Table of Contents
- Block Island, Rhode Island
- Mad River Valley, Vermont
- Nantucket, Massachusetts
- Newport, Rhode Island
- Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
- Camden, Maine
- Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
- Lakes Region, New Hampshire
- Woodstock, Vermont
- Great Barrington, Massachusetts
- Bar Harbor, Maine
- Portsmouth, New Hampshire
- North Adams, Massachusetts
- Westerly, Rhode Island
- Provincetown, Massachusetts
- Jackson and North Conway, New Hampshire
- Mystic, Connecticut
- Montpelier, Vermont
- Kennebunkport, Maine
- Litchfield, Connecticut
New England is a region known for its picturesque countryside, cliff-lined coasts, and charming small towns. It is the perfect destination for weekend getaways, whether you are looking to escape the city or have a romantic trip. In this article, we will explore 20 of the best weekend getaways in New England, all within easy reach of old historical towns.
Block Island, Rhode Island
Block Island, located off the coast of Rhode Island, offers a quintessential seaside getaway. With towering bluffs, native shrubs, and a grand Victorian-style hotel, it feels like a piece of England in New England. Explore the island’s country lanes, walk through open heathland, and of course, visit the beautiful beaches.
Mad River Valley, Vermont
The Mad River Valley, nestled below the famous Sugarbush and Mad River Glen ski areas, is a particularly beautiful spot in Vermont. It has a glamorous history, earning the nickname “Mascara Mountain” due to the fashionable model types who frequented its slopes. In addition to skiing, visitors can enjoy mountain biking, farm-stand shopping, and summer concerts.
Nantucket is a 50-square-mile island off the coast of Massachusetts that is steeped in history and natural beauty. Escape the crowded beaches and chain restaurants and explore the island by bike or shuttle. Visit historic lighthouses, grand homes built for whaling captains, and relax on the laid-back beaches. Don’t forget to indulge in a lobster roll or perfectly prepared bay scallops.
Newport, Rhode Island
If you’re a fan of the HBO series “Gilded Age,” a trip to Newport is a must. This was the summer vacation spot of choice for the late-19th-century elite. Take a stroll down the Cliff Walk to see Newport’s lavish mansions on one side and the crashing Atlantic Ocean on the other. After working up an appetite, enjoy brunch at Cru Cafe or indulge in lobster mac ‘n’ cheese at the local landmark, Brick Alley Pub.
Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
For city dwellers looking for a slower pace and breathtaking scenic views, Sugar Hill is the perfect getaway. The sight of brilliant fall colors or fields blanketed in deep purple lupine against the backdrop of New Hampshire’s rugged White Mountains is truly a feast for the eyes. Visit Harman’s Cheese & Country Store for some aged cheddar and hike to Bridal Veil Falls or summit Mt. Lafayette for even more stunning views.
Camden is a picture-perfect town that has been used as a filming location for HBO series and Hollywood films. Enjoy bowls of haddock chowder on the harbor, admire the historic Queen Anne buildings in the historic district, and hike to the top of Mount Battie for panoramic views. Don’t forget to indulge in some quality antiquing at Antiques at 10 Mechanic.
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
Getting to Martha’s Vineyard is half the fun. Take a ferry from the mainland and arrive at this treasure trove of seaside villages, bike paths, and delicious lobster rolls. Start your day at Waterside Market for a breakfast sandwich or lobster salad on brioche. Explore Oak Bluffs for beach time and frozen drinks at Nancy’s, and spend a day in Edgartown with its indie shops, raw bars, and Greek Revival mansions.
Lakes Region, New Hampshire
The Lakes Region in New Hampshire offers an abundance of natural beauty with its woods, rocky summits, and hundreds of lakes and ponds. Lake Winnipesaukee, the state’s largest lake, is the centerpiece of the region. Enjoy scenic cruises on M/S Mount Washington, hike the trails at Castle in the Clouds or Belknap Mountain, and indulge in water activities on the lake.
Woodstock is a small town that has been called the quintessential New England village and one of the most beautiful towns in the country. Visit Billings Farm and Museum to see Jersey cows and draft horses, enjoy a maple sundae, and grab some smoked cheddar for a snack. For fans of the Great British Baking Show, take a pie and tart-making class at King Arthur Baking Company in neighboring Norwich.
Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Great Barrington, located in the Berkshires, is a town straight out of a Louisa May Alcott novel. Its storybook old buildings now house bakeries, upscale grocers, and farm-to-fork restaurants. Check out what’s happening at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, a 1904 theater that hosts classic films and big-name bands. During the holidays, the town transforms into a real-life snow globe.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor was once a summer oasis for the elite members of society in the late 1800s. Today, it is a charming small town on Frenchman Bay and a gateway to Acadia National Park. Take a stroll along Bar Harbor’s shore path before exploring the rocky shores and hiking trails of Acadia. Don’t miss the chance to see the sunset on Herring Cove Beach.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Portsmouth is a darling port town located just an hour north of Boston. Start your visit at Market Square, explore the Portsmouth Harbor Trail, and spend a few hours at the Strawbery Banke Museum, an outdoor museum that brings three centuries of history to life. Treat yourself to oysters and a local Smuttynose beer at Row 34, and dine at Black Trumpet, a bistro and wine bar.
North Adams, Massachusetts
Art lovers flock to North Adams since the opening of Mass MoCA in 1999. This contemporary art museum is located in a 19th-century mill and features a wide range of exhibits and installations. Stay at the art-filled Porches Inn and explore other outdoor attractions like Natural Bridge State Park and Mount Greylock, the highest mountain in Massachusetts.
Westerly, Rhode Island
Westerly may not have the same vacation clout as Newport or Martha’s Vineyard, but it is a coastal town worth visiting. Enjoy Narragansett Bay and Misquamicut State Beach, and spend some time in Watch Hill, a neighborhood known for its lighthouse and pristine Napatree beach hike.
Provincetown, located at the tip of Cape Cod, is known for its stunning stretches of sand, cool boutiques, and bohemian vibe. It is a popular LGBT hotspot and offers a range of activities, from drag karaoke and dance parties to enjoying the sunset on Herring Cove Beach.
Jackson and North Conway, New Hampshire
These sister towns in the Mount Washington Valley make for a popular weekend getaway. Enjoy waterfall hikes, scenic drives, small-town shopping, and big-box outlets. Stop by Sunrise Shack for a hearty breakfast before swimming at Echo Lake State Park or hiking Mount Chocorua. And don’t forget to indulge in a delicious ice cream cone at Trails End Ice Cream.
Mystic is a town with a rich maritime history, and a visit to the Mystic Seaport Museum is a must. Explore the museum’s million-plus artifacts and take a ride on the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship in the world. Enjoy the views at Bluff Point State Park, feast on seafood at Oyster Club, and savor a bowl of Rhode Island clam chowder.
Montpelier, the country’s smallest state capital, offers a mix of outdoor activities and a taste of Vermont’s famous maple products. Hike to the peak of Camel’s Hump and go whitewater rafting on the Winooski River. Sample maple cookies, kettle corn, and soft serve at Morse Farm and Bragg Farm maple sugar houses.
Kennebunkport was once a bustling shipbuilding hub and still retains its nautical charm. Visit the beaches, explore boutiques and art galleries, and indulge in fresh seafood. The town is a popular destination for New Englanders year-round.
Litchfield is a small town known for its history, charm, and scenic beauty. It is the birthplace of Revolutionary leader Ethan Allen and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe. Explore the oak-shaded town green and visit the Topsmead State Forest for hiking and picnicking.
In conclusion, New England offers a wealth of weekend getaways from old historical towns. Whether you prefer seaside escapes, mountain retreats, or charming small towns, there is something for everyone in this beautiful region. So pack your bags and start exploring the best of New England’s weekend getaways.