Drive south to Newport
Here you will find the mansions of the Astor’s and the Vanderbilt’s. Have a nice lunch, party in the summer, go for a sail, and much more. Newport is about an hour and a half south of Boston. Take Interstate 93 south to route 24 South (you can stop at IKEA on the way). Follow Route 24 through Fall River, then take route 114 south into Newport.
• Newport Mansions A must see! Visit the mansions of the Astor’s and the Vanderbilt’s. If you can visit one or two, the Breakers is the largest and most popular. The Elms have a great audio tour.
• Have lunch and/or dinner. There are plenty of restaurants in Newport but if you head to Bannister Wharf and you are bound to find something you like from outdoor casual places to more fancy places. It's right by the water. One for example is the Black Pearl
• Secret Garden Tours in Newport, RI!
• See the calendar for the Jazz Festival in Newport and the Winter Festival
Tip - If you are interested in renting a house in Rhode Island, we can personally recommend Harbour Island House. It's owned by friends of ours.
Providence, Rhode Island
When you've discovered Boston, Providence is a great place to visit. An exciting restaurant scene, great shopping and a vibrant art community in a small town feel. There's a great Italian neighborhood called Federal Hill rivals Boston's North End when it comes to yummy Italian food (and great foodie shops). Maybe visit mid July during Restaurant Week?
A beautiful state, summer and winter. skiing in the winter, hiking, golfing, antiquing in the fall, and foliage ('leaf peeping') of course.
• Woodstock, VT is a charming town, sometimes called the 'prettiest small town' in America. A typical New England town, quaint, with beautiful houses, nice restaurants, coffee places and fun stores. Treat yourself and stay at the Woodstock Inn & Resort. A typical (upscale and big...) New England inn/resort. They offer golf, a spa and dining.
• If you are driving on 89 and would like a nice stop, then Quechee Gorge Village might be your place. Cabot "Best Cheddar in the world" has a big store here, there's a great (BIG) antique store with loads of dealers, a fun toy- and train museum, wine testing and more. Nearby is Quechee Gorge which is beautiful. A nice (but it can be expensive....) trip is to visit the Simon Pearce store in Quechee, VT. Simply beautiful glass and pottery - modern. Glass blowing daily. They have a VERY nice restaurant as well.
• In Fairfield, VT you will find a replica of the 21st president's, Chester A. Arthur, childhood home. Open summer time. 802 828 3051.
• In Plymouth, VT you will find the boyhood home of President Calvin Coolidge and where he was sworn in in 1923. Plymouth Notch is frozen in time, a quintessential New England Village preserved as it was around 1923. President Coolidge was sworn in here by his father, a justice of the piece, when news arrived of President Harding's heart attack.
Drive north to Canterbury Shaker Village
Hear the history of the Shakers during very interesting guided tours, visit the store with beautiful shaker furniture and handicrafts. A fascinating visit to a beautiful spot. There´s a restaurant too, or visit the little cafe and eat outside. Definitely check out what times the tours are as that makes the whole visit.
• Portsmouth, NH Stroll around this city where you will find restaurants, shopping, art galleries, and more. Have lunch at one of the many restaurants. See if you can snag a table outside at the Portsmouth Brewery.
• You can have a great meal at The Common Man. There's a few different ones so check out the website.
• You like antiques? If so, drive along New Hampshires route 4 also called New Hampshires Route 4 Antique Alley. You will have most fun if you go with someone who also enjoys antique stores... There are lots of them. some really neat and some dusty and crazy (but isn’t that where you make your finds???) with yes, lots of junk; ‘we buy junk and sell antiques’.
• In Hillsborough, NH, you will find the birthplace of President Franklin Pierce (14th US President). On route 31, on the east side of Washington Road, about 100 yards north of its intersection with route 9. Call first as it is mostly only open in the summer 603 478 3165. President Pierce unfortunately had a sad life with all his children passing away at young age and his wife dying of tuberculosis.
• In Concord, NH you will find Franklin Pierces private residence from before and after his presidency. Check opening times before going 603 225 4555.
Let's start with Portland - a great weekend visit
Many restaurants and good shopping. Hugo’s is a local favorite and quite fancy. The same chef, Rob Evan’s, has also opened Duckfat at 43 Middle Street; far more casual than Hugo’s with paninis, soups and salads. The Belgian fries sound good. If you like art, then ‘First Friday Art Walks’ could be fun.
Eastern Promenade Bike/Walk Path :: Great for walking or biking with great views of the working Portland harbor and surrounding islands. It holds several concerts throughout the warmer seasons; in 2012, hosted Mumford and Suns open air concert
Slightly off the path on Steven’s Ave you will find the historic Eastern Promenade Cemetery.
Novare Res :: Upscale Bar specializing in imported and local beers and a local staple. Holds several events throughout the calendar year.
Bug Light, South Portland :: A small, secluded lighthouse tucked away in South Portland across the water from the Eastern Promenade with great views of the Portland skyline and harbor
Fore Street Restaurant :: Upscale restaurant; in 2002, Fore Street was named Number 16 in Gourmet Magazine's Top Fifty Restaurants of the United States. Also visit Standard Bakery just below the restaurant for handcrafted breads and pastries
Portland Public Market :: A collection of amazing restaurants upstairs and fresh market goods downstairs
Fort Williams and Portland headlight :: Located in beautiful Cape Elizabeth- a short drive from Portland and a staple for anyone.
Shipyard Brewery :: Located just outside the historic Old Port, Shipyard brewery has a gift shop and tours available to the public daily.
Micucci’s Italian Market :: Marketplace/shopping/Restaurant
Hidden gem!!!! During lunchtime, follow the people walking to the back of the market to find freshly baked “Sicilian slab” pizza slices and breads. Be quick because they make limited batches and it goes quickly. Note- one slice will feed two people for $5.00.
Portland Green Drinks :: Similar to “First Friday” Art walk, Green Drinks is held on the second Tuesday of every month and is sponsored by local Maine non-profits. The event moves monthly so check the website to find out where the next is being held.
A big thank you to Mario Giampetruzzi for sharing his gems in Portland.
Other Maine gems
• Did you know that there is a Wine Trail in Maine? In fact, there are 20 wineries across the state. Click the link to find out more.
• You could start with some shopping at the outlets in Kittery, Maine. A shopping outlet mecka. You could definitely go here on a day trip from Boston.
• If you drive further from Boston, you will find the outlets in Freeport, Maine, home of LL Bean , open 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day - if you need anything outdoorsy for hiking, biking, fishing, etc, you could stop here.
• Kennbunk and Kennebunkport quaint and typical New England seaside towns. It gets really busy in the summer but it’s worth it. Lots of seafood restaurants from the small shacks to the fancier places. Plenty of shopping, and cute inns to stay at. You can stop in Kennebunkport and have delicious seafood sitting outside just by the water. There is a brewery which has good food and great beer but I would maybe suggest going for one of smaller places, just for the experience. You may think that the Kennedy’s had their estate here but it is actually the Bush family who have a summer retreat here. You can’t visit but you can see it from the road, follow Ocean Avenue, north from Kennebunkport.
• Ogonquit is another quaint seaside town. Very cute. lots of little stores, restaurants, pubs, and inns. Very popular.
• Bar Harbor If you want to go sailing (and who doesn't?), you should check out Acadia Sailing Company.
• If you are in the area of Brunswick, Maine, ‘Spindleworks’ could be a neat stop. It’s an art gallery and a store. It’s over 2 hours northeast of Boston. May not be open weekends so check the website first or call them at 207 725 8820