By Marianne Belmonte
New England has it all! Looking for a place to go not too far from NYC? Are you tired of the hassle getting to Long Island or the Jersey Shore? Well then try turning your sights north. As a child growing up in Brooklyn, this cluster of northern states was my parents’ vacation of choice. Away from the bustling crowds of the city nature at it’ best; God’s country is what I always remembering hearing when my family spoke about New England.
There is so much to choose from and so much diversity - from seashore to mountains to historic cities and towns like Boston, Plymouth and Bar Harbor. Actually, the entire area is historic. After all this is where the early settlers landed and where our forefathers rode the freedom trail enlisting volunteers to fight for the cause.
Closest to NYC is Connecticut where you can travel along the beautiful seacoast and stop off at Mystic. Here you can see replicas of the early whaling vessels and cargo ships that made their way from Europe to the New World.
Continuing north, your next stop could be Rhode Island where you can visit Newport and tour the fantastic homes of the “Gilded Era” or see the historic cottages of our ancestors. Take a boat ride and get a upfront view of the harbor and the homes that line its coast.
Further north and only a three hour road trip away is the city of Boston. Here you can tour some of the most well preserved historic buildings in the country and probably accomplish it all on foot as Boston is known as a “walking city.” Three hundred fifty years of American history at your feet. A city of immigrants, visit the ethnic neighborhoods and dine on some of the best food, especially seafood, in the country. Of course Massachusetts isn’t just about Boston, there is Cape Cod, where you take a boat out to sea and go whale watching or just walk through the bohemian town of Provincetown with all its quaint shops. Or walk along the dunes and enjoy nature. Don’t want the seashore? Go to the mountains. There are of course the Berkshires; however, my favorite will always be the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
The White Mountains are home to nature’s beauty at its best. Ride a cable car up to the mountain top or take the Cog Railroad to the top of Mt. Washington and see a one hundred mile panoramic view on a clear day. Drive on the Kancanagus Scenic Byway, which takes you into Vermont and experience breathtaking views. I remember traveling on this road as a child, when it was under construction, and believe me it was hair-raising. There are caves and notches through the mountains that were formed during the ice age. It’s all fascinating and yes educational for both adult and child alike.
Of course, my son’s favorite New England state is Maine. If you’ve ever been there, you can’t blame him. The rocky cliffs that overlook the emerald sea; the crisp clean New England air - it truly is a little bit of heaven and least we forget the best cold water lobster in the world. Maine is home to Acadia National Park where you can camp out and luxuriate in its serenity. At night, you can dine in Bar Harbor overlooking the marina and if lobster isn’t your thing, then you can have the freshest seafood that the Atlantic has to offer.
Wherever it is you choose to go, you won’t go wrong choosing a destination, or several different destinations, in this wonderful land we call New England. Its right around the corner so be sure to take advantage of all it has to offer. •
For more information on visiting New England go to: www.visitnewengland.com