Top 10 List of Favorite Things To Do In New England

Article and photo (of Nubble Lighthouse, York Beach, Maine) by Eric H.

Top 10 lists are popular from what David Letterman has to say to the greatest music of all time. How about a top 10 list of favorite things to do in New England?

We'd love to hear your feedback. I'll start off with my top 10 list (subject to change depending on mood and season), and look forward to yours.

1. Spending a day at friendly, scenic Short Sands Beach in York Beach, Maine, and then walking to Nubble Lighthouse for a taste of coastal rocky Maine, some salt-sea air and views of perhaps New England's most scenic lighthouse.

2. Enjoying a Pawtucket Red Sox game at the nicely restored, fan-friendly McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI.

3. Taking a drive through the small towns along scenic Route 169 in the beautiful "Quiet Corner" of northeastern Connecticut.

4. Eating the best Italian pizza in the world at the landmark Santarpio's in East Boston, MA.

5. Reveling in the ultimate New England village atmosphere of Weston, VT -- home of the Vermont Country Store and a place where the entire village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places!

6. Traveling to Acadia National Park in Maine where the ocean magically meets the mountains.

7. Trying out different flavors of ice cream at Bubbling Brook in Westwood, MA -- a great way to relax with family and friends on a hot summer night at a classic ice cream stand.

8. Walking the historic, personality-filled streets of coastal Portsmouth, NH, and enjoying the colorful local shops and restaurants.

9. Having a nice, traditional New England dinner at the historic, charming Salem Cross Inn restaurant in West Brookfield, MA.

10. Walking the scenic three-mile Cliff Walk rising above the Atlantic Ocean in Newport, RI.

All Glamour & the Bests in Paris

As of the writing of this article, the artistry tennis grand slam in clay is just around the corner, so I’m inspired to enumerate the best sights and attractions in Paris before sitting inside the box of Court Philippe Chartier.

As you all expected; every inch of square in Paris is bounded with rich history and exquisite beauty. Apart from Eiffel Tower, there are still various aesthetic attractions you need to explore while on Paris.

The first on this list is The Louvre.

Have you watch The Da Vinci Code? If yes, I’m sure you have recognized this pre-20th century museum. The Louvre is the home of the most appealing paintings, sculptures and other art collections in the medieval era. You can also find the undying smile of Mona Lisa here. Traveling to this classic and contemporary building is easy. While in Paris, just ride a bus with any of the lines in 21, 34, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, and 95 and the driver will directly take you in front of the glass pyramid. Physically challenged people are openly welcomed inside this majestic museum as wheelchair can always be rented upon permission at the front desk.

The second a-must-visit scene in Paris is the Boat Tour in Seine River. Coming down to see the overwhelming beauty of Seine River is truly an unforgettable experience. The feel of the chilly wind of the place is miles different from what you have inside your home. Especially if you are going for a boat ride, you can witness the unparallel network of canals, bombastic bridges, awestruck monuments and other mythical spots. Many people suggest the best time for boat ride is May to the mid days of September. There are various travel companies near the site that offers both daytime and nighttime tours throughout the year, especially during Valentine’s Day. 

With its marvelous gothic architecture, the Notre Dame Cathedral is surely one of the dramatic hotspot made of stained glass, situated just blocks away from Seine River. As a matter of fact, it took a century before the overall construction is completed. The Cathedral is the “Notre Dame of the Hunchback,” that’s how Victor Hugo penned it out. The most thrilling part during your visit is when you dig deeper in the archaeological crypt going to the North Tower. Touring Notre Dame is convenient in October till March, ideally in the mornings and in the evenings to see the views of the stained glass. Free guide tours in English are also available upon request.

Opened to everyone to honor the French-President Georges Pompidou, the Center Gorgeous Pompidou is considered to be the cultural heart of the city. The gigantic architecture houses performing plaza, public library and art museum of 20th century masterpieces. The galleries are open daily from eleven in the morning till nine in the evening. Tickets are available at the counter’s area. The three-floor public library is free and for everyone to use. You can find an array of books, magazines, periodicals and multimedia resources here. There are also food and dining in the second floor, reservation-only restaurant at the rooftop, bookstores at the ground, 4th and 6th floors and Parisian Boutique at the ground floor.

The last but not the least is the Sorbonne University. This is the oldest and the intellectual hub of Paris and was once the home of the world’s philosophers and writers like Rene Descartes and Jean-Paul Sarte. Getting here requires you to ride Metro Cluny-La-Sorbone in Line 10 or RER Luxembourg in Line B. Enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend in café before walking around the incredible squares and gardens is surely a grand.

The Great Hadrian’s Wall in England

Are you up for another great adventure of your life? Do you want to travel in one of the most famous tourist attractions apart from getting wet and wild? Let me tell you this. If Asia has the Great Wall of China, then your destination in Northern England is the Hadrian’s Wall.

What is Hadrian’s Wall? Tracing back the history, the wall is made up stone and turf fortification built by Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 122. The aim of construction is to protect Great Britain from ancient inhabitants of Scotland.

According to my research, the construction began in the east before proceeding to the west. The materials used that time are a type of igneous rock (referred to as the Whin Sill), limestone, turf, timber and clay. A number of full-sized forts are added to the length of the wall particularly in the areas of Housesteads and of Birdoswald. The extension holds at least 500-1,000 troops.

After the death of Emperor Hadrian, the great wall in Great Britain was abandoned. Thank God and portions of its remains still exist these days. In fact, the wall becomes a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.  

These days, several people choose to go here to experience the grandest experience of a lifetime. The nicest thing about Hadrian Wall is the fact that you can tour its 73.5 statute miles by simply riding your own bicycle. 

Getting to Hadrian Wall

Planning your visit to Hadrian wall is easy. You can even book your accommodation and itinerary online. You know, getting around the entire wall is possible in various ways. One is through public transport such as bus and train. The other option is car or motorbike. If you want, you can choose to tour around using a bicycle. Cycling seems a great way of visiting numerous attractions within the area. If you do this, you can stop in every post and snap pictures in various angles. The main attractions to see in Hadrian wall include fourteen Roman sites, forts, museums, countless milecastles and turrets. 

For more questions and inquiries, you can also call for tourist information centers.  

Buckingham Palace: The Shining Shimmering Home of the Blue Blooded

If there’s anything something so grand to see, what do more you can ask more with Buckingham palace. Considered as the major tourist attraction in Westminster City, London--- the Buckingham Palace serves as the Marble Arch of the Royal Family. The Palace has gone various reconstructions to preserve its lively and luxurious state rooms.

Since it became a loyal residence in 1837, there are a number of eminent parts you must see. These are the Ballroom, the Grand Entrance, the Marble Hall, the Grand Staircase and the cream & gold schemes of galleries.

Seeing the Grand Entrance and the Grand Staircase is like a having two fantasy dreams into one. At first sight, you can immediately see the grandest gold-like fan at the ceiling, designed by James Wyatt solely dedicated for George III. John Nash designed the Grand Staircase upon the request of King George IV. Climbing down in this bronze-casting balustrade feels you’re at the center of a glimmering spotlight.

Next is the Queen’s Gallery which took forty years in the making. The incomparable feel inside this Hall is nearly synonymous to having a grand museum filled with gems and pearls. In 2002, the spectacular celebration known as the Queen’s Golden Jubilee was held here.  

The elegance of the gold-detailed Ballroom is known as the largest room inside the Palace. Various ceremonies and state banquets take place here. If the past, you were expected to wear a formal dress for women and a formal military uniform for men. These days, the story is different. Women are now encouraged to wear tiara if the occasion is too formal while men should either wear formal suit with a tie in evenings or wear morning coats in daytime events.  

Another grand site you must see within the perimeter of Buckingham Palace is its park-like garden that hosts royal functions and events. Exploring the Royal Garden is walking in a freedom 42-acre park with endless artwork and fun around. In fact, to all the tennis enthusiasts like me, I have to tell you that there’s a tennis court in here and for the record, three of the finest tennis players in history displayed their legendary stokes to wow the Queen. These tennis players are John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and Steffi Graf.

Palace of Westminster: All Glitters and Jems

It feels so good to live in London near the River Thames and you get to see the ever-magnificent Palace of Westminster.

At first look, you immediately notice its three eye-catching towers. You should know that the Victoria Tower is the tallest of them all clocking at 323 feet. Right in the middle is the octagonal-shaped Central Tower. This is the shortest of the three but the only tower designed with a pyramidal structure. The third tower is the Clock Tower and one of its main bells is a household name. It’s none other than the Big Ben.

Get inside the south-western gate of the Palace and you see the public park known as the Victoria Tower Gardens. It’s called as such for the reason that it houses historic and beautiful sculptures, statues and fountains.  

Wow, that’s only the exterior part of the Palace folks! Be inside the Palace and get awed by its 1, 100+ rooms, at least 100 staircases and a shocking three-mile-passageway. Actually, there are only four floors inside the Palace. The first floor is for the Chambers, the lobbies and the libraries while the two-top floors are for the committee rooms and offices only.

The largest hall in Europe is also found in this Palace. This is simply called as the Westminster Hall but due its large roof beyond the imagination of some, the hall was once tagged as “The greatest creation of medieval timber architecture.” If you are wondering what’s the use of this hall and why it has to be “this big?” According to the book, the place itself has written series of numerous and important events in human history. Would you believe the State Trial of King Charles I after the English Civil War was held here?

For the bookworms out there, your eyes will be dazzled with limitless number of books, journals, official papers and other medium of electronic resources. Though, this House of Commons Library is closed for the public. Yet, once you’re a member, you are given the privilege to scan archives of what to be the Parliamentary Docs.

It seems as if one day is not enough to tour this palace considering its gigantic size and tight security. Even protesting in front the palace is not allowed without permission from Metropolitan Police. But let me tell you that once you step a foot inside this palace, never forget visiting the following: The Robing Room, The Central Lobby, The Lords Chamber, Bars and Restaurants and Gymnasium

Get High with the London Eye

Call it the Millennium Wheel or the Biggest Ferris Wheel, there’s still only one trademark name in everyone’s mind and it’s none other than the London Eye.

Since its operation on December 31, 1999- the Eye has been the most-paid attraction in the United Kingdom. No doubt about it, riding the 443-feet Eye is truly an impeccable experience. Just imagine if you are blasted off in the air twirling around for thirty minutes and seeing the eye-catching top of Windsor Castle that’s almost 25 miles away.

All you might say is WOW. The London’s Eye is the only ten-ton object in the world that gives you the total circumference of joy and excitement. In fact, you must be aware this is the only Eye that receives series of awards from 2000 to 2007. In 2006, it was voted as the Best Day-out for Londononer’s while in 2007, the called it as the Best Attraction in Europe.
And here’s another fact you should know: The London Eye compared to British Airlines has the ability to carry 3.5 million customers annually.

I Want to Get There!

Getting near the London’s Eye is made easy. These days, you can do all the bookings and reservations online. To those who are living near the south bank of River Thames, you’re lucky as the Ticket Center is right at the corner.

Yet, if you are living within the land area of Great Britain, You can choose to ride the Waterloo. This Waterloo is the nearest tube station going to the London Eye.

You can also ride a bus. Are you familiar with these numbers 77, 211 and 381? If yes then they can take you to the London Eye without stops. But if you have a car, you need to park it and travel by foot around the South Bank. The location of Eye is a “congestion charge zone,” never expect a parking site just around the corner.

Traveling by boat is also possible. If you are taking a European Cruise and one of the itineraries is a stop at Millennium Pier, you can immediately be on your knees or get a friend to ride the London Eye.

Tower of London: All Splendid and All Glitters

London is a place of several royal palaces and fortress. When you decide to visit London, be sure not to skip the historic monument situated on the north bank of River Thames. This is none other than, the Tower of London. 

These days, traveling to London is not difficult. You can now book your flight online and with just a stroke of the clock, you’re stepping a foot in London. Once there, there are various options to get to the Tower. You can ride a train, by bicycle, by DLR (Docklands Light Railway), by bus, by riverboat or by car if you are living near the perimeter. 

The most important thing you should remember to bring is the Map. There are downloadable maps online and it’s suggested you download them weeks before your scheduled flight. You also need to be informed that there’s no available parking area around the Tower.   

Once you’re right at the front of the Tower, you can’t ignore to think about those fictional ghost stories. There’s even news circulating around that say “the place is an area of death, darkness and treachery.” If these are true, why care about it? Every attraction has its version of ghost story and if you keep on thinking about it, how will you enjoy your time inside the Tower of London?

Truth is; these ghost stories are made to fool you. These stories are fiction and by any ways, you can learn how to divert your thinking to loads of sights and activities inside the area than those made-up stories. One of these is the White Tower, located at the very center of the Tower. 

The White Tower is the London’s iconic symbol and one of the premier tourist spots in the world. The hidden gems of Henry VIII and the Chapel of St. John the Evangelist are only two of the must-seen attractions inside. 

After the White Tower, be wowed by the glittering gem-collection inside the Jewel House. Just imagine if you see the world’s famous Imperial State Crown purely made of diamonds, pearls, sapphires, emeralds and rubies. Wow, isn’t it exciting to take a pic of it and upload it in your blog?

Meet the Yeoman Warders if you’re interested in hearing the tales and stories. These warders will surely entertain you with the questions you want to know about the Tower. Yet, if you’re into art designing, never forget to visit the Medieval Palace and other interactive exhibitions. 

Hungry with all the touring left and right? Don’t worry. There are also restaurants and cafes around (New Armouries, Wharf Café & Kiosk and Paul). They offer only the high quality snacks and meals for your gourmet satisfaction.  

Series of Enchantments at the Blackpool Tower

On March 14, 1894, a tourist attraction quite synonymous to Eiffel Tower was opened to the people of Blackpool, Lancashire in London. This 518 ft. observation tower was noticeably known for its house circus at the base corner. 

Do you now know what this is? It’s the Blackpool Tower!

Coming here is surely a fun-filled experience for the whole family and friends. Can you just imagine the loads of sweet memories you can have while being in these places: Tower Circus of Dreams, Jungle Jim’s Towering Adventureland, Tower Ballroom, Jurassic Walk & 3D Cinema, Tower Aquarium, Tower Top and Tower Top Weddings. 

You are your young siblings are welcomed to witness the spectacular Mooky’s Circus of Stars like you’ll never seen before. Since its inception in May 14, 1894, the circus continues to wow the audience with their dazzling magic tricks and series of unforgettable laughs. Their regular shows usually include parade of the stars, break-dancing, animatronic, live music and pantomime.   

Who says that playgrounds are for kids only? Even at 30, you will not also get bored when you are inside the walls of Jungle Jim’s Towering Adventureland. There are lots of hidden treasures that are at for grabs around. There are also party packages being offered for each child. A party package includes several perks and activities to make your visit a blast! Just be reminded that Jungle Jim has left you new sets of important instructions to follow. As of the moment, advance reservations are needed before attending any timed sessions and there’s already a height-restriction policy.

Next stop is the Ballroom. This Victorian-setting room, situated at the front of tower complex, is the ideal place for an endless search of romance and attraction. The walls made up mahogany; oak and walnut keep the excitement on a higher level as you are gliding with smooth ease at the center of the dance floor. Added to the romance-in-the-air theme is the William Shakespeare’s verse inscribed above the stage, “Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear" or in simplest terms, “Hear me, there’s something so sweet I want to tell you.”

Miss the adventures of Steven Spielberg? Be prepared and Spielberg’s dinosaurs are coming back to haunt you at Jurassic Walk. With its 3D cinema along with the best sound, you’ll surely not be left behind with the best mesmerizing fun and action. 

The Tower Aquarium, the Tower Lounge Bar, the Tower Top and the Tower top Events are the other grand spots not to forget to see. Before lounging and being at the top, you should first see the Tower Aquarium. This old tank gives rise to the use of limestone caverns where fifty-seven species of fresh and salt water fishes are inside. 

Of course, the visit will remain incomplete without experiencing a grand wedding at the Top of the Tower. Or if you’re not ready to marry yet, just be on the scene of the event and enjoy the feel. It is truly an experience at the Blackpool!

The Breathtaking White Cliffs of Dover

It seems hard to imagine a white-colored cliff. But hey, before asking anything to someone, let me tell you a white-colored cliff really exists and it is made up of pure white calcium carbonate. 

The White Cliffs of Dover is a 106-meter-high attraction that stands at the heart of British coastline extending from east to west of English port. I suggest you to go out on a clear sunny day and you can surely see the cliffs in the French coast. 

If you are still curious about this natural and gigantic attraction, the face of this cliff erodes regularly. Studies confirm the average annual rate of erosion clocks at one centimeter. That’s why, if decided to visit here, you better stay at least five meters back from the edge point. This must be done to avoid accidents.

Truth is; the cliff remains white because of the erosion. Do you believe it? Yes folks, it’s true. When there’s erosion, piles of rock fall during the winter season. When this event happens, the so-called “water in the chalks” ices up, making the surface layers break. If it’s not a winter season, this white cliff turns into green due top vegetation. 

Visiting the White Cliffs of Dover is easy if you ride a train from London. Perhaps, it will be nicer if you also visit the Samphire Hoe and Shakespeare Cliff. Are you wondering what these two are? Well, to make it easier for you to understand, the Samphire Hoe is a country park situated at the base of Shakespeare Cliff. Here, you can see breathtaking views of the white-colored cliffs. 

Never forget your digital camera, folks! Even if you’re not in the field of photography, you will still be tempted to take shots in different angles. Yet, if you’re not satisfied with just taking pictures, perhaps you can ask for a tour guide and explore the hidden tunnels located behind the cliff face. These tunnels were once served as the Secret Wartime Tunnels of the Dover Castle. 

Is it amazing to be inside those tunnels?

If yes then you need to know the tour is not yet finished. Near the cliff, there are luxurious hotels and camp sites to stay at. Why not stay here for a while and enjoy the accommodation being offered?

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The Fulfillment of your Fantasy Dream: The Windsor Castle

Do you regularly imagine a place where there’s a limitless air of elegance? Have you ever dreamed you’re once the handsome prince waiting for your Cinderella? Do you imagine yourself standing at the center of a ground and you’re surrounded with breathtaking walls and towers? If you answer yes to these series of questions, maybe it’s time for you to stop daydreaming and book a flight in Berkshire to see the 484,000 sq. ft. Windsor Castle.

Yes folks; the Windsor Castle is the answer to your deepest fantasy. This grand attraction help you realize that things you only see in animated films do really exists in real life. You see, the interior and exterior layout of this castle has evolved throughout the years. Lots of eye-watering landmarks are added but the positioning of most main features remained untouched.

So, what are these grand attractions you can see inside the Windsor Castle? Let’s start with the Round Tower. It’s called as such obviously because of its cylindrical and irregular round shape that cuts the castle into two sections, the Lower and the Upper Ward. You should be in the Lower Ward if you want to see the Baroque style of St. George Chapel. This chapel already looks so good at the outside with its meticulously-carved big windows. What more if you’re exploring the inside as you see the burial place of Henry VIII. 

The Upper Ward consists of the private royal apartments, the George’s Hall and more state rooms. There’s no need for you to doubt, living in those private apartments is a grand. All what you need and all what you want to eat are at grabs in an instant. All you probably need to do is ask.   

The St. George Hall is simply splendid. Entering this hall, you’ll be amazed with a very wide space and impressive set of high-quality furniture all around. The ceiling is decorated with coat of arms with those brave-hearted, Order of the Garter. The experience is a delight once you’re here, you can spontaneously say this area is without a doubt an ideal place for whatever dream event you have in mind.

The Royal Home Park is another must-see attraction inside this castle. The whole area is divided into two; one for parkland and the other area is for farms. If you are interested, you can schedule for a tour visit in Frogmore House and Gardens. Just by the name of the attraction, it sounds like it’s already a piece of paradise waiting to be explored.

There’s also a private school in the north part of the castle known as the St. George’s Windsor Castle. The purpose of erecting this school is to train students who want to be a part of a choir in the chapel.

There’s also this beautiful scene referred to as The Quadrangle, located in the Upper Ward from the North West. Taking a picture with you at the center of this vast ground is really a fantastic moment so hard to believe. Sad though, this place is not open for tourists.

In many cases when the Royal Family is in, anyone is not allowed to tour. So, it’s better to make an advanced reservation before visiting Winsdor Castle.

Fun and Brilliance in Siena, Tuscany

Siena is considered as the medieval city in Tuscany. The beautiful city is widely-known for its brilliant architecture and horse racing. 

Some people say that the best way to travel around Siena is to stay longer. The longer your stay, the nicer the explorations are. 

Your first stop to Siena should be Palazzo Pubblico. This is Siena’s Town Hall where you can see the overview of Sienede countryside. The outside structure of the hall boasts its Medieval Architecture influenced by Gothic style. One of the must-explores inside are the good and bad frescoes. If you take closer looks at these frescoes, you notice that the Allegory of Good Government is made to personify the Justice of a woman while the Allegory of Bad Government depicted a falling city in crime and violence.

The Piazza del Campo is also one of those attractive squares in the city where you will feel you are like in an extraordinary shell-shaped piazza and ready to tour the symbolic emblems of Palazzop Pubblico, Torre del Mangia and Palazzi Signorili.

Then, every devotee should pay a visit to the house and give thanks to St. Catherine. She’s the patron saint of Italy. Proceeding to Duomo, the Italian Romanesque Cathedral, sounds a nice decision. Here, you can see the Pastorini’s Last Supper glass-stained window, the hexagonal-shaped dome and the unique moldings of the Nave.  

Horse Racing

Of course, your visit to Siena is definitely incomplete without coming to Palio di Siena--- the venue for horse racing competition for twice a year (2nd of July and 16th of August). Horse racing is truly a special festival in Siena. Horses have ornaments in their head while racing and there are also banners (Contrade) sell to the public as souvenirs.  

The horse race in July is called Palio di Provenzano. During this time, you can watch ten horses take part in the race. 

The second race, which is known as Palio dell’Assunta, is celebrated after the Feast of their Assumption. At seven in the evening, an explosive echoes are shot on air signaling the start of the event. The nine horses are arranged in order while the rincorsa or the tenth horse waits outside the track. You may be upset with the happenings as the riders are allowed to whip their horses and other competitors of their reach. 

Apart from horse racing, other special events in Siena are Summer Classical Concerts at Academia Musicale Chigiana, Siena Jazz Festival and market exhibitions.

Dining & Hotels

Various restaurants and bakeries are in Siena. You will enjoy the wine services at Osteria Sotto le Fonti. Eating the excellent pastries at Nannini and almond paste cakes at Ricciarelli are a wow. If you are on look with commercially-specialties such as cake, honey, almonds, flour and spices, you should visit Panforte. 

Hotels and apartments are all over to give you the best form of comfort of your stay. If you are on a tight budget, stay at Piccolo Hotel II Palio or Casa Gigliola. Tuscan Villa Burraia and Montestigliano are just two of convenient mid-range hotels around the city. But if you want to experience the full delight of your visit to Siena, your destination should in splurge luxurious hotels such as Borgo Scopeto Relais and Campo Regio Relais, which is just situated in the historical center of Siena.