New England State of Mind
Explore more of these great states before or after your cruise from the Northeast.
By Felicity Long
Because I’ve lived in New England for more than 20 years, people looking for pre- or post-cruise advice often ask me what my favorite destination is in the region. That’s a tough one. After all, New England is officially made up of six states — Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island — and while they are neighbors, about the only thing they have in common is world-class scenery and an obsession with the Red Sox.
Each state has its own unique personality, charm, and even geography, from the rocky beaches of Maine to the picturesque mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, the only state not bordering the Atlantic coast.
Sure, cruisers sailing in and out of Boston or New York can cut a swath through the entire region — an especially popular tactic during autumn leaf peeping season —but my best advice is not so much which states to visit, but rather to pick just one or two, and slow down and smell the ocean.
Hit the Beach: Cruisers out of Boston who have time to explore beyond Beantown can get their beach fix both north and south of the city. Head to four-mile-long Crane Beach on the north shore with its acres of sand dunes, or join the throngs heading south to Cape Cod, where you can take your pick of beach towns, from Hyannis to the ever-lively Provincetown.
Food and Drink: Don’t even think of skipping the fried clams at Woodman’s restaurant in Essex, where the original owner is reputed to have invented the iconic dish nearly a century ago.
Got Kids? Plimoth Plantation, just over 40 miles south of Boston, re-creates the lives not only of the early pilgrims, but also Native Americans who were here first.
From the Water: Hop on a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, an island whose charms have wooed the Clintons and the Obamas among other A-listers, or to Nantucket, known locally as the Grey Lady because of the fog that often shrouds her from the sea.
Edutainment: Join tours guided by state rangers to the Boston Harbor Islands, easily accessible from the city’s waterfront, enlivened by tales of derring-do and even a few ghost stories dating from the Revolutionary War.
Hit the Beach: The 200-plus-acre Sherwood Island State Park on Long Island Sound offers beach access, picnic grounds, and scenic marshes.
Food and Drink: Wine lovers can follow the Connecticut Wine Trail, which wends through tiny towns and rural areas, including Litchfield Hills and River Valley, tasting vintages that make the most of the state’s microclimate.
Got Kids? Get up close with penguins, Beluga whales, toothy alligators, and sharks at the Mystic Aquarium. Or go back in time at Mystic Seaport, which transports visitors to the 19th century through a….
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Photo: Michel Setboun/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism