A serene coastal scene with a small lighthouse by the water's edge, surrounded by dry grasses under a clear, pastel sky during sunset.

Explore the Heart of the Northeast

Published on June 15, 2024

As the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic regions beckon road trippers this season, think beyond the tourist trails and look for the special experiences and historic attractions that define a location’s charm. Benchmark Resorts & Hotels offers cozy accommodations across the East Coast, catering to diverse tastes and preferences.

Here are eight ideas to inspire your next journey, starting from the Northeast and working south:

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Boothbay Harbor, ME

Damariscotta River Cruises

Elevate your coastal culinary adventure with the Damariscotta Oyster Farm Tasting & Cruise. Embark on a scenic boat ride where you'll learn about oyster farming and sample some of the freshest oysters straight from the waters of Maine.

Stay: Spruce Point Inn

Promising an iconic coastal experience, Spruce Point Inn is a quintessential Maine resort located on the ocean. Enjoy historic charm, with throwback experiences like croquet and shuffleboard, and don’t miss oceanside swimming at the Boothbay pool.

Hanover, NH

Hood Museum of Art

Housing over 65,000 objects, The Hood Museum of Art’s collection is among the oldest and largest of any college or university. Stop by and explore The Hood’s diverse collection of global art and culture. Not to miss: the fresco by José Clemente Orozco titled The Epic of American Civilization (1932–34), which is now a National Historic Landmark.

Stay: Hanover Inn Dartmouth

The historic Hanover Inn at Dartmouth offers easy access to the region’s most coveted cultural attractions. Located on the Dartmouth College campus, this boutique hotel offers scenic views of the Dartmouth College Green. To cap a day of exploring Hanover, consider a selection from the wine list at Pine at the Hanover Inn restaurant – it is a two-time Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner.

Manchester, VT

Pastime Pinball

Take a trip back in time and visit the Pastime Pinball museum. With over 60 pinball machines dating back to the late 1940s, guests can play their way through 75 years of pinball history.

Stay: The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa

Experience timeless New England elegance at The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa. Established in 1769 and steeped in history, this historic hotel is surrounded by the Green Mountain National Forest in Manchester, Vermont. Pack your helmet and take advantage of the resort bikes, perfect for cruising in town or trail riding.

Chatham, MA

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC)

Cape Cod is one of the world’s great white shark hot spots, and the AWSC Shark Center brings shark enthusiasts of all ages the opportunity to learn about ground-breaking research on one of the ocean’s most impressive species. Explore interactive exhibits, videos and displays rain or shine.

Stay: Chatham Bars Inn

The nearby Chatham Bars Inn is one of Cape Cod’s most beloved and storied oceanfront destination retreats. Originally opened in 1914, the inn offers turn-of-the-century charm and breezy, seaside ambience blended with modern comforts and amenities. Thanks to a special partnership with AWSC, guests of Chatham Bars Inn can depart on the Bar Tender, the resort’s 29-foot custom launch, for a tour of the shark data receivers in Chatham Harbor. Led by a naturalist from AWSC, guests will watch as data is pulled from the receivers, learning from the experts about the sharks and other wildlife in the waters below.

Boston, MA

New England Aquarium

From octopuses and penguins to the largest shark and ray touch tank on the East Coast, the New England aquarium succeeds by instilling a sense of wonder and deeper connection for all that visit. Must see among the exhibits is the Atlantic Harbor Seals, where two families swim, play, sleep and train with aquarists. Free training sessions are offered daily for visitors to learn more about them.

Stay: The Boston Harbor Hotel

A waterfront sanctuary, The Boston Harbor Hotel is an ideal home base to explore the iconic Rowes Wharf and surrounding area. Host of the iconic Summer in the City entertainment series, catch the live entertainment set on the hotel’s floating barge stage.

Newport, RI

White Horse Tavern

After three centuries of colonial spirit and strong drinks, the White Horse Tavern is the oldest operating tavern in the United States. Once owned by a notorious swashbuckler, this 1673 tavern offers upscale farm-to-table American cuisine and rum drinks.

Stay: Wayfinder Newport

Located in Newport’s vibrant North End, Wayfinder Newport places you steps away from Rhode Island’s top activities and attractions. The boutique hotel boasts a large collection of local art and a uniquely bohemian flair.

New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers Gardens

Covering 180 acres with designed beds, specialty gardens, tree and shrub collections, lawns and walking paths, the “living museum” of Rutgers Gardens promises captivating hikes for its visitors free of charge year-round.

Stay: The Heldrich Hotel and Conference Center

New Brunswick boasts not only fascinating historical sites from its beginnings during the pre-Revolutionary War era, but also a sophisticated and vibrant modern arts scene. Located in the cultural heart of downtown New Brunswick, The Heldrich is an ideal home base to explore all the city has to offer.

St. Michaels, MD

Exhibits Classic Motor Museum St. Michaels

Founded by the longing hearts of a few car enthusiasts, the Classic Motor Museum boasts pre- and post- World War II classic automobiles, mid-century muscle cars, vintage trucks, motorcycles and other era-inspired collectibles all inside the charming walls of their Amish-built Exhibit Barn.

Stay: Inn at Perry Cabin

The Inn at Perry Cabin offers an authentic Chesapeake Bay experience. Originally built in the 1800s, the historic inn is now one of the premier resorts on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. While the waterfront is central to the Inn at Perry Cabin experience, note that The Inn is built on 26 acres of gardens, orchards, wildflowers and lawns perfect for a wander.

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