Kate McCulley a RoamRight Blog Author

Four Great Lesser Visited New England Cities


When it comes to New England cities, most visitors head straight for Boston and consider themselves finished. To do so would be a shame – New England is full of smaller cities that might not be the busiest or most happening places in the region, but make up for their smaller size with lots of personality.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Just an hour away from Boston and over the New Hampshire border is Portsmouth, a town bursting with local character. The main streets of Portsmouth are filled with independent bookstores, award-winning breweries, wacky cafes, estate jewelry shops, and seafood restaurants that know their way around a lobster roll. It's also one of the few communities in New Hampshire to have a bit of coastline.

It would be easy to spend all your time in Portsmouth without going beyond the city limits, but Portsmouth is also well-situated for exploration: the city is sandwiched between the beach towns of Rye and Hampton and the outlet shopping haven of Kittery, Maine.

Providence, Rhode Island

The big city in the little state, Providence is a remarkably friendly and walkable city. Providence also tops lots of up-and-coming lists, thanks to a host of creative restaurants and a vibrant arts scene anchored by the Rhode Island School of Design and its museum. From Roger Williams Park to the Brown University campus, Providence is filled with architecture, history, and surprising natural beauty.

The best time to visit Providence of all is during the summer, when crowds spill into the streets in the evenings and gather on the river for Waterfire, a lauded artistic and musical celebration culminating with balls of fire shooting out of the river.

Burlington, Vermont

It might not be the capital of the Green Mountain State, but it certainly is the largest city – and Vermont's cultural center. Church Street and the surrounding blocks are filled with boutiques, cafes and shops catering to the flower-child population. The University of Vermont is headquartered here as well, and the large student population means you can find cheap eats and unpretentious nightlife.

In warmer months, you'll find families picnicking along the Lake Champlain waterfront and hippies playing hacky-sack in the park; in the cold, it's a winter paradise, with local ice skating and coffee shops serving hot chocolate – with Vermont’s famous ski slopes only a short drive away.

Portland, Maine

Many of Maine's popular tourist cities are famous for two things: beaches and mansions. But if you head into Portland, you'll find a lot more – starting with red brick buildings atop cobblestone streets in the historic district. Portland is Maine's largest city, yet it feels like a small town. Being one of the busiest port cities in New England, though, Portland has become a cultural haven, especially when it comes to food and nightlife.

While America's other Portland may be famous for its independent artsy community, you'll find the same thing in East Coast Portland, with a famous and growing arts scene. On the first Friday of the month, galleries stay open late and the city joins in an art walk open to all. Top it off with a glass at one of Portland’s best wine bars and you'll be tempted to extend your time in this fun and low-key city.

What are your favorite cities in New England?

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Kate McCulley

Kate McCulley, a RoamRight Blog Author Kate McCulley, better known as Adventurous Kate, has been a full-time travel blogger for more than 2.5 years. She specializes in independent and solo travel for women, and is particularly interested in budget adventure travel. Kate is originally from the Boston area and has most recently lived in London. She has been to more than 30 countries on 5 continents. Kate is currently traveling with her partner Mario and taking photos for SomeoneOnceToldMe.com. Their goal is to get 1000 photos and stories from people around the world. Visit Kate's site at AdventurousKate.com and follow her on Twitter at @adventurouskate. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google Plus.

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