The epiphany came on a gloomy English Friday, when I was sat in my pajamas on the sofa having one of my ‘secret indulgence’ nights in. Okay, as it’s important for the story, I’ll admit it; I was watching Little Women (those who mock obviously haven’t experienced the emotional rollercoaster that is the coming of age of Jo March). The fact that I was mouthing the words and acting out certain romantic scenes is beside the point. And yes, I was eating Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice-cream out of the tub as I dabbed my eyes with a tissue watching Beth breathe her last pious breaths. It was exactly then that it occurred to me, I wanted to go there: to the beautiful American landscape in which such terribly romantic and tragic events occur. And to the land which has produced my beloved Phish Food: Ben and Jerry, god bless you. So it was that I booked my escorted tour to the region of New England.
Although comprised of six sprawling states, I soon discovered that the region has a distinct beauty throughout which is exactly as picturesque as I had imagined. The land where the Pilgrims first landed and settled back in the 1620’s, New England still exudes a timelessness which suggests what it might have been like all those years ago. Quaint towns like Mystic and Providence are home to the ‘picket fence and pinafore’ appeal for which the region is famous, the recreated farm village in Providence looking like something straight out of The Waltons, complete with a working general store selling eighteenth century style goods. Our tour manager was incredibly knowledgeable, and the Escorted Tour itinerary covered a host of really special places.
The New Hampshire wilderness was incredible, with the views over the White Mountain region revealing classic expanses of unspoilt landscape. We also got a good look at Mt Washington, and indulged in some Montpelier Maple Syrup tasting.
All our train and coach transport was booked and sorted: one of the key advantages of an Escorted Tour. Transport is certainly important, as the beauty of a journey across New England is as much in the getting there as the destination. Views from the train window were spectacular as we crossed into Vermont, the whole landscape vibrant with color. Maple trees alight with the coppery tones of fall huddled en route, the entire landscape a rich tapestry of auburns and gold which were positively swoon-worthy.
Maine was next, the largest of the New England states. Glacial lakes, dense forest and unpopulated expanses sprawl back from a rocky coast which measures a massive 3500 miles and is dotted with magical lighthouses and islands to the north, including the charming Eastport, the eastern most point of the USA. Standing on the rocky headland looking out over the immense sprawl of the Atlantic I felt like a true literary heroine (Jo March eat your heart out).