NECN Staff Picks: Top New England Summer Vacation Spots

The faces of NECN share some of their favorite New England vacation destinations.

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Matt, Danielle and Brandon Noyes at our favorite summer getaway… Newfound Lake, NH!
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LATOYIA EDWARDS: My dad invites all of his kids up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire every summer. We just love it. Last year, my daughter and niece explored the expansive secret caves at Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves. It’s sometimes dark, has gorgeous waterfalls and is always adventurous. My advice to is wear comfy walking shoes and don’t be afraid to get dirty crawling through the caves. Another stop in Lincoln is the Clark’s Trading Post. The pictures show my family on the steam train as it was being chased by the infamous and hilarious WOLFMAN. It has a charming bear show, Chinese Acrobat performance and rock climbing.
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Latoyia Edwards and her daughter Nina on the steam train ride at Clark's Trading Post in New Hampshire.
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LATOYIA EDWARDS: During a staycation, my family and I booked a night at Great Wolf Lodge New England in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and we had a ball. We didn't expect the massive and exciting space that houses a fun, family-friendly, brand new hotel. The rooms are called dens and have really cool treehouse accommodations for kids. The water slides had varying levels of excitement where kids and adults had a blast. Plus there was a kids spa, MagiQuest adventure treasure hunt, a ropes course for the entire family, miniature golf, and lots of rides. #AWESOME
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Necn reporter Nia Hamm shares pictures from a June trip to Martha's Vineyard.
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Necn reporter Nia Hamm shares pictures from a June trip to Martha's Vineyard.
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Nick Emmons, wife Paige, and son Cason enjoy Kennebunkport, Maine.
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Nick Emmons and his son Cason enjoy hanging out in Nantucket.
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JACK THURSTON: One of the best parts of living and working in Vermont is being so close to all the great things to do here in the summer! I try to visit the tiny town of Weston each summer, if I can. It's home to only 500-600 people, but has two really famous residents: the Weston Playhouse and the Vermont Country Store. The Weston Playhouse has been presenting truly world-class theater for more than 75 years. "Les Miserables," "Death of a Salesman," "Rent," and "Avenue Q" are among the plays and musicals I've seen there over the years. They're always top-notch and you forget that you're in rural Vermont and not New York City because of the talent that comes from all over the world to perform in Weston. I like to get to town early before a matinee so I can poke around the Vermont Country Store. Its catalog is well-known, and the shop itself has so much fun, useful, and quirky merchandise to discover! It also has a great historic restaurant called the Bryant House if you want to sit down, or a fast and casual snack bar called Mildred's Dairy Bar if you want a simpler meal or a creemee. (For those of you outside of Vermont, "creemee" is what Vermonters call soft-serve ice cream... And in my opinion, the best spots to get a creemee are the ones that spell it with four Es! Look for maple creemees whenever you can!) If you go to an evening show at the Playhouse, there's often a late-night cabaret show afterward. Weston is an easy drive from other points of interest like Killington, Woodstock, and Quechee. Some of the shows at the Playhouse this season are Pump Boys and Dinettes, Guys and Dolls, and Peter and the Starcatcher. More information is available on the landmark's website: westonplayhouse.org. I didn't make it to Weston last year because I took up golf--a game I had played as a kid but abandoned in college. Many of my weekends were spent exploring new courses across Vermont, or trying (and often failing) to get my old swing back. But that's a nice problem to have, isn't it? To have to choose between golf or amazing theater? Hiking, boating, strolls along Lake Champlain, zip lining, shopping, microbrewery tours, farmers' markets... I could go on and on about all there is to do here! If you want to check out more suggestions of places to visit in Vermont, the state's tourism and marketing department just christened its brand-new website, vermontvacation.com. Come visit us - I'm sure you'll be glad you did!
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ALYSHA PALUMBO: My favorite vacation destination from childhood is York Beach, Maine. My parents went there on their honeymoon, and once they had children, they took us there pretty much every year. My mom Kathy would always make sure we went to the Nubble Light to take family pictures. My dad Tom would hold our hands as we ran into the freezing cold water, jumping through waves until the water felt somewhat bearable. My brother Andrew and sister Ashley and I loved going to York's Wild Kingdom, petting the animals and riding on the amusement park rides. I used to love getting up early and searching for sea shells along the shores of Short Sands Beach. I loved going to Goldenrod's restaurant and watching them make the taffy through the window and then buying penny candy from the store. I have so many great memories from York Beach, Maine, I can't wait for my husband Chris and I to take our son Bryce there this summer!
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Alysha Palumbo and her family love hiking through Purgatory Chasm and Sutton State Forest in Sutton, Mass. It’s a hidden gem in central Mass with beautiful natural rock formations and amazingly maintained trails.
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Leslie Gaydos
LESLIE GAYDOS: My family vacations in a beautiful, rural corner of Rhode Island. Little Compton is an unique spot... lined with old farms and gorgeous views of the ocean. It is part of New England's farm coast. We enjoy the rocky beaches, long walks and quiet family time. I'm not sure why, but I feel like I'm a million miles away from home when I'm there. The climate is good for wine making, and we always make a stop at a local winery during our visits.
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A photo of Leslie Gaydos' dog in Little Compton, Rhode Island.
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KRISTY LEE: We recently visited the Loon Mountain Adventure Center in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Here's a photo of the river that runs at the base of the Loon ski resort.
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The climbing wall at the Loon Mountain Adventure Center in Lincoln, New Hampshire, one of Kristy Lee's favorite spots to visit.
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This bear visited the condo across from the one at Loon Mountain that Kristy Lee's family rented.
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Another of Kristy Lee's recent New England destinations was deep sea fishing and canoeing on Popponesset Beach in Mashpee, Massachusetts.
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One of Kristy Lee's recent New England destinations was deep sea fishing and canoeing on Popponesset Beach in Mashpee, Massachusetts.
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Even Kristy Lee's dogs loved the condo their family rented in Mashpee.
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Necn anchor Kristy Lee and her husband enjoy golfiing in Whitefield, New Hamsphire, at Mountain View Resort.
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BRIAN SHACTMAN: There are so many places that embody the quintessence of New England. For me, as I’ve grown older, the places that symbolize the region have changed. When I was young, growing up in Swampscott, Massachusetts, it was the ocean and lobster boats. In high school and college, I moved inland and it was the mountains and lush, green woods. As an adult and a father, it is Morris, Connecticut. Since 2008, my family has spent part of each summer nestled in the northwestern part of the state on Mount Tom Pond. We have a family cabin on the back side of the pond - which I really think is a small lake. I say cabin because it’s too rustic and worn to be a country house and not quaint enough to be a cottage. The cabin is dark brown and is shrouded by a tall pine tree. Facing the water is a roof-covered porch the length of the cabin. In the summer, no matter the temperature or weather, we eat every meal on that porch. We mark time by the ducks swimming by or the long bald eagle that sometimes graces our presence on the pond. Yes, we can see Route 202 on the other side of the pond, but we get sunsets, our own little private beach and all the frogs we can catch. Not to wax poetic, but at 9 p.m. on a July night right as daylight fades and my children’s eyelids close, I will sit on the porch with my wife or lie on the hummock and just be grateful… the wine helps, too.
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Brian Shactman sits on the dock by Mount Tom Pond in Morris, Connecticut.
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Brian Shactman
Brian Shactman's favorite New England vacation spot is Mount Tom Pond in Morris, Connecticut.
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Marcus Riley
Fenway Park has become an awesome vacation destination. If you don't get the chance to see them play or don't want to pay for the tickets, you can always take the tour when they are out of town. Or you could get lucky and get on the field -- but don't steal the dirt!
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JOHN MORONEY: Located at the eastern end of Martha's Vineyard, Edgartown, Massachusetts, is one of those places where you can disconnect from the world. First stop: Norton Point Beach, sandwiched between the Vineyard and Chappaquiddick. Let the air out of your tires and drive to the ocean's edge for spectacular views and some of the best body surfing on the Cape and the Islands. Be careful and keep a close eye on the kids. The currents are strong and can be dangerous. Make sure to pack a grill and beverages. Katama Bay is right there so don't forget your clam rakes. Around 5, head back up to the house and put your quahog catch on the grill as the sun starts to slowly slip from the bright blue horizon. From there, it's a quick walk to downtown at dusk. Maybe an ice cream at Mad Martha's, a nightcap at The Wharf or a stroll to Edgartown Light. If you're lucky, there's a band playing at Memorial Wharf on Edgartown Harbor where you can dance the night away. At sun up, do it all over again, starting with a quick morning swim at South Beach before the summertime crowds show up.
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A shot of the beach in Edgartown, Massachusetts, one of John Moroney's favorite New England Vacation destinations.
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Another photo from Edgartown, Massachusetts, which John Moroney says is a great place to disconnect from the world.
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MICHAEL ROSENFIELD: Growing up in New England, my summer vacations mostly consisted of my parents getting rid of me for several weeks of summer camp. I don't blame them, and camp was a great experience. I still have many fond memories of my summers at Camp Manitou in Maine and Windridge Tennis Camp in Jeffersonville, Vermont. Manitou, near Augusta, is still around, but Windridge has since closed its Jeffersonville location. Whenever our counselors would take us off property, I remember the surrounding ares of both places being rich with the flavors of summer... sunny weather, fresh ice cream, scenic views, miniature golf, hiking rails, places my fellow campers and I eagerly enjoyed and my parents did as well when they would start to miss me and come visit.
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JEFF SAPERSTONE: Nearly every year since I have been a small child my family has vacationed on Cape Cod. I have fond memories of time spent on beaches, at restaurants and relaxing with my parents and siblings. The tradition continues now that we all have families of our own. This is one of my favorite photos of a gorgeous summer sunset on The Cape.
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ALLY DONNELLY: There are so many wonderful spots all across New England, from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Little Compton, Rhode Island, but truth be told, I don’t stray far from home in the summer. The South Shore of Massachusetts has everything we need for a perfect "staycation" all summer long. My ideal weekend would be waking up early, grabbing bagels at Atlantic Bagel in Hingham (cinnamon sugar is not just for kids!) and then heading to World’s End for a morning hike. The Trustees of the Reservation property was on the short list to be the UN headquarters, but thankfully the 250 acres were left alone for nature lovers to enjoy stunning coastal views. After a walk, I’d head to one of the area’s amazing beaches — Nantasket Beach in Hull, Peggoty or Egypt Beach in Scituate or Hingham Bathing Beach. If you do Nantasket, take the kids for a spin on the vintage Paragon carousel. The painted horses have been beautifully restored and it is a nod to a by-gone era. For an adult beverage break, do not miss sunset views from the Sea Dog Brew Pub in Hull — the beer and the views will take your breath away! For an upscale dinner, head to Tosca or The Square Cafe in Hingham or to one of my favorite spots in Cohasset, the Olde Salt House on Cohasset Harbor. If you’re looking for a little bit of everything, go to the Hingham Shipyard — Boston Beer Works or Wahlburgers for the kids and Alma Nove for drinks with the adults (ask to say hello to Chef Paul Wahlberg, he happily poses for pictures as he welcomes you in). Make sure to check the Shipyard’s schedule of events. They often have outdoor movies or music groups and you can pack your own picnic on the lawn. If you’re looking for history and fresh air, hop onto on of the ferries out to the Boston Harbor Islands. The walks around these local treasures are beautiful and they've got everything from morning yoga along the ocean to lobster/clam bakes with renowned chef Jasper White. Events I love throughout the summer are Hingham’s amazing 4th of July Parade down Main Street, Hingham Family Fun Day (local firefighters create a field of foam for the kids to run through), Heritage Days in Scituate (Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler has been known to stop by and strum a tune) and my favorite family event of the entire year — Summer Solstice at World’s End. Picnic high above the ocean while a live local band plays a tune. Watch the kids chase fireflies (or the ice cream truck). See the sun go down on a perfect day and count yourself lucky indeed.
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Ally Donnelly and her family taking the ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands.
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Ally Donnelly's children having fun at Hingham Family Day.
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KATHERINE UNDERWOOD: My FAVORITE vacation spot in New England is Newfound Lake in Bristol, New Hampshire. I have a big family and several of my aunts own cottages on the lake. Each summer we spend as many weekends as possible basking in the sun, swimming in one of the cleanest bodies of water in the state, and getting a thrill while being pulled behind a speed boat either in a tube or on water skis. I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and would suggest that if anyone is looking for a relaxing weekend away, the beauty and serenity of Newfound Lake is unmatched.
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Katherine Underwood's dog, Louie, is about to belly-flop off the dock at Newfound Lake in New Hampshire.
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Katherine Underwood's fiance, Kyle, enjoying the water at Newfound Lake with her niece, Liela Katherine.
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MICHAEL PAGE: Edgartown, Massachusetts, will always hold a special place in my heart, since my family spent the week of July 4th on the Vineyard each summer growing up. We would rent a house, spend mornings on South Beach, and afternoons strolling the quaint streets and shops of downtown. We’d often take in the town’s parade and fireworks display over the harbor as well. I took this photo last Labor Day, overlooking Edgartown Light and Chappy in the background.
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Michael Page and his sister Sara in front of Edgartown's "Don't Give Up the Ship" sign.
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Michael Page and his father building a sandcastle.
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Michael Page and his family at the Edgartown Fourth of July Parade.
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Here's necn anchor Shannon Mulaire by Lake Wequaquet in Centerville. She said, We used to have a house there growing up. Hands in the air like I just don’t care.
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Many of Tim Kelley's favorite New England vacation spots involve surfing.
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Joshua Lurie
Necn Meteorologist Tim Kelley shared a few photos he said, Sure I love the Swiss Alps and The Amalfi Coast, but my favorite place to escape is right down the road from where I grew up on Cape Cod Massachusetts. The National Seashore, free of seawalls and no trespassing signs, offers endless sand, seals, and surf. Though erosion eats away at the clay and sandy cliffs, the rules preventing seawalls, means the eroded earthen material continuously replenishes the sandy beach on the outer arm of Cape Cod.
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Annie Potasznik
Also replenished, and constantly shifting, are the under water sand bars. Those shallow shifting sand bars help to shape some of the best surf riding waves in the eastern United States. Yes, there are sharks chasing the seals. But our increasing Great White awareness and Shark tracking apps, along with the legion of skilled Life Guards, give us ease of mind to enjoy this international treasure right here in New England.
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And if by any chance you like ice cream, clams, lobster, music, shopping, arts, mini golf, regular golf, and a time-gone-by feeling, you have to come check it out, no need to jump in the 'Sharky' Water. Guided tours available on request.
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This is the green animals topiary garden in Portsmouth, Rhode Island part of the Newport mansions group. It's an awesome summer destination.
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Necn meteorologist Pete Bouchard says he and his family love to summer in the Belgrade Lakes of Maine.
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Erin Richards
Necn reporter Katelyn Flint and her husband John love spending time on Cape Cod. Katelyn said, growing up in Massachusetts, I always loved spending time in Maine and on Cape Cod during the summer. The area of Wells and Ogunquit, ME is still one of my favorite places. However, since meeting my husband, I have come to truly love spending time in the outer Cape.
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Katelyn said, we love Truro because it is so peaceful and you feel like you are away from the hustle and bustle of a big community. You can eat and drink locally to your hearts content whether it's stopping for a wine tasting at the Truro Vineyards or getting fresh oysters in Wellfleet.
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Here is Katelyn's Irish Setter, Baker, relaxing at Race Point Beach in Provincetown.
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They also love to visit Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro, Mass.
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She added, we also love to head to Provincetown where you can browse dozens of local shops, catch a dune tour, rent a bike for the bike path and of course check out the beautiful views.
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Lynzi Martin
Traffic anchor Natasha Verma enjoyed visiting Nantucket.
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Here's NBC Boston reporter Alison King with her family enjoying Boothbay Harbor in Maine. She says, "We have continued with a summer vacation tradition my family started when I was a child growing up in Connecticut. We try to explore a different part of New England. Last summer we visited Boothbay Harbor Maine. We had a lot of fun in the town itself which is quaint, charming and quintessential New England. But we also enjoyed just hanging out at the beautiful Spruce Point Inn where we swam in the ocean and pools, rode bikes, went for a sail, played tennis and took in the magnificent views!"
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Alison King loves the famous popovers at the Jordan Pond House at Acadia National Park in Maine.
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Alison King and family bike the carriage roads at Acadia National Park in Maine.
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Alison King shares stunning photo from Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park in Maine.
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