Romantic Getaways in New England

Making a Romantic Escape to New England

New England’s picturesque scenery can make for an enticing getaway. From coastal beauty and lust forests, to quaint shops and historic ties, this region of the United States can encourage you and your sweetheart to put aside your phones, schedule a babysitter and book a reservation. Each of this region’s six states—Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut—has plenty of options for activities or just lounging around. Here are suggested location stays for planning the perfect getaway.

Essex, Connecticut

This town is made up of three villages—Essex Village, Centerbrook and Ivoryton—and has been called “The Perfect Small American Town” in the travel guidebook "1,000 Places to See Before You Die." With its antique aesthetics, historic finds and special excursions, there’s plenty to do in discovering this destination along the Connecticut River. The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat (1 Railroad Ave., Essex) takes passengers along various round-trip train rides such as its popular Essex Clipper Dinner Train or aboard a theme cruise. If you need your caffeine fix, go to Essex Coffee and Tea Company (51 Main St., Essex) or if you need to refuel, sit down for some casual waterfront dining at Abby’s Place (37 Pratt St., Essex). Consider seeing a performance at the Ivoryton Playhouse (103 Main St., Ivoryton) or learning more about the Connecticut River’s colonial history at Connecticut River Museum (67 Main St., Essex). For lodging, try the Griswold Inn (36 N. Main St., Essex), one of the oldest continuing operating inns in the United States. In Ivoryton, the Copper Beech Inn (46 Main St., Ivoryton) provides an elegant and quiet location, with 22 guest rooms and luxury suites.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

This seacoast city maintains a steady balance between past and present, with historic architecture, a buzzing dining scene, and waterside views. For dining and shopping interests, the Market Square has businesses suitable for every taste. Cava (10 Commercial Alley, Portsmouth) presents Mediterranean-style tapas and small plates plus a fine wine list. Set inside an 18th-century mansion, Library Restaurant (401 State St., #5, Portsmouth) offers steakhouse fare and an upscale bar scene, while Franklin Oyster House (148 Fleet St., Portsmouth) features charcuterie plates, regional oysters and globally-influenced tapas.

To learn more about Portsmouth’s story, walk around Strawbery Banke Museum (14 Hancock St., Portsmouth), an outdoor history museum comprised of buildings from various eras. Speaking of houses, Georgian, Victorian, and Federal period homes have become museums. In particular, the Moffatt-Ladd House (154 Market St., Portsmouth), once owned by William Whipple, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, has lovely furnished interior and garden surroundings. Stay in town at the Hotel Portsmouth (40 Court St., Portsmouth), a boutique Victorian property.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Based off of Cape Cod, this tiny island packs a punch during the summertime, but also entices visitors in autumn. Consider a pre-winter stay at the White Elephant (50 Easton St., Nantucket), which puts you right at the waterfront with a span of lux accommodations, spa, and its restaurant, Brant Point Grill. Or, the Nantucket Hotel & Resort (77 Easton St., Nantucket), an all-season property, is within walking distance to downtown Nantucket and contains a fitness center, spa facility and on-site restaurant.

Save time to cruise around the coastal and sandy scenes on foot or via bike or scooter rental from Young’s Bicycle Shop (6 Broad St., Nantucket). The Whaling Museum (13 Broad St., Nantucket) explores the island’s history as a major whaling port, while the Brant Point Lighthouse (Easton St., Nantucket) makes for the perfect selfie backdrop. Unwind at Cisco Brewers (5 Bartlett Farm Rd., Nantucket), a brewery with a correlating winery, Nantucket Vineyard, and the Triple Eight Distillery also at this location. Pick up and head to Dune (20 Broad St., Nantucket), a casual chic New American eatery, or the SeaGrille Restaurant (45 Sparks Ave., Nantucket), a longtime surf and turf establishment.

Woodstock, Vermont

As a picture book New England town, Woodstock definitely has scenery: covered bridges, charming architecture, farmland and numerous lodging options. Explore 550 acres of forest for hiking and a former private mansion at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park (54 Elm St., Woodstock). Get a feel for farm living at Sugarbush Farm (591 Sugarbush Farm Rd., Woodstock), where you can sample Vermont syrup and cheese. As a living monument to Vermont’s agricultural heritage, Billings Farm & Museum (69 Old River Rd., Woodstock) still practices what it teaches about this history. For more made-in-Vermont edibles, go shopping at the Woodstock Farmers’ Market (979 Woodstock Rd., Woodstock). Woodstock’s Village Shopping district features many mom-and-pop stores such as FH Gillingham & Sons (16 Elm St., Woodstock), an old-school general store in operation since 1886, and Farmhouse Pottery, with one-of-a-kind artisan creations. For relaxed eating, Worthy Kitchen (442 Woodstock Rd.) is a rustic New American eatery that centers on craft beers and comfort food, or have a taste of Caribbean tapas at Melaza Bistro (71 Central St., Woodstock). For lodging, the refined Woodstock Inn & Resort (14 The Green, Woodstock) has specialty guestrooms and suites, a spa and 18-hole golf course as well as four distinct restaurants. For a more homey stay, the Jackson House Inn (43 Senior Ln., Woodstock) has classic rooms and one-room suites featuring cozy but still modern-day comforts.

Bar Harbor, Maine

This town on Maine’s Mount Desert Island can offer the right amount of seclusion without lacking in accustomed needs—like heading out to dinner. For nature lovers, Acadia National Park allows for much couple’s time outdoors, with areas including Cadillac Mountain, a 27-mile Park Loop system and 57 miles of carriage roads for bicycling, hiking, and horseback riding. For lodging, try the Bar Harbor Inn & Spa (1 Newport Dr., Bar Harbor) with oceanfront views of the surrounding Frenchman Bay and Porcupine Islands and walking distance to town. Go for breakfast at Cafe This Way (14 Mt Desert St., Bar Harbor), an eclectic eatery serving morning and dinnertime meals.

Of course, while in Maine having lobster is a must, so to go Galyn’s (17 Main St., Bar Harbor) to order this local delicacy along with other seafood and steaks. As for finds, check out Window Panes (166 Main St., Bar Harbor) for fun home and garden items and made-in-Maine products, or go for that souvenir from Cool As A Moose (118 Main St., Bar Harbor).

Newport, Rhode Island

Once a summer playground for the Gilded Age elite, this coastal city retains strong remnants of this bygone era, with mansions that are now museums. Make a visit to well-known estates ranging from the Breakers (44 Ochre Point Ave., Newport), an elaborate summer cottage once belonging to the Vanderbilts, to Rosecliff (548 Bellevue Ave., Newport), which was modeled after the Grand Trianon, a garden chateau at Versailles. Or get a glimpse of these properties by carefully heading along the Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile, public access walkway along the shoreline that runs past their grounds.

A gem from the Victorian era, the Cliffside Inn (2 Seaside Ave., Newport) in Newport's historic district offers deluxe amenities. Or consider the Bouchard Inn & Restaurant (505 Thames St., Newport), which has earned high marks from local patrons for its fine French cuisine. Prefer something more laid back? Head to the White Horse Tavern (26 Marlborough St., Newport), a modern farm-to-table establishment based inside a Colonial Era building.

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