Small Town Leaf Peeping

I am all about the leaf peeping.

I’m a big fan of going all in: driving the Kancamagus Highway, stopping at every chance to take pictures of the endless brilliant foliage, eating every pumpkin-flavored pastry I can find, and hiking muddy terrain to get to the prized waterfall. But I’ve also discovered that small town Autumn charm can be just as delightful and a little more approachable, especially if you only have a few hours to get your fill.

I was recently in Bristol for work and I have to say if colorful drives, beautiful old homes, and good coffee are your thing, you need to plan a trip ASAP. The above photo was taken the last week of September, so I can only imagine how gorgeous this view is in mid-October.

A colleague recommended I stop at The Purple Pit on my way back to the office. It was easy to find in Bristol’s cute little downtown, and there was a good crowd hunkered down inside avoiding the rain and chill in the air. I wasn’t in the mood for ice cream (although don’t count me out for my next trip), so coffee was in the cards.

I was expecting a minimal coffee and pastry menu, but this one packed a punch. There were groups eating substantial lunches and the barista at the espresso machine was busy filling hot beverage orders.

While waiting a few minutes for my hot hazelnut latte (my cold weather drink of choice) I wandered around the shop a bit and discovered the “pit” which is a jazz club in the back! Upon googling the place, I discovered that the Purple Pit had originated as a jazz club in Concord! Since moving to the Lakes Region around 2014, their focus seems to be more on the lunch and coffee part of the business, but they still have jazz artists in the back lounge on Saturday nights. You can check out their upcoming live music schedule here.

Once I got over the jazz club surprise, I remembered to grab my drink and practically hugged it for its warmth. Doesn’t good coffee seem to just warm the soul? The Purple Pit uses White Mountain Gourmet Coffee beans which are roasted locally in Epsom. They can also be found at many other coffee shops, including their cafe in Concord. My latte was delicious, and I regretted already having eaten breakfast so I couldn’t try anything from their menu! I guess I’ll have to return to try their food and check out the music.

I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of this adorable window display in the shop down the block. If you happen to miss leaf peeping season but want to do a little holiday shopping, and of course grab a good coffee and meal, I can’t recommend Bristol enough!

Visit the Purple Pit at 28 Central Square in Bristol seven days a week! Visit their website or Facebook page for hours and more menu information.

Have you discovered any unique, tasty food or drinks lately? Let us know! Be sure to email us at eatdrinkplay@stayworkplay.org to share your ideas of any New Hampshire related food/drink/venue/organization that you think should be featured in our “Eat Drink Play” blog posts.

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