One of Boston's gifts is its proximity to great natural beauty. Right in the city is the famous ring of connected parks called the Emerald Necklace, which includes the Arnold Arboretum. A short drive will get you a relaxing weekend in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts, or to hiking and biking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
A free day from the hospital could mean escaping to scenic Vermont, or to miles of rugged coastline in Maine or to the beaches of Cape Cod. Take a ferry ride to the islands of Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket. And, New York City is only four-hour drive from Boston. The Getaway Guides and Go New England are good places to start looking.
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is both an historic town with more 17th and 18th century homes than any other place in the country, and the fabled summering place of the fabulously wealthy during the Gilded Age at the end of the 19th century.
At right: The Breakers
The mansions, like the Vanderbilt's opulent 'The Breakers' or 'Rosecliff', of Great Gatsby fame, are worth the trip, as is the Ocean Drive along Newport's spectacular rocky shore.
Mystic Seaport, Connecticut
Site of shipbuilding since the 17th century, tiny Mystic, CT contains Mystic Seaport, the country's premier maritime museum. There is also an aquarium and, nearby, two of the world's largest casinos: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
Maine is famous for it's pinewoods, rugged, rocky shore, and lobsters. Southern Maine is more accessible and also beautiful, but 'Downeast' Maine, north of Portland, is even more so, particularly the areas around Boothbay Harbor, Camden, Blue Hill and Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is located on Mt Desert Island, which also houses Acadia National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the US. Acadia has the highest mountains on the ocean north of Rio de Janeiro and the only fiord in the Americas. The scenery is spectacular and is amplified by an extraordinary variety of outdoor activities (hiking, biking, rock climbing, canoeing, sea kayaking, sailing, deep sea fishing, whale watching), along with outstanding restaurants, art galleries and opportunities for antiquing.
There are many beautiful lakes in New England. Indeed many in northern Maine are wilderness lakes, only accessible by floatplane or logging road. Nearer Boston, Lake Winnipesaukee in mid-New Hampshire is a recreational paradise, especially along its western shore.
The Squam Lakes, just south of the White Mountains, depicted in the movie "On Golden Pond", are more peaceful. Sebago Lake in southern Maine is also a popular resort area.