Google searches in the last 12 months for “female solo travel’’ were more than 44 percent higher than the previous year in the United States, and worldwide searches for “female solo travel’’ hit an all-time high in the week of Jan. 21, 2018.
Pinterest also reports that saves for “solo travel’’ among women are up more than 500 percent since 2014, and up more than 250 percent in the past year alone, from February 2017 to February 2018.
“We’re seeing a rise in saves in solo travel amongst women that includes everything from destination lists, travel quotes and safety tips,’’ says Larkin Brown, user researcher at Pinterest. “More broadly, we see this behavior as a reflection of women feeling a greater sense of empowerment and independence — taking pride in exploring new places and experiences on their own.’’
If you’ve got the urge to travel and no one to travel with, or maybe you simply want a relaxing, free-to-do-what-you-want, when-you-want escape, here are a few New England travel ideas perfect for women going it alone.
Organized trips appeal to women who want to experience traveling alone but also enjoy meeting new people, and feel safer in a group.
“Many of our solo women travelers also like the fact that we do all the planning, from choosing hotels and restaurants to arranging transportation,’’ says Liz Einbinder, a spokeswoman for Backroads, a leading active vacation tour company.
Backroads (800-462-2848, www.backroads.com) offers several walking and biking trips in the Northeast, including the five-day Vermont Walking & Hiking Tour from Manchester to Woodstock, with stops at local farms, country stores and historic sites. On the five-day Hudson Valley Bike Tour, you pedal to small towns, orchards and vineyards and through the hills and forests flanking the Hudson River. The Nova Scotia Walking & Hiking Tour includes walks along shoreline paths and through coastal tundra forests. Guests can walk or bike as many miles as they like, and go at their own pace.
Guided trips offered by Massachusetts-based New England Great Freedom Adventures are popular with solo women travelers (877-545-1864, www.great freedomadventures.com). Favorites include their three-day Enchanting Block Island Active Vacation with a mix of cycling, kayaking, sailing, and walking; the Captivating Cape Cod and the Islands Bike Tour, a six-day itinerary that hits some of the best parts of the Cape, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard; the Coastal New England Wine Trail Bike Tour, a five-day traverse of the farmlands and coastal regions of Rhode Island and Massachusetts with stops at several estate wineries (easy biking, great scenery). They also offer several bike tours in Vermont. “We’ve been biking Vermont for about four decades and have three-, four- and six-day options, and we’ve hosted a slew of solos on them,’’ says Jeanne Rummel, owner of New England Great Freedom Adventures. Rummel recommends that women wanting extra pampering should look at their tours based out of the Woodstock Inn.
Vermont-based VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, an award-winning, active vacation tour company, says 60 percent of its customers are women traveling alone, a five percent increase over last year, a 60 percent increase over the last 10 years. Popular choices include the Maine Coast: Purely Acadia excursion, with cycling on car-free carriage roads, sea kayaking, whale-watching and boat cruise options; the Classic Vermont with back road pedaling, picnics and small-town visits, and the Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard bike tour (800-245-3868, www.vbt .com).
The Appalachian Mountain Club (603-466-2727, www.outdoors.org) offers a series of guided lodge-to-hut hiking programs that are based out of the Highland Center Lodge and Joe Dodge Lodge in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They also offer a variety of lodge-to-lodge cross country ski programs in Maine, as well as canoe camping and a women’s only fly-fishing program. Beginning in July, and continuing through October, there are monthly yoga retreats at AMC Medawisla Lodge and Cabins in Greenville, Maine.
Follow your passion
“I’d say at least 75 percent of our students are female, and many of them come here on their own,’’ says Susan Miller, Baking School Director at the King Arthur Flour Company, offering a variety of classes at their school in Norwich, Vt. “Some call it their bakation.’’
Popular classes include Lofty Layers: Crafting Croissants, The Magic of Wild Yeast: Sourdough, Beauty & the Baguette, Bread 101, and Pastry Miniatures (800-827-6836, www.kingarthur flour.com). Or, check into the Essex Resort & Spa in northern Vermont (800-727-4295, www.essexresort.com). Relax in your luxe room in between classes at the on-site Cook Academy, offering hands-on, small group workshops like the Veritable Vegetarian, Easy as Pie, Cooking with Vermont Beer, and Pasta Workshop. They also offer guided local wine and chocolate tours.
Love the outdoors? Love birding? Consider a Mass Audubon natural history tour (781-259-2166, massaudubon.org/travel). Upcoming New England trips include Cape Cod in the Spring Field Trip, Women’s Birding in the Adirondacks, Machias Seal Island and Eastern Maine, Puffins and Peatlands, and Birds and Bogs of the Upper Coast of Maine.
Yoga retreats are aplenty and popular with women solo travelers. Past participants rave about the Sewall House meditation and yoga retreats (888-235-2395, www.sewall house.com), held at a simple, picturesque B&B in northern Maine, located about 3½ hours north of Portland. We like the flexibility: you can choose your day of arrival and departure, and length of stay, any time May through October. There are daily yoga and meditation sessions, along with hiking, biking, swimming, and kayaking.
Of course, if you’re simply looking for a little alone time, check yourself into a nice resort, armed with a good book and some fine chocolates. May we suggest the aptly-named Cliff House Maine, perched on Bald Head Cliff in Cape Neddick (855-210-6901, www.destinationhotels.com/cliff-house). Head to the 9,000-square-foot luxury spa to warm in the steam room and sauna, before your spa treatment (a body brushing and essential oil wrap, perhaps?). Soak in the dramatic ocean and jagged coastline views from the spa’s Sanctuary Lounge. Take an afternoon walk along the beach or a nap beneath lush linens. In the evening, dine (alone, of course) at The Tiller restaurant, and make a silent toast to your blissful, well-earned peace and quiet. Your peeps will be clamoring soon enough.