From Boston to Maine, New England offers an exciting and varied road trip for any Canadian looking to get a taste of history, culture, great sports and beautiful scenery. Here are New England’s 8 most remarkable and breathtaking sites you absolutely can’t miss.
1. Historic Boston
Founded in 1630 by Puritans who envisioned their settlement as a shining beacon to the world, Boston was among America’s first great urban centers. Its patriots led the rebellion that grew into the American Revolution, and few places in the U.S. evoke so vividly the birth of a nation. Centuries later, Boston remains at the national forefront in politics, the arts, culture, education and science. The city retains its Classical proportions and human scale, with modern buildings nudging up against landmarks of the Colonial and Revolutionary eras.
2. Mount Desert Island, Maine
Mount Desert Island condenses the fabled Maine coast and woods into a single magical spot. Salt-splashed fishing villages dot the southwest lobe, while Bar Harbor, on the east, bustles with restaurants and lodging options. Painters of the 19th-century Hudson River School were among the first to celebrate Mount Desert’s wild natural beauty, and their art encouraged wealthy industrialists to build summer estates thoughtfully incorporated into natural settings. Half the island falls within Acadia National Park.
3. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
When you reach Race Point at the top of Cape Cod, you might feel you’ve come to the end of the earth. Beyond this long, thin cook of glacial sand lies the broad Atlantic, stretching all the way to Portugal. The Cape’s fishing fleets haul the sweetest scallops and richest tuna; virtually every cover harbours a hamlet founded by farmers whose grandchildren turned to the sea. Its beaches extend for 30 miles, from Chatham to Provincetown, comfortably accommodating the thousands of swimmers and sunbathers who flock here.
4. Newport, Rhode Island
This small city packs an amazing amount of history into a few square miles. Not only does it boast America’s first naval college and first synagogue, its White Horse Tavern has been pulling pints since 1673. In the late 1800s, the super-rich began building ornate mansions along the cliffs south of the city’s center to escape fetid summers in New York, and the city’s harbor is home to many contenders for the America’s Cup, the most prestigious match race in sailing.
5. Portland, Maine
There’s good reason that the motto of Maine’s largest city is Resurgam, or “I shall rise again.” Portland has burned down four times since its foundation in 1633. Building codes set up after the Great Fire of 1866 created a legacy of handsome Victorian structures. Recent redevelopments have transformed the waterfront with dining and entertainment amid the working docs, and former warehouses have become the boutiques and galleries of the Old Port District. A short drive from downtown lie the parks and sandy beaches of Casco Bay.
6. White Mountains, New Hampshire
More than 20 summits topping 4,000 ft. define the rugged north country of New Hampshire, of which 1,200 sq. miles is set aside as the White Mountain National Forest. The area is ideal for some of the main outdoor activities of New England: summer hiking and climbing, fall foliage sightseeing, and winter skiing. Drive through the White Mountains to encounter soaring mountain ridges, tumbling waterfalls, deep glens and dark forests. Wildlife abounds – be careful of deer and moose on the roads at dusk.
7. Litchfield Hills, Connecticut
Tucked into the northwest corner of Connecticut, the undulating Litchfield Hills are the most scenic and bucolic section of the state. Technically an extension of the Taconic Mountains and the Berkshire Hills, the region is laced with a network of icy-cold mountain streams, making fly-fishing for trout a leading springtime activity. Most sizable towns nestle in the valley of the Housatonic River, and their historic home and gardens attest both to Colonial settlement and more recent gentrification by wealthy New Yorkers.
8. Berkshire, Massachusetts
Colonial-era villages of the southern Berkshiers attest to the rich soils of the Housatonic Valley, while former brick mill towns of the north hint at 19th-century industrialization. Today, though, the region’s identity revolves around the summer arts scene: music, dance, theatre. The natural world, too, is always alluring. Mountain laurel explodes into bloom in June, and deer browse in abandoned apple orchards. Mountaintop trails lead to sweeping views, or you can hike into deep woods where a waterfall plunges into a still pool.