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Wonderful New England scenery and cuisine highlight the 1761 Old Mill in Westminster, Mass.

by Eric Hurwitz. Article updated 10/7/17.

1761 Old Mill restaurant in Westminster, Massachusetts
1761 Old Mill in Westminster.

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When in search of scenic, beautiful, historic New England travel destinations, the 1761 Old Mill Restaurant, Cracker Barrel Pub and Country Store stands as of the the few landlocked dining spots topping the list.

The first sight of this former 1761 saw mill creates a visual wonderland of traditional New England charm that wonderfully saturates the senses -- even though it is hard to decide where to look first. The elongated rustic restaurant, the sweet-smelling waterfall, the pond graced by ducks, and walk-through covered footbridges with babbling brooks underneath help create a classic New England setting at this rustic, rural dining spot. If there was no restaurant here, the scenery, alone, would be enough to satisfy the New England traveler.

Waterfall at the 1761 Old Mill Restaurant in Westminster, Mass.

The beautiful waterfall at the Old Mill.

For those who can never get enough of authentic New England travel experiences, however, the quaint scenes continue right into the restaurant -- and regional favorite foods to bring one right into a true taste of New England. The lobby features a seasonal roaring fireplace while the front room, to the right, has a lovely view of the pond through some lovely old-fashioned windows. The Cracker Barrel Lounge provides a cozy, informal setting -- the idyllic type of place a traveler would hope to experience in New England when looking for a relaxing, regional setting for food and drinks.  Ultimately, every step of the way through the 1761 Old Mill feels like a special, one-of-a-kind dining experience that never gets old. I know, having first dined here as a kid in 1972 and always remembering the joys of a Sunday morning brunch, Sunday evening all-you-can-eat lobster buffet and, outside, feeding the ducks with day-old bread graciously given to us by staff.

The Sunday night lobster buffet went away many years ago, but the Sunday morning brunch and the chance to feed the ducks still remain traditional favorite things to do at the Old Mill.  The brunch is still the best I have been to in New England with the homemade corn fritters and pecan rolls, carved ham and roast beef stations, scrambled eggs, bacon and made-from-scratch desserts, cakes and pastries first filling the plates (yes, plates!) first.

Lunch and dinner recommendations include the mouthwatering burgers, hearty New England clam chowder, roast country duck with a pecan apple stuffing (choice of orange sauce or country gravy), and the chicken vegetable pie with tender chicken, fresh vegetables and a tremendous, flaky crust. The Old Mill Sizzler is a great choice, too, with a thick cut of prime rib grilled with peppers, onions and mushrooms on a hot sizzle platter, with teriyaki sauce.  For seafood, go with the baked stuffed haddock with a seafood stuffing and topped with a lobster Newburg sauce -- phenomenal! After sampling the excellent homemade deserts like apple crisp or carrot cake, head down some narrow, creaky stairs and you'll find a candle-scented, old-fashioned gift shop with stone floors and comforting music in the background.

For many of the aforementioned reasons, the 1761 Old Mill has gained popularity as a special occasion place. I remember my mom and dad always bringing family and friends to the Old Mill as a go-to place. I followed in that tradition, as our morning-after-the-wedding get together took place at the Old Mill for the Sunday brunch. Twenty years later after that memorable weekend, some family members from various parts of the country -- who had never been to the Old Mill before -- still reminisce fondly about their wonderful experience.

Covered footbridge at the Old Mill in Westminster MAOne of the covered footbridges at the 1761 Old Mill in Westminster.

The 1761 Old Mill has been in the Foster family since 1946 and shows no sign of wear and tear -- quite remarkable for a restaurant in business this long and located in an ancient structure. The traditional New England fare continues quite wonderfully and, additionally, the chance to order baked goods to take home like the pecan rolls and corn fritters serves as a chance to take home a taste of the Old Mill experience. Additionally, the 1761 Old Mill offers seasonal events including live music and dinner theater, as well as accommodating weddings, showers, bereavements, banquets and other events.

Magical waterfall at the 1761 Old Mill Restaurant in Westminster, Massachusetts
Another look at the magical waterfall at the Old Mill.

Whether serving as the center of a New England day or a sidebar to exploring largely rural north central New England and the Mohawk Trail, the 1761 Old Mill represents true, traditional New England dining and scenic beauty.

1761 Old Mill Restaurant, Route 2A, Westminster MA. Tel. 978-874-5941. Facebook page:

The 1761 Old Mill restaurant in Westminster MA

1761 Old Mill restaurant, Westminster MA

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Books by Publisher Eric Hurwitz

Massachusetts Town Greens -- Discover New England's first travel attractions: town commons.

The Best Diners in New England -- If you love classic diners, New England has them! In my book, I write in detail on 50 top local diners.

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