New England is filled with everything from historic landmarks to world-class restaurants. But do you know what makes one state distinct from its neighbors? Check out the state symbols to see how New England’s states have carved out their own special places on the map. Here are some highlights not to miss:
If you’ve ever experienced the taste of sweet Vermont maple syrup, then you’ll understand why the official state tree is the sugar maple. Although sap collecting is usually done in the late winter and early spring, beautiful foliage makes Vermont farms well worth an autumn visit. Sugarbush Farm
in Woodstock specializes in maple syrup and cheese, and offers tours and tastings year-round. Learn about the process of making maple syrup while walking along the nature trail, or visit the friendly farm animals. If you don’t get a chance to sample syrup or the 14 different kinds of cheese at the farm, however, you can get the Sugarbush experience online. At www.sugarbushfarm.com, you’ll find a catalog with favorites like sharp cheddar cheese and dark amber syrup. Gift boxes and smoked meats are also available to order.
In 1776, Captain Nathan Hale honored the request of General George Washington by crossing enemy lines to gather information about the British Army. Unfortunately, his mission was cut short when he was captured. Today, Hale is the official state hero of Connecticut, remembered for his patriotism and resilience. Visitors can relive his journey at the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry where the family home built by his father still stands. Constructed in 1776, the Georgian-style house was restored in the early 1900s and is now maintained by the Antiquarian and Landmarks Society, Inc. The homestead is filled with actual Hale family furnishings, as well as period antiques. Check www.ctlandmarks.org for September and October hours and special admission prices for students, teachers and families. You can also sign up for a landscape tour or hearth cooking demonstration.
Few people would argue that a Boston cream pie is anything but delicious. Luckily, as the Massachusetts state dessert, you can find a slice of heaven in almost any Boston neighborhood. Flour Bakery and Café has two locations – Farnsworth Street and Washington Street in Boston, and one in Cambridge – and a menu that is sure to make your mouth water. Their classic Boston cream pie consists of sponge cake, vanilla cream, coffee syrup and chocolate ganache; for a different mix of flavors, try the bakery’s lemon-raspberry cake or hazelnut-almond dacquoise. Browse cookies, sandwiches and tarts, as well as catering information at www.flourbakery.com. One bite and you’ll know why Flour Bakery was voted “Best of Boston” in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008.
Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts may all be located in New England, but their state symbols reveal differences that make them one-of-a-kind. Get more info at www.ct.gov, www.vermont.gov and www.mass.gov.