Ice cream brings a smile in Manchester.
Ice cream brings a smile in Manchester. (Banner file)

One of my interns had never been to Chocolate Springs. We were talking about directions to a story interview in Lenox when we realized, and it made me blink. I've been getting chocolate-covered caramelized almonds or ginger or orange peel there for years, and after a ramble in the woods sometimes an ice cream sandwich made with their chocolate chip cookies.

I forget sometimes that my familiar things can be new to someone else -- if you're visiting, you may not have found them yet. Everyone has their own comforts and routines and occasional splurges, the quiet extras for a sleepy morning. So here are some of mine to share.

In Pittsfield, I'll stop for Bounty or Cadbury fruit and nut bars from Brits R' Us, dumplings from Flavours, the Climbing Tree Farm breakfast sandwich from Dottie's Coffee Lounge, On a Roll's sweet potato fries. And I miss Wild Sage putting out its book rack on the sidewalk. I used to slip in there now and then for the used books and sometimes old glass bottles and such.

Up north, looking for comfort food I might try sweet corn from Whitney's or peaches from Lake View Orchard, or explore the A-Frame bakery. I have an old soft spot for pumpkin muffins from BrewHaHa, coffee and chocolate cheese cake at Tunnel City, turkey croquettes from the Blue Benn. Further north, I look forward to the cheerful buzz of the Spiral Press cafe at Northsire Bookstore when I'm in Manchester. And I'm still a newcomer to Vermont.


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Heading south toward a baguette with cornichons and cafe au lait at Bizalion's, I might find almond brioche with raspberries at Patesserie Lenox, almond croissants at Cakewalk and the gelato at Love and Chocolate, fresh-picked blueberries at Windy Hill, SoCo creamery ice cream -- and I've been wanting to try frozen yogurt at several places. These are just a sampling. And think of all the places I haven't tried yet!

What are your favorite old standbys? We'd love to know.