Here on the New Hampshire seacoast, we are lucky to have train service.

Our train station is not only architecturally pleasing to the eye, but the front south-facing window of the station is full of gorgeous plants, and there is a nice mural on an adjacent building to look at while you wait for the train.


Last week, a Master Gardener friend and I caught the Downeaster and headed a couple of stops south to Exeter.


First stop was the 70 year-old fabric store,  Exeter Handkerchief Store. Three floors of fabric for interior design including the top floor which is all bargains at $9 a yard. If you Signcan’t find what you’re looking for there, I don’t think it’s available. And, if you want to peruse their selection from the comfort of home, they even have an on-line store .

After several trips up and down the stairs to make sure we hadn’t missed anything, we headed downtown and stopped at the Trackside Cafe* for some local breakfast fare. They still have an old-fashioned counter with stools that swivel. Nice. What did I have? Biscuits, gravy and home fries, of course. I passed on the beans although half of New England eats beans with breakfast.

We started walking towards town, heading to the Lamont Gallery, part of the Frederick R. Mayer Art Center, at Phillips Exeter Academy, where there is an exhibit, Lush Life, running from March 23 – May 2, 2015.

The Lush Life exhibit includes textured paintings, still life and landscape painting, portraits, fiber artist creations, and our favorite, “research forests in miniature.”

The miniature forests contained living mosses, ferns, and slime molds that were all nestled in glitter, beads, and smoke hoping to bring our attention to the difference between nature and bling.


We had a great day – train ride, stimulating conversation, fabrics, comfort food, and miniature gardens. A dream day for me.

Do you have something fun on your agenda this week?  🙂


Trackside Cafe: Tucked inside the old railway station, the Trackside Cafe can be difficult to locate if you’re not a local. Ask how to get to Gerry’s convenience store, 66 Lincoln Street, if you get lost; you’ll find the Trackside Cafe inside Gerry’s. The Trackside serves breakfast and lunch daily. The menu includes breakfast combination plates, pancakes, omelets, breakfast wraps and waffles.  (

About Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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35 Responses to Downeaster

  1. Sounds like a great day. I’m just home from a garden writers meeting in Charleston, which was perfectly timed for spring blooms.


  2. Thank you. Here’s hoping you have an adventuresome week, but you always do. 🙂


  3. Looks to me like you had a very full day! I was expecting to see vintage handkerchiefs! My goodness have they got a thriving business that is certainly 21st century. I bet that 3rd floor was a delight! My brain starts thinking new cushions in the sun room etc with all those great deals. $9 a yard and mostly 54-60″ wide is a steal. Did you go with a project in mind or were you like a kid in a candy shop?? I would be in too much trouble there!!! I have 2 sofa’s to recover and am still prowling for fabric! So; your blog post today has taken me many places, the museum was great. It looked like mist coming from one of the mossy gardens. I have studied AMTRAK for a bit (pricing a trip to visit the grandkids); window shopped and been to the museum and it is only 8 am. All from the kitchen in my robe. My big trip this week is to Dover – Delaware….to see an Easter production at another church with 3 ladies from my church. Sounds like you had a great time. Whenever you can spend a day with friends, it is full of fun!


    • I thought about you and the fact that it would have taken several days to really check out all that fabric on the third floor. My friend bought some fabric for a project, and I enjoyed helping her choose colors. The one fabric that called to me was a beige background with black trees on it. I was in love. AMTRAK is a blast, I love riding between here and Portland or Boston. Your trip to see the Easter production sounds like fun. Have a great week, Mary.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I forgot to respond to the handkerchiefs. 🙂 I did ask about them, and the lady said the company was founded during the WWII years and that was what they produced back then.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. pbmgarden says:

    Sounds like a wonderful trip with a friend. I’ve just invited some friends to join me on a visit to a place I had never heard of until yesterday, Körner’s Folly in Kernersville, North Carolina. ( )

    Körner’s Folly is the architectural wonder and home of artist and designer Jule Gilmer Körner. Built in 1880 in Kernersville, North Carolina, the house originally served to display his interior design portfolio. Visitors can now explore the 22 room house museum and its unique original furnishings and artwork, cast-plaster details, carved woodwork, and elaborate hand laid tile.


  5. sued51 says:

    Sounds like a perfect day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a beautiful mural and just seeing green things makes me happy.

    BEANS for breakfast? Now I never knew that. It is something to ponder ….I just don’t think I can imagine beans with my scrambled eggs! 🙂


    • Is that a hoot or what? I did a little on line research as to why, and it appears that baked beans were a part of a true English breakfast way back when. It never ceases to amaze me when they ask if you want hash browns/home fries or beans. 🙂 I love beans, but not for breakfast.


  7. What a great time! I have never ridden a train. I’d love to. Not this week, though. My “fun” for the week: Test driving a Chrysler 200C — which has the auto parking feature (parallel and perpendicular) but I’m not so sure I’ll be brave enough to try it. We’ll see… I have four full days left with it.

    Enjoy your week!


  8. Love trains! And what an adorable miniature forest!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


  10. Joyce says:

    Now your day excursion sounds like a dream to me, too! I am assuming your friend was a fellow quilter and didn’t mind immersing herself in that fabric paradise!
    The train, and everything else you described here is what must make those brutal New England winters worth enduring. So much charm packed into just a handful of tiny states – fun to crisscross into Mass in just a short train ride!


    • They were actually upholstery and drapery type fabrics and not quilting cottons. My friend helps others stage their homes so she looks at big picture and we shopped for a friend who was redoing a room. The amount of fabric and trim and color combinations was out of this world.


  11. Grandma Kc says:

    Sounds like you had the perfect day! I love all of those miniature gardens. So just how many steps did you get that day?!


  12. Teresa says:

    What a wonderful day! That looks like an interesting place to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Love the miniature forests! Have been wanting to stage a little vignette in a terrarium and may do it yet. Fun blog!


  14. Sounds like a great day. I took advantage of five days off in a row and drove the 13 hours from Chicago to Philly on Friday to spend Saturday-today with our younger daughter. I drive back tomorrow. Despite it being rather cold most of the time, we’ve had a lot of fun.



  15. Paige says:

    I’d love to try this one day. Sounds like a really fun way to get around! : )

    Liked by 1 person

  16. quiltify says:

    That sounds like such a fun day trip. I’ll have to try it. I love the train! I love fabric! I love to eat! Perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Midwestern Plant Girl says:

    I’d get so lost in that fabric store! I love our train to Chicago, much better than driving. Oh, bisquits and gravy… mmm.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a fun trip! And no snow! At the train platform anyway – I’m sure it is still piled elsewhere, which is one of the reasons my husband didn’t get to retire in his dream city, hanover! The mural is wonderful – what a joy to see!


  19. Annie says:

    Love that you had a day trip to Exeter. I’ve done all of your adventures in Exeter but I’ve not gotten around to taking a trip the Downeaster yet. I really want to do that.

    Liked by 1 person

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