5 New England Resorts That Are Attractions on Their Own

It’s the mark of a great New England resort: the feeling of never wanting to leave. These five resorts, where the destination IS the attraction, know that feeling well. From exquisite cuisine, unforgettable views, and one-of-a-kind activities, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything like them anywhere else. Best of all, you can do it all right at your home away from home.

credit: Saybrook Point Inn & Spa
credit: Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

Spend the night in your own private lighthouse

In the days of sailing ships, lighthouse keepers and their families worked tirelessly to help captains and crews navigate safely. A perfect ocean view was essential for their duty. In honor of these classic New England landmarks, you can stay in your very own lighthouse and enjoy its unobstructed vista — without the responsibility. The Lighthouse Suite at the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, offers a living room, dining area, and kitchenette so you won’t need to leave your perch over the Long Island Sound.

Unique Attractions at Maine Resort - Candlepin Bowling
credit: Sebasco Harbor Resort

Roll strikes like a 19th-century pro

Bowling usually involves too much neon and screaming Top 40 hits. Even so it’s pretty hard to deny the satisfaction in knocking down some pins with a good throw. At Sebasco Harbor Resort, groups can enjoy friendly competition on the lanes without scuttling that old Maine charm. Following New England tradition, these lanes are for candlepin bowling, featuring smaller, lighter balls that bowlers roll (at alarming speeds, if they’re good) at narrow candlestick pins. With billiards, ping pong, air hockey, and foosball under the same roof at this New England resort, you’ll have to remind yourself to stop and take in the gorgeous ocean view. When the gaming gets tough, you can retreat back to Sebasco’s own take on classic lighthouse-style lodging.

Cooking classes are a unique attraction at The Inn at Weathersfield, Vermont inn
credit: Inn at Weathersfield

Prepare and enjoy fine cuisine with a master chef

For some, dining is only half the joy in food. Tucked in a remodeled barn loft, the Hidden Kitchen cooking studio at Vermont’s Inn at Weathersfield offers demonstrations and intensive classes so visitors don’t have to leave their culinary experiences behind. Classes explore seasonal dishes using produce from the inn’s own organic garden — food doesn’t get fresher than that. Sage guidance from visiting cookbook authors and the executive chef assures even inexperienced cooks come up with something delicious. Of course, if cooking isn’t your passion, the Vermont inn’s chefs make sure each of their guests gets to experience one of Saveur Magazine’s 7 Great Vermont Eats.

Ship's Cellar Pub at York Harbor Inn
credit: York Harbor Inn

Eat, drink, and unwind in a boat that won’t rock

The grandest of nautical dining establishments can lose its charm as soon as the waves get rolling and the wine starts spilling. Lovers of beautiful woodwork and fresh ale can forgo the Dramamine, though, at the Ship’s Cellar Pub, modeled after a classic Newport sailing vessel. The establishment might be below deck, but the food and wine selection provided by the York Harbor Inn is fit for a captain’s quarters. The inn is right on the Maine waterfront, so it’s easy to watch real boats sailing by, too.

Waterpark at New Hampshire resort, unique New England attraction
credit: Red Jacket Mountain View Resort

Dive into a rare northern oasis

New Hampshire’s White Mountains aren’t exactly tropical, but you’d never know it inside the Kahuna Laguna Waterpark at Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in the scenic Saco River Valley. Kids and parents alike can go head-to-head in a game of water basketball or zoom down a wild waterslide ride. When it’s time for a snack or some lunch, the Tiki Tide Cafe is standing by to help refuel for another round of good clean fun at this New England resort.