Summer in New England

Janet Clapp

In six small states, New England offers a marvelous variety of landscapes, people and cultures. If you’re spending your summer hanging out in this corner of the continent, there is plenty to do and see. Here are a few books you can use to get the most out of New England during the long days of summertime.

Yankee Magazine’s New England: Special Places & Certain People

This collection of articles and photos profiles places and people. Visit Middletown Springs, “where cows and sheep graze on ledges they’ve etched into the hillsides like stripes on a barber pole. But if you stop and look, you’ll see fine Victorian homes, unusually ornate and lavish. These homes are all that is left to remind us of the wealth that came into this town all at once, when, at the end of the last century, water meant gold to Middletown Springs.” Other Vermont towns featured are Granville, Danville, Glover and Strafford. Urban flavor is provided by Boston’s North End and Hartford, Connecticut. “It is the accommodation of the new and inevitable needs of the business community and the need for tradition and for roots that is at the core of Hartford’s richness.”

Weird New England: Your Travel Guide to New England’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets

by Joseph A. Citro

The title page shows the Volkswagen Beetle held up by Queen Connie on Route 7, north of Brandon. In Salem, New Hampshire, “on a desolate granite hilltop, generations of scientists and sightseers have pondered what may be North America’s greatest and most gigantic megalithic enigma.” Like Stonehenge, nobody knows the purpose of the stone structures there. Did you know that Bennington, Vermont has a region from which people vanish, a place known as the Bennington Triangle? From UFOs to glimpses of Jesus to gargoyles, and of course Champ in Lake Champlain, there is no shortage of mysterious legends.

Rail-Trails New England: The Official Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Guidebook

Many of the railroad tracks that crisscross New England no longer have trains running on them. That land has instead been transformed into pleasant trails for recreational use: “Rail-trails are multi-use public paths built along former railroad corridors. Most often flat or following a gentle grade, they are suited to walking, running, cycling, mountain biking, inline skating, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and wheelchair use.” Directions to the trails and maps of the paths that they traverse make this a practical guide. However, because the book is a few years old, you can get information on newer trails, even non-rail trails, at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website (

AMC’s Best Backpacking in New England: A Guide to Thirty-Three of the Best Multi-Day Trips from Maine to Connecticut

by Matt Heid

Pack up your gear and hit the wilderness for the weekend to pursue these hikes. “Loop hikes are convenient, do not revisit scenery, and avoid the hassle of arranging a car shuttle. Road crossings detract from the wilderness experience and are avoided whenever possible.” Maps illustrate the text; additionally, the author suggests the best sources for more complete maps. Descriptions of each trip include distance, highlights, elevation, difficulty, and an overview.

New England Waterfalls: A Guide to More Than 200 Cascades and Waterfalls

by Greg Parsons & Kate B. Watson

The authors “wrote directions based on easily identifiable reference points, described trails in an easy-to-follow format…added nine classifications to each waterfall trip, including an overall rating — intended to give you a sense of comparison — and also information pertaining to the trail, such as the difficulty and altitude gain.” Covering nearby Clarendon Gorge to falls around the New England states, this book lists top waterfall swimming holes, best waterfall day trips, and the best long-distance day hikes.

New England Seacoast Adventures: A Complete Guide to Outdoor Recreation from Connecticut to Maine

by Stephen Jermanok

Vermont may be the only New England state without oceanfront property, but we aren’t too far from “the natural splendor of this varied coastline…from the shallow beaches of Connecticut’s Long Island Sound to the rolling dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore to the rugged granite shores of Maine’s long stretch of coast.” Hiking, biking, paddling, fishing, golf — name your outdoor activity — this book describes some places where you can enjoy the fun, from sea kayaking in Maine to surfing in Rhode Island.

The Rutland Free Library has the titles above, plus many others about New England.

Happy reading!

Janet Clapp

Janet Clapp is an adult services librarian at Rutland Free Library.

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