Sitting at the foot of the Mohawk Trail and pitched nicely between Northampton and Brattleboro (Vt.) just off I-91, Greenfield is a great, if little-known town.
It has the feel of a place past its heyday but ready to make a comeback: lovely 19th century homes, a farmers' market and a walkable downtown.
It has some excellent eateries, including the People's Pint pub and restaurant, the Hope and Olive restaurant, Blue Thai Ginger and Mirling's bakery. Koko's Cafe for coffee and sandwiches on Main Street.
The surrounding countryside is lovely and varied. Apple orchards abound and in the autumn you can 'pick your own' or sample the delights of sweet apple cider. Maple syrup is everywhere.
Situated as it is, Greenfield is a gateway to the beautiful Berkshire Hills. From here, you can wind your way along Rte. 2 to groovy North Adams; or, leave Rte. 2 at the small-but-perfectly-formed Shelburne Falls and head north on Rte. 112 up through Colrain to southern Vermont for outstanding views of quintessential New England landscapes. Oh, did I mention Fall foliage? It's happening right now. Brilliant.
Western Massachusetts, the north-west corner.
Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont: miles of single-track riding through idyllic rolling terrain.
Not to be missed by mountain bike enthusiasts. There's a local pub and country shop for after ride beer and food.
Check out South End Art and Business Association (SEABA). This great little organisation
connects artists with local businesses. The result is art in unexpected business locales as you stroll down Church Street.
Every year SEABA sponsors the Art Hop during
the second weekend in September, when hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors swarm Burlington.
Throughout the summer SEABA hosts 'First Fridays', an opportunity to meander to see art you’re interested in while sipping complementary wine and snacks.
Take a trip up Mount Washington in New Hampshire's White Mountains, it's the highest peak in the American Northeast. The cog railway to the top was built in 1868 and is still going strong today.
You can walk up the mountain too, but take advice and be very careful – it's famous for dangerously erratic weather.
Head north into northern New Hampshire or Maine.
Get a car and drive up I93, keep going up towards Franconia Notch or deviate and head for the 'Lakes'.
Titlon and Conway have shopping outlets (NH has no sales tax) and there is the Conway Scenic Railroad which will provide you with a steam rail trip through the autumal colours.
Alternatively, head up I 95, stopping for lunch in Portsmouth NH, and up into Maine. Head north to the mountains.
Both are beautiful, inexpensive (especially with the current exchange rate) and away from the usual UK tourist spots.
While away an afternoon on pretty Newbury Street for chic Boston shopping - you'll find everything from Chanel and Marc Jacobs to Urban Outfitters. There are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops to break your journey.
Ugh, it's New England and it's autumn. Why would anyone traipse around Boston and Cambridge? You want to see autumn colors and beautiful landscapes. Get on a train going North to beautiful Cape Ann, the far, far suburbs. You can head for Gloucester – Italian cafes, a harbor, maybe dinner if you see something you like walking around the town.
On the train trip to Cape Ann, which goes along the ocean, you can get out at Beverly. See a movie at the wonderfully restored Cabot Theater and have dinner nearby at any one of some excellent restaurants. Get out at Beverly Farms and have dinner in one of the few small restaurants downtown (one block long), then walk to the beach.
On the train from Boston to Cape Ann
While not completely unique to New England - I’ve heard there are some lanes in New York State and Florida - this bowling game is fun for the entire family.
The pins are posts and the balls are about the size of a softball. Anyone – from a 3-year-old to a person in a wheelchair – can be a competitive candlepin bowler, the weight of the ball has no bearing to one’s ability to aim and bowl it.
The downed wood remains on the alley and can be played to advantage or becomes a hazard. Because the pins are slender and the balls small, "splits" are a common challenge. Developing a well-placed “hook” is an asset.
It may take some telephoning to find an operating facility, but check out the Fairway Lanes on Rte. 9, Natick, Mass.
Portsmouth is the oldest colonial town in new Hampshire and settled only three years after Plymouth colony in 1623. Much of the colonial history and architecture is maintained in an area known as Strawberry Bank. Some of the best restaurants and shopping in New England can also be found in Portsmouth.
Early October is the height of Leaf Season in Vermont. Just two hours from Boston, four from New York City, can find you driving the byways of rural New England, surrounded by the riotous colours of Autumn. I recommend driving up Vermont Route #100 from Wilmington to just north of Mount Snow, then crossing over the spine of the Green Mountains on the West Wardsboro to East Arlington Road (dirt), stopping off for a picnic lunch at Grout Pond, (and perhaps an hour's walk around the pond), then continue on to Bourne Pond and down to Vermont Route #7 in East Arlington. Obtain a map of Vermont (available at any Vermont Information booth) and get off the main highways, onto secondary, or even dirt, roads. Don't keep to a schedule. Stop at places that pique your interest. The first two weeks of October are the best time, when the leaves are most colourful.
Come now, rent a car, get on the pike and head west. The trees are just changing colours, the apples are ready to pick, not to mention the pumpkins, and if you're in luck you might find an apple cider donut... home made almost. Don't forget to try a corn (maize) maze.
Block Island is one of the places that makes Rhode Island the "Ocean State". Block Island can be reached via 1 hour ferry ride from Point Judith or Newport, depending on the season. The island offers a quiet and gentle respite from hectic mainland life, with great beaches, and extensive cycling and walking tracks, not to mention the unspolit nature. Don't miss out on the fantastic seafood, such as clam chowder, either!
The I 90 is the main turnpike road through Mass. At this time of year the leaves are turning, the sky is blue and the rivers and lakes you will drive by on this easy road are glorious. A long straight major road, easier to find than the traditional "leaf peeper" routes up into NH or Maine.
I 90 W out of Boston.
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