Nearly all the major airlines fly into Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS), your likely hub of arrival or connection if you're coming by air. For more information, contact the airport at tel. 800/235-6426 or check the airport’s website at www.massport.com/logan-airport.
Commercial carriers also serve other important locales. Bradley International Airport is convenient to Hartford, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts. You’ll also find flights to Burlington, Vermont; Manchester, New Hampshire; Portland, Maine; Providence, Rhode Island; and Worcester, Massachusetts. Airlines most commonly fly to these airports from New York or Boston, although non-stop flights and direct connections from hub cities, such as Chicago, Dallas, and Washington, D.C., are available.
All three major New England islands—Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Block Island—can be reached by plane. Even smaller towns and cities are served by feeder airlines and charter companies, including those flying into air strips in Rutland, Vermont; Rockland, Maine; and Trenton, Maine, near Bar Harbor. Just remember that many flights to small airports are aboard turboprop planes; ask ahead if that makes you nervous.
While flights into smaller airports are convenient, it’s almost always cheaper to fly into Logan, and then rent a car and drive (or take a bus or train) to your destination. On the other hand, Logan can become congested, security lines are long, delayed flights are endemic, and traffic can be nightmarish—so the greater expense of flying into smaller hubs might be offset by speedier check-ins, departures, and arrivals. You may also want to compare prices for flights into New York City and Albany, New York, which are only a short drive from the New England area.
Several interstate highways serve New England. I-95 parallels the Connecticut shore, then turns north through Providence and Boston, after which it strikes northeast along the New Hampshire and Maine coast before heading north toward the Canadian border. I-91 heads north from New Haven, Connecticut, through Massachusetts, and along the Vermont–New Hampshire border. The Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) makes an east-west jaunt from Boston to the Berkshire Hills (for a price—although electronic tolling means you won’t have to slow down or stop). Your E-ZPass transponder will work on the MassPike, saving you money and the hassle of paying tolls online or by mail.
From Boston, you head south on I-95 to reach Rhode Island, north on I-95 for Maine, northwest up I-93 for New Hampshire and the White Mountains, or southwest on I-84 into the heart of Connecticut. In Concord, New Hampshire, I-89 splits off from I-93 and heads into Vermont. Stay on I-89 if you want to reach Montpelier and Burlington; exit northward onto I-91 at White River Junction if you want to visit St. Johnsbury and the Northeast Kingdom.
The most picturesque way to enter New England is from the west. Drive through the scenic Adirondack Mountains to Port Kent, New York, on Lake Champlain, then catch the car ferry across the lake to Burlington, Vermont.
International visitors should note that quoted rental car rates in the U.S. typically do not include insurance and may not include taxes and fees. Read fine print or ask your rental agency about additional costs. Many rental-car agencies have non-negotiable minimum age requirements, and some impose a surcharge for young drivers (generally between the ages of 18 and 24).
From Boston and New York City, commuter train lines radiate out to the suburbs (which can include southern New Hampshire and coastal Connecticut, respectively), but elsewhere train service in northern New England is basically limited to four Amtrak (tel. 800/872-7245) lines: two running to Vermont, one to Maine, and another across central Massachusetts.
Amtrak’s Vermonter departs from Washington, D.C., once a day (around 8am weekdays, a half-hour earlier on weekends), with stops including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City before following the Connecticut River north. New England stops include New Haven and Hartford in Connecticut, Springfield and Northampton in Massachusetts, and in Vermont, Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, White River Junction, Montpelier, Waterbury, and Essex Junction (near Burlington), finally arriving in St. Albans some 13 hours after leaving Washington. A one-way adult fare for the full route starts at $72 (New York City to Brattleboro fares start at $48). The return train leave St. Alban’s at 9:15am and arrives in D.C. around 10pm.
The Ethan Allen Express departs New York’s Penn Station once daily (at 2:15pm Mon–Thurs, 5:48pm Fri, or 3:10pm Sat and Sun) and travels somewhat more quickly, moving north along the Hudson River through Albany, New York, before veering into western Vermont, stopping at Castleton and terminating in Rutland (near Killington) after about 5[bf]1/2 hours; return trains leave Rutland at 7:46am Monday through Friday, 5:10pm on Saturday and Sunday. A one-way adult fare between NYC and Rutland starts at $73.
Amtrak relaunched rail service to Maine in late 2001, restoring a line that had been idle since the 1960s. The Downeaster operates five times daily between North Station in Boston and Portland, with three trips per day continuing north to Brunswick, Maine. If you’re coming from elsewhere on the East Coast, you will need to change train stations in Boston—a slightly frustrating exercise requiring either a taxi ride or a ride and transfer on Boston’s aging subway. The Downeaster stops in Woburn and Haverhill, Massachusetts; Exeter, Durham, and Dover, New Hampshire; and Wells, Saco, and Old Orchard Beach, Maine, on its way to Portland. Travel time is 2 hours and 25 minutes between Boston and Portland. Trains continuing to Brunswick also stop in Freeport. Bikes are allowed to be on- or off-loaded at Boston, Woburn, Portland, and Brunswick (an $8 charge applies). One-way fares from Boston to Portland start at $29.
The Lake Shore Limited Line connects Boston with points west including Albany and Buffalo, New York; Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio; and Chicago, Illinois. (Massachusetts stops include Worcester, Springfield, and Pittsfield.) Departing from Chicago daily at 9:30pm, you’ll be in transit for almost a full day, arriving in Boston near 6pm (sleeping cars are available on this train). The return train leaves Boston’s South Station at 1:20pm and arrives in Chicago the next morning at 9:45am. One-way fares start at $91.
International visitors might want to buy a USA Rail Pass, good for 15 days ($459), 30 days ($689), or 45 days ($899) of multi-segment travel anywhere in the United States on Amtrak. The pass is available online or through many overseas travel agents. Reservations and tickets are required and should be booked as early as possible.
Getting around by bus is a dependable option in these parts, and the national bus company Greyhound (tel. 800/231-2222 or 214/849-8100 outside the U.S.) was the early leader in this kind of travel. Many take the bus to Boston’s big depot at South Station, then switch to a regional carrier. But Greyhound now has competition busing to and from Boston (and some other New England cities). There are now nearly a dozen smaller bus companies operating along these routes (even a luxurious alternative, LimoLiner [tel. 844/405-4637). Although you will probably wait for the bus to pick you up from a street corner, rather than a bus station, consider using Megabus (tel. 877/GO2-MEGA [462-6342]) or Boltbus (tel. 877/BOLTBUS [265-8287]), which offer some of the lowest fares available. You can compare options on one easy-to-use site called Busbud, which searches the major discount sites, upstart bus companies, as well as Greyhound and New England–based Peter Pan.
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.