15 Best Weekend Getaways in New England: Where to Go, Eat and Stay

Nasreen Stump Avatar

NH covered bridge in fall is a great option for weekend getaways in New England
Driving around New Hampshire and Vermont during the fall will give you gorgeous skies and the potential for foliage and covered bridge pics! Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Growing up in New Hampshire we took vacations to Maine, Massachusetts and other New England destinations. Getting to other states was easy. You could book a quick weekend getaway to a small town, historic site or state park and be on your way. Once we moved to Texas it became apparent to me that this accessibility to other states was definitely a Northeast thing!

New England comprises six states – Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Covering roughly 72,000 square miles, New England is only a little bit larger than the state of Washington. Because of how compact it is, you can do a weekend getaway to a different state very easily. No ten-hour road trips here! In this article, we will explore some of the best weekend getaways in New England.  

Maine

Bar harbor sunset over the ocean is a great option for weekend getaways in New England
Enjoy stunning sunsets and beautiful views at Bar Harbor, Maine. Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Bar Harbor

Located on Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can explore Acadia National Park, go whale watching or take a scenic drive along the coast. The town is very walkable with plenty of shops, restaurants and galleries to explore. In addition, the Island Explorer free bus service has stops at many hotels, shops and attractions.

Things to Do in Bar Harbor

  • Explore Acadia National Park. Be one of the first folks to experience the sunrise on eastern-facing Cadillac Mountain. Do the short ½ mile loop trail afterward. For another easy hike, try the loop around Jackson Pond. Looking for a challenge? The most difficult hike at Acadia is the Precipice Trail. It’s got steep ledges and iron rungs and isn’t recommended for those with a fear of heights. Not into hiking? Drive the Park Loop to see 27 miles (!) of scenic views. In the winter you can snowshoe on carriage trails.
  • Head to the College of the Atlantic to check out their gardens. There are a variety of design styles represented and it’s a great opportunity for pictures both of the flora and fauna and of your travel party. If you’re visiting in the winter, head to the COA George B. Dorr Museum instead to experience hands-on experiences to explore the sea life of Frenchman Bay.
  • Take a historical guided walking tour that covers Bar Harbor’s Gilded Age history and how Millionaire Row has changed over the years.

Where to Stay in Bar Harbor

  • Main Street Motel – Renovated in 2022, this option is a great one for those wanting affordable accommodations with easy access to Acadia. You’ll enjoy the downtown access and there’s an Island Explorer stop nearby.
  • Bass College & Ullikana – Located a 4-minute walk from Town Beach, you can also easily walk to downtown attractions. Enjoy the views of Frenchman Bay from the grounds.
  • Bayview Hotel– This oceanfront option was built into a hillside and oozes rustic elegance. Its location between downtown and Acadia is ideal for visitors trying to do both. My parents raved about their stay here and specifically loved the ocean views, great breakfast and the picnic lunches you could buy to bring to Acadia.

Where to Eat in Bar Harbor

  • Thirsty Whale Tavern – Grab some fried clams, chowder, lobster rolls or a freuben (reuben with fried haddock) if you’re looking for delicious, down-home food that the locals love.
  • Cafe This Way – Start your day with a solid breakfast from this eclectic spot. You can order a scramble, pancakes, country breakfast or the best item which is the Harney. It features corned beef hash with poached eggs, toast and hollandaise sauce.
  • West Street Cafe – The beauty of this spot is in its simplicity. The decor is charming without being overwhelming and the food is done well but not overdone. Simple favorites like clam chowder, lobster mac and cheese and crab cakes are some of our go-to’s here. They also have a crabby patty that is way better than the Bikini Bottom version!

Read More: Guide to Acadia National Park

casco bay ferry ship at dusk in portland maine one of the fun things to do
Take a ferry ride in early evening to catch a sunset on Casco Bay in Portland. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Portland

Maine’s largest city, Portland is a vibrant and eclectic destination. Visitors can explore the Old Port district, which is filled with shops, restaurants and galleries, or take a ferry to the nearby islands. One of my favorite things about Portland is its craft beer scene.

Things to Do in Portland Maine

Read More: The Best Things to Do in Portland Maine

Where to Stay in Portland ME

  • Black Elephant Hostel – Want to save your money for food? The Black Elephant Hostel is colorful, highly rated and offers private rooms some with private bathrooms. It’s a fun choice on a budget and has easy access to the sites and tastes of Portland.
  • The Francis – Located near Portland’s Art District in the Bramhall neighborhood, The Francis is a historic landmark with a second-floor spa in the heart of everything.
  • Canopy by Hilton Portland Waterfront – With free bike rentals and a great location we love the Canopy. You’ll be within walking distance of Merrill Auditorium, Victoria Mansion and the Portland Observatory.

Read More: Inn at Diamond Cove Review – A World Away at Casco Bay

Where to Eat in Portland, Maine

  • Hot Suppa – It feels weird to recommend a Southern kitchen and bar in Portland but it’s a great choice, plus suppa is fun to say. Serving breakfast, lunch and brunch it offers great choices like shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy and a fried green tomato BLT.
  • Duckfat – This well-known Portland eatery actually offers two spaces now. You can go to Middle Street for indoor and outdoor dining. The Duckfat Frites Shack on Washington offers a takeout window. Whichever one you choose obviously try the duckfat Belgian frites. At Middle Street, get the poutine and Montreal Reuben as well. You won’t regret it.
  • The Shop by Island Creek Oyster – Eat at an actual oyster market. You can choose to grab it to go or enjoy it on their patio. It’s perfect for a light lunch or snack between meals.
Ogunquit Maine marginal way view of ocean is a great option for weekend getaways in New England
Marginal Way offers perfectly picturesque views of the ocean. Don’t miss this scenic walk in Ogunquit on your weekend getaway! Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Ogunquit

A picturesque coastal town, Ogunquit is an easy destination for visitors from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. With great restaurants, theatre and a variety of beaches it’s perfect for couples or families.

Personally, we visited Ogunquit (“beautiful place by the sea” in Abenaki) most summers growing up and continue to go up for day trips. From Southern New Hampshire it’s about 50 miles which is around 1 hour and 20 minutes of drive time. Sometimes we’ll head up just to walk on Footbridge Beach and have a picnic while the kids have a quick swim.

Things to do in Ogunquit

  • Walk the Marginal Way. This 1.25 mile is a paved path that follows the curve of the Gulf of Maine. The views are amazing and it is a really nice walk. It can be busy on weekends and during the summer but it is perfection on weekdays during shoulder seasons or off-season.
  • Check out the stores downtown. Don’t forget the Harbor Candy Shop. Their dark chocolate-covered orange peels are the best! Afterward, you can stroll to Perkins Cove on Marginal Way to explore more shops. If you time it right you can watch the draw bridge raising and lowering.
  • Take in a show at the Ogunquit Playhouse. Pro tip from my parents – don’t park in their lot. The way that they park and release cars means you may be blocked in and waiting. Walk if you can.

Read More: 10 Ways to Enjoy Ogunquit Maine

Where to Stay in Ogunquit

  • Abalonia Inn – We love this unique spot. It’s close to the center of Ogunquit but has cool features like a fire pit and a heated outdoor saltwater pool. Each room has different decor which we love. The unifying theme of period Americana mixed with modern brings everything together.
  • Meadowmere Resort – This resort is walkable to most of Ogunquit’s attractions. Family-friendly suites offer space to spread out while an on-site pub gives adults a spot to go unwind.
  • Hampton Inn and Suites Wells/Ogunquit – If you’re looking to cash in some points (or earn them) this Hampton is a great spot. It’s on the main drag just outside of city limits. There’s an indoor swimming pool for the off-season.

Where to Eat in Ogunquit

  • Barnacle Billy’s – This popular Perkins Cove seafood restaurant also has a quick service section called Barnacle Billy’s Etc. Be sure to stop in for a meal or jump onto their website to watch the Perkins Cove live cam.
  • Egg & I – Don’t mess with perfection. This spot has been around for years. I went when I was younger. With an affordable and expansive breakfast menu, it’s a great way to start the day.
  • Cornerstone Pizza – Stone oven-baked pizzas with interesting topping combos make Cornerstone a must-visit. Start with the sausage-stuffed cherry peppers. Grab a Sweet Chicken Fig or Katahdin Mushroom Truffle pizza as an entree and pair it with a craft beer. Perfect for the end of a long beach day.  

Read More: The 19 Best Places to Visit in Maine

Fall in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Fall on a lake in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Photo credit: Pixabay

New Hampshire

Portsmouth

A historic seaport town on New Hampshire’s eighteen miles of shore, Portsmouth combines history and nautical charm. Visitors can see lighthouses, the only archaeologically verified African burying ground in New England and visit a 900-seat music hall. Visiting Portsmouth provides opportunities to relax and learn.

Things to Do in Portsmouth, NH:

  • Visit Strawbery Banke Museum. Located in the Puddle Dock neighborhood, this 10-acre outdoor museum boasts over 300 years of history. You’ll interact with historical performers, walk through historic gardens and see traditional craft demos.
  • Explore the historic district and islands on a bike tour. The guides will share local lore and historical information with you.
  • Take a harbor cruise. There are a few companies that run them but book with Isles of Shoals and pick an option that includes a walking tour or day trip to Star Island. It has a unique, eclectic and spooky history.

Where to Stay on Your Portsmouth Vacation:

  • The Hotel Portsmouth – If you’re looking to be within walking distance of Strawberry Banke and Market Square, this charming hotel is the choice for you.
  • Homewood Suites Portsmouth – This suite property is a quick drive into Portsmouth to take the free local shuttle. Pet parents can bring their fur babies here. A pet fee is added.
  • The Wentworth by the Sea – This Marriott property is only 7 minutes outside of Portsmouth. With views of the ocean, Maine and New Hampshire and the choice of a room or a suite, it’s perfect for groups of all sizes.

Where to Eat in Portsmouth, NH

  • Cure – It would feel wrong to not lead with Cure. Led by New Hampshire-raised Chef Julie Cutting, the restaurant features delicious comfort food options. With options like peanut butter and jelly ribs and a crispy-skinned Chicken Statler, it is worth every penny. Be sure to make reservations in advance!
  • The Portsmouth Brewery – known as New Hampshire’s Original craft brewery, enjoy a burger and a brew or opt for beer-battered chicken fingers and seafood chowder. There is no wrong choice.
  • The Puddle Dock – serving modern Colonial fare on the Strawberry Banke campus you’ll enjoy food ranging from campfire mussels to cider-glazed pork belly to fluffernutters for the kids.
Porch overlooking mountains at a New Hampshire family resort
The porch at the Omni is one of the best spots for a cocktail and mountain views. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

White Mountain Region

Yes, it’s a little broad but let’s give love to several towns instead of playing favorites! Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the White Mountains. Activities like hiking, skiing and biking drive visitors to the area. Great resorts and cute towns round out the list of reasons to explore the White Mountains.  

Things to do in New Hampshire’s White Mountains

  • Check out waterfalls and carved-out rock formations. Choose between Diana’s Baths or The Basin depending on which you’re staying closest to. 
  • Visit the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch. You’ll save money on your ticket to this NH State Park if you book online in advance.
  • Drive the Kancamagus Highway. This route has been called one of the prettiest drives in America. Fair warning, during the fall it’s more of a crawl than a drive when the foliage is putting on a show.

Where to Stay in the White Mountain Region

  • The Omni Mount Washington Resort is conveniently located about nine miles from Mount Washington. With a spa, scenic gondola, zipline canopy tours, fly fishing and other activities it’s a great spot to do nothing or everything!
  • The Inn at Thorn Hill manages to be both luxe and rustic at the same time. They have a restaurant on property. The Jackson location is convenient to Story Land and other surrounding attractions.
  • Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa is perfect if you’re looking for a romantic spot to reconnect. Grab a drink from the bar and sit by the fire or outdoor fire pit depending on the timing of your visit. There is plenty to see on the resort grounds from their fiber studios to farm animals or book a round of golf.

Read More: Mt Washington – Things to Know Before Heading for the Summit

Pollys Pancake Parlor fall foliage in the White Mountains of NH is a great option for weekend getaways in New England
We love Polly’s Pancake Parlor year round but it is extra pretty during fall foliage season. Plan a weekend getaway in New England for leaf peeping and pancakes! Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Where to Eat in the White Mountains

  • Cider Company Restaurant – Eat locally sourced food in a gorgeous rustic spot. It’s like a sexy aesthetic lumberjack opened a spot to woo you with delicious food. Go big with a ribeye or keep it lighter with a strawberry panzanella salad.
  • Rosebrook Lodge – Switchback Grille – Buy a ticket and ride up to the fantastic views at Rosebrook Lodge, located on the Bretton Woods Skyway Gondola. Make reservations for a meal at Switchback Grille. The pictures alone are worth it but the food is good too.
  • Polly’s Pancake Parlor – if you go to the White Mountain region and don’t eat breakfast at Polly’s, I’m not sure we can be friends. Polly’s is a tradition, a rite of passage even. We went every summer growing up, taking an annual photo out front. I continued that tradition almost every summer with my kids – even when we lived in Texas! It gets busy. Go early or call ahead and put your name on the waitlist. The pancake sampler is a solid choice. My go-to is cornmeal blueberry, buckwheat coconut and oatmeal buttermilk walnut. I also recommend the Irish Eggs Benedict but ask for potato pancakes instead of the english muffin.
Photo credit: Naswa Resort, Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
Photo credit: Naswa Resort, Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Lake Winnipesaukee

New Hampshire’s largest lake, Lake Winnipesaukee is a popular destination for boating, fishing and other water activities. Because of its large and spread out shape it borders on numerous small towns, all with their own distinct charms.

Things to Do Near Lake Winnipesaukee

  • Ride on a floating post office. The lake’s mailboat offers cruises where you can both sightsee and see how they deliver postal service to the lake’s many island residents.
  • Visit the Castle in the Clouds. This Arts and Craft style 16-room mansion was built in 1913 as a country getaway. The Castle has been open to visitors since 1959 under different organizations and families. I visited as a child when it was part of the Castle Springs bottled water was their focus and you could tour the plant. Currently, it is run by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust and is on the National Register of Historic Places. You can tour the mansion, hike, eat ice cream and even enjoy a concert on the grounds.
  • Take in a museum. The Wright Museum of World War II has an extensive collection focused on both the homefront and battlefields during the war. They also have working military vehicles.

Where to Stay on Lake Winnipesaukee

  • Center Harbor Inn – You’ll drive a little longer to get to Center Harbor’s northwest Lake Winnipesaukee location but it will be worth it. With a private beach, dock and balconies overlooking the lake the relaxation sets in immediately.
  • The Lakeview Inn & Cottages – Located steps from Weirs Beach, the Lakeview is positioned for an easy 5-minute walk to the Winnipesaukee Pier. Its location on the western side of the lake is perfect for those coming by way of Route 93.  
  • The Margate on Winnipesaukee – On the southern end of the lake, the Margate is perfect for those coming from all points east, west or south. With a summer program geared towards families, you’ll love your stay on Paugus Bay in Laconia. Three different buildings offer a ton of room options and configurations.

Where to Eat Near Lake Winnipesaukee

  • Country Cook’n at the Lakeside – You know they’re serious about their homestyle cooking when meatloaf AND liver and onions are on the menu. This spot is open all day with an extensive menu of lunch, dinner and breakfast items.
  • Carriage House Restaurant – For a meal with a view head to Carriage House. It’s located at the Castle in the Clouds. They serve lunch only and it’s first come first served.
  • Ellacoya Barn and Grill – With its Gilford NH location, Ellacoya Barn and Grill is convenient for guests staying on the south portion of the lake. The menu is a good mix of giant salads, flatbreads and entrees like Steak Tips, Maple Cilantro Salmon and Seafood Scampi. Outdoor dining is available.

Read More: Best New Hampshire Family Resorts

Vermont

View of Burlington VT over Lake Champlain is a great option for weekend getaways in New England
One of the best views of Burlington and UVM is actually from Fletcher Allen Hospital. You can see all the way to Lake Champlain. Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Burlington

It may not be the capitol (that’s Montpelier) but Burlington is Vermont’s largest city and the home of the University of Vermont. Featuring great food, Church Street Marketplace and a vibrant waterfront there is plenty to do!  Visitors can explore the shops or take a ride on the eight miles of paved bike paths.

Things to Do in Burlington

  • Explore the area. Wander Church Street Marketplace, walk along the waterfront of Lake Champlain or poke around UVM’s campus. Burlington is a great city to see on foot.
  • See a show or performance at the Flynn Center. It’s a fantastic spot to catch one of your favorite artists or take in a jazz festival.
  • Go beer tasting. There are chauffeured brewery tours available that visit a whole roster of breweries while you taste everything! It’s a fun experience and the best way to visit these craft brewers in a safe way.

Where to Stay in Burlington VT

  • Hotel Vermont – This boutique hotel has stunning decor, a great location and an on-site restaurant.
  • Hotel Champlain – Part of Hilton‘s Curio Collection. Amazing location, epic views and walkable to a ton. There isn’t really anything else to say. It’s a win.
  • The Essex Resort & Spa – Located about 20 minutes from Burlington this resort is a true vacation spot. With an onsite restaurant that wins awards and beautiful grounds, it’s the perfect weekend getaway.
Al's ice cream in south Burlington, Vermont is a great option for weekend getaways in New England.
It is a personal rule that every Burlington, VT weekend getaway must include a stop at Al’s. It’s been a local favorite for over 75 years! Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Where to Eat in Burlington Vermont

  • The Skinny Pancake – This waterfront BTV favorite is one of the OG’s, opening 20 years ago. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with farm-fresh favorites. You can even add yourself to the waitlist before heading over.
  • The Farmhouse Tap & Grill – This gastropub and beer bar is a popular choice for meals out with friends or a quick drink. It’s right off Church Street.
  • Al’s French Frys – A staple since the 1940’s this South Burlington quick service shop has delicious fries, onion rings, burgers and more. During warmer months you can grab a creemee, which is NOT the same as soft serve. I love their Tornadoes. You get to choose 3 toppings to get mixed into a creemee. Amazing!

Read More: 5 Things to Do in Burlington VT with Kids

When you’re ready to take a break from outdoor activities, shop and dine in Stowe Village. Photo credit: Kristin Shaw

Stowe

A popular ski destination, Stowe is also a charming town with beautiful mountain views. Visitors can ski, snowboard or explore the town’s many shops and restaurants. But don’t think that Stowe is closed in the summer! This year-round destination offers plenty to do in the warmer months and of course, brilliant fall foliage.

Things to Do in Stowe

  • Ski or snowboard at Stowe Mountain Resort. Don’t ski? Take a snowmobile tour.
  • Visit the Trapp Family Lodge
  • Explore the Stowe Recreation Path

Where to Stay in Stowe VT

  • Stoweflake Mountain Lodge & Spa – A personal favorite, this property looks over Mount Mansfield. One huge benefit of the location is that the Alchemist Brewery abuts the back of the property.
  • Topnotch Resort & Spa – Covering more than 120 acres, you can take on-property sleigh rides in the winter or go trout fishing in the summer. Plan to dine at The Roost to enjoy organic ingredients and big flavors.
  • Stowe Village Inn – Steps from the historical society, 9 miles from Mount Mansfield and 2 miles from the Stowe Golf Course this motel-inn is well-located. Walk to local restaurants and shops.

Where to Eat Near Stowe VT

  • The Bench – Serving Vermont comfort food, Vermont Cheddar Ale soup and Wood Fired Mussels are great starters. For dinner splurge on a New York Strip Steak or enjoy a soothing pot pie.
  • Doc Ponds – Have some folks that want to nibble and some that are really hungry? Head to Doc Ponds where everyone can enjoy great craft beer and great appetizer choices. Hungrier diners can add on a smash burger or a ribeye with local Hazen bleu cheese.
  • Piecasso – A family business that has lasted over generations Piecasso serves up more than just pizza. With pasta, salads, sandwiches and even lasagna everyone will find something to love here.

Massachusetts

The best beaches on the east coast are known for their sunsets
Daily excitement in Martha’s Vineyard: watching the sun set. Photo credit: Judy Antell

Martha’s Vineyard

A picturesque island to the South of Cape Cod next to Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard is known for its beautiful beaches, historic architecture and charming small towns. Visitors reach the island by ferry or Cape Air flight. Ferries leave from Woods Hole, Falmouth, New Bedford and Hyannis in Massachusetts. Additional ferries operate from Rhode Island and Manhattan, New York.

If you’re visiting during the summer, the population swells. Be sure to book your ferry passage, lodging and meal reservations in advance. The island itself is comprised of six towns; Edgartown, Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah.

Things to do on Martha’s Vineyard

  • Visit the beaches. It’s the obvious choice for an island vacation destination! Beaches range from busy (Lighthouse Beach) to memorable (Joseph Sylvia State Beach where Jaws was filmed) to quiet (Lobsterville Beach) to family-friendly (Long Point Beach).
  • Explore the Aquinnah Cliffs and visit the Aquinnah Cultural Center. As the westernmost town on the Vineyard, Aquinnah has an unrivaled view of the sunset. It’s a popular time to visit the red clay cliffs, formed by glacial activity thousands of years ago. The name Aquinnah comes from the Wampanoag language meaning “under the hill”. The Wampanoag people were the original inhabitants of the Vineyard (“Noepe”- land between the streams). The Aquinnah Cultural Center provides an in-depth look at the history, culture and continued contributions of the Wampanoag people.
  • Each of the Vineyard’s towns has a distinct vibe. We highly recommend taking an all-island tour to get a feel for each town and pick your next vacation spot.

Where to Stay on Martha’s Vineyard

  • Harbor View Hotel – Enjoy views of Edgartown Lighthouse from this hotel located a 10-minute walk from downtown Edgartown. A restaurant is located on-site.
  • Lambert’s Cove Inn & Resort – If you’re looking for a slower-paced Vineyard stay, Lambert’s is perfect for you. With trails, ponds and the beach nearby – the natural beauty of the property will make you feel like you’re on a retreat.
  • Narragansett House – Enjoy the charm of Oak Bluffs from the porch of this Victorian bed and breakfast or walk to the beach, located 5 minutes away.
  • Visitors on a budget or with kids may want to look at local campgrounds or HI- Martha’s Vineyard Hostel.

Where to Eat on Martha’s Vineyard

  • The Black Dog Tavern – If you live anywhere in New England you’ve probably spotted someone wearing a shirt with the recognizable black dog silhouette. There’s a reason this spot is a perennial favorite. Since 1969 they’ve been serving their famous clam chowder, along with favorites like their crab cake sandwich, tavern steak tips and lobster benedict. Grab a seat on their outdoor patio for fantastic views.
  • Among the Flowers – Serving well-priced breakfast and lunch options, Among the Flowers is an easy walk from Edgartown Harbor. Start your day with an acai bowl or some corned beef hash.
  • Lookout Tavern – Winners of the island’s best lobster roll and sushi for years running, Lookout Tavern is super convenient for those getting on or off of the ferry. We like to pair a meal here with a visit to the famous Flying Horses Carousel.
Fenway park in Boston is a great option for weekend getaways in New England.
Taking in a Red Sox game at Fenway is a great way to experience what makes Boston unique. Photo credit: Nasreen Stump

Boston

As a foodie who loves to explore shops, historical sites and honestly, just wander around cities I love Boston. It is perfect for a romantic weekend getaway with its cobblestone streets and award-winning restaurants.

Things to Do in Boston

  • Head to a game. No matter what season you visit there will be one. Whether it’s a baseball game at Fenway or a Celtics or Bruins game at the Garden (TD Garden) it will be an experience. Boston sports fans are a different breed. We use Gametime to find last-minute tickets at deep discounts.
  • Visit museums. It is a huge challenge to narrow them down but some favorites are the Museum of Science, Isabella Stuart Gardener Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art.
  • Explore the North End and the Freedom Trail. It covers 2.5 miles and 16 historic sites but if you’re trying to maximize time hit the North End section. Stops include Old North Church, the Paul Revere House and Copp’s Hill Burial Ground. You can grab a pastry and espresso halfway through to fuel up- Bova’s and Cafe Vittoria are our favorites!

Where to Stay in Boston:

Boston has a ridiculous amount of hotels. Definitely search the sites for deals during your trip. A few of our favorites are:

  • The Lenox – This boutique hotel is located in Back Bay. You’ll have easy access to the Shops at the Pru, Newbury Street and the South End. There’s a pub on the premises and the rooms feel posh.
  • The Liberty – This luxurious hotel actually has a shady past. It was originally a jail in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. My husband and I honeymooned here and the hotel is incredible. With views, amenities and a great location at the foot of Charles Street, you couldn’t pick a better spot to jump off from. Themed bars and restaurants in the hotel like Alibi and Clink make grabbing a quick drink easy.
  • Intercontinental Boston – Located near the waterfront and an easy walk to the Faneuil Hall area, this luxury property has floor-to-ceiling windows in every room for great views.

Where to Eat in Boston, MA

  • Lucca – this North End Italian restaurant has been a favorite of mine for over 15 years. Their house-made pasta with wild boar ragu is excellent as is their osso bucco. They pride themselves on sourcing top-quality East Coast seafood for their dishes.
  • Fire & Ice – This restaurant is a novelty pick. It’s good and a unique concept. Basically, you go around picking your ingredients in their uncooked state. You select a sauce (or a mix of them). When you’re ready you bring everything to the round grill and it will be cooked for you. Go up as many times as you want- the pricing is all you can eat.
  • Legal Sea Foods – It just isn’t a trip to Boston for me if I don’t have, at a minimum, a cup of clam chowder from Legal. There are tons of locations and they’re very food allergy friendly.
  • Bonus Pick – Head over to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall to explore. There are standalone restaurants like Wagamama and Ned Devine’s Irish Pub or you can walk through the stands inside to select the food that speaks to you. There are always street performers and it’s a prime spot for people-watching.
Chestnut Street in Salem, Masschusetts. Photo credit Jim McAllister for Destination Salem

Salem

A historic town on the North Shore of Massachusetts, Salem is known for its rich history, including the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Learn more about this dark time in history, check out public art, wander through witchy shops or take in views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Things to Do in Salem, MA

Where to Stay in Salem

  • Hampton Inn Salem– The Hampton Inn’s location is further outside of the city center but allows for good access to beaches and puts you minutes from the Peabody-Essex Museum.
  • The Salem Inn – This charming property is made up of three separate historic buildings located close to major attractions. The different rooms available include rooms with fireplaces, jacuzzis and some suites with kitchenettes.
  • Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites– You’ll be right on the water with this choice. Located two minutes from Pickering Wharf Marina, the hotel also boasts an indoor swimming pool.

Where to Eat in Salem

  • Ledger Restaurant – If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion, head to Ledger’s. It’s in a renovated bank building and you’ll want to make reservations. Try the smoked duck breast with huckleberries and parsnips or the sirloin with sweet onion puree.
  • Rockafellas – Located in a historic building this restaurant has a reasonably priced menu while still feeling very upscale. Their salads and crab cakes are excellent.
  • Sea Level Oyster Bar – This popular spot is open daily and offers all of your favorite seafood specials. It also has an extensive menu of other options in case everyone in your party isn’t a lobster lover.

Connecticut

whaling ship mystic ct
See historic whaling ships at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Mystic

A charming coastal town, Mystic is known for its historic seaport, which offers a glimpse into the town’s maritime history. Visitors can also explore the town’s many shops, restaurants, and galleries, or take a scenic boat ride along the Mystic River.

Things to Do in Mystic

Where to Stay Near Mystic Connecticut

  • The Whaler’s Inn – This boutique hotel is right near the Bascule Drawbridge. The nautical vibes are strong throughout the inn’s five historical buildings.
  • Hilton Mystic – Book the Hilton Mystic to get easy access to the aquarium and other attractions.
  • Harbor View Landing – Have a truly epic weekend getaway by booking a bungalow at Harbor View Landing. You can walk to Mystic and not even think about parking!

Where to Eat in Mystic

  • The Oyster Club – James Beard award-nominated, The Oyster Club features a fresh menu of delicious options. It changes seasonally to feature in-season ingredients but it is always a great choice!
  • Mystic Pizza – Yes there really is a Mystic Pizza and it pre-dates the 1988 movie. Head here for their famous pizza, calzones, grinders and more.
  • Mystic Diner – We love a good diner and this one doesn’t disappoint. Hearty breakfasts are served all day long along with extensive lunch and dinner menus.
Lighthouse in New Haven, CT. Photo credit: Leudy Espinal from Pixabay

New Haven

New Haven is a vibrant college town with a rich cultural scene. Visitors can explore the Yale University campus, attend a performance at the Shubert Theater or explore museums and galleries.

Things to Do in New Haven

  • Visit the Yale University Art Gallery, the oldest university art museum in America. It’s free and open to the public with the collection being housed across three buildings. Or check out rare books, including a Gutenberg Bible, at the Beinecke Library.
  • Check out Lighthouse Point Park on the Long Island Sound. The New Haven Light House is on the National Register of Historic Places after 73 years as an active lighthouse. You can also enjoy the carousel, splash pad and make a souvenir in the penny press. If you’re looking for hiking head to East Rock Park instead.
  • Take in a performance at the Shubert Theatre or Long Wharf Theatre or buy tickets to see the New Haven Symphony Orchestra play.

Where to Stay in New Haven, CT

  • New Haven Hotel – This hotel is convenient to both Yale and downtown activities with a ton of food options within walking distance.
  • The Study at Yale – With free bikes for guests, an on-site restaurant and modern decor, this hotel is a popular choice.
  • The Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale – It’s so close that many rooms have views of Yale. This option offers amenities that Omni loyalists have come to love along with access to nearby museums.

Where to Eat in New Haven, Connecticut

  • The Original Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana – It would be wrong to visit New Haven and not try one of their signature coal-fired pizza slices! Pepe’s has been making the best since 1925.
  • Encore by Goodfella’s – Don’t fugget about this one. This mobster-themed restaurant serves up Italian and entertainment.
  • Brazi’s – If you’re willing to go a little bit out of the downtown area it will be worth it for Brazi’s. Italian food in a comfortable setting is on the menu and anything you order will be delicious.

Rhode Island

weekend getaways in New England can include visiting the Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island
The Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island. Photo credit: David Mark from Pixabay

Newport

A historic seaside town, Newport is known for its beautiful mansions, scenic waterfront and connection to The Great Gatsby. Visitors typically come to tour the historic mansions and end up exploring the shops, restaurants and galleries while visiting.

Things to Do in Newport RI

  • Tour the historic mansions, including Breakers, along the Cliff Walk. This 3.5-mile walking path has stunning ocean views.
  • Take a scenic Narragansett Bay Cruise to enjoy views of mansions, forts and lighthouses.
  • Visit Rose Island. Consisting of a lighthouse, the Fort Hamilton Barracks and a wildlife refuge you can visit for the day or even book an overnight lighthouse stay!

Where to Stay in Newport

  • Newport Bay Club and Hotel – With two observation decks, you can sit and watch the world go by on the harbor at this all-suite hotel. It’s the perfect place to spread out while on vacation.
  • Castle Hill Inn – Located on a quiet cove, the Castle Hill Inn offers accommodations in cottages and the Beach House. With a private oceanfront and over 400 acres this serene getaway is perfect for couples.
  • The Cliffside Inn – This is the hotel I picture when I think of Newport. Each room is named and themed. They’re impeccable. You can also enjoy afternoon wine and refreshments daily.

Where to Eat in Newport, Rhode Island

  • The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar – Book dinner here for the opportunity to watch the sunset from either indoor or outdoor seating. Seafood and the raw bar are the natural choices here but they do have other options as well.
  • Malt – With reasonable prices on burgers, fish and chips and chowder Malt aims to please. A huge number of on-tap beer and a plethora of whiskeys only elevates the experience from there.  
  • Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant – Nachos, seafood, burgers and steaks are all on the menu at the Brick Alley Pub. It’s perfect for both casual or special occasions.
The Statehouse in Providence Rhode Island is something to visit on a weekend getaway in New England.
Statehouse in Providence, Rhode island. Photo credit: Mohan Nannapaneni from Pixabay

Providence

Rhode Island’s capital city, Providence has changed a ton over the years. As one of America’s oldest cities, it had a rebellious and gritty phase. It is now a culinary and arts destination with a rich cultural scene.

Things to Do in Providence RI

  • Visit Roger Williams Park. Don’t let the word park fool you. It includes a botanical garden, the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Carousel Village and the Roger Williams Zoo! You can also visit the Williams Family Cemetery and try to spot one of the mounted patrol horses.  
  • Take in art at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (RISD). With more than 2,000 works on display and more than 100,000 works total owned by the museum, you’re bound to see something new and exciting.
  • Experience water and fire together. Providence has a completely unique offering – WaterFire which involves the lighting of floating firepits. Check to see if you’re visiting during the lighting dates.

Where to Stay in Providence

  • Christopher Dodge House – An Italianate mansion turned B&B, the Christopher Dodge House offers lodging near everything.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Providence – With a super central location in the middle of everything it’s perfect for families looking for a little more room.
  • Graduate Hotel Providence – The downtown location, capitol views and proximity to transportation make this a great pick for those flying or taking the train in for their weekend getaway.

Where to Eat in Providence, Rhode Island

  • Hemenway’s Restaurant – With a well-known raw bar, Hemenway’s serves up memorable seafood in a lovely setting.
  • Camille’s – Located on Federal Hill, Providence’s version of Little Italy, this iconic Italian restaurant has been serving up favorites since 1914.
  • FriskieFries – Sometimes travel involves late nights and wanting to eat crap in your room with no pants on. This fills that need. They’re open until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays and the smothered fries are delish paired with a milkshake.

New England offers a variety of weekend getaway options for visitors and residents to enjoy. From charming small towns to beautiful beaches, historic architecture to scenic countryside, there is something for everyone in this region. Whether you are looking for outdoor activities, cultural attractions, or just a relaxing weekend away, New England has it all. So pack your bags and head to one of these destinations for a weekend you won’t forget!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *