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Your New England family attractions guide for winter, spring, summer and fall

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Local professional and citizen journalists reveal their choices for the best attractions in New England

by Eric H.

Whether it's a state fair, an interactive children's museum, ice cream factory tour, aworld-class aquarium or butterfly exhibit, has compiled a fun and detailed list of the top New England family-fun travel and vacation attractions, with links to their sites.

Whether it's a state fair, an interactive children's museum, ice cream factory tour, aworld-class aquarium
or butterfly exhibit, has compiled a fun and detailed list of the top New England family-fun travel and vacation attractions, with links to their sites.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather an honest one highlighting our best experiences in New England -- not from a marketing perspective, but how we (and our friends) felt when visiting these places. Here is a growing list of what places made us feel best, therefore making our best attractions list for kids and adults, alike:


Bushnell Park, Hartford, Conn. -- Bushnell Park is one of urban New England's more impressive parks, with 41 acres of land to walk and run, 141 varieties of trees and a restored 1914 carousel. It's a great inexpensive way (it's free) to enjoy a city that's on the rise. Even if Hartford weren't improving, Bushnell Park would be worth a trip, given its attractiveness. Bushnell Park, Downtown Hartford between Elm, Jewell and Trinity Streets. Year-round activities.

Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam, Conn. This 24-room castle with medieval German design looks like the real McCoy, set within a 184-acre park with sweeping views of the Connecticut River. Tours are available, which is a good thing; otherwise you might get lost in this massive architectural gem. Picnicking and hiking also highlight the experience at the State Park. Gillette State Castle Park, 67 River Rd., East Haddam, Conn. Tel. (860) 526-2336. Seasonal.

Hammonasset Beach State Park -- A wonderful two-mile saltwater beach, fishing, boating, scuba diving, hiking, biking and more on 900 acres make Hammonasset a nature's paradise, located on Long Island Sound. Hammonasset Beach State Park, One mile south of Route I-95, exit 62. Seasonal.

Mystic Aquarium , Mystic, Conn. -- A highly developed, sophisticated museum located in a great seaside town, right up there with the quality presented by the New England Aquarium. Here you'll find myriad living collections, science and conservation work of Sea Research through exhibits, and demonstrations and educational programs. The emphasis is on emphasizing  "hands-on, interactive, live animal contact experiences for all ages," according to the Aquarium.  One of the few aquariums in the country to showacase rare beluga whales! Mystic Aquarium, 55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, Conn., Tel. (860) 572-5955. Year-round activities

Mystic Seaport, Mystic , Conn. -- It's a bit touristy, but the 17-acre Mystic Seaport in America's largest maritime Museum. It's very educational with a working shipyard, an impressive collection of smaller vessels, a chance to board a whaleship, square rigged ship or fishing schooner. Add some historic homes, the chance to see how seaport industries worked, a childrens' museum, working shipyard, planetarium, steamboat cruises, shopping, restaurants and more, and you have a complete vacation day well spent. Mystic Seaport, 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic Conn.. Tel. (860) 572-5315. Year-round activities.

Valley Railroad and riverboat cruise, Essex, Conn. -- Twelve miles of great Connecticut scenery on a turn of the century train and an option to connect to a one-hour Connecticut River cruise allow you to see the "real Connecticut." This travel gem brings you in touch with scenery that's as good as it gets in New England with rolling hills, amazing panoramic views of the Connecticut River, and a peaceful feeling so unlike the Connecticut many travelers experience on the urban dominated stretches of Route 95. Valley Railroad, 1 Railroad Ave., Essex, Conn.. Tel. (860) 767-0103. Year-round activities.


Maine (More to come soon)

Acadia National Park, Maine Maine's Acadia National Park is one of the most spectacular parks in the United States, with its beyond scenic rocky coast, and forested valleys, lakes and mountains, carved by glacial force. It cannot be fully described, only joyfully visited. Truly a visual treat, this 40,000 acre geographical wonder offers endless scenery. Take, for example, the dramatic sunsets at 1,500 foot Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. From Cadillac, one can see incredible views of Penobscot, Frenchman and Blue Hill Bays. From the top of Gorham Mountain, you get an amazing view of the glacial blue Atlantic Ocean. Then there is Thunder Hole, with its waves creating a sonic boom. For those in touch with a more isolated nature, miles and miles of trails and bicycle paths will bring you in touch with beautiful wildflowers, a wonderful variety of trees and some great fresh and salt water swimming. The 27-mile loop at Mt. Desert Island offers endless ocean and mountain scenery, unlike anything you've seen before.

Nubble Lighthouse, Cape Neddick, Maine Generally recognized as one of the most photographed lighthouses in the country, Nubble Lighthouse is the perfect place to rest, and get hypnotized by the rough ocean waves and prototypical Maine rocky coastline --it is a picture-perfect postcard come to life. Sometimes, Mother Nature's fury can be viewed in the form of some spectacular storms with biting high winds and crashing waves. Nubble Lighthouse, Follow Nubble Road from Route 1A in York

Ogunquit beaches, Ogunquit, Maine -- The three mile stretch from the downtown Main Beach to the northern Moody Beach ranks as one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in New England. Seemingly endless, the flat, expansive sandy region has more in common than Cape Cod beaches than the rocky coastline of Maine. It's all quite family-oriented, with a safe feeling. There are dining stop near the Main Beach, perfect to sit outside on a deck by the water and marvel at the wonderful scenery. 

Old Orchard Beach, Maine The miniature golf, cotton candy, fried dough, french fries, cheeseburgers, carousel, arcade games, amusement rides, festivals, fairs, concerts, fireworks, boardwalk and long stretch of unusually sandy beach for Maine makes this a great family destination. It's honky-tonk, but in a clean, fun way. Old Orchard Beach has been a favorite family destinations for generations, and remains that way in a big, fun way. Seasonal

Stonewall Kitchen York, Maine -- Stonewall Kitchen is a model business in regards to fresh New England products, as well as an incredible offerings of kitchen, gardening and home goods. It's like they brought the best New England chefs, gardeners and home goods under one roof. Also on the premises is a dining room with an open marketplace type of setting, offering the ultimate in baked goods, wines, salads, sandwiches, a Sunday brunch and full dinners. Stonewall Kitchen, Stonewall Lane, York, Maine. Tel. (207) 351-2712. Year-round



New England budget travel recommendation Battleship Cove, Fall River, Mass. Billed as the "world's largest collection of historic Navy ships," Battleship Cove offers the family a hands-on experience from sounding the diving horn on the Submarine Lionfish to cranking the hand wheels on Big Mamies 40mm guns. The U.S.S. Joseph Kennedy is a behemoth sight to behold -- you won't believe that this shopping mall-size carrier was built in only eight months. An all inclusive experience --coupled with Heritage State Park-- offers family friendly dining, camping, and boating opportunities as well as experiencing a wonderful carousel, saved from the defunct Lincoln Park in Rhode Island. Battleship Cove, Five Water St., Fall River, Mass. Tel. (800) 533-3194 New England only, P: (508) 678-1100, f:  (508) 674-5597. Year-round activities

Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass. -- Boston is so lucky to have such an amazing art museum! There's something here for the entire family, although older children and adults might get the most out of this cultural experience that requires several hours of touring. The Museum of Fine Arts indeed has a world-class reputation with a stellar collection of about 450,000 objects,  including Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments.

Boston Museum of Science, Boston, Mass. -- Regarded as one of the best in the United States featuring more than 500 exhibits including Imax films, superb revolving exhibitions (the computer model on how to fight urban traffic is appropriate for Boston!) and a planetarium.  Given the myriad activities here, you could easily spend a whole day although a morning or afternoon is more common. Boston Museum of Science, Science Park, Boston, Mass. Tel. (617) 723-2500. Year-round activities

New England budget travel recommendation Capron Park Zoo, Attleboro, Mass. This small zoo near Providence, R.I., offers exceptionally well thought out animal exhibits and educational programs in a friendly, family setting. What the Capron Park Zoo lacks in size, they more than make up in a clean environment that allows animals to roam more than in a typically larger zoo. Some display highlights include The African Lion cubs, North American River Otters, Snow Leopards, Japanese Macaques, Red-crowned Cranes and a pleasing Rain Forest exhibit. The price is right as non-Attleboro adults can get in for $3.50 and seniors and children for $2.00 (under three are admitted free). One of New England's most underrated attractions for over a half century, the Capron Park Zoo is a real gem! Capron Park Zoo, 201 County St., Attleboro, Mass. Tel. 508-222-6202. Year-round activities

Children's Museum of Boston, Boston, Mass. -- An exceptional children's museum, filled with top-notch displays. A model of how a children's museum should be run. Children's Museum of Boston, 300 Congress, St., Boston, Mass. Tel. (617) 426-8855. Year-round activities

New England budget travel recommendation Children's Museum in Easton, Mass., The wonderfully diverse and family-oriented Children's Museum in historic North Easton Village is located in a former fire station. It was formed in 1986 by Easton mothers in search of hands-on educational experiences for local children. The Museum has been a great success, bringing in over 40,000 visitors yearly. Children can play with ball shoots, sit in a king's and queen's chair, have fun in the playhouses, and create masterpieces in the wood shop and arts and crafts room, to name a few of the many fun things to do. With three floors of fun and over 100 programs where kids can learn through exploration, the Children's Museum in Easton is an underrated hidden gem. The setting is informal, friendly and supportive and the cost is just right at $6.00. The Children's Museum in Easton ,The Old Fire Station, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton,  Mass. Tel. 508-230-3789 Year-round activities

The Butterfly Place, Westford, Mass. -- An incredible variety of butterflies under one roof. The Butterfly Place, 120 Tyngsboro Rd., Westford, Mass. Tel. (978) 392-0955 Year-round activities

Eastern States Exposition (the Big E), West Springfield, Mass. New England's largest and most fun family fair takes place from mid-to-late September. The Big E has something for everyone including amusement rides and arcades, horse riding competitions, animal displays, shopping, music, agricultural exhibits and some of the most amazing junk food on the planet -- from fried dough to incredible donuts (there are some great lunches and dinners, here, too, including the wonderful colonial Storrowtown Tavern restaurant and kiosks featuring kabobs, london broil steaks and fried chicken).  Don't miss the Big E, one of's favorite New England attractions! Eastern States Exposition, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield, Mass Tel. (413) 737-2443. Seasonal

Ecotarium, Worcester, Mass. A world-class indoor/outdoor museum, the Ecotarium's mission is to "contribute to a better world by inspiring a passion for science and nature through discovery." A planetarium, animal educational classes and displays (the bald eagles are a must-see), geology displays, memory and perception exhibits and an express train that takes you through a wild habitat with red fox, red-tailed hawks, and if you're lucky a glimpse of Kendra the polar bear. The Tree Canopy Walkway at the EcoTarium is offers kids and adults the experience of what it's like to walk at the tops of the trees-- or be a treetop scientist! EcoTarium, 222 Harrington Way, Worcester, Mass., Tel. (508) 929-2700 Year-round activities

Edaville Railroad, Carver, Mass. -- Family amusement park featuring train rides, museum and children's rides. Edaville Railroad, Pine St., South Carver, Mass. Tel. 1-877-EDAVILLE. Seasonal

New England budget travel recommendation Faneuil Hall Boston, Mass. The festive, colorful banner-oriented 100-plus combination of retail shops, restaurants, bakeries and ice cream stops offer visitors an endless supply of clothing, calories and city life within a few blocks. Steeped in history as a meeting place for the country's "movers and shakers" to convene prior to the American Revolution, Faneuil Hall Marketplace -- also known as Quincy Market -- was eventually restored and gentrified into a brilliant and valid tourist attraction, much in the tradition of the equally captivating Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Md. It consists of the original 1742 building and two other restored buildings. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Merchants Row, Boston, Mass. Tel. (617) 242-5675. Year-round activities

Jordan's Furniture, Natick, Mass. -- See Mardi Gras in sunny Natick, Mass. -- Jordan's Furniture has a reputation in New England as making furniture shopping fun. Local legends Barry and Elliott, owners of Jordan's, make that theme known perhaps best at their Natick store, where you can see a Mardi Gras re-creation in a shopping mall-like corridor in this gigantic store on a hill overlooking scenic Framingham (just kidding, it is one big strip mall on Route 9). With a Bourbon Street look, a huge singing Elvis, Louis Armstrong and the Beatles, the loud music, party-like atmosphere and flashing lights make this one of the best free shows in metro Boston. It's an interesting juxtaposition as once the show is over, you can buy that microfiber couch you were always dreaming of. Jordan's Furniture, 1 Underprice Way (Route 9)
Natick, Mass. Tel. (508)424-0088. Year-round activities

New England budget travel recommendation Belkin Lookout Farm Natick, Mass. -- Discover a huge organic farm in sunny Natick - Belkin Lookout Farm (formerly Marino Lookout Farm) is located in the rural section of the aforementioned Natick and is a place that makes one proud to be a New Englander. Established in 1680, the farm has served up not only the best fruits and vegetables in the region (the vegetables are certified organic), but it has been innovative in keeping us entertained. After all, the idea of picking apples is nice, but once you're there for a few minutes, it's easy to think about leaving and doing something else. At Lookout Farm, there is apple picking (primarily in the late summer and fall), but one can also pick Asian pears, strawberries, and peaches. To enhance the experience, there is a train running through the field during peak apple picking season. There is also a farmer's market, petting zoo animals, train rides, pony rides, a bee observatory, birthday parties and guided tours, perfect for the entire family. elkin Lookout Farm, 89 Pleasant St. , South Natick, Mass. Tel. (508) 653-0653. Year-round activities

New England budget travel recommendation Minuteman Bikeway, west suburban Boston -- This former railway has been transformed into a model, family-oriented bike path offering an appealing 11 mile mix of untouched scenic land, historic sites, pleasant suburbia landscapes through the western Boston suburbs of Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington and Bedford. The level 12-ft. wide, well-maintained asphalt pavement makes for an ideal way to enjoy bicycling, walking, jogging, in-line skating, and cross-country skiing (the bike path is not plowed in the winter). It is especially nice touring Lexington Center -- right off the bike path -- where an amazing retaining of history allows one to see the Revolutionary War landmarks. Lexington is a town that is one of New England's truly beautiful communities. From big houses on tree-lined streets to a wonderful downtown with shops, restaurants and nice places to walk, Lexington is a "must-visit" New England family travel destination and the bikeway is a great way to visit one of America's great towns. Year-round activities

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park -- This southeast Massachusetts city has been the butt of many jokes and the concern of local residents in regards to safety, but the Whaling District is splendid with its 13 block area of cobblestone streets and colorful weathered buildings from the whaling era. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world's foremost museum devoted to the historic interaction of humans with whales worldwide. This historic part of New Bedford is indeed an interesting day trip for those interested in an area that maintains the spirit, feel and history of Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

New England Aquarium, Boston, Mass. -- Consider the New England Aquarium the biggest fish in the pond, in regards to finding the best aquarium in New England. Thoughtfully designed on multi-levels, the overwhelming number of colorful, personality-filled fish, a warm welcome from the intelligent seals, a mean look from the baby sharks,the chance to see what salmon look like before ending up at your local market and several interactive, educational programs will raise your internal omega 3 levels without even sitting down to eat. A pure delight for the whole family, it would be easy to spend several hours at the New England Aquarium. New England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, Mass. (617) 973-5200 Year-round activities

Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Mass. -- A superb recreation of an early New England village from 1790-1840 "in the company of farmers, craftsmen and fascinating characters." What a wonderful destination, so authentic, informative and entertaining for all ages -- one of the best living museums in New England! Old Sturbridge Village, Route 20 (two miles west of I-84 and I-90), Sturbridge, Mass. Tel. (508)347-3362. Year-round activities

Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Mass. -- A living history of the 17th century in Plymouth, home of the Pilgrims. Includes a remarkable 1627 Pilgrim Village where costumed people portray actual residents; and a reproduction of the Mayflower II. Plimoth Plantation, three miles south on Rt. 3A. Tel. (508)746-1622. Seasonal

New England budget travel recommendation The Prudential Building Skywalk Observatory , Boston, Mass. The sweeping 360 degree views from the Prudential Building's 50th floor Skywalk Observatory provide an amazing experience as the mammoth City of Boston suddenly looks very small from way up above -- sort of like a toy village with horrible traffic.

All of Boston and beyond are available for prime time viewing, including Boston Harbor, the Charles River, Fenway Park, the even taller-than-the-Prudential-Building Hancock Tower and suburban views like the Blue Hills in Canton, Mass. It's a total shock for those who thought they had a great view from their third-floor walk-up attic, or mountain hikers who climb three hours to end up viewing lots of trees. Year-round activities

Rainforest Cafe, Burlington Mall, Burlington, Mass. The loud and fun tropical atmosphere, complete with lifelike mechanical animals hanging out in the jungle, makes for a one-of-a-kind dining experience at this well-known, family oriented chain. The food is slightly overpriced, but tasty, including sandwiches, salads, good burgers and well-prepared seafood. Year-round

Southwick's Zoo, Mendon, Mass., is more fun than a barrel of monkeys! Some great fun can be found at Southwick's Zoo, beautifully situated on 330 acres in the heart of Massachusetts' scenic and serene Blackstone Valley. Arguably New England's finest zoo, Southwick's houses hundreds of animals, some of which are endangered species. You'll see the usual suspects such as giraffes, lions, tigers, monkeys and kangaroos along with lesser known animals like a pygmy goat, ankole bulls and Nilgai antelope. An extensive array of birds and reptiles will satisfy fans of those species. Southwick's also offers amusement rides, a play area created from recycled materials, animal shows and presentations, educational outreach focusing on animal ecology, and some lovely shaded picnic areas with snack shacks. Southwick's Zoo makes for one of the best family-oriented places in New England. Be sure not to miss it as part of your New England vacation. Southwick's Zoo, 2 Southwick St., Mendon, Mass., Tel.: 508-883-9182
Outside MA (800) 258-9182. Seasonal

Spruce Pond Creamery, Franklin, Mass. -- Marc Bluestein has brought an organic flair to this pizzeria/creamery. From the delicious mixed greens salads to mouth-watering flatbread pizzas and homemade ice cream, Spruce Pond Creamery is an affordable delight, unlike any other place in the region. Organic cheeses, non-nitrate pepperoni and great toppings and mixes like pesto, red peppers, shrimp and goat cheese make you realize that this is a very distant cousin of your basic house of pizza. All the ice cream is superb, but the raspberry chocolate truffle is the absolute standout. Decor is colorful with multi-colored fans, clean-tiled floor, and an outdoor section overlooking pretty Spruce Pond. The open kitchen with a wood stove oven has a certain charm. Organic food-lovers and those about to discover the wonders of Bluestein's fresh new concept of introducing a healthful style to conventional foods, bring your appetites! Spruce Pond Creamery, 370 King St, Franklin, MA 02038-2346, (508) 520-7900. Year-round


New Hampshire (More to come soon)

Canobie Lake Park, Salem, N.H. -- More than 100 years old, Canobie Lake Park might now be a state-of-the-art amusement park, but it still feels old-fashioned (and affordable) as compared to some of the other New England amusement parks. That is a good thing, as the feeling here is more family-oriented and safe -- perhaps a byproduct of its storied tradition and a beloved New England household name. What was once well know for its flower gardens, promenades and genteel attractions now has myriads amusement rides, and other fun stuff including a water park complex, a gigantic skywheel, roller coasters, a wonderful merry go round, an authentic steam train, live entertainment, and great food Canobie Lake Park, Exit 2, Route 93, Salem, N.H. Tel. 603-893-3506. Seasonal

Clark's Trading Post, North Woodstock, N.H. -- A longtime favorite New Hampshire White Mountains family tourist destination, Clark's Trading Post is best known for its trained New Hampshire black bears display. Clark's also features a scenic 30-minute railroad ride, a covered bridge, bumper boats, a haunted house, an "Americana" museum, souvenirs, ice cream and more. Clark's is timeless, getting creating the same family vacation memories just the way it did many, many years ago. Seasonal

Monadnock State Park, Jaffrey, N.H. -- One of the United States' most frequented Mountain hikes, and with good reason: one can see all six New England states from the summit, 3,000-plus feet above sea level. The hike is not as difficult as other New Hampshire mountains, and there are plenty of other things to do in this classic New Hampshire state park: picknicking, camping, ski touring and easy hikes. Monadnock State Park, 2 miles west of Route 124. Tel. (603) 532-8862. Year-round activities

Mt. Cranmore, Bretton Woods, White Mountains --  If you like skiing, then Mt. Cranmore will fit the bill with more than 40 acres of skiiable terrain and a vertical drop of 1,200 ft. There are 41 scenic trails of novice, intermediate and expert trails!  We've been told by ski fans that this is a ski lover's dream-come-true. As an added bonus, you're in the heart of the White Mountains with so many fine lodging and dining options, family attractions like Santa's Village and, of course, endless mountain scenery!

Santa's Village, Jefferson, N.H. A perennial New England travel favorite, with all Santa-themed activities in one delightful location. Santa's Village, 528 Presidential Highway, Jefferson, N.H. Tel. (603) 603-586-4445. Seasonal

Story Land, Glen, N.H. Kids can see their fairy tale heroes come to life at this family-oriented fantasy park set in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. Fiction comes to life at interactive play areas where Peter Pumpkineater, Mother Goose, Cinderella, Three Little Pigs and many other storybook characters reside in a truly fun, village-like setting. The 21 rides include a pumpkin coach and a pirate ship, while live shows allow kids to interact in farm and astronaut settings. There is also a circus, sure to please the whole family. Seasonal


Rhode Island (More to come soon)

Colt State Park, Bristol, R.I. -- A coastal wonderland, Colt State Park offers a stunning three-mile scenic drive with panoramic views around the east side of the Narragansett Bay. Hiking and biking trails, 464 acres of fruit trees, 10 large playfields, swimming (at adjacent Bristol Town Beach), fishing, boating and six picnic groves (with 464 picnic tables!) picnicking all make for a splendid day at what is one of the best representations of the New England coast for tourists to see. Colt State Park, Hope St. Bristol, R.I. Tel. (401) 253-7482. Year-round activities; best during warmer weather

Providence Children's Museum, Providence, R.I. -- Proof that the Providence Children's Museum is a great attraction for children ages one to 11 is that no one is sitting around bored. One of the best children's museums in New England, the Providence Children's Museum is set in a bright, colorful and modern setting with enough interactive activities to spend the day. Some highlights include learning about pets and people, teeth, a walk-in kaleidoscope, Rhode Island historical displays, a woodlands environment and a waterways room where children can discover the power and properties of water through a live exhibit. Providence Children's Museum, 100 South St., Providence, R.I. Tel. (413) 273-KIDS. Year-round activities

Providence Place, Providence, R.I. -- Providence Place Mall is hands-down the best shopping mall in New England. Although forever controversial and either loved or hated with no middle ground, the Providence Place Mall has steadily gained respect with its three floors of 165 shops, elegant surroundings with plush rugs, colorful architecture, shiny walls, and something you just won't get driving down Route 95 -- that's right, a wonderful view of the Providence skyline, including the beloved waterfront. Major stores include Nordstrom, Filene's, Lord and Taylor, Pottery Barn, Abercrombie and Fitch, as well as the Feinstein IMAX Theater and National Amusement's 16 movie complex. There's also a phenomenal selection of restaurants from the food court pleasers like Johnny Rockets and Pizzeria Regina to full service quality restaurants like Dave and Buster's, Napa Valley Grille, and Fire and Ice. Ben and Jerry's, Dairy Queen and TCBY provide ice cream joy. Year-round activities


Vermont (More to come soon)

New England budget travel recommendation Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream factory tours, Waterbury, Vt. -- Delicious and fun-filled for the whole family. There is no downside to an ice cream tour, especially when it is the high butterfat kind like Ben and Jerry's. Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory, Route 100, Waterbury, Vt. Tel. (603) 244-TOUR. Year-round activities

New England budget travel recommendation Stowe, Vt., bike path -- Five-plus miles paved bike trails with glorious mountain views, starting at quaint Stowe Village. Year-round, best during warmer weather

Stowe Mountain Resort, Stowe Vt. --  Here, Mt. Mansfield majestically stands as the state's highest elevation at 4,395.  The highest skiing elevation is an impressive (at least for the northeast United States) 3,640 ft. with a vertical drop at 2,360. The Mountain offers 116 total trails, including 40 miles of 485 skiiable acres -- you'll find no shortage of outdoor ski-related activities here! Stowe is really a great town -- what you would imagine a small vermont town to look like with its tall white church steeple, country store and beautiful mountain scenery. It really feels great to vacation in Stowe!

Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Waterbury, Vt. --  You can experience incredible local cider and traditional Vermont charm at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill (3600 Waterbury-Stowe Rd., Route 100, Tel. 800-327-7537) in Waterbury, VT. Cold Hollow makes it cider with a rack and press built in the 1820s-- the final product is bursting with apple flavor. The cider donuts certainly worth a taste, too! Cold Hollow also features also a fudge-making room, a toy shop and a winery that with Vermont-made wines and hard cider. The surrounding countryside is beautiful, located with views of the Vermont countryside in Waterbury and neighboring Stowe -- home of Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont at 4393 ft. One of our favorite Vermont rural attractions!

Vermont Country Store , Weston, Vt. -- Weston may be a quiet town, but it does have a retail district. It's called the Vermont Country Store, purveyors of Yankee bargains, Vermont-made clothing and just about anything else under the sun. No trip to New England would be complete without a visit to this esteemed New England landmark. We, at Visiting New, have always adored its Weston location set in a perfect picture village in the Green Mountains. They have something for everyone including the latest holiday gifts. Vermont fudge, cheese and crackers highlight the myriad food selection. Wonderful clothing, kitchen gadgets, "problem solvers," health and beauty items, furniture, and so many hard-to-find "brands from the past" items from yesteryear are amongst the 5,000 great products available at this New England legend. Year-round


New England attractions community spotlight

Loving the Litchfield Hills _ things to do in one of New England's most beautiful regions:

Fly Fishing- On The Housatonic River Three knowledgeable Fly Fishing Guide Services operating on the Housatonic River offer full and half day trips as well as weekend fly fishing classes that teach all the fundamentals of this sport in blue ribbon waters.

The Holidays In Northwest Connecticut. Annual Bethlehem Christmas Town Festival, Rte 61 and Rte. 132, Bethlehem, CT. Contact: 203-266-5702. On the first Friday and Saturday every December over 75 art and craft exhibitors display their wares in seven buildings surrounding the Bethlehem Village Green. Hayrides, strolling carolers, mugs of hot spiced apple cider and steaming bowls of soup and chili complete the festivities. Bring holiday cards; to the Bethlehem Post Office where you can choose from 50 or more decorative holiday caches to hand cancel your cards from Bethlehem, Connecticut! At Bethlehem's historic Abbey of Regina Laudis you will find an 18th century Neapolitan Creche consisting of 80 exquisite hand painted Baroque porcelain figures.

The Silo and Hunt Hill Farm Trust owned by Ruth and the late Skitch Henderson, creator and conductor of the New York Pops formed the Hunt Hill Farm Trust in association with the Smithsonian Institution this year. The mission of the Hunt Hill Farm Trust is to preserve the farm's land, buildings, and archives, promote public awareness of the unique history, celebrate Americana in music, art, and literature, provide educational opportunities for children and adults, and through the creation of a living museum, share the rich life and legacy of Skitch and Ruth Henderson.

Marion Anderson Studio in Danbury opened to the public in September 2004. Marion Anderson was one of the greatest contraltos of the twentieth century and the woman who broke the color barrier at the Metropolitan Opera. The studio was a rehearsal place as well as a private retreat for the singer. Exhibits tell the extraordinary accomplishments of Anderson born in 1897, who was denied even an audition at a music school because of her color, and who persevered to become a role model for her race and her nation. The Connecticut General Assembly made the farm one of the prime sites on its Freedom Trail commemorating the struggle of African Americans.

For more information on autumn events and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging and dining and other regional attractions in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or check the Internet at 

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