Wondering where to go for the perfect summer vacation in New England this year? Use this handy guide to determine which classic destination is best for you.
As You Lake It
You enjoy nature, as long as it’s on the other side of a screen. Your idea of strenuous exercise is a walk to the marina for another Fudgsicle, and your favorite travel companion is a best-selling author. If so, then a cabin on a lake is the vacation for you. Don’t worry if you forget your book–all lakeside cabins come with a large collection of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. From your hammock, you’ll listen to the cry of loons and the lapping of water against the dock. You may also hear the family from Long Island screaming across the way and the roar of their gasoline-powered water toys, so pick your cabin carefully.
Bed, Breakfast & Bouquets
Choose a B&B vacation if, rather than a cookie-cutter hotel room, you prefer the coziness of a real home–without the piles of dirty laundry, empty juice cartons, and small children. The typical B&B features flowered wallpaper, flowered drapes, flowered cushions, flowered pillows–basically, more flowers than your average botanical garden. A hearty breakfast prepares you for whatever else you’re going to do that day, since you’re not expected to hang around there.
Ocean’s the Way
If you love feeling sand in your toes–and your ears, armpits, and other bodily orifices–then it’s a beach vacation for you. Lie back as the breeze wafts the fragrant smells of sea, salt, coconut oil, and fried dough over you. You’ll enjoy the company of sunbathers flaunting the latest research into skin disease, and you’ll dine at restaurants serving a wide variety of batter-dipped foods. You’ll marvel at the wildlife, including seagulls, starfish, and heavily-tattooed men selling T-shirts. Choose your accommodations from time-share condos (“4 baths, sleeps 28”) to the Drowsy Dunes Motor Lodge, where the Magic Fingers hasn’t worked since 1973.
Perhaps you’re more of a nature liker than nature lover. If so, escape from the hustle and bustle of civilization to a campground, where you’ll try to re-create your normal life in a space smaller than your living room rug, surrounded by people you were stuck in traffic with on the way there. Accommodations vary, from Dad’s old army tent to RVs roughly the size of Gillette Stadium. You’ll prepare meals over an open fire, giving your eggs a delightfully smoky flavor along with a delicate coating of ash. And you’ll find plenty of time for leisure activities, such as blowing up air mattresses, washing dishes under an outdoor faucet, and swatting mosquitoes.
If you have kids, you might enjoy a fun-filled family vacation during which you don’t actually have to spend time with them. Try a family resort, with plenty of activities to keep the kids busy while you do the same things you’d do at home, but without interruptions. Meals are generally on the continental plan (“Put this banana in your jacket for later”) or modified American plan (“You should have eaten your breakfast–we don’t eat again until supper”). Sharing a family suite will remind you of the simple joy of private bedrooms.
The Happy Hiker
If you’re the rugged-outdoors type, laughing at ticks, blackflies, and all but the largest of carnivores, your perfect vacation may be a hiking trip through the mountains. You’ll dine on a variety of mouthwatering meals, all of which come in pouches. Accommodations range from tents the size of a first-class business envelope to hostels where you’ll get to know other hikers, their sleep habits, and whether they’ve changed their socks in the past week. On the plus side, you’ll get to see incredible views in the original high-definition format.
Bright Lights, Biggish City
While on vacation, you don’t want to eat anything that came in a pouch, a can, or a cellophane wrapper, and you don’t care if it costs as much as the monthly payment on your Prius. It’s an urban getaway for you. Choose from one of New England’s historic cities, most of which are conveniently located on the other side of tollbooths. Accommodations range from boutique hotels (from the French word for “pricey”) to chain hotels with all the warmth and charm of a mattress showroom.