The rugged coast brings up visions of lobster shacks, lighthouses and sailing with the wind, but your clients might not know that the Maine coast has a thriving arts scene. Art museums in Ogunquit, Portland and Rockland, and Winslow Homer’s clifftop studio are standouts on a trail studded with dozens of galleries from York to Bar Harbor. While the scenery inspires artists, the fresh-caught seafood inspires chefs, making Portland’s dining scene a magnet for food-lovers. Less well-known than its artists and seafood are Maine’s gardens. Coastal Maine Botanic Gardens in the popular resort town of Boothbay Harbor is one of the country’s premier show gardens; there are two in Bar Harbor and others worth stops in between.
Inns along the Coast (www.innsalongthecoast.com) can help you plan custom itineraries for garden lovers, or for foodies, art mavens and beer-lovers, with luxury lodgings to match (at one inn, clients can learn to make pretzels to accompany their on-tap beers). Or suggest they see the Maine coast from the water, sailing on a vessel in the Maine Windjammer Fleet (www.sailmainecoast.com). These carefree cruises come in various lengths, and some ships welcome teens or younger children.
The White Mountains
New Hampshire’s biggest playground is the White Mountains, a vast stretch of peaks and wilderness networked by trails. Towns here have been hosting tourists since the early 1800s, when trains began bringing summer visitors. Luxury hotels and small farmhouse inns sprang up, many of which still welcome guests today. Country Inns in the White Mountains (www.countryinnsinthewhitemountains.com) is a resource for some of the best. For a larger resort with an intimate boutique feel, book clients at the elegant 19th-century Stonehurst Manor (www.stonehurstmanor.com), in the heart of the Mt. Washington Valley (www.mtwashingtonvalley.org)
Opportunities for climbing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, rock-climbing and other outdoor sports are all around, and for camping in style, Huttopia (https://canada-usa.huttopia.com) has opened a “glamping” resort in Conway. Kids will love their pool after a day at one of the many fun parks, from Santa’s Village to the clever rides and games of Storyland and the beloved bears at Clark’s Trading Post. Learn about these and other experiences, including the famous Mt. Washington Cog Railway and Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway at White Mountain Attractions (www.visitwhitemountains.com).
Vermont’s Year-round Ski Resorts
The Green Mountain State has turned its stellar reputation as a skier’s paradise into a year-round tourist draw. The state’s famed ski areas, from Mount Snow to Stowe and Jay Peak are as busy in the summer as in February, with Alpine coasters and slides, ziplines, mountain biking, Segway tours, tramways, concerts, festivals, tennis, climbing walls and golf courses. Slope-side hotels and condos provide plenty of family-friendly lodging right in the heart of the action.
Okemo Mountain Resort (www.okemo.com), in the middle of the state, is a good example with sports and leisure activities for all seasons. The snow has barely left the ski trails when the 18-hole course at Okemo Valley Golf Club opens, and the state-of-the-art skating rink becomes tennis courts. Along with the Adventure Zone, Mountain Coaster and chairlift rides, outdoor concerts, a brew festival and other events fill the summer and fall. Ski resorts are a good base for exploring the scenic Green Mountains, photographing covered bridges and stopping to buy maple syrup in idyllic country villages.
Clients will already know a bit about Boston and its Freedom Trail, connecting historic sites like Paul Revere’s home and Faneuil Hall as it tells of events in America’s struggle for independence. Sports fans won’t want to miss touring the iconic Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. The smart Godfrey Hotel (www.godfreyhotelboston.com) is only a few steps from the start of the Freedom Trail, and for a look inside one of Boston’s famous Brownstones, book clients at the upscale Gryphon House (http://innboston.com) near Fenway Park. It’s a beautiful walk through the Fens to two of Boston’s world-class art collections, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Across the river in Cambridge are the Harvard Art Museums (www.harvardartmuseums.org), a group of three outstanding museums under one roof. The boutique Hotel Veritas (www.thehotelveritas.com) is a five-minute stroll from these and Harvard Yard, where students lead entertaining free tours.
From miles of golden beaches to famed Wellfleet oysters to LGBT-friendly Provincetown, there’s a lot to like about Cape Cod. Clients can hop a ferry on Boston’s waterfront and arrive within steps of an ocean-side hotel or chic B&B in lively Provincetown (http://ptownchamber.com). Or suggest they drive to the Cape with a stop for a history fix in Plymouth, where they can tour a replica of the Mayflower and an authentically recreated 1620 village of Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org). For clients who like uncrowded beaches and quiet streets lined with charming old houses, choose north shore towns like Sandwich, Brewster or Barnstable; those who want a lively beach scene with lots of nightlife might prefer the Falmouth/Hyannis area or Provincetown.
No place in America can match the mansions of Newport, RI. They line Bellevue Avenue: Marble House, The Elms, Chateau-sur-Mer, Rosecliff and the queen of them all, The Breakers. Each vies for the most over-the-top Gilded Age opulence and your clients can tour them from the servants’ quarters to the kitchens (www.newportmansions.org). Most overlook Newport’s famous Cliff Walk, a paved path along the sea, one of Newport’s favorite attractions. Others range from magnificent colonial homes to its sailing legacy (you can book sailing tours). Shoppers along its harborside streets find everything from quirky clothes to nautical antiques and gear. Book clients rooms in a Gilded Age mansion, an authentically furnished Colonial home, a boat, or even a lighthouse (www.discovernewport.org).