New England gets plenty of credit for fall foliage, but summertime in the Northeast deserves to have its praises sung as well. From lobster rolls in Maine to Maryland’s underrated Chesapeake Bay and the crisp, clean air of New York’s mountain ranges, a road trip through the Northeast offers plenty to be discovered from behind the wheel this summer.
Route 1, ME
Along Maine’s Route 1, frothy white waves lap at the rugged coastline dotted with picturesque lighthouses. Hop between Bath and Bucksport, stopping in towns from Camden to Norway to sample the quaint charm (and lobster rolls) in each city. For allegedly the best lobster roll of the region, stop into the 400-year-old town of Wiscasset and queue up for Red’s Eats, a bonafide lobster shack lauded by everyone from the Travel Channel to Food and Wine Magazine. To work off the lobster rolls and clam chowder, rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Ducktrap to get up close and personal with the coast.
Route 30, NY
Leave the bustle of the city behind for a cruise through the fresh air of the Catskills. Take Route 30, a scenic connection between the Catskills and the Adirondacks, to soak in two of New York’s most majestic mountain ranges. Pull over for a picnic at one of the placid lakes, such as the aptly named Lake Pleasant. Enjoy the farmland and rolling countryside before stopping where the East Branch and West Branch of the Delaware River converge at the base of Point Mountain — if you’re hungry, this river is argued to have the best fishing in the U.S., including brook and brown trout, perch, bass, bullhead and eel.
Kancamagus Highway, NH
Though short in distance, the Kancamagus Highway is long on charm. A 34.5 mile stretch of Route 112, this winding mountain path is the perfect opportunity to go off the grid and into nature. No cell reception means you won’t have any distractions from the equally arresting sights on either side of the road, with the rushing Swift River on one side and the craggy White Mountains on the other. Detour to hike to any of the three waterfalls in the area (Sabbaday Falls, Rocky Gorge, and Lower Falls), then take a dip in the Swift River to cool off before venturing back to the modern amenities of civilization off the route.
Route 100, VT
Starting in Newport near the Canadian border, Route 100 takes you all the way to Stamford, when the road crosses into Massachusetts. Though most famous for fall foliage, summer in Vermont is equally entrancing, especially when it involves stops at the Green Mountain National Forest and Mad River Valley, both found along this route. You’ll find plenty of waterfalls and hiking trails in the national park, and Mad River Valley is a fairly idyllic haven tucked between Sugarbush and Mad River Glen, overflowing with lakes for swimming and kayaking, and green expanses for picnicking and biking.
Eastern Shore, MD
Meander along Maryland’s Eastern Shore for pretty-as-a-picture bay and sea views, and all the seafood — including the state’s legendary blue crab — your heart desires. Start in the harbor town of Annapolis, then traverse the Chesapeake Bay Bridge towards St. Michael’s, where sweeping magnolia trees shade Victorian homes (if you think you recognize the scene, you’re probably right — Wedding Crashers was filmed here!).
Pay homage to a slightly more elevated art form in Cambridge, where James Michener researched his epic novel Chesapeake, and recall the other writers who have lived and worked in this area, including Edgar Allan Poe. Cycle through Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge with an eye out for bald eagles, then finish off in either Ocean City or Assateague to stroll the boardwalk of the former or hope for a glimpse of the wild Chincoteague ponies at the latter.