Tis the season to start planning your getaway vacation in New England, and for those that enjoy a mountain getaway to a favorite ski or spa resort or a quiet village at a special coastal bed and breakfast, then we’ve created this guide to help you plan your getaway.
As you enjoy the festivities of the season and relax with family and friends then take a few minutes out to start thinking about a break during the winter in the New Year and exploring the best of New England for getaways. After all you deserve it and so reward and pamper yourself.
Where to Go?
Active types head for ski resorts in the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and highlands of Maine. Most of these resorts have both Alpine (downhill) and Nordic trails available.
Stowe, Smugglers’ Notch and Jay Peak dominate the northern peaks in Vermont, with Stowe nestled in between imposing mountain ranges with some of the best skiing in the northeast. The Killington complex consists of six inter-connected mountains located close to picturesque Woodstock and Rutland in the central section of the state, and Sugarbush Resort is located closer towards the northern end of Green Mountain Forest section. Finally, southern Vermont has a plethora of skiing destinations such as Mount Snow, Bromley, Stratton, and Okemo to name but a few. Personal favorites of mine are Stowe and Killington.
New Hampshire has a concentration of ski resorts located in the White Mountains region towards the north end of the state. In the western end of the range you can find Cannon and Loon Mountain resorts and Waterville Valley. Towards the central region discover Attitash and Bretton Woods, and in the eastern section there is Wildcat and in the town of North Conway is Cranmore. All these resorts are family friendly and offer plenty of trails covered by snow-making equipment. My personal favorites are Bretton Woods – although it can be windy – and Cranmore. Wildcat has stunning views of Mount Washington.
Maine has a strong tradition in skiing terrain. The larger downhill skiing resorts though are Sugarloaf, Sunday River and Saddleback. The Sunday River resort is near Bethel and Sugarloaf is further north in Carrabassett Valley, and Saddleback Mountain is located near Rangeley about mid-way between Sunday River and Sugarloaf resorts. These are all great skiing resorts if a little remote to large towns or cities.
What if snow is not your idea of a getaway?
New England’s coastlines offer plenty of opportunities for a quiet time away from the crowds and have plenty of deserted beaches. The coast of Rhode Island including Newport and Block Island, Cape Cod & Islands in Massachusetts and coastal Maine are full of resorts close to winter coastal activities. The Berkshires in western Massachusetts is home to exclusive spa resorts and cultural entertainment. Mystic Country in Connecticut with the great shows and casinos at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun is also ideal for a few days break from the winter doldrums. And if you want the warmth but can’t get to Florida then how about one of the special indoor water parks that have all the fun of summer but without the expense and hassle of traveling thousands of miles.
Well, that’s quite a list of getaway opportunities isn’t it? So the next question though is where to stay and we’ll cover that now.
Where to Stay?
Talk about accommodation for getaways in New England and people tend to think of exclusive spa resorts or small well-established Bed and Breakfast Inns dotted throughout the mountains or coastal communities. However both these and many other options can be found anywhere you visit.
All the ski resorts we mentioned in the first section have oodles of accommodation and providing you choose a period outside holiday and school vacations there’s plenty of deals to be had. See the ski resort’s individual websites in the section below for more details.
The coastal towns of Cape Cod – such as Hyannis, Dennis, Orleans, Sandwich, Chatham, and Falmouth are open year-round for lodging in Hotel and B&B.
These are all close to marvelous beaches to explore especially the National Seashore beaches on the lower cape. If you want to take all the family on the trip with you – including pooch – then there are some pet-friendly cape places and you can take dogs on the national seashore beaches after Labor Day. Beach walking is a popular activity on the cape especially as winter sets in and the sand freezes making walking easy on the hardened sand. My favorite place to stay is Orleans as it is close to Nauset beach – a beach that stretches for miles.
The larger towns on Martha’s Vineyard – Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown – have plenty of B&B and hotels open for getaways, and though a little more remote Nantucket welcomes winter visitors as well. The islands make great winter getaway stays for couples but are less ideal for active families and small children – choose lodging on the mainland.
Be aware some restaurants and shops on the cape and islands are seasonal so not everything is open.
Other coastal areas to stay include Newport which has a number of beautiful resorts and B&B lodging surrounded by a scenic harbor, the Mansions of course and ocean drive. Good accommodation in Newport can be expensive but there are surrounding towns such as Middletown for those on a budget. Still in Rhode Island consider Block Island and the town of New Shoreham for a stay. Similar to the Islands off the cape Block Island in the winter is great for couples content with beach walks, visiting refuge locations, browsing shops and checking out the restaurants for the evening meal.
Coastal Maine towns are always open for business and lodging and popular places to stay include Kittery – if discount shopping is your goal – Kennebunkport is ideal for the browser in you, and Ogunquit if you’re looking for some Maine walks and beaches. Other options include Portland which offers plenty of hotels located close to city activities such as museums, etc. Further north staying at Boothbay Harbor and of course Bar Harbor on Acadia National Park put you in the center of Maine’s picturesque rocky coastline.
If your getaway is at one of the large casino’s and entertainment complexes in eastern Connecticut then your accommodation is already fixed. But if you prefer to visit just for shows then nearby Mystic offers hotels and lodges and additional sights open year-round such as Mystic Seaport and the popular Aquarium.
If your choice is the Berkshires for a trip then you have a number of options for lodging locations. Popular towns include: Lenox and Lee, Stockbridge, Pittsfield and North Adams. Stockbridge and Lee have wonderful old coach inns, and Lenox contains some fine spa resorts. If you’re on a budget check out Pittsfield and North Adams and even Great Barrington. Getting to activities in the Berkshires from any of these locations is fairly quick. Be aware the Berkshires sees more snow than other areas in Massachusetts – and they do have some really nice family ski resorts – but factor this in when you choose this as a location.
We’ve covered a lot of ground and mentioned lots of things to do and provided suggestions on where to stay in the last two sections, and now its time to give you some resources to help you plan the details of your trip.
We would love to hear about your favorite New England getaway so please share in comments section below.
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