Nothing says New England to me like stone walls, clapboard, and blueberry muffins. I was recently the happy partaker of an ‘all you can enjoy’ buffet of these three while visiting the Monadnock region of southern New Hampshire.
If you are ever in that area, you would do well to stay at the Little River Bed & Breakfast in Peterborough. It sits on the Nubanusit River (in Abenaki, this means “small waters”) and is one of the most perfect B&Bs I’ve ever come across. The 1870’s house has been masterfully renovated by Paula and Rob Fox where they have been hosting guests since 2007. This is not its first incarnation as public lodging: it was operated in the 30’s and 40’s as the MacDowell Colony Inn.
At Little River all the elements are just right. From the interior aesthetics (the colors of the walls, hinges and door pulls, high quality linens, attractive lighting, lack of clutter) to the lovely grounds that invite lingering outdoors by the babbling water, every detail seems to have been orchestrated with the traveler’s comfort and pleasure in mind. Rob provides attentive service at breakfast and is ever ready to be of assistance. Paula mans the stove, whipping up crepes ‘a la minute’ one day, zucchini torta the next. Homemade granola, cherry scones, blueberry muffins, fresh fruit, and great coffee were also on offer during our stay. For those with a yen for an additional treat later in the day, the sideboard near the dining room is outfitted with old fashioned candies and homemade cookies.
A good blueberry muffin is a thing of beauty and scarcer than you’d think. Paula’s are something special. But then, so is everything she bakes. In the end, my wild cheering paid off: she graciously gave me her recipe (along with permission to post) which I promptly made upon my return home. (I think they lived up to the memory.) Thank you Paula!
Recipe: Paula’s Blueberry Muffins
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, or Egg Beaters
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup milk, – skim milk O.K.
granulated sugar crystals (or other coarse sugar) (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs and mix well.
Add dry ingredients, mix slightly, then add milk and mix well.
Fold in blueberries with a rubber spatula.
Fill tins. Sprinkle with granulated sugar crystals or other coarse sugar if desired.
Bake at 375 F for about 25-30 minutes.
Yield: 12 std. or 6 large muffins