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New England Is ...A Regional Overview
The states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine constitute New England. Although relatively small in area, this is the cultural and historic cradle of the nation. There are qualities that characterize the region as a whole, but there are also subtle differences within it.
The clich?s have their own element of truth: against a blue sky, the wooden steeple of a church stands high over a village green fringed with neat, white clapboard houses. Back roads wind over covered bridges and through seemingly endless forests that in the fall burst into brilliant hues of russet, gold, and crimson. Bright orange pumpkins lie stacked in mounds by wood barns and on farm stands. Lighthouses look out over the ocean from shores of rock and sand. Fishing boats unload the daily catch, and lobster and clam chowder appear on virtually every menu.
New England is a region of firsts, in industrialization and historical events. It has been the seedbed of intellectual and political thought for three centuries. It has magnificent art collections in museums, colleges, and universities. New England has produced -- and continues to produce -- many great names in music, art, and literature.
New England has a small-scale quality that is an integral part of its charm, and has been described as "America with the volume turned down." Many of the region's inhabitants greatly value their lifestyle and are fiercely proud of their history and roots. The Yankee mentality -- formed by a keen work ethic, frugality, shrewdness, and a serious, conservative outlook -- is deeply ingrained.
The great ice masses that once covered this land have left their mark. Glaciers sculpted the mountains and valleys, and created a deeply indented coastline. The landscape was scoured, and the bedrock and bolder-strewn earth proved infertile for the first farmers. On this soil the first European settlers established themselves, primarily along the coast and the rivers. The Pilgrim Fathers arrived from England aboard the Mayflower in 1620. More than a century later, in 1775, the first shots of the American Revolution at Lexington and Concord signaled the end of British colonial rule.
As settlers moved westward over the continent, New England's farmlands were gradually abandoned, and the trees, once cleared by the farmers, reestablished themselves. Today, some 80 percent of New England is forested, and much of Vermont, New Hampshire, and inland Maine is also hilly or mountainous and sparsely settled.
Visiting the Region
Boston is by far the largest city, and one that every visitor to the region should see. The Freedom Trail wends an intricate route past the city's historic sites. This is a city of superb museums, excitingly contrasting neighborhoods, and striking architecture. Visitors without a car can find plenty of rewarding excursions by public transportation.
New England's thick tree cover can mean that sweeping panoramic views are hard to come by, at least from a car. For the most spectacular views, however, you can take high-level walks in the White Mountains or Acadia National Park, or explore the coast by boat. Outdoor pursuits in the hills and mountains of northern New England are well developed and include winter sports, water sports, hiking, and fishing. The region's southern states -- Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut -- are more densely populated and have more historic sights.
The long and complex seaboard has a lasting appeal, with the sandy beaches of Cape Cod, the islands, and southern Maine among the most popular. There are many opportunities for cruises and sailing, and a number of museums commemorate New England's maritime heritage, including the vanished whaling industry. Today, whale-watching cruises are big business, and no visitor should miss the chance to join an exhilarating tour to the feeding grounds of the humpback whales.
New England's charms change with the seasons. Spring brings freshness and greenery. In summer, delicious Atlantic breezes make the coast a pleasant retreat from the heat, while fall's foliage is deservedly famous. Winters are harsh but bring photogenic snowfalls and a Christmas-card look as sports enthusiasts put on their skis.
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Book Description Fodor's, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0679007024
Book Description Fodor's, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110679007024