4 Rejuvenating New England Vacation Ideas
Looking to plan a New England road trip this summer? One thing is certain: whether you’re an adventure-seeker, art-lover, design-guru, wellness-enthusiast or any other multi-hyphenate, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy in the northeast. With the unofficial start to summer upon us, we’re covering all corners of the region to bring you four New England vacation ideas that will make you feel like you’re thousands of miles away.
Even better, these sunny destinations won’t require a flight — just a tank of gas and a penchant for curiosity. Ready to plan your getaway?
1. The Berkshires, Massachusetts
One of our favorite New England vacation ideas for an artful adventure? Consider a ride west to the Berkshires for a visit to Mass MoCA. Located in North Adams, Massachusetts, this haven of contemporary art offers no shortage of thoughtful exhibitions for the aesthetically-minded. Just 45 minutes west you’ll find the Clark Art Institute and an hour south is the Norman Rockwell Museum, home of American illustration art and the world’s largest collection of works by its namesake. Once you’ve had your fill of galleries, head outdoors to explore the beauty of the Berkshires, with boundless family activities, hiking trails, water sports, and more to enjoy in the area.
For a splurge-worthy getaway, treat yourself to a stay at the Blantyre in Lenox, Massachusetts (about an hour south of Mass MoCA), complete with an array of culinary experiences, including a brand new Dom Pérignon Salon, opening in the spring of 2021. For the ultimate self-care experience, complement your trip with a stay at either Canyon Ranch or Miraval, two local resorts with an emphasis on wellness, relaxation and mindfulness. Of course, with nearby college town North Adams, there is an array of accommodations in the area, like Porches, a cozy respite based in the downtown area.
2. Newport, Rhode Island
Historic Newport, Rhode Island is one of our favorite New England vacation ideas for countless reasons: its breathtaking beaches and family-friendly shoreline, its multitude of culinary options in the downtown area, and excellent shopping destinations for all budgets.
But for any design or architecture enthusiast, it is no doubt Newport’s historic mansions that draw the masses to its oceanfront locale each year. Today, visits are managed by the Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island’s largest cultural organization, which is responsible for protecting, preserving and presenting the best of Newport County’s architectural heritage. Its eleven historic properties and landscapes trace America’s architectural and social development from the Colonial era through the Gilded Age.
While several of Newport’s historic mansions are temporarily closed to the public due to the pandemic, Newport’s iconic Breakers & Green Animals Topiary Garden are now open daily. Once you’ve had your fill of turn-of-the-century architecture, head outdoors to venture down the idyllic Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile public access walk along Newport’s Eastern shore.
3. Woodstock, Vermont
Anyone who knows our design team knows that Vermont has a special place in our hearts, and for good reason. While the fall foliage is — naturally — the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Vermont, there is no shortage of things to do year-round, from outdoor activities like hiking and skiing to culinary experiences at artisanal cheese farms, craft breweries and more.
On our visit north, our go-to place to stay is the iconic Woodstock Inn (which served as the visual inspiration for our Cozy New England Colonial project). Originally built in 1892 and then later overhauled by Laurance Rockefeller in 1967, the inn is an architectural gem of the area, celebrating the essence of Vermont’s quintessential New England charm.
Located just fifteen minutes outside Woodstock lies the village of Quechee. There, you’ll find the Simon Pearce flagship store, a favorite for glassblowing and decorative art enthusiasts. A stop at its celebrated signature restaurant is a must for its take on classic American cuisine, with a scenic vista overlooking the Ottauquechee River waterfall and covered bridge.
Beyond foodie destinations and no shortage of natural beauty, Woodstock, Vermont remains one of the New England vacation ideas we’ll gladly return to year after year.
4. Nantucket, Massachusetts
Although they’re just a ferry ride away, a trip to the islands — either to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket — truly makes you feel thousands of miles away from home. Of the two, Nantucket has become a particularly special place for our founder, Corinne Acampora. Between summer vacations with family and client projects on the island, she’s amassed a collection of favorite spots over the years.
First stop on arrival is a trip to Bartlett’s Farm, the island’s oldest and largest family-owned farm. It’s Corinne’s go-to spot for stocking up on fresh produce, fish, flowers and more. Another foodie favorite is Something Natural, a bakery and sandwich shop frequented by visitors and locals alike. Their sandwiches, prepared on freshly baked bread, are perfect picks either for dining on site (their designated outdoor seating area offers an idyllic setting) or to pick up for a picnic at the beach (with both Cliff Beach and Jetties Beach not far away).
Next on Corinne’s must-see destinations is a visit to Great Point Lighthouse. Located at the end of Coatue, a picturesque wildlife refuge with over 390 acres of barrier beach, a trip to see the landmark will require a little off-roading, so you’ll either need to secure an Oversand Vehicle Permit specifically for Great Point, or rent a car on the island that comes with a permit. Make no mistake: the legwork required is worth it. With sweeping sand dunes, rare wildlife sightings and the occasional cameo by seal or two, Coatue’s breathtaking scenery is second to none.
With a day in the sun under your belt, it’s time to refuel and relax, and that’s when Corinne turns to The Chanticleer, one of the island’s premier dining destinations. Offering seasonal menus envisioned by chef Jeff Worster, The Chanticleer serves up a tantalizing take on classic New England fare. With outdoor seating in their rose garden under the stars, it’s the perfect capstone to an unforgettable day.
No matter your persuasion, New England is a playground for locals and visitors alike, offering activities for all lifestyles and interests year-round. But with its achingly beautiful sunsets and warm weather days, there’s no shortage of love for New England vacation ideas during the summer months, and 2021 may just be the best time to explore hidden gems lying in your own backyard.