Scenic Byways and Snacks in Southern Vermont
Drive Time: 3 hours from Boston, 4 from NYC and Portland, and just 1 hour from Albany
This inn is a AAA Four Diamond stunner and a top-rated BedandBreakfast.com winner packed with unexpected surprises, from porch swings to a labyrinth. One past guest hailed it as “the only place to stay in Vermont.” One look at the mahogany carved fireplace and spacious suites, and we think you’ll agree.
Coming from the south or east? Pop into the Grafton Village Cheese Company in Brattleboro first. Pick up snacks to pair with wine and watch the world-famous cheddar being made before picking back up along the Molly Stark Scenic Byway, through historical villages and Green Mountain slopes.
Bad Art and an Art Deco B&B Along the Massachusetts Coast
Drive Time: 45 minutes from Boston; 90 from Providence; 2 hours from Hartford
The North Shore is all fishing villages and rocky coastline, known for whale-watching cruises and lobster-roll nibbling (but hold the butter, please). Right in town, the Yankee Clipper Inn is a sprawling Art Deco manse facing the ocean, with a saltwater pool and wide-angle views of that coastline.
Drive northward through Boston and take a detour to its funkier suburb of Somerville. Catch a show at the Davis Square Theatre and visit the quirky basement-level Museum of Bad Art, where 400-some execrable artworks await your critical eye. Admission is free with a movie ticket.
French Flavors at a Funky Montreal Inn
Drive Time: A quick 90 minutes from Burlington; under 5 hours from Boston
Quick road trips can still cross international lines. Drive to Montreal for some French Canadian flavor, and bed down for the night at Auberge Les Bon Matins. The funky, colorful inn is well located, packed with fireplace suites and in-room whirlpool tubs, and is a gloriously good buy at $100 and up per night. (A strong USD-to-CAD exchange rate helps too.)
Border crossing isn’t much of an attraction, but beer is. Take the scenic route through Stowe, time your visit just so, and nab a coveted spot at The Alchemist. The brewhouse offers tastes of its legendarily popular Heady Topper IPA -- so popular that the line of hopeful entrants is warned to bring an umbrella and sunscreen!
Yachts, Cliffs and History in Old-Money Newport
Drive Time: 3 hours from NYC; 90 minutes from New Haven; just 45 minutes from Providence
There’s a reason wealthy city slickers built their summer homes on this stretch of Rhode Island coast: proximity. Follow in their footsteps and make the Marshall Slocum Inn your endpoint. This historical 1855 inn dishes up delicious breakfasts, winning service, and a great location. Throw in the free parking and it makes for a perfect summer road trip.
On the eastern edge of Narragansett Bay is the quaint village of Bristol. Sailing fans can visit the America's Cup Hall of Fame at the fascinating Herreschoff Marine Museum. (It’s a good primer for the fancy sailboats and yachts you’ll find plying the waters off Newport.)
Organic Gardens and Creepy Museums in Connecticut
Drive Time: An easy hour from New Haven; 2 hours from Boston; 2.5 hours from New York
We love this inn surrounded by organic gardens, simply because it’s practically in our backyard. Then again, our yards don’t come with free-roaming chickens or blooming perennials -- and come to think of it, we don’t have a wood-burning fireplace or three-course breakfasts, either. Lucky we’ve got the Roseledge to pamper us all.
The Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos are just minutes away, if you need to stretch your legs and throw some dice after the long drive. Or pop into Connecticut’s many museums, like the Warrens Occult Museum and P.T. Barnum Museum near Bridgeport or the Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities near Hartford. Seems buttoned-up Connecticut has a thing for the strange and spooky!
—by Dara Continenza