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Home » SCIENCE AND NATURE » RHODE ISLAND » The Islands of New England
Sunset on Lake Champlain
The Islands of New England

By Michael F. Bisceglia, Jr. | November 23, 2010

New Englanders takes great pride in the water of the region. Five of the six states border the Atlantic and the sixth, Vermont, borders Lake Champlain.

Each state has wonderful rivers, picturesque lakes, and breathtaking reservoirs.   Throw in the ponds, streams, and brooks, and we have a geographic region swimming in water... okay, bad pun, but folks here do love their water.   Not only do we love to fish in it; boat in it; skate on it; drink it; and bathe in it, we love to live as close to it as possible.   In this fast-paced world, our bodies of water offer a sense of tranquility as well as a true bond with nature.   That’s why waterfront property is always at a premium.

The Thimble Islands

Folks just don’t stop at the water’s edge when it comes to enjoying our territory; we have a particular fondness for those little parcels of land sprouting up from the water.   We hike them; photograph them; pick blueberries on them; paint them; and live on them, too.   The islands of the great northeast are first points of invitation and the last places of remembrance.

There are 27 named islands in Connecticut, most located in Fairfield County.   Rough-hewn may be the only way to describe many of them.   Giant granite rocks form the foundations for solid homes only a few yards away from the shoreline.

The Thimble Islands, about halfway up the coast from New York to Massachusetts, offer it all.   If you’re lucky, you may run across Captain Kidd’s treasure.   From kayaking to excuses to use up hundreds of rolls of film, it truly is a place to experience.

Rhode Island has about half as many named islands as Connecticut, but one place every hearty visitor must explore is Block Island.   It is a rugged locale, but it nonetheless named the “Bermuda of the North.” If you happen to tire from hiking the trails; fishing from the rocks; or simply birding, you may want to catch the Arts Festival in August.   You won’t be sorry you did.

Gay Head Cliffs, Martha's Vineyard

New Englanders love the west coast... the west coast of Vermont, that is.   There are only a handful of islands in Lake Champlain, but the beauty of those little patches of land is superb.   Yes, the experience is a little too rustic for some people’s taste, but Vermont does a lot of rural, and does it well.   Okay, you’re on South Hero Island.   There is a spectacular sunset and you want to offer a toast.   What do you do? Why you go down to the Snow Farm Vineyard and purchase some their award-winning chardonnay.   It goes particularly well with a Vermont sunset.

Let’s talk here about one island off the coast of Massachusetts... Martha’s Vineyard.   It is probably the one place everyone thinks of when they think New England vacation.   It has great shops, views, hikes, restaurants.   Heck, it’s just plain great! It can be a tad cool there at night, so don’t forget your sweater.   You don’t want your teeth chattering if you happen to run into a Hollywood celeb, do you?

New Hampshire has only 17 miles of coastline, but it does have some very picturesque islands.   If you’re a history buff, you certainly don’t want to miss New Castle Island.   Besides the tours of the lighthouses, you can learn all you want to know about the site of America’s first naval engagement during the Revolutionary War.

Okay, you think you’ve covered New England stem to stern? Not quite.   There’s one more.   The north-easternmost piece of land, just off the coast of Lubec, Maine is Moose Island.   (A little controversy here, some folks think its Canadian property.) Bring your binoculars; you certainly don’t want to miss out on a whale or two as they swim by.   You’ll certainly want to see the lighthouses, but you’ll want to pick a sunny day to do it.   The weather can get downright nasty in these parts.

Welcome to the islands.   Enjoy your stay.

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