On this fascinating self-drive tour you will discover the best New England has to offer. From Boston, Massachusetts, you travel north to Maine, continue west to North Hampshire and Vermont, then go south to Connecticut and end up back in Boston. Along the way you will stop at so many quaint towns and drive through spectacular scenery proving that this beautiful area of the United States is not only worth visiting in the Fall.
Arrive in Boston
Spend your first day exploring the wonderful historic city of Boston with its world-class museums and abundant shopping opportunities. Begin on The Freedom Trail with its 16 historic stops, visit the Museum of Fine Arts, walk across the Charles River or take the “T” (subway) to Cambridge to explore the ivy-trimmed campus of Harvard University. For shoppers there's Copley Place and the famous Faneuil Hall Marketplace while sports fans can watch a Red Sox baseball game or tour Fenway Park.
Boston - Salem - Kennebunkport,
Leave the city and drive north along the scenic New England coast through Massachusetts. Infamous for the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, Salem is a colourful city with a rich maritime heritage, Victorian architecture and fascinating stories spanning nearly 400 years. Continue through historic Rockport, an inspiration to painters, then head to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and on to Maine, visiting charming Ogunquit. Your final stop of the day is Kennebunkport, where you stay tonight beside the Atlantic Ocean.
Kennebunkport, Portland, Camden & Rockland
First stop is beautiful Old Orchard Beach with its seven miles of golden sands. Then continue north to the historic coast city of Portland with its funky galleries, one-of-a-kind shops and many lighthouses. Take time to explore the Arts District and Old Port historic district then drive through the mid-coast region of Maine, past quaint New England cottages and quiet coves. Rockland, where you stay tonight, is a classic working harbour town and home to galleries, fine dining and the Maine Lighthouse Museum.
Rockland to Bar Harbor
Today you follow the scenic shoreline of Penobscot Bay to Lincolnville in the heart of the Maine coast. This remote place is a perfect spot to enjoy breathtaking views of the bay. Next, visit the picturesque town of Blue Hill. In addition to its historical architecture and shipbuilding roots, it is also a gateway to Acadia National Park. Today’s final stop is Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island, featuring elegant Victorian architecture, and situated between the blue waters of Frenchman Bay and the national park.
Bar Harbor, Bethel to Gorham
Before travelling inland, take the morning to explore Acadia National Park, known for its rugged beauty. See glorious mountains and abundant wildlife and hear the thunder of crashing waves. Steep slopes rise above the rocky shore, including Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. Travel east to Bethel, one of Maine’s popular mountain villages, and a hub of outdoor activities from skiing in winter to hiking and biking in summer. Then stay the night in Gorham.
Gorham to North Conway
Take a full day to explore the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Join Highway 15 (Three Rivers Scenic Drive) which takes you past Mount Washington and the mountain pass known as Pinkham Notch. Here you can take the cog railway or drive to the summit of Mount Washington. Hike some of the trails or take a gondola ride and enjoy the views in Wildcat Mountain Ski Area. The journey ends in North Conway, home to around 100 stores, fine art galleries, craft shops, restaurants, pubs and live entertainment.
North Conway, Hanover to Arlington
From North Conway, explore more of the White Mountains, taking the scenic Kancamagus Highway, with a photo stop at Albany Covered Bridge. Drive across Flume Bridge on your way to spectacular Franconia Notch State Park with its many trails, aerial tramway, and wildlife watching. Then journey through Hanover, New Hampshire, home to Dartmouth College, and on to Woodstock, Vermont, which is full of quintessential New England charm. Continue to Arlington where you stay for the next two nights.
Today you explore Vermont’s Green Mountains National Forest, which is beautiful in all seasons. Autumn is the most colourful time of year here, due to the brilliance of the changing foliage, but this area has something for outdoor enthusiasts all year-round and you will have a great day in these wonderful natural surroundings. A nice town to visit today is Manchester, in the heart of the Green Mountains, before returning for another night's stay in Arlington.
Arlington to Stockbridge
Enjoy pastoral views today as you travel along Route 7a through Manchester and Bennington, Vermont, where you should stop to photograph the beautiful covered bridges before arriving in North Adams, Massachusetts for lunch. Here, you enter the Berkshires, a rural region in the mountains in the west of the state dotted with villages and towns. Continue to Stockbridge, home to the Norman Rockwell Museum, which is worth a visit for its extensive collection of the beloved American illustrator’s original works.
Stockbridge, Saybrook to Mystic
Travel south this morning to the Connecticut coast and Westport, with its waterfront row of attractive red brick buildings, and some of the prettiest scenery in the state. Take a stroll through the town then further along the coast, stop at Old Saybrook, famous for being the home of Katharine Hepburn, where you can stop for lunch. Then drive on to Mystic, where you stay tonight. This attractive seaside village with a rich heritage is home to the famous Mystic Pizza restaurant, made famous in the 1988 movie.
Mystic to Hyannis
Take Highway 1 to Narragansett, Rhode Island, known for its sandy beaches, then drive the coast road to Newport, one of America's original playgrounds for the rich and famous, and Hyannis, home to the Kennedy clan, which retains a luxurious charm. Many of its Gilded Age mansions are open to the public. Next, drive to charming Cape Cod, where your day’s journey ends. The Cape’s scenic out islands – Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket – can be reached via ferry or small plane while staying here.
Hyannis to Boston
Possibly take some time to explore more of Cape Cod before driving on to Plymouth, ‘America’s hometown’, where the Mayflower Pilgrims landed in 1620 in search of a home and religious freedom. Plimoth Plantation is a must-visit – and it gives you a fascinating, interactive view of the life of the early American colonists in a harsh land. After an action-packed day drive back to Boston, where your spend the final night of your tour in the city.
Today your wonderful journey around the quaint towns and spectacular scenery of New England comes to an end where it began. Possibly time to see more of the sights in this historic city that you missed on the first day or you could extend your holiday and stay on for a few more days before heading to the airport to catch your flight back home. New England is famously beautiful in the autumn, but this trip can be enjoyed at any time of the year.