Mid-summer is upon us, and it’s time for a reckoning about things you have hoped to do in New England in this most glorious of seasons. Below are a few of the Editor’s Favorites: Tanglewood, whale watching tours, antique shopping, canopy and zip line tours, historic houses and mansion tours, vineyards.
This summer home of the Boston Pops in Lenox, Massachusetts, in the beautiful hills of the Berkshires, continues to perform beloved favorites like the John Williams’ Film Night, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in Concert, and to present superstars like Sting, Diana Ross, and Pete Townshend.
Seeing whales swimming in groups or even breaking the surface in sight of your boat sends a thrill through all of us. Whale watching boat captains know the great mammals’ feeding and travel patterns and they are good and finding sights for passengers.
Bar Harbor, Maine.
Go in search of whale sightings with this Bar Harbor company or choose another distinctive boat tour: Puffins & Whale Watching, Nature Cruise, Lobster Fishing and Seal Watching, Baker Island and Acadia National Park Tour and the Historical Lighthouse Tour. Trips depart daily. 207-288-9800
Plymouth, MA. Captain John Whale Watching & Fishing Tours
Plymouth, on the Massachusetts shore south of Boston and just north of Cape Cod, also is a short voyage from Stellwagen Bank, a marine sanctuary and a prime feeding ground for whales and porpoises. Look for the sea birds; it’s not only a whale watch, it’s a marine wildlife cruise. 508-746-2643
Boston, MA. New England Aquarium. Whale watching tours also are offered through New England Aquarium and Boston Harbor Cruises
Bakers’ Store at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, VT. Ambitious or even aspiring bakers should hustle over to King Arthur Flour flagship campus to find thousands or ingredients, baking pans, kitchen tools and devices of all kinds. Expert staff present demos, classes, workshops and special events. 855-371-2253
Antique shopping in Litchfield, CT. Antique hunters can and do find big game in Connecticut’s beautiful, rural Litchfield County. Hot spots for antique shopping include the towns of Litchfield, Woodbury. Combine your ramblings with visits to Litchfield vineyards and wineries like Sunset Meadow, Haight-Brown, Hopkins, and Miranda Vineyards.
Historic Home Tours
Visit the Glass House in New Canaan, CT. Glass House was the country home of architect Philip Johnson. It’s composed of 14 structures, each with its own function. This National Trust Historic Site offers visitors a unique glance into Johnson’s remarkable style and personality. 203-594-9884
Aerial Adventures, Zip Lines, Canopy Tours
Hancock, MA. Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort.
Wear yourself out with healthy outdoor activity at Jiminy’s ropes courses, zip lines, mountain coaster, alpine slide, giant swing, chairlift rides, climbing wall, and mountain bikes. Lots of hiking trails for people who like to stay grounded. For indoor people: spas and a heated swimming pool. 413-738-5500
Errol, NH. ELC Outdoor Adventure Outpost
Rigorous outdoor Tarzan-ery is yours with a trip north of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. You can choose an aerial adventures of ropes, wires, platforms, and bridges up to 40 feet off the ground, and spend the balance of the day doing some white water rafting, kayaking or taking a wildlife tour. 603-215-0002
Walk the Rose Kennedy Greenway
The Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston is a mile-and-a-half string of linked parks: North End, Armenian Heritage, Wharf District, Fort Point Channel, Dewey Square, and Chinatown parks. You are walking among city neighborhoods, so dining and shopping is just a step away. The Greenway hosts continuous art events, concerts, a farmers market, fountains and a sublime carousel. The walk is not too far for older kids.
A Day in Newport, Rhode Island – Rough Point Mansion and Newport Vineyards
Rough Point mansion on Bellevue Avenue in Newport by the home of socialite Doris Duke with grounds landscaped by Frederick Law Olmstead. The house is packed with interesting furniture and artworks. Every season brings a special exhibit; in 2017 it is “Nature Tamed,” an exploration of the history of the grounds, plus fashion and objects inspired by the natural world. Frequent tours.
After a visit to Rough Point, drive into the countryside at bit northward to Newport Vineyards in the town of Middletown. Special events, live music and tastings happen often in the season. The charming Brix restaurant will take good care of you at lunch-or dinnertime.
Best of the Fests
Wonderful outdoor festivals celebrate distinctive foods, music, and cultural heritages. Here is a taste of only a few from each New England state, but you can find many more.
Maine Highland Games 2017 in Topsham, ME. August 19. This event features bagpipe bands, Highland and Scottish dancing, Scottish vendors and crafts, re-enactors, gathering of clans, folk singing, Scottish food, and much more.
Mystic Outdoor Art Festival 2017 in Mystic, CT. August 12-13. Excellent fine art displayed in a pretty downtown along with music performances, children’s art activities and a great array of food.
Gloucester Waterfront Festival 2017 in Gloucester, MA. August 19-20. Over 200 juried artisans, craftspeople, food vendors, authors and musicians from throughout the United States. Live music and various performance arts. While you’re here, explore other Cape Ann places, like Ipswich, Essex, Newburyport.
Living History Event 2017 in Hillsborough NH. August 19-20. At the Living History event, historic figures come to tell their stories. This year’s guest is President Ulysses S. Grant.
Blessing of the Fleet Seafood Festival 2017 in Narragansett, RI. July 27-29. Rhode Islanders know how to cook seafood. Come dine on seafood prepared in the New England tradition, and music by The Heavy Rescue Band, Roger Ceresi’s All Stars, and Steve Smith and the Nakeds.
Deerfield Valley Blueberry Festival 2017 in Wilmington, VT. July 28 – August 6. Re-enactor camps, parade, crafts, barbecue, music, vintage cars, bonfire, chalk art, mountain hike and lots of blueberries, eaten every way you can think of.