Tucked away in the northeast corner of the United States, the New England region exists as one of the most historic and culturally rich domains in the country. Made up of six incomparable states, each offers exclusive experiences and activities. A road trip outing easily remains as the best approach to fully value the density of New England. Frequently, the drive itself positions travelers with the most opportune angle to fathom one’s surroundings. Chances are, you’re reading this to welcome the sustainable path of roadtripp-ing. Fortunately, helpful resources are surfacing and the word is spreading about the eco-friendly lifestyle. Environmentally sensible travel is attainable, so carry reading on for the New England version!
Bidwell House Museum
Since the 1600s, the Berkshire Mountains have established an intimate sense of inspiration and creativity, with countless villages and towns scouring the western region of Massachusetts. The diverse history surrounding the area’s evolution retains the interest of locals and travelers alike. While numerous locations boast significant historic landmarks, some stand out more than others.
Situated within the southwest corner of the Berkshire hills, the Bidwell House Museum demonstrates a classic Georgian saltbox house originally constructed circa 1760. Initial owner, Reverend Adonijah Bidwell, was the first minister of the previously known Township No. 1, presently identified as the towns Tyringham and Monterey. Today, the 192 acre property showcases the renovated home, heritage gardens, four miles of hiking trails, and a Native American Interpretive Trail. The museum allows visitors to grasp an authentic impression of everyday life in the 18th and early 19th century Berkshire country.
Despite appearing isolated today, the home was once the town’s hub, built on the main road connecting the two settlements of Township No.1. The house and property remained in the Bidwell family over three generations; eventually selling out of the Bidwell clan in 1836, auctioned once again in 1960, refurbished to the original style, and opened for public viewings in 1990. Visitors can effectively time travel back to early settlement existence and walk away with an understanding of how the local ancestors sustained their presence.
Becket Land Trust
Established in 1991 thanks to the efforts of distressed citizens who were keen to protect the wild nature of the town of Becket, the Becket Land Trust was founded to conserve its natural resources and hinder further destruction. Previously recognized as the Chester-Hudson Quarry throughout its operating days, the excavation site performed a vital role in the initial development of the town of Becket and neighboring area from the 1860’s to the 1960’s. The formerly active quarry produced granite and shipped the harvested material via railroad to Chester, MA and Hudson, NY – gravestones and monuments were the leading goods.
Known as one of the most unscathed historic quarry scenes in Massachusetts, the eerily fascinating landscape provides visitors with a unique “museum” experience. Swaddled between Becket’s forests and hills, the outdated granite quarry accommodates an assortment of corroded artifacts left behind when the Hudson-Chester Granite Company abruptly closed. Resting on more than 300 acres of mainly wooded land, guests can stroll through the scenic forest while collecting knowledge of the once destructive operating system. By virtue of former and present devoted residents, the land continues to flourish and prosper for future generations to enjoy.
Pittsfield Farmers Market
Covering over 2,000 square miles of rural land, The Berkshires undoubtedly host oodles of charming farmers markets. The combination of touring inconspicuous locations and supporting local farmers conceives the ultimate sustainable road trip. What better way to intermingle with the community and boost the town’s economy?
Commencing in 2013, the Pittsfield Farmers Market stands as the first teen-run market in the region. The nonprofit organization Roots Rising partnered with the local market to, “empower youth and build community through food and farming.” The Market Crew consists of dynamic and energetic teens who are passionate for innovative development.
Aside from providing youth with an opportunity to learn about sustainable farming practices and food habits, the Pittsfield Farmers Market strives to support the idea that everyone should have access to fresh, healthy food. Through programs such as; Market Match, Summer Eats, Giving Table, and WIC Distribution, the market caters toward a variety of folks who may be unable to regularly access the treasure of local, fresh food. Open to the public every Saturday from mid-May to mid-October, the Pittsfield Farmers Market ought to be a staple for residents and travelers.
Wilmington Antique & Flea Market
Just north beyond the border into The Green Mountain State, similar quaint small towns saturate the lush Vermont countryside. Oftentimes, the urge to acquire souvenirs throughout a road trip deems inescapable. Instead of consuming mass-produced merchandise, the chance to browse “rare finds and useful items” surely defeats the customary approach of spending.
Since 1983, the Wilmington Antique & Flea Market has been engaging locals and travelers with its wide collection of items and vendors. For over thirty years on the ten acre property, the market grounds have displayed a hodgepodge of antiques, collectibles, jewelry, glass, furniture, flowers, plants, vegetables, and artisan crafts. As Southern Vermont’s largest weekend market, visitors are bound to locate exceptional bargains and return home with an exclusive memento.
Route 100 Byway
Furthering northbound, the scenic route delights all guests and onlookers. Extending 216 miles beside the Green Mountain National Forest, the Route 100 Byway moves past 33 quintessential towns and has been acknowledged as one of the most picturesque journeys in New England. Offsetting from the Massachusetts state line, Route 100 dates back to the 1700s.
Besides presenting prominent ski mountains along the journey including Killington and Mount Snow, Route 100 hosts a variety of restaurants, bakeries, breweries, outdoor recreation activities, local art galleries and studios, and family-owned lodging. The drive itself celebrates the lavish Vermont landscape, creating quite the dilemma for the vehicle operator – to focus on the road or scenery?! Certain to not disappoint, Route 100 meanders amongst abundant opportunities to please travelers.
A New England road trip wouldn’t hold true without the general direction of north (once again) – stretching 120 miles north to south, Lake Champlain runs along the edge of New York and Vermont. While the fascinating range of history constitutes a large portion of a school’s curriculum, sometimes the material taught doesn’t sink into the minds of adolescent beings and the information cannot be fully appreciated. Usually, adequate recognition of historical landmarks and locations follow with maturing. Of course, the investigation of archival sites welcomes society as a whole and not just the older folks.
Mount Independence State Historic Site exists as one of the country’s most meaningful Revolutionary War sites. Originally called East Point or Rattlesnake Hill, the elaborate three-tiered defense system was retitled after the Declaration of Independence was recited to the soldiers gathered here. Guests can begin their exploration at the Building Independence; the exhibit discusses the function Mount Independence played during the American Revolution’s early years and delves into the lives of the American soldiers who built and guarded one of the largest defenses for the war.
After grasping background information, six miles of hiking trails lead the curious throughout the archaeological remains of the fortification. The straightforward Baldwin Trail offers views of Lake Champlain, Fort Ticonderoga, and Mount Defiance. Not to mention the 15 marked sites along the path – winding through the locations of two brigade encampments and past the foundations of the general hospital, two soldier huts, two blockhouses, a storehouse, southern battery defenses, and so much more. The chance to continuously educate oneself arises in all respects, and the interactive option surely allows visitors to better absorb the rich history.
Chutters Candy Store
Finally coursing east and cutting across the heart of classic New England terrain, the fickle White Mountains attract the tenacious and outdoor enthusiasts. But first, a stopover at the world’s longest candy counter certainly calls the attention of many. Since the late 1800s, the small town of Littleton has hosted the original notorious Chutters. Named for its primitive owner, Frederick George Chutter, the eclectic candy store lures tourists alongside regular locals.
The famous 112 foot candy counter displays a mammoth selection of sweet treats, over 500 to be exact. With goodies to satisfy the whole family, the fulfillment broadens when laying eyes on vintage candy, enabling older visitors to recall fond childhood memories. Combined with homemade mouth watering chocolates and fudge, the colorful presentation at Chutters grants mutual appeasement. Don’t forget to bring your reusable bags and containers – unnecessary plastic bags are not needed here!
Littleton Food Co-op
Lingering within the Littleton community, the town entertains yet another focal point. Kicking off in May 2009, the Littleton Food Co-op has maintained a community owned marketplace, supporting local farmers and producers, and advocating healthy options for people and the planet. With an objective to not help finance large corporations, over 300 resolute citizens from Littleton and nearby towns assembled to organize a market to provide for the community.
Besides showcasing a blend of organic and regionally produced food, the bulk department creates reason for the Littleton Co-op to stand out amongst competing grocery stores. With hundreds of package free items at one’s disposal, stocking up on commonly plastic wrapped products becomes effortless. When selecting items from the bulk section, the demand for traditional food shopping methods begin to fade and the replacement of sustainable nourishment habits start to gain popularity.
Shelburne Moriah Mountain
The famed White Mountain National Forest remains as one of two National Forests in the New England region. Today, the White Mountain widens over 800,000 acres across New Hampshire and western Maine. Exceeding 6 million visitors each year, the renowned forest inevitably accommodates a surplus of guests, with many flocking to prominent, high-traffic areas. Luckily, similar perspectives can be procured in lesser known territories with a fraction of fellow hikers.
Not to be confused with Mount Moriah or Middle Moriah Mountain, Shelburne Moriah Mountain has a share in the New Hampshire 52 With A View list. The mountains somewhat difficult ascent justifies the low density of visitors in the area, thus, creating the ideal backcountry event. The 11-mile round trip journey rewards climbers with abundant exposed rock, plush vegetation, and a panoramic mountaintop. Apart from relishing in near solitude, venturing off the beaten path dwindles the negative environmental impact of more popular locations.
Enduring the slogan “Vacationland,” the most northeastern state Maine holds fame for its rocky coastline, maritime history, and boundless rugged wilderness. Bar Harbor and Portland remain legendary regarding Maine’s shoreline, they both are accurately glorious and divine in their own way. However, with over 3,000 miles of coast to explore, secret zones lacking tourist mobs hang in the air, waiting to be discovered.
Situated on the Castine peninsula, the 185 acre preserve Witherle Woods has been sheltering and entertaining crowds since the 1600s. Quite the anecdote arises when poring over the human history of the now conserved land. Incidences dating back to colonial times and military conflict during the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 have fabricated an utterly significant landmark with striking natural features.
Optimal during any season, Witherle Woods grants refreshing views of Penobscot Bay. Over 6 miles of hiking trails stroll amid various historical sites, allowing visitors to moderately conceptualize the grounds’ past. A different take on Maine’s seaside creates intimate involvement and breaches the barrier towards less common territory.
We Fill Good
One last stop before concluding the unmatched New England road trip. After cruising the endlessly photogenic coast, an exemplary zero waste store rests within Kittery, just before exiting The Pine Tree State. We Fill Good aims to reinforce the Seacoast community about low waste living and one’s plastic footprint. Owner, Marla, strengthens the notion of “low waste” rather than “zero waste,” and recommends her customers begin examining the “6 R’s”; refuse, reduce, reuse/repair, repurpose, rot, and recycle. Words of wisdom and phrases to live by.
The merchandise at We Fill Good ranges widely; bath and body products, kitchen and laundry goods, child essentials, and even elements for a furry friend. Furthermore, the refill bar extends beyond measure, allowing shoppers to effectively snag basic products through an uncommon means of spending. The rare sighting of a zero waste store in New England can at times be discouraging, though satisfactory when partaking and supporting.
The surface has barely been scratched respecting a proper New England expedition. One could reside in each state for years and continuously unearth new locations and enterprises (not to mention that Connecticut and Rhode Island have been omitted for the sake of not writing an essay!).
Though occasionally difficult to focus on nothing other than the day’s adventure, the only means to withstand such pleasurable occasions is through conscious and sustainable tourism. As one would conduct day-to-day environmentally thoughtful practices, comparable routines ought to be reworked and not forgotten about while traveling. A bit of necessary preparation dwells, though if properly managed, the task may shift to an entertaining assignment.
ecomadic is a sustainable tourism brand that empowers travelers to make more conscious decisions. By curating a marketplace to easily find and identify responsible businesses to support, and providing educational publications through our online green travel magazine, ecomadic is committed to helping empower travelers make responsible choices throughout their journeys.