- Where to Go
- The Best of Vermont
- Rumblings of Revolution
- New, New England Dining
- Boston’s Artistic Expression
- Vermont Leaf Peeping
- Into the Wild
- Vermont Skiing at Its Best
- Visit Vermont’s Maple Sugar Shacks
- Connecticut for Kids
- Vermont’s Covered Bridges
- A Shore Thing
- Vermont with Kids
- Portland Maine Art Galleries
- Small-Town Flavor
- Connecticut’s Wine Trails
- New Hampshire’s Farmers Markets
- A Weekend of Vermont Art
- Family Matters
- Maine Wilderness Camps
- Vermont Cheddar Houses
- Connecticut Spas
New England is easily accessible by road, rail, and air (and even sea if you are coming by ferry from New York or Canada). While Logan Airport is the most obvious entrance, several of the region’s smaller airports may offer cheaper flights from some cities. Amtrak’s rail network isn’t very extensive, but it does connect to most major New England cities. Those that aren’t on the train routes are easily accessible by bus or car.
With up to 1.5 million passengers passing through its gates each month, Boston-Logan International Airport (One Harborside Dr., East Boston, 617/428-2800, www.massport.com/logan) is the largest and busiest transportation hub in the region. The airport serves nearly 50 airlines, of which 13 are international, including Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Air France, Alitalia, British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Icelandair, Lufthansa, SATA (Azores Express), Swiss, TACV, and Virgin Atlantic Airways. International flights arrive in Terminal E. From the airport, a variety of options take passengers to downtown Boston, which is only a mile away.
Several of the area’s smaller regional airports are a good option for travelers looking to save a few bucks or get to other New England states without having to pass through Boston first. Rhode Island’s Providence/T. F. Green Airport (2000 Post Rd., Warwick, 401/737-8222, www.pvdairport.com) is served by all of the major domestic carriers and Air Canada. The airport is about a 30-minute drive to Providence. Another option for southern New England is Bradley International Airport (Schoephoester Rd., Windsor Locks, CT, 860/292-2000, www.bradleyairport.com), located halfway between Springfield, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut; it’s about a 45-minute drive from either city. In New Hampshire, Manchester Airport (1 Airport Rd., Manchester, 603/624-6556, www.flymanchester.com) has competed aggressively with Logan in the areas of prices and convenience. It’s located about an hour-and-a-half drive from the White Mountains, and a half-hour from Portsmouth, and carries a half-dozen domestic airlines as well as Air Canada.
While not usually cheaper, several other regional airports offer easy access to northern New England. Burlington International Airport (1200 Airport Dr., S. Burlington, VT, 802/863-1889, www.burlingtonintlairport.com) is located right in downtown Burlington, and offers limited flights from cities including Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Portland International Jetport (207/774-7301, www.portlandjetport.com) also offers several domestic routes from cities in the eastern United States to those looking for easy access to south and Midcoast Maine. Both Burlington and Portland are served by discount flights from New York on JetBlue airlines. Lastly, far northern Maine is home to Bangor International Airport (207/992-4600, www.flybangor.com), which offers flights from a handful of cities including Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Minneapolis. The airport is also served by shuttles from Boston via American Eagle and Delta Connection. Despite their names, none of the three northern New England airports offer commercial international flights.
Amtrak (800/872-7245, www.amtrak.com) runs frequent trains along the Northeast corridor to Boston, including the Acela Express, the United States’ first high-speed service, from New York City (3.5 hours) and Washington, D.C. (6 hours). Despite all of the hype when Acela opened a few years ago, however, design flaws in the construction of the tracks have limited speeds of the trains, and therefore the amount of time shaved off the journey. Unless you are in a rush, it can often make more sense to save $100 and take the Regional service, which also runs to Boston from New York (4.5 hours) and Washington (7 hours), stopping along the way in New Haven, New London, Providence, and several smaller cities on the Connecticut and Rhode Island coasts.
For travelers heading to northern New England, Amtrak offers the aptly named Vermonter route, which runs to St. Albans from New York (10 hours) and Washington, D.C. (14 hours). Along the way, it passes through a number of cities in the Connecticut River Valley, including New Haven, Hartford, Amherst, Brattleboro, Waterbury, and Burlington. Also, Amtrak’s Ethan Allen route offers once-a-day service to Rutland, Vermont, from New York City (10 hours) by way of Albany.
From the west, Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited route offers service to Boston from Buffalo (12 hours) and Cleveland (15 hours), stopping along the way in Springfield and Worcester. Connecting to that route, Amtrak’s Adirondack route offers service to Boston from Montreal, Quebec (12 hours), with a change of train in Albany.
New England is accessible from many domestic and Canadian locations via Greyhound Bus Lines (800/231-2222, www.greyhound.com). Nearby major cities offering service to Boston include New York City (4.5 hours), Philadelphia (7.5 hours), Montreal (7.5 hours), Washington (10.5 hours), Buffalo (10.5 hours), Toronto (14 hours), and Cleveland (16 hours). While not the quickest way to travel, the bus can be an attractive alternative for those on a budget or traveling to more rural or remote regions not served by rail or air. For travelers coming from New York, an even cheaper bus option is Fung Wah Transportation (212/925-8889, www.fungwahbus.com), a bus that leaves from New York’s Chinatown and offers prices as low as $15 each way. Buses, which run hourly, travel from 139 Canal Street in New York to Boston’s South Station.
For those who really want to leave the driving to someone else, several economical bus tours offer trips around the region, especially for fall foliage season. Atlas Travel Network (800/942-3301, www.escortedfallfoliagetours.com) offers tours from New York and Boston from a consortium of tour companies. While itineraries differ, both take in a rough circle around the region over the course of 8–10 days for between $1,000 and $2,000 per person. The Vermont-based New England Vacation Tours (802/464-2076, www.sover.net/~nevt) offers a slightly more expensive fall foliage tour that includes round-trip airfare from anywhere in the country, in addition to summer tours of the coast and winter ski tour packages.
The major auto route into New England is I-95, which enters the southeast corner of Connecticut and snakes up the coast to Boston. The drive takes about three hours from the New York border without stops—four hours from New York or eight hours from Washington, D.C. This direct route, however, can often get clogged with truck traffic, especially through areas of eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island where it drops to two lanes each way. Many travelers prefer to take a detour at New Haven north on I-91, then west on I-84 and I-90 to Boston; while slightly longer, this route is often quicker.
From the west, the main route into New England is I-90, also known as the Massachusetts Turnpike (or Mass Pike for short). I-90 is a toll road, and it takes a little over two hours to drive its length from the border of Western Massachusetts to Boston. From Canada, there are two border crossings into Vermont; one is at I-89, which offers quick access to Burlington and central Massachusetts and Connecticut by way of connection to I-91. The other crossing at the far northern end of I-91 offers quicker access to New Hampshire and Boston via connection to I-93. Several smaller highways offer border crossings into the wilderness of northern Maine.
Travelers coming from Atlantic Canada can take the express route from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, to Bar Harbor (3 hours) or Portland, Maine (5.5 hours), aboard The CAT (877/359-3760, www.catferry.com), a high-speed car ferry that makes round trips on each route daily. Two year-round car ferries also make the trip to Connecticut from New York’s Long Island. Cross Sound Ferry Services (860/443-5281, www.longislandferry.com) offers several daily trips from Orient Point to New London (1.5 hours). The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company (631/473-0286, www.bpjferry.com) offers trips between those two cities (1.25 hours) every hour.
© Michael Blanding and Alexandra Hall from Moon New England, 2nd Edition