Boston’s Artistic Expression
- Where to Go
- The Best of Vermont
- Rumblings of Revolution
- New, New England Dining
- Boston’s Artistic Expression
- Vermont Leaf Peeping
- Into the Wild
- Vermont Skiing at Its Best
- Visit Vermont’s Maple Sugar Shacks
- Connecticut for Kids
- Vermont’s Covered Bridges
- A Shore Thing
- Vermont with Kids
- Portland Maine Art Galleries
- Small-Town Flavor
- Connecticut’s Wine Trails
- New Hampshire’s Farmers Markets
- A Weekend of Vermont Art
- Family Matters
- Maine Wilderness Camps
- Vermont Cheddar Houses
- Connecticut Spas
Boston isn’t called the “Athens of America” for nothing—it’s one of the country’s premier outlets of art and culture. You can craft a whole itinerary from the art and theater in New England’s cities and college towns. Boston’s art scene gets hopping in the fall and spring; in the summer, the action moves to the southern shores and the Berkshires.
On your second day, stroll along Newbury Street in the morning, checking out its many art galleries. In the afternoon, visit the one-of-a-kind Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum or the new waterfront Institute of Contemporary Art.
Head south along I-95 to Providence (one hour), where you can check out the cutting-edge modern art museum at Rhode Island School of Design and browse the funky shops around Brown University. At night, catch an experimental performance at the acclaimed Trinity Repertory Theatre or, if the timing is right, attend the Waterfire performance on the river.
Head up Interstates 295, 90, and 91 back into Massachusetts to visit Northampton (2.5 hours), one of the most delightful college towns in New England. Visit Smith College, treat yourself to a wide selection of ethnic food, and take in a folk music performance at night.
Head down I-90 and up Route 20 to Lenox (2 hours), where, depending on the season, you can catch the Boston Symphony Orchestra at their summer home of Tanglewood, a performance at the annual Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, or a production by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company at their reconstructed Rose Playhouse. While you’re there, don’t miss the flower gardens at The Mount, a work of art to rival any museum.
Another day, another college—head up Route 7 to Williamstown (one hour) and tour beautiful Williams College. While there, take in the college art museum and the spectacular collection at the Clark Art Museum. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a performance at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, which has drawn such actors as Ethan Hawke and Marisa Tomei.
While staying in Williamstown, take a side trip down Route 2 to North Adams (20 minutes), a rejuvenated mill town that’s home to the gargantuan Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and countless galleries. After dinner, stick around for the town’s funky nightlife.
Drive up Route 7 to Bennington (30 minutes) and check out the famous folk art of Grandma Moses at the Bennington Museum. Then cross southern Vermont along Route 9 to Brattleboro (one hour), home to a thriving café and gallery scene. If the season’s right, take in a traditional music concert in Marlboro, or one of the acclaimed barn concerts in Putney, before bedding down in Brattleboro. Tomorrow, take the express trip back to Boston, along I-91 and Route 2 (2 hours). Leave room in your luggage for your own unique art finds!
© Michael Blanding and Alexandra Hall from Moon New England, 2nd Edition