Travel the best scenic routes and discover the best of New England from its charming quaint villages to its soaring mountains and rugged coast on our 12-night fly-drive holiday through this charming part of the USA. For your added enjoyment we’ve included stays in quintessential New England luxury inns with friendly hosts throughout.
Starting in Boston you can stroll the Freedom Trail through historic Boston before moving on to the coast of Maine. Travel through the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont on your way to Dixville Notch and Stowe. Then on to the Berkshires where the culture and art is as rich as the scenery. From the Norman Rockwell picture perfect village of Stockbridge to Chesterwood and Tanglewood, the arts and music are completely intertwined with life in this area. After a stop at Sturbridge Village, you'll be on your way to Newport where during the Gilded Age opulence was the order of the day. Then relax on Cape Cod and a trip to Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket before returning to Boston.
The land there, gifted by William the Conqueror, was home to the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who settled in Boston. In 1629, a dozen shareholders from Boston, Lincolnshire signed a contract to inhabit and develop New England assuming that they would be allowed to govern the colony themselves. They set sail for America, ultimately to join with William Blackstone and other survivors of the first Plymouth Colony.
Today of course, as they say, the rest is history. Boston became a thriving settlement, more new settlers arrived, and the roots of American Independence began to take root and for a time the city even hosted emerging government of the United States.
The events surrounding the American Revolution in Boston are commemorated in The Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile walking trail through downtown Boston, the North End and Charlestown. The trail starts at Boston Common, originally owned by William Blackstone. It is hard to imagine that the 50 acres in the very heart of Boston were once used as a common pasture for cattle owned by the townspeople.
Next stop, the Boston State House, completed in 1789. It's the oldest building on Beacon Hill and still the seat of Massachusetts Government. Fifteen additional locations on the Freedom Trail include the USS Constitution and the Paul Revere House. The trail takes about 4 hrs to walk comfortably and is an interesting introduction to this charming city.
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Gardner Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem are all considered world class. The Peabody Museum is one of the oldest museums in the world devoted to anthropology. The Paul Revere House introduces you to life before the Revolution and the Harrison Otis House Museum lets you step into the elegant world of Boston's governing class after the American Revolution.
Save your pass for the ferry to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket and other interesting things to see and do on Cape Cod.
It's a pleasant drive from Boston to Kennebunkport Maine through the Essex Heritage area to the Coast. Some folks call the Kennebunk Beach the Kennebunk Workout. You'll call it spectacular. The string of beaches, some sandy, some rocky that stretch along Beach Avenue from Gooch's Beach past Lord's Point are all connected by sidewalks - a feature that makes this great stretch of seaside a favourite with walkers, joggers and roller bladers any time of day or evening.
Take an early morning stroll past long stretches of beach, shorefront homes and inns before the sun worshippers spread their towels on the sand. Enjoy the warmth of midday or the romance of an orange and purple sky reflecting off the water at sunset. Kennebunk Beach is readily accessible. You can drive to the beach and park or you can take the trolley and leave your car behind.
The White Mountain Trail connects to the Kancamagus Scenic Byway at the Lincoln Visitors Center. Be sure to visit Clark's Trading Post where the Clark family has personally entertained visitors for over 70 years. Ride the steam locomotive, watch the trained North American bears and tour the museum.
Known for their fierce independence, Vermont is the home of the Green Mountain Boys and for about two decades it was an independent republic before becoming a US State. On your way between Dixville Notch you'll encounter Smugglers Notch Road Scenic Byway.
Nearby the Mad River Byway is known by it's classic New England landscape and architecture. Mountain ridgelines, winding rivers, hillside farms and steepled villages greet you along the way.
The historic Mohawk Trail National Scenic Byway traverses the northern portion of the Berkshires. The fascinating Hancock Shaker Village is located in Pittsfield. You can spend the afternoon exploring the charming small towns of Williamstown, Lee and Lenox Massachusetts.
Be sure to stop in the many quaint New England antique shops and one of a kind Berkshires art galleries.
Structures where you can meet and interact with authentic 18th century farmers and merchants include the Friends Meetinghouse, the Center Meetinghouse, the Tin Shop, the Salem Towne House, the Asa Knight Store, a parsonage, bank, printing office and shoe shop.
The Preservation Society of Newport County has preserved 11 Gilded Age mansions, many the summer cottages of the rich. The 70 room Breakers is the most famous. The interior features rare marbles, alabaster and gilded wood. Marble House, also owned by the Vanderbilt's cost a reported 11 million dollars to build in 1892. Rosecliff, which dates from 1902 was the site of some of Newport's grandest parties.
Lighthouses, cultural landscapes and wild cranberry bogs offer a glimpse of Cape Cod's past. Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, recently named Coast Guard Beach the 5th best beach in the US. Provincetown, at the very end of the Cape and long known as an art town berths several whale watching fleets that patrol Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
Right next door, Edgartown, the most famous town on Martha's Vineyard could not be more different from Nantucket. Martha's Vineyard actually has six different towns that are as different as night and day. Once a thriving whaling port, the island is now home to writers, artists, architects and designers who come here to get away from the hustle and bustle of Boston. There are no chain restaurants, no shopping malls and no speed over 45 miles an hour on Martha's Vineyard.