7 Worthy Road Trips in New England
Above photo: Acadia National Park's shoreline explodes with color in fall. Photo by Charles Williams
Story by Patricia Corrigan
Patricia is a journalist, photographer and book author based in San Francisco.
The Northeast features memorable destinations for your next vacation.
No matter when you head to the Northeast for a long weekend or an extended vacation, New England offers beautiful scenery, tasty regional specialties and assorted outdoor adventures. Plan a romantic getaway for two, head out on your own or rent an SUV and take the whole family on one of these seven road-tested adventures, and you’ll make memories that last a lifetime.
A scenic 30-mile drive on U.S. Route 1 in Maine winds along coastal stretches, past farmland and through forests, and offers culinary delights as well. Start your journey at Owls Head State Park, about 20 minutes south of Rockland, which is served by the Knox County Regional Airport. Set a course north for Belfast, and along the way, sample lobster, sushi, poutine and more. Between meals, drive to a haunted lighthouse, seek out hiking trails or board an excursion boat.
The only national park in the Northeast, this gem offers splendid ocean and forest views — maybe even a wildlife sighting or two — along the 27-mile-long Park Loop Road. A 47,000-acre Atlantic recreation area, Acadia is situated on the Atlantic Coast in Bar Harbor, Maine. In the park, a 3.5-mile narrow access road leads to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the East Coast of the U.S.
If your ideal road trip includes lakes, waterfalls and covered bridges along country roads, the Pequawket Trail will suit you perfectly. This destination works for a day, a weekend or a longer vacation — you decide. A 60-mile section of State Route 113, the Byway begins in Standish, about a 45-minute drive from Portland, and ends in Gilead. Along the way, you can hike, swim, fish, explore historic towns or just relax and enjoy the scenery.
If reports of healthy snowpack sparks your wanderlust, how about a ski trip to New England? Three resorts — Loon Mountain, Bretton Woods and Cannon Mountain — lie within easy driving distance of Lincoln, New Hampshire, which is about 65 miles from the Lebanon Municipal Airport. In addition to skiing, Loon offers cross-country and snowshoeing tours, ice skating, indoor climbing and ziplining. Bretton Woods boasts 10 lifts serving 62 trails, 35 glades and three terrain parks. And Cannon Mountain’s 11 lifts serve 97 trails, many for more experienced skiers.
On a road trip covering about 100 miles, you can meet dairy cows, taste farm-fresh vegetables, visit a sauerkraut cellar, enjoy a hayride, pick fresh fruit and learn how cheese is made. Fly into Albany, New York, and tour several farms in New York and Massachusetts, all in close proximity. City dwellers of all ages will enjoy connecting with the land, whether or not anyone opts to try milking a cow.
The perfect pilgrimage for anyone who enjoys artisanal cheeses is a weekend road trip in the Berkshire Mountains in Upstate New York and Massachusetts, where cheesemakers craft some of the country’s finest fromage. A good starting point is in Ghent, New York, about a 40-minute drive on U.S. Route 9 from the airport in Albany. The Berkshire Cheese Trail takes you to dairy farms where you can meet cows and sheep, see cheese produced at a creamery, sample the products -- and then fill your trunk with delicious cheeses.
Got a sweet tooth? Commercial firms and hobbyists take part in maple syrup production in Massachusetts and New York. Sugaring season happens in “that narrow window between the depths of winter and the first signs of spring,” when the trees are tapped. From the airport in Albany, New York, drive 41 miles to Williamstown, Massachusetts, to get started on your itinerary. Dutchess County, New York, is just another 40 miles away, and there you can sample more of the sweet syrup at several farms.
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