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Bird’s-eye view of the historic Yale University campus in Connecticut

Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

A Cultural Tour of New England, From the Mountains to the Sea

Michael Marsland
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  • States:
    Connecticut
    Maine
    New Hampshire
    Rhode Island
    Vermont

New England is full of authentic experiences, from atop of the highest peak in the Northeast USA to the Atlantic Ocean coastline.

Everywhere you go, absorb the deep history and diversity in the states of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. From an Ivy League university in New Haven to exquisite mansions in Rhode Island and a working farm in Vermont, you’ll admire the preservation of New England’s heritage, buildings, landscapes and traditions.

Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

In 1850, the first Chinese citizen to earn a Western degree attended Yale University. The historic campus – filled with stunning architecture, gardens and walking trails – has been described by architecture experts as the USA’s most beautiful city campus. Exploring beyond the campus in surrounding New Haven, you’ll find plenty of good places to eat. The city is famous for its pizza, and popular pizzerias include Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, BAR, Sally's Apizza and Modern Apizza. The hamburger was created in New Haven too – in 1895 at Louis’ Lunch, which still serves the sandwiches today.

Students take a break between classes on one of the lawns of Yale University

Students take a break between classes on one of the lawns of Yale University
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Lobster in Portland, Maine

Lobsters harvested from Maine waters account for 85 percent of the USA's catch. A visit here would not be complete without stopping at lobster shacks along the coast to sample the delicacy – prepared as a roll, bisque, stew, alfredo or steamed in the shell. Since it’s so fresh, lobster is also typically less expensive in Maine than other U.S. destinations. Join a lobster boat tour to see how lobsters are harvested from the ocean. In addition to lobster, freshly harvested oysters, mussels, salmon, blueberries, potatoes and seasonal vegetables are plentiful in Portland, and local chefs have found a variety of inventive ways to prepare them.

A lobster dinner for two from one of the many lobster shacks in Portland, Maine

A lobster dinner for two from one of the many lobster shacks in Portland, Maine
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Mount Washington in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

The world's first mountain-climbing train started operating in 1869. And today, the Mount Washington Cog Railway still takes passengers to the tallest peak in the Northeast USA. During the three-hour, round-trip adventure, learn about the area’s history and nature. At the top of the 1,916-meter summit, enjoy panoramic views of the White Mountains and villages in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont; you can even see Canada to the north and the Atlantic Ocean coastline to the east. The train trip, which runs from April through November, is very popular, so make sure to book in advance.

The Mansions of Newport, Rhode Island

The seaside town of Newport features many mansions built in the early 1800s to resemble European castles. They were summer homes for some of the USA’s wealthiest families, including the Vanderbilts and Astors. These magnificent buildings are now museums featuring priceless furniture and artwork, as well as lush gardens. Take a self-guided tour to see how families lived at estates like The Elms, Marble House, The Breakers, Rosecliff, Chateau-sur-Mer and Chepstow. The Preservation Society of Newport County also organizes guided tours featuring stories of Newport social activities in the Gilded Age. Visitors must book tours in advance.

An aerial view of a Newport mansion

An aerial view of a Newport mansion
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Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, Vermont

This dairy farm, dating to 1871, showcases the history of the rural Vermont. Fascinating exhibits portray cultural values of Vermont family farms a century ago. See Jersey cows, sheep, bulls and poultry, and enjoy activities year-round. In winter, learn how the town of Woodstock celebrated Christmas in the late 1800s. In spring, help welcome newborn animals such as lambs, chicks and calves. Summer events include Craft Saturdays, Ice Cream Sundays, Wagon Ride Wednesdays, Tractor Day and Heritage Chicken Days. Autumn activities revolve around the joy of harvest; pumpkins and apples are two important crops. Try fresh apple juice and homemade doughnuts.

A family strolling through the farm at Billings Farm & Museum

A family strolling through the farm at Billings Farm & Museum
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