Pickity Place | A Spring Garden Lunch in Mason, NH

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A spring visit to the charming and historic Pickity Place in Mason, NH for lunch, shopping, and a stroll in the garden.

Tucked off the beaten path in the tiny southwestern New Hampshire town of Mason, Pickity Place offers a warm welcome to the many lunch-goers that flock to its cozy dining rooms and gardens each year, even in the winter when the gardens are covered with snow. It’s a “secret” place that’s anything but to the locals in Mason and its surrounding towns. Charming and blissfully removed from the plazas and malls that clutter our lives, Pickity Place is a hilltop hideaway that’s all about slowing down. “Lighten your spirit as you step out of your world and into ours” they instruct. And we do.

pickity place

Ready for a spring afternoon at Pickity Place in Mason, NH.

Aimee Seavey

My family (well, the women in my family) started visiting Pickity Place about 15 years ago after my sister moved to Townsend, MA (just 20 minutes south of Mason) and my mom remembered it was nearby. Even though my sister has moved further away since then, we still enjoy planning the occasional visit to the 1786 cottage for a tasty lunch, strolling the grounds, and shopping. In my experience it’s an especially popular destination with old friends, sisters, and like our family, mothers and daughters. Men are, of course, welcome at Pickity Place, but I think it’s fair to say that on most days they’re outnumbered!

pickity place mason, nh

The main building at Pickity houses the dining room and a gift shop.

Aimee Seavey

While you can visit Pickity Place without having lunch, you shouldn’t. The carefully constructed prix-fixe menu changes monthly, and is made and adorned with edible flowers and herbs chosen to enhance each of the five courses, from soup to dessert. In 2012 Yankee named Pickity Place an Editors’ Pick for “Best Fairytale Lunch.”

pickity place welcome sign

Welcome to Pickity Place!

Aimee Seavey

There’s a reason behind the “fairytale” part. While it’s a destination in its own right, Pickity Place is also known as the original visual inspiration for the “Grandmother’s House” in the Little Red Riding Hood story (learn more about the history of Pickity Place in editor Deb Despres’ blog about her winter visit here). It’s an association they enjoy, selling books and toys showcasing the story and staging an entire room with sleeping “Grandmother” in bed (sometimes with one of the two Pickity cats, Rosemary and Sage, snoozing on the pillow).

pickity place big bad wolf

A peek into Grandmother’s bedroom (looks like a Big Bad Wolf to me!) at Pickity Place.

Aimee Seavey

After the bell rings it’s time for lunch. There are three dining rooms — two inside and another on the all-season porch. It can be a little crowded at times, particularly if it’s a full seating, but that’s part of the charm. Pickity doesn’t feel so much like restaurant as it does a home that hosts an ambitious garden lunch, so settle back and enjoy the courses as they come.

pickity dining room

The main dining room (there’s also a bright indoor sunroom).

Aimee Seavey

During my visit, I enjoyed vegetable dip on crackers, followed by a cup of creamy broccoli soup with smoked Gouda cheese, then a spring chopped vegetable salad. In the cooler months I order the hot spiced mocha as my beverage, but in the spring and summer, the iced spiced tea (complete with cinnamon stick) is wonderful.

pickity place lunch

Lunch begins!

Aimee Seavey

The main course, which was also served with garlic bread and sun dried tomato dipping oil, was a four cheese ratatouille quiche topped with sauteed asparagus with citrus shallot butter and garnished with spring chives, lovage, and a fresh (edible) pansy.

pickity quiche

Four Cheese Ratatouille Quiche topped with Sauteed Asparagus with Citrus Shallot Butter

Aimee Seavey

And for dessert, an artful presentation of Dutch chocolate mousse in sweet pastry with strawberries and whipped cream, garnished with lady’s mantle and another pretty pansy.

pickity mousse

Dutch Chocolate Mousse in Sweet Pastry.

Aimee Seavey

Energized from lunch, I headed outside to enjoy the gardens, which were lush and green — just the thing after a long winter. Colorful flowers are tucked into every corner at Pickity Place, adding to its country charm.

pickity bird bath

Colorful flowers bring this special spot to life each spring.

Aimee Seavey

A few steps from the main entrance is the Herb Shop.

pickity herb shop

Next to the main house (and restaurant), the herb shop beckons with herbs, dip mixes, gifts, and more.

Aimee Seavey

Inside, rows upon rows of bagged bulk herbs and dip mixes are waiting, along with a trove of kitchen goodies, hostess gifts, and more.

pickity herb shop

Inside the herb shop.

Aimee Seavey

As you leave the Herb Shop, swing around and head toward the gardens and greenhouse.

pickity path to greenhouse

Heading to the gardens and greenhouse.

Aimee Seavey

There’s nothing like a mass of pansy faces to brighten my day. Ever since seeing Disney’s Alice in Wonderland as a child I can’t look at them without seeing a sea of faces.

pickity place pansies

Lovely garden views for the winter-weary.

Aimee Seavey

Time and time again, visitors are instructed via sign to “please handle the herbs,” so go right ahead.

pickity place garden

Pickity Place gardens.

Aimee Seavey

Follow the path to the Herboriste, which offers plants and other garden gifts for sale like birdhouses, seed packets, and potted herbs.

pickity herboriste

The herboriste at Pickity Place.

Aimee Seavey

You may also spot Pickity cat Sage curled up among the pots. No visit for me is complete if I haven’t spotted one of the cats. Both are friendly ambassadors to the Pickity experience. Hello, Sage!

pickity cat sage

Sage keeps watch (kind of) at the Herboriste.

Aimee Seavey

The bustling greenhouse helps illustrate the year-round growing operation at Pickity.

pickity place greenhouse

The greenhouse helps keep things growing.

Aimee Seavey

But then it’s back to the gardens, where I stroll to my heart’s content until it’s time to head home.

pickity garden circle

Green gardens are a welcome sight.

Aimee Seavey

So long, Pickity Place! Thanks for another lovely and tasty visit.

pickity place sign

Enjoy your Pickity day!

Aimee Seavey

Have you ever visited Pickity Place?

Picky Place. 248 Nutting Hill Road, Mason, New Hampshire. 603-878-1151; pickityplace.com

  • Jean, thanks so much for your comment! I was introduced to South Shore bar pizza by my soon-to-be husband, who grew up in Middleborough! Central was the first one I had, and it’s still my favorite! :)

  • Great article and pictures. Such a great experience. Their website lets you know what the meal is for the month. And regarding the author’s bio…the best Massachusetts South Shore bar pizza is Central Cafe in Middleborough followed by Town Spa in Stoughton. Nothing like it where I live now, sadly.

  • Stache

    A visit to Pickity Place, partnered with a visit to Rhododendrun State Park has become a July tradition for us.

  • Marilyn

    Pickity Place is a gift I have given myself almost every month, over the past ten years. The gardens are beautiful, the shops are fun, the food is amazing, and the people are so gracious and welcoming. Of course, I always hope to see Sage and Rosemary, too.

  • Oh what a wonderful story! Long live Pickity Place! (I have to agree with you that no visit is complete without petting the resident kitties)

  • Aimee

    Hi Gregory! We’re so glad you enjoyed reading about Pickity Place! If only they could deliver to you in CA! We love sharing our favorite corners of New England with readers both near and far. :)

  • Yes, Kathy, this is the place. I am ready to go any time and i am sure others will be too!

  • Gregory

    What an absolutely wonderful gem. I was born and raised in Maine and had no idea this place existed. The photos really bring out the charm and the food looks great. Only wish they had a place like this here in Los Angeles. Do they deliver? I will encourage my New England friends to make a journey to Pickity Place! Thank you, Yankee Magazine, as sharing these great finds.


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