Hidden Treasures Gardens of New England Fly Drive
Frontier America has created this fly-drive holiday to showcase the best gardens of Southern New England but also to allow you to discover some of the grand houses, museums and beaches that this part of New England has to offer. As with all the fly-drive holidays, we can tailor-make the holiday to suit you; just let us know what you would like to do and see.
Here's a day-by-day guide to your itinerary. Feel free to ask us to add other days or ideas and excursions by adding them to your wishlist, so we can give you the best price.View full itinerary
Boston and Cambridge is a good place to begin. Here, one can visit the home and studios of Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted is recognized as the founder of American landscape architecture and the nation's foremost park maker. Grounds are open daily. National Park Ranger led tours are offered Wednesday through Sunday.
Olmsted designed Boston’s Emerald Necklace, a chain of parks that represents the longest green space through an urban centre in the United States which are easy to explore by rented bicycle, Segway, on foot or using Boston’s excellent train system – the “T”. The park system is over seven miles long from end to end and covers 1,100 acres. It is an integral part of daily life in Boston, whether used for for dog walking, listening to concerts on the Esplanade along the banks of the Charles River, recreational runs around Jamaica Pond, golfing at Franklin Park or educational opportunities at Arnold Arboretum.
Established in 1872 Arnold Arboretum is a National Historic Landmark and one of the best preserved of Olmsted’s landscapes. Occupying 265 acres, the Arboretum’s collection of trees, shrubs, and woody vines is recognized as one of the most comprehensive and best documented of its kind in the world. This living collection is supported by comprehensive curatorial documentation, herberaria containing more than 1.3 million specimens, extensive library and archival holdings.
The Boston Public Garden, between Boston’s Back Bay and downtown features every species of tree grown in New England.
In Cambridge, aka the Left Bank, one can tour Mt Auburn Cemetery, the country’s first planned, landscaped cemetery and resting place of many notables such as the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the founder of the Church of Christ Scientist Mary Baker Eddy, the cookbook author Fanny Farmer and many, many more.
You might also like to visit the Garden in the Woods: the largest landscaped collection of native plants in the north-eastern United States and the Harvard Botanical Museum with its famous collection of Blaschka glass flowers, hand-blown detailed glass models of dozens of flower species.
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Collect your car from downtown Boston and start the drive west to the Berkshires (pronounced Burkshire!). En route, visit Old Sturbridge Village, one of the country’s oldest and largest living history museums. It depicts early New England life from 1790-1840 with historians in costume, antique buildings, water-powered mills, and a working farm and perhaps the quilting museum in Lowell.
The Berkshire Hills is a vibrant and very beautiful region of Massachusetts especially renowned for its music, art and gardens.
Among the many highlights, you should visit the Berkshire Botanical Garden which is amongst the oldest in the US and collections emphasize more than 3,000 plants that are indigenous to or thrive in the Berkshires. Tanglewood is a glorious estate home of the annual summer Tanglewood Music Festival and the Tanglewood Jazz Festival and has been the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937. Frontier America can help you get tickets – obviously subject to availability.
The Mount Estate & Gardens is an elegant home and its gardens were designed by renowned American writer, Edith Wharton, in 1902. The 49-acre property features one of the most significant formal gardens in New England, including an Italian walled garden, French flower garden, and a lime walk lined with pleached linden trees.
The historic Hancock Shaker Village has more than 100 varieties of herbs, medicinal plants, heirloom vegetables and seed beds including crops grown by Shakers who lived here during the 19th and early 20th centuries. If you are in the area on a Wednesday or Saturday the Ashintully Gardens the 30-year creation of contemporary composer John McLennan are well worth a visit
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Making your way south towards the Mansions of Newport, you could deviate to the Florence Griswold Museum, in Old Lyme, with its impressive collection of American Impressionist painting. You can wander the 11 acres of gardens along the Lieutenant River and the 1817 Griswold House. We would also recommend a stop at Mystic Seaport, America’s leading maritime museum.
Once in Newport, you will need a full day to explore the astonishing mansions built mostly at the end of the 19th century by very wealthy New Yorkers as their summer homes. The Breakers is probably the most famous with a mere 70 bedrooms! It was building for Cornelius Vanderbilt II, the richest man in American history. Not only is it jaw-droppingly vast, but it has beautiful furniture and decorations and a splendid garden including parterre borders on two sides of the house plus greenhouses and a 2 acre summer garden Rough Point, Marble House and Kingscote are amongst the many others well worth your time. However, Newport has more than the mansions. It has the oldest extant synagogue in the US, the Tennis Hall of Fame and the Museum of Yachting not to speak of glorious sandy beaches. You can also take a harbour cruise aboard one the America Cup sailboats.
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As you leave Rhode Island, we suggest a visit to the Green Animals topiary garden in Portsmouth and if you would like another deviation, the Blithewold Mansions, gardens and arboretum are worth a visit as is Providence, the capital of Rhode Island. If you have time, Frontier America would recommend an overnight here to allow you to experience Waterfire, a unique combination of music and a hundred bonfires on some Saturdays in the summertime. Much of the 17th and 18th century town survives and the stunning new Chace Center , part of the Rhode Island School of Design, shows off Providence’s modern face.
Cape Cod is one of the largest barrier islands in the world, shielding much of the Massachusetts coastline from North Atlantic storm waves. It extends 75 miles from the town of Sandwich to Provincetown at the tip of this bended-arm shaped island.
In Sandwich you will find Heritage Museums and Gardens. Heritage offers 100 acres of trees and shrubs, designed gardens, exquisite flowers and sweeping lawns. The spring features rhododendrons and flowering trees, while summer boasts brilliant annuals and dazzling daylilies. Autumn highlights blazing foliage and the fall-blooming Franklinia. The beautiful grounds surround exhibition halls including American Folk art collections, an antiques automobile collection and an antique hand-carved carousel.
While staying on Cape Cod, take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard and spend the day. Nestled within Chappaquiddick Island on Martha's Vineyard, is the intimate Japanese-style garden, Mytoi. Sheltered by a lovely pine grove, the garden’s signature feature is a small pond with an island that is reached by walking over a raised bridge. Winding footpaths take you through a birch walk, camellia dell, stone garden, and hillside garden. In addition to a terrestrial environment, the garden’s pond supports turtles, frogs, and goldfish. You can also walk additional trails through a pitch pine forest and along the salt marshes of Poucha Pond.
Whilst on the Cape, do visit the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary towards the tip of the Peninsula. Woodlands, salt marsh, barrier beach and heath lands attract a wide variety of wildlife, especially songbirds and shorebirds. Five miles of scenic trails wind through these habitats and provide a lovely view of Cape Cod.
3 nights in Hyannis
Spend the next two nights exploring Massachusetts’ North Shore.
In Salem, explore the museums of the Peabody Essex Museum. The Peabody Essex is one of the nation's major museums for Asian art, and presents the earliest collections of Native American and Oceanic art in the nation. The historic houses and gardens, and American decorative art and maritime art collections provide an unrivalled spectrum of New England's heritage over 300 years.
In Beverly, the Trustees of Reservations maintains Long Hill, the former family retreat of the Atlantic Monthly editor. 114 acres of gardens are laid out in a series of separate garden “rooms” surrounding a handsome, Federal-style, brick house. Each “room” is distinct in its own way, accented by ornaments and statuary.
Today, the gardens retain the “Garden for Living”–style with integrated outdoor rooms, mature plantings that blend into the surrounding woodlands, and a spirit of innovation in horticulture.
2 nights at the North Shore
This is a selection of hotels for this itinerary. Some areas have many more choices; please use the search function above if you wish to find an alternative hotel.
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Booking your holiday with us doesn't end when we send your confirmation out to you, either. Talk to us about adding excursions or room upgrades or even restaurant recommendations; we are here to offer advice all the way up to your departure date. Even when you have left the UK, we are still here to help. For example if your flight that we have booked is delayed or cancelled due to ash cloud, strike, etc, it is down to us to re-arrange your travel. We will do everything we can to make sure your holiday runs smoothly. And better still, we are fully bonded with ATOL and ABTA, so your money is completely protected.
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This suggested itinerary is our recommendation but can be tailored to match your wishes and needs
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