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lindaschroeder Apr 11th, 2013 08:36 AM

New England State Anniversary Trip
My husband and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary on June 4th. We are celebrating with a trip the first one since our honeymoon!
We fly into Boston on May 31st and fly back out on June 9th. During our time we want to go whale watching and tour the New England states. We would prefer to travel on rural roads and stay out of the bigger towns. We want simple and not any type of tourist trap type atmosphere.
We are wanting ideas for.
Bed and Breakfast or other lodging suggestions.
Eating places that are not fancy but will give us a true flavor of what East Coast food has to offer. We have no preferences and are willing to try new things.
We are going to be on a NON schedule. The only thing I will accept as an timed event is the whale watching trip. Everything else I want to be able to relax, enjoy and take our time.
Get up with no alarm, eat pie for breakfast if we feel like it.
I like rural small town lifestyle and enjoy farming communities.
Please offer suggestions on some simple treasures that were an unexpected surprise:)

emalloy Apr 11th, 2013 09:04 AM

There are whale watching trips out of several places in MA. Boston, Gloucester,and Provincetown all have ships that do that. I've only gone out of Provincetown and it was in the spring two times and fall once. We had great luck and saw many humpbacks and once saw finbacks, white sided dolphins and a spectacular display of gannets diving from very high in the air into the water to feed on the same critters the humpbacks were eating. If you are going in early June you should have no trouble getting on one and I would wait to see what the weather was likely to be before making a reservation.

In RI, drive out to Beavertail State park near Jamestown, an Island that is connected to the mainland by bridges. Newport is just across one of the bridges, but that while very neat to see is touristy. Then drive east on 38 to rt 1A or 1 south to places like Naraganset, Point Judith and stop at any of the small diners or roadside stands that advertise clam cakes or RI clam chowder (broth based) for local eats.

If you continue on 1 you will go by beach towns but you have to drive off 1 to see the ocean as mostly 1 is a mile or two from the shore. At that place you will be going on 1 south but the road goes west there and will take you to CT. If you want an elegant 1920's style hotel, there is the Ocean House Hotel in Watch Hill, RI, pricey but beautiful.

If you were continue along rt 1 you will cross into CT and there I would advise you to go to Stonington Burough for a look at a mostly unconstructed though well maintained seaside town. It is hard to travel through the area without crossing an interstate, but do look at visiting some of the towns in the northeastern part of the state, like Woodstock and Pomfret (lots of antique shops). You can loop across to the northwestern part of the state and visit places like Litchfield or Kent for that New England feel.

From There you could loop north into MA and hit some of the nice places in the Berkshires and on north to VT then over to NH and ME before looping back to Boston.

lindaschroeder Apr 11th, 2013 09:21 AM

Thank you for the suggestions. I would love to stop at the antique stores. I would like to experience places that have Maple syrup, cheeses made in the area, sea food made with fresh sea food. We live in ND so everything we get is frozen and tastes nothing like fresh catch:)Local bakeries and deli's are also fun to explore. Several unique snacks are better than a big pricey meal. Are there other suggestions for foods that are common in that area? Out here we have Bison meat, and some German dishes such as knoephla soup or strudel. My husband and I have a german russian background but those dishes are still hard to come by. Are there any fun festivals that you know if during that time of the year?

dfrostnh Apr 11th, 2013 09:35 AM

This is a tough question because there are so many wonderful places to visit. Check Yankee Magazine's schedule of events for some ideas. You could be right in the middle of black fly season which might eliminate an activity like hiking in the woods. Local food is very popular in the New England area and you would have some great choices of cuisines in Portland ME.

You could drive north on I93 to Concord NH. Nice little downtown, perhaps visit the League of NH Craftsmen shop. It's the state capitol but a nice, walkable downtown plus you can visit the Museum of NH History. Some of the shops on and around Main St are local start-ups. The independent bookstore Gibsons' will be moving into larger space and the independent Red River Theater has a great schedule including some discussions/screening.

Just north of Concord is Canterbury Shaker Village which has a very interesting tour since they were a farming community, sold seeds and herb products. If the weather is good you could also take a kayak trip on the Merrimack River.

CSAs and farmers markets are popular. The winter market had locally grown mushrooms (Tamworth NH), fresh pasta, etc not just your usual vegetables. Not too far from Canterbury the Miles Smith Farm raises Angus and Highland cattle to sell locally. You can get a trail map for ice cream, cheeses and wines in most of the New England states and perhaps one of them would be a fun way to explore.

In Canterbury you can also visit a smoke house and furniture maker. Return to Concord via Rt 106 but then head east to the coast. Rt 4 goes thru small towns, then skirts the University of NH campus, before going thru Dover Point and my favorite approach to Portsmouth, the bridges over Great Bay. On your way you can make a small detour to Flag Hill Winery and Distillery, a big change from the family's former dairy farm.

Explore Portsmouth. Our favorite drive is Rt 1B which goes past this historic Wentworth Hotel that has been fabulously renovated. Our favorite seafood shack is Petey's on Rt 1 in Rye.

I think you're getting here a little late for the draft horse plowing demos and a little early for the antique tractor meets.

If you get a state atlas and gazetteer published by DeLorme (available at bookstores, grocery stores, etc) you will have a detailed map of the state showing locations of covered bridges, waterfalls and seasonal roads. You need a different one for each state.

Unfortunately, you'll have to get on I95 for a speedy visit to Portland. We don't care for the congestion of southern ME and prefer to stay on I95 until we get to Brunswick and then take Rt 1. The mid-coast area of Maine is where you can go exploring doing a peninsular and end up at a lobster place but some of our favorite might be weekends only until July 1. You won't have trouble finding lobster just the picnic table kind of places. Do a google on best lobster roll and you'll get a good list. One of our very best lobster dinners was when the weather was iffy and we spotted a sign for a volunteer fire dept benefit. Small town, sit a long tables, choose either mussels or crab as a side. The pie cost extra though. You should be able to find a good strawberry rhubarb pie at that time of year. If it's straight rhubarb, you've probably found an old-fashioned cook.

Happy 25th!

lindaschroeder Apr 11th, 2013 09:51 AM

Wonderful suggestions:) I also plan finding some cookbooks along the way that I am hoping they have a local eating places giving a great sampling of local tried and true favorites. I think I need to start a system to record all of these ideas so that I have them with us. That way we can enjoy your suggestions. That on top of finding our own fun should prove to be a fun trip!

gailw Apr 11th, 2013 11:32 AM

Just thinking: if you head straight for Cape Cod from the airport, you could drive Route 6A (NOT route 6) down the length of the Cape, driving through a series of small picturesque towns, with lots of antique shops, little places to eat (very funky Jack's Out Back in Yarmouth, for example), maybe stay around Wellfleet (art galleries, crafts, etc., great harbor area) or in Provincetown (ditto) and go whale watching from there.

bennnie Apr 11th, 2013 12:04 PM

Local foods to try include fried clams, steamed lobster, lobster rolls, frozen lemonade (in RI mostly), warm cider donuts if you can find them, stuffed quohogs, clam chowder - both Rhode Island and New England style. We New Englanders also love our ice cream and there are numerous stands that make their own and have unusual flavors.

Frozen lemonade can be found at the green and yellow Dell's Lemonade trucks.

Cider donuts from Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Stowe, VT

Lobster rolls from Mildred's in Kennebunkport, ME

Fried clams from The Clam Box in Ipswich, MA - not far from some great antiquing in Essex, Mass.

Steamed lobster from almost anywhere - including Market Basket supermarkets (northern Mass and NH) where they will steam them for you and you can take to go on a picnic.

Clam chowder - New England style from Kelly's Roast Beef on Revere Beach is my favorite but others will argue. The best RI chowder I ever had was from an inn on Block Island many many years ago.

Ice cream - so many places to choose from. Richardson's in Middleton Mass is excellent. You can visit the cows and play miniture golf while enjoying.

Cranachin Apr 11th, 2013 04:43 PM

You could try a coffee cabinet in Rhode Island, too (sort of like a coffee milkshake—but note that what the rest of the country calls a milkshake, New England calls a frappe. A milkshake here is flavored milk without the ice cream!).

Regarding pie for breakfast—that's Vermont!

Cranachin Apr 11th, 2013 04:45 PM

But a coffee cabinet has ice cream in it, in case you were confused. Coffee milk doesn't; it's just milk with coffee syrup.

lindaschroeder Apr 12th, 2013 06:51 AM

Great replies this will be very helpful!
I think we will just mail back alot of the treasures that we find. Unique food items to the area that are found at specialty shops or some candy treats and goodies. I have a daycare and I told the kids I would me sure to bring new fun treats back. I am sure we will sample all of the food suggestions given they all sound wonderful.
Some Maple syrup, a cookbook or 2+ and of course I hope to find a tea cup set to add to my growing collection. I don't drink a lot of tea but I enjoy my oj or whatever I am drinking in a tea cup. I drink almost everything but tea in them;)

SusieQQ Apr 12th, 2013 07:18 AM

In R.I. you need to try clam cakes...

dfrostnh Apr 12th, 2013 09:32 AM

I think the oldest candy store in the US is in Salem MA. Of course, maple sugar candy would be a nice treat for the kids. Not my favorite but there used to be a candy called baked beans and there's some that look like pebbles. The Goldenrod in York Beach ME has a taffy pulling machine and they make wonderful saltwater taffy. Don't forget to buy some Marshmallow Fluff and treat the kids to Fluffernutters.

zootsi Apr 12th, 2013 12:50 PM

Some more food related ideas:
Vermont is noted for world class cheese, you can check out Sugarbush farm cheese just outside of Woodstock Vermont. Woodstock is a very 'picture perfect' Vermont town. You can also visit the Billings Farm & Museum while in Woodstock.
Believe it or not, Vermont also has some of the best micro breweries in the USA. Harpoon Brewery in Windsor is a fun spot, with a cafe and a interesting tour. There are many others. Of course there is the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream factory tour in Waterbury Vt. There are hundreds of b&b options in Vermont. One of the most beautiful is the Inn at Round Barn in Waitsfield - very scenic.
In New Hampshire there is a small farmstead cheese producer in Walpole, Boggy Meadow. Walpole is a qintisential little New England village. Just outside the town up in the hills is a very picturesque winery - Walpole Mountain View Winery. The Common Man is a small chain of New Hampshire restaurants that specialize in New England influenced food and decor. You can google their website for locations.

lindaschroeder Apr 12th, 2013 01:33 PM

Sounds wonderful and the brewery idea is a good one.
We talked stopping at some pubs as well. I LOVE cheese as much as I love seafood so thanks for the great suggestions.

dfrostnh Apr 13th, 2013 02:15 AM

I thought of this quest when I read the current issue of Hippo Press (a free paper that covers Nashua, Manchester, Portsmouth, and Concord NH and beyond). Good article about small businesses in NH making hot stuff.
(link might only be good until next issue comes out)

Seems like the Concord NH food coop on S Main St carries a lot of these products. It's a great, organic grocery. There's also a wonderful food coop in Hanover and West Lebanon NH (off I89 if you are heading to VT).

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