When you get there, remember its not all above board or even above ground for that matter. Many tunnels built by Elias Hasket Derby Jr. In its small area New England packs a lot of natural beauty. Highlights would include: pastoral villages with white-steepled churches throughout rural New England; sandy beaches and moorlands along the southern coastal area of Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and adjacent islands ; the more rugged rocky coast and cliffs of Maine ; the nearly alpine scenery of Vermont , northern New Hampshire , and western Maine ; and dense forests everywhere.
Many areas extend their seasons to year round by providing alpine slides and summertime activities. See the state articles for ski area listings. New England skiing is unlike skiing in the western United States. Instead of open slopes above tree line, New England ski areas have relatively narrow trails carved through thick woodlands. New England's variable weather continues in winter. Rain or snow may fall at any time. Rain often coats the snow with ice, and snow is often wet and sticky.
The result of these conditions is that skiing and snowboarding in New England require attention to conditions. To deal with mild or dry conditions, all major New England ski areas make snow through the night and groom their slopes in the early morning. Here vacationers may swim or simply soak up the sun.
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Swimmers may find the waters north of Cape Cod to be cold, especially in Maine. Inland, swimming is available in New England's thousands of lakes and ponds, and the water is usually warmer. Almost every New England town has at least one "swimming hole". Swimming areas include those operated by the federal National Park Service in Cape Cod National Seashore and Acadia National Park , large state-owned beaches with parking for hundreds of cars, and local city or town beaches.
In addition, local inquiries may reveal the locations of unmapped swimming areas, some quite scenic, along local streams or shorelines.
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Local yacht clubs usually conduct sailboat races for many different classes. Offshore cruises are offered from coastal tourist towns.
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These cruises include "whale watch" boats, other nature cruises to observe shore birds, and sailing on traditional sailboats such as Maine's "windjammers". Those cruising out to sea north of Cape Cod should bring a jacket or sweater no matter how hot it may be on land. Inland, outfitters offer whitewater rafting on Maine 's rivers. Kayakers and canoers have plenty of opportunity to put their craft into local lakes, ponds, and rivers at state-owned boat launching areas. Rentals are often available in larger waterfront towns.
Be advised that many local areas ban jet skis and have "no wake" areas for motor boats. Bicycling is popular in New England. The large urban area stretching from Boston to Hartford and into the New York City area are densely populated with lots of automobile traffic, so cyclists often take advantage of the area's "rail-trails", which are paved sections of abandoned railroad track dedicated to bicyclists and pedestrians. Information on rail-trails, such as the East Coast Greenway  , is available from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy .
In northern New England there is less traffic on the roads, but you'll find more mountainous terrain compared with the rolling hills of southern New England. Many of New England's state parks have trails for mountain biking. These trails follow old dirt roads.
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Mountain biking on hiking trails is usually prohibited. Both Cape Cod National Seashore and Acadia National Park offer ample opportunity for bicycling along scenic routes free of motor vehicle traffic. Biking opportunities abound on New England's many offshore island destinations where roads are usually flat and cooled by sea breezes. Most major tourist destinations have shops that rent bicycles. Here are some itineraries:. Hiking is popular in New England.
There are long distance hiking trails in the region, including the Appalachian Trail , which courses through all of the New England states except Rhode Island to its terminus on Mount Katahdin in Maine, and the Long Trail, which traverses Vermont from Massachusetts to Quebec. Although there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the region's state and federal parks, bear in mind that most hiking trails do cross private property, and the owner's rights are to be respected.
Most of New England's mountains are thickly forested, but there are extensive areas above the tree line in Vermont and especially New Hampshire and Maine.
On these mountains climate conditions are similar to those in Labrador far to the north, and the lack of trees affords wonderful long distance views. AMC operates campgrounds and lodges throughout the region, most of which are reachable only by hiking. These organizations offer detailed maps and other hiking information. Here are some hiking ideas:. With the recent passage of same-sex marriage laws in Connecticut , New Hampshire , Massachusetts , Vermont , and Maine , the region's scenic beauty makes it a popular wedding destination for straight and gay couples alike.
Gay-owned guesthouses are, however, fairly common. New England's cities and tourist areas have a wide variety of excellent restaurants. A few famous items of local cuisine include New Haven's pizza, Vermont's maple syrup, Southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island's Portuguese cuisine, and Maine's lobster and blueberries.
Everywhere along New England's coast there are local restaurants offering fresh seafood, fried clams, and clam chowder. It can be kitschy, but there is a certain pleasure in spending a summer afternoon at a New England seaside restaurant eating seafood and watching boats come and go in the local harbor. A special local treat is to attend a clam or "lobsta" "bake" or "shore dinner" at a coastal location. These venues typically serve only a complete clam or lobster dinner at a fixed time that includes all the ingredients of a traditional New England clam or lobster bake, including, of course, steamed clams or lobster, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, baked beans, and traditional desserts.
Sometimes steak or hamburger is offered to those who will not eat lobster or clams. Enquire locally in seaside communities for locations and times. Some of New England's smaller towns have old restored taverns which in the 18th and 19th centuries provided lodging and food for weary travellers. Most of these restored taverns no longer offer lodging, but offer meals featuring typical "New England fare" such as pot roast and a variety of steaks and poultry.
Many of these restaurants also offer seafood. Boston is known for its drinking establishments known locally as bars or taverns or pubs, including the Cheers bar of TV fame. See the section in the Boston article. New Haven is home to hundreds of bars and restaurants, and has a thriving scene including the Playwright, the largest Irish Pub on the East Coast, a huge space holding two thousand people built out of church parts salvaged from Ireland. In addition, several other cities in the region have an active nightlife. Microbreweries and wineries are also located throughout the region, and many can be visited by travellers.
Be aware that New England states have strict laws on driving while under the influence of alcohol. Some New England police departments enforce these laws by stopping traffic near popular bars and interviewing drivers, or by stationing unmarked police cars in or near the parking lots of popular establishments. Types of stores that sell alcohol for off-premises consumption vary from state to state. Generally, wine and beer may be purchased in groceries and convenience stores but harder liquors may only be available from retail liquor stores known locally as "package stores" or "packies".
While former "Blue Laws" prohibited the sale of alcohol on Sundays in Massachusetts and Connecticut, many those laws have since been repealed. However, some cities and towns remain "dry" or do not allow for the sale of alcohol.
They're delicious! But give it a rest already. They do not. Stop with the West Coast envy, it's embarrassing. Vermont is most definitely cheese country, which is a big plus it's basically the next best state after Wisconsin BUT Still, I'm comparing it to the other New England states.
The state is stunningly beautiful and equally stunningly remote, making it basically a whole entire state of "up North. Except that there's a reason we Midwesterners vacation up North and then head back to our cities.
Of all the New England states, Rhode Island feels the most Midwestern; and that's probably because the Ocean State, like so many Rust Belt cities Detroit, Cleveland is redefining itself in a "post-manufacturing economy" -- a polite way to refer to decades of decline. The evidence is everywhere, a lot of blight.
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Yet, there is a palpable energy here, a "grittiness" ugh, that word, but still that persists and makes Providence a pretty special place to see and experience. Just take a look at the WaterFire sculpture by Barnaby Evans, featuring over 80 bonfires installed on the Downtown's three rivers.
Plus there's The Dean , a hipster hotel with a hipster coffee bar and hipster beer hall and hipster karaoke; people keep yammering about how it's one of America's most underrated food cities ; also, the city may steal the Triple-A PawSox from nearby Pawtucket; and the rent is WAY cheaper than Boston, which means it is only a matter of time before Providence is anointed as the next "new Brooklyn.
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Portland is the new Portland! But seriously, Portland, Maine is pretty terrific, from both a culinary and an everything-else standpoint -- though mostly culinary. In other news, Mainers have the thickest accents with the most obvious dropped R's, probably because they're basically Nova Scotian. Also, Maine is BIG. Seriously, drive the coast along Route 1 for as long as you can stand it, peep all the coastal towns that look exactly the same, and then head your ass back over to 95 because you probably haven't even made it as far as L.