Everything you need to plan your New England vacation
New England Trip Planning Guide
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An Insider's Guide on Where to Stay in New England
By now, you've come to realize that we do things a little differently here at VisitingNewEngland.com. This page is no exception.
Sure, you will find invaluable trip planning links to hotel, air, car, bus and vacation rentals. In that sense, we are like many other sites. But we just don't stop there: we write about New England in great detail through on an original travel article focusing on trip planning information and ideas. On this page -- and throughout the VisitingNewEngland.com site -- you can learn in an informative and entertaining way the "who, what, when, where, why and how" about our six-state region -- Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Unlike a book, we keep updating -- virtually on a weekly basis -- so you can be the beneficiary of ongoing travel and vacation information to help with your trip planning.
New England is such a diverse and geographically large area that for the uninitiated, it's an overwhelming thought of where to begin when planning a vacation.
To that we say, "Don't worry." We're here to help. After all, we have lived in New England our whole lives. We know good vacation spots when we see them, and will pass along the local tips to you!
On this page, you will not only find a "jump start" trip planner section to help you easily plan and book your New England travel (located near the top of this page), but also detailed original articles and tips suggesting the best vacation spots in New England (read on). We believe for those not familiar with New England, the level of description here will provide you with what is often missing from other sites -- that is, personal perspectives to help you decide where to plan your New England vacation.
Editor's note: If you are looking for information on hotels only, we recommend traveling to our New England Hotels Guide to streamline the process for you. Otherwise, enjoy our detailed New England trip planner guide below. Thanks!
First Off: 50 Reasons to Love New England
Below, you will find some suggestions for your New England trip
planning that we think will make your vacation special. For more
details on each suggestion, please use the search engine at the top
right column to find more information on these wonderful New England
Some Insider's Trip Planning Tips to Lodging in New England
New England is full of hotels, motels and resorts with the family amenities you're looking for, including indoor pools, tennis, game rooms and if you choose the right location private ocean or lake beaches. The most important aspect of finding the best family hotels is to first find the best New England towns and cities to stay. It does not good to stay in a city or town that looks like the back of a refrigerator. You ultimately want a family destination. The key is to do your research and find what's most compatible for your New england lodging family getaway. To make it easier for you, we have a few suggestions on where to stay, based on prime location, amenities and either personal experience or word of mouth reputation:
Kimball Terrace Inn, Northeast Harbor, Maine Kimball Terrace Inn is located in Northeast Harbor, Maine, a secluded Mt. Desert Island community featuring a beautiful protected body of water surrounded by hills. Kimball Terrace, with its blessed scenic location minutes to beautiful Acadia National Park, offers clean, spacious motel rooms, most with a private balcony and a view of the Town Green and Harbor. This long-time family-owned business also offers the the Main Sail Restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as an outdoor pool, and cozy family room with big picture windows of the not-too-distant harbor. This pleasant room offers board games, e-mail access, and cable television. Kimball Terrace is really the perfect foundation for an Acadia National Park vacation -- a place I've personally been going to with great memories and all since the early 1970s. It's quite reasonably priced, too, especially around prime travel times like Memorial Day Weekend and the fall foliage season.
Alouette Beach Resort, Old Orchard Beach, Maine Alouette and Beachwalk caters to families, is located on the beach and is close to all the components that make Old Orchard Beach a perrenial favorite New England family travel destination -- arcades, carnival rides, and shopping and dining scene at the famous oceanside Pier. Ocean, beach, shopping, dining, fun and games -- what more could you ask for in a summer vacation?
The Beacon Resort, Lincoln, New Hampshire A traditional favorite in the heart of the scenic and attractions-filled White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Beacon Resort features two outdoor pools, two indoor pools, jacuzzi s, Dad's Restaurant, and a children's playground. Close to Mt. Washington (the highest New England peak at 6,288 ft.), and famous New Hampshire attractions like Storyland, Santa's Village, Clark's Trading Post, Whale's Tales Water Park, Conway Scenic Railroad, Loon Mountain for great winter skiing, and the Kancamagus Scenic Byway for fantastic fall foliage.
Anchorage Inn York Beach, York, Maine The mammoth Anchorage Motel offers some of the best family lodging in the area. This year-round resort has an indoor pool for any times of the year and one of nature's great outdoor pools and playgrounds in the form of the Atlantic Ocean and some ideal sandy beach stretches right across the street. Many rooms have splendid ocean views with balconies. Also across the street is the Sun 'n Surf Restaurant with some of the greatest restaurant views of the ocean that we've experienced. The seafood is very good, from basic cod to Maine lobster and and an excellent clam chowder. They also make a wonderful blueberry pie with Maine blueberries! The Anchorage Inn also has a fitness room and meeting facilities. Rooms range from basic to upscale, the latter with private whirlpools and larger square footage. For a true taste of the pulse of one of New England's greatest ocean towns, the Anchorage puts you right into the action, given its perfect location and reflecting the Down East hospitality that is such a special aspect of York.
Smugglers Notch Resort, Jeffersonville, Vermont Smugglers Notch, located near the idyllic Village of Stowe in the heart of the Green Mountains, features the best of Vermont family lodging. I know, having come here many fall seasons since the early 1970s. Here, you have some many options in a beautiful Vermont scenic mountain setting -- peace, quiet, tranquility, beautiful surrounding mountains, 360 degree scenery, cool, crisp hiking trails, tennis, a swimming pool, whirlpool, miniature golf, skiing (60 runs and a vertical drop of 2,610 ft.), cross country skiing, skating, massage, yoga, a driving range, a small grocery store, dining, movies and diverse entertainment. You could spend an entire family vacation at Smugglers' Notch and not go anywhere else! Aptly named "America's Family Resort!"
BED AND BREAKFASTS AND INNS OF NEW ENGLAND
To fully appreciate the charm of New England, consider an inn or bed and breakfast as a foundation to your unique New England vacation. A bed and breakfast will offer a free breakfast as part of the entire package. Inns don't usually provide a free breakfast -- although you'll find some with a basic continental breakfast -- but can sometimes feature dinners at a separate charge. Much like New England, both inns and bed and breakfasts are often full of historic character, so you can't go wrong with the higher quality establishments of these genres! Many inns and bed and breakfasts do allow adults to bring their children, but first read the details of each inn and bed and breakfast first to make sure it's OK. If not, it might be best to seek out a hotel, motel or resort that is more family-friendly. We believe you are sure to find your perfect New England hotel destination as we offer more than 3,000 lodging options throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont!
Here are some highly regarded inn and bed and breakfasts in the region:
Red Lion Inn Stockbridge (Massachusetts), Stockbridge, Massachusetts In the heart of the charming town that Norman Rockwell made famous, the Red Lion Inn just resonates with New England charm the minute you arrive at the glorious front porch where guests relax. The Red Lion Inn features 108 rooms, a restaurant, a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, and gift shop. In continuous operation since the 18th century, the Red Lion Inn is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and belongs to the New England Innkeeper and Resorts Association and Original Historic Inns of New England. Beautiful place!
Publick House Historic Inn, Sturbridge, Massachusetts Known for its Yankee hospitality and a terrific restaurant with regional fare (baked scrod, chicken pot pie, Thanksksgiving turkey dinners, lobster pie), the Publick House -- in operation since the early 1800s -- is located at the quaint Sturbridge Village Green. It is also minutes from Old Sturbridge Village, a marvelous outdoor museum of rural New England's past. Located in central Massachusetts, you'll find many charming beautiful little, village green towns near the Publick House, including West Brookfield, Brimfield, Barre, and Woodstock, CT.
Inn at Woodstock Hill, Woodstock, Connecticut Built in 1816, The Inn at Woodstock Hill in Woodstock, CT, is one of our favorite quaint inn getaways in New England. This charming Federal/Georgian-style mansion provides a quiet, romantic setting to relax in the underdeveloped, scenic section of Connecticut called the "Quiet Corner." The surrounding area, with rolling hills, winding country roads, antique shops (especially in Putnam) and unspoiled scenes of quintessential village green towns make the Inn at Woodstock a great foundation for the type of romantic getaway vacation you deserve. The rooms are unique and feature furnishings and antiques reflective of the inn's historic presence. Some rooms offer fireplaces, definitely a plus for a romantic getaway! The Inn at Woodstock Hill also features a high quality restaurant that Connecticut Magazine awarded "Best Hotel Dining" and "Best Brunch."
Wolfeboro Inn, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire Located in Wolfeboro on the eastern shores on Lake Winnipesaukee, the Inn at Wolfeboro is located in one of the nicest lake towns in New Hampshire. Just a stone's throw from the lake and appealing downtown shops and restaurants, the Inn at Wolfeboro combines the best of the old and new -- it was built in 1812 and recently underwent a multi million dollar renovation. The new "old" look is quite appealing, including the cozy Wolfe's Tavern. Wolfeboro, by the way, is known as "Oldest Summer Resort in America," and with good reason: it's relaxing, scenic and interesting without being boring.
Woodstock Inn and Resort, Woodstock, Vermont This classic Vermont inn, located in the heart of picture-perfect Woodstock, features Georgian-style architecture and many rooms and suites with fireplaces, three restaurants, and most importantly, a location close to the tall white steeple, village green look of this still not-overly commercialized town.
Maple Hill Farm B&B Inn, Hallowell, Maine Augusta might not be the garden spot of America, but close by is the Maple Hill Farm B&B located on 116 acres in historic Hallowell. The receiver of many awards, accolades and positive reviews, the Maple Hill Farm B&B features many of the room amenities of a high caliber inn -- like hot tubs, outdoor decks, and whirlpools. There's even a spring fed pond for swimming!
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CONNECTING WITH THE SEA IN NEW ENGLAND
Any time of the year, the ocean in New England provides a romantic getaway
People have always been magnetized to the New England sea for its rejuvenating effects, stunning coastal scenery, those proverbial walks on the beach and the chance to experience some of the best seafood in the country. We especially like York Harbor, Maine. It's so picturesque with the harbor and grand views of the Atlantic Ocean-- the way you would envision coastal Maine or what you would see on a postcard. York Harbor is near the more boisterous York beach with a great stretch of beach at Long Sands, the famous Nubble Lighthouse at Cape Neddick, and the downtown with family-oriented Short Sands Beach and many shops, restaurants and attractions like York Kingdom with its zoo and amusement park. Nearby Ogunquit, Maine, is more sophisticated and perfectly manicured, as a colorful garden walk through Marginal Way provides stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Perkins Cove is an artist's haven and has some of New England's best known seafood restaurants like Barnacle Billy's and the Hurricane. The beach off the downtown is without a doubt one of the most spectacular in New England with its seemingly endless, pure Maine view of the Atlantic Ocean and enough sand to call your own -- even on a busy day. Chatham, Massachusetts, represents Cape Cod at its finest. It's traditional, has not sold out to the commercialism that has ruined parts of Cape Cod, and offers access to beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches where the water seems more blue and the air has that special refreshing salt flavor. The downtown features many nice local shops, and restaurants like the Captain's Table that serve the fresh catch of the day. It is a perfect romantic getaway for Mom and Dad! Bar Harbor Maine in the mid-eastern coast of Maine is a popular launching pad for Acadia National Park, a true nature's paradise with a fascinating combination of ocean and mountains. Bar Harbor gets busy, but has an appealing small-town charm, plenty of great seafood restaurants and proximity to "The Loop" in Acadia National Park, surely one of the great scenic attractions on the east coast with pristine waters, forests, hills and mountains is unlike anything you've ever seen. Westerly Rhode Island, is one of New England's best kept secrets with three distinct areas -- the downtown, Watch Hill and Misquamicut Beach. The restored downtown features the 18-acre Victorian Wilcox Park, 55 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, myriad dining options, a theater and lively arts scene, big old homes and an aggressive preservation so impressive that the National Trust for Historic Preservation's named Westerly as one of the "12 Most Distinctive Destinations" in the country. There is not one chain store in sight. Watch Hill is rather private and secluded, but a lovely oceanside neighborhood with great views, fine shops, a few dining options, amazing sea captain's homes, one of the oldest working carousels in the country, and an old-fashioned aura from yesteryear. Misquamicut is more live wire, a stretch of beach with a water park, arcade games, miniature gold, seafood restaurants, concerts, movies on the beach on summer nights and an overall family atmosphere.
Make hotel reservations/check availability today at our favorite New England coastal destinations:
EXPERIENCING A NEW ENGLAND CITY VACATION
Stay in world-class hotels, experience modern cities with historical preservation
We strongly recommend visiting Portland, Maine, (pictured left), Providence, Rhode Island(center), Boston, Massachusetts, (right) and Burlington, Vermont, (not pictured) if interested in visiting New England's best cities. Portland acts more like a small town with its beautiful brownstones and tree-lined streets, but here you'll also find fine hotels, dining, a growing arts scene and wonderful coastal charm. Providence came out of nowhere to become what some say is one of America's great mid-sized cities. The Ivy league charm of College Hill (Brown University), myriad activities by the river at Waterplace Park (including romantic boat rides), the Italian charm and dining at Federal Hill and the sparkling, modern Providence Place Mall make Providence a terrific place to visit. Boston is one of the world's great cities, an incredible mix of the old and new -- historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace with its brick-walkway dining and shopping options, the Freedom Trail, the European flair of Newbury St., the authentic Italian life in the North End and enough museums and other cultural opportunities, to name a few. Burlington features the wonderful Church Street Marketplace, an outdoor oasis with more than 50 shops as well as diverse restaurants, street vendors, seasonal festivals and entertainers. The nearby waterfront section affords beautiful views of Lake Champlain and New York's Adirondack Mountains and offers a terrific walking/bike path, restaurants, ferry crossings, cruise boats, concerts, a Fourth of July fireworks celebration and other events. A "green" city with a healthy dose of liberalism dedicated to city beautification, health and wellness resources, and strong political views, Burlington is certainly not a dull city. It may be, in fact, New England's most complete college town as visitors have the benefit of finding things to do often found in larger cities, while enjoying a small-town feel.
Make hotel reservations/check availability today at our favorite New England cities:
NEW ENGLAND SMALL-TOWN CHARM
Feel right at home at a special inn or B&B in towns with New England charm
The tall white church steeple, the relaxing town common, historical building preservation and community pride are just a few things that make small-town New England so special. Stowe, Vermont, possesses the great white church steeple, a quaint downtown anchored by a general store and trees, and lovely surrounding mountains and farmland -- which can be seen via a wonderful bike path. It is a great place for a family vacation or for Mom and Dad looking to get away to a romantic classic New England mountain setting. Hanover, New Hampshire, is such a nice place that author Bill Bryson -- who disliked most places in his book "Walk Across America" -- called this perfect New England college town his home. With Dartmouth College providing the cultural attractions, Hanover is ultimately a small town, unspoiled yet interesting and scenic with small, locally-owned shops, dining options (Everything but Anchovies and Lou's) and beautiful college building and old home architecture. Small towns don't get much better than this in New England. Although only 45 minutes from Boston, Concord, Massachusetts,, retains a small-town feel and a remarkable preservation and sense of history. After all, this, town, along with neighboring Concord, was the scene of the birthplace of the American Revolution. The well-maintained colonial homes on tree-lined streets, the old churches and municipal buildings, the scenic and famous Walden Pond, the historic Old North Bridge overlooking the Concord River, and interesting downtown shops and restaurants in a relaxing setting help make Concord an authentic, appealing vacation spot. It's especially worthy of a vacation when combined with visits to Lexington and Boston. (More small towns coming soon)
Information from VisitingNewEngland.com comes from our editorial staff. Advertisements do not influence the articles and points-of-view on VisitingNewEngland.com, unless otherwise specified. Rates and event dates are subject to change. We recommend calling your New England destination first before setting out on the planned itinerary.
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