Tag Archives: dining out

Timberman 70.3–Travel and Logistics

The following documents some of the travel and logistics details of our weekend up in Gilford, NH for Ironman 70.3 Timberman.

Getting There

Google Maps show the drive from Allentown, PA to to Gilford, NH to be anywhere from 6.5-7.5 hours depending on the traffic and route you choose. The shortest route takes up by New York City then onto I-95 through Hartford, CT. I had taken that route once before and it was a bit too insane for me. We were also leaving on a weeknight after work, so this would be all the more crazy. So, instead we opted to head north on I-87 up to Rhinebeck, NY, have dinner then take the Taconic Parkway to I-90 West.

Sunset Inn, Lee Ma

We also had decided to split the drive up and stay over night in Lee, MA where we found a nice little place to stay for ~$85 called the Sunset Inn. The place was nothing fancy, but it was clean and not far off the highway. The other benefit is that it is only a short drive to Kripalu Yoga Center, which is a favorite of my wifes’. Since we were close, we were able to head there for a very healthy buffet breakfast which was only $10 each.

We then headed East on I-90 towards Worcester, MA which is pronounced like “woo-sta!” We also continued to shout the name multiple times as we flanked the city via some connecting bypasses. Eventually we ended up on I-93 which took us past Concord, NH where we picked up Route 3 taking us into our final destination of Gilford, NH.

When I signed up for Timberman, I originally booked a room in Concord, NH due to the price and availability and lack thereof in and around Gilford. After Denise decided she was going to volunteer for the race and would have to be there earlier, I decided to seek out something closer. This was a wise decision! Staying in Concord would have made this weekend suck! It would have been too long of a drive and it was worth paying a little more to be closer.


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The Fireside Inn-Gilford, NH

I happened to find the Fireside Inn with vacancy only a few days before leaving for the race. I had changed hotels in Concord twice before that and eventually cancelled them both. I don’t think the Fireside ever showed up on Hotels.com or it was just lower in the list because of the price was a little higher. I ended up paying $200/night there and it was so worth it. It was only 3 mile bike ride from the race site at Ellacoya State Park which you could get to by a light traveled road which happened to be the run course. It also provided beautiful views of Lake Winnipesaukee the entire way, which were even more spectacular at 5:30am when the sun was coming up. The bike and run course also went right by the hotel too so if you just wanted to stay there and watch the event you could see 2 of the 3 disciplines right there.

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You just never know what you’ll find in the woods of New Hampshire-A Hockey Rink?

The hotel was also very clean and had plenty of room. Some people in the review complained about the older TV’s but that was not really an issue for us. The rooms had a nice big refrigerator and microwave so you can make some things for your early morning pre-race breakfast. There is also a market/deli, liquor store and Pub right across the street too. A short drive will also get you into Laconia, NH which has basically everything you need.

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Our Room at the Fireside Inn-Gilford, NH

The staff at the hotel are also very friendly and helpful. They give you whoopie pies at check-in and make popcorn in the afternoons whose smell would drift down the hallway luring you in for some. They have and indoor and outdoor pool, nice weight room and access to a local beach on the lake which is $5/person.  They also have full suites which offer a full kitchen if you need that. All the rooms also have little balconies or patios which I liked.

The only negative I could think of was that the hotel was right in the flight path of the local airport, so there was a few planes landing and taking off from time-to-time. The one day I kept getting blasts of jet fuel fumes coming in the screen door, but closing the door and putting A/C on solved that.


My wife and I like to eat pretty healthy and avoid the chain or franchise restaurants at all costs. I am a plant-based vegan 95% of the time and my wife is more on the “paleo” side. Finding good places for us to eat is usually a bit of a challenge, especially when you are in more off-the-beaten-path places. My wife Denise is a pretty good researcher when it comes to finding places to eat and she did a pretty good job routing them out in and around Lake Winnipesaukee too. So here are our favorites around Gilford…

Tavern 27

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Tavern 27 Dining Room

Tavern 27 is located a little bit north of Laconia nestled between the links of the Mystic Meadows Golf Course. It is a family run, farm-to-table American-style “tapas” restaurant which are little larger portioned than your typical Spanish tapas. There are a long list of different dishes to choose from, but our favorite was the Chickpea Fries. My wife was also a fan of the Egg Cups and I though there little pizzas were really good too. The place is very small and it seems they are always busy. The owner told me he has been booked up for several days and has had to turn away many walk-ins. We had lunch there on our first day, but were able to get in for dinner on Sunday night. I would highly advise calling here well in advance unless maybe in the off-season.

The Local Eatery

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The Local Eatery-Laconia, NH

The Local Eatery was another favorite of ours. Also a farm-to-table restaurant and located in the old train station in Laconia. It is a small place but we were able to get reservations on a Friday and Saturday night here during Timberman weekend. Denise enjoyed their local burger so much she had it two night in a row. I had the Chana Masala on Friday night and the house made gnocchi on Saturday. The Chana Masala was a very generous portion while the gnocchi was a bit small. The gnocchi was a little more filling than it looked though and it also left me some room to have the Vanilla Crème Brulee for desert, which I think was the best I have ever had. I also had the hummus plate on Friday which was very good as well. Definitely a place to check out when in the area. They also have outdoor seating.


Kitchen Cravings

Kitchen Cravings is a little breakfast and lunch restaurant just a short drive or bike ride away from the Fireside Inn. It is basically at the other end of the airport runway. Their menu is extensive to say the least. They have tons of options and have no issues with substitutions. My wife was in heaven since she is the queen of substitutions. It isn’t very big inside so if there is something going on like Timberman, be prepared to wait.

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Bike Ride to Breakfast

Ellacoya Barn & Grille

The Ellacoya Barn & Grille is a little pub just up the street from the Timberman race venue at Ellacoya State Park. We walked here after the race to get some lunch. Not necessarily the healthiest of the bunch here, but the food was good and it is convenient to the race. I particularly like their Bruschetta and they have a bunch of good beers on tap. I ordered a pizza after the race which I thought was a personal size since it was only $10, but it was huge! I did end up eating 5 out of the 8 slices though.


We had a really nice weekend in Gilford, NH and I think much of that is due to the logistics of where we stayed in relation to the event venue. Staying in Concord would have made this a much less enjoyable weekend. We had an easy 3 mile bike ride to/from the event which allowed us to not be trapped or have to deal with vehicle traffic. We were able to easily get in and out via the bike course or the run course.


Road Trip to Sprig & Vine in New Hope

Denise and I both ended up having off on Friday, but we never really planned on doing much. We discussed going to the shore early, but with my cold I didn’t feel like being away from home another night. During the morning though we decided to take a road trip down to New Hope, PA to check out a vegan restaurant we had heard about called Sprig & Vine.

We were originally going to go there for our anniversary on the 18th, but it was such a nice day and we weren’t doing anything. During the morning I started organizing all my tri gear and put the bike rack back on the CRV. We didn’t end up leaving until around 3PM which was a big mistake. We ended up hitting all kinds of traffic on the long drive to New Hope. We ended up getting there around 5PM. This gave us a little time to walk around and check out the town a bit.

Denise ended up spotting some earrings in a little store full of didgeridoo’s and wooden Buddha statues. We also stopped in the wine shop and did a wine tasting of some local wines. They were all pretty expensive($26-30), but they are local and they didn’t have any added sulfites which seems to bother Denise. We ended up with a Cabernet from Rose Bank Winery to take to dinner which was BYOB.

We started heading over to the restaurant for our 6:30PM reservation but was interrupted by an olive oil and balsamic vinegar store. The only one I really liked was the Butter flavored olive oil, but it was artificially flavored so I nixed that.

Sprig & Vine was excellent. I had a split pea soup that was excellent, followed by the jerk chicken flavored Tempeh with sweet potato mash, plantains and swiss chard. Denise had a pickled veggies appetizer and a Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Sweet Potato and Lentil stew. Everything was great and it washed down nicely with that Cabernet we picked up too. To top things off I had a vegan chocolate mousse pie with coffee ice cream, which was ridiculous.

It was a great night out and we will definitely have to get back there again. Traffic on the way home was clean sailing too. My sinus cold thing was also more of a annoying cough today too. My throat was getting a bit sore by the time we got home which worried me some. I gargled with some tumeric and sea salt before bed in hopes of warding that off. Good thing was my sinuses were clear, so I could breath a little easier today.



Lake Placid Winter 2013-Day 1-The Long Haul North

Yuki Hides in the Covers
While packing for our Winter Vacation Yuki hides under the covers.

The bike racks were removed from the top of the CR-V and the ski box replaced them. I then loaded up the gear and a few items of clothing, funny how there is more gear-related items packed than regular clothing, and we are on our way again to our annual winter pilgrimage to Lake Placid. We have been making this winter trip now for over 10 years and it never gets old. The week leading up to this trip had wiped out much of the mass of snow they had had previously and reports from Mt. Van Hoevenberg indicated closing of trails. Not good. We tossed around the idea of rescheduling, but with my mind already set to “vacation-mode” I said we must push on and take what it gives us. Last winter was not the greatest as warm temps wiped out all the snow after only 2 days of skiing. The forecast looked promising with chance of snow each day and VERY cold temperatures. We pushed on.

As we made our way up I-87 North, we anticipated our lunch stop at Karma Road in New Paltz, NY. A great little vegetarian restaurant at the end of the main street in town. To our chagrin, we spotted the large closed sign hanging in the window as we approached. The inside looked a bit cleared out which caused me to fear they closed down for good. I parked and ran up to read the sign in the window which put my fears to rest stating they were closed until January 25th for their winter vacation. At least we could stop on the way home now. We walked through town to find an alternative and spotted the Earthgoods market well stocked with healthy groceries and some take away foods. We enjoyed some vegan sushi, homemade bean soup, and coconut water at the little table at the front of the store. Not sure if they meant it for that but it worked out. Disaster averted.

The remainder of trip up was pretty uneventful. We listened to the first half of the book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease by Dr. Robert H. Lustig on the way up which really made the time go by. The book was very interesting and although he gives you the resulting “bad guy” early on in the book, the process of how he comes to that conclusion is quite interesting. It does get a bit technical at times, but he does a decent job of bringing it back to layman’s terms. I will try to do a more informative review of this book later after I finish the other half. The funny thing was the first half download from Audible.com finished exactly as we pulled into our host vacation home driveway. So far the book is consistent with my current food intake which is reassuring.

ADK Cafe's Earth Plate
ADK Cafe’s Earth Plate-Kale, Cauliflower, Red Curry Quinoa, and Sauerkraut.

As we approached the Town of Keene just prior to reaching Lake Placid, we stopped at the ADK Cafe for dinner. This is one of our new favorites up there with their local, organic foods and my favorite, The Earth Plate! Tonight they had a special appetizer too which consisted of pita with hummus, red pepper dip, white bean dip and some other little goodies. A good pre-cursor to the Earth Plate. I also enjoyed a couple Davidson Brothers IPA’s from Maine which were just what the doctor ordered(not Dr. Lustig anyway) after a long drive. The Earth Plate was a pile of plant-based goodness consisting of cauliflower, kale, red curry quinoa, homemade sauerkraut and some brussel sprouts(my new favorite now). Great end to a long drive.

We then headed up the mountain to Lake Placid. The lights at the Ski jumps were glowing in the night sky as we approached River Road. They were having some ski jumping events going for a couple days and there was a good amount of spectators making their way. We bypassed that and made our way to our favorite little den just outside of Lake Placid. Ahhhh….vacation time!