One of the greatest challenges of visiting New England is focusing your itinerary. Spread across a wide geographical area, from Long Island Sound to the tip of snowy, northern Maine, from the Green Mountains of Vermont to the rugged coastline of Acadia National Park, and from tiny White Mountain burgs to bustling Boston, New England is nothing if not large and diverse. Choose a single area and relax. There are attractions enough to bring you back another day -- and after some time here, you'll be planning just that.
New England's biggest cities lie largely along the coast. Colonial American history permeates Boston, New England's largest city. The thriving metropolis mixes patriotic tales of Paul Revere with the pageantry of the Kennedys and the pizzazz of contemporary art. Restaurants, bars and boutique hotels continue to pop up in lively Providence, Rhode Island, the "Renaissance City." Portland, Maine, hosts modern art galleries and creative restaurants within easy reach of working fishing wharfs and a towering lighthouse.
The foaming Housatonic River rushes through the rugged Litchfield Hills in Connecticut, while the rolling Massachusetts' Berkshires are adorned with the colonnaded estates of Boston's old money. Point your car north in Maine for scenic drives along a rocky, ocean-sprayed coast. The sugar maples along Route 100, punctuated with white church steeples, explode into reds and oranges when autumn reaches Vermont. When the leaf peepers go home, the skiers take their place in New England's snow-covered White and Green Mountains.
Bicycle Massachusetts' Outer Cape to fill your senses with the fresh aroma of the ocean and views of windswept dunes in Cape Cod. The fabulously overwrought, surf-sprayed "cottages" of the wealthy line Ocean Drive in Newport, Rhode Island. Breakers roar along the entire Maine coast. It's a view best admired beneath a woolen blanket, a mug of hot tea in hand, on front porch rocking chairs at any one of the hundreds of inns running the length of the state.
Eating and Drinking
Enormous plates of marinara-covered spaghetti, fresh buffalo mozzarella and ruby-red Chianti grace the noisy tables in Boston's family-run Italian restaurants. Dig into steaming bowls of chowder and platters of fresh fish, shrimp and clams at seafood restaurants from Newport to Nantucket. In Portland, fresh-caught lobsters need no more adornment than a little melted butter, a dish that always pairs well with the city's microbrews. Expect loads of organic fruits, veggies and artisan goat cheeses in Vermont.