When it comes to choosing an ideal outing for a day of fun with your mate, it’s sometimes difficult to narrow the possibilities. Are you an adventurous couple in need of an energetic kayak trip, or would you prefer a day of luxurious couples’ pampering at a spa? Maybe a roaring fire at a snow-covered cabin in the woods is just what you need to rekindle the flame. These are a few of our favorite New England day trips that are perfect for sharing with your significant other.
Acadia National Park and the whole of Mount Desert Island in northern Maine offer countless opportunities for hiking, kayaking, picnicking and even taking tea by a lakeside. The extreme northern location and limited accessibility by car across the narrow northern isthmus that connects the large “island” to the mainland make this a challenging day trip from many parts of New England, but if you live in or are visiting Maine, the location is ideal.
Mid-coast Maine, just two hours by car from Boston, is home to a string of small communities that are famous for lobster and art. Whether you’re a foodie, a culture hound, or a mix of both, visit Rockland, Camden and Rockport to spend the day gallery hopping and visiting with artists on this trio’s main streets. In the evening, enjoy fresh Maine seafood by candlelight, especially during Rockland’s early August Maine Lobster Festival.
Vermont is one of the most standout destinations in the country for farm-to-table food, beverages and maple syrup. The iconic town of Waterford, commemorated on numerous Christmas cards, is a picture-perfect stop year-round. Essex is home to The Essex Resort & Spa, formerly known as the New England Culinary Institute, and the Inn at Weathersfield, a quaint inn and restaurant housed in a manor house built in 1792. Both venues are ideal if you enjoy premium culinary experiences that include private cooking classes.
New Hampshire is known for its White Mountains. Drive through them on a fine summer’s day and enjoy the splendor of the Kancamagus scenic highway. The state’s extensive lake system includes massive Lake Winnipesaukee, which has more than enough beaches and inlets for every traveler to find a favorite. For a nostalgic experience, visit Squam Lake. Also known as Golden Pond, this lake’s quiet elegance was immortalized by the award-winning 1981 movie “On Golden Pond.” Finish the day at the Manor on Golden Pond for a room and dining with a lake view.
Along the border of New York in western Massachusetts, the historic farming towns of the Berkshires have remained relatively untouched by urbanization and the weekend flocks from New York and Boston. Whether you prefer snowshoeing and hiking or lounging in a steaming hot tub by candlelight in an 18th-century manor house, the Berkshires have everything to satisfy your needs.
Visit larger Great Barrington for shopping, Lenox for the most intimate experiences and exquisite service, and Stockbridge, which is steeped in history. In the summer, head to Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony, to explore the gardens and enjoy a picnic concert.
Make your way inland to Litchfield County. It has made a name for itself in recent years with a lively weekend group of restaurants that don’t take reservations or credit cards or even advertise the menu. You eat on paper tablecloths, but the cuisine rivals the finest Parisian dining.
On the coast, historic Mystic has been settled longer than recorded history. Despite the paparazzi that descended after Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall honeymooned there and its famous turn in the film “Mystic Pizza,” the town still looks like the seaside fishing village it has been for centuries. It’s just quainter, cleaner, and more accessible to the casual visitor.
Located on Aquidneck Island, Newport is a more accessible version of the Hamptons of “The Great Gatsby” era. Its castle-like, Gilded Age mansions bring to mind opulent Italian and British architecture. Many of the lavish homes, such as the former Vanderbilt summer “cottage” known as The Breakers, are open to the public. Opt for a private tour or even an intimate meal in one of the locations open to overnight guests.
With half of the island under conservation, Block Island offers a secluded beach environment. It gives you the same picturesque village-surrounded-by-dune-grass atmosphere you would enjoy in Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, but with more privacy and a friendlier price tag.
What’s your favorite New England destination for a romantic day trip with your partner? Tell us in the comments.