Sponsored by Blundstone.
While diving into New England’s stunning fall foliage is without question at the top of visitors’ to-do list this time of year, from there the options for autumn adventure are as diverse as this storied region itself. Tramping through apple orchards, strolling cobblestone streets and waterfront docks, wandering 19th-century mill buildings now filled with acclaimed restaurants and boutiques — there’s so much ground to cover, and none of it the same, when exploring New England.
So it’s no surprise that in order to pack in as much fun as possible, savvy travelers rely on packing light. Instead of bringing separate footwear for hiking, city strolls, and evenings out, you need one shoe that can go anywhere — which makes the Blundstone boot anyone’s ideal New England traveling companion.
Founded in a land of similarly diverse and rugged terrain, Tasmania, more than 150 years ago, Blundstone has made its name on durability, quality, and innovation, creating boots that can do anything while looking great every step of the way. It has outfitted soldiers and Everest explorers and Olympians, and today this family-owned heritage brand turns out more than 3 million boots a year for workers, adventurers, and creatives alike.
As it turns out, Jackie Greaney and Paul Havel are a bit of all three types: The Kennebunk, Maine–based duo head up their own animation and photo production company, run the vintage boutique Seacraft, and fill their popular Instagram feeds with stunning images of their travels across the region. And for these two New Englanders, Blundstone was the perfect fit.
Jackie first noticed Blundstones being worn on the streets of New York City seven or eight years ago, before the couple moved to Maine, “but now it feels like everybody here wears them, too. They’ve ended up crossing a lot of lines, in terms of the style and the aesthetic of people who choose to wear them.”
Blundstone also got a regional boost in visibility through its partnership with another family-owned heritage brand, Maine’s own L.L. Bean. “Paul and I were in an L.L. Bean store a few months ago,” Jackie says, “and it was like, wow! It felt like everyone we saw was trying on Blundstones, whereas before it would have been mainly just the L.L. Bean boot. That’s when I realized how widespread they’ve become.”
For their own test-drive, the couple chose the Chelsea, a pull-on, elastic-sided boot that’s been a brand staple since the 1960s. Like all Blundstones, it’s made with leather from the world’s finest tanneries and advanced comfort technology, which made an immediate impression on Jackie.
“Right away I could feel they were really comfortable, like they were already broken in,” she says. “With other boots, they can rub your feet in places, and you have to be sensitive to how thick the sock is that you’re wearing. These were a lot more flexible for me.”
They also proved flexible in adapting to the couple’s different styles, from Jackie’s cropped wide-leg pants to Paul’s jeans and khakis, which were sometimes rolled up to show off the boots, sometimes rolled down for a more understated look.
Going about her day-to-day, Jackie found more to appreciate about her new footwear — from the way the rugged sole gripped a slippery waterside ramp during a photo shoot, to the convenience of the ankle tabs when she pulled the boots on and off for a quick dog walk with the couple’s black Lab mix, Poppy.
Through it all, though, what stood out most was the Blundstones’ versatility. “When you grab a pair of boots, sometimes you feel as though you have to work them into your outfit, or you have to build the outfit around them,” Jackie says. “But with these being so classic and understated, you can just put them on and forget about all that. A lot of times, we’ll go straight from the store or the studio to have dinner with friends or family, maybe go to Portland for a night out — and these shoes can do all that.”
Bonus: Best Fall Things to Do in Kennebunk
Though their work takes them all over New England, Jackie Greaney and Paul Havel love showing visitors around their hometown of Kennebunk, Maine, which — along with the neighboring town of Kennebunkport — offers a classic coastal New England getaway, especially in fall.
Here, Jackie shares some of her favorite local stops, all perfectly suited to a day spent in Blundstone boots:
Snug Harbor Farm: Lovely farm and greenhouses with pumpkins, fall flowers, and animals including miniature ponies, ducks, and even a peacock.
Gooch’s Beach: Great spot for pet-friendly walks on the sand (dogs are allowed on local beaches all day this time of year).
Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge: Offers a nice loop hike along the river and ocean, with plenty of foliage views.
Wandby Landing: Rustic pasta and delicious fall-inspired cocktails in a cozy old barn, with bonfires outside along the marsh.
Boulangerie: From-scratch bakery located in an early-1900s barn, with autumn-season specials like apple loaf, pumpkin danish, and pumpkin lattes.