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New England Travel, Vacation Ideas Shared Straight From The Heart

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Trending articles: Get ready for fall in New England | Where to enjoy the rest of summer vacation in New England | Read feature stories on special small businesses in New England | Discovering a cafe southwest of Boston that does things a little differentlyHaving a five-course meal at Little Red Riding Hood's Grandmother's House in the middle of the New Hampshire woods | Great apple picking in New England (Budget Travel Blog) | Exploring a spectacular antiques and shabby chic shopping complex at a 27-acre former tannery building in Norwood, Mass. | Dining at a south of Boston restaurant specializing in seafood and whiskey | The scenic waterfall that leads to a special New England destination (Photo Blog) | Maine seafood magic at Warren's Lobster House in Kittery, Maine | Going back in time at country stores in New England | Finding great local ice cream stands in New England

Nubble Lighthouse at Cape Neddick, Maine
Nubble Lighthouse, Cape Neddick, Maine

by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on Sept 10, 2018.

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Welcome to New England! My name is Eric Hurwitz, editor and publisher of VisitingNewEngland.com and my mission is to share with you information -- just like you were family -- from real people like us who have come to live in, or visit, New England. Through original articles, reviews and photo essays, as well as social media resources, and hotel reservations resources, we offer you virtually everything you need to plan your New England vacation.

Ultimately, we present to you New England vacation information straight-from-the-heart, based on our travel experiences. We feel that is the most powerful way to let prospective travelers and New Englanders looking for New England travel ideas to learn about this beautiful six-state region. Here, you can tour Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, en route to planning your New England vacation or day trips.
Additionally, I am a huge proponent of small businesses in New England, recognizing the traditional, vital role they play in our society. I only write about businesses I feel a connection to as they offer a great experience for customers while showing strong pride of ownership.

I have written about the joys of family-friendly New England travel for millions of visitors on VisitingNewEngland through the years, as well as having
been referenced by major sites like USA Today, Woman's World, the Maine Office of Tourism, BusinessInsider.com, eHow.com and Wikipedia.com. I am the author of Massachusetts Town Greens -- a book that celebrates the history of locals town commons-- and was interviewed for a segment on town greens on WCVB-TV Boston's Chronicle. Without a doubt, my greatest career highlight is continuously helping you travel New England.

Eric at VisitingNewEngland.comSo relax, take in the breathtaking imagery of the New England vacation and travel essays, and ultimately picture yourself in the wonderful environs of New England. May this online guide serve as the next best thing to being in New England, and inspire you to visit a truly spectacular region. Thank-you so much for coming to my small, locally-based business with a big heart, and enjoy visiting New England!


Best regards,
Eric Hurwitz at VisitingNewEngland

What Makes Visiting New England So Special?

A Sampling of Essential, Bucket List New England Travel Ideas

Quaint, Historic Small Towns Downtown Concord, Massachusetts
I live in a small New England town and love the historic buildings, big Colonial homes, the church with tall white steeple, quaint downtown, open green spaces, tree-shaded streets, friendly people, big sky and slower pace of life. It is well-known that New England features some of the most charming small towns in the United States, but what does that really mean?  In my stories, I take you to some of these special places, as if you were actually there -- that is, to bring you into the special vibe of these small towns. Whether located by the coast, mountains or other inland locations, small New England towns truly provide the perfect setting to gain sustenance and meaning out of your New England travel. Sample Stories: Small New England Towns That Would Look Great in a Hallmark Movie, Wickford Village, R.I. and West Brookfield, Mass., Warren, R.I., Concord, Mass., Peterborough, N.H.,
Stowe, Vt., Lee Mass., Walpole, Mass.

Country and General Stores
Vermont Country Store, Weston VT As essential bucket list New England travel destinations, country stores -- also known as general stores -- sell a little bit of everything, and then some, in charming, historic settings. Some like the Vermont Country Store in Weston, Vt., feature more than 5,000 items (many, hard-to-find merchandise), while gems like Brown & Hopkins in Chepachet, R.I., are jam-packed with country wares, home furnishings, clothing and penny candy into smaller settings. At VisitingNewEngland, I write about many of the best country stores in New England -- places where you feel like you've gone back in time, creaky wooden floors, pickle barrels and all! Recommended reading: The Best Country Stores in New England

Classic, Old-Fashioned Diners
Find the best diners in New England.New England is where it all began for diners (1872) and to this day, you can find many classic, old-fashioned dining cars in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. I rediscovered diners when writing my book, Massachusetts Town Greens, as a way to eat cheaply while becoming better aquainted with small towns and cities. Some are famous like the Red Arrow Diner, Joe's Diner and Maine Diner while others, like Cindy's Diner and Miss Lyndonville Diner, are better known locally, but just as good. The no-frills "What do you want honey?" service, the jukebox, neon and chrome, and comfort food meals serve as authentic slices of Americana.  Recommended reading: The 50 Best Diners in New England

New England Seafood Restaurants and Shacks Recommended seafood restaurants in New England
What better way to eat seafood than having fish delivered straight from the boat to the restaurant? New England is known for its fishing industry and that means some of the freshest tasting seafood imagineable. My local favorite meals: lobster, lobster rolls, fried clams, New England clam chowder, clam cakes, and any kind of haddock. I love waterfront dining in coastal towns like Plymouth and Kennebunkport and regions like Cape Cod, but some of the inland seafood destinations offer meals just as good as their waterfront counterparts (although not with the views). Whatever the case, New England is where locals and travelers come for some incredible seafood. Recommended Reading: The Best Seafood Restaurants and Shacks in New England,
Biggest and Best Lobster Rolls in New England, Best Fried Clams in the Boston area, Warren's Lobster House, Kittery, Maine


Blueberry muffin from The Muffin House in Medway, mass.More Regional Food Favorites
Every region in the United States has traditionally beloved foods, but I believe that New England has the very best!  Going beyond the aforementioned seafood, there's also long-time favorites like
hot wieners and coffee milk (a Rhode Island specialty), Maine whoopie pies, apple dumpling with vanilla ice cream, salt water taffy, Boston baked beans and blueberry muffins. And don't forget the legendary Ben and Jerry's Factory Ice Cream Tour in Waterbury, Vt., where you can also taste free samples!

Coastal Beach Towns
Short Sands Beach, York Beach, Maine If I had to choose one coastal destination, York Beach, Maine would be my choice. The feeling of sand, surf, seafood, amusements, homemade ice cream, local salt water taffy candy, seaside lodging, Nubble Lighthouse (more on that shortly) and the rocky coast helps create those memorable, seemingly endless summer days by the sea -- the precious moments you remember long into the cold of winter. There's nothing quite like the feeling of Short Sands Beach or Long Sands Beach in York Beach -- the former located by all downtown activities, the latter a two-mile stretch of beautiful beach! York Beach is great as a day trip, a weekend getaway or as an extended summer vacation destination. Read about York Beach More Coastal Towns to Discover: Kennebunkport, Maine, Chatham, Mass. (Cape Cod), Plymouth, Mass., Newport, R.I., Salem Mass.

Back Roads and Hidden Destinations

Discover hidden New England family travel destinationsWe all know about Plymouth Rock, the Gloucester Fisherman, Cape Cod and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but what about the hidden, or off-the-beaten path side of New England? Sometimes, the greatest travel discoveries can be made by taking the road less taken. The typical New England travel guide often misses the nuances, the under-the-radar places, and the underrated destinations that locals know make New England so special. Sample Articles: 6 Underrated Southern New England Travel DestinationsOffbeat New England Travel Attractions, Hidden New England Travel, Parker's Maple Barn in Mason, N.H., Walpole, N.H., Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, R.I., Wolf Hollow Sanctuary in Ipswich, Mass.

Historic Town Greens
Discover the most historic and beautiful town greens in Massachusetts I recently wrote a book, Massachusetts Town Greens (Globe Pequot, May 2016). Often dating back to Colonial Times, these town greens -- also known as town commons -- possess incredible historic value, as well as modern day relevance with, often, park-like settings, community events and observances, beautiful green spaces with benches, walkways, monuments and surrounding historic sites and structures to help you soak in the beauty of New England. I traveled six months to write about 70 of the most beautiful, historic town greens in New England and the experience was just amazing -- even for a lifelong New Englander like me! Taking in the incredible ambiance at these town commons lends itself to experiencing the "real New England." More on Massachusetts Town Greens

Acadia National Park, Maine

Cadillac Mountain during the day at Acadia National Park, Maine Imagine a place where the mountains meet the sea. That is Acadia National Park.  The 26-mile Acadia Loop Road affords some of the most spectacular coastal views on the east coast. Additionally, Cadillac Mountain provides spectacular sunrises and sunsets, while Jordan Pond -- with its scenic hills and crystal clear waters -- is located next to Jordan Pond House which is famous for its popovers. Nearby Bar Harbor offers one of the most pretty small town settings by the coast with plenty of shops and restaurants, while small communities like Northeast Harbor epitomize the small, quaint, picture-perfect coastal communites that look like something out of a movie. I spent many late spring childhood weekend vacations here and it still never gets old. The experience is simply awe-inspiring for those who love scenic drives and walks, and hiking and biking with plenty of backroads and carriage trails. Recommended Reading: Spectacular Scenery at Acadia National Park's Loop Road

Fall Foliage Travel
Fall Foliage in New England
Many say that fall is the best time to visit New England, and I agree. The colored leaves, chill in the air, fall festivals in small towns, and some apple cider and donuts make for a very special time, indeed. New Hampshire and Vermont seem to get all the accolodes for the foliage season -- and deservedly so -- but the truth is that every state in New England offers wonderful fall foliage. Additionally, areas like Cape Cod, Rhode Island and Mystic, Conn., quiet down from the summer -- all the much nicer to enjoy the foliage and beautiful southern New England destinations! Recommended reading:
The Best Fall Foliage Destinations in New England, The Best Apple Picking Farms,


New England Icons
Motif #1 red building in Rockport, Mass. Some places simply have New England written all over it like the Swan Boats of Boston, Motif #1 in Rockport Mass. (pictured to the left), Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass., Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine, The Goldenrod in York Beach, Maine, the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine, The Cliff Walk in Newport, R.I., The Big E State Fair in West Springfield, Mass., Historic Colonial Massachusetts Restaurants, Kimball Farm in Westford, Mass. and other Classic Ice Cream Stands.

The Maine Lighthouse

Nubble Lighthouse, Cape Neddick, MaineNew England proudly displays around 200 lighthouses, which represent part of the fabric that makes scenic, local coastal travel so special. Each lighthouse looks different from one another with, often, intricate designs and  remarkable durability. There's nothing quite like seeing that red beacon flashing on and off, the smell of the salt sea air, and waves crashing against the rocks. Most lighthouses deserve an extended look, but if I had to go with one, it would be Nubble Lighthouse in Cape Neddick, Maine. The good news, too, about Nubble Lighthouse is that you don't have to travel too far up the Maine coast to enjoy the splendid views! Read about Nubble Lighthouse

Boston, "The Hub of the Universe"

Tour the Boston neighborhoodsThere is no other city like Boston. The historical preservation, the neighborhoods, the attractions, the thick BostonNapper Tandy's Ad, Walpole MA accents and crazy traffic patterns create this one-of-a-kind urban experience. It's a relatively small city with a coastal location, making for a walkable experience. Whether Fenway Park, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the Freedom Trail, Boston Public Garden or all those wonderful museums, I don't think any New England vacation would be complete without a trip to Boston. It is after all, know as "The Hub of the Universe!" Recommended reading: Boston Travel and Vacation Guide, Touring Boston's Neighborhoods, The Boston Public Garden, Faneuil Hall and Fenway Park. Additionally, those who families that fall in love with the Boston area might want to read where to raise a family affordably in the Boston suburbs. That's when travel translates to moving here!

Regions of New England

Chatham, Cape Cod MassachusettsNew England is geographically so compact that travelers can often drive from one region to another within one day. That includes the classic summer coastal vacation environs of Cape Cod and the Islands, the charming small towns and ample cultural opportunities in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, the ruggged, tall mountains and family attractions in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Southern Maine coast, Green Mountains of Vermont and the solitude of the "Quiet Corner of Connecticut." Try to see them all! More recommended reading: The Best Regions, Towns, Cities, and Villages in New England, Scenic New England Drives, Memorial Day to Labor Day Weekend Summer Vacation Travel in New England 

I also love reminiscing about nostalgic Boston memories, New England restaurants that are no longer with us and, well, more New England restaurants that are no longer with us. Some of those old school places, however, are still with us, thank goodness, like the 8 retro road trip wonders of Massachusetts and 5 Classic American roadside food stands and drive-ins in Massachusetts.


VisitingNewEngland.com Sponsors - Supporting the Great Mom and Pop Businesses of New England
Here's something you will never see on a New England travel blog: a dedicated section with stories on small businesses in New England! I love these small businesses and greatly believe in what they do. That is why I wrote about them.  Now is more important than ever to tell the story on small businesses in America, and, specifically here, on New England small businesses. If you feel that your local, small business would be of interest to travelers in New England, please write to us. While we have a very selective process (only businesses I feel a connection to so I can write authentically and truthfully for our readers), I would love to hear your story and why your business is special!  It's a win-win: I get to write about great small businesses and share it amongst our significant social media audience, while you help support my small business.

Pickity Place in Mason NH features a five-course lunch, gift shop, gardens and a cozy red cottage that is the inspiration for the 1948 version of Little Red Riding Hood.
Pickity Place, Mason, New Hampshire


Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley, Mass.
Bull Run Restaurant, Shirley, Massachusetts



Oliva's Market, Milford, Mass.
Oliva's Market, Deli, Catering & Gourmet Gifts, Milford, Massachusetts



CabbyShack New England clam chowder
CabbyShack, Plymouth, Massachusetts



Charred Oak Tavern, Middleborough, Massachusetts
The Charred Oak Tavern, Middleborough, Massachusetts


Homemade ice cream from Hayward's Ice Cream in Nashua, N.H.
Hayward's Ice Cream Stand, Nashua, New Hampshire


Pleasant Cafe, Roslindale, Mass. (Boston neighborhood)
Pleasant Cafe, Roslindale, Massachusetts


Shopping for antiques and shabby chic merchandise at Winsmith Mill Market in Norwood, mass.
Winsmith MILL Market (antiques, shabby chic shopping) in Norwood, Massachusetts



Sausage and hot dog from Fred's Franks in Wakefield, Mass.
Fred's Franks, Wakefield, Massachusetts

Cannolis from Red Cherry Cafe, Walpole, Mass.
Red Cherry Cafe, downtown Walpole, Massachusetts



Cipcake Charlie's in Falmouth, Massachusetts (Cape Cod)
Cupcake Charlie's, Falmouth, Mashpee, Plymouth, Foxborough, Newport



When Pigs Fly Bakery and Pizzeria, Kittery, Maine
When Pigs Fly Bakery and Pizzeria, Kittery, Maine



Fried clam platter from Woodman's of Essex, Massachusetts
Woodman's, Essex, Massachusetts


Knead Doughnuts, Providence, R.I.
KNEAD Doughnuts, Providence, R.I.



B.T.'s Smokehouse BBQ restaurant in Sturbridge, Massachusetts
B.T.'s Smokehouse, Sturbridge, Massachusetts



Lobster roll on a buttered roll from Quahog Republic Captain's Den in Plymouth, mass.
Quahog Republic Captain's Den, Plymouth, Massachusetts



Centerville Pie Company, Centerville, Massachusetts (Cape Cod)
Centerville Pie Company, Centerville, Massachusetts (Cape Cod)

Normandy Farms Campground elevated safari tent in Foxborough, Massachusetts
Normandy Farms Campground, Foxborough, Massachusetts (near Boston)



Suzanne Foley, owner of Port City Pretzels in Portsmouth, N.H.
Port City Pretzels, Portsmouth, N.H.



Cushman Market and Cafe, North Amherst, Massachusetts
Cushman Market and Cafe, North Amherst, Massachusetts




Kelly's Roast Beef, Revere Beach, in Revere, Massachusetts
Kelly's Roast Beef, Revere Beach, Revere, Massachusetts


Hager's Farm Market in Shelburne, Massachusetts
Hager's Farm Market, Shelburne, Massachusetts


Homemade vanilla chocolate chip fudge from Mystic Sweets and Ice Cream Shoppe in Mystic Conn.
Mystic Sweets and Ice Cream Shoppe, Mystic, Connecticut


The Drawing Room at Anthi Associates in Marion, Massachusetts
The Drawing Room at Anthi Associates, Marion Massachusetts.



Depot Street Tavern in Milford, Massachusetts
Depot Street Tavern, Milford, Massachusetts


Kindles Wood Fired Pizzeria, Marlborough, Massachusetts
Kindles Wood Fired Pizzeria, Marlborough, Massachusetts


Lobster roll from the Beach Plum in North Hampton, N.H.
The Beach Plum in North Hampton, Portsmouth and Epping, N.H.


Beantown Pastrami Co. in the Boston Public Market in Boston, Mass.
Beantown Pastrami Co, Boston, Mass.



Nashoba Restaurant, Ayer, Massachusetts
Nashoba Club Pizza Restaurant, Ayer, Massachusetts



Main Streets Market and Cafe, Concord, Mass.
Main Streets Market & Cafe, downtown Concord, Massachusetts



The Raven's Nest, Walpole, Mass.
The Raven's Nest, Walpole, Massachusetts


The quaint UxLocale restaurant in Uxbridge, Mass.
The UXLocale Restaurant, Uxbridge, Massachusetts


Warrens's Lobster House on the waterfront in Kittery, Maine, serves Maine lobster, as well as featuring one of the biggest restaurant salad bars in New England.
Warren's Lobster House, Kittery, Maine


From the Heart of Ayer Gift Shop, Ayer, Mass.
From the Heart of Ayer Gift Shop, Ayer, Massachusetts


The Crafty Yankee Gift Shop, Leington, Mass.
Crafty Yankee, Lexington, Massachusetts


A mouthwatering burger from The Abbey in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Abbey, Providence, Rhode Island


Carlins, Ayer, Massachusetts
Carlins, Ayer, Massachusetts


Barretts Alehouse in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
Barrett's Alehouse, West Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Snowdon Chalet, Londonderry, Vermont 
Snowdon Chalet, Londonderry, Vermont 

Salem Cross Inn, West Brookfield, Massachusetts
Salem Cross Inn, West Brookfield, Massachusetts


Wicked Whoopies, Freeport, Maine
Wicked Whoopies, Freeport, Maine


Clyde's, Walpole, Massachusetts
Clyde's, Walpole, Massachusetts

Steaming Tender Restaurant, Palmer MA
Steaming Tender Restaurant, Palmer, Massachusetts

Nesting Gift Shop in downtown Concord, Mass.
Nesting Gift Shop, downtown Concord, Massachusetts


Roundabout Diner, Portsmouth NH
Roundabout Diner, Portsmouth, New Hampshire


Kihei Dynasty pu pu platter, Walpole MA
Kihei Dynasty, Walpole, Massachusetts

Vanilla Bean Cafe, Pomfret CT
Vanillia Bean Cafe, Pomfret, Connecticut


Crescent Ridge Dairy Bar, Sharon MA
Crescent Ridge Dairy Bar, Sharon, Massachusetts

Star Drive In, Taunton, Massachusetts
Star Drive-In, Taunton, Massachusetts


Jimmy's Pizzeria, East Walpole MA
Jimmy's Pizzeria, East Walpole, Massachusetts


Rico's BJ Wrap  from Rico's Pizzeria in Walpole MA
Rico's Pizzeria, Walpole, Massachusetts


Commonwealth BBQ drive-in restaurant, Wrentham MA
Commonwealth BBQ, Wrentham, Massachusetts

Bliss Restaurant, Attleboro, Massachusetts
Bliss Restaurant, Attleboro, Massachusetts


Putnam, Connecticut
Putnam, Connecticut


Club sandwich from Kravings in Millis MA
Kravings Grille and Ice Cream in Millis, Massachusetts


Good Food Store, Walpole MA
Good Food Store & Deli, Walpole, Massachusetts


Route 109 Travel Guide for Westwood, Medfield, Millis, and Medway
Park Street Books, Medfield, Massachusetts

Patriot Tavern, Walpole MA
Patriot Tavern, Walpole, Massachusetts


Juice Mill, Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Juice Mill, Bridgewater, Massachusetts


Cherry pie from Ever So Humble Pie Company, Walpole MA
Ever So Humble Pie Company, Walpole, Massachusetts


Planet Chrysler Jepp Dodge Ram in Franklin MA
Planet Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Franklin, Massachusetts


Norwood Farmers Market, Norwood MA
Norwood Farmers Market, Norwood, Massachusetts (SEASONAL)



Eagle Brook Saloon, Norfolk, Mass.
Eagle Brook Saloon, Norfolk, Massachusetts


Al Mac's Diner, Fall River, Massachusetts
Al Mac's Diner Fall River, Massachusetts


Bluberry Muffin from the Muffin House Cafe in MEdway MA
Muffin House Cafe, Medway, Massachusetts



The Kayak Centre in Wickford Village, Rhode Island
The Kayak Centre, Wickford Village Rhode Island


Little Falls Bakery and Cafe, Pawtuxet Village RI
Little Falls Bakery and Cafe, Pawtuxet Village, R.I.


Walpole Farmers Market, Walpole, Massachusetts
Walpole Farmers Market, Walpole, Massachusetts


Napper Tandy's in Millis, Massachusetts
Napper Tandy's, Millis, Massachusetts


Ye Olde Tavern, West Brookfield, Massachusetts
Ye Olde Tavern, West Brookfield, Massachusetts


Abbott's Frozen Custard in Needham, Mass.
Abbott's Frozen Custard in Needham, Massachusetts


C&L Frosty in Sherborn, Massachusetts
C&L Frosty in Sherborn, Massachusetts


Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern in Wrenham, Mass.
Connie's Rustic Kitchen and Tavern, Wrentham, Massachusetts
(CLOSED)



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Books by VisitingNewEngland.com Publisher Eric Hurwitz

Massachusetts Town Greens -- Discover New England's first travel attractions: town commons!

The Best Diners in New England -- If you love classic diners, New England has them! In my book, I write in detail on 50 top local diners.


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Relax and stay for a while: Start with our navigation links and also our articles on the best New England towns and cities, hidden travel destinations, scenic drives, seafood restaurants and lobster shacks, lobster rolls, ice cream stands, and country stores, as well as our New England summer, fall, winter and spring sections. Then take a fun online journey on VisitingNewEngland to read the rest of our articles for your trip planning needs!

VisitingNewEngland's small business commitment to excellence: VisitingNewEngland.com is a proud, small business based in New England. We love it when one of our articles helps you with your New England vacation and travel trip planning! That's what we are here for: to serve you in the most genuine, helpful way possible.

Old-fashioned New England work ethic: All articles, photos by Eric Hurwitz unless otherwise noted. Eric also manages the site's layout and design, social media, and public affairs.

All this, and blogs too! Also, please check out our authentic, informative and entertaining New England travel blogs with original content: The Thrifty New England Traveler (New England travel ideas on a budget), The New England Travel and Vacation Gazette (more original New England travel articles), and Old School Boston (warm memories of Boston and New England from back in the day).


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