Thursday, March 29, 2012

There's Nothing Common About the Salem (MA) Town Common



We couldn't resist showing you a few more perspectives of Salem, Mass., this one from the Salem Common. Founded in the 17th century, this large, historic district provides a wonderful setting for a downtown district stroll. Amazing, well-preserved 18th century homes surround this eight-acre Common that also features a beautiful gazebo (pictured below), well developed paths, plenty of benches and an overall sense of peace and quiet. Directly across from the Salem Witch Museum and a couple minutes' walk to the impressive downtown Salem shopping district, be sure to put this on your list of things to do when visiting Salem! Book a room in Salem MA at the lowest available rate


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Sweet Cupcake Experience at Butter Cafe and Bakery in Walpole, Mass.

Cupcake display at Butter Cafe and Bakery, Walpole, Mass. (photo by Eric)






































We have tasted many fine cupcakes through the years, but Butter Cafe and Bakery in Walpole, Mass., comes up with flavors that "take the cupcake" in the Boston area.

Root beer, blueberry pie, red velvet, orange creamiscle, Andes mint, ice cream sundae, peanut butter cream, Boston Creme Pie, and their own version of a Hostess cupcake (much, much better than the Hostess brand!) are just a few of the cupcakes offered at Butter Cafe and Bakery that are nothing short of mouthwatering.

Butter Cafe and Bakery is also a great spot for breakfast and lunch with some creative, delicious dishes like the braised short rib grilled cheese and pressed duck sandwiches -- but be sure to not to miss out on these delicious cupcakes!

Butter Cafe and Bakery is located at 935 East St., Walpole MA. Tel. (508) 668-2123

                            

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cheese Rolling Competition Rolls into Belfast, Maine, July 20-22


Today's New England public service announcement (PSA) podcast focuses on a cheese rolling competition to be held this summer in the beautiful coastal town of Belfast, Maine. This calcium-rich event is one of the more unusual attractions that has come across our news desk in quite sometime, but it sounds awfully fun and an event we might just attend ourselves! For full details, click on the audio clip above.

Thanks to the Office of Maine Tourism for tipping us on the event. If you have a travel-related PSA that you'd like to hear announced through our blog, drop us a line and we'll consider it for broadcast. Thanks, and happy travels!

Book a room in Belfast Maine, at the lowest available rate

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dude, That Pinterest Social Media Site is Unbelievable!



Last night, I had this rather interesting dream about a social media competition, and the judges were Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler from American Idol. Their focus was on judging the hot social media site, Pinterest.

In the dream, Randy started out by saying, "Yo, yo, yo! Dawg, every time I think I have seen it all, someone like you comes along and gives its own special voice to social media. When you hit your visual note, I was like, "yo," this social media site can rock! You are definitely in it to win it! Dude, you were unbelievable! I mean, that was dope, man!"

Next in the dream, J Lo said, "Pinterest, you know how much I love you -- you know, that you make your social media site so visual and full of pretty images like flowers, arts and crafts, and fashion. And it's that visual element that makes you so special. I know you're new to the social media game, so you've got to keep believing in yourself. You've been great all along and I think you have what it takes to be in the finals of social media (BIG SMILE)."

Then, in my dream, Steven Tyler said about Pinterest, "That was beautiful, man, you've nailed this social media thing. Great job!"

Now I don't know what Randy, J Lo and Steven think of Pinterest in real life, but I can tell you that it has been a godsend for my social media program here at our VisitingNewEngland.com web sites and blogs. Quite simply, Pinterest allows us to give our readers a comprehensive visual tour of New England unlike anything we've ever done before.  You can start following our Visiting New England pinboards right here.

Ultimately, Pinterest allows us to help you, the reader, with your New England trip planning  -- whether it be a vacation or a day trip. It's like the online version of taking a touring bus across New England. Ever wondered what pristine Acadia National Park in Maine looks like? We've got some amazing photos on our pinboards. Curious about what it feels like to be on sunny Cape Cod in the summertime? We have personality-filled downtown and beach shots of quintessential Cape Cod on our pinboards. Looking for a hidden New England travel destination, but worried that it will be too boring or more aligned with the movie "Deliverance?" Don't worry, you'll be able to get a taste of the what the area is like through photos and, often, descriptions -- or links leading to detailed articles. Curious about what our New England cities are like. We have lots of photos that, figuratively, rise above the skyline!

I'm liking the way our New England pinboards are coming together, and hope you do, too. For your browsing ease, we have categorized pinboards that include Favorite New England Places, Bucket List New England Hotels, New England Restaurants, Affordable Travel, Family Friendly Lodging in New England, Romantic New England Dining, Date Night Restaurants, Diners and Roadside Restaurants, Best Shopping and Classic Family Attractions. We also have locally-flavored pinboards on Food and Drink, Wicked Good Ice Cream in New England, The Amazing York Beach (Maine), Main Streets Across New England (my personal favorite!), Connecticut Scenery, Maine Scenery, Massachusetts Scenery, New Hampshire Scenery, Rhode Island Scenery and Vermont Scenery. We have also set up "Share Your New England Vacation Photos," as well as a "Goodwill in New England" pinboards to get the word out on New England businesses and organizations that do a lot of good in the community.

I hope you get to see what Pinterest in all about, and looking at our New England pinboards. Happy travels and we hope you find New England to be unbelievable, dude!





Thursday, March 22, 2012

Podcast: Maine Outdoors Adventure Announcement



 We are excited to bring you our first New England Travel News Network podcast, focusing on a great resource for outdoor adventures in northern Maine. You can access this news by clicking on the audio player above.

Thanks to the Office of Maine Tourism for tipping us on the valuable resource!

If you have a New England travel related news item that you'd like to hear announced at the New England News Network, drop us a line at feedback@VisitingNewEngland.com. Have a great New England day!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring is a Great Time to Visit Kennebunkport, Maine

I was thinking this morning about a nice place to visit in New England on a great spring day like this.  Kennebunkport, Maine, instantly came to mind.

In reality, I won't be able to travel there due to prior work commitments, so the following pictures will be a prime motivator to put Kennebunkport on the "very near future" travel calendar...

Colorful Dock Square (pictured above), is such a fun place to shop -- so many neat, colorful mom and pop shops there. For dining, we always go to Allison's for a great cup of chowder and 
fresh catch" seafood special...


There's nothing quite like getting out to Goose Rocks Beach and enjoying the spring solitude while strolling the expansive beach...



Or enjoying some windy weather and fantastic water views by the rocky Maine coast at Cape Porpoise...
Driving along Ocean Avenue (pictured below), is always a treat with more great water views. Farther up the road from Dock Square, you'll find some amazing waterfront resorts and inns like the Colony Inn and Nonantum Resort.



Beautiful, isn't it? I guess the moral of this story is "When you're in doubt on where to travel in New England during the spring season, go with Kennebunkport!"

Book a room in Kennebunkport, Maine at the lowest rate

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cheers to a Famous Boston, Mass., Restaurant Tourist Attraction!

Cheers Boston (Photo by Eric)

We're generally not big on over hyped tourist attractions, but sometimes you just have to say "Cheers" to some of these popular spots. Case in point: Cheers Boston, the inspiration for the hit TV series "Cheers" and where exterior shots were filmed for the show.

From the crowds to the souvenirs, Cheers Boston indeed has tourist attraction written all over it. On the other hand, it's a very well run bar/restaurant with friendly service (including the bartenders) and a casual, comfortable atmosphere. For a burger and brew -- or other bar food basics and drinks -- Cheers is a perfectly acceptable restaurant to dine. I think if it wasn't a tourist attraction, some of media hipsters and various elitists would like this restaurant. I like to look beyond the obvious. In this case, I really see Cheers not only as a tourist destination but also a very solid restaurant. Plus, what would a visit to Boston be without doing the time-honored and tested "tourist" thing?

Cheers Boston
84 Beacon St.
Boston MA
(617) 227-9605

Monday, March 19, 2012

Enjoying the Peaceful Coastal Setting of Jamestown, R.I.

Newport, R.I., is a favorite vacation destination to many visiting "The Ocean State," but let's not forget about the less-hyped towns and cities worth seeing in this small but packed-with-things-to-do state. The other day I was driving through Jamestown, R.I., and felt instantly attracted to the small town charm in this community with little more than 5,000 residents. The downtown is low-key with a few restaurants (a few with outdoor seating), galleries and service shops, but it looks great when juxtaposed with the pleasant, scenic views of the Narragansett Bay. At the small park area located by the Bay, you'll also see fine views of the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge that leads to Newport.  You can really have the best of both worlds in Jamestown, enjoying its peaceful coastal setting or driving the bridge en route to Newport.

Here are some photos I think capture the serene feeling of Jamestown...

This view of the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge is one I could look at all day!
I thought about how lucky the people of Jamestown are to have a downtown with water views framing an already pleasant central district.


New England coastal scenery doesn't get much better than this!

As you can see, Jamestown really has a nice location and one worth staying if you like your vacations a little less busy. Hope you get to see this great Rhode Island town! Book a hotel in Jamestown RI at the lowest rate

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Essex St. Pedestrian Mall in Salem, Mass., Offers Vibrant Shopping, Restaurant Scene


Essex Street Pedestrian Mall, Salem, Mass. (photo by Eric)
The Essex St. Pedestrian Mall in Salem, Mass., rivals some of the best northern New England small coastal city downtown districts like Market Square in Portsmouth, N.H., the Port Exchange in Portland, Maine, and central Newburyport, Mass.

In this section of a great North Shore city, you'll find an extended brick and cobblestone stretch of mom and pop shops, boutiques and galleries, coffeehouses, cafes and restaurants -- many that are housed in beautifully restored historical buildings. I had a chance to walk the Mall on a warm spring day, and, quite simply, was amazed by its appeal. We all know Salem is most famous for its witch attractions and the Peabody Essex Museum (known for its outstanding art and cultural exhibits), but the Essex St. Pedestrian Mall is a destination by itself. The restaurant scene has grown significantly with diverse cuisines (I had a terrific lunch at the cozy, eclectic Front Street Coffeehouse), and you'll find places that sell books, toys, clothes, ice cream, baked goods and everything you would expect in a vibrant downtown district. The difference here, however, is that the sense of history is well intact with its 18th and 19th century architecture and that cars will not interfere with your downtown shopping experience.
The East India Marine Hall at the Peabody Essex Museum and the Essex St. Pedestrian Mall (photo by Eric)

We can hardly wait to visit during the summer when I'm sure things will be even more festive and the warmer weather will be ideal for evening walks and outdoor dining and entertainment.

Growing up in the area, I don't quite recall downtown Salem ever looking this nice. It shows what a little vision and follow through can do when local elected and appointed officials, the community and business people come together. Coupled with the witch attractions, the beautiful nine acre Washington Square Town Common surrounded by spectacular early to mid 19th century dwellings and the pleasant Pickering Wharf district with more shops and (waterfront) restaurants, Salem has truly become a major travel destination. Once a personal "B" list travel spot, it is now on my "A" list!

For more information on Salem, I recommend logging onto the Official Salem MA Guide, or stopping by the Salem Visitor Center at 2 New Liberty Square (around the corner from the Pedestrian Mall). Hope you get to visit this great small city!

The Salem Old Town Hall, just off Essex St., is a prime example of historical preservation in Salem. (photo by Eric)


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Visiting Woodstock in the "Quiet Corner" of Connecticut

I had a chance a few weeks ago to revisit Woodstock, located in the "Quiet Corner" of Connecticut. Largely unspoiled and with quintessential New England elements intact, this beautiful little town best represents the "Quiet Corner" region with its downtown skyline being a tall white steeple, well kept old homes that never fail to make me say "Wow!" and an absence of commercial and industrial development that fly in the face of our modern world. I highly recommend visiting here is you like peace and solitude, a sense of historical preservation and memorable rural scenery of farms, forests and landscapes that seem virtually endless. It really feels like you're a million miles from civilization here. I'll now let the pictures do the talking to give you a taste of one of my favorite towns in New England...


The Roseland Cottage was once a summer home to a wealthy New York family and now can be toured between June 1 and October 15. As you can see, it's really a spectacular sight! touring the home, you'll see steep gables and stained glass, boxwood parterre garden, a bowling alley, garden house, aviary, carriage barn, ice house, various outbuildings and some beautiful landscaping.


The Town Cemetery has a beautiful rural look, further enhanced by scenic rolling hills in the distance.


No real New England town is complete without a stately, old church. Here in Woodstock, you can really feel that authentic New England presence.


The Inn at Woodstock Hill sits on a hill overlooking those amazing rolling hills. We've stayed here several times and consider this charming inn the ultimate getaway. I think even the most stressed out person would be forced to relax here.  You can read our full review on the Inn at Woodstock Hill here.

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