The Northeast is full of wonderful places to visit, from the busy streets of New York City and Boston to the ski slopes of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. However, sometimes the best places to visit in the Northeast are spots that are just off the beaten path – secret treasures that sometimes the locals don’t even know about. Whether you’re a Northeast transplant or a born-and-bred Yankee, you’ll love these best places to visit in the Northeast that you’ve never even heard of!
New York: Stairway Ridge Trail on Whiteface Mountain
Set on one of the high peaks of the Adirondacks, the Stairway Ridge Trail was built into Whiteface Mountain in the 1930s. It features both man-made and natural staircase steps. You can reach this otherworldly staircase by driving up Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway. The trail is only 1/5 of a mile, making it an achievable climb even for folks who might be a little out of practice. At the summit waits Whiteface Castle, along with a cafe and gift shop. From there, you can see amazing views of Lake Placid, Vermont and even Montreal. The Stairway Ridge Trail can usually only be reached during the warmer months, since the highway closes down for winter.
New Jersey: Batsto Village Ghost Town
In the pine barrens of Wharton State Forest, you’ll stumble across one of the country’s best-preserved ghost towns: Batsto Village. Originally, Batsto Village was a company town, populated by the employees of the Batsto Iron Works, built on the shores of a nearby river in 1766. With the decline of the iron works came the slow decline of the town, and the very last residents moved out in 1989. However, the Episcopal church and the post office remain open to this day. When you visit Batsto Village, you can take a walking tour of the grounds, various homes and buildings, the sprawling mansion and the museum.
Rhode Island: The Norman Bird Sanctuary
The Norman Bird Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and environmental education center that contains over 325 acres of different wildlife habitats. On the sanctuary’s 7 miles of hiking trails, you can see hundreds of local and migratory birds. The Norman Bird Sanctuary was established in 1949 by Mabel Norman Cero, who left the land to the preservation and protection of local birds in her will. Take advantage of one of their guided bird walks and ecotours for an insider view of this amazing sanctuary.
Massachusetts: Nantucket Pharmacy
Longing for the simple joys of yesterday? You can turn back time at Nantucket Pharmacy, which has a real soda fountain counter dating all the way back to 1929. Nantucket Pharmacy has everything – from the gleaming chrome seats to the retro chalkboard menu. They even have a real soda fountain, perfect for sodas, floats and egg creams. If that’s not enough for you, try one of their delicious ice creams or milkshakes. It’s one of the best places to visit in the Northeast if you’re looking for some old-timey charm.
Connecticut: The USS Nautilus
You don’t have to go 20,000 leagues under the sea to visit the USS Nautilus – it’s moored in Groton, Conn., at the Submarine Force Museum. The Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, and the first ship ever to cross the North Pole. At the Submarine Force Museum, you can walk the decks of the Nautilus and explore the depths of the submarine. It’s one of the best places to visit in the Northeast for those who love boats and subs. You’ll be able to see everything from the torpedo room to the attack center, and even the crew’s mess area.
New Hampshire: Madame Sherri’s Castle
In the 513-acre woods of the Madame Sherri Forest, you’ll find a series of strange, crumbling ruins. These are the remains of Madame Sherri’s Castle. Madame Antoinette Sherri was a famous costume designer, active in the 1920s and 30s. After the death of her husband, she built a sprawling architectural marvel in New Hampshire – her castle. Sherri often threw lavish parties in the castle. Over the years, it fell into disrepair, then was finally destroyed by a fire in 1962. All that’s left are stones, crumbling foundations and a sweeping stone staircase that leads to nowhere. Local legend says that Madame Sherri can sometimes be seen standing atop the staircase – but be careful! She’s been known to push people off.
Vermont: Poorhouse Pies
Looking for a slice of pie? You can get your sweet fix at Poorhouse Pies in Underhill, Vt. Poorhouse Pies is run by pie mavens Jamie and Paula Eisenberg. Jamie and Paula bake the pies in the kitchen of their yellow farmhouse, then trot them out to the shed or pie box outside. Poorhouse Pies is an unstaffed shed filled with delicious pies and a lockbox marked “MONEY.” The Eisenbergs run on the honor system – leave cash or a check in the lockbox, then walk away with your pies. In winter, the pies are kept in a custom, insulated pie box to keep them warm. Yum!
Maine: Bar Island
In Acadia National Park, and just north of Bar Harbor, Maine, sits Bar Island. This uninhabited island may at first seem distant and mysterious – but at low tide a long, gravel bar emerges from the water. For about three hours, it becomes possible to travel to and from the island on foot. Follow the trail all the way onto the island for some beautiful views of the harbor and some one-on-one encounters with nature.
What are the best places to visit in the Northeast for you? Let us know in the comments below!