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New England, how I love thee. Let me count the ways.

Growing up in Maryland, just south of the Mason Dixon Line, I often let my wanderlust and imagination drift up the coast to a more perfect place of beautiful coastline, living history and a cultural patina that seemed a caste above my mid-Atlantic surroundings. Every visit to Boston and to relatives in Massachusetts left me wanting more. In college, as a philosophy major enamoured by the Transcendentalists, I made my first pilgrimage to Walden Pond, in Concord, Mass. After graduating I spent two summers on Cape Cod, on a deep embed working as a waiter in a popular seafood restaurant to save up money for a move to Ireland. Between shifts I wrote short stories set around the restaurant, trying to capture the feel and patois of the area. One of those summers I spent in Woods Hole, home to the famous oceanographic institute and the ferry gateway to Martha's Vineyard. It was all as romantic, historic and invigorating as I had hoped.

I keep happily returning: Boston, Portland, the Berkshires, Rhode Island's Block Island, small electricity-free islands off the coast of Maine, the best of East Coast skiing at Vermont's Stowe and Killington. I cannot be sated.

Additionally, no other region in the US compares to New England when it comes to seasons. Spring blooms, deep and blanketing winters, glorious summers and stunning autumns. October is one of the most popular months for visiting New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts as leaf peepers from all over the world B&B-hop through the foliage.

Fall is one of the first stories we have for you in this newly launched New England guide. The rest of the week holds Boston as its loci, with stories on getting the most out of a visit there, including "Boston, by the sea" by Mara Vorhees, which explains the visitor-related upshot of the $19 billion urban planning nightmare known as the Big Dig. Boston makes a great base for the region and two other stories, one on day trips outside the city and another on Portland, Maine, begin a deeper exploration of this choice destination.

Return all week for more.

Monday: Boston, by the sea

Tuesday: Art appreciation and more in Portland, Maine

Wednesday: Boston's great outdoor adventures

Thursday: Historical day trips from Boston

Friday: A perfect day in Boston

 

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