Finding America by RV—Connecticut River National Scenic Byway—Part II

In a previous post, we shared the attractions to be found on the Connecticut River Byway’s southern half, from Hadley, MA to Bellows Falls, VT. For this post, we’ll pick up the Byway there and follow it all the way to West Stewartstown, NH, where this storied route bids us farewell.

How Do We Get There?

As we mentioned in our earlier post, this section of the Byway combines state highways on both sides of the Connecticut River, the geographic boundary between Vermont and New Hampshire. This gives RV travelers the chance to experience double the historical attractions and natural areas as they travel, camp and play along the way.

To experience the Byway from the Vermont side of the river, you can follow US-5 until it connects with US-2 near Lunenburg, and then pick up VT-102/US-3 and follow it north all the way to where you cross the Connecticut River for the final time at West Stewartstown, NH.

But what we haven’t said is that, whether you follow this Vermont route or choose to travel the New Hampshire side along NH-12 to NH-10 and finally US-3 to the northern end of the

Covered bridge, New Hampshire

Covered bridge, New Hampshire

Byway, you’re going to want to slow down and travel across at least some of the twenty  bridges that span this scenic state border. It’s the only way to fully appreciate the important role this waterway has played in the history, culture and industry of the region.

What Will We See Along the Way?

Before you leave the Village of Bellows Falls (part of the greater Rockingham area), be sure to cross Arch Bridge into North Walpole, NH. You’ll see Fall Mountain rising above the river gorge on the New Hampshire side, where a trio of quaint villages is waiting to be explored. If you travel back to the Vermont side of the Byway, be sure to visit the Connecticut River Byway Waypoint Center near the Bellows Falls Canal for more information on the region.

You’ll notice as you travel north by RV on either side of the Connecticut River that it splinters into numerous tributaries in this mountainous, mostly rural area. Hiking, fishing and paddling opportunities are abundant along these waterways.

You’ll also find the Connecticut River Byway Waypoint towns of Claremont and Windsor, NH. There’s an excellent Heritage Trail that starts in Claremont, with both walking and driving tours leading to historic districts, covered bridges and the Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, a fascinating collection of buildings, memorials and gardens that tell the story of the sculptor who created some of the best known public monuments of the Civil War era.

Back on the Vermont side of the Byway, there’s a nicely scenic campground at Mt. Ascutney State Park near Windsor. Being a typical state park RV campground, you won’t find hookups there, but you will find a quartet of hiking trails that lead through hardwood forests to rocky overlooks for fantastic views of the countryside. For further outdoor adventures along this section of the Byway, be sure to make a stop at North Springfield Lake Recreation Area, just across the river from Claremont, NH. It’s a favorite of area paddlers, and there’s historical interest in the trail markers where Crown Point Military Road once lead between forts during the French and Indian War, as well as the site of an 18th century cemetery.

As we roll farther north into Vermont and New Hampshire, we’ll reach White River Junction, a village within the town of Hartford, VT. Plan to spend some time here to connect with the region’s railroad, commercial, educational and natural heritage. This village is the epicenter of each, with Dartmouth College just up the road, several major railways intersecting here, reminders of the mills that once dominated the region, and historic districts enough to keep you busy for days.

You’ll also soon find, as you drive north along the Byway, that the Appalachian Trail intersects it just north of Hartford. Why not hike at least a mile or two along the epic footpath before moving on? Another popular way RVers play outdoors along this section is with a stop at Quechee State Park near Woodstock, VT. Camping, hiking trails and breathtaking views of Quechee Gorge make it well worth the short jaunt west from the Byway.

Farther north, we encounter the twin towns of Wells River, VT and Woodsville, NH, joined by yet another Connecticut River bridge you’ll want to cross. Paddlers will soon learn the white water along this stretch is legendary, so pencil in extra time for water play. If your interest is history, instead, spend your time waiting for them to come in off the water by exploring the river valley in search of covered bridges, eighteenth century villages and uniquely New England features such as village forests.

You may also want to plan a side trip into White Mountain National Forest on the New Hampshire side, for a chance to hike wooded trails to summits, past gorges and through mountain meadows rich with wildlife. Campgrounds in White Mountain NF (PDF) are sprinkled from New Hampshire to Maine, offering plenty of opportunity to discover all ‘The Whites’ have to offer.

As we travel by RV into Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and the corresponding wilderness areas of New Hampshire, you’ll find the Connecticut River making more turns than a sidewinding snake. In this final run to the Canadian Border, the Byway loops up to St. Johnsbury (home to the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium) then east to Moore Reservoir before swinging north again to Lancaster, NH.

This is your chance to learn, if you haven’t been RV camping in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods, why it draws outdoors enthusiasts year-round. A perfect first stay is at Coleman State Park near Colebrook, NH, close to the Byway and located on a pristine trout fishing pond.

What will you see as you complete the final leg of the Connecticut River Byway? Wildlife! Thousands of moose walk the woods and mountain slopes, so keep an eye out for that giant symbol of the northern wilderness. You’ll also encounter scenic mountain towns such as Colebrook, once populated by loggers and the workers who ran the paper and saw mills along the Connecticut River. You’ll be surrounded by scenery unlike that of any other US region, with the White Mountains framing vast stretches of hardwood forests.

And when you make your way to the Byway’s northern terminus, you’ll find a chain of four Connecticut Lakes from which the mighty Connecticut River gets its start. Whether you choose to spend time exploring those northern lakes and the Pittsburg, NH area or to turn your RV toward home, you’ll leave with a renewed sense of the role this waterway plays in providing recreation and historical interest for millions each year.

Ready to go? Let us know how we can help you plan your RV camping journey along the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway.

Posted in Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, New Hampshire RV Camping Vacation, Vermont RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Finding America by RV—Connecticut River National Scenic Byway-Part I

Here’s some motivation to follow this week’s route by RV—the chance to visit three New England states while tracing the path of a wonderfully scenic waterway. The Connecticut River Byway charts a course from near the Canadian border, along the Vermont/New Hampshire line, all the way south into western Massachusetts. It’s just short of a five-hundred-mile journey altogether, but we’re going to break it down into two parts, to allow RV travelers time to savor the experience.

How Do We Get There?

The Byway’s northern terminus is just across the border from Quebec in West Stewartstown, New Hampshire. You’ll be following the Connecticut River from near its headwaters in the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Natural Area, all the way to the Byway’s southern-most point at South Hadley, Massachusetts. That’s the big picture, but remember, for this itinerary, we’re only taking in half the Byway.

The Byway invites RV travelers to find the treasures in villages, natural areas and historic sites throughout the region. We’re going to wind our way back and forth across the Connecticut River from Vermont to New Hampshire once we leave Massachusetts, but don’t worry, we won’t leave you stranded. You can get a complete picture of the route from bottom to top at the America’s Byways website.

What Will We See Along the Byway?

One of the reasons so many travelers follow the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway more than once is that there are hundreds of points of interest along the route. As we start our journey in South Hadley, MA, we find the first Byway signs at the intersection of MA-116 and MA-47. You’ll follow MA-47 north through the villages of Hadley, North Hadley and Sunderland, but let’s take a minute to talk about the sights you’ll see along the way.

South Hadley, a pre-Revolutionary War town, is home to Mount Holyoke College and invites you to wander its streets for memorable finds such as Village Commons, home to nationally-famous Odyssey Bookshop.

Skinner State Park, MA

Skinner State Park, MA

As you travel north on MA-47, be sure to stop at Skinner State Park south of Hadley, MA, where a one-and-a-half mile hike up Mount Holyoke will reward you with stellar views of the Connecticut River, as well as the chance to see historic Mount Holyoke Summit House (open for tours on weekends).

The rolling hills surrounding Hadley are home to farms owned by the same families for generations. During the summer, you’ll find the Byway dotted with abundant farm-to-table offerings from local fruit and vegetable stands, creameries and bakeries.

You’ll also find access points for launching canoes and kayaks all along the Massachusetts section of the Connecticut River. Use this handy interactive map to the Connecticut River Paddlers Trail to plan your water excursions.

Another excellent way to explore the state’s Connecticut River Valley is along hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails. These can lead to a multi-day New England adventure, or simply a pleasant day spent hiking or cycling through forests, hills and glorious river frontage. Besides the trailheads within the region’s many state parks and reservations, the Norwottuck Rail Trail is a popular path for cyclists and hikers to follow.

We’ll finish this leg of the Byway by following MA-63 north to the town of Northfield, on the Massachusetts/New Hampshire or Massachusetts/Vermont border, depending on which side of the river you’re driving, to Bellows Falls, VT.

Once you’ve crossed the state line, you can visit historic villages, nature preserves and historic sites in both Vermont and New Hampshire by crossing back and forth across the river. Some RVers may decide to stick to one state on the journey up to the Canadian border and follow the other route on their return trip south.

Or you could stop for a few days and explore the entire Connecticut River Byway between the Massachusetts border and Bellows Falls. From the fascinating walking tour through the Village of Bellows Falls, VT to the swimming beach on the south shore of Spofford Lake, there’s something for everyone in your crew to enjoy.

Where Can We Camp?

Private campgrounds create a cozy home on the road for RV campers who explore the Connecticut River National Scenic Byway. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Brattleboro North KOA-East Dummerston, VT
  • Kampfires Campground-Brattleboro, VT
  • Northampton/Springfield KOA-Westhampton, MA
  • White Birch Campground-South Deerfield, MA

While traveling the southern half of the Byway, choose one of these RV campgrounds as your home base and then journey to mill towns, nature preserves, historic town centers and mountaintop aeries to your heart’s content.

Next week, we’ll move up the Byway to explore the north woods and the wild beauty of the Connecticut River. In the meantime, start reserving your campsites and get in touch to plan your RV rental in Pennsylvania. You’re going to love this RV camping itinerary!

Photo attribution:  By User:Magicpiano (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Posted in Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, New Hampshire RV Camping Vacation, State Parks, Vermont RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Finding America by RV—US-6 through Cape Cod Beauty

Besides being the longest contiguous highway in America (3,205 miles from Provincetown, MA to Bishop, CA) US Route 6 promises RV travelers unique landscapes, vibrant towns and interesting characters as they follow this American highway.

Today’s post will take just a small bite of this iconic byway, focusing on the section through Cape Cod beauty, from Provincetown, MA to Providence, RI. What’s the reason for our narrow focus, when US-6 offers so much to RV campers? Because the scenic wonders, historic significance and fascinating folks you’ll find along this highway’s Cape Cod section are plenty for one RV road trip!

So, let’s get started by checking the attractions at the highway’s eastern end—Provincetown, Massachusetts. One of the nicest surprises about this coastal town on the very tip of Cape Cod is the camping available. Dune’s Edge Campground, run by the Trustees of Reservations, is tucked up against Cape Cod National Seashore. You’ll also find several private campgrounds on the Cape, so choose your level of amenities and be sure to make reservations before you come.

Don’t miss the windswept dunes of the National Seashore itself. It’s a treasure that’s been preserved for all visitors to America to enjoy, filled with marine and animal life and pristine Atlantic beaches.

You’ll want to walk the streets of Provincetown, as well, because that’s where the hidden charms come alive. Favorite spots reported by RV travelers to Provincetown include Whydah’s pirate ship museum, the shops and galleries on Commercial Street and climbing the steps for the view from Pilgrim Monument.

When you’ve had your fill of Provincetown pleasures, make your way west along US-6(A) to continue the search for small town charm. You can travel the main US-6 highway, instead. It all depends on whether time and speed are a factor, as US-6(A) is a slower route with more regional charm. Either way, the two highways converge above Truro, the next stop you should make.

Also at the northern end of Cape Cod, Truro is the perfect jumping off place for a day of nautical adventure. Popular ways to spend time outdoors include taking a whale watch tour or fishing charter, enjoying three local beaches that don’t require a resident parking sticker or touring Highland Light, the tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod. There’s also an excellent local vineyard, and a wildlife sanctuary just down the road at Wellfleet Bay.

Depending on the time you have to spend, you’ll want to treasure the sights, sounds and tastes of Cape Cod as you wander west along US-6 through the towns of Eastham, Barnstable and Sandwich, MA, never out of sight of glorious Cape Cod Bay. Take the time, at least, to relish the luscious lobster and other seafood readily available throughout the Cape!

Here’s a tip for camping, if you’re ready to stop in Sandwich. Shawme-Crowell State Forest offers basic, state forest style campgrounds and gives you a home base to investigate the glass museum, the beaches and other Sandwich, MA attractions.

It’s just a three-hour drive from Sandwich to the western end of our US-6 road trip at

Ned's Point Lighthouse, Cape Cod

Ned’s Point Lighthouse, Cape Cod

Providence, RI, but give yourself the gift of slowing things down as you hug the Atlantic coast through towns like Mattapoisett (home to Ned’s Point Lighthouse),  New Bedford (fascinating whaling museum and zoo) and Fall River, where the town’s excellent museums detail the area’s military and railroad history.

And we end our trip at Providence, Rhode Island, a city worth of its own RV vacation. From the awe-inspiring beauty of the WaterFire performance at Water Place Park (check the schedule, you won’t want to miss it!) to the extraordinary collection of historic buildings and parks (we highly recommend the Italian American section of Federal Hill) you’re going to love this college town.

We can’t say enough about the treasures awaiting RV travelers in Cape Cod and beyond on US-6. Whether you rent an RV or dust off the motorhome in your garage, it’s time to make plans to visit the eastern stretch of this historic highway.

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Four East Coast Camping Destinations for Early Autumn

You may think you’ve missed your chance to visit America’s East Coast by RV, now that the calendar reads September. The truth is, many Eastern campgrounds are open thru at least October and welcome autumn visitors. We’ve picked four East Coast RV camping destinations with something special to offer, to tempt you into taking one more trip.

Fisherman’s Memorial State Park – Rhode Island

The Ocean State boasts gorgeous ocean views, an abundance of historic treasures and nicely-maintained state park campgrounds, Fisherman’s Memorial State Park Campground is open through October and promises a pleasant RV camping experience way out on Point Judith. With five scenic beaches, Point Judith Lighthouse and the fishing village of Galilee nearby, you’ll find plenty to do on an autumn day. Use our quick link to Rhode Island RV campgrounds if you’re planning to travel the state.

Cedarville State Forest – Maryland

Come to Southern Maryland in early autumn and enjoy the peace and solitude of Cedarville State Forest, just an hour and a half south of Baltimore. Set up camp and then hike nearly twenty miles of trails through deep forest, exploring the Zekiah freshwater swamp and a surprising variety of plant and animal life. Click here to reserve your campsite now. Bonus: Here are even more Maryland RV campground possibilities as you travel the Old Line State.

Pocahontas State Park – Virginia

Just south of Richmond and a couple hours east of Roanoke, Pocahontas State Park is another awesome autumn getaway. With eighty miles of hiking and biking trails, this is a popular stop for ‘mid-season’ campers. The park’s campgrounds are open thru November and offer electric and water hookups (some 50 amp).

While camping in the area, be sure to take the short drive to Richmond to see the architectural treasures of Capitol Square, take the walking tour of Hollywood Cemetery and visit the city’s numerous museums. Click the link for even more Virginia RV camping locations to extend your stay.

Cape Cod National Seashore and Area Campgrounds – Massachusetts

Here’s the recipe for an unforgettable autumn camping excursion—pick up your RV rental and then head southeast through Plymouth and Barnstable to Cape Cod. The National Parks Service has preserved forty thousand acres of Atlantic shoreline, marshes and dunes, as well as an entire guidebook full of historic sites, for RV campers to enjoy.

It may be too chilly to swim in early autumn, but you’ll be blessed with uncrowded trail and beach hikes and views of more than a dozen Cape Cod lighthouses. No camping facilities within the Cape’s boundaries, but, lucky for you, we’ve gathered information on Cape Cod area campgrounds to help you plan.

Autumn camping

Autumn camping

From Cape Cod to Narragansett,
the crowds have gone home and left peace and quiet for autumn RV campers to enjoy.    Pack your own RV or pick up a convenient motorhome rental near your destination. Either way, it’s time to head east to discover the joys of autumn East Coast camping.

Posted in Connecticut RV Camping Vacation, Maryland RV Camping Vacation, Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, State Parks, Virginia RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Five RV Trips to Discover Fall Foliage

RV Camping in Gorgeous Fall Color 

As the last heat of summer wanes, the hearts of RV campers turn to planning RV trips to find fall foliage. Lucky for you, here at El Monte RV we work overtime locating fall color hotspots worth discovering.

Here are five fall foliage trips to tempt you out onto the road for Autumn RV camping. Pack your camera, a jacket and your hiking shoes – you’re going to want to wander through America’s gorgeous fall colors!

Fall Foliage RV Trip #1: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

If you’re picking up a New York City area RV rental, you can start your trip in nearby Sussex County, New Jersey. Snugly wrapped in the Kittatinny Mountains, this picturesque county offers leaf peeping opportunities to see oak, hickory and ash forests ablaze in color.

Head north on the New York State Thruway to Albany and then up to historic Saratoga Springs. Continue north into New York’s Adirondack Park for six million acres of fall foliage possibilities!

Once you’ve camped your fill in the Adirondacks, why not swing back south through Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains State Park? Mountain Vista Campground near East Stroudsburg, PA is convenient to hiking trails and scenic drives sure to reward you with fall color.

Fall Foliage RV Trip #2: Massachusetts and Vermont

What could be more scenic than Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains in the Fall? Roll through the forests and meadows of these ancient mountains and be on the lookout for fall color through early October. RV camping idea – Historic Valley Campground at Windsor Lake, just north of North Adams, MA, for comfort, convenience and a colorful woodland setting.

If you’d like to extend your leaf peeping trip, head your RV one hour north to Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. This wonderland of scenic autumn vistas is also home to comfortable RV camping at Camping on the Battenkill in Arlington, VT.

Fall Foliage RV Trip #3: Peak to Peak Highway – Colorado

With a Denver RV rental from El Monte RV, you’re equipped for an unforgettable Rocky Mountain fall foliage tour.  The Peak to Peak Highway takes you north from Denver to historic Estes Park, with miles and miles of gold and orange aspens along the way. Other points of interest to explore as you’re leaf peeping on this route: Blackhawk – famous for its casinos, Rocky Mountain National Park and almost-ghost-towns like Nederland, CO.

Consider a stay at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park near Estes Park, close to plenty of fall foliage scenery.

Fall Foliage RV Trip #4: Northern Arizona

If you’re in the Phoenix area in late September or early October, you’re just a couple of hours away from spectacular autumn color!

Head north on I-17 toward Flagstaff, and plan to spend time driving the scenic routes inside Coconino National Forest. You’re sure to find many breathtaking miles of aspens, oaks and cottonwoods as you ramble along scenic drives or park the RV and hike one of the many forest trails.

All the way through Sedona and into Flagstaff, you’ll have plenty of places to stop and look to your heart’s content at the beauty of Northern Arizona in the Fall. KOA in Flagstaff is a friendly place to stay before you head back south to Phoenix.

Fall Foliage RV Trip #5: Tahoe National Forest, Northern California

Did you know that some of the best leaf peeping in the West can be done just a couple of hours east of Sacramento? Pick up a Sacramento RV rental and then point it east toward the Nevada/California border.  The views east of Nevada City on Hwy 20 (toward Truckee) and northeast along Hwy 49 into the National Forest are reported to be spectacular in late September and early October.

Campgrounds in Tahoe National Forest may close early, but RV campsites are available year-round at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, CA.

Fall Foliage RV Road Trips

Fall Foliage RV Road Trips

Doesn’t a trip through the countryside to find fall colors sound wonderful? See it all from the comfort of an RV – pick an itinerary from one of our five suggestions or plan one of your own. There’s no better time to travel by RV!

Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation, California RV Camping Vacation, Colorado RV Camping Vacation, Fall Foliage, Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, Vermont RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

An RV Trip to some Lovely State Forests in Massachusetts

A fall vacation in Massachusetts may be just the thing to reset your clock and begin a new adventure for the year. An RV vacation through some of the state parks and forests is even better, as you can travel in style and comfort, many inconveniences simply eliminated. Start out in Lenox, Massachusetts to enjoy the autumn beauty of Berkshire County. After exploring the city, you can discover great hiking trails in Kennedy Park. This is a wonderful spot for a family picnic too!

Sign Entering Lenox MA

Entering Lenox MA

Just to the east of Lenox is October Mountain State Forest where you can get into the forest and see nature at its autumn best. Trek through Schermerhorn Gorge for some incredible scenery. Wildlife watching is something that attracts many to this woodland. The Appalachian Trail moves through this area, too, so if you have time, you can hike some miles on this famous trail to experience the exciting Massachusetts wilderness.

North of Lenox, the Pittsfield State Forest is where the streams invite fishermen to take advantage of the great weather. Berry Pond is up at more than 2,000 feet in elevation and is a great place to find the fish biting. Drive to the top of Berry Mountain for some wonderful views. In the northeast corner of the forest, discover Balance Rock State Park with its limestone boulder balanced so precariously on the bedrock.

Continue north to visit Mount Greylock State Reservation, the highest point in the state. You will get some panoramic views here across Berkshire County and beyond. Although the Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower is closed for the season, the memorial chamber at ground level is open to enjoy.

Once complete with your visit at Mount Greylock, head east on Highway 2 towards Boston. You will run into Interstate 90 which will take you right back to the city. However, as you drive Highway 2, stop at Mohawk Trail State Forest  so you can see fabulous gorges carved deep in the rock, mountain ridges and a wide variety of animal and plant life. Trout fishing here is excellent.

Next stop is Erving State Forest with many outdoor activities for the RV vacationer. Try boating on the lake, hiking the forest woodlands or fishing from the shore. Many woodland trails offer destinations of scenic interest, so you will definitely want to put on the hiking shoes and get outside and move through nature’s surrounds.

Drop down south to stop at Lake Wyola State Park. The word “Wyola” is a Native American word for “quiet waters,” and you’ll see why when you arrive. Here are forty acres of peace and solitude on a lovely autumn day. It is the perfect ending to a perfect RV getaway. Now you can head back to the city ready to take on life once again. There is nothing like an autumn vacation in Massachusetts to give you a whole new outlook and energy.

Picture credits: The picture of entering Lenox, MA is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Posted in Fall Foliage, Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, State Parks | Leave a comment

Take an RV Excursion through Cape Cod

This is the perfect time of year to take an RV trip through Cape Cod. The sea breezes are still relatively mild, the sands are warm and the crowds are beginning to thin. Take Route 6A along the Cape and enjoy the lovely landscapes, see some history and perhaps get your feet wet in Nantucket Sound or Cape Cod Bay.

Old Harbor Life Saving Station on Cape Cod.

Old Harbor Life Saving Station on Cape Cod.

Starting out in Sandwich, you will be embarking on a real adventure. Surrounded by hiking and biking trails, lovely fresh water ponds and sea, Sandwich is an ideal stop for some exploration. You will even find a golf course if you want to play a round. And you can do some whale watching or simply browse the town’s interesting shops.

Barnstable consists of a number of villages, and all are absolutely charming. There are lots of nooks and crannies to investigate, and you shouldn’t miss Centerville and Osterville for some quaint sights. While here visit the Coast Guard Heritage Museum, a former U.S. Custom House. Seeing a working blacksmith shop is a real bonus. And you should check out the oldest wooden jail in America.

Hyannis, Mass. is one of the villages of Barnstable and the largest. It is considered the hub of Cape Cod and is known internationally. This is the spot to pick up gifts for friends as it has some really unique shopping opportunities. Island ferries will take you on more adventures. Don’t miss the John F. Kennedy Museum for a look into history. Amazing photos of the Kennedy family are on display.

Yarmouth, MA will be your next stop. The Cape Cod National Seashore is waiting for you to do some beachcombing and see what small treasures you can find. The historic charm of this village will have you inspired and may even cause you to consider making your vacation longer. There is more than 350 years of history in this small location.

Next comes what may end up being your favorite beach stop, Dennis, Massachusetts. If it isn’t too cool, take a dip and fit in some time to watch for whales or other finny creatures off the shore. If you have brought a bicycle, now is your chance to take the Cape Cod Rail Trail which begins in Dennis. Ride for twenty-two miles through the many famous towns of Cape Cod.

Travel to Brewster and be sure to visit Nickerson State Park with its abundant outdoor recreation opportunities. An eight-mile bike path also connects to the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Swim, watch the birds, or hike throughout the 1900 acres. Then move on to the lovely town of Orleans, Massachusetts. The Atlantic and Cape Cod beaches are inviting, and the gorgeous views of the ocean will bring a peace and tranquility to your hectic days. If you are visiting in mid to late September, you may wish to take in some delightful film festivals while here.

Ready to turn back? We didn’t think so, but it is the end of this journey and you can enjoy the sights all over again as you head back to where you started. And you can always return again for more adventures in Cape Cod.

Picture credits: The picture of Old Harbor Life Saving Station is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Posted in Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, RV Beach Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas, State Parks | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Summer RV Trip along the Connecticut River Byway

Along the Connecticut River Byway near Mount Toby and Sunderland, MA

Along the Connecticut River Byway near Mount Toby and Sunderland, MA

This summer take an RV trip along the Connecticut River Byway to experience the most powerful river trail through New England. You can get a full taste of the history, beauty and heritage of three states as you drive this most fascinating and inspiring route. Outdoor recreation is abundant, and the entire family will find activities and fun things to do along the way. Paddling, fishing, hiking and bird watching – whichever you prefer is available, and more.

Starting in Massachusetts and traveling up through Vermont and New Hampshire, this scenic drive will take approximately 14 hours, depending on how often and how long you stop. When you pass through this landscape of rich farms and historic villages, you get a different view of our heritage. Stop at the Mount Holyoke Range State Park and you can find what hikes are available by stopping in at Notch Visitor Center.

On Mount Holyoke, you should be sure to visit the Summit House which was once a luxurious hotel and is now part of J.A. Skinner State Park. The views from this spot will literally take your breath away. On a clear day you will be able to see all the way into New Hampshire and get a glimpse of Mount Greylock.

In Hadley, Massachusetts, stop in at the Hadley Farm Museum. Here you will discover an incredible collection of early farm vehicles and equipment, all housed in a barn built in 1782. Historic artifacts to see include butter churns, toys, cobbler benches and other furnishings. You will really be taking a step back in time.

If you are ready for some hiking, you can embark upon a portion of the Metacomet Monadnock Mattabesett Trail, a National Scenic Trail offering some outstanding scenery and plenty of other recreation as well. One part of the trail is great for those of all ages and is five miles long (the Route 77 to Route 17 section).

Coming upon quaint New England towns is all part of the adventure. Small communities show you a huge welcome, such as in Canaan, Vermont or other Vermont towns such as Littleton, Brattleboro or Vernon.

When traveling through Vermont, stop at one or more of the many state parks along the way. There is a long list of them. Recommended is Fort Dummer State Park in Brattleboro. This fort in the southern foothills of the beautiful Green Mountains was flooded in 1908 with the building of the dam on the river. It can be viewed from the vista from Sunrise Trail. Quechee State Park is also a place to stop and nearby you can visit the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site and the glass blowing mill and pottery shop. Both parks have campgrounds for RV motorhomes.

When in New Hampshire, find many wonderful places to stop with the family to take in the sights and sounds of New England. Small towns such as Pittsburg, New Hampshire, Bath, Woodsville and Hinsdale invite you into their locale so you can enjoy the hospitality and ambience. The North Woods is an intriguing place and one that provides a multitude of recreation opportunities. Of course, in the winter there is skiing and snow sports, but in summer there are just as many things to do, such as hiking, trout and salmon fishing and much more.

Your route is sure to take you by the Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area, thirteen acres of natural beauty. There are numerous hiking paths along the gorge and you can take some photos of the views. As you hike along through the gorge, notice how the brook flows from a rushing cascade to a gentle stream. It will finally merge with the Connecticut River farther downstream.

In Lancaster, New Hampshire, the John Wingate Weeks Historic Site gives you the opportunity to see a lodge that makes interior decorators melt with envy. Gorgeous picture windows, massive fireplaces of fieldstone! Climb the tower and view the countryside from the observation deck.

Naturally, you will want to get out into the forest and the best way to do that is to take to the trails. Natural wonders are abundant on the Connecticut River Birding Trail (PDF) with numerous stops along the Connecticut River to witness the many species of birds. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is also nearby, a place where Native Americans made their way across the land in their birch-bark canoes. History runs deep here and the sights you see will remind you of that time and time again.

Picture credits: The picture of the Connecticut River Byway is by Christopher Curtis and is from the America’s Byways Website. It is in the public domain.

Posted in Connecticut RV Camping Vacation, Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, New Hampshire RV Camping Vacation, State Parks, Vermont RV Camping Vacation | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Travel to Martha’s Vineyard on a Summer RV Vacation

State Beach, Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard

State Beach, Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard

A summer vacation should be full of outdoor recreation, family sights and activities and lovely scenery. An RV vacation is an added bonus as your family has a great opportunity for bonding and spending quality time together. On Martha’s Vineyard you can have it all. This quaint island off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts is a wonderful destination for a family vacation.

Discover miles of beaches, a thriving art culture, outdoor fun and natural beauty. Explore the little New England villages and browse antique shops, boutiques, and enjoy delicious food. You can camp at the only campground on the island – Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground – where there are full hookups and spacious wooded sites.

Sailboat Crossing in Front of Edgartown Lighthouse

Sailboat Crossing in Front of Edgartown Lighthouse

In the seaside village of Edgartown, the shopping and harbor views simply cannot be beat. The homes date back to the early 19th century and the days of whaling. Visit South Beach and the Edgartown Lighthouse while here to get the real feel of this island paradise.

Take the Chappy Ferry from Edgartown to Chappaquiddick. The ferry is called “Chappy” because that is the shortened version of Chappaquiddick, a tranquil and isolated spot to the east where you can ride a bicycle on the many sand tracks which crisscross the island. You will need some small mode of transport to really get around, such as traveling to Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge, but you can also hike it if you don’t mind longer distances.

Picture of the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs, MA

Flying Horses Carousel

Next hit the beach town of Oak Bluffs and experience an old-fashioned merry-go-round, the Flying Horses Carousel, operating continuously since 1876 it is the oldest platform carousel in the United States! This National Historic Landmark is the pride and joy of the town and anyone of any age will enjoy this marvelous ride.

Gorgeous coastal views are available at Chilmark and roads lead to fishing villages where you can get seafood fresh from the sea. Be sure to have your camera ready to shoot some photos of the peaceful scenery where stone fences line the hills. Take Middle Road to get some views of the farm lying along the Atlantic shoreline.

Aquinnah Cliffs on Martha's Vineyard

Aquinnah Cliffs on Martha’s Vineyard

Aquinnah Cliffs is another must-see. Take a bus to get to these amazing cliffs and Gay Head Lighthouse. Aquinnah’s isolation makes it a great place to go to avoid any crowded tourist areas. An inspiring town to say the least!

Vineyard Haven, part of the Town of Tisbury, also boasts a lighthouse, the West Chop Lighthouse, with magnificent views. Again, be sure to have your camera ready as you’ll want to share these moments with friends back home.

Yes, Martha’s Vineyard is a place of beauty, inspiration and lots of history. This is where you can explore by foot, on a bike, or take the public transportation system to get where you want to go. At night you can settle down in your RV motorhome with the family and relive the fun you had during your day of adventures. You won’t want to leave to go home once you arrive. But you can always return once again to experience the unique and serene Martha’s Vineyard.

Picture credits: All pictures in this post are courtesy of Travel New England.

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Summer College Baseball: A Great Way to See New England

By Robert Pirozzi, Travel New England

Picture of a baseball home plate

Picture of a baseball home plate

Every summer college baseball players all over the country head off to play summer ball in wooden bat summer college baseball leagues. For fans of the game, these games are a great way to see guys who will become the stars of tomorrow…

New England is no stranger to summer college baseball. There are no fewer than three leagues that field teams in across New England. The great thing about summer ball is that while taking in some of these games you can also visit some of the best vacation spots in the region!

Start on Cape Cod

Cape Cod, one of the country’s top vacation destinations, is also home to the famous Cape Cod Baseball League. Founded in 1885, the Cape Cod Baseball League has seen the likes of greats such as Nomar Garciaparra, Thurman Munson, Mark Texeira, and Jason Varitek. The league fields 10 teams across the Cape so you are never far from a game, and best of all – you’re on the Cape with great beaches and so much more summer fun…

Take a Side Trip to Martha’s Vineyard

If you have not had enough sun and fun on the Cape, you can always hop the ferry over to “the Vineyard” where you will find more sun and fun and another summer College Baseball team. This time it is the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks who use the Martha’s Vineyard High School field for their home games. The Sharks are members of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. While on-island be sure to check out the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs – it’s the oldest platform carousel in the United States.

Staying with a Coastal Theme

If you want to keep your vacation close to the coast you are in luck. Both the Futures Collegiate Baseball League and the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) field teams in cities and towns along the coast. Where can you go? How about:

  • Old Orchard Beach, Maine to see the Raging Tide.
  • Newport, Rhode Island to see the Gulls. Be sure to check out Newport’s famous mansions while there.
  • South Kingston in Rhode Island’s beautiful South County to see the Ocean State Waves.
  • Groton, Connecticut to see the Mystic Schooners. While in the area, be sure to check out Mystic Seaport.

Time for Some Mountains

If you have tired of the seacoast how about heading to the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. This beautiful region is home to the North Adams Steeplecats and the Pittsfield Suns. While in the Berkshires you may want to take in some of the great theater for which the region is so famous, or visit one of the areas fabulous museums such as the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, or the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASSMoCA) in North Adams.

If that is not enough you can head to Montpelier in the foothills of the Green Mountains in Vermont to take in the Vermont Mountaineers. You are in the State Capital of Vermont and a stone throw from all this beautiful region has to offer.

There you have it. By simply following America’s pastime in its simplest and least expensive form – summer college ball – you can take in some of the best vacation spots that New England has to offer.

About the Author

Robert Pirozzi is the Publisher of the website Travel New England. He lives with his wife and son in a suburb west of Boston.

Posted in Connecticut RV Camping Vacation, Maine RV Camping Vacation, Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, Rhode Island RV Camping Vacation, Vermont RV Camping Vacation | Tagged | 1 Comment