New England was one of the first parts of the "New World" to be settled by Europeans, so historical places are one of the hallmarks of the region. However, there are also many natural areas and quaint small towns to interest the traveler. Here are my selections for the best of this section of the USA, the area I am most familiar with. A photo album will follow shortly.
1. Boston, MA – The major city of the region is loaded with attractions for visitors of all ages. The "Freedom Trail" recalls early American History and the Revolutionary War; the city’s Science Museum is one of the best of its type in the world; the life of one of America’s most beloved presidents, John F Kennedy, is the subject of the Kennedy Museum, etc
2. Acadia National Park, near Bangor, ME – The region’s only national park celebrates the rocky coastline that is a prominent characteristic of New England. The wealth of carriage roads and trails make this an outdoor-lover’s paradise.
3. Waterfires, Providence, RI – This seasonal (late spring thru early fall) presentation transfixes visitors with its evocative fusion of fire, water and music. Thousands of onlookers walk along the Providence River, mesmerized by the scene of crackling braziers casting their eerie glow on the water.
4. White Mountains, New Hampshire – Although the area has become a truly year-round destination, the most beautiful time of the year here is in the fall, when the leaves change and the air is sparkling-clear with the chill of the impending winter. Take a walk along the Flume, ride the aerial tramway to the top of Cannon Mountain, or simply drive along the Kancamagus Highway.
5. Newport, RI – Nowhere is the maritime heritage of this region more evident and more celebrated than in Newport, famous as a summer playground of the wealthiest Americans, a history reflected in the mansions of Bellevue Avenue. Drive or bicycle Seven-mile Drive or stroll along Cliff Walk, for first-hand views of these palatial homes, or simply visit one or two.
6. Martha’s Vineyard, MA – This island is close to the mainland but offers a true island experience, truly another world, with its great beaches, fishing villages and scenic landscape. Like its neighbor, Nantucket, this is an example of the real New England.
7. Downeast Maine – The southeastern coast of Maine is another place to sample the quaint, New England villages which are so characteristic of the region. Towns like Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport, and others, are reminders that the past is still part of our consciousness.
8. Green Mountain Villages, Vermont – The state of Vermont is much more rural and less populous than the other states of the region. Yet its villages harken back to the days when the pace of life was much slower and the beautiful countryside was more appreciated. Drive along Route 100 or really along any of Vermont’s roads to see pristine examples of what New England used to look like. The white churches and village greens are so common here that modernity is unusual.
9. Cape Cod, MA – The cape has made incredible efforts to preserve its old New England flavor despite the incursions of the Twentieth and Twenty-first centuries which have brought hordes of tourists and bumper-to-bumper traffic to the area. As a result of these efforts, there are still quiet beaches, rural roads, and quaint villages to be found and explored. Nowhere is this more true than on the "outer cape" where wide beaches, acres of sand dunes, and classic New England lighthouses dot the landscape.
10. Litchfield Hills, CT – Connecticut’s contribution to the "old New England" scene is most apparent in the villages of the northwestern part of the state. They are especially beautiful in the autumn when town fairs and markets are common.
Other places considered: