After meeting at Boston’s Logan Airport, our adventure begins with a scenic drive north along the Massachusetts coast to Portsmouth, just over the New Hampshire border. The historic center of Portsmouth is a delightful place to take a stroll along the harbor. We visit "Strawbery Banke,” a collection of historic houses from four different centuries, outfitted with authentic period furnishings, each telling an interesting story from the past. We cross the Maine border and arrive in Oguinquit, an adorable seaside town by Kennebunkport and we check into a lovely inn in the heart of this charming coastal town. Tonight we get our first taste of fresh Maine seafood.
Today we explore the Southern Maine coast. From Kennebunkport to Ogunquit to York, this region is rich in both beauty and culture. In Kennebunk we visit the Brick Store Museum. In York we see the famed Nubble Lighthouse. In Ogunquit we walk the Marginal Way along the cliff and see the renowned Ogunquit Museum of American Art. Tonight the theatre lovers can take in the show at the Ogunquit Playhouse after dinner at one of Kennebunkport’s many fine restaurants.
This morning we visit Maine's capital city, Portland. Its "Old Port" neighborhood is charming and has a wonderful art museum. After lunch in Portland, we drive west into the White Mountain region to Jackson, New Hampshire. As we climb higher in elevation, the changing foliage becomes brighter and brighter. As we reach our beautiful inn in Jackson, the trees will not disappoint us with their red, gold and yellow colors almost on fire against the sky. After we settle into our rooms, we can have a drink by the fireplace and then enjoy a gastronomic dinner at the inn.
This morning we enjoy a scenic drive through New Hampshire's White Mountains along the famous Kancamagus Highway, one of the most beautiful roads in the U.S. We take a walk along a trail to see the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park, where the brilliance of the trees is dazzling. We continue on to lunch at the gorgeous Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods. We return to North Conway and explore this charming town before dinner.
Today we go leaf-peeping through New Hampshire, stopping for lunch on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee and then heading west into Vermont. Our lovely country Vermont inn is next to Quechee Gorge, a beautiful sight during peak foliage season. Tonight is a gourmet dinner at our elegant inn.
This morning we turn south onto the most scenic road in Vermont, Route 100. This exquisite drive in foliage time takes us through one picturesque village after another: this is the real McCoy country back road Vermont. After a stop at the quintessential Vermont country store for some samples of local cheddar cheese and home-made maple syrup, we travel south to the town of Manchester where we visit the homestead of Robert Todd Lincoln, only surviving child of Mary and Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln descendants lived on this estate until 1905. The mansion is surrounded by lovely gardens and landscaped grounds. We continue to our next beautiful inn in Wilmington, Vermont, where we enjoy another delicious dinner.
After a hearty Vermont country breakfast we continue south over the Massachusetts border into the Berkshire Mountain region to the lovely town of Stockbridge. Our first stop is the Norman Rockwell Museum, where we see the largest collection of his work. Lunch is at the historic Red Lion Inn, followed by a visit to the Naumkeag Estate and Gardens, a splendid estate maintained by the Trustees of Reservations. We return to Wilmington via a different scenic route with many photo stops.
Leaving Wilmington, we head to the historic town of Deerfield, Massachusetts for a glimpse into New England’s past. After lunch in the Yankee Candle Factory, we drive to Concord, undisputedly one of the most historic towns in our country. We see the Old North Bridge, where the shot was fired that was heard 'round the world and have an American history lesson from a costumed Minute Man. Our 18th century lodging for the next two nights is the historic Colonial Inn of Concord, right in the center of this beautiful colonial town. Dinner is served in the elegant period dining room.
We fly back in time today to April 19, 1775 to retrace the route of the Minute Men and British Regulars as they fought the terrible fight that changed the history of the world. We spend the day at the Minute Man National Historical Park, where we visit the actual sites and learn about the events that occurred at Lexington and Concord. We visit The Wayside, home of Samuel Whitney, muster master of the Concord Minute Men, and later in the 19th century home to three families of authors. The young Louisa May Alcott wrote her first published work here. Another resident was Nathaniel Hawthorne, and also Harriett Lothrop, who wrote the “Five Little Peppers” stories at this “Home of Authors." Also worth visiting is The Old Manse, which sits near the banks of the Concord River among rolling fields edged by centuries-old stone walls and graced by an orchard. From upstairs you can look out over the Old North Bridge. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne both called the Manse home for a time here.
A short drive from Concord takes us to the Atlantic coast north of Boston, where we check into our final destination, a beautiful historic inn in the picturesque town of Newburyport. This charming harbor town is our base for exploring this enchanting and historic region. This unique corner of New England is rich in colonial history, art and culture, beautiful vistas along the rocky coastline, picturesque seacoast villages and harbors, and (we believe) the best seafood in the country. Of course this is the home of Olde Ipswich Tours! You are sure to fall for the charming coastal town of Ipswich that boasts more 17th century houses than anywhere in America, the title "Birthplace of American Independence", spectacular ocean and salt marsh scenery, and we have the sweetest, freshest clams in the world! We enjoy private tours of three of Ipswich’s historic houses: the 17th century Whipple House, probably the best example of First Period architecture in the U.S.; the Heard House mansion, home of a wealthy 18th century sea captain; and the magnificent 59 room Great House Crane family mansion, on a hill overlooking the ocean. In the afternoon we get our feet wet trying our luck at clamming with a NOVA television consultant who happens to be a friend and an expert on anything that crawls on the beach. In the evening we drive up the coast to a fabulous cooking school in Hampton, New Hampshire for a cooking class and dinner of gourmet New England seafood recipes.
After a scrumptious New England breakfast, we visit the town of Salem, known not only for its witches but for its stately sea captains’ mansions from the 18th and 19th centuries. Beyond the House of Seven Gables and the old Custom House are many little known treasures of this marvelous maritime port. After lunch on Salem Harbor, we visit the picturesque seaport of Marblehead, known for the great number of sailboats in its beautiful harbor.
Today we explore Massachusetts' oldest fishing port, Gloucester, and the charming coastal village of Rockport. Both towns boast many historical sites, quaint shops and restaurants. We take a walk along the rocky shore and then stop in to visit to the Cape Ann Historical Museum. This gem of a small museum contains a wealth of priceless art by America’s first Impressionists (Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keefe and Edward Hopper, to name a few), all of whom lived on and painted Cape Ann. Tonight for dinner we test our skills cracking open and savoring a freshly caught New England lobster.
After breakfast we drive to Boston Logan Airport for the return flight home.
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