It is no surprise that Fall has become one of the most popular times to visit the East Coast, as New England’s foliage transforms into bursts of bright reds, brilliant yellows and zingy oranges. Steeped in history and known for its postcard-perfect scenery, glorious seafood, beautiful beaches and colonial buildings, fall in New England brings a more relaxed contrast to the bustling summer months, while offering warmer water temperatures and endless cultural and historical sightseeing opportunities.
Bordered by the state of New York just three hours west, and with more direct flights than ever from the UK, it is the perfect time to explore four of America’s most compelling, but very different destinations on a round-trip adventure – the Big Apple, New York City; ‘all American’ Nantucket Island; the US’s smallest state, Rhode Island; and Lexington, Massachusetts, just 15 miles outside of New England’s largest city, Boston.
A slice of the Big Apple – New York
Kick start the trip flying into New York, which comes to life in the autumn. As the cultural calendar gets into full swing with film festivals and Broadway openings, the trees in Central Park turn into a light show of golds, browns and shades of red. The Lowell sits just a block away, on a quiet, tree-lined street off bustling Madison Avenue in the heart of the city’s most exclusive and fashionable district, the Upper East Side.
The independently-owned hotel has long been the New York hotel of choice for in-the-know world travellers, with its serene atmosphere reminiscent more of a chic, private townhouse residence rather than a hotel. Adored by its many regular guests as a ‘home away from home’, The Lowell is the definition of classic New York elegance. It is complete with stylish restaurant, Majorelle and bar, Jacques, both of which were inspired by the iconic Yves Saint Laurent gardens in Marrakech. With Manhattan on its doorstep, The Lowell is perfectly located to explore the city that never sleeps.
Seaplane to Nantucket from the heart of Manhattan
From here, hop aboard the BLADE seaplane which departs from midtown Manhattan on East 23rd Street, straight to Nantucket. Travellers feel a truly ‘all American’ sense of place right upon touching down on the exclusive island. Home to white picket fences, quaint boutique-lined highstreets and 18th-century buildings, Nantucket Island is transformed in the autumn with quieter beaches, less crowded restaurants and better-than-ever availability at some of America’s oldest and most historic hotels. For the quintessentially American experience, stay on the northernmost tip of Nantucket 20 minutes from downtown, at one of the finest boutique hotels in the US – The Wauwinet.
Situated on a beautiful beach flanked by Nantucket Bay and overlooking the Atlantic, The Wauwinet is a beautiful seaside refuge situated on the northeast shores of the island. This year, the luxury historic inn – recognised worldwide for its outstanding service, mouth-watering cuisine and breathtaking views – celebrates its 30th anniversary, having just completed a multi-million-dollar complete restoration and renovation project. The Wauwinet is also home to one of the nation’s most acclaimed restaurants, TOPPER’S, which taps into the island’s rich supply of fresh regional ingredients from land and sea.
This is one of the most cherished properties on the island, providing a serene and romantic backdrop where guests enjoy picturesque sunsets and outdoor activities from surfcasting to bike tours, and have limitless access to Nantucket’s many beaches and the Bay. Visitors return year-after-year to recapture the magic of their first experience, and the hotel’s design team has taken painstaking measures to ensure the new look and feel still feels like their home away from home.
Ferry to America’s Smallest State of Rhode Island
Heading across the water just a two-hour ferry away is Rhode Island, America’s smallest state renowned for its sandy shores and colonial towns. Rhode Island is home to the world-famous Ocean House, one of four properties in the Ocean House Management Collection; a unique historic, privately-owned property in the quaint seaside village of Watch Hill. It is one of America’s most iconic hotels, originally built in 1868 and now beautifully restored to its former glory following a $156 million investment.
A quintessential New England seaside resort, Ocean House is perched high on the bluffs of Watch Hill on the most pristine stretch of coastline on the East Coast (and has the only private hotel beach in all of New England). Famous for its warm, yellow façade and stunning views of the Atlantic, this is where generations of American families came ‘to summer’. Guests dine on authentic ‘farm-to-table’ feasts, traditional US brasserie fare and, of course, all American lobster boils and local seafood spreads. Downtime can be spent under the shade of a private cabana on Ocean House’s secluded white sand beach, or over a game of croquet on the award-winning front lawn.
Spa junkies can get their fix at the 12,000ft2 OH! Spa, while foodies and oenophiles will delight in discovering the hotel’s incredible Center for Wine and Culinary Arts; an intimate place to taste, learn, create and take wine and cooking classes. Alternatively, curious minds can take advantage of one of Ocean House’s fleet of Mercedes to explore the local area including the mansions of Newport.
End off the trip at the “birthplace of American liberty” – Lexington, Massachusetts
The East Coast adventure culminates in Lexington, conveniently located just 15 miles outside of Boston – the capital of Massachusetts, New England – staying at The Inn at Hastings Park. Historians, note: Lexington is considered by purists as ‘the birthplace of American Liberty’, as it was the first battle site in the American Revolutionary War. Having just joined the Ocean House Management Collection, The Inn is now sister hotel to the iconic Ocean House. A history-steeped hotel and restaurant providing award-winning hospitality and unique experiences in the Boston area, the property is a collection of three thoughtfully-restored antique buildings – The Main House, the Isaac Mulliken House and the Barn. Beautiful interiors complement the traditional architecture, while providing every modern sensibility.
With only 22 guestrooms, the boutique hotel is unique in layout and design, and guests enjoy spaces that reflect history, character, comfort and luxury. For travellers who wish to expand their knowledge while in Lexington, The Inn at Hastings Park will soon add a resident historian on staff, paying homage to the many historical landmarks that are within footsteps of the property. Visitors can walk the path that Paul Revere and William Dawes followed on their Midnight Ride to the nearby Hancock-Clark House, where John Hancock and Samuel Adams bunked. The Battle Green, where the first battle of the Revolutionary War took place, is just one block from The Inn.
Other local activities include The Liberty Ride, a trolley service that leaves from the Lexington Visitor Centre, and various tours narrated by costumed guides. The Minuteman Bikeway, an 11-mile rail trail, is another popular nearby attraction, with the Inn serving as a wonderful destination along the way and providing complimentary bikes for overnight guests. Once suitably explored out, it’s time to fly home – Boston Logan International Airport is the primary airport serving New England, and is located a mere 25 minutes away.