Knocking on grandma's door

Grandma's "basket of goodies" from Red Riding Hood, goes gourmet

story and photos by Debbi Collar

Deep in the forest of Mason, New Hampshire stands a little red cottage. It
offers a slice of literary history along with its "baskets of gourmet
goodies" from its gardens.  

That little red cottage is now known as Pickity Place and has become a well
known gourmet restaurant.  References to "Little Red Riding Hood," are due
to one author/illustrator, Elizabeth Orton Jones, whose drawing of the
cottage was published in Simon and Shuster's 1948 version of the retelling
of the story.  Originally from Illinois, Jones later made her home in Mason,
New Hampshire. She used the cottage as the model for her illustration in the

"Grandma's basket," that Little Red Riding Hood was taking through the
woods to her grandmother, has changed throughout the years. The modern
day "goodies" are gourmet. Each month, the menu changes. According to
owner and chef Keith Grimes, the menu is "based on the herbs growing in
the garden" each season.

"Grandma's home," has maintained much of its appearance, since 1786, as
the little red cottage in the woods but three times a day, guests are seated
and served a five course meal.  

As to the meals, there are appetizers, soup, caprese salad,
full meal and dessert.  The portions are small. Of the two choices, one is
always a vegetarian dish.  Grimes purchased the restaurant and the land
surrounding it in 2005.  Family members surround and support his efforts in
pleasing the palates of all the people. On each dish is a flower from the
garden-everything on each plate is edible.

Continuing on Pickity Place's many paths, one leads to where the gardener
dries herbs from the garden, another to a garden shop/souvenir shop, the
third to a gift shop and the fourth - the main cottage.  Guests are called to
the meal with the loud clanging of a bell.    

Upon entering the cottage, there is a bookstore to the left and a special table
in which guests may eat in the presence of the wolf, who is in bed, dressed
as "grandmother," anxiously awaiting the arrival of Little Red Riding Hood.  

Pickity Place also has a children's menu.  Straight from "Grandma's basket,"
the fare for children may include their choice of a sandwich, fruit, home
baked cookies and a beverage.  Or children may choose to have a smaller
version of the adult gourmet lunch.  

Reservations are recommended.

Jones' (b.1910  d. 2005) proceeds from her book, "Twig" allowed her to  
purchase a cottage in the woods. Where diners are seated was once her
home. Altogether, the literary history of the author extends beyond the Red
Riding Hood theme. Jones authored 20 books. In 1945, she received the
Caldecott Medal ( for U.S. Picture Book Illustration) for her work on "Prayer
For A Child." In 1944, she earned," Caldecott Honor Book" recognition for her
illustrations in  "Small Rain; Verses From the Bible."   

Whether visiting  for the five course dining experience, the allure of the
gardens, shopping at the gift stores or bringing children to visit "Grandma's
house in the woods"  for its literary connection, Pickity Place is worth the

This experience  will be viewed at  a later date on MMTV's program, " Have
You Been Here?" .  Members of  MMTV and The Silver Stringers were enjoying
the last bits of  summer warmth and Pickity Place Dining. Don't let that fool
you though, they were also hard at work setting up cameras,filming at
various locations on the grounds, conducting interviews and later editing the
program  which you will be able to see  in your homes.

"Have You Been Here?" with hostess Rita Mucera, can be seen on the Melrose
TV Channel 3 (Comcast) or channel 39  (Verizon) on Weds. 10:30 A.M., Fri.

October 3, 2014


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