Road Tripping through New England

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This weekend and into next week, I am taking a road trip through New England to see a lot of states that I’ve never been to.  I’m very excited because this trip is going to bring me into the 40s on my list of states that I’ve been to.  And also because I am going to see a lot of cool things.

The following is my hitlist, but if anyone has any cool things that they think I should see while I’m tooling around New England with my mum, especially if they look like on our way, shout it out in the comments.  If you’re all like “New Hampshire” something on the way to Kennebunkport, that’d be awesome.  Otherwise it’s going to be and the Wikipedia on Google Maps situation.


  • Aquarium
  • Duck Tour
  • Whale Watching


  • Plymouth Rock

Hyannis Port:

  • Kennedy Compound


  • A tour?


  • ?


  • Mark Twain House
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe House


  • Smith College


  • ?



New Hampshire:

  • Mt. Washington


  • Maine stuff?

This map is going to be even more amazing after SkepChickCON — I need to figure out a way to go to Wisconsin from the conference so I can mark that off too…


Road Tripping through New England

25 thoughts on “Road Tripping through New England

  1. 1

    Here are a couple for Providence (its been a few years since I have been so you may want to look them up for current hours/schedule etc:

    Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art

    224 Benefit Street, 20 North Main St, Providence, RI 02903 (College Hill)

    Waterfire (Bon Fires on the River)

    Memorial Boulevard, Downtown, Providence, RI

    Description from their site:”From May to October, bonfires are lit on the three rivers of downtown Providence as part of a unique urban sculpture by artist Barnaby Evans. Together with music from around the world, the glow and aroma of the fires create an enchanting atmosphere for onlookers.”

  2. 2

    Nantucket – This place is supposed to be nice(also dog friendly for those with doggie travel companions) I think they are open year-round:

    Nantucket Vineyard, Cisco Brewery and Triple Eight Distillery
    5 & 7 Bartlett Farm Road, Nantucket, MA 02584

    I haven’t been here myself but a friend I trust said it was great.

    Also has been a big help for me in the past when I’m looking for things to do in new places. I like the fact that they have reviews too.

  3. 4

    Providence was H.P. Lovecraft’s hometown. If you are into that sort of thing, his gravesite is there and the Fleur De Lys building from the Call of Cthulhu is still standing.

    On the other hand, I understand that us Lovecraft fans are rather in the minority in this world!

  4. 5

    Ok last one(two?) then I will stop!

    In Rocky Hill, CT ( a little south of Hartford on I91):

    Dinosaur State park and Arboretum

    “We are one of the largest dinosaur track sites in North America. Beneath our geodesic dome, you will find an exceptional display of early Jurassic fossil tracks that were made 200 million years ago.”


    Real Art Ways 56 Arbor St Hartford
    (Multi disciplinary- film showings and art galleries)

  5. 6

    I second the RISD museum, it’s small but very nice. The grounds of the State House used to be nice, haven’t been there in about 20 years though.

    Plymouth Rock is boring, it’s a rock… in a gazebo basically. You can get some saltwater taffy and a t-shirt across the street, but that would be the highlight of the visit. You should check out the Mayflower museum. I believe the Mayflower II is in dry dock at the moment, unfortunately.

    There’s also Plimouth Plantation, there’s a museum and there’s a nice walk around the Native American homesite and the settlement itself (if it isn’t raining, if it’s raining it kind of sucks).

    The USS Constitution is interesting, too.

    On your way north into NY there’s also Hammond Castle in Gloucester, which isn’t too far out of your way.

  6. 7

    In Rhode Island, it might be more interesting to visit Newport instead of Providence. Lots of history and beautiful old homes — from many colonial era houses to post-Civil War summer resort mansions. In many ways you could call Newport the Charleston of the north.

    A fairly short detour in Maine, Freeport is just east of Portland and the home of LL Bean, where you can shop 24 hours a day.

    On the way from Maine back to Boston, make time to visit the very walkable downtown of Portsmouth, NH. To quote from Wikipedia, “Portsmouth was named one of the ‘Dozen Distinctive Destinations’ by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.”

  7. 8

    Nantucket – the whaling museum. Small but good. It’s as much about local maritime history as whaling.

    Nantucket – Black eyed Susan’s restaurant. For my money, it’s the best value in the high-end restaurants on the island. In the downtown area. reservations necessary this time of year.

    Boston – Museum of Fine Art – everything (and the current special exhibit of samurai armor is very nice

    Boston (Cambridge) – the MIT museum – holograms, plasma scuptures, and hacks

  8. 9

    Northhampton, MA is a fun town and I feel there must be something worth visiting, but since the Words and Pictures Museum shut down I don’t know what to recommend. Apparently Smith College has an art museum?

    Rhode Island – Newport is definitely worth considering. There are some good spots in Providence for fans of hockey and Lovecraft, but I don’t know what to recommend in Providence other than Trinity Brewhouse.

    Boston – I’d suggest the Museum of Science if it looks appealing. They have a fun lightning demo courtesy of Van de Graaff generators, and I believe you can pick up the Duck Tours – which are great – in front of it.

    Gloucester is fun and is close to Salem, which has colonial history. I do hear that the Witch Museum is a cheesefest, though. Hammond Castle was built by the inventor of remote control and the Hammond Organ, and is one of two Gloucester mansions built by eccentric millionaires. The other is Beauport, Sleeper-McCann house.

    If you have the time, you can go whale watching from either Boston or Gloucester. The boats go to the same place, Stellwagen Bank.

  9. 10

    The Kancamagus Highway is a beautiful scenic stretch of route 112 in New Hampshire. If you enter the White Mountains by coming up I-93 you can get on the scenic bit of the highway in North Woodstock, NH. It ends in Conway, where you can pick up route 16, the road you’ll take to get to Mt. Washington.

    There will always be one more item to add to the list of things to do in Boston.

    In southern CT, Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History has a huge ornithology collection and (I think) one of the largest vertebrate fossil collections in the world. New Haven is at the junction between I-91 and I-95, so easy to head up to Hartford or continue east towards Rhode Island from there.

  10. 11

    There’s a little restaurant in Portsmouth, NH called The Loaf and Ladle. They have what is most likely the best soup and bread ever made by human hands. There’s also one in Exeter, NH like 10 minutes off of Rt 95.

  11. 12

    Yes, Smith College has an art museum. But I also strongly recommend seeing their greenhouse and botanical gardens. And Northampton has other things to recommend it, such as many good restaurants, Thorne’s Marketplace, Herrell’s Ice Cream, and Raven Used Books. Unfortunately, Pride and Joy closed its physical store recently.

    If you’re going up to Vermont via Brattleboro, you might want to stop by their food co-op for lunch. It’s at the south end of Main near Canal Street, and I heard they recently finished their new building. There is also the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center across the street toward the river, and a nice antique store and some book stores nearby on and near Main Street. If you’re looking for camping and hiking equipment, check out Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters. It’s huge.

    And while you’re up in Vermont, say hi to the Mi-go for me.

    Other people have covered other areas, so I’ll leave it at that. I hope you have a wonderful time!

  12. 13

    You’ll be driving right past Hanover, New Hampshire. I suggest stopping to see the Dartmouth campus and visiting Molly’s, a restaurant just south of the campus green, for the best wood-fired pizza, anywhere. Enjoy your trip!

  13. 14

    Waterfire in Providence is some fun stuff.

    I highly recommend in Boston the Museum of Fine Arts.

    The other thing that’s awesome in Providence is the pub food. There’s an excellent cullinary academy in town and all those students have to do internships. The result is that a lot of out of the way places have unexpectedly great food. Also the microbrews are great (portsmouth too).

    In Portsmouth you can check out the Albacore

    Lowell has some great stuff.

    Not too far west of Springfield MA is the Norman Rockwell Museum

  14. 16

    As a native of the North Shore (you’ll hear it as “Nawth Sho-ah” 🙂 ) I have to advocate for a stop in Salem. Yeah. there’s the silly witch stuff, but there’s beaches there that are nice and the House of Seven Gables is worth seeing, as is the old wharf near where the customs house is. That customs house also happens to be where Nathaniel Hawthorne worked. (And a good friend of mine runs the coolest spice store ever in town, and yes it’s a shameless plug).

    Other North Shore spots are Fisherman’s Beach and Bass Point in Nahant, which out at the end of it has a really great view of Boston Harbor and the Bay (worth seeing at night because you are a good several miles north of the city). Fisherman’s beach happens to be one of the longest continuous stretches of public beach anywhere.

    Marblehead: see where the American Navy was born AND the original “Spirit of 76” painting. You really should see that in person. The old cemetery there is great and lots of houses in Marblehead have the little plaques on them where famous and not-so-famous Revolutionary War figures lived. The Colonel Lee House is particularly good, as is General Glover’s place.

    And in Lynn is the Mary Baker Eddy House. She started the Christian Science Movement.

    OK, done plugging my old neighborhood. 🙂 It is on the way, it looks like.

    One bit of route advice: if not in a hurry, do drive north over the Tobin Bridge (Route 1). The tunnels are just depressing, and the view from the Tobin is fantastic. As you go north, bear right on to the coastal roadways, towards Revere and Lynn, you go to rte 16, pass by the Wonderland dog track and then end up on 1A (the Lynnway), then rte 129/ 114 rather than I-95. That takes you through Salem, gets you on your way to Gloucester if you’re headed that way, and is a MUCH nicer ride along the water as you are going through town rather than a strip or the marshes. The only strip mall like spot is the Lynnway, and you can see stuff.

    It isn’t August so the algal blooms shouldn’t be apparent on the beaches (it’s a longstanding environmental problem). On the off chance they are, close the car window. You’ll be glad you did.

  15. 18

    Salem: Visit the Witch House: “the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Witchcraft Trials of 1692.” They have interesting artifacts from 1600s daily life, and I’d recommend the guided tour.
    Boston: I just saw the samurai armor exhibit at the MFA, which was fantastic. The aquarium is great. The Museum of Science is largely aimed at kids, but some of their more recently updated exhibits can be very informative.

  16. 19

    Have fun!
    The Boston Aquarium is undergoing renovations to be completed Jul 1, but it looks like only the penguins are off-exhibit at this point? It really is a great place, and very Boston, but (pre-renovations at least) is not as big or modern as the aquariums in Baltimore or Monterey Bay, if that is your point of reference. There’s also an aquarium in Mystic CT that has Beluga Whales. You can do a (expensive) behind the scenes tour with the whales.

    I think the Boston Museum of Science is amazing, even for adults. I went there with a group of friends a few years ago – ages 40-60. We spent the entire day and really had to drag ourselves away to catch the train home.

    NH – I love the Squam Lakes Natural Science Ctr –
    It is home to a wide variety of native wild animals that can’t be released due to injury or over familiarity with people. It is by far the nicest facility of its type I’ve ever been to. It has a nice nature trail layout, with some non-critter exhibits, a frog pond with a shaky bridge, butterfly fields, and more staff around to answer questions than most places. They do a lot of scheduled animal talks. There’s a nice garden attached, and there are lake cruises of some kind – to see loons I think?.

    RI – Just in case I haven’t mentioned enough animal places, Roger Williams Park zoo is a nice AZA certified zoo.

    I agree with the other folks posting about Hammond Castle and Salem. Salem not only has historical witch trial sites, it also has an unusual concentration of practicing religious Wiccans and also shops with both touristy witch and ceremonial wiccan stuff. Kind of an interesting environment. There’s the house of seven gables too.

  17. 20

    I live a five minute ride from Providence. I’ll second Water fire. It sounded weird to me at first but once I saw it in person, I realized how really excellent and moving it is. If you like good food, the restaurants on Federal Hill are a 10 – 15 minute walk from Water Fire. They have some of the best Italian food you can get in the U.S. If you go at a busy time. you may want to book a reservation ahead or be ready to wait a while. The RISD art museum is a short drive away.

    Newport is also fun. The cliffwalk is a trail that runs along a cliff about 20 feet above the ocean right behind some of the Newport Mansions. It has some of the most beautiful scenery around.

    In Maine, the LL Bean main store is pretty cool. I always thought it was fun that the stores outside doors have no locks because the store never closes. They get customers coming in from 2 hours away at 3 am on every Christmas day from people who forgot to buy someone a Christmas gift.

  18. 21

    The Rock Of Ages granite quarry and workshops in Barre (About 10 miles from Montpelier, VT) is definitely worth seeing. It was the quarry that the young James T. Kirk crashed the corvette into in the Star Trek reboot.

    Another offbeat thing to see in Barre is Hope Cemetery. It has some of the most ornate granite headstones you can imagine. Do a Google image search for “hope cemetery barre vt” to get an idea of what to see.

  19. 22

    If you’re in ‘Hamp you should come over to Amherst and visit the Beneski Natural History and the Mead Art Museums at Amherst College. The Smith Art museum is no longer free and is no longer as nice as it used to be back when I attended Smith (IMHO it’s too NY gallery now). However, the greenhouse is a must stop at Smith. One of my favorite places. There is also the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art at Hampshire College. And if you end up over there you should visit Atkins Farm Store around the corner for cider donuts and other goodies. Between VT and Northampton you might want to stop in at Shelburne Falls to see the Glacial Potholes and poke around in town.

  20. 23

    Visit Saint-Gauden’s National Historic Site in Cornish,NH. It’s right off Route 91 as you’re going north. Great artist and sculptor. Wonderful views. And you get to see and go across the longest covered bridge in New England, if not the USA which is right down the road. Saint-Gauden did some very famous works including the Standing Lincoln, the 1907 $20.00 Gold coin, the 54th Regiment Monument. Place is truly gorgeous and best of all free. I live only a few miles from it. There’s a website for it. Have fun. aroough

  21. 24

    A couple of lesser known treats…

    Boston: The First Church of Christ, Scientist (the mother church) at Mass Av and Huntington.

    They have an amazing fountain the length and design if which required accounting for the curvature of the earth in its construction.

    In the admin building is a room called the maparium. A thirty foot diameter, stained glass world globe with a walkway through the center. Stand just inside the entrance with a friend on the opposite end and you can whisper to each other from almost thirty feet away.

    Sugar Hill NH: (on the way to Mt Washington) Polly’s Pancake Parlor makes the best pancakes I have ever had. You order them in sets of three 3″ cakes with choices of white, wheat, buckwheat (my favorite), and more, each with the choice of blueberries, walnuts, pecans, and other additions. Of course they are served with their own maple syrup, tapped and processed right there on the farm.

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