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Our family is considering taking our annual vacation to New England next August. There seems to be so much to do, we need help. We are considering driving from area to area taking in as much as possible and spending at least a week if not two. Is there a resource we can use that will give us some idea where to start and where to go from there to maximize our trip?

We recommend first looking at our top destinations and travel library pages to identify the best places to visit in New England. Also valuable is the scenic drives page, which lists destinations that people envision what New England should look like. Once you find the destinations that appeal to you most, we suggest you go to the lodging section of to browse lists of lodging establishments (with descriptions and great photos) in your chosen destinations. You can make reservations online, with many rates at guaranteed lowest rates.

That is general advice. If we had to choose an itinerary for two weeks of vacation in New England, we take the following route:

Start in Boston, Mass., a cultural, historical and very fun city that could easily take up two weeks of vacation. It is the "Hub of the Universe," a walkable city with a remarkable retaining of history mixing with some very breathtaking modern leanings. We strongly recommend visiting Faneuil Hall, a restored historical set of buildings housing over 100 specialty shops and restaurants. The North End has a wonderful Italian flavor in the streets and in the restaurants. Museums like the Museum of Fine Arts, Gardiner Art Museum, Museum of Science and Children's Museum are world-class, in nature. Newbury Street looks like scene out of a European city. The Swan Boat rides in the Boston Public Garden provide a scenic oasis with this bustling city, And of course, there's Fenway Park -- be sure to catch a game, if the Sox are in town in this unique, small intimate ballpark featuring the legendary "Green Monster" wall. This is all just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to visiting Boston!

Don't forget visiting Lexington and Concord, Mass., about a half-hour west of Boston by taking Route 2 west. Home of the American Revolution, we strongly recommend taking the tours and admiring the proud. old homes and buildings that grace these two beautiful towns. Plus, there's plenty of shopping, dining and lodging opportunities, as well as visiting Walden Pond in Concord -- a pleasing respite where one can swim and also take a 45 minute walk around the pond. It is the former home of that famous misanthropic author, Henry David Thoreau.

From Boston, travel an hour-and-one half north on Route 93 north to Route 495 east to York, Maine, to experience the ultimate family fun, with great ocean beaches, classic rocky Maine coastline, wonderful lobster dinners, great lodging choices, and a zoo/ amusement park that is extensive and entertaining. From the York area, go back on Route 95 south for 10 minutes to Portsmouth, N.H., a small historical port city with interesting little shops, fine restaurants, wonderful sea captain's architecture in the homes, and loads of coastal character, perfect for those who like to walk but not too much. From Portsmouth, take Route 16 north into New Hampshire where, in a few hours, you'll end up in the White Mountains featuring some spectacular mountains (like Mt. Washington), myriad family attractions, great scenery, fresh mountain air and neat towns like North Conway, Lincoln and Woodstock.

From Woodstock, take Route 93 north into Vermont and then Route 15 east through beautiful green Vermont countryside for an hour until you reach Route 100 south which leads to Stowe. One of Vermont's most scenic, appealing villages, Stowe has plenty of attractions and truly epitomizes the small town appeal of Vermont. It's like being in a Currier and Ives setting, although there is a commercial strip leading away from the Village. From Stowe, take Route 100 south to Route 89 south to Route 91 south for about three hours until reaching the "Green Mountain" community of Brattleboro in southern Vermont. Laid back with lots of hippies and ex-New Yorkers, this is a Grateful Dead kind of town with plenty of unique shopping, dining and diverse lifestyles that lends character and a bunch of characters to this sleepy, but vibrant town. Nearby towns like Weston and Londonderry are worth exploring -- unspoiled, beautiful and full of friendly locals. The famed Vermont Country Store is located in Weston and is worth a special trip.

From Brattleboro, take Route 91 south for two hours through Massachusetts and into Connecticut. South of Hartford in the middle of the state, take Route 9 south to Essex Conn., located on the Connecticut River and recognized as one of the best small towns in America. It is a true walker's haven, with sidewalks meeting with historical buildings, cozy taverns, views of the water and some of the nicest concentration of homes in New England. Not too far from Essex are classic New England towns like Deep River, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme and Haddam -- old-fashioned, traditional New England type towns that Hollywood likes to capture in any movies made about New England (although re-creations of these towns take place sometimes in places other than New England). Enjoy the village greens, lack of development, scenery and tall white steeples rising above the sleepy towns.

From Essex and vicinity, take route 9 south to Route 95 north through the seaport towns of Mystic, Conn., Watch Hill/Westerly, R.I., and then 45 minutes north to Providence, R.I., a medium -sized city experiencing a remarkable revitalization. From the colorful Italian streets of Federal Hill to the elegant brownstone, Ivy League neighborhoods of Brown University, Providence feels like a complete city. There's the mile of colonial houses on Benefit Street juxtaposed against a rapidly growing skyline. Providence Place Mall, one of the biggest malls in New England shines its modern leanings against the architecturally old world aura of the State House. Providence also offers some of the best restaurants in New England (Al Forno, Pot Au Feu) and a plethora of high quality hotels and inns. Providence is a world class city for several blocks, with expansion of that greatness on the way.

From Providence, take route 195 east for a few minutes to Route 114, going through charming, coastal towns like Barrington and Bristol. Eventually, you'll end up in Newport, replete with spectaculars mansions, shopping to last a lifetime, unbeatable harbor and ocean views (Easton's Beach is a great summer destination with its warmer New England waters and plenty of sand), and an incredible variety of attractions.

From Newport, take Route 138 north to Route 195 east to Route 25 to Cape Cod (about an hour's trip to the entrance to Cape Cod). What a perfect way to end your New England vacation, with the gentle summer breeze as a catalyst to enjoy the legendary beaches, seafood dinners and ultimate relaxation in beautiful villages like Chatham, Brewster, Barnstable and Yarmouth (on Route 6A) Truro, and Eastham.

Hope this helps!

Yellow StarWe welcome your response to the question on this page. Write us - we truly value your opinions!

Editor's note: responds to your questions, based on experience, combined with facts and opinions. This question and answer forum gives you general guidelines to plan your New england vacation. We cannot control variables like weather and the latest business openings and closings.  We encourage you to contact your chosen destination before embarking on your New England vacation.

Looking for more Northeast United States travel ideas?  Visit our family of travel Web Sites, including The Weekly New England Travel and Vacation Gazette blog, as well as, and -- both dedicated to helping travelers plan their Cooperstown, NY, vacation.


Information from comes from our editorial staff. Advertisements do not influence the articles and points-of-view on, unless otherwise specified. Rates and event dates are subject to change. We recommend calling your vacation destination first before setting out on the planned itinerary.

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