Great road trip idea: Visiting New England Lighthouses


Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Looking for a fun summer weekend activity that combines history and scenic splendor? Plan a road trip to visit a few of New England’s many lighthouses – there are almost 200 up and down the coastal states, and even Vermont gets in on the act with lighthouses on the shores of Lake Champlain. This would be a good weekend to make that trip since Sunday is National Lighthouse Day.

Here’s a resource to help you plan your trip: New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Tour is a site compiled by tour guide, lecturer, historian, photographer and author Jeremy D’Entremont, who is an expert on New England’s lighthouses and other maritime subjects. The site offers a breakdown of lighthouses by state. Each lighthouse has a dedicated page with maps, photos, key facts, history, public accessibility info and more. If you’d like to visit the lighthouses by sea rather than by land, the site offers a list of Lighthouse Cruises in New England.

You can also head for the Maine Lighthouse Museum on the waterfront overlooking the scenic harbor of Rockland, Maine. It houses the nation’s largest collection of lighthouse artifacts and mementos, as well as exhibits on exhibits paying tribute to the United States Coast Guard and United States Life-Saving Services. Maine is often called the “Lighthouse State,” but it is not the state with the most lighthouses – Michigan is!

If historical landmarks are your thing, Boston Harbor is also a good destination. It boasts the Boston Lighthouse on Little Brewster Island, Boston Harbor, MA. You can take a tour and actually climb the 76 open spiral stairs and two ladders with hatches to get to the top.

According to Lighthouse Digest:

“This is the oldest light station, but not the oldest tower. The original tower, built in 1716, was destroyed during the Revolutionary War. The tower that stands there today was built in 1783.”

It’s also the only lighthouse that isn’t automated:

“All lighthouses in the United States are automated with the exception of Boston Lighthouse. Because Boston Light is the oldest station in the United States, Congress has declared that Boston Light always be a staffed station where the keepers must still turn the light on at night and turn it off at daybreak. Boston Light is the only official lighthouse with a keeper. However, there are many other light stations around the United States that have people living at them, however they are not keepers, and the lighthouses at these locations are automated and do not require a keeper to turn them on and off.”

Here are some other resources for planning your trip.

Your New England Fall Foliage Toolkit


fall foliage at Saco River Covered Bridge in Conway, New Hampshire.With the fall season upon us, our brilliant foliage is the envy of the nation. People from all over the world travel here, but we can just hop in our cars and travel an hour or two in any direction to see the full glory of the season. We have a Live New England foliage map  for you, as well as links to great ideas for drives, destinations and things to do. And if you decide to venture north, we’re also including tips for avoiding collisions with wildlife since it’s peak season for those type of accidents. You don’t want your car to be in a battle with a deer or worse, a moose. It’s always a god idea to have your independent agent’s phone number or app handy on your mobile phone just in case.

Get free guides to the Best of New England Fall Travel, which includes best places to see foliage, best fall drives, things to do, places to stay, and more.

The foliage network offers local foliage reports with maps showing peak color locations, scenic drives and places to stay – and if you can’t find the time to drive to peak foliage locations or want to check out current conditions, check out the webcams.

Here are some great articles and guides for places to go and things to do:

deer-in-highwayAs you’re out on the roads leaf-peeping, visiting apple orchards or commuting to-and-from work this autumn, keep a sharp eye out: The likelihood of striking a deer more than doubles in the fall. Your normal odds of a ruminant-related collision claim is about 1 in 169, but the likelihood more than doubles during October, November and December. See our post: Watch the roads: Autumn is peak deer-vehicle collision season

Make the most of that snow: New England family activities for school vacation week


fun-in-the-snow

Are you still cleaning up after another crazy winter storm that brought substantial snow to many areas Of New England? You’ve put up with the shoveling and the driving part – now with school vacation week ahead of us, it’s time for the fun part. We’ve put together a variety of activities to help you get out there and enjoy the snow. And for all the non-snow bunnies in the crowd, we suggest some other kid-friendly activities too. Just be sure to brush up on some safe winter driving tips before you head out.

New England offers over 60 alpine skiing and snowboarding areas and resorts, dozens of cross-country skiing areas – plus a host of other fun winter activities. Discover New England is a good one-source stop for a variety of ideas in the New England states. Here’s a site for checking New England Ski Conditions at various resorts.

Yankee Magazine’s “best of” lists offer some great ideas:

Here are some other activities:

New England summer toolkit – road trips & local treasures


Why not stay local this summer and enjoy all the treasures that New England has to offer? We’ve compiled some tips & tools to get you on your way.

First and foremost, before you hit the road, check Gas Buddy and fueleconomy.gov to get the best gas prices. And make sure that your car is in tip-top shape: Consumer Reports offers a great guide to summer road travel with tips for family travel, maintenance and vehicle prep, fuel economy, travel gear, safety & more.

Here are some ideas of where to go:

Find New England Beaches, Whale Watching tours and some great cycling routes – all these, and many more ideas at Discover New England.

Yankee Magazine is a local favorite with great information and ideas for local travel and events. Eat healthy, eat local by finding the best New England Farmers’ markets – pair your veggies with some seafood – here are the 5 best tips for cooking lobster at home. On the road, check out some “only in New England” landmarks – or just explore the Best of New England with the 2013 Editor’s Choice Awards.

If you want to leave the car behind and go by foot, check out Hike New England to explore more than 200 trail reports for detailed guides that include a description of the hike, trail distances, a difficulty rating, and driving directions; often photos or trail maps are also provided.

Boston.com offers 25 things to do under $25 and many other ideas in Explore New England.

If your travels include your pet, check out pet friendly New England lodgings. The Boston Globe recently highlighted a pick of pet friendly choices in New England. Get more pet-friendly trip help from Boston.com.

Have safe and fun wanderings – and don’t forget to load your insurance agent’s telephone number in your mobile phone, just in case!