A guide to living local in New Hampshire

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Old Mixes with New

at Windham Junction

By Stacy Milbouer
Fiddlehead Contributing Editor

If any proof is needed that Windham Junction Country Store and Kitchen is a local gathering spot, just look at the wall at the entrance to the dining area.

There, written in various shades of Sharpie, are the names, ages and heights of local children charted as they grow through the years. But a sticker admonishes that only “Miss K” can mark the chart.

Miss K is Kay Normington who, along with her husband, Jon, a Johnson and Wales graduate with years of food-service experience, own the café and country store. The establishment is near the former Windham Railroad Junction, which in the late 1800s was one of the busiest single-track lines in the country.

That railroad line is now the site of the Windham Rail Trail, and, before or after burning up carbs, visitors can fuel and refuel at Windham Junction’s café in an elegant Victorian house and barn built in 1886 by saw and cider mill owner, George Seavey.

Customers order their homemade food at the front counter, where first-time patrons are greeted with a loud ring of a cowbell by the person taking orders. In addition to daily specials like beef ribeye wraps with barbecue aioli or California BLTs with avocado and Havarti on toasted wheatberry bread, the Junction has a long list of handmade sandwiches.

They’ve also invented what they call “sippin’ soups” – blended homemade soups served in a covered drink cup for those on the move who don’t have the chance to sit in front of a bowl with a spoon. Every day is a different sip, including spinach parmesan silk, sweet potato cheddar velvet and tarragon, lobster scampi. There are also regular soups of the day like beef vegetable lentil and Thai chicken and coconut vegetable with noodles.

Once you order food, the fun really begins as you sit in the dining area furnished with an eclectic selection of vintage tables and chairs. There, neighbors meet up, visitors are greeted with friendly “hellos” by local residents, children and their moms play “I spy with my little eye,” while your food is being prepared.

While waiting for the eats to be delivered to your vintage chrome and Formica dinette, you can shop by just looking around at the walls and shelves in sun-drenched rooms where everything from antique toys, to old coffee mills to work from local artists, crafters and writers is for sale.

In the back is the country store with items like hand-knitted hats and mittens, books, old-fashioned toys and candy. The owners invite people to “ramble” through rooms where the old is mixed with the new.

It doesn’t get more welcoming than that.