The northeastern region of the United States called New England includes six small states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. While to those outside America, Yankee is slang for anyone from the United States; to those in the USA, Yankees are New Englanders.
New England was the point of birth and initial settlement for many of colonial English settlers that landed upon the shores of the “new world.” Actually, of course the property was as old as Europe and like Europe, the land was heavily populated by Native Americans.
Today, Americans see New England as one of the birthplaces of the nation. Consequently, New England holds a great deal of pride and cultural importance as a people. The first English governor and assembly in New England issued the Mayflower Compact which promised co-operation among the settlers.
New England has preserved remnants of the colonial settlements that the first English settlers inhabited, enabling visitors to file by and observe the conditions endured by people seeking their new life in America. Reenactment villages and living museums such as that at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, provide interactive exhibits demonstrating how the day-to-day struggles the colonists were combated.
The city of Salem, Massachusetts, which is the location for the infamous Salem Witch Trials that took place in 1692, has taken its sordid past and turned it into a tourism sector that draws thousands each year. The witch trials marked a peak in colonial religious puritanical paranoia. The “trials” resulted in the execution of nearly 20 people accused of being in cahoots with the devil, although it is highly improbable that any of the defendants were really involved in any form of witchcraft.
Salem has taken the historical accusations and embraced them as a tongue-in-cheek badge of honor. Even the Salem police vehicles are adorned with the silhouette of a witch on a broomstick. Though it may seem a rather sardonic take on a tragic event, Salem has embraced the macabre and turned the gorgeous historical city into a year-long Halloween celebration. There are haunted houses, costume stores, Raccoon removal, Wiccan themed stores, and ghost tours throughout the town. You may also find a lot of bars, restaurants, and cozy coffee shops lining the road in Salem.
Boston, Massachusetts, besides being a hub of American civilization, creativity, and academia, has an abundance of historical buildings, museums, and landmarks preserving and chronicling the progression from those barren settlements of the early 1600’s to liberty in 1776. An individual can easily walk the winding streets of Boston imagining they are together with the buckle-shoed revolutionaries who forged the most cherished and exalted cornerstones of American tradition.
But do not be mistaken, the present day is also very much alive and kicking in New England. Boston is a center of higher education with a number of universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, Boston University, Tufts University, Northwestern University, Harvard University and many others.
It is a culmination of cultures and areas which were brought to Boston by immigrants from throughout the world. Still, Boston, along with the rest of New England, keeps a very characteristic identity and culture all its own.
New England clam chowder overflows from many a clay pot. New England has a charm and magnetic allure that could barely be put to words, but must rather be experienced. The magnificent coastlines peppered with candlepin lighthouses should be enough to draw the curious traveller. A warning to potential travellers to Boston, try to keep any dissenting views about the Patriots and the Red Sox to yourself. It’s for your own good.
Along the coast, you will find the charm and character of fishing villages lining the briny shores of Massachusetts. Cape Cod is a keen summertime destination for those trying to get out on the open water, or lie luxuriously on the shore. From Provincetown you can embark on whale watching expeditions, day-long fishing adventures, and return at night for fine cuisine with accompanying ocean views.
There are Cape Ann another welcoming destination along the Massachusetts coastline. Like Cape Cod, it’s a beautiful and interesting culmination of fishing village, art colonies, ocean vistas, and seafood restaurants.
An interesting occurrence in the town of Gloucester on Cape Ann is the St. Peter’s Fiesta, which occurs the last weekend of June. This yearly celebration includes a carnival, a rowboat race, and the conventional and highly comical greasy pole climbing contest. The pole is coated with grease and dozens of guys compete individually to retrieve the coveted flag on peak of the pole. Locals and tourists alike place themselves along the coast or in ships in the harbor to watch the mayhem unfold. Even though you are in Gloucester taking in the ocean air, be sure to try out a plate of longneck clams, or “steamers”, with butter and broth dips.
North of Massachusetts you will find the quaint and gorgeous state of Vermont. Vermont has resisted the rapid population growth that has characterized much of the east coast of the U.S.. It has the least populated capital city of all of the states, and is the only state in the union without a single building above 150 feet.
Vermont homes the lush and deciduous Green Mountains. There are more ski resorts in Vermont than any other state in New England, so it serves as a welcome destination throughout the New England winters. When in Vermont be sure to keep a watch for fresh maple syrup, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and locally-brewed beers.
Another state to surround yourself with natural beauty, it is densely forested and the least populated state in New England. Maine has lived on its agricultural heritage, in addition to its fishing and small manufacturing businesses. Maine has dramatic and craggy coastline and is very well known for its legendary lobsters.
New Hampshire has its share of winter activities and also brags a breathtaking coastline. Known as “the Granite State,” New Hampshire has numerous quarries and stone formations to grow its majestic landscape.
Rhode Island is geographically the smallest state in the United States but because of its high population density it’s not the least populated. The state is known for the manufacture of silverware and fine jewelry.
In Connecticut you will find a huge offshoot of the New York metro area, but you will also find it has its own New England charm. Connecticut takes pride in its historic heritage and has painstakingly preserved many of its historic traditions, buildings, and landmarks. Be sure to take in some of the gorgeous villages of Connecticut before you catch the train into New York City.
New England is a land of beautiful autumn colors, vibrant Hawaiian communities, ample seafood, handsome beaches and stunning vistas, vast tracts of forest, a temperate climate, and a listing of craft-brewed beers. A driving force in forging another American culture, this section of the United States maintains a unique pride.