North Conway, New Hampshire: Downtown area of busy metropolis

7 of the Most Hospitable Small Towns in New England

Comprising the States of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, the famed region of New England of the northeastern United States is indeed a place of great significance. From colonial roots dating to the 17th century to an abundance of stunning natural geography, New England and its constituent States are undoubted jewels of America. Home to a combined population of some 15 million inhabitants, the towns of New England may differ in particular histories and natural settings but are united in their exceptional beauty and welcoming hospitality. Here, some of the very best of small-town USA can be enjoyed in a rich and fascinating ambiance that dates back to the days of the American Revolution. So come see New England with a visit to these special and hospitable towns!

Hanover, New Hampshire

Main Street in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Main Street in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Established in 1761, the town of Hanover is beautifully situated along the Connecticut River’s banks. Home to a population of just under 12,000 residents, the charming Hanover is a most inviting place where the beauty of the outdoors and small-town allure meet. Visit the pretty campus of Dartmouth College (1769), where no matter what time of year a pleasant sojourn is sure to be had. Indeed, with the town’s mild winters and hot summers, spending time outdoors is always a popular choice. For the real outdoors enthusiast, make sure not to miss trekking on a portion of the Appalachian Trail, where stunning vistas White Mountains never disappoint. Meanwhile back in town, a most charming Main Street and historic downtown district create a special sense of the simpler life. Browse through various locally owned businesses, enjoy a delicious meal, and simply take in the sights and sounds of a small New England community for a most pleasing set of memories.

Narragansett, Rhode Island

Entrance to Wickford Harbor in the Narragansett Bay.
Entrance to Wickford Harbor in the Narragansett Bay.

A popular tourist destination (especially in the summer), the town of Narragansett is scenically located along a narrow strip of the Pettaguamscutt River. Known for its stunning seaside vistas and alluring golden sandy beaches, thousands of visitors descend on town annually. Enjoy activities like swimming, sailing, fishing, and even simple sunbathing, when in Narragansett a most relaxing holiday atmosphere is sure to be felt. Meanwhile, guests can also marvel at a number of historic landmarks here including the Point Judith Lighthouse (1857) and The Towers castle gate (1883) which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Spend an afternoon at the inviting Fishermen’s Memorial State Park, leisurely rest at the beach, or explore the cute local shops, restaurants, and businesses in town, when in Narragansett a fun excursion for the entire family awaits.

New Shoreham, Rhode Island

Aerial view of downtown New Shoreham, Rhode Island
Aerial view of downtown New Shoreham, Rhode Island

Home to a modest population of nearly 1,500 residents, the beautiful town of New Shoreham is Rhode Island’s southernmost colonial settlement dating back to 1672. Situated on Block Island, the stunning ocean side vistas are amongst in the State and New England as a whole. Indeed with its shimmering blue Atlantic waters and rolling green hills, the picturesque beauty that is New Shoreham can surely be appreciated by all ages. Enjoy such outdoor activities like sailing, fishing, and swimming, while an afternoon at the Mohegan Bluffs lookout never fails to leave an impression. Meanwhile even just spending time along the beachside may be just enough to create the perfect holiday. Add in several historic attractions like the Southeast Lighthouse (1875) and the Block Island North Lighthouse (1867), and a real sense of American history can be felt. And do not forget about the annual Fourth of July parade, that is amongst the biggest of its kind in the State.

Old Saybrook, Connecticut

Old Saybrook, Connecticut.
Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Editorial credit: Rachel Rose Boucher /

Nestled right at the mouth of the Connecticut River, the historic town of Old Saybrook was established in the year 1738. A scenic community of just under 10,500 inhabitants, Old Saybrook offers plenty of historic allure and natural beauty for all guests looking for some of the best of New England. Visit the Fenwick Historic District and view such landmarks like the Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse (1886) amongst others listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Meanwhile spending one’s day at Harvey’s Beach is a cannot miss for any real beach lover. With sparkling and calming waters and soft golden sands, this is truly one Connecticut slice of paradise not to be overlooked. Enjoy swimming, sailing, and sunbathing, while charming vendors and live music performers round out the seaside ambience.

Stowe, Vermont

Base ski lodge in Stowe, Vermont.
Base ski lodge in Stowe, Vermont.

Stowe is located within Vermont’s Green Mountains and is near the State’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield. Also known as the “Ski Capital of the East”, Stowe was first founded in the 1760s where today just over 5,000 people reside. The home of the famed Stowe Mountains Resort, the winter alpine beauty of this community is only rivalled by its equally stunning summertime greenery. Indeed in addition to the winter sports activities of skiing and snowboarding, outdoor enthusiasts can also enjoy wonderful hiking and biking trails at the five mile Stowe Recreation Trail. Meanwhile Stowe’s historic downtown and charming array of 18th, 19th and early 20th century buildings adds to the small town allure. Visit the General Store (in operation since the 1890s), or even stop by the Trapp Family Lodge for a most unique chalet setting experience.

Guilford, Connecticut

Guilford, Connecticut: View of Marketplace at Guilford Food Center
Guilford, Connecticut: View of Marketplace at Guilford Food Center, via Rachel Rose Boucher /

One of the oldest colonial towns in New England, and by extension the United States, the town of Guilford was founded back in 1639. Today this historic town with a modern population of just over 22,000 inhabitants continues to fascinate and charm visitors with an authentic array of landmarks from across the 17th to 19th centuries. Explore an assortment of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Acadian House (1670) and the Medad Stone Tavern (1803) amongst many others. And with a cute selection of tasty restaurants and other local businesses, Guilford’s charming downtown area is a cannot miss. Meanwhile the town also offers the outdoors lover the chance to enjoy such activities like cycling, hiking, swimming, and sailing. Spend an afternoon at the popular Jacobs Beach which is a great way for the entire family to have some fun in the sun!

North Conway, New Hampshire

Railroad station and museum in North Conway.
Railroad station and museum in North Conway.

Near the White Mountain National Forest, the town of North Conway is home to a humble population of just over 2,000 residents. A year round resort village, tourists will find an eclectic selection of outlet shops here, where everything from modern day trends to antique gifts can be discovered. A welcoming example of small town USA, outdoor adventurers can also enjoy time spent in North Conway. Visit the nearby Black Cap Hiking Trail or the Echo State Lake Park for stunning scenic vistas, while hitting the slopes of the Cranmore Mountain Resort in winter is always a popular choice. And do not forget about the special and historic Conway Scenic Railroad. Take a ride on a restored old fashioned caboose while travelling past some of New Hampshire’s best mountain panoramas, in an excursion that truly delight the young and old.

The northeastern region of New England is one of America’s most famous and cherished cultural and geographic centres. Comprising six separate States, the wonderful history, stunning natural beauty, and unique charm of the towns here truly reflect some of the very best of the United States. From coastal settlements to mountain centres, these seven hospitable and charming New England towns are great places for the entire family to enjoy a holiday. So prepare your bags, book your tickets, or hit the road, and come see the wonder that is New England across a sojourn to these special and most alluring small towns!

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