Visiting New England

Archived Q&A and Reviews


New England in August with 8 year old

March 2006

We have a family event to go to Sept 2nd in NY. We are planning on flying to NY around Aug. 26th and then driving through New England up to Vermont for a vacation prior to the NY event, and driving back down again to be in NY August 31st or September 1st. That's not much time, but it's all we've got. I wanted to ask for recommendations for places to stay (we prefer hotels with suites, but are open to any cool recommendations you might have), visit, eat (kid-friendly, but not fast food, and our daughter is a picky eater!), and have fun with our 8-year-old daughter on the way up and back. The only thing we know we want to do at this point is to spend a night in Amherst on the way up as my husband went to college there and we'd like to show our daughter where he went to school. Thanks! New England bound

I grew up in Western Massachusetts (about 45 minutes west of Amherst) and these are great things to do with kids in that area:

1) Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art -- this is on the Hampshire College Campus. They have an art studio the kids can make art in, a library and of course art to look at! It is a great ''art museum'' experience for a kid.

2) Look Park in Northampton has water activities. It also has a train ride and a little zoo. Zoo is kind of depressing.

3) Horseback Riding. I don't know where, but it is definitely a BIG activity up there and you could probably do it cheaper than in this area.

4) If your kid is into Basketball there is the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. Never been -- don't really like basketball.

5) If you want to give them a dose of New England history there is Historic Deerfield village. The required fieldtrip I went on every year.

6) You've picked the best time to go to that area becaus the ''big'' Three County Fair in Northampton is that weekend. Horse racing, farm animals, rides, bad food. It is great fun and the best experience of a New England county fair.

Have a great time! I love it so much there. Ramsey

Try the Inn at East Hill Farm. It's a family vacation resort in Troy NH, near Mt. Monadnac (sp?). Three pools (one indoor for rainy days), no official child care, but a day chock full of kid friendly activities that parents attend as well. arts and crafts, pony rides, egg hunting (every morning, give 'em to your server and you eat 'em for breakfast), pig and duck feeding, cow milking, goat milking, hikes, square dance night (my daughter loved this!). it's an all inclusive resort, so you will gulp at the price at first glance, but each night's fee includes 3 meals. my daughter still talks about our 2 night stay and asks to go back. Jessica

I spent my childhood summers in Rhode Island and lived in Providence for a while as an adult and can highly recommend a stop there with kids. The Children's Museum downtown is probably one of the best and Roger Williams Park has a great zoo, lakes for walking around looking for bugs and paddleboats to rent. All along the waterfront in Providence has been really fancified and makes for a pretty walk. Rhode island beaches are pretty packed in the summer but they're all kid friendly as far as beaches go(mild surf for easy swimming, good shells and lunch close by) mamamia

New England in October

August 2005

We are going to a family get-together in Boston in October, and we want to extend our trip a few extra days. We're looking for fun and easy places to go with a 4- and 2-year old. Looking for something easy (within a 2 hour drive). We're considering Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Western Mass, Vermont, etc. Anyone have any recommendations? We'd prefer condo/house rentals over hotels so we can cook and have more than 1 room. Mostly, we're looking for something that our kids would like. Sam

Anywhere in New England will be great in October... I'm not giving a specific place recommendation, but an activity - it's the perfect time to go to a pick-your-own apple orchard, and I would think your kids would love that! anon

There are lots of choices here- even southern Maine. I lived in W. MA and on MV. I think a lot depends on what you're looking for -- beach? Small country towns? Mountains? Foliage? For foliage I might go to NH. For beach, the Cape MV or Nantucket. For the islands the logistics are slightly more complicated then the Cape. You might need to get a ferry reservation if depending on when you go (weekend or weekday). October is a lovely time of year to visit. anon

Cabin vacation in New England after Boston trip

March 2002

We will be in Boston in mid-July for a wedding, and have decided that it makes most sense for us to stay there and vacation somewhere on the East Coast, maybe even Canada. Does anyone know a great little spot, maybe cabin on a lake, or somewhere like a condo complex with a pool, or cottage on Cape Cod, Fire Island, etc. that could provide relaxation as well as some activities for our 12-year old who will be alone with us for the first time since her sister has 'moved on' (she's 19). There used to be places around small lakes in upstate NY with bungalows, and pools, and lakes, and community halls with ping pong and stuff like that, but where? Thanks for any ideas. a now family-of-three

My family has gone to the Poconos before, which is a group of lakes in a low-mountain range in Pennsylvania (about two hours from NYC as I recall). In the resort area known as Pocono Pines, the houses are quite cheap (I remember 1000 for a week for 4-5 bedrooms) and there are a whole bunch of lakes with swimming, canoeing etc. Pretty sleepy area, not very trendy. The Cape is beautiful and pricier, and is much more crowded. If you can afford it, the upper part of the cape, say wellfleet area, is really just so lovely. hyannis/falmouth and lower areas are not quite as nice. we rented houses in craigville near hyannis port (two hours from boston) last year, (I remember something like 1600 for four bedroom) and the wonderful beach is very very close. The farther up you go (including provincetown at the top) the more spectacular the beaches. have fun! allison

The White Mountains in Northern New Hampshire are a wonderful place to vacation (about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Boston up Hwy 93). In Whitefield NH is a big lake called Forest Lake. There are cabins to rent along the lake at differenet points. You can swim or boat or fish (I think maybe only non motor boats...not sure). The town of Franconia is a gateway to fabulous hiking (Franconia Notch State Park). The smaller town of Bethlehem has lots of cottages for rent. There are side of the road inns and motels all over the place. About 45 minutes east of Bethlehem along Rte. 302 is the town of North Conway( past Crawford Notch, another great hiking place) which over the years has become an Outlet Store mecca. In that general area are condos for rent, ski areas that have summer activities, water slides, etc. Also the famous Kangamagus highway connects Crawford Notch to Lincoln NH, a really beautiful scenic drive. Further east of Conway is Mt. Washington, the tallest Mtn in the east coast (not saying a lot)with a driving road or cog railway to the top, but noted for the coldest winter temps and hightest winds in the USA. It is absolutely gorgeous. Do I love this part of the country? My parents bought a summer house in Bethlehem when I was in 6th grade. I spent all vacations there and later moved up there all year and went to college. I go back every year or so to visit friends and scenery. Sadly, my mom doesn't live there anymore so we don't have our house. I hope you have a great trip, whatever you do. Maine is also really great, especially if you like lobster and steamers. Vermont too. Good luck and have fun. June

Since you are going to be in Boston for the wedding, I would recommend going to Maine for vacation. I just moved from the East Coast last year (New York) and really enjoyed our vacation to Maine. If your looking for something close to Boston, southern Maine is just a few hours. I highly recommend Ogunquit in Southern Maine. It's a very cute little town with its own beach and beautiful scenery. If you have a little more time to travel, my favorite place in Maine is Acadia National Park. It is further north, but well worth the trip. We stayed in Bar Harbor when we went, but there are plenty of other cute little towns in the area. And there are tons of outdoor activities - mountain biking, cayaking, hiking, etc. Really, anywhere you choose along the coast of Maine is beautiful. I highly recommend it! rlieber

Definitely the beach, especially since there isn't much in the way of beach vacations in NoCal. How about the East End of Long Island or the Cape? I'd think you want to go somewhere where there are going to be lots of other kids around her age, and both of these places would be good. Martha's Vineyard, though really expensive is really fun. anon