101 ways to savor summer in New England

Start making plans: Here’s more than one thing to do for every day of summer

At Felix Neck sanctuary in Edgartown.
At Felix Neck sanctuary in Edgartown.

1. West Quoddy Head Light, Lubec, Maine See the sun rise at the iconic barber pole lighthouse on the easternmost point of land in the United States.

2. Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey, N.H. Taking the long view is easy from atop one of North America’s most-climbed mountains. On a clear day you see 100 miles.

3. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, Mass. All the great names in 80 years of modern dance have kicked up their heels on this wooded mountaintop.

4. Lake Compounce, Bristol, Conn. Fun is on the move at this venerable amusement park, from the Riptide Racer water slide to the Boulder Dash wooden roller coaster through the woods.


5. The Breakers, Newport, R.I. Think of this summer “cottage’’ as the setting for a Gilded Age reality show called Lifestyles of the Very Rich and Famous.

6. Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury, N.H. For religious mystics, the Shakers sure were clever about living in this world. Understand their inventive ways and unusual faith.

7. Bennington Museum, Bennington, Vt. From chickens in the yard to sleighs in the snow, Grandma Moses’s paintings, displayed in a dedicated gallery, capture a bygone innocent era.

8. Mass MoCA, North Adams, Mass. There are no limits to creativity at this contemporary art museum that inhabits a complex of soaring brick factory buildings.

9. Monhegan Island, Maine Surrounded by water, surrounded by light, this rocky bump in the ocean has inspired generations of artists.

10. Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, St. Johnsbury, Vt. The Northeast Kingdom’s Victorian cabinet of curiosities also wows with modern space and weather science.

11. Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, Conn. Talk about walking in the footsteps of giants! Tracks beneath a geodesic dome evoke dinosaurs of the Jurassic Period.

12. Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence
Elephants, bison, giraffes, oh my! See the animals of the world — in 40 acres.

13. Moosehead Lake, Maine Humans are mere intruders in the boggy woodlands around this massive lake where moose, simultaneously gawky and majestic, browse for lilies.


14. Coast Guard Beach, Eastham, Mass. Swim in gentle surf or walk the long sands of Thoreau’s “Great Beach’’ at this Cape Cod National Seashore strand.

15. Cape Cod Rail Trail, Dennis to Wellfleet, Mass. Bypass traffic and enjoy the scenery on this 22-mile path linking mid-Cape to the Cape Cod National Seashore.

16. Budweiser Brewery Tour, Merrimack, N.H. If you consider the transformation of malt into beer a sublime mystery, take this peek behind the curtains.

17. Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn. NASCAR nation’s own little New England toehold abounds with thrills no matter what your politics are.

18. Mount Equinox Skyline Drive, Sunderland, Vt. Motor up this scenic 5.2-mile road to the summit of Mount Equinox, rooftop of Vermont’s Taconic Range.

19. Kennebec River, The Forks, Maine Huck Finn had nothing on rafters who run rippling whitewater in the Kennebec gorge as they float 12 miles before pulling out for a beer at The Forks. www.northernout doors.com

20. M/S Mount Washington, Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H. Crisscross the Granite State’s grandest lake on this majestic 230-foot excursion ship. Evening cruises feature dinner and dancing.

21. Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vt. Some museums only collect art. Shelburne also collects buildings and even a steamboat. See Americana in all its glorious variety.

22. Boulevard Diner, Worcester
This classic Worcester Lunch Car Co. diner retains its 1936 good looks while serving American breakfasts and Italian dishes around the clock.

23. Culinary Arts Museum, Johnson & Wales University, Providence
From diner memorabilia to great chefs of yore, exhibits chronicle why we eat the way we do.


24. NECI on Main, Montpelier
Taste the essence of Vermont at the training-ground restaurant of the New England Culinary Institute.

25. White Flower Farm, Morris, Conn. Seasonal blooms in the demonstration gardens of this Litchfield Hills horticultural landmark are an inspiration for gardeners.

26. Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, Mass. This blooming trolley bridge over the Deerfield River joins Shelburne and Buckland as the artsy village of Shelburne Falls.

27. Vermont Covered Bridge Museum, Bennington, Vt. Stop by this modest museum to learn about covered bridges — and to plot a driving tour of nearby spans.

28. Rose Island Lighthouse, Newport, R.I. See how keepers of old lived on this 18-acre island a mile offshore.

29. Five Islands Lobster Co., Georgetown, Maine Spruce-tufted islands with a side of drawn butter make lobster fresh off the boat taste even sweeter.

30. Motif No. 1, Rockport, Mass. The red fisherman’s shack on Bradley Wharf is the most painted building in this town of painters and galleries.

31. Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford
America’s first public art museum bought Impressionist and Hudson River School canvases when they were new and reserves a gallery for the avant-garde.

32. Mount Washington Cog Railway, Bretton Woods, N.H. The journey is as exhilarating as the destination as this venerable train ratchets up New England’s highest mountain.

33. Old Orchard Beach, Maine A long, sandy beach and a gaggle of rides at Palace Playland are the dream of summer for 12-year-olds — of every age.

34. Sakonnet Vineyards, Little Compton, R.I. Sip a glass of smooth Vidal Blanc on the patio of one of New England’s best-established fine wineries.

35. Plymouth Artisan Cheese-Coolidge State Historic Site, Plymouth, Vt. Silent Cal took the oath of office at the family homestead. Tour the house — and taste cheese from his father’s factory.

36. Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, Conn. American Impressionist painters traded art for summer lodging, seeding this outstanding regional collection.

37. Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, N.H. Enjoy a picnic on the idyllic lawns of the summer home of one of America’s greatest sculptors.

38. Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, Mass. Exhibits here capture the magic of Cape light in canvases from Charles Hawthorne to Robert Motherwell.

39. Green Animals Topiary Garden, Portsmouth, R.I. See what a skilled gardener can do with shears at this “zoo’’ of more than 80 sculpted trees and shrubs.

40. Green Mountain Club Visitor Center & Headquarters, Waterbury Center, Vt. This club blazed the Long Trail; let them help you plan a scenic hike.

41. Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Bristol, Maine Perched high above the broken ledges, this beacon draws photographers as surely as it warns ships off the rocky shoals.

42. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass. Salem’s early sea captains brought home curiosities of the world that grew into this grand museum.

43. Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth, N.H. You’ll never hear the term “this old house’’ again without envisioning this “neighborhood’’ of 17th- to 20th-century life.

44. Nathan Hale Homestead, Coventry, Conn. The family home of the famed Revolutionary spy also hosts a summer Sunday farmers’ market that resembles a country fair.

45. Vermont Country Store, Weston, Vt. If it’s old-fashioned and characteristically New England, this general store run amok has it for sale. Great food samples, too!

46. Wiscasset, Maine It’s worth slowing down in Maine’s “prettiest little bottleneck,’’ a town that is almost an open-air museum of Federal architecture. There’s also Red’s Eats.

47. Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam, Conn. Oddball castle built by an eccentric actor famed for portraying Sherlock Holmes puts Batman’s Wayne Manor in the shade.

48. Higgins Armory Museum, Worcester
One of the world’s great arms and armor collections honors the original men of steel.

49. Benefit Street, Providence
The “mile of history’’ on this leafy street lined with Colonial-era homes is a dreamscape for architecture and history buffs.

50. Wellfleet Drive-In and Flea Market, Wellfleet, Mass. This is the ultimate double feature: card-table bargains by day and big-screen movies at night.

51. The Puritan, Manchester, N.H. Still frying after all these years, purported inventor of “chicken tenders’’ sets the bar for this kiddie menu staple.

52. Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, Maine From glacial ponds and giant boulders to the wave-driven spout of Thunder Hole, Acadia presents Maine in the raw.

53. Stowe Gondola to Cliff House, Mount Mansfield, Stowe, Vt. Ride the gondola up Vermont’s highest mountain for dining with a top-of-the-world view.

54. Whale Watch Cruise, Gloucester, Mass. It’s a swift trip from Cape Ann’s granite jaw to Stellwagen Bank or Jeffreys Ledge, where leviathans gather to feed. www.7seas whalewatch.com

55. New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, New Bedford, Mass. This one-time world capital of the whaling industry seems forever haunted by Ahab and Ishmael.

56. Castine, Maine Kayak a glassy harbor at sunrise or take a night tour when every dip of the paddle stirs up glow-in-the-dark plankton that mirror the stars above. castinekayak.com

57. Block Island, R.I. All you need is a bicycle and a fishing pole to embrace the lazy pace of island life. Bring your bathing suit, too.

58. Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia, N.H. Swim Echo Lake or hike the deep cleft of Flume Gorge to discover the grounded treasures of the White Mountains.

59. American Museum of Fly Fishing, Manchester, Vt. Exhibits show how a patch of fur, a tuft of feathers, and all the skill in the world just might outsmart a trout.

60. Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Conn. With ships and wharves and costumed interpreters, this village museum captures 19th-century American life at sea and ashore.

61. Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Mass. Rockwell and this picture-perfect town were made for each other. See the illustrator’s glowing vision of American life.

62. Canobie Lake Park, Salem, N.H. Small fry like the pony carts, toddlers the bumper cars. Teens scream on the thrill rides, and everyone enjoys a good splash.

63. Machias Seal Island The United States and Canada both claim this island, but it really belongs to the nesting puffins. Book a birding tour from Cutler, Maine. www.boldcoast.com

64. Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour, Waterbury, Vt. See how Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey are made. Wind up tasting the flavor of the day.

65. Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, Essex, Conn. The splendor of the lower Connecticut Valley unfolds during nostalgic rides aboard a steam train and an excursion riverboat.

66. Slater Mill, Pawtucket, R.I. See how Americans hijacked English textile technology and ended up eating England’s lunch. It started here in 1793.

67. Billings Farm and Museum, Woodstock, Vt. This working 1871 farm examines the Vermont roots of “scientific farming.’’ It also has a milking Jersey herd.

68. Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine Shipbuilders have lined the Kennebec River wharves for centuries. This museum chronicles Maine ships and those who sailed them.

69. Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Catch a chamber concert at the Old Whaling Church or stroll beneath the pagoda tree downtown and you’ll understand why Edgartown sailors yearned for home.

70. Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough, Noank, Conn. Connecticut Yankees like their lobster rolls hot, and Abbott’s piles every bun with a quarter pound of meat drenched in butter.

71. Hampton Beach, N.H. Free concerts, weekly fireworks, and honky-tonk arcades augment a sandy beach and gentle surf to make Hampton a top summer beach town.

72. Old Port, Portland, Maine Boutiques, brewpubs, and bistros fill the old warehouses and chandleries of Portland’s atmospheric harborfront district.

73. Goodspeed Musicals, East Haddam, Conn. Gotta sing! Gotta dance! Catch a new musical before it goes to Broadway, or an old favorite back again.

74. Tanglewood Music Center, Lenox, Mass. Pack an extra-special picnic and spread a blanket on the lawn to celebrate the 75th anniversary season of this famed summer concert series.

75. Wyeth Center, Rockland, and Olson House, Cushing, Maine Andrew Wyeth was as gruff a painter as his subjects, capturing plain-spoken rural life with the shocking precision of tempera.

76. Province Lands, Cape Cod National Seashore, Provincetown, Mass. Bike through the humps and bumps and hollows of the wildest sands at the tip of Cape Cod.

77. Kent Falls State Park, Kent, Conn. Cascades mist your face as you climb the stepped trail beside the falls. In all, it tumbles 250 feet.

78. Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Mass. Rediscover rural New England life from 1790 to 1840 with heritage animals and historians in period garb.

79. Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, Vt. Don’t miss the cheese-making barn at this 19th-century gentleman’s dairy farm in the high meadows overlooking Lake Champlain.

80. UVM Morgan Horse Farm, Middlebury, Vt. This farm keeps one of America’s earliest breeds of horses as sound and beautiful as ever.

81. Kellerhaus, Weirs Beach, N.H. Hugely popular ice cream buffet features fudge and chocolate sauces and smooth marshmallow topping from the recipes of the legendary founder.

82. Crescent Park Carousel, Riverside, East Providence, R.I. This restored masterpiece by carousel pioneer Charles I.D. Looff is a whirling work of art. It’s also fun.

83. New England Air Museum, Windsor Locks, Conn. Aircraft from early biplanes to modern helicopters chronicle the romance, history, and heroism of American flight.

84. Windjammer Day Trip, Camden, Maine The sails snap as they fill with wind and the schooner heels as you round the islands of Penobscot Bay. www.appledore2.com,    www.maineschooners.com

85. East Bay Bike Path, R.I. From Providence this rail trail leads past preening swans and egrets stalking tidal shallows on the way to Bristol.

86. Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, N.H. The Hood delights with its eclectic holdings, including ancient Assyrian reliefs, American landscape paintings, and contemporary African art.

87. Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Mass. Turn back the clock to 1627 when Pilgrims occupied a walled town at the edge of wilderness and a Wampanoag clan lived nearby.

88. Zimmerman House, Manchester, N.H. The largest work of art at the Currier Museum of Art is Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Usonian’’ house.

89. Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford
Understand the psyche and times of author and humorist Samuel Clemens in the home where he lived and worked from 1874-91.

90. Hildene, Manchester, Vt. Walk the wooded trails, see the Pullman train car, and tour the Georgian Revival home built by Robert Todd Lincoln, Honest Abe’s son.

91. Farmington River, Conn. Even the three sets of rapids are easy floating aboard a big turquoise or yellow tube. It’s good clean fun for all generations. www.farmingtonrivertubing .com

92. Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory, Prospect, Maine Share the eagles’ view from this 420-foot-high aerie atop the dramatic span across the gorge.

93. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Mass. Living with art takes on new meaning when you picnic next to sculptures on the deCordova grounds.

94. CHurch Street Marketplace, Burlington, Vt. The Vermont outdoors gets an urban twist in this pedestrian mall bustling with entertainers, food carts, and outdoor cafes.

95. Gray’s Grist Mill, Adamsville, R.I. Sitting about 100 feet into Massachusetts, this venerable grist mill grinds perfect cornmeal for making Rhode Island johnnycakes.

96. Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield, Mass. It might be “a gift to be simple,’’ but the architecture of the 1826 Round Stone Barn shows remarkable dairy-farming ingenuity.

97. Misquamicut State Beach, Westerly, R.I. More than a half-mile of fine sand and the lapping surf of Block Island Sound make Misquamicut a family favorite.

98. Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, Mass. Ever since James Naismith nailed up two peach baskets, Springfield has been hoop-happy. Pay homage to pro and amateur greats.

99. Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine This is the Year of Winslow Homer at the museum, which owns some of his greatest paintings.

100. Submarine Force Museum, Groton, Conn. The Cold War feels close at hand inside Nautilus, the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine.

101. Newport Harbor, R.I. The gleaming city of Newport never looks as golden as it does at sunset from the deck of a onetime America’s Cup contender. www.americascupcharters.com

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