Inspiring Travel Company’s Bradley Roper embarked on a tour of New England and discovered the many different sides to one of the USA’s most fascinating regions. From the bustle of Boston to beautiful beaches, majestic mountains to Martha’s Vineyard, there’s something here for every traveller and every kind of holiday…
New England’s landscape is incredibly diverse – made up of almost 5,000 miles of rugged coastline, dramatic mountains, charming fishing villages, the bustle of the cityscape and bucketloads of culture. I was lucky enough to tour this region – visiting Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and New Hampshire – and discovered that this really is a fantastic holiday destination for every kind of traveller. There’s plenty to do for families, couples and solo visitors alike, and the range of places, cultures and attractions here means everyone from adrenaline-junkies to history buffs, culture seekers and those simply looking to unwind can find their ideal getaway…
For history, eating & exploring
Whether you’re an urbanite or not, you shouldn’t overlook at least a few days in Boston on a trip to New England. It’s one of America’s oldest cities, and there’s so much history and culture to discover here – the Freedom Trail highlights the city’s role in the American Revolution and is well worth exploring. There are also tours of the Harvard University campus, top photo opportunities on Acorn Street’s historic cobbles, and history of a different kind at the Cheers Bar on Beacon Hill, which inspired the classic TV show.
Even the most casual of sports fans should try to make it to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team. If you’re visiting during the MLB season (March – October), the atmosphere on gameday is unbeatable.
For my stay here I was lucky enough to stay at the XV Beacon hotel, a cultural hub in the city. The building has been standing since 1903, and it’s great to look around. The fine dining restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the wine cellar is definitely worth checking out for oenophiles; I glimpsed a bottle dating back to 1876, and the space – which dates back to 1722 and boasts wonderful vaulted ceilings and racks upon racks of wine – is incredibly atmospheric.
For mountains, lakes & outdoor adventures
There’s nothing quite like the great outdoors, and New England’s got a lot of it! There’s a real range of al fresco adventures to enjoy here: from hiking and biking to skiing and kayaking, fishing and swimming to surfing and sailing. For botanists or anyone keen on a scenic stroll, I’d recommend the Wheatleigh in Berkshire, Massachusetts – the garden here was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed New York’s Central Park.
The Appalachian mountain range runs through the region, so climbers and hikers will be in their element. For alpine views without too much exertion, visitors can reach the summit of Mount Washington – north-east America’s highest peak – aboard a cog railway powered by an old-fashioned steam engine. I stayed at the stunning Omni Mount Washington Resort here, which is bursting with character.
Intrepid adventurers can enjoy walks to some of the USA’s most stunning inland lakes, while cyclists should make a beeline for the Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth, Cape Cod – this is an outdoor adventurers’ paradise.
For beaches, culture & islands
New England’s coastline is surely amongst the world’s most beautiful, and there are countless towns, villages and islands dotted along its stretch that make for a fascinating holiday. Visit Maine for serious coastal eats – including the famous lobster roll – or bask in the glitz and good times on offer in abundance in Newport, Rhode Island.
Cape Cod, made up of several quaint fishing villages, is ideal as an ending point for your New England trip. Whether you’re a family looking for activities or a couple seeking a romantic getaway, Cape Cod definitely fits the bill.
Provincetown is bursting with history of all kinds: this was where the Mayflower docked in 1620, and it’s also long been known as a popular safe haven for the LGBTQ community. This is also America’s oldest continuous art colony, so there’s countless galleries, theatres and museums to visit.
No holiday here is complete without visiting Martha’s Vineyard, known as the staycation destination of choice for America’s rich and famous – it’s an hour on the ferry from Cape Cod, and there’s an also an airport for easy visiting. Countless A-listers have homes on the island, which offers scenic beaches and superb seafood aplenty.
Nantucket island is lovely for cycling around; I wouldn’t recommend hiring a car… I was told that a parking ticket is the most popular Nantucket souvenir! After your bike tour, you’ll have your pick of high-end eateries to choose from – including Company of the Cauldron, which is helmed by Joseph Keller, of the famed French Laundry restaurant.
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This article originally appeared in our Autumn/Winter 2019 edition of Other Shores, which you can read online here.