Whilst its ‘goldilocks’ character – never too hot or too cold – is a blessing to us all, I’d be the first to accept that a relentless palette of grey cloud can, after a few days, squeeze the joy out of even the most optimistic of travellers to British shores. It sometimes seems like the only season the UK really has is the drizzly one.
It turns out that those Pilgrim Fathers were onto something
Our ancestors realized this some centuries ago of course. It turns out that those Pilgrim Fathers were onto something when they discovered the antidote to bland Olde Englande. New England does proper seasons.
With such rich cultural links to the ‘old country’, the traveller to Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut or New Hampshire will find such a wealth of history locked up in the top right hand corner of the vast North American continent that she need not bother with the rest. But unless you really are going to spend the entire trip locked in at the Mark Twain House and Museum or underground in the Polar Caves at Rumney, New Hampshire, you’ll be interested by the modern-day elements – every day.
Far away from the soupy atmosphere that blights the big cities further south, a summer day in Boston is a vital experience in every sense. With typical highs between 25 and 28C, lower humidities ensure the sweat factor is low – perfect for comfortable outdoor sightseeing. Whilst the verdant landscape is kept refreshed by occasional showers – even the odd dramatic night-time storm – here we’re too far north for true tropical downpours.
The New England Fall is the stuff of legend. Shorter days and crisper air trigger a metamorphosis across the region. From Cape Cod to the banks of Lake Ontario, in a magical few weeks of natural synchronicity, the billions of trees that inhabit New England provide a leaf display of vivid and jaw-dropping beauty that is arguably unrivalled anywhere else in the world.
The harvest is rich and the grapes are ripening too. Martha’s Vineyard attests to a history of viticulture, but is now one of the most popular and peaceful of New England’s seaside retreats.
The mercury is tumbling and by December, Jack Frost really is nipping at your nose. Pack accordingly. Temperatures through winter are typically below freezing for weeks on end, and whereas in a good year, Worcester, England can realistically dream of slush at best on the ‘big day’, Worcester, Massachusetts will have White Christmases more often than not.
But New England is geared up for big snows. Cold and snowy winters are the norm and cause little disruption to locals or visitors. Indeed, the white stuff is welcomed back as a familiar friend – no more so than by the thriving skiing industry. Killington Ski Resort enjoys more reliable powder than you’ll find in many an Alpine resort back in Europe.
The days lengthen and, by April, the sap is rising. Springtime in New England, and those same trees which, six months ago, hosted the kaleidoscope of Autumn, now put on a symphony in green. It’s the start of another new season and maybe time to soak up the buzz of a game at Fenway Park. The Red Sox will play in any weather – but it won’t often be drizzle.