Stonington Borough, Conn.
Main Street home in Wickford Village.
Wickford Village dates back to 1769 and features the largest concentration of owner-occupied Colonial and Federal homes in the United States. It's a beautiful section of North Kingston, filled with more than 50 shops, nice restaurants and refreshing coastal views. Wickford Village is also a huge "arts" town! Read more on Wickford Village
Newfane Village, Vt.
Charming Newfane Village.
Perhaps the most classic traditional Vermont town, Newfane Village consists of a classic town green, the famous Four Columns Inn, churches with tall white steeples and some of the most beautiful old homes you'll ever see. Most of Newfane Village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with more than 60 buildings in the Historic District. Greek architecture is the most dominant type of architecture in this charming town. Read more on Newfane Village
Dover, N.H.(Incorporated 1623)The otherwise urban small city of Dover features the William Damm Garrison 1675 House (New Hampshire's oldest intact Garrison house) located at the Woodman Institute on 182 Central Ave. The city is one of my personal favorites as there is no air of pretentiousness and the downtown keeps getting better every day with new stores and restaurants coming in, as well as various beautification projects making things all the much better. Dover is the oldest settlement in New Hampshire! Read more on Dover
Downtown Portsmouth, N.H.
Located off the manic Silas Deane Highway outside of congested Hartford, Old Wethersfield, founded in 1634, feels like a million miles away from the hundreds of thousands of people that live in this region. Named by "Old House Magazine" as one of the nation's best "old house" neighborhoods, Old Wethersfield has 50 houses predating the Revolutionary War, 100 going back before the Civil War and an additional 150 homes before the turn of the 19th century! These aren't your basic, old run downs homes; most have been extremely well-preserved. Add a leafy look to the village, a classic village green, and a nice downtown Main Street with antique stores, galleries, a tavern and cafe, and you have a perfect, little village that reminds you that you are officially in New England. Read more on Old Wethersfield
Boston, Mass. (Founded
Acorn St., Beacon Hill in Boston.
Where does one begin
with the history of Boston? The history is so rich. I'd start with a
tour of the Freedom
which comprises historic museums, meeting houses, burying grounds,
parks (including the Boston Common with the spectacular Public Garden),
ships and historic markets. Boston is truly one of the great
cities of the world -- you'd be hard-pressed to find a city that offers
such a wonderful combination of the historic and modern. Read more on Boston
Old Port District, Portland.
I remember Portland,
Maine being underwhelming in the 1970s -- too many run-down areas and
not enough to do. Years later, it is one of the most likable cities
in New England. An incredible effort to revitalize has made the city a
destination, as well as a desirable place to live. Particularly
impressive is the Old Port District with its shops, restaurants, cafes
and car on cobblestones streets with beautiful 19th century brick
buildings everywhere you look. What a difference a few decades makes! Read
more on the Old Port District
Lexington and Concord,
Mass. (Founded 1713, 1635)
Entertainment in front of the Buckman
Tavern in Lexington.
Bristol, R.I. (Founded
1680 as part of Plymouth MA county)
Historic scene in Bristol.
Bristol features a
downtown listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Beautifully-tree-shaded and with lots of great dining options and small
town stores, you'll find a remarkable historical concentration of
"commercial enterprises, civic buildings, churches, mills, sailors'
shacks and slave-traders' mansions," as stated by the National Trust
for Historic Preservation. Also check out scenic, expansive Colt State
Park and Coggeshall Farm where you'll learn
traditional agricultural practices in a series of historic buildings.
South of town is the 45-room English-style manor, Blithewold,
considered New England's finest garden estate. Read more on
Bristol Stay at a historic Bristol bed and breakfast
Newport, R.I. (Founded 1639)
Thames St. in Newport.
is known for its mansions, ocean, bustling downtown, the Cliff Walk
oceanside walk, Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals and America's Cup
annual sailing regatta. It's a world-class vacation destination that
somehow has held onto its leisurely feel and historical integrity
despite all the tourist growth. It's a must-see small city when
visiting New England. Read more on Newport
Plymouth, Mass.(Founded 1620)
Yes, we all know that Plymouth is the
place that the Pilgrims landed in 1620.
Nearly 400 years later, the Pilgrim Culture is dominant in Plymouth
with Plimoth Plantation outdoor museum, Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower II
(a replica of the famous ship) and Pilgrim Hall
Museum, but the town is so much more than just that. Main Street
is lively and full of shops and restaurants while parallel Water St.
features beautiful Plymouth Harbor and numerous seafood restaurants.
The feeling is laid back and friendly, more like a small town than a
city. Add some stunning sea captains homes and you've
got one of the nicest, most interesting walking towns in all of New
England. Read more on Plymouth
North Easton, Mass. (Founded 1725)
Free Library and Oaks Ames Memorial Hall in North Easton.
As part of Easton, North Easton Village was settled in 1694, incorporated in 1725 and later became famous for the Ames Shovel Company. The Company provided shovels for the Union Pacific Railroad which opened the west! Oliver Ames was perhaps the best-known of the family -- he was the Massachusetts governor from 1887-1890. But it was famed architect H.H. Richardson who gave North Easton Village its "look," with late 19th century Romanesque-style buildings like the Ames Free Library (currently being renovated), Oaks Ames Memorial Hall (for meetings), The Old Colony Railway Station (current home of the Easton Historical Society) and the Ames Gate Lodge (I think it is still owned by the Ames Family). Beautiful churches complement the area including the Gothic revival style of the Ames built Unity Church. Read more on North Easton
a historic New England mill town beautifully situated at the edge
of the White
Mountains near Vermont, could have been just another dying New England
industrial community but, fortunately, has employed a vision to make
the most of its modest, rural location.
The downtown is surely one of New Hampshire's best examples attracting businesses that have ultimately attracted visitors and pleased residents looking for a full service town center. With a movie theater, toy and book store, Chutters candy shop, a classic in town diner aptly called the Littleton Diner, a furniture store, a post office filled with character, a 100-year old Opera House, the historic Thayer's Inn and restaurants popping up all over the place, Littleton is more than a stop along the way. It's, on one hand, picturesque with its typical New England big, white churches and mountain views, and on the other, a town with a downtown that has nearly all of its storefronts filled -- unusual in this tough economy. There's also a new walking bridge that provides residents and visitors a scenic downtown river walk. Coming from the green, but often regressing suburbs of Boston, we thought, "Why can't we have a downtown like this?"
fact, has done such a great job with its town center that in 2003, The
National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center
recognized Littleton for its outstanding achievement in the
revitalization of a downtown! Stay at a historic Littleton inn
Essex, Conn. (Probably settled in 1648)
A former shipbuilding town dating back to the 1600s, Essex looks refined and perfectly manicured today, but that polish doesn't take anything away from its authentic historical New England small town look and feel. With the old, sprawling Griswold Inn (one of the oldest continuously operated inns in the country) as one of its "anchors," Essex has a timeless quality that hasn't pandered to modern chains and cookie-cutter architecture. What's more, there are 14 miles of sidewalks that allow you to stroll through this relaxing, picturesque community. Essex has all the small town bells and whistles required to make it a special vacation destination: a tree-lined downtown with specialty shops and restaurants, big old historic homes up near the sidewalk,, and a pleasing park with gazebos and picnic benches leading to wonderful, relaxing views of the Connecticut River. Read more on Essex
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