Leafy New England is known for its annual explosion of autumn colours, but in fact Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire are stunning all year round. Dotted with outlet centres and high-end malls, this timeless corner of the USA is an undiscovered gem for anyone craving an indulgent shopping trip away from the hustle and bustle of traditional New Year destinations like New York City. From Boston’s contemporary city skyline to the quaint covered bridges of New Hampshire, there is a wealth of sight seeing activities to indulge in between hitting the stores. And tax-free shopping in Massachusetts and New Hampshire means it would be wise to pack light, as you're bound to pick up some unique treats!
Where to shop in Boston For a true taste of American history nestled amid glass skyscrapers, Boston is the perfect place to begin your trip. A small city, walking the famous Freedom Trail will take you to the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, an outdoor mall dating from 1742 that now boasts more than 100 high street brands and local businesses. For a more extravagant outing, the eight blocks of luxurious Newbury Street features designers including Armani, Burberry and Marc Jacobs in traditional Brownstone builds. Two inside malls, the Prudential Centre and Copley Place, give way to Dior, Jimmy Choo, Gucci and Club Monaco, and lead to the opulent five-star Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel (which offers rooms from £168 per night) and its adorable resident black Labrador, Caty. A short metro or cab ride away, The John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum is well worth a look for its amazing views across Boston Harbour, and artefacts from the New England-born president’s life - including Jackie Kennedy’s iconic dresses and jewellery.
Outlets of Maine and New Hampshire Just over an hour’s drive into southern Maine will bring you to Portland, where the revitalised Old Port is now a thriving shopping hub packed with local stores offering local specialities, such as the freshest lobster or flavoured salt products. Along the coast, spas like Inn by the Sea at Cape Elizabeth offer complete escapism for the weary shopper from £135 per night. Enjoy a massage and seaside views before a traditional pancake breakfast! If you crave a more rustic feel, travel a little further south to experience New Hampshire’s small lakeside towns, such as Meredith on Lake Winnipesaukee. The lake is beautiful even out of season and you can pick up plenty of original trinkets from the craft stores at Mill Falls marketplace. Nearby Church Landing Hotel is split into cosy cabins with rooms from £149 per night, and communal lounges where you can warm yourself beside a roaring fire. These hotels are the perfect base for visiting the outlet centres dotted across Maine and New Hampshire, including Settler’s Green and Tanger Outlet Centre, which boast some of the world’s biggest brands from Nike to Yankee Candle. You may need some extra time (and luggage) to get round the enormous Merrimack Premium Outlets in New Hampshire, which is home to the only Bloomingdales department store in the state.
Where to eat New England is famous for its lobster, and you will find no shortage of opportunities to try this dish. For the best, freshest seafood, try the Old Port, Portland, where many restaurants are supplied direct from the harbour. It’s well worth visiting the original Stonewall Kitchen on your way to Portland. You can stop for lunch and sample their unique jams and preserves, including burnt orange, stock up on homemade food or cooking supplies and even take part in a cooking class. Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace also has plenty of local dishes, and the food hall’s pizzeria is said to boast the best pizza in the city. For a special meal and cocktails that pack a punch, try the Bond restaurant at Boston’s Langham hotel (converted from an old bank building), or the OAK at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. How to get there Virgin Atlantic flies daily to Boston from London Heathrow, and you can be in the harbour in seven hours. Fares start from £513.00 plus £348.59 tax Hiring a car could not be easier as Logan Airport provides a free shuttle bus to on site car hire companies. For more information on New England visit discovernewengland.co.ukReport: Michelle Johnson