BOLTON - Beach days on Cape Cod; lounging by a lake in Maine; hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire; the crack of the bat at Fenway Park – these are the well-known signs of summer in New England. Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton is adding another iconic summer symbol: peaches.
Locally known for its fruit-inspired wines, Nashoba Valley Winery is also a favorite destination each fall for apple picking. Guests can combine a day in the orchard with a snack and a bottle of vino out on the porch. The grounds are also home to a restaurant, brewery, distillery and wedding venue.
But in the summer, Nashoba Valley Winery becomes a peach paradise.
Tucked behind the winery’s expansive apple orchards is a section devoted to the sweet summer fruit. They have numerous varieties of peaches, picking a different set as they ripen throughout the summer. Like apple picking, peach picking is a great activity to involve the kids. And, also like apple picking, you’re usually left with an abundance of fruit. Unlike apples, though, peaches are typically picked while somewhat hard, and then let to ripen off the tree. So after immediately indulging in the sweetness of a few softer peaches, bring home a bag to cook and bake with.
My family enjoyed our pick-your-own-peach experience, bringing a bag home but only after taking a few back to the winery’s main building to snack on. Inside the wooden lodge-like building is a library of Nashoba’s many wines and spirits, for sale and for tasting in their tasting room. One of my favorite Nashoba offerings is their Northern Comfort, a tasty maple–esque spirit that flows like cognac and warms the body on chilly autumn nights.
But this time around after peach picking, the sun was out and the temperature in the mid 80s, so we chose our beverage accordingly. We decided that fresh peaches would pair well with another of Nashoba’s peach treats: their peach dessert wine. Nashoba has a vast catalog of fruit-inspired wines, from apple to blueberry to peach, and more. Their peach dessert wine is sweet, as intended, and the peach flavor bursts through with a tart finish. It pairs well with Asian-inspired dishes, but also was a great compliment to our afternoon snack.
A day at Nashoba is more than just picking and drinking. Bring your own picnic meal or enjoy what Nashoba has to offer, besides the fruit. There are snacks inside from New England sources, some small and some well-known like Stonewall Kitchen.
J's Restaurant at the Winery offers fine American dining, serving lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, and brunch on Sundays. Also on site is Bolton Beer Works, which also makes cider.
Regardless of what you nosh, do it outside among Nashoba’s stunning grounds. The main building has an expansive deck, starting at the main door that wraps around like a farmers porch. To the side is a trellis-covered patio filled with tables. It all overlooks a beautiful New England landscape, perfect scenery for relaxing with a glass of local wine and an afternoon snack. On one side are two small ponds, surrounded by Adirondack chairs, small trees and an adjacent gazebo. Stretching from the back of the building is a rolling green lawn stretching down to the sloping apple orchards. Picnic benches run the length of the grass, providing ample seating space.
It’s not uncommon to see large groups of adults unloading coolers of food around a plethora of uncorked Nashoba Valley wine bottles. Quite or loud, Nashoba gives groups everything they need for a relaxing or raucous outing.
But mom and dad need not fear, Nashoba Valley Winery is an exceptional spot for families. Every time I’ve visited, couples with babies are perched under the covered patio, newborn sleeping peacefully in the stroller while mom and dad take a few sips and a well-deserved time out. Other parents nab a picnic table or two and set up shop with friends while the kids play games on the lawn or in the gazebo or head off to pick fruit.
My wife and I have visited with a baby, then a toddler, and now this summer with a 4-year-old and a new infant. And each visit is a welcome respite, providing an opportunity for our family to spend time together outside, sip some delicious wine and soak in a symbol of New England summer - or fall or whatever season it happens to be.
Nashoba Valley Winery
100 Wattaquadock Hill Road
Wine shop: 978-779-5521
J's at the Winery restaurant: 978-779-9816