Boston -- Oliver Wendell Holmes dubbed Boston the "hub of the solar system," and the label stuck. Today "The Hub" is the region's largest and most vibrant city. This alluring metropolis of historic and modern buildings, world-class museums, and top-notch restaurants is an important stop for travelers on any trip to New England.
Cape Cod & The Islands -- The ocean is writ large on Cape Cod, a low peninsula with miles of sandy beaches and grassy dunes that whisper in the wind. The carnival-like atmosphere of Provincetown is a draw, as are the genteel charms of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, two islands just offshore.
The Pioneer Valley -- Extending through Massachusetts along the Connecticut River, the area takes its name from the early settlers who arrived here in the 17th century. Among the many picturesque towns is unspoiled Historic Deerfield.
The Berkshires -- Massachusetts's rolling hills at the state's western edge are home to historic old estates, graceful villages, and an abundance of festivals and cultural events, including the Tanglewood Music Festival and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.
The Litchfield Hills -- The historic northwest corner of Connecticut has sleepy villages, hidden hiking trails, and a surfeit of New England charm -- all just a couple of hours from New York City.
The Connecticut Coast -- The eastern coast is home to the historic towns of Mystic and New London, where you can get a glimpse of the shipbuilding trade at the Mystic Seaport museum and the Navy submarine base in nearby Groton.
Newport, Rhode Island, Area -- The lifestyles of the truly rich and famous are on parade in Newport, once home to the likes of the Astors and Vanderbilts. A tour of the oceanfront mansions never fails to astonish.
Green Mountains -- Extending the length of Vermont from Massachusetts to Canada, this mostly gentle chain of forested hills and low mountains allows for great hiking, scenic back-road drives, fantastic inns, and superb bicycling. The apples and the maple syrup here taste pretty good, too; be sure and stock up.
Lake Champlain -- Pastoral and scenic, the region of Vermont that forms half the lakeshore of Lake Champlain has idyllic drives and a sense of gracious openness -- along with a lot of dairy cows and great views of New York's Adirondacks.
Northeast Kingdom -- This is Vermont at its most remote and lost-in-time best. The state's northeastern counties are rugged, hilly, and unpolished, but there are some improbable grace notes such as the little city of St. Johnsbury: It has not one but two excellent museums. You can also find great cheddar cheese right at the source.
Coastal New Hampshire -- Yes, New Hampshire does have a coastline -- though only 18 miles of it -- and packed into this tiny area you'll find plenty of sand, surf, honky-tonk beach boardwalks, and sailboat views. As a bonus, there's also the historic and entertaining little city of Portsmouth: a smaller (possibly even better) version of Boston, a great place to shop and drink a beer or a cup of coffee.
The Upper Valley -- The Connecticut River Valley dividing Vermont and New Hampshire is a world unto itself, full of villages, rolling hills, covered bridges, river views, and small-town bakeries. It's got smarts, too: Dartmouth College is here.
Lakes Region -- Lake Winnipesaukee is the crown jewel of New Hampshire's Lakes Region, but other lakes and ponds scattered in the area also add in charm what they lack in size. On Golden Pond was filmed on one of them, though this region's fame and beauty long predate Hollywood's recent discovery of them.
White Mountains -- Since the mid-1800s, New Hampshire's towering White Mountains have drawn travelers magnetically with their rugged, windswept peaks, forests dotted with glacial boulders, and clear, rushing streams. You can find New England's best backcountry hiking and camping here . . . but also its wildest weather. Keep a radio and a cellphone handy.
Western Maine -- This oft-overlooked region -- centered on Bethel, but taking in a wide swath of territory north and south of that village -- is as different from nearby North Conway as could be. It's home to brawny hills, wide fast rivers, unbelievably scenic lakes, great foliage, and endless opportunities for quiet hiking and skiing. You might even see a moose.
Coastal Maine -- Maine's rocky coast is the stuff of legend, art, and poetry. The southern coast has the best beaches; to the north, the Down East region offers spectacular rocky headlands and huge Acadia National Park. Great views, lighthouses, lobster shacks, and local color abound.
Maine's North Woods -- The mostly uninhabited North Woods of Maine are still almost entirely owned by timber companies, yet there are some spectacular places tucked within them. Two of Maine's hidden jewels are worth a visit: big, wild Baxter State Park, home to the state's largest peak (impressive Mount Katahdin); and giant Moosehead Lake, an isolated province of both fishing camps and luxury inns. Numerous smaller lakes and ponds, accessible only by seaplane, shine like coins in the woods, and the Allagash River is a once-in-a-lifetime paddling adventure.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.