Travel in the NewEngland states. A little help please?
July 29, 2009 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Travel plans through the Northeast (New England States) Looking for the fun/quirky ideas.

Myself and my g/f - we know we want to travel in the New England area for about week (from Aug 7th-12th). We're cheap and we like to keep it that way (but don't want to camp in tents.)

We're thinking about going to the Arlington craft sale in VT on sat the 8th and the Mystic Outdoor festival on the 9th...

And beyond that, we don't know. We're mobile, adults (late 30s), I've traveled more than she has; but this is a first (a random cartrip vacation together.) She's never been to a BnB (so kitchy little cheaper ones are good...)

Not so interested in food festivals, but a brewery visit is festivals aren't our cup of tea either. Also a no-go anything involving the caging of animals (circuses and zoos make the baby jesus cry.)

Maybe a meetup (or crashing at a mefi's place) would be fun too.

C'mon - Give us your best. Feel free to toss in quirky or touristy 'don't miss' things
posted by filmgeek to Travel & Transportation (22 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Old Sturbridge Village is a lot more fun than you might think. It's a big place, lots of woods, very beautiful setting, and really is quite fascinating.

It's supposed to be a recreation of what life was like in that area in about 1830.

The coolest thing is the water-powered sawmill. They don't always run it, but if they are it's really fascinating to watch.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:53 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just hang out in Portland for a bit. Go out to one or more of of the islands, maybe even stay a night on one - there are a few great bed and breakfasts sprinkled about.

Yes, there is an awesome brewery nearby, too.
posted by setanor at 8:59 PM on July 29, 2009

Weird bowling! Look for duckpin (most of New England) and candlepin (basically Massachusetts and north) places. Harder than regular bowling but tons of fun!
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:07 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ah, New England road trip. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. Have you seen this ask me question? In the meantime, I'm just filling in until Jessamyn shows up. :)

This was my answer in that previous question. On that list, I most emphatically recommend the Book Barn (not all that far from Mystic). It's something to be experienced if you have some time and are not allergic to cats (or goats or sheep or dogs).

For beer, check the Vermont Brewers Association website; Vermont has bunch of craft breweries.
posted by booksherpa at 9:19 PM on July 29, 2009

I will, alas, be on a family road trip through Maine around then, but one of the places that we're seeing/staying is the Quoddy Head Station. It's sort of way up there in Maine (in fact it's the Easternmost point in the US if you believe the hype) and the rates are cheap. I had another MeFi up visiting in VT recently and we saw the quarries in Barre, Lake Champlain, the Church Street ped mall (got ice cream at Ben and Jerry's) went to the Wayside Restaurant and the sheep and llamas belonging to another MeFite couple nearby.

I grew up in MA so got dragged to Sturbridge more times than I can remember, I have no perspective on what it seems like to an adult, though there is a cheap hotel nearby and one of the biggest liquor stores (warning: sound) I've ever seen. I'm partial to the Northern New England States which are emptier and a little funkier, though MA and RI have some great history and public transportaton options. The best thing about CT is Mystic Seaport and probably the Merrit Parkway.

A lot of what's neat up here involves driving to weird places. There's the library in Derby Line which actually spans the international border, there's the Phineas Gage memorial in Cavendish, made more timely by the recent discovery of a photograph purported to be of him (yay flickr) or the dog chapel and bug art up in St Johnsbury.
posted by jessamyn at 9:20 PM on July 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Jessamyn- Is Gage holding the bar that went through his skull or is that something else?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:09 PM on July 29, 2009

That's the bar! I made an FPP about it just now because I started reading about him.
posted by jessamyn at 10:10 PM on July 29, 2009

I found this cool little site a few days ago called Atlas Obscura, it's kinda like Wikipedia where people add strange and quirky sites to a map with descriptions. Perhaps see if there are any places that pique your curiosity.
posted by jeremias at 4:15 AM on July 30, 2009

I saw an article in the NYT last week about Gage, and made me wonder if there was any relation to the folks who owned the land where our house is now. I plan to ask our town historian. Thanks for the FPP, jessamyn.

"the sheep and llamas belonging to another MeFite couple nearby."

That would be me in turtlegirl. You don't mention when you are traveling, filmgeek, but if we're around and you want to stop by for a visit, MeMail me.
posted by terrapin at 4:16 AM on July 30, 2009

(Poo. I read it in The Globe, not the NYT)
posted by terrapin at 4:22 AM on July 30, 2009

If you are in the Hartford/Springfield area and it is a hot day, the absolutely best place to go is the Old Newgate Prison/Copper Mine. Instant air conditioning, and it's got a pretty neat history and fun setting.
posted by saffry at 4:31 AM on July 30, 2009

If you like classical music, you should check out the Tanglewood (Lenox, MA) schedule: . This is where the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays during the summer.

My favorite thing about New England is hiking in NH/VT. There are many choices for this, but if I had to recommend just one, it would be Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH.
posted by where u at dawg at 5:00 AM on July 30, 2009

Best answer: Get thee a copy of Weird New England - lots of interesting potential destinations in that book, of both the "world's biggest ball of twine" and "old manmade stuff in the woods whose origins are unknown" variety.
posted by usonian at 5:48 AM on July 30, 2009

Best answer: Seconding the Book Barn. It's twenty minutes from Mystic and one of my favorite bookstores.

Good lunch and bookstores can be found in Brattleboro or Northampton.
Stay out of the cities.
posted by mearls at 5:48 AM on July 30, 2009

Best answer: I have said it before, I will say it again: Shady Glen Diner in Manchester, CT makes the most omigod-this-is-AMAZING cheeseburger in this universe and possibly in other universes in other discovered or undiscovered dimensions.

Also, if you visit either The Wadsworth Atheneum or The Barnum Museum you will be indirectly meeting my ancestry (I'm descended from the founder of one and related to an exhibit in the other). So, you know, if that's any appeal, there it is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:44 AM on July 30, 2009

The Belding House is the best b&b in the world. Fantastic breakfasts, free homemade snacks, lovely hosts, and an adorable, rustic setting. Have a great trip!
posted by equipoise at 8:13 AM on July 30, 2009

Best answer: Third the Book Barn. Email me for my seekrit local tips on the Mystic, CT, area. Also, Clyde's Cider Mill is a must - 100-year-old, steam powered cider press where they make both sweet and hard cider from rare apple varities. Great little store with donuts and pies and the like.

I have lots more recommendations, but New England is a big place and I"m daunted at the thought of typing them all. Do you plan to concentrate on those CT and VT destinations? Any other destinations on the list? If you can narrow it down maybe we can be more helpful.
posted by Miko at 8:16 AM on July 30, 2009

On our upcoming drive to the Maine coast I hope to detour us to Wiscasset for lobster rolls at Red's Eats. Which makes me think a trip just going from one lobster-roll emporium to another might be fun, though maybe too food-festivally for you.

And, me, I'd like to just drive along the coast, spending a part of each day sitting on a granite boulder watching the tide.
posted by booth at 11:41 AM on July 30, 2009

There's the Higgins Armory Museum in (otherise awful) Worcester, Mass., as you travel the Mass Pike: They have a suit of armor for a dog. Sweet!
posted by wenestvedt at 12:40 PM on July 30, 2009

There's WaterFire going on that Saturday in Providence, RI. That same day you could also visit the grave of H. P. Lovecraft, check out some games in the Providence Kickball League, the weirdest and drunkeniest kickball league in the nation, eat in Federal Hill or some other good restaurants elsewhere in Providence.
posted by Kattullus at 8:23 PM on July 30, 2009

I'll just repeat what I recommended in this earlier thread...

Funspot in Laconia, NH, as seen in The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. The arcade is crazy fun, and the surrounding area is a cute lake resort area, with go-karts and mini water parks and a drive-in movie theater.
posted by illenion at 8:23 PM on July 30, 2009

Response by poster: I 'best answered' those we did- at another time I'm sure we'll go back and I'll revisit this thread for the things we missed.

Book barn, amazing
Shady Glen diner, awesome

We did the Cliff Walk in Rhode Island - also great (not listed above.)
Also fun - Vermont Country Store...

And a visit to Jessyman's.

Never made it to Mt. Washington :(
posted by filmgeek at 2:46 PM on August 29, 2009

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