Five Dreamy New England Destinations for Solo Travelers
Where to go for a weekend when you just need some “you” time.
From day trips to weekend getaways, our biweekly Traveler newsletter shows you the best of New England and beyond.
If you’ve only ever vacationed with friends, family, or your significant other, it might be time to consider adding a solo trip to your 2020 travel bucket list. Traveling alone offers a chance for self-discovery, quiet time, and of course, an itinerary that requires zero input from anyone else. To give you a head start in planning, here are five New England locales that are safe, easy to navigate, and filled with sights to see, making them perfect for a getaway for one.
Mount Desert Island, Maine
Picture this: You, the great outdoors, and no one else. On Mount Desert Island, find some peace and quiet at Acadia National Park, where you can hike and bike to your heart’s content in the vast Maine wilderness. Alternatively, if you’re inclined to mingle with strangers on your trip, there are tour groups aplenty in the area, each offering a chance to explore nature alongside others on foot, aboard kayaks, or in climbing harnesses. After your outdoor adventures, shop and eat your way through nearby Bar Harbor, where you’ll find shops ranging from chic (Anne Woodman) to perfectly kitschy (Christmas Spirit Shop), as well as ice-cream parlors and top-notch seafood spots. When you’re ready to put your feet up, relax at the West Street Hotel, located downtown. It boasts nautically decorated (and pet-friendly) rooms, ocean views, a serene spa, and a rooftop swimming pool.
Stockbridge and Lenox, Massachusetts
Whether you’re looking to take a bit of a breather or pack your itinerary to the brim, there’s no place quite like the Berkshires to spend a weekend flying solo. Unwind to the max at Miraval Berkshires, formerly Cranwell Resort, opening in May 2020. The wellness refuge is an unplugged resort, which means that upon check-in you’ll be asked to tuck your cellphone into a device “sleeping bag” and fully surrender yourself to everything the property has to offer. That includes 380 gorgeous acres for hiking, climbing, and biking, plus three swimming pools, and a spa. There’s plenty to keep you busy in the surrounding area, too, including touring historical estates such as Chesterwood, the Mount, and the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the vibrant local arts scene, home to the Norman Rockwell Museum, Tanglewood, and Berkshire Theatre Group’s two venues: the Unicorn Theater and Fitzpatrick Main Stage, which put on theater, music, and dance performances featuring world-class and emerging artists alike.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
This Southern New Hampshire city certainly doesn’t skimp on charm—or sights to explore. Book your stay at the ever-inviting Hotel Portsmouth, set in a 138-year-old mansion located just a short walk to favorite local shops such as Gus & Ruby and Sault New England. After dropping off your bags, get your fill of history at the Strawberry Banke Museum, a 10-acre landscape of gardens and buildings in the oldest neighborhood settled by Europeans. For more historical sights, check out the Moffatt-Ladd House & Garden, a 1763 Georgian home and National Historical Landmark. Lastly, no trip to Portsmouth would be complete without a visit to Prescott Park, set along the Piscataqua River, nor a trip to Portsmouth Book & Bar located less than half a mile away. Housing a bookstore, a café, a bar, and a music venue, the hotspot is the place to go if you’d like to wind down with a good read and your beverage of choice.
Whether it’s the snowiest part of winter or the peak of summer, an action-packed weekend awaits in Killington, Vermont. At Killington Mountain Resort, hit the slopes solo or with a group through Killington Snow Sports School. Not a skier or snowboarder? Tag along on a local snowshoe or snowmobile tour instead. In warmer months, meanwhile, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, and rock climbing are just some of the activities the area offers. In either season, once you’ve gotten your adrenaline fix, kick back at Killington Grand Resort, which offers ski-bridge access to the trails and a heated outdoor pool that’s open year-round. On your drive in or out of town, be sure to stop in Woodstock, just 30 minutes east of Killington. In addition to an abundance of shops and eateries, the postcard-worthy village is also home to Farmhouse Pottery, which offers pottery wheel workshops complete with wine and cheese.
Providence, Rhode Island
About an hour away from Boston by car or train, this small but vibrant city is an ideal place to travel by yourself. Nicknamed Rhode Island’s Creative Capital, the low-key metropolis offers top-notch restaurants and ample cultural institutions. Spend an afternoon at the RISD Museum, where you’ll find a collection of more than 3,000 paintings, sculptures, and other artworks from around the globe—including pieces by Picasso and Andy Warhol—as well as rotating special exhibitions. The city also boasts a number of stroll-worthy boutique-and-café-lined blocks, including Thayer and Wickenden Streets. While you mosey, you might also stumble upon one of Providence’s beloved weekend markets such as the Hope Street Farmers Market, which runs summer through fall, and the Providence Flea, which pops up around the city throughout the year. After you explore, rest your head at the historical Graduate Providence hotel, nestled in the heart of downtown. Formerly the Biltmore, the hotel reopened in 2019 with luxe Malin + Goetz toiletries, a 24-hour fitness center featuring Peloton bikes, local art, and a whole lot of character.