Allie, Liz and Bria behind The Butterfly Bar

Ansel’s Cafe: A fairyland with great food in Marion

Owner Liz Carter at Ansel's CafeSince 2020, Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. has been happily supporting local food spots by spotlighting a new one each month. The trust and estate planning law firm is particularly thrilled to feature Ansel's Cafe because it's a family business where, just like their own, you feel taken care of and nurtured.

Spring is a magical time to visit Ansel's Garden Cafe & Boutique. You can feel the garden awakening and while it may be too early to eat outside yet, you can (and should) take the time to walk the pathways. Following the circular path feels a little like an exercise in zen.

Smoothie bowl among the snowdropsWhen we visited, the snowdrops had bravely started to burst through the soil. From now through October, the garden will be producing beautiful flowers, along with a veggie and herb garden (used for the cafe) and lavender patches.

Liz Carter working in the kitchenInside, Liz Carter is handling the kitchen with confident ease, probably because she first started working there in 2011 when she was just 19 years old. When the longtime owners of the business stepped back, Liz stepped in and she's been making it her own ever since.

Like the Gunschels before her, it's a family business for Liz. She's got two young kids and they're sometimes there. The kids love feeling part of the cafe so don't be surprised if her 2 year old son is handing out the menus. Or if her 4 year old is bussing the tables ("one cup at a time," Liz says laughing.)


Cranberry Festival

It's a magical spot to stop for lunch. Customer favorites include the Cranberry Festival (turkey with cranberry chutney and cream cheese) and Mom's Favorite Reuben. And the smoothie bowls are topped with a homemade granola that is so delicious that customers clamored for her to sell it in the shop. (If you see it there, you should grab it. She was sold out when we visited.)

On weekends, you can stop in for breakfast or for pastries from Pain d'Avignon. But it's not just a sandwich or breakfast place, it's an event.

Heartshaped fence, putside in the garden The garden outside is starting to pop with new green buds and makes you feel like you've entered an enchanted space. The cafe tables are set in the back of the antique house  -- the home served as a stagecoach tavern in the 1700s --and  you can enjoy a bite with windows all around you, overlooking the garden and quiet all around.

It's the extras that make Liz's food special: the homemade Thousand Island dressing, the dried flowers adorning salads and cocktails (yes, they have a liquor license!), the sandwich meat cut to order, the handmade cranberry chutney from Kimballs.

Handcarved marsh scene at the bar at Ansel's CafeThose touches are seen throughout the cafe. A favorite customer built The Butterfly Bar, complete with a handcarved marsh scene. He also carved wood trays to hold mimosa flights. Yes, you heard that right: mimosa flights! A series of four mimosas featuring offbeat flavors like lavender, cranberry, green tea blueberry.

Preparing the mimosa flights

After you toast your mimosas, wander through the gift shop. For those of you who remember the original Ansel Gurney gift shop, it's a nice reminder of the beloved original with some new additions (penny candy! "not a penny," Liz quickly points out.)

Liz out in the magical gardenThis is the cozy, welcoming kind of place it is: when I asked Liz what the hours were, she said the gift shop is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 5. And then she amended that: 5ish. She said if you see her Silver Rav4 in the parking lot, you can come in.

Ansel Garden Cafe & Boutique, 403 County Road, Marion. Cafe hours: Tues-Friday, 11:00 to 2:30; Saturday & Sunday, 9 to 2:30. Boutique hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 to 5 (ish).

Photos by Liam Connor.

We hope you enjoyed this post, which is part of a series of blog posts celebrating local food spots, sponsored by Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., the premier estate planning and elder law practice serving clients in Southeastern Massachusetts. Surprenant & Beneski can help you prepare the foundational documents needed to facilitate healthcare, financial and legal decisions should a medical crisis occur. Early planning can save money, heartache and angst during a temporary bout of incapacity or a long-term care event. Getting your estate plan in order gives you peace of mind. Find out more about Surprenant & Beneski here.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss learning the next favorite food spot, sign up here.

The owners of Europa Pastries holding their sweet breadLast post in the series: You're visiting Europe without a passport when you go to Europa Pastries Coffee Shop in Fall River. Be prepared to sit and linger over delicious treats and drinks, as if you're on vacation. Find out more here. 

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3 thoughts on “Ansel’s Cafe: A fairyland with great food in Marion”

  1. Liz has done a wonderful job continuing and updating the “Ansel Tradition”.
    Everyone in our family (five generations) has enjoyed the lunching, garden viewing, and shopping at the Ansel Gurney House. Love it!
    Nancy LaFave

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