood, beef, chicken and vegetable options for all. The bar is well-stocked and nicely lit, making a cozy space for anyone popping in for some pub food and a drink.
But once you get upstairs, the scene changes. Walking in, the walls are lined with old photos from the tourism heydays of northern Berkshire.
After briefly taking a step back in history, you enter a large open dining area, where doors lead out onto the terrace. While the inside is decorated nicely with knick-knacks and historical photos, outside is where you get to eat dinner with a view.
Once seated outside at an old metal wire table, my date and I had to immediately pause and take in what we were looking at. From the elevation of the Eagle, you can see so much of the rolling Berkshire hills and the towns that pepper the valley below.
Since the summer is full of green grass and blue skies, this scenic picture is perfect, especially when the sun is going down.
The terrace, which wraps around the front and one side of the restaurant, can accommodate roughly 13 people. Reservations for dinner out there are highly suggested on the weekends.
The hairpin turn bistro serves up yummy appetizers like escargot ($9.95) and baked stuffed clams ($5.95). I've never had escargot before, but I thought I'd try it out. Drenched in a garlic butter sauce with a side of lemon, I have to say they were the best part of my meal. Along with a complimentary serving of a kidney bean relish and crackers, my meal was off to a delicious, but expensive, start.
What is nice about the Eagle is the tempo of the service
Our waitress timed everything out just right, from our appetizers to refills on water and a house Cabernet Sauvignon, to checking in on us when our main course arrived. There's nothing more annoying than when a server comes over in the middle of a serious conversation or when you have a mouth full of food.
Somehow, this lovely woman had it down.
After the escargot, the broiled seafood platter ($25.95) was placed in front of me. Expensive? Totally. But when a combination of haddock, scallops, stuffed shrimp, stuffed clam, clams casino and Maryland crab are placed in front of you, I wouldn't be one to complain.
This restaurant is more upscale with the dinner menu, so expect to pay a little extra when you eat in.
Though some of the oceanic commons were a bit salty, the meal was filling and tasty overall.
We ate while the sun set and the bugs began to circumnavigate our heads. A citronella candle at each table wouldn't be a terrible idea for outdoor eaters. But that sunset over the hills is unforgettable.
The Golden Eagle Restaurant is a definite stop for anyone passing through or who lives locally. If you have the time, stop and check out all the photos lining the walls. You'll see the hairpin turn packed with old station wagons and families sporting the vacation wear of the mid-century times. It's amazing to see that this part of the county used to be so packed that a traffic cop was needed to help guide people through the turn.
You'll also read that the restaurant has gone through several phases, at one point being both a gift shop and eatery.
If you're looking for a classy evening with good food, a wonderful waitstaff and a great view, the Golden Eagle is the place to go.