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New England

A taste of New England

For many years we have been offering a self-drive tour of New England, with relatively short driving distances and possibly staying in just three places. You will experience the Atlantic Coast of Maine; The White Mountains; lakes of New Hampshire and rolling Vermont hills while staying in country inns full of character. Most people spend a week, but it can be adjusted to suit you. Here is an outline of the trip, but we can send you more in depth information if you wish.
If you are considering this prior to a stay in Boston and heading off as soon as you land, then we would suggest you add Rockport for the night (see the section below). If this is to be done after a night or two in Boston, then we suggest picking up from a Downtown Depot, a hire car armed with ‘sat nav’ and heading north to the seaside town of Kennebunkport. This is famous as both George Bush Snr’s summer residence and the lobster capital of New England. It is normal to stay two or three nights here as it makes a good base to explore the dramatic coast or go whale watching. The charming town is full of clapperboard houses and places to eat and shop. We have a high-quality country inn to suggest here, offering concierge-style service (shut due to Covid, we are waiting for it to re-open). We have two other characterful options in town. One reason for staying the third night is to go for a day trip north, about 45 mins to Freeport, the outlet capital of the US. It is also the home of the famous L.L.Bean store, the vast hunting; outdoor and sports store, which is open 24 hours.

new england map

The next destination is inland at a place called Hart’s Location, which is about a 3 hour’s drive to the North West. The nearby Mount Washington is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard. For a description of the inn 

see the section ‘A short break at a mountainside inn’.

For contrast, a 2-2½ hours drive to the west and on the far side of Vermont’s border is Burlington, on Lake Champlain. It is a large and very vibrant city, with its centre on the pedestrian Church Street Marketplace, full of boutiques; art galleries; cafes and restaurants. This is a good base to visit the charming ski town of Stowe; the lake-side rural islands; Basin Harborand Shelbourne Museum. We have a couple of historic inns within walking distance of the marketplace and lakefront.

The last leg back to Boston is about a 2½ – 3½ hours drive, but can be broken up with stops at the historic towns of Lexington and Concord (MA). The above itinerary can be used as a frame-work we can tailor make an itinerary to suit you. If you are interested we can send you more details on the country inns featured.

A short break at a mountainside country inn
Hart’s Location is a 3-3½ hour drive north. This is a beautiful granite mansion built in the 1860’s and set amidst the White Mountains National Forest, in New Hampshire. We have been sending clients here sporadically for nearly thirty years and have yet to have a client who has not loved their stay. Within the main house, there are vast log fireplaces and a separate music room. Your stay would be on a half-board basis, with the chief preparing 5-course meals. Most of the large cosy bedrooms are full of character, many are up in the roof’s eaves. There are a number of hiking trails starting on the property, with llama and horse riding also available. To soothe away the aches and pains there is a wood-burning hot tub set in a gazebo overlooking their pond. We feel a three-night duration giving you two full days here is ideal as a post-conference break. NOTE- this is very popular and books up months ahead. Using this as a base and travelling southwest from here are the lake lands of New Hampshire. Squam Lake is the setting for the Oscar-winning movie on Golden Pond, starring Katherine Hepburn and Jane & Henry Fonda

A short break at Rockport on the coast
This is a favourite weekend retreat for Bostonians and about an hour’s drive from the city, or less from the airport. Rockport is a picturesque fishing village jutting out into the Atlantic, with some lovely scenery and many coastal walks. The town has a quaint fishing harbour with a number of restaurants; cafes and gift shops. The Country Inn that we have been using for just under thirty years is made up of a cluster of five renovated houses with white picket balconies and covered porches, set on a small hill with lovely views of the beach and fishing port.