We had a wonderful trip to New England, USA. One of the most striking and beautiful things about it are the buildings. We drove from Boston to Vermont, and then to Connecticut and back through Massachusetts, and everywhere we saw these amazing clapboard houses. Some are grand, some are small, some are pristine and some are scruffy, but they all have immense charm. I don't want to bore anyone with tales of a family holiday, but I did think that a tour of some of the beautiful buildings might be of interest. So here we go. This house was in Stonington, Connecticut, and came at the end of our trip. This is an old whaling port. It is now rather a quietly upmarket seaside town, I suspect that lots of these houses are second homes for some very lucky people. The high street was also very charming. I loved the jaunty colours everywhere.
Grey and lavender works a treat here.
Stonington's quaint high street. We stopped in a cafe with a view over the harbour and had lobster sandwiches and iced lemonade. Lobster isn't the luxury item it is here, as it is the local catch, so we were able to have it a few times and it was delicious.
We noticed how patriotic the majority of residents seem to be. There were stars and stripes everywhere!
This converted Baptist church was especially beautiful. When I was taking the photo, a man was walking back from the beach with a towel over his shoulders. "I should charge you for that picture," he joked. "Do you live here?" I asked. He said he did. "You are very lucky," I said. "I know," he replied. "It has been in my family for 50 years. The master bedroom is at the top of that tower, the sides are open, and we're woken every morning by the dawn light." At this point I probably turned 50 shades of green. I should have asked him if he ever needed a house sitter.
Rustic decorations outside an antiques shop.
Up in Vermont, things look a little different. There are lots of red barns, rust coloured wood and cladding. This little dairy bar at Arlington is 62 years old, according to the owner. We loved it. After a day of swimming in Shaftesbury lake, we came here for fried chicken and homemade potato salad. Nothing tastes as good on a hot day cooled by the fresh water.
The covered bridges are a special feature of Vermont. They're built like this to be more weather resistant. Despite the shimmeringly hot summers, winter is long and cold. Does anyone remember a cheesy film called The Bridges of Madison County with Meryl Streep and I think Clint Eastwood? I am sure they used to hook up in a bridge like this but I can't remember where it was set. Anyway, no Clint here, in fact the place was deserted.
The Blue Benn diner is in the town of Bennington, where we stayed for five days. It's a converted rail carriage, serving fantastic breakfasts. I recommend the pancakes with Vermont maple syrup or the French toast.
Bennington splits into many parts. We stayed in the village area, which is quite a mixture of houses, shops, restaurants etc. Up on the hill is Old Bennington with many colonial style houses, built by the folk who made their fortunes in the pottery trade. This is the First Church, up in the old town. I walked up here one day when Perry and Carey had gone on an overnight hike, and I was the only pedestrian. Nobody seems to walk anywhere. It was quite ghostly padding around these gigantic houses. And none was more spooky than this.....
It was the only derelict building for miles. I was snapping away, when I saw a movement at the window, and I realised that it was inhabited. I was out of there in a nanosecond, knees knocking. I had a sudden image of ending up in the basement...
This was an aerial view of Old Bennington, taken from the top of the war memorial.
This was a special place. The poet Robert Frost lived here and wrote some of his most famous poems in the farmhouse, which we visited. It's still set out as a home, although there were rather a lot of 'do not touch' signs everywhere which I thought was a shame. I am sure visitors would respect the space.
My 17 year old son, had, by this time, had enough of historical homes. He stayed in the car. But I loved this place very much.
By contrast, this is our little motel room in Bennington. We chose very modest accommodation to make the trip affordable, and this was really cute. Run by a lovely couple, Al and Annie, who come to Vermont each summer to work in the motel. They spend their winters resting on an island in Florida Keys.
Here we are in grandeur again. This is Harvard. While we were staying in Boston, we took the metro, or 'T' to see the university. I grew up with the movie Love Story, which was set here, and I've always wanted to see it. It was very beautiful, and very, very busy with tourists.
And this is on the route of Boston's Freedom Trail. We did a very long walk following the Trail to see some of the city's most important historical places (and soon realising that we did not know our American history very well at all). There were so many beautiful buildings, and Boston is a lively and flourishing city.
Here it is seen from the water. We were on a whale watching trip, which was one of the highlights of our holiday. It was amazing to see the city from a different perspective.
Hope you enjoyed the whirlwind tour of some of New England's sights and stunning buildings.